Thought for today 

So the universe is not quite what you thought it was. You’d better rearrange your beliefs then, because you certainly can’t rearrange the universe. –Isaac Asimov

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1st Wipocalypse post for 2017

Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

Introduce yourself – I’m a woman who lives with 2 beagles and a husband.  2 of 3 children are out of the home, the middle one is attending school and will be living here for some time (2 years left of undergrad and 4 years of grad school).  I work as a product owner for a company which focuses on making banking easier for you through software improvements to the ATM and transforming how the branch is structured.  I just got my ScrumMaster certification and I’m looking for opportunities to move into a ScrumMaster position.  My hobbies are fiber arts, which includes stitching, quilting, weaving and needlepoint. My other hobby is volunteering for organizations I love such as the symphony, Salt Lake Comic Con, This is the Place Historic park and STEM organizations.

Introduce my projects – I currently have 31 WIPs across my hobbies.  I took the step of declaring 2 projects as UFOs this year.  They were 2 quilt tops from my grandmothers house that I haven’t actually touched since I got them. Since I haven’t actually put in any work, I’m going to move them to my kitted but not started list.  I have 13 cross-stitch projects.  I’m participating in Soulful Stitchings Year of WIPs and in the Stitch from Stash SAL 2017a and having an agile mindset, I’ve done some capacity planning and realized that I’m not going to be able to finish everything this year. So in order here are my cross-stitch WIPS, designer and year started, and status.

  1. Autumn Queen – Mirabilia – 2004 – I should finish this during the first week of January
  2. Ecology –  – 2016 – I’m doing this as an auction piece for my daughter’s boss.
  3. Fruit Bellpull – Teresa Wentzler – 1997 – Working on plum block, 2 blocks left, this is on my Year of Wips list
  4. Dragon Ride – Teresa Wentzler – 2000 – Capacity planning says I could finish this during this year
  5. Summer Carousel Horse – Teresa Wentzler – 2011 
  6. Spring Carousel Horse – Teresa Wentzler – 2011
  7. Fall Carousel Horse – Teresa Wentzler – 2010
  8. Fortunate Traveller – Teresa Wentzler – 2003
  9. Main Street: Crafter’s Paradise – Marie Barber (Just CrossStitch)- 2011
  10. Sentinel – Fire Wing Designs – 2013
  11. Anniversary Rose Sampler – Lauren Sauer – 2015
  12. Ristipisto Jouluha Kit – Ekelund and Esspe – 2016
  13. Wanted: Santa – Lizzie Kate – 2017 – This is my new year new start and I hope to complete it in January

I have 3 Embroidery WIPs, 4 Needlepoint canvases, one quilt up on a stand for quilting, and 15 quilt tops to be finished.

Goals for the  year –  Since I’m participating in the Year of WIPs SAL and it only includes cross-stitch, I’m not planning on working on my quilting WIPs at all this year. Based on the number of stitches that I completed during the last 2 years, I average about 3000 stitches per month.  That means, I can reasonably complete #1-4 and #13 during this year.  I do want to complete more of the TW’s so that I only have one TW WIP in my list.  My husband would like me to narrow down from 13 to 3 on my WIP list. 

Longer term Goals – I’m trying to work through several kitted projects.  One of the legacies I want to leave my children is I would like each to have a seasonal set of designs.  The TW Carousel horses, Mirabilia’s Queens and Joan Elliott Fairies are the 3 seasonal sets I’m doing.  The other trilogy I would like to do is a 3 Carousel set – one for each child: these are Patricia Allison’s Dragon Carousel, TW’s Carousel and Fire Wing Designs Wild Hunt. I have several other pieces that I want to stitch for me that are kitted and ready to go like Nora Corbett’s Tiger Lily, Mirabilia’s Raven Queen, TW’s Peaceable Kingdom, Mirabilia’s Mother’s Arms and 2 other shelves of kitted pieces.  In order to finish everything I want to do in the next decade, I need to increase the amount of time I spend stitching.  In 2016 I only spent 136.82 recorded hours.  I didn’t record my time for the first 4 months of the year so I’m only averaging about 17 hours stitching per month which is about 4.25 hours per week.  There is no reason I shouldn’t be able to double that during this year, especially if I cut down the time I spend playing computer games. I could use some tips on finding more stitching time this year. 

What time management techniques do you use to help you find stitching time? 


Stitch May-nia results as of May 22

There is still one week of my May-nia left for this year but This is what I’ve accomplished: AutumnQueen2016
Mirabilia’s Autumn Queen 4.5 hours close to 1000 stitches
Overdyed Dragon
OverDyed Dragon by Dragon Dreams 2.75 hours
DrWho
Dr. Who Quilt 1.5 hours
FruitBellpull
Fruit Bellpull by Theresa Wentzler 1.5 hours
SomethingWicked
Something Wicked by La-D-Da
FortunateTraveller
Fortunate Traveller by Theresa Wenztler 1.25 hours stitching 1 hour sorting pattern
Tidepools
Reflections of TidePools by Ro Pace – 2 hours
Fall Carousel
Fall Carousel Horse by Theresa Wentzler 1 hour
Not pictured
Anniversary Roses by Lauren Sauer
Bucilla Purse Kit from 1943
Final picture –
Mardi Gras Quilt I’m working on…20160522_194808

For more information on my new stitching process – check out my new blog – Agile Crafter

 

Bringing Agile to my hobby….

I’ve been reading and implementing Scrum/Agile practices at work. I am advocating it to my team as a quicker way to work.  We use scrum boards at work and as I was updating my Excel spreadsheet which I use for my stitching, it hit me all these projects are my current backlog.  I have even more projects which are kitted and not started so those might be my roadmap.  The two filing cabinets of patterns are my ungroomed funnel.
It really hit home when I looked at the calendar I’m using for my plan for Stitch May-nia – It’s a planned sprint.

So some things I’m missing.

  • What is my definition of done?
  • What is the acceptance criteria for the stories?
  • What is the theme of this sprint?

As I’m typing the questions, the answers are coming.

  • The theme of this sprint is re-acquainting myself with the projects.
  • The acceptance criteria is 2 days of stitching and track the progress (so I have a starting metric).
  • The definition of the project done is displayed or gifted.

My husband has started to worry as the kids move out that I will continue to start projects and buy new patterns without finishing them.  He has asked that I cut my WIP list from 35 to under 10.  I can agree with this.  However, the thought of working on one piece at a time without any new starts makes me queasy and following his plan, I would end up with 2 large pieces at the end before doing any new starts.

I enjoy rotating pieces and I feel I make progress but the 10 hour block I’ve been using hasn’t been working for me. When I get to a stopping point, I want to stop and sometimes I want to keep going when I hit the end of the time slot.

I’m thinking instead, I’m going to start creating stitching stories for the projects in the rotation.  Things like a set number of stitches or a page or a segment of the design.  Then I’m going to story point them based on relative size. This way, I can start getting a cadence and a velocity.  I find if I have too much on my plate, I freeze up and don’t stitch or quilt or do anything except play games on my tablet.  Having things pointed and knowing what is achievable each sprint could help keep the anxiety from hitting.   And if things come up, I shouldn’t be afraid to call the sprint.

I’ve been thinking about monthly FlossTube videos so that could be both my demo and planning.  If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find something to use for my Kanban board.

Guilt Free January

Several years ago when social networking was done on bulletin boards like Yuku, the idea of Guilt Free January started.  You could start as many pieces you wanted to during January with no consequences.  I participated in 2003 and still have many of the projects I started.  For the last several years, I’ve been concentrating on finishing WIPs and trying to get my list of unfinished projects below 63 (most of those are Finished Unfinished projects).

This year however, I’m thinking seriously of new starts.  I’ve got several things kitted up and it would be so easy to start something new. I’ve got Sleepy Hollow from Glendon Place and La-De-Da’s The Raven both Halloween pieces.  I have my three Carousels – Patricia Allison’s Dragon Carousel, Teresa Wentzler’s The Carousel, and Fire Wing Designs The Wild Hunt and I have my Mirabilia Queens – I have Autumn as a WIP and Summer, Spring and Winter are kitted up.  And that doesn’t count all the smalls I could do and there are 2 kits DH bought me to stitch for him…

But then I think of my completion list from last year and the number of completed new starts compared to the older WIPs.  If I haven’t changed my mind about new starts at that point, I look at my WIPs and find something close to the one that I’m thinking of starting.  So far it’s worked.

And the rotation is looking good and close to final…

I think I have a cunning plan…. I have categories for my existing WIPS

1. Obligation/New Start   – This is the slot for obligation stitching, figuring out how to restart the stalled WIPs, or a new piece if two have been completed.  The first one is an obligation ornament I agreed to as part of a church service auction.

2. Fuppy – This is a slot for dealing with my Finished Unfinished Projects – making ornaments, bellpulls, framing or quilting

3. Teresa Wentzler     – I have Six projects by designer Teresa Wentzler and at least 2 more of hers I would like to do that are fully kitted.  So she deserves her own slot.

4. Not Cross-stitch    – Needlepoint, Weaving, Blackwork, Embroidery, Crochet projects fit here.

5. Piecing    – I have 3 projects that just need sashing (blocks completed)  so guess where I’m starting.

6. Cross-stitch   – All my other cross-stitch WIPs that are not TW

7. Screaming   – This slot is for anything that is screaming at me when the time to fill it comes up.

Outside of the rotation    
Travel  Piece –  this is for any small piece I can fit in my purse when I know that I have time to work on it.

You can see pictures of the list of WIPs on My Stitch from Stash 2014 page.

A two and a half hour delay….

That’s right, I’m supposed to be working on fiscal reporting analysis for a client but I’ve already established that there is a disconnect between the checks issued list and the SQL reports, why can’t they kick it back to the report writer to figure out where she screwed up.  No, I have to go find what isn’t working for a SQL report when I don’t have database access or access to the report query.

So given this situation, what did I do – Put together the preliminary rotation for next year.  I have 42 total slots.  Yes, I know that is just far too many for a true rotation but I haven’t figured out a decent way to name things that would be a 5 to 10 slot rotation besides, I’m trying to look at everything I have in progress without starting anything new and if I gave slots to the type of craft then I wouldn’t hit everything before I could give myself more excuses to start new things  It’s not like I hit everything this year but, with this list I have hope, right?

If any of the rotation experts that see this have suggestions, I would love to hear them.  So without further ado, here is the the preliminary work list for 2014….

Slot Style Project Designer
1 Crochet Camo Afghan
2 Cross-stitch Be Naughty/ Too Late? Lizzie Kate
3 Cross-stitch Fruit Bell Pull TW
4 Piecing Dr. Who SAL Quilt Fandom in Stitches
5 GFJ PROJECT
6 Needlepoint Dragon Doorstop Dragon Dreams
7 Cross-stitch Summer Carousel Horse TW
8 Blackwork Blackwork Dragon Dragon Dreams
9 FUPPY
10 Piecing Jungle Quilt
11 Cross-stitch Autumn Queen Mirabilia
12 Embroidery Pegasus Dimensions
13 Cross-stitch Autumn Carousel Horse TW
14 Needlepoint Purse Kit from Mamas
15 Cross-stitch Fire and Ice (Kustom Krafts) KK
16 Crochet 63 Square Afghan
17 NEW PROJECT
18 Piecing Monster Quilt – hand turned
19 Piecing Monster Quilt – iron on
20 Cross-stitch Spring Carousel Horse TW
21 Embroidery Knotty Sheep EGA
22 Weaving Varigated Warp fabric
23 FUPPY
24 Piecing Garden Path
25 Cross-stitch Dragon Ride TW
26 Needlepoint Stars for a New Millennium Tony Mineri
27 Cross-stitch Sentinel Fire Wings Design
28 FUPPY
29 Piecing Star Struck Mystery Traditional
30 Embroidery Rainbow Unicorn Dimensions
31 Cross-stitch Fortunate Traveller TW
32 Piecing Scrap Pieced Wandering Foot
33 Cross-stitch O Christmas Tree MLI
34 FUPPY
35 Needlepoint Tide Pools Ro Pace
36 Piecing Mama’s UFO – Good Housekeeping
37 Cross-stitch Main Street: Crafter’s Paradise Marie Barber (JCS)
38 Needlepoint Victorian Stocking Peter Ashe
39 Piecing Mama’s UFO – Bonnie’s Quilt
40 Cross-stitch The Circus Carousel Threaded Treasures
41 Piecing Oriental Kaleidoscope
42 NEW PROJECT

A few clarifications:  FUPPY is my stack of Finished Unfinished projects – there are many of these that need to be worked on – a quilt on the quilt frame, ornaments, bellpulls, etc.  So for every 5 to 6 fun projects, I need to completely finish a finished object.  I know myself well enough to know that I will want some new starts during the year if only because I look at what I have and nothing screams “Work on me!”  and besides Salt Lake Comic Con is having a Star Trek Next Generation reunion and I want to make a signature block quilt if I can get them all.

Also, if I get myself in gear, #1 will be completed before New Years hits and maybe a good chunk of #2 but we’ll see.

Thoughts, Suggestions?

And the Year of Carousel Horses is Over

January                                                                               December

It’s been an interesting year.  By having something to focus on I’ve been able to weather some interesting events this year.

I don’t work the same place I did in January, I’m in a better place than I was before with great people and an organization which focuses on client service.

I’ve stitched more this year than I have in a long time.  I managed to finish 8 projects while concentrating on the Ponies.  And Be Naughty sat on my desk at work all during the holiday season.

It’s been an interesting year but I’m looking forward to the WIPocalypse.

Easy things that are hard to do?

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.Dale Carnegie

Carnegie was always the master. I’ve heard that a lot of the book “The Secret” which is a huge hit right now comes from Carnegie’s work and the work of some of the other earlier gurus on success. If the tips are timeless, why is it so hard for people to implement them?

I have a list of the Laws of Success from Napolean Hill on my desk. I have to admit that the first one is what I often have trouble focusing on – – Have a definite chief aim. I know people that do have a definite chief aim in their lives. Everything they do contributes in some fashion to that aim. I have many things that I want to do but I’m still having issues with what and who I want to be. That definite chief aim is still a bit fuzzy. About a year ago, I put together a life mission statement but I have to admit that I haven’t really been using it as a definite chief aim. I’ve been floating, letting life and projects pull me along instead of managing them and pulling them along. Could it be that I don’t really want what I think I should want?

Maybe it’s time to step back and re-evaluate and write a new mission statement either that or start acting on the one I said I wanted last year.