Monday, January 22, 2007

Setting Goals, Making Lists

We survived the ice storm last weekend with only a 10 minute power outage and the four inches of snow that fell this weekend caused no trouble at all. I've spent some time stitching and (gasp) sewing curtains for Mark's office. I've also been trying to stay caught up on my blog reading. I've been too lazy to leave comments like I should, and I apologize for that. There is so much to see out there in the land of blog!

While reading blogs today I noticed Katrina's post about making lists and setting goals. I found myself leaving a lengthy comment, but decided it would be smarter to put my thoughts here instead. By the way Katrina, what a neat surprise to see you on the 30th!

Making lists...ahhh, one of my favorite things! Setting goals...not a favorite thing, more like a necessary evil in most areas of my life. I try to keep my stitching goals to a minimum, otherwise it feels like work. Of course stitching should be fun, not work. I love to be organized. I love organizing. Organizing is nearly as much fun as stitching. You would think this would translate into a precise rotation schedule, tracking of stitching hours, and goals mapped out for the next 5 years. Ahhem, no. All of that is too much like work.

Rotations (other than the screaming variety) don't work well for me. I set "goals" for my obligation stitching, things like PIFs, gifts and exchanges, because there is a deadline to meet. (Wow, that sounds like work!) Otherwise I'm pretty relaxed about stitching goals. Katrina talked about making lists and feeling obligated to cross things off. I have a list "system" and I think it works for me because I use it as an organizational tool, not as a checklist that must be followed.

I have a series of lists in a single Word document. The first list in the document is for projects that I am kitting up, including the items I still need to buy or track down. The next list is of projects that are fully kitted, followed by a list of WIPs and finally a list of finishes for the year. I use page breaks in the document to keep each list in its own space. Projects "travel" within the document from one list to the next. For instance I am kitting up the Sampler Calendar project from My Mark Designs. Right now it is on the "Need to Kit" list, but when it is ready it will move to the "Kitted, in bag, ready to go" list. When I start the project it will move to the "WIP" list and eventually to the "Finishes" list. When I say the project "moves" on the list I mean that I cut and paste the info from one part of the document to another. Within each list all of the projects are alphabetized by designer. It is just easier to find things that way.

Sometimes I change my mind about a design and it gets deleted from the list. Sometimes I come home with something new and it gets added to the list. Sometimes things get complicated with a project, like I need to change a floss color or maybe start over on a different color of fabric. I try to remember to make notes about everything. Eventually every project in the document becomes a little paragraph or journal entry. If I put a project down for months and can't remember if I was stitching with one thread or two, the list will tell me. If I pick up a new project and can't remember if I cut the fabric for over one or over two, the list will tell me. At the end of the year I cut and paste the entire Finishes section of the list into a new, separate document. This gives me a record of what I finished during the past year and a clean slate in my Projects document for recording finishes this year.

Hopefully all of that made some sense. It probably sounds much more complicated than it really is, and it only takes a minute or two to keep track of things this way. I'm sure I'm not the only stitcher using a Word document to record my stitching adventures. Anyone else? I think handwritten journals are pretty popular right now, too. In some ways this blog is also a stitching journal, but I don't put as much "nuts and bolts" information here as I do in my Word document.

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful comments! So many of you said nice things about my finishes and my progress with the craft table. Thanks a bunch, it means a lot! I do have a comment to respond to.

The Silver Needle asked about the box in this post. The box was a class project with Lori Markovic, the cross stitch designer aka La-D-Da. Honestly I'm not sure if the project qualifies as altered art. I'm afraid the only altered art I'm familiar with are books put to other uses. I do like the mixed media aspect of this project, mixing glue and lace and brads and velvet and cross stitch with a wooden box...not the usual sort of thing for most needleworkers. It is great to branch out a bit, but I won't say it is outside the box. That would just be wrong. *wink* Lelia asked if the floss for this project was overdyed. You guess it! I think it was mostly Sampler Threads.


Finally, I hate to sign off without including a single picture, so here is a shot of one of the curtains I made for Mark's office.


The curtains aren't anything special and the picture quality is the worst, but it is proof that I didn't clear off the craft table for nothing. The fabric was $1/yard at Wal-mart. Woot!

17 comments:

Annemarie said...

For someone who doesn't like to make lists for stitching because it makes it look too much like work, you have a pretty impressive listing system going on. I'm of the handwritten stitching journal variety. Of course, when I say journal, I really mean post-it notes...

KarenV said...

Your system sounds similar to mine! I'm not a stitching goal person any more, but I do have an Excel spreadsheet with all my charts and kits listed and I move projects things around within that, depending on their status. I think you and Katrina have inspired me to write my own blog post on the subject...

Cindy said...

I am not a stitching goal type of person at all. Although I have started doing rotation and it seems to be working really well for me. The curtains look great!!!

monique said...

Your system sounds very involved! I think you forgot a list, though... the "hanging on the wall" list. Wouldn't take but a second to add it *grin* Good subject for a post.

Lelia said...

Lovely curtains!!! I think your organization system is very good. I have an organizer from the dollar store & the rings open/shut for page insert - move around, etc.

It is much easier for me to jot notes [and yes ... post-its] to pages when I'm in my room.

I made lists of my charts & all that good stuff ... which was why I was so surprised to find a couple bags I quite forgot about from a store that closed back in ... say 1999? sigh.

And, the blue-green linen is for the week-end ornament SAL. I want to stitch the Pear Tree from LHN - '06 Ornament magazine. And, I don't want to BUY anything -- want to stitch from stash. I pulled out some floss, over dye fiber, a blue-green linen, and a grey-green linen. In a day or 2, I'll look at everything again & adjust ... LOL. Like, just maybe it needs more red, less hazelnut brown [or less boring brown IMO].

I came across 'Moon Garden' chart yesterday & think I might try that cross stitch method you describe -- in the circular within the flower petals [or something]. I cannot believe I don't have the linen or fibers for it. And, man alive, I looked hi & lo for them. The pattern is ALL sampler thread stuff -- and that means $$$$ on my next trip to LNS.

And -- so sorry this is a long comment -- maybe I should have e-mailed .... anyhow ...

You actually KIT UP your stuff??? Like, bag up projects with linen, fibers, charms, beads, etc??? Is it easier that way? How many projects are all in 'kits' in your stash?? And, what if you need the same fiber in more than one project?

Lelia said...

btw, [yeah, we all know how sideways my mind works] ... did you consider entering this as an SBQ???

Susieq said...

I have a stack of kitted projects, some complete some not, but I am considering setting them free. I am going to try to not stockpile projects anymore. If when I start a project, and my mind starts wandering and I don't want to pick it up and work on it, I figure it isn't what I wanted to do and I'll find something else. I probably will not keep the other project to finish at all, unless it is for some particular gift or something like that. I want to enjoy myself not make it work like you said. Too many years of having to do models for the shop instead of things for myself.

Vonna said...

Well that is pretty lengthy and quite impressive! All I can say is: I have startritis...I start a lot of things (for me) and finish little (for me)...BUT I finish everything for everybody else! LOL!
:)

Michele said...

I'm impressed with your organizational skills .. the word doc sounds easy once you get it set up. I've never been one to really set a bunch of goals with my stitching and until recently I wasn't much of a rotator .. but I do like the idea of knowing what I have and what I'd like to stitch! lol

ohhh .. I forgot, did you pick your fabric for Miseltoe House? I wasn't going to make any changes, I love the fabric they are using .. and had my birthday discount at Needlecraft Corner, so I ended up ordering a few of the ornament cuts Drema did.

Stitch or no stitch said...

Thank you so much for your kind comments & thoughts Chelle - they mean so much to me. I am so grateful to be a part of this warm & caring community.
And I thought I was organized!!Thanks for writing about your system. It sounds great & I will certainly use some of your ideas.
Margaret

Katrina said...

Oh that makes sense to me, I don't suppose you'd email me a copy of your document. I am pretty visual, LOL. I do have an excel spreadsheet I keep. I am so enjoying blogging and the ideas I get from everyone. You hit the nail on the head for me with things feeling like work :-). I don't want that. So I am going to go back and reevaluate my system. Thanks for all the info!

Cathy said...

I keep a list similar to yours - I use Excel - but its pretty much the same. I track my charts, those that I have fabric or fibers for, my WIPS, and my finishes. Just like you, items move from one worksheet to the next until finished. Unfortunately, the list of charts far exceeds the finishes!

Maddie Can Fly said...

Thanks for the "heads up" about scissor fobs. I went back and looked at yours -- such pretty little things!

Tobie said...

Hi Chelle!I've enjoyed catching up on your blog, you've been doing some great projects. The La D Da box is just wonderful.
I keep track of the same things as you in my stitching notebook-it's just a regular cheapo spiral notebook. I almost always stop enjoying stitching when I have goals and deadlines. On one had, it's nice to cross things off the list, but on the other, it's just like you said-it feels too much like work. :)

The Silver Thistle said...

I don't really 'do' goals as such, and I can't get into the swing of rotation........but lists.....now THOSE I can relate to, lol! Big fan of lists here. The longest list in existance would be my 'to-do' list I fear, lol.

Karen's Blog said...

I am trying to get more organised this year myself. Must be something in the air at the moment. LOL.

monique said...

I'm thinking you need to add "blog more often" to your to-do list ROFL