Last month I posted about my struggles with simplifying versus organizing. In that post I made a few commitments, so I think it is time that I write a follow-up! I got some things done, some things are still unfinished--but I learned some important lessons. (The words in italics are from the original post.)
- Take two of my designs (Birch and Starry Night), whip the patterns into shape, and send them to the technical editor. Not only did I do this, I finalized these patterns and published them!
- I'm on track to finishing my Alabama Chanin-style recycled t-shirt project by Sunday. DONE! Two long-sleeved t-shirts, stenciled, stitched, and cut to make a very nice top.
- I'm also on track to finish a surprise knitting project. Sweet little magic ball baby hat from Fancy Image Yarns was finished and sent to the virtual baby shower on time!
- Chief's Blanket Cowl. 30% done. I decided that this just bored me, so I ripped and have no regrets.
- Pointed Firs Vest. Need to design yoke. Still undone.
- Socks 80% done. Done, thanks to a yarn donation from my friend Ann in Wyoming! I had 3 inches left on the second sock when I ran out of yarn. Luckily I rather like mismatched socks!
- Second pair of socks 25% done. I finished one and am halfway through the second one, so 75% done now.
- Gees Bend Cowl. 20% done. No change--I think I might rip this project.
- New Mexico Sweater. This is a long-term project--corrugated rib finished. And have finished 5 more inches.
- Fair Isle spun from painted rovings hat. Yarn spun. I have been struck by "precious handspun yarn" syndrome! No progress.
- Cowl out of cashmere. 50% done. Hmmm. This is nice, but intended as a to-be-gifted item with no specific recipient in mind. Absolutely the sort of thing that rarely gets finished. But I think I will finish it. I finished this!
- I commit to reading the stack [of 5 books] beside my chair by the end of the month: I finished two of the five books by my chair--A Shetland Knitter's Notebook by Mary Smith and Chris Bunyan and The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams--and drifted off, hummingbird like, to read others.
- As for the mucking out I commit to clearing out two drawers in my chest of drawers. I cleared out ALL the drawers!
I had hoped that working through this list with intention I would learn more about what unconscious urges have been tripping me up, making me feel overwhelmed and, honestly, ashamed that I wasn't finishing things. And, indeed, I found some answers!
One thing I realized is that my list of things to do is always way too long and quite unrealistic! If I finish something I add something new to the list immediately, rather than enjoying a sense of accomplishment. Once I saw this habit, I began a new way of tracking my months and days: the Bullet Journal. Rachael Herron introduced me to this method and I've found it very helpful, even though I had a pretty good method already. It was through the Bullet Journal that I have learned to set reasonable and definable goals for each day that fit with my larger goals. I'm using a Moleskine gridded journal that is pretty lightweight (sold in packs of 3) that can be carried easily.
I also tend to let my mind wander to the future rather than sticking to the thing at hand. I plan to use mini-journals to capture my ideas so I can let them rest until their time has come.
Some of the clutter that bugged me was in the form of partially finished projects that I didn't have a great urge to finish. Maybe they weren't fun to knit (nupps, I'm looking at you!), or taken on as an intellectual challenge (what can I say? I do this a lot.), or maybe I just wasn't as in love as I thought I'd be. For whatever reason, I wasn't that interested any longer. So--a few I up and finished as quick as possible and others I ripped.
When taking on new projects I've tried to be more honest about them: Will I really wear this? Is it worth my time? Will I enjoy knitting this? When designing my own garment I've learned that I need to have a solid plan in place before casting on if I want to finish it.
I learned that my habit of purchasing magazines was eating up lots of my time and money. They were taking up lots of space and they took up lots of time. I've been doing quick views and then donating them to our library's magazine exchange. I feel so much lighter!
I'm enjoying the decluttering process, both the physical and the emotional decluttering. My goals for the end of July are modest:
- Finish the linen cardigan (this is my Knitting Camp project)
- Finish the handspun Fair Isle project.
- Finish culling the bookshelves.
- Re-knit the lower sleeves of my Esther Sweater and send the pattern to the technical editor.
So, are these issues that you have been dealing with? Let me know!