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  1. #1
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    Project Monogamy - one crafty project at a time

    So I wrote this whole post about only working on one project at once, and then realized I was ranting so I posted it to my blog instead.
    http://paperdollygirl.wordpress.com/...ject-monogamy/

    For this space, I'll just ask - how many of you only work on one sewing/knitting/craft project at one time and finish it before moving on to something else? How does it affect your craft perspective? Any thoughts on the acquisition of fabric-yarn-patterns beyond one’s capacity to complete the objects?

    I'm struggling with decluttering. I'm longing to simplify. I have been working all summer on reducing the stuff I don't want and making space for what I do want. I got rid of all of my candle making supplies, canning supplies, and two boxes of fabric. I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that I also need to get rid of my HUGE (and expensive!!) supply of craft paper and collage materials. I don't make cards anymore. I'm really only interested in textile work (yarn or fabric). I'm going to hopefully donate it all to a boys and girls club in Oakland. I cringe at the amount of money I spent on these items. To be fair, I did use a lot - but buying a whole big piece of decorative paper when I only needed a small amount has just left me with a ton of stuff.

    How does decluttering fit in with a crafty life? And what responsibility do I have to my family to keep my hobbies from taking over our living space?

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  3. #2
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    I have been working a lot on decluttering too. I got rid of a ton of yarn earlier this summer and right now I am trying to knit through an appreciable quantity of my stash. One thing I have done (that I think is helping) is rather than looking at my WHOLE stash and going "ACK!!!" is to split it up into portions. I've picked out yarn for 6 months worth of projects and I'm going to work on stuff within that subsection of yarn for the next 6 months. It's been working pretty well (6 month segment #1 ends in January). Then I'll pick out stuff for the next 6 months (I've told myself I can also buy yarn for one totally new project per 6 months). It's not exactly craft monogamy, but I think it's actually helped my crafting a lot. I used to spend a lot of time thinking about what I was going to make next. Now I have a concentrated period of brainstorming and then I just go. Obviously, I can change my mind about what I'm going to do with the yarn, and I am definitely optimistic about what I can accomplish in a given time frame, so I still wind up with more than I really "need" or will use, and I don't feel that my creative process is stifled at all. Another thing I have found is that this approach makes me a lot better about keeping track of/planning out project ideas. Before, I might have a vague idea of something I wanted to make, and then I would buy yarn, and then it would sit in my stash, and then I might eventually make it. Or not. Now I start jotting down ideas and making sketches in my project notebook. This allows the project to evolve a lot before I commit to supplies! It's also really great to have the little reference notebook to look over, because I might realize that X thing I was thinking of doing isn't actually going to work with the yarn I had in mind, or the overall feel of the design, but it might look great with something else.

    Anyway, I know it might seem like this system I'm trying out is too strict/regimented, but I think that it just really encourages other aspects of the creative process (the planning and thinking about technique and so on) that I was not really emphasizing as much when I was in a more instant gratification mode with regards to buying supplies and starting projects.

    All that said, I've still got multiple projects on the needles right now and I doubt I'll ever be 100% monogamous to a project!

  4. #3
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    I'm definitely trying to limit the amount of craft supplies that come into my house - due to space and budgetary constraints. Use what I've got and get rid of what I won't use.

    I'm not very monogomous though. If I'm knitting something that will take me a while, I'll likely have another project on the needles (when I just can't stomach one more round of stockinette -ooh cables! - that sort of thing).

    I'll also switch out to instant gratification projects - baking, card making, etc. Anything that I can get done in an afternoon. I get tired of blogging about the same project (yup still working on that sweater...the back panel is 2 inches longer now even though this looks remarkably like the photo from the last post...)

    If I get bored, it starts feeling like work - and that's just not what crafting is for.

  5. #4
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    I always joke that I am Artistically ADD... it is very true. I paint, I craft, I crochet, I sew, I draw, I sculpt, etc etc etc etc. It has opened me up to a lot of new things, however, it is not necessarily a good thing. I was an art major in college. I chose to teach, however ,I have been thinking a lot lately about going back to school to get my MFA or Masters in art. My main issue with this is that I do not have an artistic strength to display in a portfolio. My artistic interests are far too broad to be taken seriously. I have really been thinking of ways lately to combine these into something new and unusual.

    My husband and I live in a two bedroom apartment, with the second bedroom used as our "library" as well as my "studio"... both terms used very loosely. Because I have so many different directions my art is going in, my studio is such a mess! I have yarn all over the place, half painted canvases lining the walls, a painting table, a sewing table, and on top of it all, when I get in an artistic mood, organization and cleaning are the last things on my mind, so, things rarely make it back to their designated area (designated area.... ha!). It would be awesome to have some sort of organizational wall thingy that they have in the Container Store catalogs. Now if only I could sell some of my art and become rich and famous, then I could afford organizational tools, haha.

    At least I have a hobby, and I have fun doing it, right?

  6. #5
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    The timing of this post is interestingly coinciding with a pol knitting daily has been doing about UFO's - not only how many knitting UFOs people have, but reasons why.

    I took the poll and though I said I have about 5 knitting UFOs it's insanely higher when I include all crafts.

    Some of my UFOs are so pathetically close to done all they need is something like a frame or fringe added.

    I just like starting stuff - fresh new supplies, so many possibilities - and don't like finishing stuff (hence starting and ditching 2 graduate programs). But I think as I get older I do better with finishing stuff - it's an important skill - and now I'm finally finishing a grad program. My UFOs, well, we'll see - I'm trying!

    But I doubt I'll ever have the inclination or ability to have just 1 project going at a time. Maybe it would be character building to push thru the boredom and have just 1 project but for me it would start to feel like work instead of leisure.

  7. #6
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    This is a great topic!

    Purpledoor - I really enjoyed reading about your organized approach to projects!

    As for me, I have lots of supplies, but little time to craft in now, since I had my son 15 months ago. I'm trying to figure out what to do with all my supplies...

  8. #7
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    I certainly don't stick with just one project at a time. I admire those who can, but most of the crafters I know have several/tons going all at once. I too have been trying to do the weed out and cut back on the amount of craft supplies I bring into the apartment. Not easy when a kind neighbour discovers that you are learning to knit and drops off a leaf bag full of supplies for you. And really good stuff too!!

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by yardenxanthe
    This is a great topic!

    Purpledoor - I really enjoyed reading about your organized approach to projects!
    Heh, it's only psuedo-organized, I've still got about 4 projects on the go right now. But I do seem to finish most things up eventually so I'm not too worried about that. I have starting phases and then I go into finishing phases where I'm suddenly coming out with a new sweater every two weeks. As long as I'm not buying new yarn to start them, I try not to beat myself up about having a lot of projects going at once. After all, it's a hobby, so if I'm deriving enjoyment from that...fine!

  10. #9
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    purpledoor - I also go into "finishing phases." I guess I'm just wondering if being crafty is a good use of my time when it seems like I'm *always* cleaning up from projects, acquiring new supplies, etc. By trying to be project monogamous, I would get a lot better about using what I have and not acquiring new stuff unless I am READY to use it.

    Having said that, I started a new baby sweater this weekend because my adult sweater was just too big to travel with. I also ordered supplies for a new project (putting mother of pearl buttons on a chair back) that I don't plan to make for probably at least 8 months. Since I will likely be moving in the meantime, I had the supplies shipped to my parents' house in NJ! Ugh! I guess no one's perfect, and with each effort there are setbacks.

    I went through an entire file cabinet drawer last night that was stuffed to the brim with art papers for collages and card making. I reduced it to less than 20% of what was in there. I'm going to give the rest to a boys and girls club or something like that. I also went through my spa stuff, since I think I'm pretty much done with that kind of crafting. I am keeping my collection of essential oils... for now... since those things are so darn expensive and hard to track down!

    I guess my concern is personal: I'm concerned that I, personally, spend too much time trying to organize multiple projects, and I could better spend that time on schoolwork or housework or exercise or something else. If I become project monogamous, then I wouldn't have to be constantly cleaning and organizing. I would have one thing out, and that's it.

  11. #10
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    One thing I find too is that I go thru such phases in the kinds of crafts I'm interested in. Like, I'm always happy I kept a whole copy of a crafty magazine instead of tearing our what interested me at the time, b/c years later I'm interested in a totally different section than when I first bought it.

    I definitely get obsessed with one thing for a while - buy books, supplies, read everything I can about it online), and then drop it like a hot potato (origami, for instance). But then I do find that I come back to some things again later, but just with less obsessiveness.

    Ok, I'm rambling. Bye!


 
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