Thursday, August 17, 2006

current projects update

As mentioned awhile ago, i'm trying to figure out a useful (for me at least) way to use David Allen's Getting Things Done system for craft projects. It has been very helpful in getting other aspects of my life on track, but crafts (in particular knitting and quilting) don't seem to lend themselves well to this system. This is mainly because the system revolves around breaking every project down into short, simple, do-able steps called the "Next Action". This is awesome because instead of having a monster on your to-do list (i.e. File Taxes) you break it down into manageable chunks (i.e. Pick up tax booklets @ library). I found this immensely helpful because i have a serious problem with procrastinating on projects that seem huge and overwhelming.

But back to crafting! I find this hard for knitting. Sure the beginning is easy: "pick pattern for cardigan" and "swatch for needle size". The end is easy "bind-off collar" and "sew in ends". Its the middle that kills me... how can you possibly make "keep knitting until its done" into smaller chunks? sure, i can say "knit arm" or "knit back", but its hard to break it down any more than that. And quilting? "sew 58 pattern squares" seems a little daunting! I welcome suggestions.

So while thinking on this a lil' while, i'm going to start listing my Next Actions for each current and stalled project. Mostly in the hopes that i will get a mental jump start and want to finish those stalled items (olympic sweater that needs finishing?! aran that JUST needs a new neckline??).

here's a taste of what i've been knitting lately (mostly during the trip):
a) the left front of my Starsky cardigan. Its in desperate need of some blocking! not good for knitting on the plane, but great for layovers and horrendously long waits (like 5 hours waiting in LAX.)
The sleeves were done during my west coast trip in may, and the right front is now started. i love me some progress.
Next Action: continue with right front.

b) a simple toe-up sock (wendy's. always.) in my own handpainted yarn. I call the color Ranier Cherries. I name most of my colors after food. go figure.
socks are perfect knitting for planes, so you don't annoy the piss out of your row-mates.
Next Action: cast off. start sock two.

c) crocheted zig-zag scarf in the superest, softest handspun from Woolarina Kate. Crocheting is also great for planes. except that i kept flicking my feeding yarn to pull it out of the skein every few stitches, which apparently annoyed my neighbor. even though i was being very careful not to invade his space. oh well.
Next Action: Well this wasn't really a project. but i might rip it out and make something else with the yarn. still deciding.


At 8/18/2006 10:07 AM, Blogger Jen said...

I like to give myself deadlines or "goals" for breaking down projects into more manageable bits. Something, like "two more inches before this show goes off," or "I'll just knit until the next repeat(or color change or whatever)." Then I feel like I've accomplished a fair chunk. I hope it helps.

At 8/18/2006 2:21 PM, Blogger Annette said...

Yeah, I would suggest something similar to Jen's idea. Maybe "knit 2 inches on the back by such and such a date", or I like the idea of the "knit until next repeat" that Jen suggested. This could be extended for different parts of a sweater, like knit sleeve until decreases begin. I need to implement something like that. One option is to finish several projects and have a finishing project, my least favorite thing to do.

At 8/19/2006 9:30 PM, Anonymous caro said...

It's tricky with knitting, but I subscribe to the "knit X amount of rows" or "X number of pattern repeats" before I can work on something else. Quilting lends itself a little better in that you can set smaller goals of "chain piece the triangles" or "cut all the blue squares" (or whatever) then just go block by block.

At 8/21/2006 8:34 PM, Blogger ladylinoleum said...

Those are great suggestions. I also noticed that as your post progressed you were breaking things down as well. You're doing it without knowing it!


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