As we craft our way through this tech age, we find ourselves contemplating varying means of distractions; and as crafters, we can’t just commit to one project, needle set, or (at least for me) one source of background media to entertain us as we knit/ crochet/craft away on far too many projects than we probably should have committed to making. So, how do I wile away the hours of a seemingly bottomless project bag? Honestly? I need a distraction. I need something going on in the background so I’m not just staring at my stitches or embroidery hoop for hours in unrelenting silence. It would drive me crazy. So, I watch something, or listen to something. Lately, it seems like I’m torn between my familiar old haunt of Netflix, and my new obsession for Podcasts. But is one better for crafting than the other? I wanted to find out.
As someone who loves lists, unnecessary analyzation, and procrastinating in general, I decided to put together some arguments for and against Netflix-ing and Podcasting with my style of crafting in mind: knitting and embroidery.
First, let’s consider Netflix. Netflix seems to be the streaming service that started it all. You can find just about anything on Netflix, from movies to TV shows, and documentaries to cooking competitions. It’s good for a variety of tastes.
What I like about watching a show while knitting is:
- That it’s not too much of a distraction if I’m working a really simple pattern. Simple patterns with garter stitch and stockinette stitch can be relaxing after working with lace, herringbone, and fair isle patterns, but they’re not very stimulating. I have a blanket that I’m working on right now that’s worked in garter stitch, which I think looks really pretty and am excited about, but it has been taking me forever because I keep getting bored. The last time that I finished two quarters of it (without cheating on it vis-a-vis another project) was when I set aside some time, turned of Netflix’s “Disenchantment” and “Voltron,” and then knit like a maniac.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend watching Netflix if you’re working on an intricate piece, because you probably don’t want to be distracted in the first place. You have to be able to look up and enjoy the show that you’re watching; otherwise, why distract yourself with a visual? This is where you might want to turn to a podcast.
- There are tons of things to binge. Netflix has a crazy amount of options. I’ll admit, I’ve just re-watched things out of intimidation instead of finding something new simply because there were just. Too. Many. Options. There’s something for everyone, and every mood, trust me.
- Being able to see characters and scenery means that it’s easier to switch my focus to and from it. Ok, so here is something that a podcast (strictly audio only ones) can’t give you: visual tracking. When I watch something on Netflix while looking up and down from my work, I can see where the characters are and what they’re doing, and I don’t have to keep track of the story in my head while I’m focusing on my pattern. One podcast I was listening to was essentially a fictional radio drama with voice actors, and I had to rewind to the beginning because I wasn’t paying enough attention and forgot who was speaking. When I watch Netflix and don’t know who’s speaking, I can just look up and find out without losing track of the story.
Podcasts are usually audio only, and they can vary from informational, true crime, fictional, and comedy shows. What I like about listening to podcast while crafting is:
- I never have to look up from my work. This part is really great, because you get the distraction and the entertainment, but you don’t miss half of your project or your show. My favorite thing to do while listening to Podcasts is weaving in ends. Like, weaving-in ends has got to be the least exciting and most mind-numbing task in knitting or crocheting, and you can’t really look up from your work, so I love having something to distract me while I get through it. I also spent a lot of time doing color work and lace while listening to the “My Favorite Murder” podcast, and it was great to be able to still enjoy something while my eyes stayed trained to the pattern page.
- While there aren’t as many choices as Netflix, they have some great true crime, educational, and spooky shows. Whether it’s “My Favorite Murder,” “Up and Vanished,” or “Someone Knows Something,” you can hear about crazy murders or follow investigations of mysterious disappearances. Podcasts are where you go to for true crime. I also like semi-educational podcasts. I feel like learning something new while I'm crafting can more stimulating than just a TV show, and can feel more productive.
- Finally, podcasts are great for travel projects in a way that Netflix can’t be. While knitting is a great way to wile away hours where you’re stuck on a long car ride or waiting at the doctor’s, or at the repair shop, I sometimes need podcasts to block out distracting noises, conversations, or hectic atmospheres. It can be a little strange and awkward to pull out a tablet and start a movie in the middle of a public place, or in a cramped car, but a phone can rest in your pocket or lap and need only headphones to create a relaxing, separated environment in which to craft while you wait for mundane errands or miles to pass.
In the end, I can’t definitively say whether I prefer Netflix over Podcasts while crafting, only that I find my self reaching for one or the other depending on the situation. I love turning on Netflix while I’m at home, sitting in front of a warm fire during the winter and working away on a blanket or a hat; that said, I already know which podcasts I’ll have queued up while knitting a pair of socks on my next road trip. So try them out for yourself and see which better fit your style. And if you’re like me and can’t choose? Well, don’t they say variety is the spice of life?