Sunday, January 31, 2016

February is for Finishing 2016: 10th Anniversary Addition

February is nigh, and here at chez woolly that means Finishing.

A quick perusal of the archives reveals that I started observing February is for Finishing in 2006 -- so that's ten years of dedicating at least one month out of any given twelve to wrestling with an unruly WIP-pile.

So unruly
During that time my relationship with knitting has deepened and grown.  At some point, probably in the past two or three years, I became a Knitter-with-a-capital-K.    I've also undergone some philosophical changes in how I choose to respond emotionally to my unfinished projects -- particularly the number thereof.   There's no need to retread old ground, as you've heard me talk about this before.

The point is, I don't really care how many projects I have on the needles, or even particularly how old they are (though a project does reach a certain age where if it continues to stubbornly remain unfinished, one must begin to ask the hard questions.)  

What I do care about is enjoying the process of creating beautiful things, while doing my best work.

So why still do "February is for Finishing"?

I'm not gonna lie, part of it is TRADITION! (Cue rooftop violinist here). But that's not the only reason.  I think that the act of taking stock and giving each of your unfinished projects a good, hard look is useful.  Sometimes you need a reason to decide to finish something.  Sometimes you need a reason to decide that you are NEVER GOING TO, and that's okay.  You can frog it (or in extreme cases just fling it).

So, if you're into gamification, or just like alliteration, I invite you to join me for a rousing month of FINISHING ALL THE THINGS.

The rules are simple:
  1. Take stock of all of your unfinished projects. If you blog, that'd be a swell place to put your list. I also recommend pattern pages on Ravelry, but I have a bias towards keeping accurate project records.  YMMV.
  2. Give each project a good, long stare.  Why isn't it finished?  Because you just cast it on a week ago?  No worries then.   Because you jacked up the cable two months ago and haven't been able to stomach fixing it?  That's harder, but you can work with that.  Because you have come to loathe it with the fiery passion of a thousand dying suns?  You may need to take drastic, final action.
  3. Create a strategy.  What are you going to target to finish this year?  Will you do the easy things first and create a snowball effect, ala Dave Ramsay?  Or will you just pick one really challenging project and focus on it for the month?  What else do you have going on in February that will aid, abet, or interfere with your finishing plans?  
  4. Orient yourself.  Go through each project that you won't be frogging and figure out precisely where you are in the pattern.  Note if there are any mistakes you need to fix before moving on.  I like to leave myself a post-it note directly on the pattern.  The idea is that there should be no impediment to picking the project up and getting going.
  5. Make sure you know where all of your tools are.  If you raided the project and stole it's needles to cast on something else (don't even lie and pretend you've never done that), you'll need to hunt them down and make them available again.
  6. Starting February 1st knit, crochet, weave, spin, or otherwise craft like the wind!
  7. Take a moment to be smug that this February has an entire extra day in it.
Optional Alternate Rules:
  1. March is for Making Mates rule: if you have socks, mittens, or other things that traditionally come in pairs on the needles, you may elect to only finish the one that's already been cast on,  You can then set the project aside until March, which is for Making Mates.
  2. Don't cast anything on during February (this used to be one of the main rules, but between things like Winter Olympics, and other knitting games or challenges, sometimes a body just has to cast something on in February.)  
I'll be back with my list of projects in a separate post, as this has surely gone on long enough.

Who's with me?  
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