Whether it’s because of an injury or life got busy (perhaps a new baby, new responsibilities at work or other hobbies), if you want to go back to knitting the first thing to do is to slow down and start with very small projects (like small beanies and socks).
How do I go back to knitting after a long break
A long break will make you lose some of those skills you gained when you’re still active. For example, if it’s been 10 years already since you last rode a bicycle or drove a car, it can take you a while before you gain back your skill. At first it will be awkward and you might feel that slight headache and discomfort. But after a three or more tries, it finally becomes natural and easy again.
It takes some time for our neural connections and muscle memory to get strong again. It can be really discouraging at first but once you’ve gained your momentum, there should be nothing to stop you to be great again at your hobby. It’s especially the case in knitting where after doing several knit and purl rows, you get faster and faster at it.
But how do you get that momentum in the first place? This is especially hard for busy parents and professionals who don’t have much time for hobbies. After a long exhausting day or week, we might just go straight to bed or prefer doing something else (like watching a movie or other things that don’t require much energy and willpower). This goes on for days, weeks, months and years. Suddenly you realise you’ve been putting it off for three years already. Whether it’s because you got injured or you gained new responsibilities, time really flies fast and it gets harder and harder to get back into knitting as months and years pass.
Becoming a beginner again
To make it a bit easier to start and gain momentum so you can keep on going, what works for many knitters is that they think of it as a new learning experience. In other words, they see themselves as a beginner again and they see knitting as a new hobby they want to learn. This way, the pressure they feel is instead replaced by enthusiasm and excitement.
This beginner mindset could be much more effective and motivating for you to start. In contrast, if it’s because you feel the pressure to knit again (you don’t want your skill to go to waste), it becomes more and more discouraging each day. But if it’s because you want to learn something new, you might want to get it over with as soon as possible because you’re excited now.
It’s about changing the way we think and see the hobby. For many knitters who took a long break, it helped them finally go back into knitting including buying new supplies and patterns. What also helped them is they look for new projects and challenges they never did before. Perhaps you’ve never knitted a cowl, a pillow cover or a coat for your dog. It’s time to explore and complete new creations so that you’ll be motivated again.
Slow down and start small
Remember the time when you’re just learning how to knit? Most likely you didn’t start knitting a big sweater. You started with the basic stitches and after a few hours or days you could already knit a sock or beanie.
It’s about starting small and slowing down so we don’t overwhelm and intimidate ourselves. And when it comes to learning a new skill or hobby, it’s better to have a slow steady pace throughout the week than rushing it for just a day. Our minds and bodies are just designed to take time to consolidate the small details of a new skill. Then, naturally the movements become smoother and more fluid to the point of being automatic.
It’s the same with getting back into knitting. You start small by perhaps looking at the patterns first and briefly touching the needles and yarn. You don’t have to start knitting right there. You can just look at the supplies first and familiarise yourself again. Although on the surface there’s not much happening but actually in the background your brain is busy retrieving those relevant files and refreshing those neural connections. And once you see and touch those knitting supplies again, you might just then start knitting again.
The key here is to take it easy. After all, it’s a hobby you can get back into anytime you want. It can be today or it could be next week. It doesn’t have to be a must. And once you’ve decided to go back, you can just take it slow and start small (just like when you were starting to learn how to knit way back). What matters is that you still go back and find love again on knitting.