I wrote this post during my last semester of college and never got around to posting it before I graduated. A lot of people have been talking about school starting up again, and it seemed like a good time to post this. I’ve learned a few things about how to cram in plenty of knitting time while still finishing all of my school work. I thought I’d share my tips and tricks for those of you that are in college.
1. Ask permission to knit in class. When I had classes that didn’t require taking a lot of notes, had film screenings, or where the lecture notes were available online, I frequently knit in class. I’d wait a few sessions so I could get a feel for the class format and then asked the professor for permission to knit. I only would ask if I judged the class to be a good fit for knitting, and I never had a professor turn me down. Use your own discretion when evaluating a class for knit friendliness. If you get permission, choose projects that don’t require a lot of attention and focus that are easy to pick up and put down at any moment.
2. Learn to knit by touch so you can read and knit at the same time. As an English Major I spent a ridiculous number of hours reading each day. It took practice but eventually I got good enough at knitting by touch that I could work on more than just stockinette in the round without looking. That allowed me to start making reading time into knitting time. I could do both at once. Like knitting in class, this works best with projects that are easy to stop and start when you need to take notes.
3. Have both a simple project and a complex project on your needles. This was really important for me when I first started designing. My design projects generally took a lot of focus so it was difficult to multitask while working on them. I picked stockinette heavy projects to work on while I was doing school stuff. If I was working on a sweater, I generally saved the easy parts of my sweaters to work on as my simple knitting. When I hit a more complex section of the sweater like the armscye shaping, I’d either start a new simple project like a hat or pick up something else I had on hold like another sweater. I switched around my knitting like that so I always had knitting for any situation.
4. Don’t sacrifice time with your friends for your knitting. There’s no shame in staying in knitting, but try to have some balance. I didn’t have very many close friends my freshman year, and I spent all of my free time knitting. My weekends featured Buffy and knitting marathons, and I have no regrets about it, but it was hard to transition away from that once I made friends that I truly enjoyed spending time with. There was always the temptation to stay in and knit instead of hang out with my friends because it was easier, but I would have missed out on a lot of fun stuff if I had done that. I still stay in and knit once in awhile, but it’s no longer an every weekend kind of thing.
5. Social time can be knitting time. I know I’m beating a dead horse with the simple knitting thing, but simple projects are very college friendly. Bring one with you everywhere. I’ve brought knitting to pub quizzes, worked on crochet while bands change sets, and I always have knitting on hand for movie nights. For more conventional social knitting, find a knitting group! If there isn’t one, start one. And while you’re at it teach your friends to knit. Crafting is infectious.
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