Friday, December 26, 2008

Control or How I Plan to Do More in the Time Available Without Actually Cloning

A little while ago I spreadsheeted (not really a word) the birthday knitting for next year to try and keep me focussed (stop laughing). Then I realised that all my craftiness needs to be time-managed so to try and shoehorn a bit more in, I have added sewing projects as well.


Column headings on the spreadsheet are
  • :date due:
  • :craft type:
  • :portability: (because time at home and awake and able to concentrate on craft = about an hour a day but I can usually squeeze another hour or two in by having portable projects with me at all times)
  • :recipient:
  • :item:
  • :materials (what to use and if I had to acquire anything else):
  • :date to be given:
  • :notes: (I find it useful to record if I need to blog the project and on which blog - helps me remember to take photos etc)


In the madness of the days before Christmas I needed to feel in control of something so I invested 3 hours uploading (newly acquired) boodle to Ravelry, searching for and queuing patterns, annotating both the queue and the stash record with the pattern info and printing out the patterns. Another few hours here and there were invested in gathering together yarn, pattern, needles and notions and popping them all into project bags (this is where having waaaaay too many needles etc. comes in really handy). I attached a tag to each project bag with a sample of yarn. The tag lists pattern information, due date etc. and contents of bag. Bags were then divided into portable and home projects with some of the portables stashed in a box in the boot of my car. On the sewing list is extra project bags!


Fabric and notions stored with pattern (or at least the scrap of paper with my idea sketched on) and either put in a bag with a label, or pinned to the garment with a label with details of date due, notions and work needed. If I haven't finished something, or it's something I can do in stages, I leave a note of where I'm up to. Trust me, you can sew on several buttons between putting dinner on and turing the chops.

I'll let you know how it all works, but at least I feel organised and potentially super-productive.

Do you have a favourite craft organisation or time-management tip?

Also on Unravelled.


froginthepond said...

I have made a start - with project bags. I am actually planning to do an inventory and track my progress more carefully. I've joined Wardrobe Refashion for six months and it's the prompt I need to get more craft organised. What I have planned is similar to your approach, though possibly without the spreadsheet!

It will also be accompanied by studio cleaning out, tidying and organising.

sooz said...

I love lists. A lot. And I have fooled with many systems for tracking projects, but I have come to realise that aside from the immediate list I keep in my head (the next 2 or 3 projects) I don't usually craft that way.

In fact, for me, the lists serve more to deaden my enthusiasm than ignite it. The projects on the list become chores and I become a slave to getting stuff done and crossing them off.

Sure there are things I must do - gifts or other time specific things, but the thing I really love about crafting is the time when I am searching out my next project. I look through my patterns, or my fabrics or yarns and get inspired all over again.

Sometimes I see something I love and want to make something like it, sometimes I have an urgent need (like something to wear to a party or oven mitts after I burn my hand) and it is nice to feel free to pursue it without feeling like I am 'cheating' on the list.

I totally admire your systematic approach and I am sure you are far more productive (and have far less aimless stash wandering about your house!) than I am with my crafitng ADHD ;-)