Tuesday, February 14, 2012

WIP Eradication Campaign

My Webster's New World Dictionary defines "eradicate" as to uproot, stamp out, or destroy.  This sums up my attitude towards my pile of WIPs (works-in-progress, see the glossary) quite well.  I readily acknowledge and accept that having multiple WIPs at any given time is part of the creative process.  However, my current WIPs feel less like a creative process and more like a mountain of unfocused, unfinished work that are taking up too much of my limited storage space.  And that means both physical storage space and mental storage space.  I've learned that my brain has a limit on how many ongoing projects I can mentally accommodate at a time... and I've reached that boundary. 

So it's time to eradicate my WIPs, or at least enough of them that I don't feel overwhelmed by this mountain of unfinished work.  Out with the old to make room for the new!  This mountain has been built from many different kinds of WIPs - spinning, knitting, crochet, even one small weaving project.  I've been debating with myself how much I consider fiber prep to be a WIP.  It's tricky, because there are many stages of fiber prep between raw fleece and finished yarn.  Once I start washing a fleece, it feels like I have a WIP until all the fiber is clean, dry, and stored.  Now it's no longer a WIP.  Once I start picking it, then carding or combing, suddenly it's a WIP again until I've finished the prep that I started.  Then it can sit as fiber ready to spin, but until I start spinning it, it's not really a WIP taking up some of that precious mental space I mentioned.  So perhaps it's just the particular way my brain organizes project information, but raw fleece sitting in a bag on a shelf doesn't bother me.  But a washed fleece that is maybe half done with picking for carding is like a splinter in my brain, constantly nagging me to finish it. 

There is a shamed, judgemental part of me that wants to lay down the law, demanding that all WIPs are finished before I can start any new projects.  However, the happy and realistic side of me doesn't have any patience for that kind of puritanical nonsense.  So I know that it will take me the rest of this year to reduce my WIP mountain to rubble, but as long as I intersperse new projects with finishing old projects, I'll eventually reach my destination. 

In any case, I'm starting my WIP eradication campaign with my spinning WIPs.  I consider a spinning project finished with the yarn is completed (however I have designed it - singles or plied, washed, hung to dry, etc.), including the calculation of the final statisitics of the skein.  I have some easy spinning WIPs where the yarn is finished and all that remains to removing it from the WIP list is calculating the skein stats.  Other spinning WIPs are more extensive, where I've only started the singles, or the singles are complete and need to be plied.  Right now I have about six spinning WIPs.  Here is the list and the status of each WIP:

1.  BFL multicolored yarn / calculate skein stats
2.  Easter 2011 yarn / calculate skein stats
3.  "English Garden" sample yarn / finish plying
4.  Indiana Dunes yarn / start plying
5.  Black & white mill ends yarn / finish spinning singles
6.  Spinning inventory:  this is a biggie.  I am a member of Ravelry and I love their stash organizational tool.  And the truth is, I don't know exactly what I have in my stash right now.  I belonged to a fiber club for months (from my favorite dyer, woolgatherings), and I accumulated lots of handpainted tops that I never recorded in my inventory list.  I need to take pictures of the tops and record them into my stash inventory, writing down the kind of fibers, etc.  I have lots of natural fibers, too, that need to be recorded.  I want to be able to call up my inventory list and see exactly what I have at any given time in my stash.  It will make project planning so much easier!

Let's eradicate one WIP right now.  I'll calculate the skein stats for the multilcolored BFL yarn that I spun last April during a family visit to Indiana.  I left the handpainted top in one piece and spun it on to a single bobbin on my wheel.  Then I n-plied it to create the final 3-ply yarn, finished it by setting the twist in a hot water wash and letting the yarn dry.  Now I simply need to calculate the weight, thickness, and length of the yarn and it'll be removed from the WIP list. 

So here it is:

100% BFL wool
3-ply semiworsted
4.1 ounces, 9-11 WPI (worsted to bulky thickness), 102 yards

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