Saturday, April 26, 2014

How I Prepare for a New Term: Watrpriestess

Hi there!  Welcome to another preping for term post. I have gained a lot of my ideas from others, particularly the Stairway to the Top! thread from the last break month. Personally, I like to block out an hour or two while I'm alone in the house and get as much done as possible at once. It makes it less likely for me to forget anything, but I know that much time is a luxury for many so break things up as they will fit into your schedule.

First, I address my queue. I like to keep it stocked with both long term and short term project goals. There are several important pieces to having a usable queue. I'll illustrate them using the first three projects in my queue.

These are the little green boxes at the bottom of each project entry. I use shortened version of the tab names. For example, the tag "hy" stands for "have yarn" and means that I do not need to purchase anything to make the project. You can see that my first and third project both have that tag, and are ready to go if a class prompt lends itself to these projects. The first project also has the tag "bte" which stands for "before term ends" and means I need to finish this project before the end of July.

You can see that my second entry, the Kureyon Shorty Socks have no tags at all. While getting ready for the coming term, I am going to add tags to indicate that I have the yarn ready and waiting, and that I would like to finish the pattern before the end of this term.

Tabs can be created and maintained by going to the organize tab in the top right of the queue. This will show you the tabs you already have and allow you to create new sets. These sets are organized with tags. Once you've created a set, you control what projects go into the tab by assigning each tab a group of tags. For me, I use one tag per tab for my Cup projects. The three important tabs are "before term ends", "have yarn", and "owl ideas". The tags associated with them are abbreviations "bte", "hy", and "oi" respectively. Once tagged with one of these abbreviations, the project will automatically show up in the tab.

I use the tabs during the term to pick projects once classes have been posted. I read through each class prompt, then go to my queue. I first browse the "before term ends" tab, as those projects are my top priorities. Once I've fitted as many of those projects as possible to the prompts, I move to the "have yarn" tab. Using that tab second means I can work from stash and don't have to go out and purchase anything. This was particularly helpful last term, since I participated in the Destash thread with a cold sheep vow for January-March.

I use the "owl ideas" tab each break month and at the beginning of the term to pick out large projects that fit well with a particular owl prompt. If I find something I want to make during the term that I know will take several months of knitting, I put it in my queue with the "oi". In a break month (or when I have extra free time), I match the project up with an OWL I haven't yet achieved. This makes it way easier to write up an OWL proposal.

The second thing I do to prepare for a new term is to go through my WIPs. There are a few projects that have fallen by the wayside over the past few months, and I switch each of them to 'hibernate' once I get tired of looking at them in my notebook. Right now, my hibernating projects look like this:

That's 17 projects! That's too many things to have just laying about waiting to be finished. So, I pick three that I think I can finish during the break month. This time, it's the Holiday Cakewalk Socks, the Arches Sock, and the 5 in 1 Adventure mittens. I work on them until the only thing left is to weave in their ends, then save them for detention on the 1st of each month for the coming term.

Then I assess the rest. The OWL is one I withdrew from and reproposed, so I'm going to put it back into my queue. I know I want to frog the Crocodile Stitch Slippers, Gliders, Saroyan, and Afternoon Tea. So I put them in the froggy pond and remove them from my list. That cuts the hibernating projects down to 9, most of which long term blankets I work on when the mood hits.

I also write my OWL proposal some time during break month, and get feedback from the Advanced Studies thread. This means that my post is written and formatted, so I can just copy and paste it into the OWL proposal thread once it opens up without fear of having anything missing.

Finally, I like to clean up my crafting area. I put all needles into their proper storage place. I put away any stray balls of yarn that need to go back into the stash bins. I tidy up my knitting book and magazine shelf. If I know there's any big problems with my stash entries on Ravelry, I fix their yardages by entering it on the proper project page. I ship out any blanket squares I made for the Gryff baby blanket thread, or that I've made for charity. Starting with a clean and organized crafting area makes the beginning of each term smoother.

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