How to Find Time to Knit — and Finish More Projects!

So many knitting projects, so little time! Sometimes when I look around at all the bins of yarn I have, I feel a little overwhelmed. Will I ever work my way through this stash? How will I find time to knit all this?

A few months ago, I faced the reality of having to pack up all that yarn and move it. When I went through it, I found incomplete projects from years and years ago just hanging out in plastic bags. I decided then and there that I would make a plan and figure out how to find time to knit.

Here are a few of the ways I find time to knit and to actually complete projects. I hope they’ll help you work your way through those projects you dream of knitting!

Knitting to-do list

My knitting to-do list, the short version

1. Stop buying new yarn.

I know it’s hard. Oh, man, do I know. But new yarn is distracting. New yarn makes us ditch the projects we’ve been working on and move on to others. Tell yourself that new yarn is going to be a reward for when you complete a project. Now that’s motivation.

2. Make a list of the projects you want to tackle.

Originally I was using a small dry-erase board to list all the projects I wanted to make, but two things happened: 1) I was embarrassed that my guests saw the list and 2) The list was too long to fit on the board. I ended up adding most of the list to an app on my phone. (See that list pictured at the top of the post? That’s just part of my list of projects. I erased the others for the photo because I was embarrassed.)

3. Frog the projects you’re not into.

Back in the late 90s, I was knitting up shrugs like a mad woman. Over a decade later, I don’t feel the need to own more than one shrug. So when I find a shrug in my stash that I never finished, I just frog it. That yarn deserves to be turned into something else.

Knitting know-how: “Frog” is a terms knitters use to describe the act of ripping a project or row of stitches.

4. Join a class, knit-along, or stitch group.

Other knitters are a great source of motivation. The gals at my stitch group always remember the projects I work on — “Whatever happened to that dress you were knitting, Ashley?” Ummm… — and seeing the projects they complete inspires me to complete mine.

If you simply can’t seem to find time to knit, join a knitting class where you can set aside a few hours a week to learning a new skill. Of course, Craftsy has a whole slew of knitting classes to choose from, and the best part is that you can work at your own pace.

Knit-alongs are great for motivation, too. Knit-alongs break projects into steps, making it easy to track your progress.

5. Hold yourself accountable to friends.

Like stitch groups, friends are super helpful for keeping you in line, especially when you ask them to. Share your WIPs with friends and ask them to check in on you.

6. Devote just one hour each day to knitting.

When do you feel the need to knit? I like to knit just before bed. It helps me wind down, and keeps me away from electronics. I know some knitters who like to devote part of their lunch hour to knitting for stress relief in the middle of the day. You could even devote commuting time to knitting. The important thing is that you set aside time. Before you know it, you’ll be finished with that sweater or Christmas present.

Do you have any tips for completing knitting projects or just setting aside time to knit?

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27 Responses to “How to Find Time to Knit — and Finish More Projects!”

  1. Rup

    Knit easy projects while watching TV... . I knit for charity, and don't mind making the same thing again and again.... all of my knitting is done while watching TV.

  2. Sandra

    I started to crochet but I'm now back to knitting.

  3. Bev

    I have 2 lovely sweaters pattern and yarn that I purchased from Craftsy but I have knit other items but both patterns have provisional stitches at the beginning and I cannot figure out how to do this type of pattern. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Rae Tate

    I knit and watch my favorite tv shows.

  5. Sheri Love

    I personally do better with small realistic goals so when I’m working on a project and feeling motivation slipping away I set small goals. For example, I’m going to knit one inch of this shawl or project every night this week and I’ll have it almost done! It seems to work for me. I don’t beat myself up if life happens and I don’t meet the daily goal but I do see progress on the project.

  6. Carol

    I am so glad that I opened this email today. I have a giant stash of yarn that I've ignored for years. I'm going to find out if I can donate the yarn/projects to thrift shops in the area who might be interested in selling the stash. They donate their profits to various churches and charities. This will definitely keep me motivated to get the job done. Thanks everyone for your fantastic suggestions

  7. Melinda Moon

    I would add to these ideas, to donate some of your yarn to someone who knits for charities. I have been fortunate to have yarn given to me. I knit for cancer, homeless, preemies, nursing homes, Knitted Knockers and the donated yarn has made a difference for me and for those who receive my knitted items.

  8. Diane

    I feel like each of you are relaying my faults. I too love purchasing yarns. My stash gives me away. I think I want to learn new stitches and then my projects take a back seat. I am working on brioche. The basic principle is easy to learn. Now trying to put to a two color pattern with increasing and decrease. Taking longer than it should and my projects are setting waiting. I have been known to go through my stash and sort out what is left from a project or that I no longer am interested in knitting and putting in a box or bag. I then take to a lady who knits and sells her items in her home to defer some expenses. Win win for sure I will work on your suggestions. I have lately stopped new purchases. Easy with covid as cannot go anywhere

  9. Pat

    Some great ideas — especially for a fellow yarn addict. 2 suggestions: I did an inventory of the yarn I have and printed the list. It was a bit shocking so no more purchases until some of it comes off the list. Second thought is to use television time to work on simple projects. A number of the programs don’t require constant viewing to keep up and enjoy.

  10. Jane Carona

    I like to knit while listening to audiobooks. I don't like to just sit and listen, it's a waste of time, so knitting gives me something to do with my hands, and keeps me from falling asleep while listening to a book. I also take my knitting to meetings (used to be in person meetings, but now I take it to Zoom meetings, and hold my project up to my webcam to show the others what I'm doing.