As someone who's been dealing with tendinitis for 6 months or so, I have a huge amount of admiration for all of the slow stitchers out there! I've got a backlog of WIPs (works in progress) that's a bit out of control, even for an LYS owner. There are a number of projects just languishing in their bags because my gauge is so drastically different from what it was that I don't want to pick up a project and ruin what I've already done.
There are days when I'm very frustrated with my inability to stitch as much as I'd like; I want to move on to something else, or get a current project finished. Then I'm reminded of those who struggle with this problem regularly but keep on going. My frustration has given me an even greater admiration for all the slow stitchers out there. It also give me hope, that even as I face some setbacks, I can keep on going, and my projects will get completed in their own good time.
Often during groups or classes, people who work slower than the others apologize for their stitching speed. Some people are even afraid to attend a class or group because they think they work to slow and people will criticize or tease them about it. Anything other than a scarf or hat seems daunting to many slower stitchers, they sometimes fear they'll never get larger projects finished and they're embarrassed by how long it might take them.
Don't ever apologize for being a slow (or fast) stitcher. Ever.
Stitching isn't a race. There's no set "normal" crocheting or knitting speed. Sure, there are some production stitchers out there who make their living by turning yarn into frocks as fast as possible, but the majority of us are doing this to enjoy the process, make something useful, or simply relieve some stress. There isn't a prize for finishing first (usually). So, please, continue to work at your own pace.
Frequently there are factors - arthritis or hand trauma, muscle atrophy or stroke/rehab problems, memory issues - that contribute to the noticeably slower stitcher's pace. Sometimes these issues aren't quickly apparent, but with time, you might notice them rereading the same instruction multiple times, shaking their arm(s) or hand(s), stretching repeatedly, or doing some sort of thing that indicates an issue with their general hand-eye coordination.
When I notice these things, I can't help but think, "You go Gir!" (they've all been women of late). Especially since we've recently had a number of stitchers join us during our groups who are slow stitchers, noticeably slow. But that's why what they're doing is even more admirable to those of us in the group. Because they keep on stitchin! Others can tell it will take these people an unusually long time to complete their chosen projects. But they keep showing up, making progress, and enjoying themselves and the process.
And isn't that what it's all about? We wouldn't make all the blankets, sweaters, socks, scarves, and hats if we didn't want to. So it doesn't matter if it takes you a bit longer than the person sitting next to you. All that matters is that you're doing it. 'Cause lets be honest, not everyone can turn yarn into a usable object. Regardless of how fast you do it, it's quite a superpower. If you're able, keep it up. We'll cheer you on the entirety of the project. Everything gets done one stitch at a time.
Keep on stitchin'.