I love gift knitting. Love, love, love it. At its best, it is a perfect distillation of everything I love about the holiday season. At its worst, though, it can leave you stressed, strung out, and exhausted. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
– Hiding in the bedroom knitting like a maniac while friends and family party downstairs.
– Wondering if your aching wrists are actually going to survive knitting 25 pairs of socks.
– Staying up until 3 am on Christmas morning to finish one…more…hat.
– Wrapping up a photo of the unfinished pattern you’re knitting with a sheepish IOU to put under the tree.
As a designer, I’m no stranger to knitting under a deadline. I’ve had my moments of panic, but over the years I’ve learned a few things that really make a difference.
- Plan, plan, plan. The number of knit-worthy people in your life and the number of hours you have available for knitting might not match up. Be realistic about what you can accomplish and don’t push yourself too hard. (You’re already on top of this one if you’re filling out your Curious Handmade Gift Knitting Planner. Hooray!)
- Find a supportive community. Knitting, especially gift knitting, can be a solitary pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be. It really helps to have some kind of outlet where you can share your victories, ask for advice, or just blow off a little steam. I’m a little biased, but I love the knitters in the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group so much. They always rise to the occasion and are so welcoming, generous and helpful.
- Schedule knitting time. While much of our knitting happens in stolen moments here and there, I always find that I get so much more done in the hours I set aside for knitting and nothing else. When you’re working on something secret, this is even more important. Put knitting dates in your diary and keep them.
- Pamper yourself a little. Knitting for other people is an incredibly generous use of your time, but it’s not just a selfless sacrifice. Remember why you love to knit. Treat yourself to some nice new tools. Choose fibre that you love to handle. Pick patterns they’ll love, but make sure they’re interesting (and/or easy!) for you. When you sit down to those scheduled knitting sessions, make yourself a big cup of your favourite warm beverage, put on some music, and light a candle or two.
- Take RSI seriously. Nothing puts a crimp in your plans like a knitting injury. Gift knitting is the big leagues, and it’s so important to take care of yourself. There are plenty of resources to help keep your precious hands (and neck, and arms, and wrists, and back) safe and healthy. Here are a few great ones:
8 Warning Signs Your Knitting Could Give You RSI
Exercises for Knitters from The Fit Knit Chick
6 Ways to Make Knitting More Comfortable by Elizabeth Bagwell