I think it’s happened to everyone – no matter what you try, something about your latest knitting or crocheting project isn’t right. You’re completely stuck and frustrated, and nothing is working! In cases like this, I’m convinced that the best answer is to put the project away and do something else.
At Vogue Knitting Live in New York this weekend, I attended a lecture given by Vedis Jonsdottir. A knitwear designer originally from Iceland, she is especially known for her keen eye for color and pattern. Her lecture described her process for developing new shades for yarn, as well as putting together new colorwork designs for sweaters. While listening to her speak, however, what struck me most was Vedis’ emphasis on downtime as an important part of the creative process. When she encountered difficulties while working, she explained that she’d go for a long walk on the beach near her home. She added that this step is often ignored or forgotten when people try to work creatively, and it reminded me once again that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to walk away for a while.
When creating something, you’re bound to run into at least a few challenges along the way. Whether it’s a confusing stitch pattern, a stitch count that just won’t add up, or a sleeve that came out too small, every knitter or crocheter will run into frustration sometimes. As Vedis pointed out in her lecture, it’s okay to take a break.
I completely agree with her. When I’ve felt overwhelmed by a knitting or design problem, my best solutions have come after leaving the project alone for a bit. I’ll take a walk, call up a friend, or see a movie. Part of me feels guilty for “abandoning” the problem, but that time spent clearing my head is actually something valuable. Sometimes I’ll even have an epiphany while doing something totally unrelated to my problem (especially a mundane activity like taking a shower or buying groceries), and I’ll think of a new way to approach it.
So next time you’re really struggling with a creative challenge, take Vedis’ advice and leave it. You’ll thank yourself later!