Knitters’ Block


When you can’t decide on yarn or a pattern – too much choice sometimes leads to no choice

You know you want to knit something, you even knit in your sleep. You wake up determined that today is the day you start a new project. You look through your stash for two hours but can’t choose the yarn. Then you realize that you can’t choose the yarn because you don’t know what pattern you want to knit. So you go though your knitting magazines and pattern collection but can’t seem to find the right pattern. Time to try Revelry and Pinterest. Three hours later, you feel the fatigue in your hands and through your body from sitting and scrolling through hundreds of patterns. Frustration sets in. You get up and walk away without a clue what to knit and what yarn to choose. Still, you want to knit.

I’ve been in this situation way too many times. Wouldn’t it be great if I can just pick up my needles and yarn and start knitting? Why do I have to go through the whole process of choosing? Choosing is hard. Especially when you have thousands of options for yarn and patterns. Arrrgh! That’s what I call Knitters’ Block. It is similar to writers’ block but with knitting. All you know is that you want to knit (write) but you have no idea what or where to start. It may seem like a non-problem to have, but it can turn into a huge waste of time. I’ve spent hours looking through yarn and patterns with no result. I usually walk away and spend of few days trying not to think about it.

A friend once suggested getting my creatives energy flowing by opening a bottle of wine and drinking until it brings an “aha” moment. That idea does not apply to me as I don’t drink alcohol. So what is one to do? Recently I decided to try to a few strategies to break the block and make some progress. After a bit of a trial and error, here’s what seemed to work for me:

1. Go for a walk

In other words… get moving. Walking outside and in general spending time in nature is a sure way to get your energy and creativity boiling. The fresh air, getting physically tired, listening to the birds, the wind in the tree branches, the sound of a creek. These are simple but powerful sources of inspiration. Movement, however, doesn’t have to stop there. Running, spending time in the park, , visiting a museum, meeting with friends for coffee, working in your garden, painting… and so much more. Your mind will be refreshed and when you come back to your yarn and needles you will have a smile on your face. It’s liberating.

2. Rock it out!

That’s right! Step away from the yarn and … drop the needle! (Pun intended) Music’s positive effect on our mood and mind is well documented. Play your favourite tunes and even dance them out. There is no time limit – do it all day if you want to. It will make you feel much better than sitting in front of a computer scrolling through Pinterest.

3. Learn a new stitch

This one was a big surprise for me. It unlocked ideas I never would have pursued otherwise. Here’s what to do. Open YouTube and search for “knitting stitches”. Some of my favourite channels are New Stitch A Day (both knitting and crochet), AllFreeKnitting, WatchKnitting. Of course, you can do your own search. Pick a stitch you have never done before. Choose any yarn you have in your stash – this is a perfect project for leftover yarn. And learn how to do that stitch by watching the video tutorial. The goal here isn’t to spend hours choosing which video to watch. The goal is to randomly select a video and go for it. This quick decision will make you realize that it isn’t too hard to choose yarn and a pattern and you will feel better about yourself because you made a decision. It’s a safe bet and you will get to learn something new. This method was very productive for me. After I did this a couple of times, I came up with ideas for new knitting projects a lot faster and I was able to break the temporary block.

Have you tried any of these methods? Or perhaps you have one of your own. Please do share. Of course, there isn’t one simple solution every time. You can also combine a few methods – who says you can’t listen to your favourite music while learning a new stitch?

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19 responses to “Knitters’ Block

  1. You’re so right … too many choices lead to no choices. That’s what I’m in right now … I’ve been wanting to start on a project but can’t find the right one. What I do is instant gratification projects, like hats. It keeps my hands busy and satisfies the ‘need’ to knit or crochet, and when I’m done I have a finished project. Other times I just let the indecisive period pass … and in the meantime I pick up other crafts to work on, like weaving. And inspiration will eventually come back.

    • What a great way to break the block! You are so right… completing quick projects is very satisfying especially when you feel like you’re idling. Great points! Thank you for posting them.

  2. Indeed. I have had this happen to me too. I know I want to knit and create, but what?? So I change things up, and crochet rather, or stitch, or draw or build a puzzle. Anything non knitting. It normally works great, and I don’t feel like I was wasting so much precious time. What I have also found works for me is to have more than one project going, so I never don’t have at least one of each going.
    πŸ™‚ And if all else really fails, I load the dog in the car and go for a scenic drive. Really gets the mind flowing again when I get to enjoy the open road and fresh air.

  3. That’s one advantage of having several projects on the go: at least there is always something to knit whilst you ponder your next cast-on. I hope that inspiration strikes you soon!

  4. LOL! You are not alone in that boat. I think we all have had that experience. What do I do in that situation? I start a new cross stitch project! They are much easier to start than trying to find a pattern to match the yarn I have or trying to find the perfect yarn to go with the pattern I have. It is indeed a tedious process. Or I pick up a scarf yarn and knit a scarf. They are pretty easy especially if you have tons of scarf yarn on hand like I do πŸ˜‰

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