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The Myth of Knitting Faster

by JuliAnne Pardon Diesch
This has been such a unique time in modern history, with people exploring many new creative endeavors. I have friends who are baking sourdough bread, trying their hand at acrylic flow painting, and always trying to find systems that work better in their homes to manage laundry, dishes, and the question of what is for dinner. I won't lie...I tried making gluten-free sourdough bread and even its starter; my outcome was only mediocre so I set that jar of starter in the fridge and resolved to do more research (but haven't). I have, however, been trying to knit down some of my yarn stash, although it seems to have grown!
Often, I hear people remark about how "fast" they perceive that I knit, suggesting that perhaps it is because I knit in the Continental style and they knit in the English style. Of course, as I see new patterns and the current WIPs on needles, I think I clearly cannot knit as fast as anyone thinks. I feel behind or frustrated that I still have a project cast on last October that has been sitting in a bag nearly untouched. Who am I trying to kid? I have a project that I cast on *years* ago that is still on needles and on the shelf!
These WIPs that haunt me with their undoneness share something key in common: I have not spent time knitting them. The main way to get more finished objects is to spend more time knitting on the projects you want to finish. You could spend time knitting from a marked point on your project for a specific amount of time and calculate out the number of stitches per minute you can knit and then try to knit more stitches within that same period of time each day, but while you are marking the starting point, setting up the timer, counting the rows and remainder stitches knit, then calculating your knitting speed, you could simply be knitting!
When I talk with experienced knitters - especially ones whom *I* perceive are fast knitters - they tell me they simply spend time knitting. Every day. Perhaps that time is dedicated, perhaps it is interrupted. The fact is, they knit.  
I am following their lead, and am making time every day to knit. I recently finished the Summer Sorrel Tee-style sweater, using yarns from a Sock Club that Charlene at Stitch In Time set up. Fairy Tale Knits dyed Hippogriff Pride fingering weight yarn in colors inspired by photographs from Africa, and I selected three from the club set to fade into this sweater, meeting my desire to knit down some of my stash (before the next Sock Club installments arrive, even). Truly, I am so satisfied by the results! 
Whether you are working to finish WIPs (that were started long-ago or just last week), the key is to spend time knitting them. Like others, I miss the dedicated times I met up in person with others to knit (and only sometimes have been able to join in a group knitting outside and socially distanced for everyone's safety and sanity), but I have a few friends with whom I connect electronically, plotting new projects and encouraging one another. We each get more knitting done when we spend some time knitting. In fact, it's the only way to increase the likelihood of our getting to finished objects!
Worry less about your "speed" in knitting and focus on doing SOME knitting. Soon enough, you'll be able to show Charlene (and other knitting friends) your FO, and possibly will be the inspiration for another person to knit that pattern or finish a WIP!