“I like that pattern because I can just knit it in front of the TV.” Every seasoned knitter has said this at one time or another, but what does it mean? People who knit with built-in distractions, such as television or the gossip circle at the local knitting group, will often bring one project to the distraction-laced place and the more concentration-heavy patterns to places of silence. Here are a few tips for knitting with distractions, especially as we are glued to Hurricane Sandy coverage and waiting for our phones to ring to hear that our loved ones on the East Coast are safe:
Choose your concentration level: Do you want to actually know what is going on in the world, or do you use the television as background noise? The less you are absorbing the information from your show, the more you can concentrate on your knitting, and vice versa. If you do want to pay attention to the TV but you believe that idle hands are the devil’s handiwork, then choose something without a lot of shaping, or something with long rows of the same pattern. Good pattern ideas for easy, sweeping knits are the Elegant Comfort Shawl, found on the Lion Brand Website, or the Charlie Sweater, found on the Cascade Yarns website.
Search for UFO’s: Knitting in front of the television is a great time to catch up on old knitting, and finishing projects that were started but put in a drawer before they were finished. We often put down unfinished objects (UFO’s) because we were bored. What better way to finish the back of that basketweave-stitch afghan than by knitting it while watching television? Also, if the next instruction is “Continue in pattern for fifteen inches,” then you know you have fifteen inches of sameness for the duration of your time on the couch.
Use lifelines: Just in case you are more interested in your TV show or news coverage than you originally thought, it is a good idea to put a lifeline into your project before you start. This way, if you make a mistake and cannot correct it, you can pull back to where you started and not lose any ground on your project. Click here for a video on how to put in a lifeline. The Citron Shawl, found on knitty.com, is a great example of a pattern to use a lifeline so you can be sure your increases are in the right place. Myrna A.I. Stahman’s Alix’s Lace Prayer Shawl is another great example; just place the lifeline at the end of a chart pattern repeat, so you can rip back to the beginning of a section if need be.
Choose something small: If you do not want to take the chance of messing up something on which you have already worked very hard, then why not just start something you can finish while watching your shows? Perhaps a coffee cozy (from knitting.about.com), dishcloth (from HGTV.com), or a baby hat (shown on the Blue Sky Alpacas website) would be a good choice for the A.D.D. knitter; they can all be knitted in a short length of time, and there is little guilt if it needs to be ripped out.
While you may want to miss the news, you will want to keep your hands busy. Knitting and watching TV can, in fact, be done at the same time, with a little bit of planning. By the end of the evening, you may have a finished project and be up-to-date on all of the latest news.
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