Briefly summing up would include that I have too many projects started, with not as many completed. It remains to be seen whether I will ever take needed pattern photos or if the box of samples will continue to laugh at me.
Summing Up Projects Started
I don’t really keep track, so I have to look through bags of unfinished projects and stacks of finished projects to do any kind of summing. My camera roll likely has a lot of clues, but I’m not that interested in the specifics. I’m will be shaking out UFOs making a plan of what to do to move them forward, or returningthem to yarn.
For this purpose, here is a Finishing Plan form to help you make assessments. It pains me to do it, but figuring out how long everything will take is the only path to completion. Then, calendaring time to work on it. It turns out that everything takes longer than you think, and we have less time than we imagine. Hence, unfinished projects!
“When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.”Creighton Williams Abrams Jr., General, US Army
Part two is having a plan to finish. Deadlines are motivators. Plans are not set in concrete and can be changed, but they should be realistic enough to keep your feet to the fire. I currently have somewhere between 12 and 18 unfinished projects. I will be working on summing that up until the end of the year. Here is a Finish Line Planning sheet. Why Planning Sheets? Those times when you don’t really want to work on something if you can find a small thing you can do, or progress you can make toward a bigger thing, then you are more likely to do it.
Pattern Writing. Summing, but Never Finished
I have at least 50 patterns I want to write. Instead of doing just that I have spent most of 2023 figuring out how to get the information I want to share into a format that isn’t too burdensome to me, and that won’t scare knitters away. It has been an interesting journey. Feeling resistance (mine) has been a constant. Also some resistance from knitters, which required me to do a lot of reflection and rewriting. This would not be so bad, but pattern writing is hard, so adding layers to it is enervating. But, I think I’ve now got templates that should make it easier in 2024.
For those wondering, I am only actively working on three patterns right now, plus a couple of in-process things. When one thing gets finished I just move another into position, so the number is constant.
I admit to drifting away from projects when I have a problem I can’t solve. They get put aside until I eventually get curious and come back to them. It is not fast. Here, deadlines seem less effective because I can’t always solve everything on a schedule.
Sizing. 1) Building a Product.
This was not just a 2023 project. I’ve been working on this in fits and starts for about five years (see Pattern Writing, above). I had an idea, and for this one I did not let the doubters deter me. Work has progressed as I had the time, energy, and ultimately, was able to bring in others could help me with the pieces I can’t do myself. I will always be grateful that I did not actually have to learn PhP (I was that determined to do this)!
My working with Jamie has filled in so many gaps in my abilities! She has logic, love the rigidity of Excel, and possesses advanced math, in addition to her desire to know how I did things, and finding ways to shove them into Excel. Plus she has friends with super math skills. This has resulted in a lot less wheel spinning on my part. I could put my energies where I have actual skill and talent. One thing I deployed a lot was patience. I am not inherently patient, but I can be with other people, and it really paid off! It is easy to see why someone else needs time, even if I can’t always grant that to myself.
This also took a lot of resources. I had to end my relationship with my sample knitter (no money, less time to write patterns) and I gave up my virtual assistant. Both of these were crucial to pattern development, but I just couldn’t afford it.
Sizing. 2) Trying to Build Consensus.
Here, again, I can see a viable path, but I ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth my energy. Everyone should be able to access good sizing, but between it being hard for designers, knitters not really yet understanding that they have to do some of the work, and no one wanting to pursue finding better solutions, I had to decide this isn’t going to happen. It did give me more time and determination to commit to my product.
Sizing. 3) It isn’t One-Size Fits All
So I will soon be introducing Jill Wolcott Knits® Pattern Tailor.
In an effort to do some User-Centered Research, we will be looking for knitting testers, who can help us make the technology portion of this as user-friendly as possible. If this interests you let me know.
We did other sizing-related things. You can watch videos of our Behind the Curtain meetings.