Getting Organized III: An Approach

After organizing the blog, I took last week to organize my virtual craft stuff and am now coming full circle to what kicked off my organization crusade: the projects. I’m glad I went this route primarily because it helped me identify patterns, figure out objectives and come to the most important point in an overhaul: a strategy – or what is probably better classified as “an approach.”

This won’t so much keep things under control, as help them from getting out of hand and provide a structure for the next time I want to organize or kick up the existing level of order. Before I get into the details, I’d like to point out that this is a work in progress and that I welcome suggestions/feed back – especially if at any point you think something along the lines of “no good will come of this.”

Organizing the blog lead me to realize I had two categories of projects: regular UFO’s and Sagas, or more long term projects, and thus that I need a different method of keeping track of my projects than a single queue. This meant going to my various on-line places to sort out a system for the two categories, only to realize that my virtual stash was a hellish mess of its own (see Getting Organize II). I dumped all the stuff I could onto my Ravelry favorites and started a Queue folder in my bookmarks for everything else. When all was said and done, I had over 300 patterns, which just wouldn’t do and the cull began.

There wasn’t really any rhyme or reason to what I deleted, I just knew it wasn’t something I was dying to get started on and/or that it was something I’d never wear even though I’d love to make it.Β  As a rule, I don’t gift anything I wouldn’t walk down the street in, so if it didn’t scream Make this for [insert name of loved one]!!! it was also gone. At the end of the week, I found myself in the same place virtually as I was physically: with things I want to keep but don’t have enough space for.

As I mentioned in my last organization post, I’ve decided to make more of my clothing and to do so in the most ethical and sustainable way possible, so this means editing the stuff I do have so that I can make space to keep my projects in progress. It also means that I need to come up with some sort of system and this is where the physical and the virtual meet. Virtually, I don’t have the same constraints on space as I do in my 400-ish square foot apartment but given that I’m going to be more intentional about making my clothing and managing my projects, I needed to streamline even once I got everything down to 175 patterns. To that effect, I started “bundles” for my Ravelry favorites so that maybe seeing the same category of items in the same place would help me narrow things down. It did, but not in a way that helped me to get down to 50 items, like I’d hoped. Instead, I figured out how I want to craft (knit, crochet and later sew). Here are the categories I ended up with for knitting and a general idea/purpose to guide their organization.

  • Socks: I’m teaching myself about various sock techniques and trying them out to find one that works best for me. I figure I need two patterns per heel technique, one cuff-down and another toe-up.
  • Tops: I’d like to make more of my clothes in the most sustainable way possible, so about 10 patterns that include both short and long sleeves should do (I’m at 26 now). This is more about making functional and interesting tops than about learning, so they need to be at my current level of experience.
  • Sweaters: I love these and where I live, layering is key, but I don’t need 35. I haven’t figured this out, but I need some cardigans to dress up my jeans&t-shirt look, pullovers and since I’ve always wanted to try my hand at knitting a hoodie, I’m going to keep the easiest pattern I can find for one without a pointed hood.
  • Shawls/Scarves: I knit for a charity that calls for these so I’ll keep 5 that I need to purchase and 10 free. Unfortunately, I also need some of these pieces and they are really good opportunities to step up my knitting game… so maybe 5 more that are more challenging/to keep? I’d love any help or insights here.
  • Hats & Gloves: They’re good for gifts, good for charity, good for upping my knitting game and always needed in this layering climate, so culling these will be the most challenging. I have no plan for this other than: don’t add more until you knit at least 10!

Once everything was sorted (I set up the patterns the I couldn’t get on Ravelry in a bookmarks folder sub-folders that mirror these Ravelry categories), I wrote up the categories above in my notes, and that (at long last) is how I figured out that I should be approaching my projects via three queues:

  1. Socks
  2. Charity/gifts
  3. Clothes (for me)

So, I’ll always be knitting a pair of socks. Once I’m done with the Nice Ribbed Socks, I’ll go to the Sock Queue and tackling a technique I’d like to learn. (Right now it’s looking like short row heels.)

When I’m done knitting Girl On Fire (charity), I’ll start on the Black Sheep Skully (a gift for The Spouse).

And when I’m done with the Sweet November Shawl (yes, that’s still happening, and now that there’s a plan, hopefully, I’ll finish it soon.), I’ll start the Jasmine Cardigan at long last.

In physical space this definitely means that I needed another bin. I spoke with The Spouse about it on Friday and Sunday she surprised me with a smaller version of my waterproof Yarn Bin. I can’t lie, I was disappointed – or was until I put all my current projects and the yarn for the Jasmine Cardigan inside. Everything fit, and definitely looked like enough to be getting on with. The second bin may not be big enough for my larger needles to lay flat along the side, but it does mirror the capacity my brain has to deal with projects and that’s even better. I forget how well she knows me some times and I’m now thankfuly that she knows when to save me from myself πŸ™‚

Here is what my stash looks like now:


Right now all the needles that are too long for that cylinder (I think its a wine gift box but my mom filled it with yarn for christmas, and I thought it was perfect for needles) are jammed in the larger yarn bin and I’m trying to figure out a better solution. I think I’m going to breakdown and buy a case for all of them – I welcome any advice and ideas. Thus far, I’ve tried to find stuff on Ravelry and other knitting sites but they mostly seem to be concerned with circular needles which seem to be all the rage now…hmmm… I wonder if that’s partially how I ended up inheriting all these metal needles…

Okay, that turned out to be way longer than I thought, sorry about that. I am writing a post for my Liebster Awards! I promise it’s coming, I just need to get through an update on the Mood Scarf and Sock It To Me Thursday, late e-mails (sorry if this is you) and I’ll get to typing πŸ™‚


19 thoughts on “Getting Organized III: An Approach

    1. I got it! I think I stayed about $0.14 within my budget too! This book should keep me out of trouble for quite some time (my wife is convinced that if I’m knitting socks then at least I’m not discovering stuff to add to my stash and I kind of agree – you folks are dangerous πŸ˜‰ )

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It sounds like we are doing some of the same stuff πŸ™‚ I kept buying yarn because I thought I didn’t have what I needed for a project. However, now that I’ve got a lot of it (I still need to add more) in my Stash on Ravelry, it helps to know if I have the yarn I need when starting a pattern. I still need to create bundles and see if there are patterns I’m just dying to make.

    Have you checked out Etsy using the search term straight knitting needle organizer? I’m not sure of your budget, but they do have several different styles that might strike your inspiration to make one yourself. I purchased this one, however it was super slow to get it: She customizes and will allow you to choose how many pockets and what size you want.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, good call. My budget is kind of small, but I am willing to pay because I weirdly don’t want to factor a needle organizer into my craft schedule πŸ™‚

      Good luck with the sorting – it takes forever but it helps SO MUCH.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fantastic! I know you will love whatever you picked out; just for the ease in having all your needles together in one easily identifiable space πŸ™‚ I just ordered some project bags and I can’t wait to get them. I’m also thinking about dusting off my sewing machine and trying to make my own.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Truth! Because I’ve learned my lesson, I even took measurements and made sure the organizer could fit in the larger bin. No more stray needles!!! I can’t wait πŸ˜€
          I think project bags are going to be my first sewing project. A friend of ours moved out of state and left us hers, so now it’s all down to learning how to use it. At least now I know that I need three of them.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I really need to get organized in Ravelry too. I just keep adding things without thinking things through. Mostly free sock patterns. I’m using Socks Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry to help me with a fingering weight stash down and to fill my sock drawer with socks. If you ever have problems with your socks, the SKA group is really nice, friendly, and they are all willing to help beginning sock knitters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh! I’m headed over there as soon as I finish typing! Thank you!!!
      You are also more than welcome to join our sock-a-long on Thursdays. We write a short post on our progress, snap some pictures and link up so everyone can oooh and aaah over the progress. Thus far, it’s kept us all on point πŸ™‚

      I am a sucker for free patterns and I’m convinced that free sock patterns are my weakness, so you’re not alone! I think I have it down to under 20 now but it was not easy – I mostly went with the styles of socks I’m trying to learn, (short row, flap heel and after thought) so hopefully that keeps me too busy knitting and off of pattern hunting on Ravelry πŸ˜‰


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