Sometimes you just don’t want to knit. You have all of these wonderful patterns and all this wonderful yarn but for some reason you just don’t have the motivation. Maybe you’re having trouble finding the right knitting pattern like my wife often does (she knits too quickly, see, so finding a pattern that will hold her attention for long enough is difficult), or maybe you don’t have the time and energy for knitting because life keeps getting in the way.
Some knitters never burn out. To some people, knitting is just a way of life; they’ve always done it, and they can put needles to yarn without thought or worry and just knit. The rest of us strive for that, of course, but for some it’s just not possible.
I deal with knitting burnout quite often, usually because my day job has me on the ropes. Lately it’s been a combination of work and moving to a new place, as I talk about in my Ikea Adventures. Sometimes, though, I just don’t have the inspiration, the drive, the will to sit down and knit.
I like to do a few things during these times. When it’s lack of energy I try to force myself to do just a little bit, be it writing out or reading design ideas or sketching or knitting a couple rows on a long term project. If I can’t do that, then I just take a break from it all and try not to stress about it. It feels wrong, yes, but sometimes it’s just what I need to get through it.
When it’s lack of inspiration, I like to seek it out. This can mean looking through Ravelry or magazine patterns, doodling, or going out and about and looking at the world. Sometimes just relaxing and looking at what others are doing or the vast beauty of the world is enough to inspire me. A lot of the time, though, I just play with enough techniques and try enough new things that something clicks – that’s how I came up with one of my favorite knitting patterns, Beetles and Combs. If you’re ever in a situation where you’re lacking inspiration, I highly recommend learning a new technique. If nothing else you might find a familiar technique much more pleasing afterwards.
There’s another kind of knitting burn out that you project knitters often experience, project boredom. When you just want a project to be done and you don’t want to work on it anymore you often do just that: stop knitting it. There are two ways to combat this: one, always have more than one project on the needles, that way you have something to work on while you’re fighting through the trenches of the project boredom. Two, make sure you do at least one row of the project as often as you can. That way, you still make progress on the project and, eventually, you’ll make enough that you’ll hopefully be inspired enough to seriously work on it again.
So, those are my thoughts on how to deal with knitting burnout. What about you? How do you deal with it? Do you take knitting breaks, switch projects, force yourself through it, or do something else altogether?