Sunday, December 4, 2011

Purls of Wisdom: A Knitter's Procrastination Checklist

Cascade's "Dolce Slouch," one of this weekend's procrastination projects

Yikes.  I have come to the realization that I am a sorry substitute for the organized women who use time-saving tricks to manage home and family obligations—leaving them with  extra hours to run marathons, get professional haircuts, and volunteer at their children’s schools.  I can’t get a grip on it all.  I wake up every morning before 6:00 a.m., not gearing up for an invigorating morning exercise session or an intense paper grading interlude.  No, each morning I eagerly rise from my bed, grab a cup of coffee and some breakfast.  This morning’s meal consisted of Trader Joe’s gingerbread men cookies, eaten while contemplating the mystery of the little chewy nuggets (I calculated that there is one per cookie) that explode with spiciness on one's tongue.  What is their source?  I mused.  Bits of candied ginger maybe?  While eating, I typically read a novel or magazine until my food is gone (it’s messy to eat and knit at the same time), and then grab one of several projects, located in their respective bags tucked into corners in my bedroom. 

My mother, who chooses to eat very healthy low-fat food with her feet firmly planted underneath a dining table (no hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup--thank you very much) with a placemat and napkin and other proper accoutrements, would probably be horrified not only by my  choice of  morning fare but also by the sorry state of my bedroom.  This blog isn’t about my much-in-need-of-an-overhaul diet and décor, per say; rather those things are items that fall under my ever-expanding procrastination list.    
Rather than enumerate the reasons why I am a procrastinator and, consequently, a  sorry excuse for an efficient homemaker, I thought it would be fun to share some guidelines I've devised for procrastinators who are also knitters.  While I’m still an embryo knitter, I am a wise old sage of a procrastinator. 

Free yourself from guilt and shame.  The the albatross of household chores such as laundry will always hang around your neck.  If you're a working mother, the weekend will never bring thoughts of rest and renewal.  No, the piles and piles of clothes and towels will always lurk like frightening ghouls.  In my case, they inhabit the garage--a place with such a freakish collection of junk that it is already as threatening as a house of horrors. And with a family, it’s too expensive to implement former single girls’ effective laundry procrastination solutions—such as buying new socks and underwear when one’s supply is depleted (delaying the inevitable nasty washing, folding, and putting away ordeal for a few more days until the stock of actual clothes people see is depleted). 

So, do as a do.  Embrace your procrastinating and fill your hours with the pleasurable tasks enumerated below.  You just might find yourself refreshed and at ease enough to tackle the necessary, mundane chores of living. 

1.       Pick up that 1920’s retro baby cardigan pattern you tossed aside after 25 torn out rows and the endless fugue that resulted from the voice in your head repeating over and over, “I-don’t-see-how –there-can-be-an-18-stitch-repeat-here- when- I-have-21-stitches-on-the-needle.”  Try to attack this enigmatic task again.  You’ll have an “aha moment.”  It just takes time.  You have plenty of that.  Take frequent breaks from the eyestrain resulting from rereading the pattern (which by now is covered with coffee stains and hieroglyphic notes) and using size two needles.

2.       Buy a yarn swift and ball winder.  On all future trips to the knitting store do not let the help wind your skeins.  When you get home with your goody bag wind each skein carefully.  If you have a cat, this process is especially rewarding.  Just watching him or her stare bewilderedly at the spinning swift—or maniacally attack it—is well worth the use of your time.

3.       Spend several hours browsing home organization stores.  The Container Store is a great choice.  When you get home, pull out your stash of yarn and needles and other stuff and go wild.  Imagine your disorganized chaos resembling a picture in Real Simple or Martha Stewart.  (Try not to be distressed by your discovery that the cost of your collected knitting purchases could finance a semester of college for your child.)

4.       Browse bookstores for inspiration for knitting ideas.  Agonize over purchases.  Do I really need another knitting magazine?  Contemplate how your expanding knitting library lacks that pattern for that cute squirrel sweater or how the clever plastic needles shrink wrapped with an expensive imported magazine make its purchase such a bargain. 


5.       Finally!   Get to work!  Cast on and knit.  You won’t know where the hours went, but unlike the laundry and other chores, your efforts will be praised and long-lasting. 
Go to "Free" tab for a link to this pattern. 

Below is a scarf I'm
making with my older son's school logo for his English teacher,
who is also his football coach.  (He's shown my son that a person
can read and also be a jock!  He deserves a gift.)






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