Traveling to Sleeve Island: A Party Guide

How do we turn the tedious bits into an experience we can love? Here are some tips!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in more than three decades of knitting, it’s this: Not all knitting stitches are created equal. Cast-on stitches are exciting. Bind-off stitches take forever. Stitches in the middle of the project are tedious (and take 10x longer than all the other stitches). And sleeve stitches… well, sleeve stitches are kind of the worst.

I blogged about sleeves a while back and I stand behind my belief that sleeve knitting is slog because it takes us out of the flow of knitting across a larger stretch of stitches. But sleeve knitting is still, well, knitting. And we like knitting. So how do we turn the tedious bits into an experience we can love? Here are some tips!

  • Celebrate the ridiculously mundane milestones in your knitting. When it’s time for sleeve island, create a tradition of turning on a favorite show and pouring yourself a fancy drink. In fact, add a cocktail umbrella (even if you’re drinking a Sprite). Trick your subconscious into looking forward to the otherwise less favorite knitting moments by establishing traditions that go along with it – traditions that you look forward to.
  • Pick a treat that you only eat when you’re knitting sleeves.
  • Pick a show that you are dying to watch, but you only let yourself watch it while you’re knitting sleeves.
  • Get through the sleeve knitting faster by knitting along with a mystery or true crime show/podcast. I find that I knit quite a bit faster when I’m listening to something suspenseful. You’ll be finished with those sleeves in no time!
  • Remember that you can technically knit a whole sleeve in 1-2 days if you focus. Rather than stretch out the sleeve over many days or weeks, think of the sleeve as a 10k sprint and power through longer stretches if you can.
  • Mark your progress with colorful locking markers, placing them every time you make a decrease. This not only helps you keep track of your decreases (so you can easily compare them with the second sleeve and keep the decreases consistent), but also gives you little milestones along the way so you can see your progress. (Better still, treat yourself every third decrease round to help you push through to the next milestone.)
  • Fancy Stitch Markers! You know those super fancy little stitch markers that you buy sometimes but don’t often use because you’re afraid to lose them? Save those for the sleeves! This is another way to trick your brain into thinking you actually LOVE sleeve knitting, and it will help you look forward to your trips to sleeve island. If you don’t have any fancy stitch markers, this is a great reason to get a set.
  • Share your progress! Since we all understand that sleeves are the Bermuda Triangle of knitting, we can all appreciate the achievement when someone makes progress on them. When you get to sleeve island, share your progress pics, show us the umbrella in your drink, show us your fancy stitch markers! By sharing your sleeve progress, you’re allowing us to celebrate with you. Let sleeve island become the party cruise of your sweater knitting!
Fireworks by Olive Knits

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