Sequence knitting

Recently, in my Build Your Knitting Skills and Confidence Facebook group, someone posted about not feeling like knitting for the past few months, and several others posted that they had also been feeling less like knitting lately. (Though for others, they are having a knitting resurgence and getting lots of projects done!) So it seems like I'm not the only one who's been feeling this (or perhaps the ups and downs) recently. So I'm going to share what I've been doing to help myself in the hope that you might find some suggestions helpful to try for yourself.

First, I took a look at the projects I have one my needles: my ever-present vanilla socks, three fingering weight scrappy blankets, one cardigan, one laceweight shawl with beads, and one fingering weight shawl with beads. The cardigan and socks were really the only things I had been working on. Why do I have three scrappy blankets going? I don't even know if I'll be able to use them because my cat has a serious addiction to wool and runs off with yarn and knitted items all the time. I can't imagine what he'd do to a blanket that I left out. Plus those are ongoing rather large projects and it's hard to feel like I'm really making progress on those. And the beaded shawls just feel like a little too much for my current state of mind. That left me with the socks and cardigan which really have been the projects I've focused on. But the cardigan is a pretty big project so although I'm making progress, I also have a long way to go.

And that's when I realized a few things. One, I don't feel like I'm making progress on any of my projects. I haven't had a finished project in a while. I haven't felt that sense of accomplishment for finishing something. That has to change! Time for a small project like a hat or cowl that I could start and finish in just a few days. (I haven't done this yet, but it's my plan soon after I finish the other project that I started which got me excited again.) One of the posters in the Facebook group mentioned that she had made a baby cardigan as a gift for a friend and that's something that restarted her into her knitting groove.

Right now when so many of us feel like we're in a state of limbo, the accomplishment we feel when we finish a  project can be exactly what we need. Maybe at this point in time those of us who are process knitters need to turn more toward being project knitters, doing smaller projects that we can finish that will help us get that burst of excitement. Maybe make some gifts (December is coming!) or make something to donate. But short, sweet, start and finish sounds really good right now.

The other thing I realized is that my projects were either too complicated or too simple. I needed something in between. That's when another person in the Facebook group reminded me of a book that I've had on my shelf for a while but haven't looked at in ages: Sequence Knitting: Simple Methods for Creating Complex Reversible Fabrics by Cecelia Campochiaro. As I looked through this book, I was fascinated by the way that sequences could be used to create different types of fabric.

I chose a fairly simple sequence pattern -- k1, p1, k2, p2 -- and some yarn that's been in my stash for a decade and cast on a scarf. You might be thinking that this seems like too simple of a project and too boring to do over and over again, but I've found it to be just the opposite. Because of that 1,1,2,2 rhythm, which I'm not used to knitting, I actually do need to keep my mind on my knitting because it's easy to get off track. (It feels more normal to me to get into a 1x1 ribbing or 2x2 ribbing pattern so my hands want to go there instead.) So it uses just enough of my brain to keep me focused on it but not so much of my brain that I feel overwhelmed. It's been a good meditative knitting project, and I'm surprised with how quickly it's growing on my needles. (Plus it feels great to be using yarn from deep stash.)

If you want to try out the idea but don't want to invest in the book quite yet (although I do recommend it at some point), you can get the feel for a sequence knitting pattern through Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's One Row Handspun Scarf (which was the pattern that started the book's author on the exploration of sequence knitting).

I hope that you find something that works for you if you're also feeling less desire to knit or crochet right now. Just remember not to be hard on yourself if you haven't picked up any of your projects in a while.