How do you cope with interruptions?

There you are, all pleased as punch, with yarn, needles, and project ready to go, in time you’ve set aside just for you to knit. You get to the complicated part…and approximately a third of the way through, people start interrupting you with long meandering conversations. Unwilling to snap their heads off (or maybe you are), you try to appear as if you’re actually attending to the conversation. When the interruption finally ends…you realize you’ve completely lost track. Aargh.

How do people cope with interruptions? Do you put a finger down on the pattern and refuse to move it? Do you politely request that people give you a second to finish the row? But what if it’s quite a LONG row? How do you put your concentration on hold during an interruption, and then snap it back on to laser beam focus afterwards, and successfully?

In other words, this is about the umpteenth time I’ve started this pattern over again…:oo:

My poor husband… We have the same profession, (well, very similar) so we tend to complain about work and bounce ideas of each other. But he DOES go on and on and ON about people I don’t really know, nor care about. Most of the time I ignore him, with a “uh-huh” thrown in here and there unless it requires too much attention. At that point I’ll try to pay attention, but once he starts repeating himself, I’ll sigh and look at him - he then apologizes and goes back to his computer game. He’s not here right now, and calls about six times a day sigh

I don’t have kids, so that’s not so bad. My dogs, especially The Velcro Dog, well… She insists on staring soulfully into my eyes, from an inch away. Or trying to plaster herself across my lap. That’s where my knitting goes! She’s welcome to snuggle up next to me, but when I put her there she usually jumps down. So she usually gets spoken sharply to, and slinks away with a hurt posture, to go sulk in her chair.

So yeah, distraction, not really much of that around here. A bigger distraction is the Internet. I’m a compulsive surfer, but I can’t knit and surf at the same time, not even my garter-stitch project. So I’ve pulled out my electronic books, put 'em up on full-screen, and can read, since there’s three full pages at a time, and turning the page is hitting a single button.

I don’t think the TV has been on in the last week, but then, that was never my vice.

My husband has gotten quite used to “let me just finish this row”. He also travels so I have sometimes weeks by myself, just me and the dogs. I try and remember to keep the phone near by so I don’t have to get up to answer.

Plantgoddess … I can SO relate with having the phone close by. My hubby travels a lot like yours so I hate to miss his calls … but it is really annoying to have to jump up and answer the phone!

Well, with 3 kids (ages 6 (homeschooled), 3 and 9months) my life is just one big distraction LOL I keep a little notepad where I mark down exactly what I’m doing in a pattern when I have to set my knitting down. Right now it says “in middle of 2nd row. 4 decreases done” (I’m knitting a sweater sleeve where I decrease every 4th row).

I just have to deal with it. I very rarely get more than 5-10 minutes at a time to knit.

My cat is the biggest distraction. He’s black, 22 pounds (no fat, just big-boned,) and looks like a panther. Doesn’t like sharing me with knitting projects and plops right down on my lap (and sometimes on the instructions.) I try as best as I can to at least complete the row and give him some attention. As far as distractions go, though, he is so hard to resist! Such a purr ball!! Sometimes it’s easier just to stick with dark-colored yarn so his fur kinda blends in (hopefully!) Ha


I generally make some kind of mark on paper or on the chart (if there is one) for each row as I complete it. It’s my habit…finish row, hand to pencil, make mark. Then if I am interrupted I at least know what row I am on, the one right after the last mark.

I don’t like to use a lot of markers if I can help it, but sometimes it is worth the effort. If it is really complicated with repeats stitch markers between repeats would tell me that I started a new repeat at the last marker. From there I would read the stitches from the chart or pattern and tick them off one by one by moving my hand across the stitches, until I come to my place.

I’m good at, “Just a minute, I need to finish a row.” But the phone doesn’t have the courtesy to wait and, like you said the row may be long and you hate to do that to people. But if I am working something complicated I normally don’t try to do it when I may be interrupted much, like at work. I work as a care giver and have a lot of time that I can knit (sometimes) but if the client starts trying to get up and I know that means they need to go to the bathroom, I can’t finish a row. LOL So I do an easier project then.

LOL – cats, husbands, children, the Net…it’s a wonder we ever finish anything, I suppose!

Some good ideas…what I can never quite understand is when someone just comes in and starts talking, and then keeps talking even though I’m obviously (by that time) counting stitches aloud, “14, 15, 16, 17…”

I like the little pad of where you are.

I use multiple stitch counters to keep track of where I am. One for counting rows and one for counting stitches if I have to leave it in the middle of a row. The phrase “let me finish this row” has been heard by my husband and three sons quite a bit.

I started using the stitch counters by accident when it was necessary for me to count out loud to stay connected to the project. I often knitted during my sons hockey practices, when they were too young to drive them selves. It also help during hockey tournaments when we were between games.:knitting:

Y’know I usually get my patterns off the computer so if someone interupts me, I just highlight the part I’m at and I either keep talking to them or completely put down the project depending on how long the row is o.o

Iono 'cause usually I don’t stop knitting to talk to someone; I just say hold on or they say oh I’ll wait 'till you’re done. If not then they usually just yell at me to pay attention when I’m knitting :smiley:

It’s never happened to me in public so I’m not sure what I’d do if an aquaintance or stranger walks up to me when I’m knitting xD

I have two girls One is 2 yrs old and the other is 3 1/2 mnths old, so distractions are a given in my house. I also have a husband who loves to tell me all about things I don’t get or care to, is that mean? Oh well, I have gotten better at repeating to myself( in my head) where I am at before I put it down and that helps me remember later. When I have printed out a pattern I use a erasable highlighter, works great.

I don’t think it’s mean at all - it’s a coping mechanism. I tried to compare it to listening to a TV in the background or a police scanner. 99% of it isn’t important, but you’re there and paying enough attention to catch the important things.

I tried to explain that when I outright told him I ignore him - and it worked!

Never really happened to me, that people talked to me. Once when I worked on granny squares, but that doesn’t matter too much.

Else, when I put down work inmidst of pattern, I finish the row then put the number of the row somewhere on a post it.

Since sometimes I forget if I actually finished that row or not, I put a bar below the number if that’s the next row, a bar across the number if that’s the row I’m on and a bar above the number if I finished that row.

I have multiple projects going at the same time.

If it is something that I want to concentrate on, and not risk being interrupted, I knit at night after the kids are in bed and while DH is watching TV in the living room.

If I think I might get distracted – like in a waiting room or something – I have a blanket that I won’t lose my place on. :slight_smile:

However, knitting is not my primary hobby and one reason I do it is to have something to do with my hands when I’m otherwise stuck sitting in one place for a while. I haven’t tried anything that has a complicated pattern.

An erasable highlighter! what a GREAT idea!!! :yay:

Cyrus, Cyrus, Cyrus.

My dog.

Every time I settle down and pick up my knitting…he can be sound asleep…he can be in the other room…he can be playing with James…but the very second I pick up my knitting he barks to go out.

Even if he just came in.

Last night he jumped up on the sofa and settled on my lap. My arms, with my knitting, were pinned under 100 lbs of fluffy Rottweiler.:slight_smile:

I can relate ! I finally bought myself a digital recorder and as soon as I am interrupted I stop and before I respond ,pick up my recorder and record where I am in the pattern.

It has been a life saver to keep me from :hair:

My great aunt was a phenomenal knitter and needleworker until just a few years ago, and the television was always her greatest distraction. Once she was watching the hockey game on a Saturday night and knitting a sock. As the minutes passed and she worked away, her eyes on the game, her two teenaged sons began to poke each other knowingly and stiffle their laughter. By the time my aunt asked them what was so funny, the foot of the sock was about twice the pattern length!

I myself don’t find television all that distracting yet – my husband and I happily can both sit on the couch – him watching sports, me buried in knitting, counting aloud and muttering to myself.

As for avoiding other distractions, I save new and complicated stuff for times when I’m home alone and can ignore the phone (which, granted, doesn’t happen that often!). I bring easier projects “on the road” so I don’t have to pay as much attention.

LOL – great story about your aunt’s sock!

I’m now trying to knit at work during my lunch hour, so I’ll see how that goes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

At home, my husband usually leaves me alone because he knows that it’s a good hobby for me (and keeps me outta trouble!), but I still don’t get enough of the needle stuff done at home, which is why I’m also trying it at work.

But, if I didn’t vote for “Set to Kill, Scotty” I would’ve voted for the Starbucks one.