I make stuff, right?

I make stuff, right?

I’ve been in a weird funk the past few days and trying to figure out why. Life is good right now, and after its having been kind of horrible just a year ago, I’m keenly aware of that. I have absolutely no reason to be anything but gleeful and thankful for the moment. And I am. I’m as happy and calm and settled (built-in stress level notwithstanding) as I can ever remember being — except there’s this nagging funk in the back of my brain. In a total “duh!” moment the other day, it occurred to me it’s because I haven’t made anything lately. Not only have I not finished anything, I’ve got way too many things in progress right now, and vastly more things I want to make and actually need. Plus as useful as the two main sweaters on my needles are, they’re not particularly fun or inspiring, so I’m just feeling super bogged down by it all. As a first step toward solving the problem, I’ve taken inventory of the WIPs in my little workroom:

– the blue dress that’s been hanging on my dress form for two months waiting for me to hem it
– the formerly alluded to black linen Stowe Bag that just needs its binding
– parts for a pillow I promised to sew for DG
– my grey sweater
– Bob’s emerald pullover
– my black Anna vest
– a sample of the Double Basketweave Cowl in the new “old growth” color
– a pair of grey mitts to replace the best friends I seem to have lost
– and my Seathwaite hat

Oh! And a grey wool-linen plaid skirt. Last month, I signed up for a two-part circle skirt class at Craft South to learn how to sew a lapped zipper and some other stuff, and to actually finish something, because it would be done within the scope of the class. Only I had to bail on the second class in order to get the lookbook launched that night!

That’s TEN projects in progress.

And those are just the things that are partially started. (Not including the basket of long-abadoned WIPs that need to be frogged, nor the whole basket-and-stash-bins-clean-out project, or the two pairs of wide-legged jeans I’ve decided to crop). Then there is all the yarn and fabric and drawings and plans that haven’t begun to be enacted yet. It’s completely out of control, hugely compounded by my not having even five minutes a day for making at this point. So how is any of it going to get finished? And am I even making the right stuff? As in, stuff that’s going to actually help me get dressed in the morning this winter.

I see that what I most urgently need to make right now is a plan. I need to revisit and revise my silhouettes, identify the very specific gaps in my closet that are preventing the clothes I do have from adding up to complete, season-appropriate outfits, make a list of exactly what pieces I need to sew and knit in what order, and assign exact yarns and fabrics to them. My new goal (or fantasy, maybe) is to have all of that mapped out by Christmas, and to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s sewing all day and knitting in the evenings, and pretty much ignoring any other obligations!

Here’s my working to-do list in the meantime, to get the immediate funk-inducing problem under control:

– frog mitts-in-progress; I have others that will suffice
– pack that Stowe away for another day
– set black Anna aside for knitalong in the new year (hint hint)
– hire out the cowl sample
– hem blue dress
– hem wide jeans x 2
– sew DG’s pillow

Which will leave me with a revised and prioritized near-term WIP list that will look like this:

– Bob’s emerald pullover
– my Seathwaite hat
– (1898 Hat to come)
– my grey sweater
– circle-skirt fate TBD during sewing week

I feel better already! Next step: revised silhouettes and wardrobe planning.

TA/BU Studio Crawl in Nashville 12.12.15IN SHOP NEWS: This week we restocked the amazing dye kits, the wooden bowls, the giant safety pins in silver, the blackened brass buttons. And we’ll have a fresh batch of Field Bag colors at NOON CENTRAL TIME today, including an even larger number of the highly-coveted army green. All at Fringe Supply Co.

AND IF YOU’RE IN NASHVILLE: Don’t miss our open studio event tomorrow as part of the TA/BU Studio Crawl, details here.

Thanks everybody, see you next week!


25 thoughts on “I make stuff, right?

  1. Your plan is inspiring to me… I have SO MANY projects that I have started or want to start. My goal now is to make a list to prioritize…. but it will have to be after Christmas. I do know that having them written down keeps the distractions at bay. Thank you for your post today!!

  2. “Anna” KAL in the new year!!!! Yipppeeeeeee – just ordered my blackened brass buttons, already have the black O-Wool worsted! Will be waiting patiently. Also, your to-do list is impressive – I think we all feel overwhelmed by our projects sometimes. Glad to see you’ve taken control!

  3. I easily could have written this blog…I’m feel totally out-of-control by the WIPs and future projects I want to knit/sew. I can’t even find the time to finish a pair of fingerless mitts these days! I think I’m going to create based on retailers…make things for the winter during the summer months and summer things during the winter months. By the time I finish a sweater for the winter, it’s almost spring…so frustrating! I also think I’m going to give myself a gift and color for a little while with Mason- Dixon’s new coloring book…it’s still knitting, right?! :)

  4. Remember the old saying about all work and no play makes jack a dull boy. I hate to add to your list but please don’t forget we would like guidance on making the sleeveless turtleneck. Take some time for yourself to recharge your batteries.

  5. Since it is winter, maybe try the snowball approach to debt? One “attacks” the smallest balance (or project in knitting) first. Then gradually heads to the larger ones. I always feel best when a project is completed, especially if it was tiring or uninspiring. I started it for a reason so it must have inspired me once.

  6. I stopped counting my WIPs at 70. The bigger problem is admitting which of those I will ever finish and reclaiming those needles! So, don’t feel bad! At least you don’t have MY brain!

  7. Oh, I thought you were whipping these things out as you mentioned them! No worries, you aren’t alone.
    For a while now, I’ve been whittling down my WIP list, in order to concentrate on a pullover for DS. It’s like duty knitting rather than fun knitting. I’m not learning or experimenting, I’m just churning out. I know it has to be done, so I have actually slowed down on putting things in my queue because those are just distractions.
    I think that’s great that you used your wardrobe plan to refocus yourself.
    Looking forward to the Anna KAL once I’m done…

  8. This is one of the reasons I never have more than 3 WIPs going on at the same time… I get completely lost! I can really understand why you are discouraged! You are wise to go through the list and make some space!

  9. I feel like I’m making these projects right alongside you–such fine armchair knitting to watch you cook up all this beautiful stuff. Hoping to come crawl by tomorrow! Such a juicy bunch of makers.

  10. Thanks so much for sharing! This really resonates with me, though I think my funk for the past week has been related to gift-making frustrations… they’re taking too long, not coming out quite right, might not be done in time, etc. Then of course there’s the seemingly endless list of things I want/need to make for myself, which I want/need to get back to. This week, to reduce my mental clutter, I’ve decided to organize my closet as a “winter capsule” wardrobe (still ruminating on Slow Fashion October, for sure!). This perspective has helped me pare down my clothes and, consequently, my “to make” list — focusing only on cold weather essentials for the next few months. Love how you’re so willing to put away & postpone your WIPs, I think I’ll take a turn at that too.

  11. Yes, I know that feeling! Five weeks ago my 92 year old MIL fell and broke her hip and my days have been spent bedside at hospital and now nursing home. I haven’t had a full day to sew or knit or just get some mental organization going on since. I think making a list might help ease the funk I’ve been in and encourage me live more in the moment. (Thank goodness for sock knitting that’s been my constant companion while I sit bedside!)

  12. I also like to keep WIPs to an absolute minimum. It’s not that they take up physical space, it’s that they’re all taking up space inside my head at the same time—and that makes me kind of crazy, feeling like I’m pulled in a bunch of directions but can’t seem to finish anything—yuck. And I also get mildly depressed if I’m not making anything for more than a few days straight.
    I think finishing things that are quick, and putting some other things clearly “away” for now is a good strategy, to get things off the mental list. I always feel better if I actually finish something. And of course, if I block out even a little tiny bit of time for making every day.

  13. I can’t think when there are too many WIPs calling my name, so I try to keep it to two or three. But don’t get too minimalist: When everything portable is finished, I feel unsettled because I don’t have on-the-go knitting! Currently between projects, and feeling somewhat lost.

  14. “Failing to plan is planning to fail’ was the motto of a great teacher of mine. You’ve done the hardest : planning. Now you can enjoy the making.

  15. Karen, your ‘silhouettes’ are definitely the way to get your work organized. I used the same approach YEARS ago when my life was too hectic for me to think straight. It worked like a charm then and still does.

    I like dddress’s ‘snowball approach to debt’ on WIP’s. GOOD THINKING!

    When I had a home with STORAGE, I used clear totes and clear drawer systems for my work. Everything for one project was kept together in one tote or drawer (unless tools were needed elsewhere). The most important projects went on top with a descending system below. I blocked the view of contents after project three or four (or?) so I wouldn’t become distracted. That system worked very well.

    I have since sold my home, moved into an RV and travel the nation. Needless to say, I do not have space for that tote and drawer system any longer. However, I did manage to downsize my stash and now keep it in ONE large clear tote. My system is still the same, though. Things are stacked in order of their importance and still visible. EVERYTHING is in that tote, with the exception of a small case with needles and often used tools.

    I have also learned not to have too many WIP’s at one time. The only time I go ‘off track’ is when I stock up on yarn during sales… as I just did. My system is so organized that I actually have room for the new yarn stash in my tote. That amazes me!!!

    An additional ‘space saver’ is the fact that I am nearly completely paperless with my work (and bills). The charts for ‘mobile work’ are about the only thing I have in print. All of my design work is done in Excel, so I rarely ever need paper for that. I am so paperless that even my grocery list, ‘silhouettes’ and RV related supplies are kept on my cell phone. I never have to worry about forgetting anything anymore. Want to talk about AWESOME?!?!

    If your weather has been like ours has been, you may need to spend some time in a ‘bright light’ situation. I have SAD and learned a long time ago that if I didn’t want to become depressed, I needed LIGHT.

    Glad your ‘funk’ has dissipated. The ‘Crazy Season’ is no time to experience that!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

    MJ, the SKEINdinavian

  16. Deep denial and fear would prevent me from making a wip list – so mighty congratulations on that alone. A few days ago I found two pairs of pants to mend for my husband – on a closet shelf for at least 10 years. They are getting mended and wrapped for Christmas. Wonder if he’ll recognize them?

  17. I think your post reflects the situation of all of us – is it because we love creating in so many ways and in the excitement of seeing new yarn or new fibre or fabric, we just get carried away and get inspired to start something new. Good on you for making a plan – sometimes it helps to see the individual items, rather than just have that whole overwhelming cloud hanging over us. When I get like that I find it helps to prioritise – lists are great for setting out the best way forward. Don’t forget – we do it because we love it!

  18. I know that feeling: I also have a very large list of WIP’s. This year I spend more time travelling by train: I always carry a small project (socks, mitts or hats) to knitt.

  19. oh my this sounds so familiar :)! and I even get the impression that at the end of the year it is even worse, with all this christmas chaos additionnally… thanks so much for sharing,! I feel much better about the amount of WIP lying around :)…

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