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? 


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.

Thoughts on WIPs, WI(s)Ps and UFOs

How many projects do you generally feel comfortable having in progress at a time? Tell us about your one-at-a-time or rotation habits!

I cannot ever remember being a one at a time stitcher. The day my grandma drew my first sampler on gingham, we also got a small needlepoint kit at Kmart. I finished the needlepoint kit but never the sampler. I really wish I had kept the sampler but it was binned when I did a UFO clean-out about 18 years ago because I was losing my stash area. I’ve been lucky in almost always having space for UFO’s or WI(s)P’s or WIP’s and supplies everywhere I’ve lived. With space for stash, comes the ability to kit lots of things. This works for me since I tend to be an ADD crafter. I bounce from project to project as the urge hits. This does not help with getting things finished. I’ve had a subscription to Just Cross-stitch since it started in 1987. At some point I actually started reading the articles as well and one year there was an article about why projects become UFOs. The writer suggested that we quit working on things when we either run into something we don’t feel comfortable doing, a technique that bores us, or a stitch we don’t know. I would like to add to that, knowing you made a mistake and not being able to find it.
The author suggested creating a list (pronounced multiple tab spreadsheet in my case) of the unfinished projects and what is the next step toward completion. I found that most of my pieces had one of two issues – they either needed back-stitching or frogging. For the non-stitchers or beginning stitchers – it’s called frogging since you have to “rip-it, rip-it” to remove the floss you just put in to get back to where the error was made.

This taught me I need to backstitch as I go because I don’t like to backstitch, which is odd because I do enjoy blackwork. Maybe it’s the thought of piercing the threads which are already there that makes the difference. Anyway, that started the analytical part of my stitching. I now keep an excel sheet of my projects, my rotation, my finished work, the WIP and FUP lists and a separate inventory management system which crashed and new options are needed.

2014 Project List  (this is an excel file if you would like to see it)

When I started tracking I would have said I felt over 60 projects would be too many and made me panicked.  However, as I’ve worked on bring it under 60 I’ve found myself trying to justify new starts.  The goal is to lower it to a total of 30 WIP’s counting only those items on the FUPpy list that I can do myself.  [FUPpy is a finished unfinished project – the stitching is done but it needs to be framed, pillowed or ornamented).  I really don’t think I should count items where the only reason it’s on the list is I haven’t budgeted the cash to send it to a framer, finisher,  or machine quilter.  In fact as I write this post I made that change and added a tab called Cash Needed and while I was at that, I carried over the tab from 2 years ago for the old WIP Killers list.  I eliminated some things off it but I still have far to go.  It did feel good to see that a piece which was only 24% completed 2 years ago is now over 54%.  I also added a list of items which I have fully kitted and ready to start.  I thought this might be helpful as I consider more stitching from stash this year.  The interesting thing is that as I look at the list of things that I really wanted to start during the year of the TW Carousel horses, a couple of them don’t appeal to me anymore.

Anyway to get back on topic, the reorganization leaves me with 40 items on my WIP list which is a lot closer to where I wanted to be.  I’m itching to start on Spring Queen by Mirabilia but I have about 3 smalls I should start and complete first.   I currently have no small pieces at all on my WIP list – they’re all completed.  I really do want to complete at least 2 of the large pieces that I have going.

I tend to reorganize my rotation every year and this year, I’m using a category system.  You can read about it here or you can check out the link to the Stitch from Stash 2014 page at the top of the blog. It seems to be working for me.  One of the other new things I’m trying is a stitch journal where I record the amount of time and the project I worked on each day.  I have a ton of empty notebooks and this seemed like a good use for one and I think it’s helping.  I just quake at the thought of having to admit that I didn’t do anything for myself on a day.  So we’re two months into the year and I’m making progress and the rotation seems to be working for my short attention span.  Here’s to keeping it up for a full year…

First Full moon of the year….Topic – Introduce yourself!

Steps up to the mike…taps…
Hi, my name is Stasha and I suffer from Completion Anxiety. At the top of the blog, you’ll see the navigation to go to my Stitch from Stash/Wipocalypse/WIP/UFO page showing the initial status of all my started projects or things I’ve committed to do. On January 1st, I completed the Homespun Elegance Majestic Bird pattern that I’ve committed to make into an ornament. Then over the last weekend, I finished one of the sock monkey ornaments that I’ve had in my FUPPY pile for over 2 years. But this month I’ve been concentrating on one of my 3 oldest WIPs. A Petit point purse from my Grandmother’s sewing room. I figure that it’s a 60+ year old WIP.

Progress as of 15/Jan/2014

Progress as of 15/Jan/2014

The back is missing from the kit but Carol offered to send me 14 ct canvas to make a back. So now I’m hoping I have enough 8 strand cotton floss to finish the entire thing. I will admit though that I am ready to move on to the next slot on my rotation which will be my TW FruitBell pull that I started sometime in the 1990’s.

The big goal this year is to have more finishes than starts and to finish more older pieces than new pieces.

Wrapping up the year…

So I finished 25 projects this year but only 3 of them were started before the start of 2013.  I started the year with 36 WIP’s and 27 Items in the Fuppy pile.  I’m ending the year with 33 WIP’s and 30 items in the Fuppy pile.  So instead of having a lowered number of items on the total list, I’m still in the same boat.  I think the key for the next year will be to get the FUPPY pile worked on.

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?

Wednesday WIP update

So I finished up the 10 hour slot on Fall Carousel horse which is nice because I’m so ready to work on larger count.  My TW Carousel horses are done on 40 ct linen over 2 so working on them for more than a 10 hour slot is hard on the eyes.

Image

At thirty hours, 33% of the squares on the graph are completed and a few more could be if I put in just a few hours more of backstitching.
Then there is the Dr. Who SAL – the final block was released today and I’ve already transferred it to the fabric ready to stitch. Of course that doesn’t mean much since 11 was traced a week ago and still hasn’t been stitched.

who731

Which leads us to the next issue, now that the rotation slot for Fall Carousel Horse is complete, what comes next, finishing the warp on the loom or working on Fire and Ice?

IMG_1730

Here is the loom with only about 40 strands left to put in before I can start weaving. Except I’ve misplaced the pattern but I know which book it’s in so it should be easy to find.

FandI731

This is Kustom Krafts Fire and Ice which I started in Jan 2003 and have finished the first page but still have 85% of the pattern to stitch. The nice thing is it’s on 28 count fabric which looks huge after the 40 count I’ve been working on. I’ve only put 20 hours into this piece and I haven’t touched it since July of 2004 so it may take a bit to remember where I am and get into the pattern again. It’s a good thing that I have a list of Hitchcock movies I want to see and stitch too.

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.