Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stash Management (Again!)

Kute Kitty Kutups for the day: Hi-Hi vs. the Turkey Jerky bag. He fished it out of the trash and has been happily attacking it in the vain hope of getting something tasty out of it.
Ain't gonna happen, fella. D4 (and I) beat you to the good stuff!
But hope springs eternal, and the boy needs his exercise.

There. That's the eye candy for the day. Knitting pics next post, promise.

Today we're going to talk about Stash Management, Containment, and Associated Other Topics. Well, I'm going to talk. You can choose to read on, or close the browser window right now.
Your choice.

Way way back in January, when I did my first post on Stash Control, I received an email from a quilter in the Shenandoah Valley. Like many of us, she and her fellow quilt guild members were feeling as if their stashes were getting out of control and they decided to do something about it. I won't go into their whole plan, but I'm delighted that I was able to inspire them to start. Daisy has kept me updated on their monthly program, and I just loved this month's so much, I asked her if I could share it. So here it is, and thank you, Daisy!
“So how long does it take to make a quilt, anyway?”
We’ve all been asked that question. How many of us really know the answer?
About four years ago I actually tracked how long it took me to make a particular quilt because I knew I would be asked that question about that piece. Before I began, I made a timetable listing my guesstimates for the various steps. I used that old adage: “Figure out how long it should take you to do something, then multiply that answer by three.” Then I kept a log of the different things I did and how long I spent on each. I didn’t total anything until after the piece was completed.
It was an eye-opening experience.
I was wrong on every single guesstimate. I should have multiplied most of the answers by four to six.
Why bring this up in a column on stash management? Because learning how much time it actually took me to create a quilt was a major reality check. I learned that it takes A LOT longer in reality than in my imagination. Now I stop and think before committing to a new project. How long will it take me to do this? Okay, how long will it take me to do this now that I’ve remembered to multiply by four? So, do I have time to do this in and around my pre-existing obligations? Finally, do I want to use my time on this new project or would I rather use the time in a different way?
This month’s task: Track your quilting time for one week (seven days). When you finish a quilting task (cutting, piecing, pressing, etc.), make a note of the activity and the amount of time you spent. I usually note in minutes (cut blue strips – 10 mins; pieced star blocks – 25 mins) on the wall calendar in my work room.
At the end of the week, look at your results. How much time did you spend quilting? More time than you thought you did? If so, did you accomplish as much as you expected? Did you spend less time quilting than you thought you did? If so, this might explain why some projects seem to take so long. Are you more aware overall of how you spend your time? (Whenever I do this exercise, I discover that I spend more time thinking, talking, and reading about quilting than actually doing it.)
Finally, now that you’re hypersensitive to your quilting time, mentally review your list of projects. Any changes in status?

There it is. If you mentally translate "quilting time" to "knitting time" and figure out how long each project takes, I think that you, like me, will see that the SABLE acronym takes on a new meaning entirely.
For instance, I spent two hours last night knitting (and watching Dancing With the Stars). During that time, I cast on the two fronts for the CPH (44 stitches each) and knit a WHOLE inch. Hmmm... at this rate? How long will it take me to get the whole thing done?

I'm going to be working on my stash organization with a whole new understanding of the TIME involved in each project, and I have a feeling that a lot of things are going to go by the wayside. After all, I don't have a deal with the Almighty that I can't go until I finish all my projects!


Mary in VA said...

I actually ended up with a number for this last summer. I was doing an inventory of my stash and keeping track of items I actually finished over the summer. Assuming that was a typically usage rate, I projected out how much yardage I can knit in a year, and then divided that into the yardage of the stash. Answer - 81+ years. Since I'm in my upper 40's, I had to face facts that I had an issue!

Debbi said...

What a great concept. Thanks for sharing this idea ... not that I'll actually use it or anything, but maybe I will stop and think before I hit the order button the next time.