While looking through a survey of my newsletter subscribers about knitting challenges, I noticed a theme that developed through several answers: knitting burnout. One person mentioned missing the excitement of the beginning. I know I’ve faced it myself. So how do you get that excitement back?
Sometimes the best way to rebuild excitement is to take a break from the thing you’re not as excited about. The cliché about absence making the heart grow fonder can be true. Put the knitting needles down for a week or two. Do you find your hands itching to pick them up? Or do you find that you don’t really miss it? Analyzing those feelings can be really instructive for how you are feeling about knitting to help you decide if you need a longer break or if the short break has been rejuvenating.
Try New Techniques
Make a list of things you haven’t tried to do and start checking them off. Haven’t tried entrelac before? (I still haven’t.) See what you think about it. What about adding duplicate stitch to an already finished project? Brainstorm ideas (look through Ravelry patterns/projects for ideas) and come up with your challenge list. Even if you feel that you’ve learned everything you want to know about knitting, I’m sure you can find at least a couple of techniques to add to your list.
Join a Group Challenge
Give yourself goals for your knitting and hold yourself accountable by joining a group of others doing the same thing. There are quite a few groups on Ravelry that focus on this type of things, such as 52 weeks/52 socks(complete 26 pairs of socks in a year) or Dozen Shawls in 2018. Chatting with other people who are taking part in the same challenge can help you with staying motivated and also just to know that you’re not alone.
Knitter’s Life List
Look through The Knitter’s Life List by Gwen W. Steege. This book is divided into several sections such as “The Yarn Life List,” “The Know-How Life List,” and “The “Hats Life List.” Each of those sections contains a list (with a check box beside each item) of things to discover, do/try, learn, places to go, and people to meet. Just glancing through the lists gives me ideas such as “read up on nalbinding” (what is nalbinding, you might ask. I just recently learned about this myself and it sounds pretty neat. Go look it up!) and “knit an authentic Orenburg shawl.” And beyond the lists, the book has lots of little helpful articles and interviews with people in the fiber world. To be honest, I’ve had this book on my shelf for a few years and haven’t looked at it in quite a while. Looking through it to write this bullet point made me excited about the possibilities and information inside, so I’m keeping this out where I can keep reading through it!
Try a mystery knit (crochet)-a-long. I used to avoid them because I didn’t like not knowing what I was going to be knitting from the start, but I recently finished my first one and had a lot of fun. The project will keep you guessing with each clue, and it’s fun to see how everyone else’s project is turning out. You can search Ravelry groups for Mystery KAL or join the KAL Fanatics group to learn about upcoming ones.
TKGA Masters Program
Take part in the TKGA Masters Program. There are several program levels, and it is basically a correspondence course where you do the research/practice and send in swatches to be evaluated. It’s a rather intensive process and the final level has you design and create your own sweater. (There’s an active Ravelry group as well.) In 2015, I met a woman who had completed the program through all the levels, and she is one of the most knowledgeable and competent knitters I’ve ever met. Her understanding of how knitting works is just on a completely different level.
Design your own patterns. I’ll be honest. This is a major reason why I started designing. I found myself getting a bit bored and wanted a new challenge. And challenge it has been! But it’s also been really rewarding. Even if you don’t write up the pattern to publish, if you haven’t tried to design something from scratch, give it a try. And if you do decide to share your pattern, there are a lot of great resources available for pattern writing, such as the Budding Designers group on Ravelry or Kate Atherley’s book, Beginner’s Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns (an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to design and publish patterns, beginner or advanced).
Experiment with Yarn
Do you find that you usually use the same type of yarn? For example, Merino wool seems to be pretty popular (most of the Round Table Yarns bases use Merino) and that’s what I mostly knit. But there are so many other wools out there from Targhee to Cormo to Leicester Longwool and more. And each wool has different properties. Beyond wool, there are so many other fibers to work with. What happens when you knit with 100% bamboo? Or bamboo blended with wool? What about alpaca? Cotton? Or something else entirely? Try knitting the same project using two completely different types of yarn. How does the yarn content affect the finished object? Several books are available to learn about different types of wools and yarn (my favorites are The Book of Yarn and The Book of Wool by Clara Parkes and The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebookby Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius).
Go on a knitting retreat (or a knitting cruise). This is different from a fiber festival. A knitting retreat is a way for you to get away and completely immerse yourself in the fiber experience and be surrounded by like-minded people. Although retreats may have a market, there’s not a “vendor hall” type of thing like at fiber festivals. It’s a much more laid-back environment. In April 2015, I went to the Strung Along Retreat and had an amazing time (I would go back in a heartbeat if finances and schedule permit it). It also really got me excited again about lots of possibilities. You can find retreats listed in the Knitter’s Review or you could ask your LYS about local retreats.