The Gentle Art of Doing Nothing

Didyoumakethat Knitting

I struggle with this, do you? Our family spent Christmas in a remote rural location, far from distractions – so it’s a good job I took my knitting, because otherwise I might have gone crazy within 30 minutes of arrival. Why is it so difficult to switch off and do nothing?

I spent a lot of the break knitting the Mustardseed Scarf from Jane Brocket’s The Gentle Art of Knitting. I knitted mine using Artesano Aran in Mahogany and it’s a really great alpaca wool. I discovered this wool via the yarn recommendations on Ravelry. Wow, that place is good for checking out the various pros and cons of different yarns.


Once I needed to rest from knitting induced RSI, I forced my sister to drive me to Birmingham so that I could hit up the rag market. Thanks to a Sewist outing, I am now familiar with the best stall holders in Birmingham and snapped up eight metres of fabric.

Fabric Purchases

On Christmas Day, I snuck upstairs to watch 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know on Craftsy. I love this class! There’s no project to follow along, so you just dip in and out. Lolling in bed, optional. I learnt so much. I’d never even heard of fusible thread, now crave a Dritz Mark B Gone and finally discovered the secrets to decent top stitching and a well turned curve on a patch pocket.

So, the gentle art of doing nothing gave me a scarf, some learning and enough fabric for four dresses. I must do less more often. What do you think, Ella?


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25 Responses to The Gentle Art of Doing Nothing

  1. grtescp says:

    lol – I can relate to this, I got in trouble from family members who felt I should “switch off” as my “doing nothing” yesterday consisted in hanging a mirror, fixing some sockets, decorating my electric box, sewing a dog bed and prepping a cupboard to paint 🙂

  2. Mrs.Smith says:

    We can’t. I believe we are physically incapable of “doing nothing”! LOL!!!! 🙂

  3. Sewer from Across the Pond says:

    Nope, it’s not a problem for me. It’s probably because I meditate and don’t feel that merely sitting is doing “nothing.” I spend huge amounts of time on the computer, or my phone, or my Kindle, or watching too much TV like most people. If I find I have some down time, I’m perfectly happy.

    One other thing: I don’t understand what people mean when they say they watch TV while sewing. How can you absorb the images if your eyes are on your work? I can see listening to music or the radio, but not TV.

  4. Patty says:

    I’m with you on knitting and the 40 secrets – true life saviours during the holidays! As for Brocket’s book, well, she’s managed to make me see things differently! I’ll be enjoying the rest of the yearwith knitying, cross-stitching and felting -many wishes toyou too!

  5. Sheree says:

    After a very busy day yesterday cooking the Christmas dinner for my family, I have been
    lounging on my bed viewing “40 techniques”. Thought I would have a break and though not expecting a post from you, checked in, and lo and behold there’s you writing about it! I do like the videos, but was hoping for help in stitching two different angled pieces together with a pivoted seam. This is something that always causes me problems, but I have a feeling this will not be covered in this course.

  6. I can totally relate Karen! What I don’t like about my time away from home is that I need to comply to my parent’s schedule…especially in terms of meal schedule. Sometimes I feel trapped and look forward to going back to my own place. On the one hand I am happy to see the family…but on the other I need my own time. I took my knitting with me and I can still be online thankfully. I wanted to take that 40 secrets class for some time, thanks for the review.

  7. fiddleydee says:

    Oh yes, I find it hard to just stop as well. I promised myself no sewing etc on Christmas day, just sip wine ,cook a delicious lunch and laze around watching Netflix. How did I do,?
    Well I checked lots of sewing blogs for anything new, bought 4 Craftsy classes and around 8 pm sneakily pinned a seam, ready to sew next day

  8. Sewnforever says:

    Day 8 into 10 away from home and climbing the walls as in the interest of marital harmony left all my sewing behind (not to mention my pets). I did think of popping my Featherweight and a couple of projects into the car but knew I would be accused of obsession and resisted. But heyho, I realise I am obsessed if that is what needing to sew is – plenty of worse things come to mind!
    Agree with you about the 40 Secrets class. I was slightly underwhelmed at first but then became hooked as one really useful idea followed another – I scored points too as I was “companionable” watching as others watched tv.

  9. Nona Schaler says:

    I find it difficult to not be busy. I listen to podcasts while I sew. Some history, some news, etc. I also like to listen to books. All in all I feel like I’m getting my sewing done, and getting continual education at the same time.

  10. Debbie says:

    I too struggle with this…growing up we were never allowed to just sit and watch TV. We either had to be reading or doing some sort of busywork with our hands, such as knitting, sewing or embroidery….as I got older I had trouble just sitting. To this day it seems as if I am being lazy or misusing my spare time if I just sit and relax!

  11. sewbusylizzy says:

    I’m often so tired by the time I take a break from work I spend a lot of it sleeping!
    These days I always take knitting or a sewing book to read.
    For my honeymoon (many moons ago) we stayed on a Tongan island in a resort with no air-con, radio, TV, telephones, no electricity after 9pm just a kerosene lantern. It was blissful.

  12. Philippa says:

    I am terrible at doing nothing. Just ask my husband – I can barely sit through a film! I feel like there’s so much to do in life – and I want to do all of it. Maybe we can learn a little from our dogs in that respect. They certainly know how to take a nap! (How cute is that picture of Ella, btw!)

  13. My inability to “do nothing” is exactly the reason I love knitting and crocheting. I can’t tell you the last time I just sat without making anything.

  14. Andrea says:

    That is m to a T. I am currently camping at the beach with only my knitting and it is taking some adjusting to! It must be a crafters thing!

  15. EmSewCrazy says:

    Isn’t this why knitting and embroidery were invented? So we can sit still yet still be busy.
    That being said, after all the health issues I have had over the past couple years I am now able to sit still and “do nothing”

    One of my watch and sew shows is Project Runway. I just put the sewing down during the runway at the end. Usually I watch while I’m clipping or ironing or cutting. Not when I’m actually on the sewing machine.

  16. Pam says:

    I was exhausted after Christmas Day and looking forward to sitting down in front of sport on the tv for Boxing Day… Instead I sewed a top for my daughter, did the washing etc… I find it very difficult to sit and do nothing. Very.

  17. Emma says:

    Ooh I haven’t been to the rag market for years. I must arrange a visit soon.

  18. Candie says:

    I went to my cabin for Christmas and did absolutely nothing sewing happily away on my machine for three solid days. It was awesome! I recommend it highly…

  19. Amy says:

    Do you soak your finished knitted products (I can’t remember the proper knitting word for it). I have never done this but have just finished a couple of hats. Would you recommend it?

  20. Bri says:

    What a brilliant holiday you’ve had! I need to practice my abilities when it comes to “doing nothing” but I’m trying! I love the scarf pattern you did and I was just recently referred to Ravelry so I’m looking forward to having more time to spend on there.

  21. It IS hard to switch off and do nothing isn’t it? And yet you were so productive while “off”. The scarf looks great by the way. Did I understand that was your first attempt at using alpaca wool?

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