Anxiety is something most people are acquainted with at some point in their lives. There are a wide and varying amount of reasons why someone would feel anxiety, but feeling it in your knitting is not something most people look for. Knitting anxiety usually happens when you have a deadline.
I’ve found the most difficult deadline to deal with is the assumed deadline. If you are knitting a garment for a friend or co-worker they usually assume you will have it done within the year. Depending on the garment this may be a reasonable assumption, but depending on the skill level and general life state of said knitter, it may not be.
When I have to work on something, not in the ‘I am super inspired’ way but in the ‘I need to get this knit’ way, I have no motivation at all. Then, because I am not knitting the garment, I feel bad about it. I really should be knitting it; I should really go and knit a couple rows right now. Then I procrastinate for another few weeks.
In the back of my mind this incomplete garment weighs on me and kind of taints all my knitting. If I finish something else I have a moment of ‘Yes! Finished!’ then I think ‘Unlike garment X’. I think Garment X is a really good way of thinking about this theoretical project. Garment X rolls around in my head until I am finally able to muscle through it and finish, but this kind of knitting is really not good for the soul. The whole time I am working on it I have an internal monologue going; which looks something like this.
“Oh man, I hope this person doesn’t mind how long it is taking me to knit this. Of course they won’t mind, they’re getting a hand-knit thing, they’re going to love it no matter what. Oh man, I hope they love it I am spending so much time on it, gotta get it done right now or else they are going to hate it what if they hate it Iwouldneverbeabletoknitagainomgomgomg.”
It generally descends into utter chaos from there. I end up cutting into time where I should be doing really useful things… like sleeping or eating. However, knowing yourself is half the battle; whenever I take on projects from other people, I add a disclaimer that I have a lot of stuff in the queue ahead of them and it might be a while. Then they will either drop it or accept the fact that this could take forever.
For me, that takes a bit of the edge off and I am usually able to work at a relaxed manner. Unless the garment is covered in cables, then all bets are off.
Another kind of anxiety is the kind when you are about to embark on a new and harder section of a project. For example, with the French Cancan shawl, I worked on it and blazed through the first part. It was all garter stitch so there were no problems at all. Increases and yarn overs flying around everywhere, that did not touch me at all, but when I started on the edging. I kept finding excuses to not knit. I needed time for this errand and I had to clean that thing, I couldn’t possibly have time to knit! Then I had an intervention with myself and buckled down to knit the edging. It really wasn’t all that bad, I just had to get into it and stick with it. Generally a good dose of self-awareness will help combat the anxieties of knitting. Don’t be afraid to have an intervention with yourself, sometimes you’re the only one who can call yourself out on bad behavior.