Note: This is a completed version of the post that got uploaded inadvertently!
When Progress Stalls
I am writing this to kill time because I hate the last thing I need to do to finish the Naples pattern. I always hate getting the measurements correct, but since there are six variations in this pattern, I’m having to double, triple, and quadruple check my measurements for each. It would be easier if I remembered to double-check the gauge numbers in my spreadsheet, or the formulas I used, but I never do. It is tedious, and I hate tedious! Typos may be the death of me.
I find that progress stalls when things require decisions, or I lack the proper information, tool, or other input. Sometimes it is because something didn’t quite work, and I need to stop and give it my full attention. I wrote my most recent newsletter because I didn’t want to work on pattern edits. I have been clearing my office of excess stuff for the same reason. These are some stalled items:
- A sweater sample languished for a week because I had to figure out how many rows to do for the armhole.
- I put off completing the finishing details on multiple projects because I need to assemble the right supplies, in the right place, and often, pay extra attention.
- I don’t put things away because I just want to get other things done and it seems a waste of time to stop and do that. Instead, it looks like I just swept a bunch of stuff off my desk and onto the floor. Which, I kind of did!
- I don’t publish patterns because I don’t know how to effectively market them, or don’t feel like uploading, or some other detail remains that I don’t have a solution for.
This is all emblematic of my work habits. It is also true that I get an incredible amount done, so this is not a complaint, just an observation. I know my worst habits and inclinations, but sometimes when I share something it helps some other knitter or designer. There are always things to do, so it isn’t like nothing gets done.
But it got me thinking about how things get put aside, and how picking something up to fill the time can lead to further stalling, and then . . . a UFO is born.
Finishing Makes Room for Progress
When I get startitis, it is always good to make myself start — finishing things! This is kind of where I am right now. I need to get some things pulled together, but there is so much else going on, that I am either too exhausted, too distracted, or lack time to buckle down and move them ahead. I started considering what I could finish (while desperately wanting to start other things!). I put one swatch, into my finishing queue so I wouldn’t feel like I’m punishing myself. That, of course, was easy to finish and I’m waiting on it to dry.
What got on my list of things I could Finish.
- Finishing flourish on two hats (done).
- Button and i-cord decorative add-on for a cowl (done).
- Ordered supplies to make a special closure for another cowl (very excited for this!) (They arrived and I am ready to put the pieces together. See photos).
- Ordered yarn for new projects (done).
- Worked on completing patterns uploads to Ravelry (in progress).
- Checked my numbers on Naples (found one place I forgot to fix).
- Worked out the initial numbers for a second version of Somerset Stole in Lace (in progress).
- Took care of some administrative things (done — a million others to do!)
- Figured out the depth of the armhole for the stalled sweater (done, and I am now almost done with the body)
- Worked in ends on projects (done, and I am making piles of finished knitting projects).
- Blocked items (done, but always a work in progress).
- Additional corrections to Naples (done, in testing and I’ve gotten some great input!).
- Got ready for the GAL — Indie designer Gift-along on Ravelry — Starts November 26! (done, with the big push so that the admins can get it all sorted before the kickoff).
- Worked on clearing my office and desk (a never-ending task), and I did find a swatch I was hunting for (done)!
- Filed almost all of my 11×17″ charts and swatch records (done, but one of those never-finished items).
- Lots of other things I’ve likely forgotten about.
Normally I would not consider those 11 red dones a victory because of the ones left undone.
Finding Grace Makes Room
Let’s talk about grace. I like to have a touchstone word for every year. I don’t do resolutions or make big goals, but I like to have something that is leading me to a better place (for lack of a better description).
2019 was Grace. Not in terms of giving thanks, but in terms of what if I just gave myself a little room to be myself, to give other people some grace, and, in the final analysis, give thanks for what I have, or have chosen. My therapist and I have talked about what this meant to me, and this is some of what I have observed.
Ways to Grace
- It is okay to be irritated by nearly everyone (Hell is other people!), but also to acknowledge that my irritation is generalized and should be fleeting. Example: As I was standing in line at the grocery I thought I would lose my mind as the checker and customers chatted and slowed the line. I reminded myself to be patient, and soon the box person at another counter called me over and I got out with some reasonable dispatch. [I am making a concerted effort not to do self-check which always makes me crabby.]
- It isn’t necessary for me to always be in control. Things I’m letting go:
- Mitch’s driving,
- the route he takes,
- whether we do the errands in a particular order,
- if we leave at a certain time.
- There can be other ways of doing things, or I don’t have to do things just because I always have.
- Sometimes not working when I think I should be.
- Working when I think I shouldn’t be.
- Trying new things.
- Skipping the ironing on Sunday.
- I don’t have to go to the farmer’s market.
- Saying when enough is enough, or it isn’t enough (pass the red wine!).
- I can say No and I don’t have to explain. I am not sure I knew I could do that.
- I can say Yes and, whatever my motivation, it is okay.
- Some things never change.
One of the key things I realized was that I do things just because I do them. When I give myself room to evolve life is more relaxed and pleasurable. When I decided to lose some weight, it was because I wanted to do it. I felt I had been self-medicating with food, and some of the ways I’ve been giving myself grace have allowed me to find other ways to love myself. I don’t need all those extra bites.
Progress from Grace
One of the huge things I have allowed myself is to not expect that I will ever be anything but what I am (especially at this stage). I am funny, and smart, and sometimes lazy, and willful, and creative, and insightful, and determined. Apparently I am always going to make lists. Systematically using them eludes me. Contacts will never get into my phone. I will get irritated when I can’t find an address or phone number. Every day I create a plan. Then I will do something else. I will always love knitting. Unfinished projects are inevitable. I will come back to finish things — in due time. Or I will just move on.