Knitting & Reading at the Same Time
A woman holds a stack of books with glasses and a yarn ball balanced on top.

Summer is the best time of year for reading, but that doesn’t mean you need to put your knitting aside! We asked two Knit Picks team members who love to knit and read at the same time to share how they manage both and to share their best tips. Reading and knitting at the same time might sound a little unusual, but once you find your favorite method to keep your text visible and the right project to knit without looking at too much, it’s easier than you might imagine!

A photo of Stacey, a white woman with glasses and light hair.

When it comes to multitasking, most knitters I know tend to watch movies or catch up on tv shows while working on their projects. While I do that too, I do love to get lost in a good book. Audiobooks will scratch that itch occasionally, but I have always preferred reading the words – I’m visual learner and retain it much better when I can read them! So I had to work out a system for myself so I can do both of my favorite hobbies at the same time.

Mainly these days I use an eReader. I have, with varying levels of success, read physical books – hard covers that open flat work the best; I’ve also used cookbook holders to prop open books in the past. But that just wasn’t as convenient, and I would lose my either lose place completely (in both the book and my knitting project) from it falling over or fumble around trying to turn the pages.

My current eReader cover has a nice and convenient kick stand on the back so it’ll stand up on it own and is small enough to sit on the arm of my couch. I’ll usually pick a project that I don’t have to look at my hands a lot (so for me, I’m not able to crochet & read yet) and one where I don’t have to constantly look at a chart. Then I just read! I just need to tap the page every so often to “turn” the page, but it’s such a quick movement, I don’t lose my place.

— Stacey

A photo of Andi, a white woman with glasses and dark hair.

I’m a low-tech reader and knitter. I originally started to read and knit at the same time when I was in college and developed my method using items I had on hand and physical books from the campus bookstore. I sit at a table, simply lay my book flat on the surface, and weigh it open using an old Swingline stapler or a heavy ruler. I periodically do have to stop knitting to move my weight and turn the page, which influences my project choices if I know I’d like to read and knit, but it’s not too inconvenient to deter me. Because I have to pick up and put down my knitting a lot, I stick to smaller, single color knits, so there’s less yarn and knitting to get tangled. 

To read and knit at the same time, the most important skill is being able to knit by touch. To master that skill, I started with knitting simple stockinette beanies in the round. I got used to the feel of finding the next stitch to knit without looking or splitting the stitch, and after I had that down, I began practicing 1×1 rib by touch, getting to know the different feel of knit and purl stitches under my left hand, so I knew what stitch to work next without looking. Once you can feel the difference on your needle between knits and purls without looking, that opens up many basic stitch patterns for easy hats, socks, or sweater pieces.

Plain vanilla knits will always be best for knitting and reading, but even those require a little shaping or some extra details from time to time, and for those situations I recommend heavy use of stitch markers. With markers everywhere I may need to do something other than a knit or purl, I can happily knit along while reading until I hit a marker that tells me to look away from my book for a moment. I can quickly check if I need to do anything this round, work my shaping if necessary, and then get back to my reading and plain stitches! 

— Andi


  1. Laura Schultz / October 30, 2023

    I just found out that one of the accessibility settings in iPads is for voice control. I just Googled how to do it and now I can turn pages in the Kindle app by saying “swipe left”. My hands never need to leave my knitting!

    • Laura D / November 8, 2023

      Wow!!!! Thank you. I just kept tapping with my knuckle. This is fabulous tip

  2. Denna / October 27, 2023

    I find that when I knit and read an audiobook, I retain more from the book than if I just sat and listened to it. It also keeps me from falling asleep!! Have had a subscription to Audible since 1996, back when you had to buy a special MP3 player that stopped and started in the same place in order to listen! I normally knit mittens, so there is some pattern to worry about but nothing really complicated. You do have to train your brain to listen to audiobooks. At first your mind tends to wander off and start thinking about the grocery list, or what you need to do later, etc. but after you rewind a few times you start learning to focus on it. The only disadvantage I’ve found with audiobooks is that when you come to a really sad passage (like when they put Marley down!! argh!) the audiobook keeps right on going! At least when your eyes fill with tears you stop reading!

  3. Sarah / September 3, 2023

    I can read and knit if it’s a fairly straightforward pattern, but for projects that require a lot of visual attention (complicated cables, colourwork, etc.), I prefer to listen to audiobooks. They’re easy to download from the library using the Libby app, and I don’t have to worry about fines because they return themselves!

  4. Donna / September 2, 2023

    I love to knit and read. I typically do a simple pattern. I always have one I am working on. The book doesn’t matter as much as long as I can keep the page flat or visible. I still struggle with my rhythm with my IPAD but am getting better at doing it.

  5. Elyse / September 2, 2023

    Challenge accepted!
    While I prefer to avoid multi-tasking (a.k.a. multi-focusing), because it isn’t as productive as focused time-blocking, I’m intrigued to try this with a simple dishcloth project.
    Thank you for sharing, Andi 🙂

  6. Susan / September 2, 2023

    Lots of good information for me to try. Everything takes practice and my love of knitting has outweighed the reading (sigh). I agree with the easy digital page turn vs trying to concentrate on a podcast.
    Now I’ve got to hone my “digital” knitting skills to allow the reading!

  7. Eileen / September 1, 2023

    I enjoy audio books while knitting 😊

    • Laura D / November 8, 2023

      Same 📙📚🧶💕

  8. Patricia MERSMAN / September 1, 2023

    Ah yes the swing line stapler. Always good to hold a book open!

    • Laur / November 8, 2023


  9. Nicole Noblet / September 1, 2023

    For years my family has thought me amazing for being able to read and knit at the same time, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Though I can knit in my sleep too, so reading while knitting isn’t that much different.

  10. Patricia / September 1, 2023

    Oh, gosh, I wish I had such an ability!!! Great for you!

    • Laura D / November 8, 2023

      Try it! You can do it!

  11. Stacy / September 1, 2023

    All I can say is that I feel seen. Until now, I have never heard of anyone else reading and knitting at the same time. My favorite project is a blanket made like a garter stitch corner to corner dishcloth. Lots of easy-peasy knit stitches, and all of the shaping is done at the beginning of each row. I have used physical books in the past, but nowadays I use my laptop to read.

  12. Carolyn / September 1, 2023

    I often read and knit. I listen to an audio book.

  13. TheLadyJAK / August 10, 2023

    I can’t knit and read, unless it’s an article, but if I’m not watching something on TV I’m listening to podcasts – most are 25-60 minutes long so a perfect amount of time without getting mired into something or bored. When I’m reading I go deep in, so that’s the one time I can’t multitask

  14. Cindy / August 10, 2023

    So nice to know I am not alone, I love to read and knit and it is so much easier now with an reader.

  15. Michele/pdxknitterati / August 9, 2023

    I love to read and knit, too! I use my iPad and my Kindle. I definitely retain information better if it’s visual, like Stacey does. And I can count in my head (ribbing, usually) if it’s 5 or less. I don’t feel those purl stitches like Andi does, so I just check every so often to make sure I haven’t gone off track.

    I think rather than multi-tasking, it’s flicking your attention back and forth. I don’t do as well listening to something, because the audio doesn’t stop during my attention flick! So then I have to back up a lot for audio. I’d much rather read!