Way back in the glory days of summer, I started my Christmas knitting. It’s just one sweater—easily finishable in the 5 months I had available. But unfortunately I have taken four of these months to knit the back, and I have only 3 weeks left to make the front and both sleeves. If I am to finish it at all, I will have to adopt an emergency knitting strategy.
At least I have the timing worked out. If I knit 30 rows a day for the next week, I will finish the front. Then I have a plan to knit both sleeves at once to avoid the depression of finishing one and having to start all over again on another. My evenings are all planned out, knitting, knitting, and more knitting.
What is it about having to do something by a certain date that turns an otherwise pleasurable task into complete drudgery? I like knitting. I like the person I am knitting this for, and want to finish it in time for Christmas. And yet I find myself in a panic knitting nightmare, I sit on the couch each evening madly knitting, counting rows and snapping at people who interrupt me. It is my own fault, I agree, I shouldn’t have been so lazy, and I should have planned better—or maybe planned differently.
Months ago I set myself the goal of finishing this sweater by Christmas. In theory, I did everything right. It was a SMART goal. Specific-“Knit a sweater” (check), measureable (certainly), Achievable—(in theory), Realistic (I had nearly 6 months for goodness sakes), and Timebound (by Christmas). Looking back, I can see the fatal flaw–I should have put in some kind of anti-procrastination plan as well. If back at the start I had disciplined myself to do only 5 rows every day, I would be done by now.
Knitting by choice is relaxing and rewarding. Forced knitting is torture. It has all the charm of a root canal, only it lasts longer—waay longer. I am only 3 nights into my 30 rows a night odyssey, and I am already tired. Endless lines of cream cables meander through my dreams at night and haunt my days. I find myself counting in 30s, whether I am knitting or not. And worst of all–I don’t think I like this sweater any more. I’m starting to wonder if it was such a great gift idea after all. With each passing day it becomes more hideous to me. If this feeling persists my panic knitting will be over early, but then I will have to do some panic shopping instead!