Knit to the Finish Line
So how are you doing on the challenge? We're about 2/3 of the way done and I'll confess I had a bit of lapse in keeping on track with my progress. I was a bit drained after returning from Cuba and despite the fact that I accomplished all my goals to that point, just a few days late, I had kind of lost my knitting mojo. It felt sort of like the second week in January when all your new year's resolutions have gone out the window. Seriously though, how do you stay motivated when the excitement wears off?
First, remind yourself it's ok. This is not a life or death situation, we're just trying to get some knitting done. If you need to, recalculate your goals. Maybe try to squeeze in a bit more knitting time. I'll be doing this.
Second, reward yourself. You've got some stuff done, I've seen it. Treat yourself to something special. Maybe get a fun new stitch marker or set a date to knit with a friend. Bring your FOs to the shop for some show and tell---and remember our monthly gift card giveaway for any FOs completed in the month. And for this challenge month only you can show off stuff even if you didn't buy the yarn from us. I also posted on Instagram yesterday about our special challenge. I'll be giving away $100 in gift cards if we can get to 100+ posts with #knittothefinishline2019. Even if you just want to make a comment about what you're doing to reward yourself or if you're having trouble staying motivated. That may motivate one of our fellow participants.
Third, start planning what you're going to cast on next. The excitement may make you knit faster. For me, it's the Fair Winds and Following Seas cardigan from Nomadic Knits Issue One: Florida. Oh, and did I mention Melissa will be here with an Issue Three Trunk Show on April 12?
So grab your WIPs and get cracking! (See what I did there?)
I forgot to post this before I left last Sunday for a week in Cuba:
This week will be tough for me as I’ll be on vacation in Cuba. The first hurdle is deciding which projects to bring. For travel knitting I recommend small and easy projects, like socks. My problem is that my first sock project is not that easy because it has beads and the other sock project is almost done. But that’s the one I’m bringing. Fortunately I do have another super easy project, the tank I’m working on for my daughter-in-law. It’s a lot of stockinette and just a little bit of shaping. The other hurdle is of course, time. We’ll be gone 6 days so that is a hefty chunk of the month. What if I get done really fast, do I bring another project just in case? What if I’m too busy doing all the things you do on vacation and get NO knitting done? Fortunately, there will be lots of time driving around, and I’m good with that. Second, I’m much more of a morning person now and I’ll make plans to get some early morning knitting out by the pool. And finally, there will be some other knitters in our group so it won’t seem as I’m ignoring the others.
If you’ve got some unusual time during this month, think about how you’re going to handle it. It may be Spring Break for a lot of you, how will that affect your time? Are people coming to visit? Will the weather be so gorgeous that you want to be outside? It’s a good thing knitting is so portable! Decide if you want to knit in a different time or place. Maybe outside on your lunch hour, or like me, an extra hour in the morning with a good cup of joe. And since there’s no Knit Night at the St Pete shop this week, check the Stash Crew Facebook group to see if anyone wants to meetup somewhere else.
Ok who's ready to get some WIPs off the needles? You've got a list of all your projects now it's time to start planning.
Step 2: Goal Setting
Let’s set some realistic goals using the SMART method. SMART is an acronym used to set goals with structure and accountability. We’ll go through what each letter stands for and how it relates to our challenge.
S-Specific-This is where we’ll decide how many and which projects will be included in our goal for this month.
M-Measurable-We’ll know we’ve reached a goal when the project is finished. You get to decide if “finished” includes blocking or weaving ends in. If it doesn’t--we provide those kinds of finishing services.
A-Attainable-Setting a basic and a stretch goal. We’ll talk about this a bit later as it’s probably the most important step
R-Relevant-Is now the time to be thinking about gift knitting? Maybe you need a little refresher on a particular technique before you can get back to a hibernating project.
T-Time-That’s covered! It’s the month of March
Back to attainable. If 4 queen sized blankets are on your list, you may have to rethink this. However, we can look at our projects and break them down, then go back to Step 1 where we calculated how many hours we’d have during the month. So how do you figure how much time you’ll need to finish a project? First let’s look at how much is left to do for each project, and if you know how long it takes to do a particular section you can do the math. If you’re not sure, time yourself. I do this a lot. Most of us have an alarm clock on our phone, but did you know there’s also a stopwatch? Time yourself doing a row, a repeat, or section of each project on your list and then go back to your patterns and figure how many more rows, repeats, or sections to finish. Bonus? You’ve also just done a bit of work on your project!
Another method involves allocating a certain number of days per project. For example if you have 5 projects to complete allocate 5.5 days for each project. Start with the one that will need the least amount of time and then add any extra days to the next project. Plus you’ll get a sense of accomplishment by getting one finished right away. We’ll have periodic check-ins to see how well you’re keeping to your schedule and how well you’ve estimated.
You can also plan to work a specific number of rows or repeats on a couple different projects each day. This helps keeps you interested if you have miles of stockinette or are living on sleeve island. Say you are working on an easy scarf and it needs 25 more inches to be complete, solution--Knit one inch per day. This method works for grams as well. You can weigh each ball left for each project and divide that number by how many days in the month. (We have a scale you can use) If you’re working with different weights of yarn you can work with the heavier yarn on the days when you have less knitting time. You can also knit for a set period of time and then reweigh your ball to see how many grams you knit in that time period. I’m happy to help you do some calculations!
Finally, you’ll need a place to keep track of how many hours you’ve worked to make sure you’re staying on course.
Post your plans on Instagram using #knittothefinishline2019 or in our Stash Crew Ravelry thread.
Step 1: Preparation
Decide where you'll be keeping track. This can be whatever suits you, pen and paper, an excel spreadsheet, a planner. Use what you know you will use and don't try to recreate a new system. I'll be using my Ravelry projects page, and we'll have a discussion thread there as well. I'll also be posting on Instagram--and that's where our motivational incentives will be happening as well. These are my two favorite places these days and the fact that they connect for pictures makes it easier for me to keep my notes all together.
Because we don't want to be all ready to knit and not have an essential element, take some time to make sure you have everything you need for each project; pattern, needles, and accessories and put them all together in a bag. I know many of you have more project bags than you'd care to admit, this is a great time to put them to use. You may want to record what project is in which bag, and if you knit in multiple locations, where you'll be keeping it. For example, I'll keep my blanket project at home because it's too big to carry back and forth to the shop. If you need some yarn wound, bring it in and we'll wind it for you, even if you didn't buy it from us.
Next, take a moment to evaluate if you really want to continue with each project. Knitting is supposed to be bring us happiness so, if a particular project no longer sparks joy for you, you have my permission to frog it. If you've watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo you'll know that you should also thank the project for all that it taught you and the happy hours spent with it. And if you have more than enough WIPs to get you through the month, put some aside for the next time. Remember--no new cast ons--but if you see something you want to make starting April 1, take some notes. Start a new list or queue it on Ravelry.
Our final task before we start knitting is to calculate how much time you have to work on your WIPs during the month. Seriously, go day by day on a calendar and carve out some time and be realistic. Remember there are other things in life besides knitting and we don't want to alienate our families for the sake of our knitting. Schedule the time if you need to and remember we have Knit Night once a week at each location (except March 12 when I'm in Cuba).
Take the weekend to work on whatever project you want. Monday we'll do some goal setting! Use the hashtag #knittothefinishline2019 and tag us @stashstpete on any Instagram posts.