WiP Tips

So, you’ve decided to join in with the Autumn WiP-Along – hurrah! We’re so happy to have you on board! This is going to be a great month, full of loveliness and encouragements and finished projects.

But before we get started, we need to start deciding what to work on. And that can be the biggest challenge of all! So here are a few tips, in no particular order, to hopefully help make the whole process a little easier. Some of these tips are specific to yarny crafts, others are more general. Use the ones that are of most use to you!

#1: Be Realistic

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have enough projects to keep you going until the end of time! Even with the best will in the world, working 24/7, you just aren’t going to finish them all in the space of a month. So pick a few that you actually have a chance to complete. This leads on to…

#2: Try not to compare yourself to others

There may be some people who have eight or nine projects on their lists. Most likely, they will be either small projects that won’t take much time and attention to finish, or perhaps bigger projects with only a few rows left to complete. Maybe you’ve started a massive blanket and aren’t even halfway through yet. In that case, you might choose to only have one thing on your list. Both are absolutely fine! Rather than comparing and competing, let’s encourage each other and celebrate our successes.

#3: Assess your WiPs

Don’t just assume that you’ll be able to pick up that jumper you started knitting five years ago and carry on where you left off. You’ll need to remember where you left the pattern, which part of the pattern you were working on, which row you’d got to, what size needles you were using, what size jumper you were making… If you’re organised enough to have all this information stored with your jumper, well done you! If you’re anything like me, you’ll have lost/forgotten anything even remotely useful and it’ll take a while to figure out where to start again. Factor in this time when you’re working out how many projects you’ll be able to work through in a month. Or, if you’re really keen, get all that stuff out of the way in the next couple of weeks so that you can use October just for the fun bit!

Bonus tip: courtesy of lovely Instagrammer @dottyboho

Use a luggage tag tied to a project bag to keep track of all those important details. So simple yet so effective! (By the way, I also love her project bag, don’t you? What a pretty way to keep everything you need in one place! I think I need to do some sewing…)

#4: Finish or Frog?

Sometimes, even with the best will in the world, you know that you’re just not going to finish something. Maybe you’ve just lost all the information you used to have (see #3), maybe you’ve lost the motivation, maybe you’ve run out of resources, maybe the yarn you were using has been discontinued… so many things could have happened! If you think you just won’t be able to finish it for whatever reason, maybe frogging it is the answer. At least that way you can reuse the yarn for something else!

#5: Be flexible

Just because you started something with the intention of making it a blanket, does not mean that it actually needs to become a blanket! Maybe you’re running short on time or you’ve totally lost the love for for it as a blanket, but don’t want to waste the time and effort it’s already taken. And maybe frogging isn’t really an option (I’d started making a blanket from tiny hexagons, and knew I wouldn’t finish the blanket, but each hexagon was made from such little yarn that frogging really wouldn’t have been worth it!) So maybe it could become a cushion cover or a bag or a scarf… Use your imagination – and if your imagination is failing you…

#6: Ask for help

Part of the reason that working with others is such a good idea is that they see things that you miss. Sometimes you can become so fixated on one particular aspect of a problem that you can’t see the solution! Asking for the ideas and opinions of others can help you to see new possibilities. And you get to choose whether to act on them or not – just because someone suggests something doesn’t mean you have to go along with it!

#7: Find a friend

This one was inspired by @happy_hooking and @ljmlaurens on Instagram – thank you both! Although we’ll obviously all be supporting each other through the WAL, it’s easy to get lost in a big group. So why not pick someone else who’s joining in and see if they want to help keep you on track and vice versa! It doesn’t have to mean messaging them ten times a day to see what they’ve been working on (in fact, that sounds slightly sinister and stalker-ish – don’t do that). But maybe check in with them once or twice a week, see how they’ve been getting on, cheer each other on when you’re not feeling motivated and celebrate successes when they happen. And you’re far more likely to succeed if you know you’re accountable to someone who will notice that you haven’t been working on your list!

#8: Plan some rewards

You know what motivates you – plan some special treats as rewards for finishing some of your WiPs! I had been wanting to knit socks for a while, so my reward for following my August WiP list was to buy yarn and to knit socks in September. I also planned bonus points for myself in my August WiP list (for writing up a pattern) and at that point I ordered new knitting needles for my socks and caked up my yarn. Having little things to look forward to definitely helped keep me going!

#9: Take a break

If I found I was getting bored or frustrated with one WiP, I’d put it to one side and work on something else for a while. If something was not going to plan and really needed to be reworked, I’d leave it until the following day. Coming back to something when you’ve had time to calm down and de-stress can make all the difference. I often came back to projects with a new perspective and things would go much more smoothly than if I just tried to carry on in the midst of frustration!

#10: Enjoy it!

Even though you’re working through a list and setting yourself a challenge doesn’t mean it can’t be fun too! Enjoy the satisfaction of finishing projects, whether you’ve been working on them for years or only days. Delight in the small steps you take towards completion. Take time to just look at the lovely things you’re making and appreciate the talents you have that enable you to be so creative. If you find at any point that you’re getting stressed about the WAL (maybe you haven’t had as much time as you’d thought you would, or have run out of a yarn you need, or family life has been busier than usual… etc.) reassess and rewrite the list. The List shouldn’t be set in stone – make it work for you and your circumstances right now, so that working through it is a joy rather than a chore. And don’t forget to share your successes on Instagram so that we can all celebrate together! #autumnwal17

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