How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs and clear time for gift knitting or selfish knitting.

Project Planning

How to create the perfect plan to finish your wips and clear time to make the things you love. When your hobby is also a part of your business, it’s hard to separate the two. I would end up knitting or crocheting constantly when I had a deadline and struggling to make anything I wanted for myself, or to gift.

I’ve started to plan my knitting/crochet time to make sure I have some time every week to work on projects for me, or for gifting later in the year. That way I can keep up with my knitting for Christmas (yes I said it, I’m sorry) and at the same time keep to my design work deadlines.

I like to clear my needles/hooks by the end of October so I can focus on the Indie Design Gift Along. I always have something on the go, in the naughty corner or waiting for me to come back to it. Those things are gathered together and will wait until January for some attention.

I knit or crochet every day. Crochet-wise I tend to make blankets (handy for baby gifts or for around the house) or garments for myself (usually cardigans or sweaters). Knitting-wise I’ll knit most things apart from toys, fiddly stuff and socks. I do love wearing hand knit socks but the thought of those tiny needles and vast number of stitches/rows per inch makes my head explode.

How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs - Vera Sweater Test Knit
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How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs – Work Days vs Me Days

Monday to Friday is usually work knitting during the day and often in the evening if it’s something I can still make while watching TV or a movie. If it’s something I need to look at while I’m working on it, I tend to listen to audio books (work related during the day and fiction at night).

Weekends are for me, knitting or crochet and any gift items I’m working on. Over the last year two of my nieces have had babies and both wanted blankets and cardigans for their little ones.

How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs – What Will Make ME Stick to the Plan?

It depends on your motivation. What type of person you are and why you start something, then don’t finish it. I work a lot better with an actual deadline that’s set in stone, no flexibility, no excuses. It keeps me accountable.

Are you a people pleaser who can’t say no to any request? Tell yourself you are going to finish Project X this week/month and make yourself accountable to a family member or friend who will hold you to it and encourage you.

Are you a rebel who will deliberately not finish it because it’s for you? You need to find a reason why completing Project X matters to you. Why is it important? How will you feel if you don’t get it done? Are there consequences?

I want to empty my needles/hooks in time for the Gift Along so I can enjoy the event (which does involve a stack of work on my part with Team Bundle and acting as a Moderator during the event).

I want to be able to knit or crochet some gifts as part of the event, to support other designers, because I enjoy doing it and so Christmas isn’t such a mad rush of panic buying things people don’t want, need or that I can’t afford. Money or time are powerful motivators. What motivates you?

How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs – Using Ravelry to Track Your Projects, Progress and Goals

I love Ravelry and track pretty much all my projects, designs and goals using their free tools. I can also add goals for the year, say a set number of projects for 2020 to be completed. This year I’ve completed 33 projects with a target or challenge to complete 50.

Once I’ve added my projects, I’ll upload photos in progress, the finished item when it’s done and I always try to add the following info:

  • Date started and date finished
  • Size made and any modications I’ve made for a better fit
  • Yarn used, amounts/yardage, dye lots, colour names etc
  • Gauge/Tension – mine my differ from the pattern
  • Needles or hooks used – may not be the same as the pattern as my gauge/tension could be different
  • Public notes on sizing, fit, issues with the pattern, errata, things I got right or wrong. Public notes help others with any pattern issues, badly worded or explained sections or how to do a modification you made to the pattern.
  • Private notes if it’s a design in progress and I need to track stitch counts, rows per section etc for the pattern but not the public.
  • Tags – the usual such as cardigan, top-down etc or it might be tag for a KAL or CAL #cowlabung2020 for example
  • Who is it for? When is it due? (Finish by date can be added).
How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs - Vera Sweater test knit, a test has a deadline to make me accountable.
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My Vera Sweater Test Knit for Emma is a larger project as it’s an adult sized garment and takes longer to make. I blocked off more time to make this compared to say a small project like a baby hat. As a Test Knit, it has a deadline I have to meet, which helps keep me on track.

How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs – Sharing to stay accountable

I like to share projects with my Woolly Madly Deeply Group on Ravelry and the Knitting Across The Pennines group I run with Emma Sadler. Members of the group will encourage me to finish the item and keep me on track.

When I add yarn info I link it the yarn to the source on Ravelry. If you browse projects using that yarn, my project would then be in the list and you’d see how I got on with that yarn, was it suitable for the project, did it pill?

You can learn a lot from project notes about fit, pattern issues, how to change a pattern to fit you etc by browsing projects made with the yarn you are using. How cool is that?

How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs – Project Size

Always have some instant gratification projects in the mix, hats, cowls, toys or other small items that are quick to knit / crochet and give you a productivity boost when they’re finished.

Larger projects take longer, you need to either start them sooner, or block out enough time to finish them. Better to finish early than not at all.

How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs – Do you love it or loathe it?

That’s an excellent question. If you loathe it, why are you making it? If it’s for someone other than you, can you make another item that you like a lot more as a compromise?

If you love it, great, carry on and keep knitting, crocheting or crafting through to the end, it’ll be worth every minute.

How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs – Prioritise

List your projects in the order they need to be completed. You can balance your time between larger and smaller projects to get to your end goals. Once you know what the goals and deadlines are.

Anything with a deadline should be higher up the list than something you’d just like to make sometime, someday.

Does it mean you need to buy yarn? If so, when do you need to order that to be able to finish in time?

Can you use up stash? Stash busting projects are higher up on my list because I’d like more space in my home for new yarn, I can only get that by using the existing yarn.

Have you got the pattern / book etc to hand? Do you need to print it? Load it to another device like an iPad or Kindle? When I add patterns to my Ravelry library, I add a note as to where the actual physical pattern is on my book shelf, or which magazine it’s in so I can find it when I want it.

How to create the perfect plan to finish your WIPs – Join a Knit Along (KAL, a Crochet Along (CAL) or a Finish Along (FAL)

Joining in a challenge to make something within a set deadline period to win prizes can make you more accountable. Chatting to others in the group and encouraging one another helps immensely.

That’s an excellent question. If you loathe it, why are you making it? If it’s for someone other than you, can you make another item that you like a lot more as a compromise?

If you love it, great, carry on and keep knitting, crocheting or crafting through to the end, it’ll be worth every minute.

Some things aren’t meant to be finished

You loved it once, you don’t love it now. Put it away for a while, you might want to finish it later, find your mojo or decide to frog it (rip out the knitting or crochet). That’s okay too. Don’t beat yourself up, your style may have changed, you might be allergic to the yarn but weren’t when you started. It might not fit any more, that’s all fine. Admitting it, letting it go and moving the yarn back into stash to use on another project is awesome.

What tips would you like to share that keep you on track with your knitting or crochet projects? I’d love to hear from you.

Loraine

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