At least it’s on time

I’ve hit that point in the blanket project, I’m sure you know which one I mean. It’s that thing where you look at an innocent looking project, and all you can see is a gaping abyss of knitting ahead of you, and no possible way you could ever be finished.

stillblanket2 2017-05-30

I know it looks like an ordinary blanket, but it’s my yarn eating nemesis. I’m just beginning the third ball, and the yarn keeps going in, and no knitting comes out. I’m not sure how that’s possible, this knitterly version of constipation, but here I am, and I’m a little worried about this blanket, because it’s got a long way to go, and it’s a bit early to be feeling so wildly desperate when I look at it.ย  I pick it up, and all I can think of is eighty-seven other things I’d rather be knitting, and twenty two projects I could be working on, and all of them seem better than this white wasteland of woolen despair. (Yesterday I actually cleaned the kitchen to avoid it. Bad sign.)

Usually, when knitting gets like this (and I don’t blame the blanket – every project tries this crap with me at some point) I add distraction.ย  A good book to listen to, a movie on the TV… I don’t watch a lot of TV, but there’s a lot to be said for a good binge watch of a show at this point, and I can’t believe I wasted the new season of Grace and Frankie on bootees and a sweater that I wasn’t sick of at all. It was remarkably short sighted, because the only way out of this is a whole whack of knitting time to break the back of it. I need to be on the winning side of this blanket. I need hope.

What do you do when you’re sick to death of a project, long before it’s done?

(PS. Don’t say that you knit something else. I’m on a deadline.)

(PPS. I don’t think I’ll do another blanket for a while after this one.)

(PPPS. I probably just got someone pregnant typing that.)

243 thoughts on “At least it’s on time

  1. I’d recommend “Catastrophe” (all seasons!) or “Patriot” on Amazon Prime. You can also sign up for Passport to watch tons of old PBS/Masterpiece shows.

    Beautiful blanket so far!

  2. OMG, I know exactly what you’re saying! It’s so nice to know someone who’s so good at knitting feels like I do in the midst of a never ending project. I have to say that Audible has been my savior on never ending knitting projects more than once. Find a great audiobook and you just get so involved in the story, and it makes the never ending knit go at least somewhat more quickly. Seriously. It works.

  3. I am currently watching Death in Paradise on NFLX while knitting The Neverending Cowl (keep in mind this is the 2nd version, the first failed to live up to its care label). I also put on spotify for my most guilty pleasure music.

  4. I find the only thing that really works is to treat the whole thing like a military operation with daily goals to be met. That, plus audiobooks and documentaries (which I watch on my computer from the TVO programme website). My worst experience of this sort was trying to meet a Twist Collective deadline over the Xmas/New Year period. I had to knit a fine gauge wool sweater in a relatively short time span and ended up knitting like a maniac on Xmas morning while the rest of the family opened their gifts. Not fun, but it got done.

  5. Firefly is great to watch. A second time too. I usually have the opposite problem that you do with not enough time to knit a project. How about music? A good book on tape?

    Good luck we are sending you good knitting vibes.

        • Jayne hats! My daughter knitted one. I went with her to buy the right colors of yarn, she told me about the show, and I binge watched it. Now I can’t watch Nathan Fillion in any other role…

  6. We just got a subscription to Netflix – looking forward to some binge watching and knitting! Love the pause feature for figuring out WTH that instruction means in the middle of the pattern. Yes, I read it first but WTH..

    • Yes! I finally got Netflix after our election here in the US when I couldn’t handle the news anymore and it’s a terrific help to a knitter. The documentaries and comedy specials alone are a knitter’s best friend!

  7. I’m doing The People vs. OJ Simpson. I didn’t think I would get as sucked into as I have. John Travolta is–well, hmm, I’m not sure what he is in it–but I’m enjoying it.

  8. I take THAT project to meetings. I can’t not knit during meetings and if it is the only thing with me…it will get done. I am also enjoying Dark Matters on Netflix.

    • Interesting observation. I actually have been knitting less since I retired and no longer had those endless conference calls.

    • Yes, I’ve recently discovered that I get a LOT of knitting at work done while I’m waiting on something/someone… I’m a professional caregiver, so sometimes waiting is the name of the game! Sometimes I get more knitting done at work than at home, actually…

  9. It’s your mind, take control of it! Stop thinking of the miles of white thread (why do these blankies have to be white?
    Sorry, I digress) Think of the new small being who will be wrapped up against the world in your love. Think of the individuals who will guard and love this child and the love they share with you. It’s the strength of love that will support the small being long after the blanket is a moth\eaten mess. The love that feeds us all and keeps the paths toward what is good open. All starting with one thought and casting on.

  10. I have become addicted to audiobooks. Easy to lose yourself in the book but still check how fast (or slow) the knitting is growing.

  11. Not knitting, but when I was crocheting a lace-weight shawl for a co-worker’s wedding I got to that point. I ended up watching a lot of nostalgic TV shows on Netflix (mostly Quantum Leap and X-files and some Star Trek). Otherwise it was just slog through it so I could get it done by a certain date. Maybe tell yourself to do so much and then you can work on something fun and fast for a little bit?

  12. Set yourself a goal of so many rows/rounds a day and then you only have to think about those rounds/row and not the entire blanket. It makes the large project go a lot faster and you don’t get tired of the project. Also maybe try a different color for the next (because we know there will be a next) blanket.

    • Me too…and Vera on Acorn tv by the same author. When I was in a Find Your Fade KAL, I took the (huge) shawl on vacation to CA as my only project. even thru the heat, it was the only way!

  13. I am knitting a chevron scarf and it might be the death of me. My idea to kick its butt? Knit faster. Do not get up, keep going, and carry it everywhere. I loved the idea of my rainbow scarf, I hate the reality of knitting it. We binged Shameless, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and are now on The Keepers, all on Netflix.

  14. YOU??? Get someone pregnant??? Call the Vatican, we have a miracle here!

    Really, this sounds like you need a mega-marathon. All the Poirot episodes, or all seasons of Downton Abbey, or all the Bond movies, or all of Hitchcock’s work, or every (fill in your fave soap opera) episode you can find. Besides, didn’t you get TWO orders of yarn for that blanket??

    • Yep, some previously aimless sperm has just had it’s tail kicked by the gods of knitting and irony and is now swimming forth with arrow like precision towards an egg. Both a new baby and another blanket will be born ๐Ÿ˜€

    • I agree! The Great Courses are wonderful in this sort of situation. 5000 years of Chinese history, or World economics since 1400, or The science of extreme weather keep your mind occupied and in some circumstances make the knitting look good in comparison.

    • Or, you can try the Great Courses Plus, (you can get a free month trial), and listen and watch a bunch of great courses. That is my vote!

  15. I start dragging it everywhere with me. A short jot in the car with the bf driving, waiting for dinner at a restaurant, waiting for water to boil for tea, ect. I keep doing this till it starts showing progress

  16. You have my utmost sympathy! I am working on a sweater for myself. The body is is done and I have picked up the stitches for the sleeve and even done the short row sleeve cap, now it is just to knit the sleeve ( and, hey why not, a second sleeve) the sweater is gorgeous, the yarn is marvelous, soft and a marvelous color. Yeah, I need to do it. I want the sweater. Why won’t it just get done?
    I laughed when I saw your PPS and thought that that was a great way to jinx yourself and laughed even more at your PPPS when you caught that, too. Good luck

  17. Scott and Bailey is rather fun though occasionally soul-destroying, and I find Forensic Files fascinating (oooh alliteration).

    I’m sure you’ve seen it, but what about a rewatch of ST: Voyager? Anne should be streaming on the CBC website. If you can find sources on YouTube I can’t recommend the Farm series enough – Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm, Tudor Monastery Farm, Tales from the Green Valley, Victorian Pharmacy. All involve historians and archaeologists living out a Calendar year on a historical farm, using methods from the time-period. It’s all documentary style, no hyped reality drama “people thrown into a time period beyond their own”, just experimental archaeology. Love it.

    • Oh my – I love that series from BBC. I watch them on the different public broadcast stations whenever I can find them. Mostly on Knowledge from BC which means they are usually on at midnight Ontario time. I learn something every single time I watch an episode – what could be better – truly educational entertainment.

      Well worth binge watching if you can get them!

      Chris S in Canada

  18. Try to reward yourself. Every 2 rows…a hershey’s kiss.
    or fill an atomizer with distilled water and essential oil..lavender is relaxing, peppermint stimulating. Close your eyes before spraying. After spraying, fan your face breathe deep.
    Baby bites….

  19. I agree with the goal-oriented. Figure out how many rows / number of days left, and if/when you finish that number, knit something else for a while. Like a sock. You like socks, doncha? Yeah a nice sock.

  20. I usually turn to a Jane Austen mini-series – Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility (both screenwritten by Andrew Davies), Mansfield Park… Jeeves and Wooster is also good, and seasons of anything cosy with murders in it (cosy invokes the knitting mood) that doesn’t require close attention to the screen – unless you are capable of knitting lace without looking, in which case you are probably a superhuman and don’t need to worry about any of this anyway.

  21. OH, binge-watching amazon movies is right up there, but the BEST I have found is binge-watching an HBO or Amazon series. That’ll keep your bum in the chair with yarn on your lap!

  22. If you haven’t done so already, read “Mosquitoland” by David Arnold. Amazing book. I mean, this has bumped something off my Lifetime Top Fifty shelf. I will just say it is no accident that he shares initials with Douglas Adams.

    Or, instead of the blankie, you could contemplate knitting plain black knee high socks for Joe. That ought to be motivating.

    Lace hits the point of “no progress” like no other form of knitting, simply because it stays scrunched up until you block it. To gauge progress on a lace project, I do not attempt to measure it.

    I weigh it every few days.

    It works.

  23. I can’t imagine that it isn’t already on your radar but just in case, I recommend a binge watch of Call the Midwife. It’s a great show about British midwives after WWII serving one of the poorer communities in London. I think you would like it.

    • Based on the books by Jennifer Worth. Not sure if they are available on audio somewhere, so you could take them with you if necessary.

      Great choice.
      Chris S in Canada

    • YES!!! Although if you have not already watched them, I will be surprised…but then we’re all excited for you that you get to watch them fresh!! THAT would be 100% super-appropriate…

      • Also Miranda on Hulu is very fluffy and silly, but a good antidote to our news (President).
        What about setting small knitting goals? And planning your next projects? What about tying gummy bears to the yarn every few yards or so? When you get to the bear, you eat it.

  24. Ugh – I hate projects where you can’t see any progress! Sometimes I put a stitch marker on the edge of it so I can see that I am getting somewhere.
    I’m enjoying The Last Kingdom on Netflix while trying to finish a sweater – some of the characters are wearing knitted items that I’d love to make.

  25. When I get tired of a project, I walk away from it for a short bit. An hour or two, or maybe just the rest of the night. I find something else to do – sometimes it’s chainmaille, sometimes it’s reading, sometimes it’s just sitting in front of the television, watching whatever is on (or what’s on my DVR) while I play Candy Crush or Threes! or something like that (no word games, takes too much thought).

    When I was struggling through my never ending blankets (but they didn’t have baby deadlines), I’d just start another pair of vanilla socks and work through those with some gorgeous self-striping yarn. That helped feed the feeling of accomplishment that I needed, and allowed me to level-set for the next run at the blanket.

  26. Podcasts! My girl Emily (who once had a knit-off with you) and her friend Karla host Relentless Knitting ๐Ÿ™
    and it makes me knit faster while I follow along and er, occasionally, talk back to them.

    I also love Felicia Lo’s Sweet Georgia podcasts. But she makes me slow down because she’s so soothing.

    • The sad face on there is my attempt to open parentheses after a colon and the Internet mistook my grammar for being hip.

    • Or “We’re Alive”, if you’re up for crazy zombie podcast with a full vocal cast…those are addictive!!

  27. As a knitting friend told me when I was slogging through some seemingly endless knit, “You know, when you just keep knitting on that one thing, it gets done.”

    I wanted to strangle her but she was right. Now, when I think I’ll never finish something, I can hear her say that in her droll, amused tone and I just keep knitting.

  28. I know you don’t want to knit something else but when I am on one of these endless projects I knit a washcloth. It’s fast and functional and I just have to feel like I finished something!

  29. Big Bang Theory and chocolate. But with the chocolate, it’s got to be the good stuff, and it’s got to be: “In X rows, I can have some chocolate.” One square from the bar. Repeat on endless loop.

    • Me too. Hey, I figure it’s a benefit of paying my property taxes. I reserve my Audible credits for books and series that I know I’ll reread.

  30. Pull out Joe’s gansey and put it by your knitting chair. I guarantee you that the blanket will all of a sudden become much more appealing. (And, if that doesn’t happen, maybe Joe will finally get his gansey. Either way, you win!)

  31. Your right, every major project has a spot where it’s no longer fun/exciting and is becoming a drudgery. Add a deadline to it and you question why you even committed to doing it. The only way I have found to deal with it is to just keep soldiering on. Because I’m always pleased I finished the project and it usually turns out better than I originally envisioned it to be. So just keep plugging away at it, it will be done in due time.

  32. I don’t knit blankets, or plain scarves for that matter. They both go on forever and have no end. NO. END. EVER.

  33. Feel your pain in the white wooly wasteland. I stayed up till 2 am finishing a wedding shawl and this morning posted it off to the recipient and I have never been so glad to see the last stitch of the 500-stitch cast off in my life. Gaaah to whites and neutrals, gotta go get some hot pink!
    To answer your question, I “watch” baseball to stay engaged while knitting endless st-st or garter projects. Watching involves having the TV on and barely paying attention, to the point that I lift my eyes to the screen when I hear the crack of the bat of the announcers exclaiming. Then I watch whatever happened 3-4 times on replay.

    • Sports make excellent background for big knitting projects, for the exact reason given above! For me, it’s more likely to be tennis than baseball, but the principle is the same.

  34. I just listened to Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage (Audible). It’s about a British exploration team in Antarctica in 1915. Super good. You may feel a degree of kinship with how they had to endure an icy, white, barren existence that seemed to never end.

  35. You need a really, really good reward project for when this it’s done. Audiobooks get me through endless miles of knitting.

  36. I’d listen to podcasts such as Craftlit at Currentlym Heather Ordover is doing the Count of Monte Cristo — it’s a long book and you’ll get a lot of knitting done. There are also a lot of books in the archives: Jane Eyre, Herland and Bleak House to name a few. If you like Shakespeare check out Chop Bard. At the moment A Winter’s Tale is on offer. At the end of the project reward yourself with, I don’t know, a project for yourself?? Good luck!

  37. I go ssomeplace that has no other distractions…. out for tea, the video game or comic shops with my teenage boys…. they can browse to their hearts content while I knit.

  38. Blankets are like scarves, only more so. For whatever reason, a triangular shawl in that lace pattern would zip right along. oooo, more stitches on this row! And yet more! oooo exciting! But a rectangle? death by a thousand stitches! This row is just like the time before, which is like the time before. which is the same as the last time I was on this row. It’s dreadful. Only love will get you through it. Sort of like labor.

    • I can’t knit to that show because I want to watch all the baking too much. Amazing show, but not for lace ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. One year, I knit 7 baby blankets. The oldest of those babies is now 17. After that year, I decided to stop knitting heirlooms, and now I do sweaters:quicket, cheaper, and usually more often worn. Only a grandchild gets a blanket now…or me (i am about to start another)

  40. I use House, because one can listen to Hugh Laurie speak and not even have to watch. (When I’m not on a deadline, it is thrown into my closet and found a few years later)

  41. I just finished a very large quilt top that turned into that kind of trial. It needs to be ready by the time our daughter and husband come for a visit in July–You DON’T want to mail a very large quilt!

    The only thing to do is PERSEVERE! Sit down and DO IT! And, sweetly, eventually you are finished!

  42. I’m banging through Elementary, but Miss Fisher or Murdoch are the best for knitting without end.

    If you care to read and knit, I knit a sweater through the PC Grant series, supernatural police work in modern London, very well done.

    I’m st the point in a shawl where every row takes an hour and a half with the fiddling and the beads. I have ten rows left, but it feels like a million for all the progress I’m making.

    • I LOVE PC Grant!!! Rivers of London is just fabulous. There is now a TV series which may be available on YouTube.

      If you like that, you might also like Mike Carey’s Felix Castor series that also is set in London. He a P.I. – very noir.

  43. I try and find something so addicting that the show/podcast/audio-book is something that can keep me avoiding the laundry and kitchen floor – and then I can knit, knit, knit. So have you listened to the NPR series “S-Town” everyone is carrying on about? I am on hour 3 and it’s riveting. Right there is 8 hours of knitting while being carried along with an addictive listen. I have also started bingeing “The Americans” which I am 5 years late for – but it is terrific even with too much violence for my taste.

    Also – and I say this with love – knitter to knitter – why in the name of all things holy do you insist on knitting all these blankets in DK weight?! I’ve learned my lesson on this but you seem married to DK or (god help us) some kind of lace weight. For me now – blankets (which are interminable!!) are never less than worsted/aran and depending on the baby – maybe bulky on an #8 needle. They go faster. Please think about it. You have 3 daughters and a lot of family and this commitment to “thin” yarn for blankets will be the end of you.

  44. Audiobooks for me, and if the story’s especially good I have to knit longer so I can keep listening. Current favorite series, both with excellent audiobook narrators:

    Pat McIntosh’s Gil Cunningham series (medieval Scotland mysteries) has eleven books now.

    Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series (PC Grant), urban fantasy police procedurals with plenty of snark, six novels so far

  45. I’m thinking we have heard this song before, generally when you’re knitting a “big thing” on a “big deadline”. I know you have coping strategies for these times and I know you’re far more experienced at this than I, so I don’t really think I can offer too much help.

    But if you’re looking to binge-watch, how about some Can-con – Little Mosque on the Prairie, Corner Gas, Murdoch Mysteries, Still Standing, Nature of Things, Pure – and tons more.

    Do whatever works – we’re rooting for you.
    Chris S in Canada

    aha – touch the chair – means you’ll get further if you sit and knit – ha ha

  46. If you have a copy of an ultrasound picture of the baby the blanket is for, keep it with the project. It’s a great incentive to keep going. Happy thoughts.

  47. Channel your inner Dori (from “Finding Nemo”): “Just keep knitting… Just keep knitting…” Chocolate is also very good. Careful of the white blanket with that.

  48. I’ve been working on a blanket for my best friend’s 30th birthday since March…I’ve rewatched several favorite series and now I’m halfway through the original Twin Peaks, which is hilarious.

  49. Midsomer Murders is my favorite tv knitting companion too! But you wouldn’t want to hear my solution to your problem. I have a “Time Out” corner for projects like that but that wouldn’t work for you. Good luck!

  50. Re-watch an old series you really like and have seen a few times, but not for a while. That way your interested, but not too much, so you can look down at your knitting when you need to.

  51. I am knitting a baby blanket right now. As God is my witness, this is my last one. I started not long ago and the shower is June 17th. I figured out how many inches I need to do each day and I’ve been binge-watching Vera. I picked really nice yarn, and it’s worsted, which helps, but I’m still retiring after this one. The next baby gets a sweater.

  52. I tie I bit of scrap yarn on to the first stitch of the day and then watch it move down, away from my needles throughout the day. I swear, this is the only way I have ever been able to finish jumper sleeves. Good luck!

  53. Lots of good suggestions above. When I’m under the gun and motivation is flagging, I first acknowledge that the deadline is generally self-imposed. Knowing that I have the freedom to choose to e.g. Gift a blanket to a three month old rather than a newborn, generally gives me the necessary wiggle room to recommit to the deadline! And of course TV, lots of drama.

    • Yep. I just finished a very large, squishy garter stitch blanket, and delivered it to the parents of a beautiful 5 month old. I did take a time out to whip out a sweater for another wee one’s baby shower, so I am at least caught up.

  54. normally i’d suggest a glass of wine to relax with but probably not while knitting a lace pattern. and equally, that is not a pattern to knit while watching a sub-titled European murder mystery series even though the Montalbano dramas are very good

    Audiobooks? my favourite is Trader’s Tales by Nathan Lowell, adventures in space. there’s about a week’s worth to listen to and he has a wonderful voice and knitting and crochet are frequently mentioned in volume 2 “Half Share”.

  55. When I have a deadline project, I have better luck when I take a multi-layered approach (necessary, because I react to stress by getting distracted more and more easi – hey look! a squirrel!). The exact combos and details are flexible, based on what I’m doing, how long I have to finish, and what else is going on. But I typically use some combination of the following:

    1) Set specific progress goals. This could be a certain number of repeats/rounds/rows, a set length, or even a set amount of time spent working. The goals themselves are specific, but somewhat flexible: I may set lower goals for really busy days, but balance them with higher goals on days that I have fewer other demands on my time; or set a “soft” daily goal and a “firm” weekly goal.

    2) Build in rewards/treats for myself. Nothing fancy, but something that *feels* lovely and self-indulgent (something sweet, a bubble bath, a chapter/episode of a “guilty pleasure” type book/movie).

    3) Build in breaks and the occasional “palette cleanser” (“Ok, when I finish the last round of this repeat, I’ll take 5 minutes, stretch, and make some coffee.” “ok, that makes an hour and a half of intricate lace with cobweb yarn on size 2 needles. Time for 10 minutes of simple textured washcloth with worsted on size 8’s!”)

    4) Reduce temptation to stray. Most of my other, non-deadline projects get packed away out of sight, so I’ll be less tempted to switch over “for just a few minutes.” In extreme cases (when things like laundry and dishes become enticing rather than a necessary evil), I’ll pack up my project and flee to an alternate location, like my favorite coffee shop.

    5) Occupy most of my mind with something else while the remainder/my hands are working. I mostly do this by binge-watching tv/movies or binge-listening to podcasts. If I’m binge-watching, I tend to stick with things that I don’t need my eyes glued to the screen (unless I’m doing something like Endless Stockinette). Tons of good suggestions are already listed by others, but I would add Leverage (brilliant and funny drama about a team of cons who use their skills to help people with nowhere else to turn), Forged in Fire (competitive weapon-smithing), Secrets of the Dead (history/science), Nova (ditto), Nature (ditto again), and assorted British comedies (including Blackadder, The Thin Blue Line, The Vicar of Dibley, Fawlty Towers, Are you Being Served). If I can’t be in front of the TV (or need to keep my eyes on my knitting/pattern), I binge podcasts. Some of my faves include Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Radiolab, This American Life, The Moth, Welcome to Nightvale, Lore, and the “Stuff” podcasts (Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff Mom Never Told You, Stuff to Blow Your Mind).

  56. Fingers crossed all the ladies in your family have their legs crossed! I would catch a train somewhere with nice scenery and go by myself, nothing to do for one hour but knit. Has anyone seen the series from Ireland Love Hate? It is a gritty urban drug gangster show with crime, love affairs, set in present day with likeable rogues and quite funny too. There is 5 years of it to binge! I also think an Australian comedy show Outland is pretty good too it’s about a science fiction fan group meeting consisting of about 6 gay characters traversing Pride Week, dating and holding onto what’s important like friendships. There’s only 6 episodes though! Good luck Steph!

  57. Try and deprive yourself for an hour. Like you crave chocolate more when you’re on a diet? Failing that pick up something worse that will make you appreciate the lace more. Or even more depressing: the only way out is through. And you won’t have got me pregnant, but I’m now thinking, if Harlot can sew, maybe I should try too. Aaaaagh

  58. Just don’t start The Good Wife – it went on even longer than the dreaded knitting I was on … but still had to get to the end of it. so happy to know someone who’s a professional knitter has the same problems. I’ve ended up with five different things on needles cos I was getting so bored and couldn’t face sewing up one. Loving your blog.

  59. Your girls knit, right. Get them to do a couple of rows or more. It can then be a collective family gift to the new baby.

  60. I watched all three series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries while writing the start of a novel for a competition – writing was broken up with knitting too! Excellent. Pretty to watch and passed the time.

    Echoing Call the Midwife and the Farm shows as well… brilliant history (I have several of Ruth Goodman’s books as well!!)

    • Is tthat the Australian one set in the 1930’s or 40’s with the amazing fashion and glamourous heiress? Yes I agree, good series! I love the everyday cardigans of the maid and the silk pantsuits of the detective Miss Fischer!

  61. I often do what you do — put on a good movie or a series to binge. And sometimes it helps me to have a proverbial carrot on a stick in the form of a project I really want to make but won’t allow myself to cast on until the slog knitting is done.

  62. Miss Marple, the proper one with Joan Hickson helps me through my knitting marathons and deadlines. She’s sympathetic to my knitting!

  63. I listen to podcasts. I still haven’t (will never, I’m assuming) mastered the art of watching TV and knitting without making a mistake. Any type of podcast will do, although my favorite is Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me…

  64. Though I sometimes use knitting as a reward (grade three papers, knit for 15 minutes – or do some household chore and read a chapter of my book), maybe try it in reverse. Knit for an hour, reward yourself with a walk or a treat or doing some housework that will eventually drive you nuts if you don’t do it.

  65. Remember that it Is not just a “blanket” but an “heirloom” that will be enjoyed by the future generations that will keep you in their memories.

  66. Doctor Who is the only show I watch, but there are 37 seasons of it, and almost all of it is worth watching more than once. I’ve got a lot of DW knit into stuff.

  67. There’s an unfinished cardigan right there in my basket that took me over two years to knit — it’s about a thousand miles of stockinette, with a separate ribbed band to attach. It took so barking long to get to this point that I can’t bring myself to block the front edges and sew on that band. I wonder if it even still fits? That said, my past knitting successes were accomplished with liberal doses of tea and costume drama DVDs.

    • Finished a five year cardigan watching recorded rugby games. Sometimes took a whole day to get through one game. Lots of knitting done.

  68. Many great suggestions above. I will add the Strangers podcast to the list: terrific stories about all kinds of people finding themselves in lots of different situations.

  69. I take it to the cottage and sit on the dock. People watching and knitting are wonderful complimentary activities.

  70. I enjoy knitting to Law and Order or Law and Order: Criminal Intent b/c it’s a lot talking and not a lot of watching. If you want something snarky and funny, watch Mystery Science Theater 3000. They just rebooted with Felicia Day on Netflix. And if you like it, you can find tons of older episodes from the original. And there is LONGMIRE (pronounce it loudly and in your deepest man-voice, LONGMIRE), it’s about a hurting cowboy sheriff in Wyoming. It’s suppose to be a murder mystery show, but as the seasons go on, it’s gets more drama and less murder. But it shows a more accurate portrayal of American Indian life/culture/politics than I’ve seen anywhere else. (I used to work in Indian Country…but I would never presume to say it is a perfect accurate portrayal, just closer and less romanticized).

    • Amen to Law & Order, in all its iterations! And there’s always one on somewhere.

      How about podcasts? The “S-Town” one is really compelling, and about 7 hours worth of listening, I think. “History Chicks” — two women discussing famous women in history — also is very good.

  71. Celebrate the victories along the way. While drinking the cup of tea – three rows! Another repeat! Daydream about the border! Daydream about your next SMALL, COLORFUL, NON BABY PROJECT!!!!

    Good luck!

  72. The only way I know how to get through the never ending that I am working on is to set a goal if how much I need to get done each day. I know that you already do that though. I also really enjoyed watching The Crown on Netflix.

  73. The America’s Cup races are being televised. It’s in Bermuda and the scenery is gorgeous and the races are exciting and its 2 1/2 hours a day which is enough for the endless sea of white you’ve been knitting since February or March.

  74. Put “Flight of the Bumblebee” on continuous play? You’ll be knitting so frantically trying keeping up that you won’t have time to be bored.

  75. When I’m on a deadline with a project I’m tired of, I try to just suck it up and get it done. Someone else suggested military discipline with daily goals, and that’s pretty much what I do.

    Good luck!

    (And I hope no you love just got pregnant.)

  76. House of Cards started up again yesterday
    If you’re into British mystery series, I can highly recommend “The Fall”. I think it goes on for 3 or 4 seasons. Also “Shetland”.

  77. I think you’re knitting another blanket too soon to your epic grandson blanket. I understand it’s gotta be done but it’s at a disadvantage. I like the idea of having daily goals, treating it like a job you need to keep, and then doing anything enjoyable that you can get away with while working at it. Good luck! The baby and family are so fortunate that you are knitting a blanket for them!

  78. Oh dear – a shame you feel that way as it is so beautiful. However, when I get a project like that, that I know will be great if I can get through it, I do as many above suggest, and give myself assignments and rewards. And listening to an audio book or watching a movie can help. Any of the Ken Burns shows are good because there are so many nice long, quiet episodes. I like the Civil War, and am saving the one about Jazz for something really long and boring to knit. It’s kind of like driving on a long trip – if your brain can fiddle at something else, you don’t notice the miles going by – or in this case, the miles of white yarn.

    If, indeed, you got someone pregnant, may I suggest a bright fun colored WORSTED WEIGHT blanket for that new baby?

  79. I like podcasts. Hidden Brain is usually about 30 minutes each. This American Life is usually about an our. (Even though you’re Canadian and by “American” they really mean U.S. of A., the stories are great.) TED radio hour is also good.

  80. I was going to say “and there’s someone pregnant …” Have you tried the Midsomer Murder series on Netflix?
    Or listened to “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. It is from the Dog’s point of view (and mentions Brazil’s favorite Race Car Pilot , Ayrton Senna).

    Hang in there – you only have to outlast the thing by 3 seconds. ๐Ÿ™‚

  81. Audio books I have recently loved:
    A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)
    The Rules of Civility (Amor Towles)
    Ready Player One (Ernest Kline)
    Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman, read by Neil Gaiman)
    Skios (Michael Frayn)

    Good luck!

    • Oh I love New Tricks. It’s usually on late at night, so it’s quiet knitting time for me.

      They are all such characters!
      Chris S in Canada

  82. I am also slogging through a baby blanket that seems to be unending. I put a locking stitch marker on the end of the row that I am starting on each day when I start knitting. That way I can see the progress made that day even when it is not visually apparent in the blanket as a whole.

  83. I start calculating in my head how far I’ve gone and how much of a percentage I’ve already done, and then I gerrymander those numbers until they are encouraging: “I’ve done 1/10 of the blanket, so if I just repeat that twice, I’ll have gone 1/5 of the way to being done, and only have to do it four more times, and four is such a small number that I’m almost practically done!” Math can be used to BS oneself in very useful ways form time to time.

    Failing that, I just get a nice long symphony and listen. I can do anything if I click on any of the Rachmaninoff piano concertos. Or else I get angry at it and that usually sustains me for a while.

    Or else I just buckle down and tell myself what I tell myself when I have to move and have no idea how the hell I’m going to get all my crap into boxes and out of the old place: As long as boxes keep exiting, eventually everything will be where it needs to be. As long as you keep putting wool in, eventually a blanket will be the end result. It’s physics.

    So … math and physics. And music. And anger. Any combination of the above should work.

  84. Short term goals. I’m on a similar project and thought I was getting close, then discovered (like I hadn’t see them before in the pattern, but had probably blocked them out) complicated bobbles in the next section. I MAKE myself do 6 rows per night – a totally doable goal. At this rate, I’ll be finished by the end of July. That’s not so bad, is it? AAAAAAAACCCCCHHHHH! Good luck, OH and strap on the ear buds as I, too, recommend Audible!

  85. Roland-Garros! New sport! I loved the Snooker World Championship and now a few hours each day to spin and catch-up. Not sure you can, but if you can fixate on clay court tennis you might get a few more rows done.

  86. I recommend watching The Kindness Diaries on Netflix. It’ll help the knitting time pass and you’ll feel better about the world when you’ve finished watching it.

  87. I also recommend podcasts. And I just finished a “knitterly version of constipation”, almost solely because I had a friend also knitting the same project and we kept each other on it. I bet someone would be your accountability buddy (and you theirs).

  88. I set small immediately achievable goals and bribe myself with a small reward or distraction. For example if I knit on this for 10 more repeats, I will have a cup of tea. Or if work on this from such time to such and meet x point I will allow myself to work another small project that I can knit in an hour.

  89. I do to myself what parents do to their kids to make them finish dinner. I make myself knit one more row or section. Then when I finish that I tell myself one more then I can stop. But I don’t stop, I again tell myself no, now just one more row. I may pout to myself and say I hate you, lol, but for some silly reason it actually works. Mind games, it’s all about the mind games.

  90. Haha – I love the fact that you think you may have accidentally got someone pregnant just by mentioning you would not be knitting another blanket for awhile ๐Ÿ˜‰ Maybe make a little competition for yourself or dole out rewards for every repeat completed? Audiobooks definitely a must, but they must be very exciting to overwhelm the abyss. Or beg someone else to read to you?

  91. I have an Aran sweeater. It’s ALWAYS a bloody Aran sweater. It’s beautiful – it should be, it’s my own design (by which I mean, I can’t blame anyone else if it isn’t). I just don’t want to knit its everlasting damned cables one second longer and no amount of TV or audio books is going to make me want to. You’d think I’d learn and just not make them any more, but they are so gorgeous when they’re done. Sorry about the blankie; I’ve had my issues with lace shawls too, and yes, I also design those and no one makes me knit them, but sometimes they are a pit into which all light is sucked and you just can’t go on any more. Socks save me, because they can be done with as little or as much effort as you want and sometimes you just need a win. Sorry I don’t have anything constructive to offer, but you do have my undying sympathy.

  92. I have four thoughts/suggestions/ideas for the ‘I want to be done why doesn’t this project just end!’ stage of things; so hopefully something helps! A lot’s been said already, but, here goes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    First, audiobooks are amazing! And the Toronto Public Library has access to Overdrive, so that’s how I get all my audiobooks! Podcasts work for the same purpose too.

    Second, binge-watch TV Series or Movies of your choice. Personal favorites for me include Star Trek (Original and TNG), Criminal Minds, the Lord of The Rings, Babylon 5, Firefly/Serenity, and more! I suggest something you’ve already seen at least once, so that if your attention ends up more on the knitting, you still know what’s going on!

    Third: I set a timer, or a timeline (usually 1 television or podcast episode), and then I go do something else. Brains and Hands need breaks from knitting. Plus, the something else can be housework, so that means the dishes (might?) get done!

    Fourth is a question — is the deadline flexible? I’ve personally come to the conclusion that my step-nephew may not be getting his blanket when he is a newborn. And I’m ok with him getting it at a few weeks or a month old! So that gives some wiggle room; and (hopefully) makes it less daunting.

    Hope that helps!

  93. Just finished a big blanket for my niece (She’s 14!). For the last part of the knitting I had to make the rule: only blanket knitting permitted after 9:30 pm, and no less than 5 hours of blanket knitting a week. It worked ๐Ÿ™‚ I finished 10 days ahead of the deadline! At other times of the day I worked on other, more portable projects. Sometimes I actually chose to knit on the blanket at times when I had “permission” to knit something else. The wall came down!

  94. This is why I do not knit blankets. Ever. I will make quilts, and knit sweaters, but no knitted blankets. If it were in garter stitch, I’d probably die. You never get anywhere with garter stitch. It takes twice as many rows to get an inch in garter than it does in stockinette. And lace? oh my. Best of luck, and thanks for the post – I have some great ideas for binge watching now. ๐Ÿ™‚

  95. I’m in that mode on a double knit cowl from hell. Every row takes an hour. I know this because I was stupid enough to time it last night. All that means is now I know the exact moment I have to start working on it exclusively to get it done on time. If it were for me it would all ready be headed to the frog pond and never mentioned again, but it’s a shop sample and my drop dead I have to work on it only for at least 2 hours a night till it’s done day is Friday (yes two days from now)… I need to find reward knitting to do after the obligatory knitting is done each knit. You need a reward system…

  96. Well, I didn’t read through all the replies, but when my knitting does this to me, I sit down and put a locking stitch marker in the row below where I am working before I have a good binge knit. Then I have effing proof that I have made some progress. Good luck……of course, after you measure it and verify that there has been no visible progress, sitting it down in a chair and magically waving a cold pint over it three times will often produce a sudden jump of 5 inches. Give it a try.

  97. Highly recommend the first 4 seasons of the Australian series “A Place to Call Home.” It’s really great, lots of twists and turns. Season 5 is in production now.

    Also loved “Home Fires” but it was cancelled after 2 seasons and ends in a dissatisfying cliffhanger.

    “Call the Midwife” is also great.

    Good luck!

    • Oh man! I was SO disappointed when I heard they had canceled Home Fires, especially with that cliffhanger ending. However, the series continues as a 4-book series. All four books are available for pre-order on Amazon. Not the same as watching the series but at least there will be resolution!

  98. Doesn’t anyone count their stitches? One, k2T, purl, purl, purl, one, two, three, four. I can’t listen/watch and count at the same time! Especially lace. You all amaze me!

  99. I like listening to podcasts or audio books (I’m less likely to make a mistake than I am with TV/Movies) and I use progress markers like crazy so that I can actually see that I’m getting somewhere. Because, as we all know rulers lie like crazy.

  100. To be used only in dire emergency and probably not even then: no casting on anything for Elliott until x amount of blanket progress is done.

    As a more rational suggestion, Scandal (the Kerry Washington series). Lots of impassioned talking, better not to be able to watch some of the action.

  101. Would it break all of your rules if you could knit the center section and have it stashed, then finished it with the border as the date approaches? Would that be somewhat less stress? Oh wait – I think you get to the same point with the border as well.

  102. I create/invent/take note of mini-milestones within the project. And take a moment to prep the next few projects as motivation to finish the current one.

  103. Is it the blanket or the pattern you picked that makes you not like it? Dare I say scrap this centre design and make something else? (yes over 20 hours of work wasted but better than hating every row).

    otherwise, you now have a whole catalogue of tv shows and just think… one ball at a time, then you can stop and knit another pair of booties for grandson, or mittens, or a bowtie scarf…

  104. They just put all of CSI New York on Netflix, I’ve been binge watching NCIS but that show is so old that I’m the only one who hasn’t seen most of it already. I tend to gravitate toward the 45 min length shows so I don’t pause as often when an episode is over.

  105. I put it in the time out bag but since you have a time crunch that will not work. I suggest watching House of Cards. Too close to
    what we are experiencing here in the US. It is scary here. Can I move there. You PM is much better looking and sane unlike the bigly orange we have here. I did not care for orange before.

  106. May I suggest Neil Gaiman’s latest Norse Mythology on Audible, read by Neil himself. It’s worth all the review stars on the review.

  107. Stephanie,
    I have a shawl I am working on that is like this. I work on it everyday. When it is done I will start a new knit project. But not before it is finished and blocked. Otherwise I would never finish it!

    I think you should be more worried about running out of yarn. Did you say you only had one ball left? May I suggest just before you start a new repeat you weigh your ball of yarn. When you finish the repeat weigh the ball again. This should give you an idea of how many ounces each repeat is then you can roughly calculate how much yarn you need to finish this baby blanket. Or at least reorder to have it in time to finish.

  108. If I’m in the middle of a big lace project and start wishing for socks or cables, I sometimes look around on Ravelry at similar lace projects to get a little motivation.

  109. I hope it’s me that just spontaneously got pregnant. My baby isn’t a baby anymore and I want another one to squish, sob.

    Have you watched the new Anne of Green Gables adaptation?

  110. I work on another project I am sick of. Then I go back to the other and, it does not seem so very bad. Or, go finish something you have or forgotten about. Then go back to the blanket. If you abandon the blanket, you are doomed indeed! It is hard to knit two of these in one year. May be why you have hit the “white blanket wall”

  111. I just finished a shawl, then finished a pair or socks that had been hibernating. Cast on another pair of socks but can’t get into them, so I cast on another shawl. Silly me! I always have to slog through them as they get more and more stitches on the needles.

    I have been watching Netflix, but recently was able to get YouTube on my TV, and am watching knitting video podcasts. Sockmatician is good, and the Bakery Bears is Wonderful. Both are set in Britain, so you get lulled by the accents. They run pretty long, too, so lots of time to sit and knit.

  112. I loved the BBC/PBS series “The Tunnel”. But it may take too much concentration for knitting watching. French and English. Interesting contrast between English and French policing.

  113. Dearest Stephanie,
    I have been there. I was there last night, in fact. Even smallish projects have that problem for me. I ended up catching up on NCIS.
    I actually listen to you when it is a largish project. I have both of your audiobooks, and I end up listening and laughing along to your voice as I slog through “mile and endless mile” of yarn.
    I also set a timer, and take short smoke breaks. I know you don’t smoke, but the principle is the same. I warm my hands on a hot cuppa herbal or regular tea. I walk around for a bit, I focus on something, anything else for about ten minutes.
    Then I pick up the needles and knit again.
    I have to, you see. Arthritis is settling in, and I want to be able to continue to knit as time goes on.
    My orthopedic says that it is excellent exercise for the hands. She doesn’t realize that I used to knit king sized bedspreads during my husband’s cancer treatments.
    Now, even a dishcloth, a small project takes hours and hours.
    With a little humor in the background, I realize that this is the longest reply I have ever made to one of your posts. I’m only able to type it, because of the knitting.
    Thank You, Stephanie, for sticking through the many long hours of painful loop after painful loop, helping me get yet another tiny project done.
    Bless You,
    Huge Hugs from South Dakota, USA.
    Louise B

  114. There are some wonderful audio programs at ZBS Foundation, in the style of the old radio serial programs. We like the Jack Flanders character, and Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe. They both are in multiple series, kind of scifi/mystery/tongue in cheek/mystical, very fun to listen to in the car on trips!

  115. My favorite binge watching/knitting series: This is Us, Parenthood (there are like 87 episodes), Madam Secretary. I’m assuming you’ve seen Downton Abbey, my all time favorite. You could also listen to all the Harry Potter books – you’ll probably be reading them aloud soon…

  116. Call the Midwife on Netflix seems to be the appropriate show to watch.
    My advice on horrible projects that makes you want to abandon them is:
    1) get so close to the deadline that you MUST knit faithfully
    2) find another gift solution…

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog but really loves it! Your honesty and your great sense of humour make it a thrill.

  117. First order more yarn for the project because if the pattern is using up yarn faster than it should then you need more yarn.

    Second find a couple of good knitting youTube videos to keep you company knitting. How do I know this? I just made a deadline by keeping knitterly people chatting about knitterly things while I knit. This activity seemed to help my attention span get the knitting going and kept it going.

    Third Ice Coffee during the morning so if you get carried away with the knitting it will be ok if your coffee gets cold.


  118. I didn’t get knocked up because of your blanket dilemma but the whole of my hubbies office thinks I am. That’s what happens when your note to self for an ultrasound gets sent to everyone. Congratulations pouring in but no bun in the oven. Instead it’s his thyroid that needed an exam.

    I too am on a blanket sized adventure, but I plan on wearing it as a wrap and using it on airplanes.

  119. I’d suggest watching ‘Doctor Who’ but actually that might have the opposite effect, as if you are anything like me you would end up holding the blanket in front of your face during all the scary bits.
    Other than that, I’d go with one of the many self-bribery suggestions above — chocolate, wine, treats, iced coffee, whatever ….

  120. Nurse Jackie has 7 seasons…. Jest sayin. You are a better woman than I …. I would just let is sit and knit on something else. So no advice here… just compassion and admiration for your perseverance.

  121. Instead of watching TV, try breaking up the work in pieces. Such as after 3 inches, have a SMALL special cookie, get up and dance to a short special piece of music or just listen to peaceful music, then maybe alittle TV. These are sort of awards after each small milestone.

  122. Binge Shetland on Netflix. It was a pretty good show – I think. I was so busy noticing the sheep & the knitted things I sometimes forgot to pay attention to the story line.

  123. I really like the blanket. How may I purchase the pattern? I am assuming that it is an original designed by you. Thanks.

  124. I can’t believe a woman of your considerable knitting experience doesn’t know the obvious answer. Download a book or several books on your laptop. Downloaded books are easier to read while knitting as you don’t need your glasses and it’s easier to turn the pages. Download absolute trash or download literature. your choice. I always download a couple of books at once in case one or of them doesn’t give me a good read. Get lost in the haze of knitting and reading. I tend to do this when gifts are required. Then you can knit a perfectly plain sock in a dark color without wishing to stick a DP in the eye of the intended recipient.

  125. Pick something to listen to or watch that you haven’t listened to/watched ever and that has a fairly substantial body of work to enjoy. You know, nine or ten seasons worth of a sitcom or something. It should be fairly fluffy and not require a lot of attention. Set up a reward system for yourself, or a number of rows/repeats. you’d like to complete per day or hour or whatever. Pick a reward. Have at it!

  126. Podcast: The Moth Story Hour. Amazing storytelling. Excellent, engaging listening. Of course, just reading these comments will eat up a lot of your knitting time!

  127. I force myself to do 2 rounds a day, but it sounds like you need to do more than that. I’m not good with forced knitting. I keep making mistakes, so 2 rounds is safe, as in not needing undoing to correct a mistake

  128. I may have laughed a little too hard at that last ps. Just sayin’… That being said, I knitted a blanket for my mom’s cancer doc when she had her little boy and he loves the absolute heck out of it. I may end up randomly knitting blankets for the rest of the crew in her office so they don’t feel left out… After I finish the striped one and the Lincoln log one for mom.

    Welcome to Night Vale is a darn interesting podcast if you want a little creepy in your life. It’s currently on its fourth year in production, and OMG is it getting better! Alice Isn’t Dead is produced by the same group doing WTNV, and is just as creepily interesting. They’re both up on YouTube at the moment, along with a few other places like BandCamp.

  129. My endless stumbling block are SLEEVES.
    I hate to do sleeves with a passion!
    Good luck, we all know you’ll finish it.
    You always have in the past.

  130. Something else to stream, “Lizzie Bennet Diaries” or anything from Pemberly Digital. Very fun. Available on Youtube and Amazon Prime.

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