Friday, August 10, 2007

Done Is Beautiful

How many projects do you have partially finished? How many sweaters are knitted, but not assembled? How many socks are awaiting heels? How many knitting needles, crochet hooks, or bobbins have you bought because the others are currently "dedicated" to another project? These things, usually known as UnFinished Objects (or UFOs) seem to be the bane of every fiber artist, needleworker, or reenactor. My own list is frighteningly long, and covers a multitude of different crafts: spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting, crocheting, sewing. This tendency to create UFOs slops over into other areas: the house, the gardens.

In some cases, there's a good reason for a project stalling. For example, we can't do any more work on the house until the attic renovation is finished, and we're currently waiting on the "stair guys" to call us with a start date on the new attic stairs installation. We need to finish landscaping the last part of the backyard, but I need 3 Cecile Brunner climbers and the nursery has to special-order them.

In other cases, however, it's simply my own broad interests, and boredom with doing just one thing at a time, that causes a closet full of UFOs. Sometimes, I just don't feel like sewing, or crocheting, or knitting. Sometimes, I need something for a specific reenacting event, so I have to drop everything to work on that project. Sometimes, what I thought was just going to take a day or two takes a week or two...or month or two...or a year or two. So I end up with yet another UFO.

Fortunately, I'm not alone in this affliction--it seems to affect all of us at one time or another, and among my group of friends, it's considered nearly normal. However, we're all trying to change our ways, and we've adopted a new mantra: Done Is Beautiful. Get one project finished before you start the next project. Revel in the sense of accomplishment when you can finally look at something, and realize that the rest of the yarn can be thrown into the scrap wool bin, or the tools can finally be cleared off the front porch.

Obviously, it's impossible to have just one knitting project going on at a time, especially if knitting is something that gets dragged to meetings. Lace knitting just doesn't work when you have to keep track of what some moron is proposing during a meeting, so "brainless" knitting projects are essential for taking to meetings, watching movies, and hanging out. As a break from brainless knitting, I need one regular knitting project. As a break from knitting, I need one crochet project. As a break from yarn, I need a costuming project. As a break from costuming...wait a minute...I'm back to the stack of UFOs. Done is beautiful. Done is beautiful. Done is beautiful. Let's try this again.

  • 1 pair of socks from handspun (regular knitting project)
  • 1 pinwheel sweater (brainless knitting project)
  • 1 afghan (crochet project)
  • 1 late 15th/early 16th century Flemish dress (costuming project)
  • 1 lb. of Falklands combed top (spinning project)
  • Install drip system to plants in containers (gardening project)
This is what I'll admit to right now. The true list is much, much longer, but this is enough to keep me busy, especially as my wonderful, blissful, child-free summer has come to an abrupt end with the news that I need to move, lock, stock, and cases of paper, to a new classroom across the campus from my old classroom. I hate moving, as it generates its own list of things that have to be done, all with a deadline of August 21st. Most of the big things (packing, moving, and unpacking all my books, papers, supplies, and files; setting up the room) are finished, but there are the details:
  • Organizing my desk
  • Hanging my historical posters, credentials, and awards
  • Hanging the screen for the overhead projector
  • Changing the door knobs on the closet so I can chain and lock them
  • Pulling hundreds of staples out of the wooden walls--did I mention this room has no bulletin boards?

I will get all this done: the classroom stuff in time for the start of school, and the rest eventually. I will get this done because...

Done is Beautiful.