How to stay engaged when working on a big fiber arts project.

Knitting, crocheting, and other various fiber arts are very different from other hobbies. When you complete a project you get gratification for your work. If your hobby is something like baking, sewing, or painting you get that gratification pretty fast. Meaning it normally takes you a day to two days to complete your project. Here is where fiber arts are different.

You may be a crocheter, a spinner, a felter or a knitter like me. No matter what kind of fiber arts you specialize in one thing is the same. Time. From when you pick out a pattern, to when you cast off, the time inbetween the two can span to over a month. This stretch of time is nothing to sneeze at, and when it takes so long to feel gratification for your work it can be tough to stay motivated.

Here are my tips to staying motivated when you are working on a big fiber arts project.

1. Properly Prepare

One of the most common things that happens to beginners in really any field is rushing. When you first get into fiber arts you are excited for something new. When you start, you don’t do proper research, you don’t have everything you need, and you don’t really know what to expect. You get into your new hobby and being illprepared you get a bad impression, you realize it is a lot harder than you expected, and after a week or so you stop.

My first experience with knitting was just like this. I found two needles and some yarn, and knit about two inches. When the thrill of trying something new faded, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I dropped knitting and it would be over four years before I would pick it back up again.

You don’t have to buy out your local craft store, just make sure that before you start something have what you need to finish it too. This doesn’t only apply to knitting and fiber arts but also other hobbies. So what ever you may engage in in your free time, if you are starting something new make sure to get what you need first.

2. Make something you’ll actually use

“What do I want to make, and will it make me happy?”

After you have all the supplies you need, it’s time to pick something to make. There are many sites and resources for knitting and crocheting, and it’s easy to get caught in the moment. The best thing you can do for yourself when you are starting a project is to make sure it is something that you actually want or need. Halfway through a project you might look down and realize what you have gotten yourself into. You need to ask yourself a crucial question before even opening your computer or pattern book. “What do I want to make, and will it make me happy?”.

In this way instead of slowly working towards a finished project that will be cast away in the dark corners of your closet, you will be excited to finish and be able to show all of your friends and family.

3. Use interesting materials

When you pick out the yarn, or the fiber, or the cloth for your project pick something interesting. At the moment I am knitting a lace scarf. The yarn I am using is multi-colored and each of the color sections are quite large. As I knit I have trouble pulling myself away to make lunch or go to school. I just can’t wait to see what the next color will look like when it is knit up!

Experiment with color, texture, and gauge. The goal is to keep yourself interested, and the element of the unknown is the perfect thing to do that. At the same time, if you chose materials that are similar to other objects in your life that you love there is a higher chance that whatever you make will stick around in your home.

4. Challenge yourself

One of the biggest reasons you get bored, is because whatever your doing is too easy to demand all of your attention. If you beat the same level on a video game 1,000 times, is it still hard? No, because it has become muscle memory. This is the same in fiber arts. Once you have mastered a skill, spending more time on it is useless. To stay interested in your hobby constantly push for improvement, don’t stop when you are good at something, persevere until you are great at it.

A word of caution, do not try to “skip” any level of a skill. Almost every beginner knitter makes a garter stitch scarf when they start. This is because it is a repetition of a stitch that you will use constantly in the future, the knit stitch. In the beginning it is hard and the needles feel uncomfortable, but by the time you get to the end of the scarf your stitches are even and you can knit fast and without thinking. If you skip over this step and try to knit a sweater right of the bat, your stitches will be messy and you will get overwhelmed by the complexity of the instructions. Then you will think that knitting is too hard for you, and spend your time on something you already know how to do.

5. Take breaks

Some knitting projects can take months. In that span of time you may get bored of what you are making. At this stage it is very important to take breaks. When we stop doing something that is part of our daily routine, we realize why we do that thing. There is a gap in our schedule, and if you have a passion for your hobby that gap will be sizable. If we give ourselves time to realize what we are without our hobbies, we start to crave them once more.

If you don’t miss your project, then rip it out. Undo every stitch of your knitting or crocheting. This way you will start with a clean slate, and if you can’t bring yourself to do it, you know that you need to give it another chance.

Conclusion

To stay motivate during a project you must:

~Properly prepare

~Make something you’ll actually use

~Use interesting materials

~Challenge yourself

~Take breaks

I hope this list of mine has helped you in some way. If you are starting something new, or already started a hobby over the course of this pandemic stick with it! Experience is the key to growing.