Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Have Discovered Calendars!

Well, it's not that I didn't know what a calendar was. I have one on my Treo SmartPhone to keep me organized and going where I'm supposed to go every day. I have a paper monthly calendar hanging on the wall of my home office. I even use it to plan out gardening and yardwork activities a year at a time so I don't have to remember when I last fertilized the lawn, when I need to fertilize it next or when various plants should be divided and/or transplanted. I can remember routine daily or weekly activities (weeding, watering, harvesting), but I am not as good at remembering the intricacies of planting schedules or when I last did some periodic activity, like fertilizing. I just don't often use the wall calendar for planning.

I had a flash of insight this morning with my coffee. I could put knitting and spinning goals or plans on the calendar too. I have been excavating my stash and UFOs (UnFinished Objects) this week. I've talked about using a calendar-based approach toward finishing objects by assigning each work in progress (WIP) a day of the week and only working on it on that day or otherwise setting up a project rotation since I usually have fewer than seven projects (and also rarely get to knit each day of the week). That plan did work for about the first week, before I realized a fundamental problem with it. Well, the problem isn't so much the system as it is a personality trait conflict between me and the system.

You see, I'm a binge/immersion sort of person.

Once I get started on something, I tend to get very focused and don't want to do anything else but that one thing until either it's done or my attention wanes (for various reasons). Obviously my UFO stockpile indicates that I usually have an attention deficit issue before the project finishes, but if I achieve a critical mass of excitement and progress, I can actually get projects done. It's just a matter of making measurable progress over time. With more knitting time now, I am more likely to make measurable progress, even on larger projects.

So I'm proposing setting some time-based goals. Like finishing Errold's Grove by the 15th of October. Like finishing Bellatrix by the end of October. Like finishing my current spinning project (sock yarn from some vintage Blue Moon Fiber Arts roving) by the end of November and perhaps finishing the socks by the end of December. At the moment that is all that I've pencilled onto my wall calendar. This system may require some tweaking, like using intermediate sub-goals, but I will give it a go for the rest of the year.

I'm going to limit my active projects to two or three knitting projects and one spinning project. Any more than that and I tend to make little progress on anything, leading to abandoned or unfinished projects. With my recent desire to clear out the stash and the UFOs, I'm going to focus on having one sock project (can't put them down) and one "other" project from either stash yarn or finishing a UFO. That leaves one "bonus" project for those crazy knit alongs or other really cool projects that I just cannot wait to start. Where possible, the "bonus" project will also use stash yarn. I'm really in no danger of running out of yarn, even if I could knit all day, every day.

The Fall 2008 Knitty is up. I'm very enamored of Kinetic. It's meant to be a wrap. However, I have in my stash a cone of heavy aran to bulky weight yarn that would be marvelous in this as a throw/lap blanket. I'll probably double the width of the project as written, aiming for 36 inches wide and knit until "long enough" or I run out of yarn, whichever comes first. The yarn is something I bought on eBay years ago and is comprised of a strand of beige wool/cotton yarn plied with a rainbow variegated chenille. I have no idea how much of it is on the cone and I don't know that I really care. I had initially thought of knitting myself a vest from it, but I really don't think I'd wear it if I did. It would be comfy and pretty as a throw, however. Perhaps in early 2009 I might start that....

The Interlocking Leaves and Baroque socks have already been added to my To Do list for sock knitting. No decision yet on what yarn to use. I'll wait until I get closer to finishing Bellatrix to figure out the next sock project.

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