Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Space, Time, and Project Management

Change isn't easy. I've been 'unventing' this simple truth ever since I signed up for the February 30-day Challenge as part of the Organized Knitting Group on Ravelry. My goal - to organize my stash.

I got inspiration from many of the posts to this group. What I came up against was that I couldn't simply reshuffle all my yarn into a new set of containers or buy another set of shelves. I had to work with what I had, which meant I had to rethink how I wanted to access my yarn, and the best set-up for doing this.

I approached this on two fronts: the yarn front, and the space front.

I decided to separate my stash into 3 groups: the Works In Progress; the Designated Yarn for a specific project-to-be; and Free Range Yarn. First, I unearthed almost all my WIPs and piled them in my bedroom; then I identified Designated Yarn and moved that into the dining room; which left the Free Range Yarn in the Front Room (used to be the living room). While the rest of my apartment was in shambles, I now had room to look more critically at the space in the Front Room and could now try to come up with a plan for arranging "the stash."

It was important to me to keep everything as visible as possible, so I could see what was waiting to be knit up, and also see what I still had to play with. I told myself to think outside the box, and came up with the idea of hanging WIPs in plastic bags from a metal shelving unit I have. Ideally I should be able to walk around both sides of the shelving, so I will have to relocate it (thankfully, it's on wheels!). The cabinet for Free Range Yarn wasn't on wheels, and I first had to dismantle the shelf unit that was on top of it (for which I have plans in the dining-room-about-to-become-office/reading area). I emptied the cabinet (which is 6-feet long and about 3-feet high), removed the sliding glass doors, maneuvered sliders under each corner, and dragged it across the room to the outside wall where there are no plugs. The small computer desk was relocated where the cabinet had been, because both the telephone jack and an electrical outlet are on that wall.

I know this is not the most interesting chain of events, but in order to reorganize my stash, I needed to reorganize my space. And in order to reorganize my space, I needed a step-by-step plan. Even though I started working toward my goal of Organizing Stash at the beginning of the month, it took me almost 3 weeks to work out what needed to be done, and in what order things needed to be done, before I actually started the work.

This is the basis of Project Management - figure out what you have to do in fairly granular detail, and then do it. Don't leap in and start what you don't know how to finish. Always have a back-up plan for each step, in case what you thought would work doesn't (if it isn't obvious, I'm a Professional Project Manager, I can get points towards maintaining my certification for this project, if I wanted to).

I know there are no pictures, but it's embarassing to post pictures of messy chaos. I will post before and after pictures when this part of the paroject is done.

(Note: cross posted on Organized Knitting Club)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Challenging Work

I have started working on the February Challenge for the Organized Knitting Club on Ravelry, which was to organize one area is my stash. Following a suggestion from Janine, the moderator for Organized Stash, I pulled out all my WIPs and moved them to my bedroom, which gave me some room to work with the remaining stash...more on that at some later date.
As I extracted each project, I added it to an excel spreadsheet. I also ranked them A-E & S: A=finish this month.; B=next in line; C=medium importance; D=finish eventually; E=hibernating, but not ready for the frog pond; and S=sit-around projects that I pick up for a couple of minutes when I'm at the computer.
There are 42 Works in Progress on the spreadsheet - and each one has it's own set of needles!! I actually did frog a few things that I found that had been started but not worked on, or that I really didn't like. I even threw out one horrible ball of fluffy acrylic in pinks and purples.
I had a breakthrough last night, as I lay tossing and turning, about how to organize all the projects. I went and got some basic supplies today, and if the concept works, you'll be the first to know!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Latest Efforts

My niece and I were talking on the phone yesterday, and she suggested that I post about what I'm currently knitting. She's 7, and she's right.

So here's what I'm working on concurrently:

This is the half-done front to a long-overdue Aran sweater. It will to be an anniversary gift to Glenn from his wife, when it's done. They come and visit the sweater every couple of weeks. The good news is that the back is done.

This is my first attempt at hand spinning. The very first hank is on the left. Then the 2nd and 3rd hanks follow. There is a lot more Blue Faced Leicester fiber left to spin, so I'm hoping for enough for a hat and mittens. I really enjoy using a spindle, and not only want to get really good at it, but also want to learn how to handle different types of fiber.

This is the second Ice Queen from Knitty, that I've knit. This time I'm using purple Super Kydd and lots of beads. Here is a closeup of the beading:

There is something very addictive about adding beads to work. I like the weight and flow they give to the knitted fabric, not to mention the hint of glitz.
Next is the Melon Shawl from Victorian Lace Today, knit using Malabrigo Lace in Orchid 34. I have almost finished the body of the shawl, which was simpler to knit than I anticipated, but with enough pattern change to keep me from getting really bored. The next step will be to knit the border all the way around.

The Malabrigo lace is easy to work with and feels very soft. I'm going to enjoy wearing this shawl. Here's a close-up of the melon stitch and faggotting stitch used in the body of the shawl.

Just in case you think that I never finish anything, here are to two dishcloths I knit for the January Monthly Dishcloth KAL.

I find dishcloths fun to knit, very useful, and I like having a couple around to give as gifts with a nice, handmade (but purchased) bar of soap.

I tried to get Dilly to act as a model, but she wasn't cooperating.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Organizing MY Knitting Space

I'm part of the Organized Knitting Club on Ravelry. In fact, I'm moderating the Organized Space forum. My first task was asking people to measure their space and draw up a floorplan, so here's mine:

I use one room in my apartment for my knitting, tv viewing, and computer usage. The challenge is to analyze the space and figure out a plan to make the best use of it. This will include input from the other Organizing forums, to which Ravelers are contributing. My hypothesis is that the best storage tips in the world won't really be of any use if you can't fit the 'idea' into the space you have. I also plan to address issues of seating, light, and ergonomics. Whee!!

I don't yet have the courage to post 'before' pictures. There is some essential de-cluttering that needs to be done first (recommended reading: Jeff Campbell's "Clutter Control" - it changed my life, along with his book "Speed Cleaning").

Come back soon for my "before" pics...