Back to the Plan


You may recall that in December I instituted a Plan for 2008. I wanted to cut down on the stash acquisition/new starts and focus more on finishing some of those many WIPs I have on the go. Currently I have 14 official WIPs (plus the Neighborhood RR, plus Snow Bunnies, plus those two Prairie Schooler bookmarks I’m about to start). Since instituting The Plan, I haven’t finished anything. Granted, I have done ok about not buying new stash really (mainly due to that whole pesky not having a job thing). It occurred to me the other day, as I was listening to a podcast – what would it be like to finish a project (or be close to finishing it) and to go out and purchase a new chart, fabric and thread for my next project. What would that be like? I’ve been re-reading A New Earth along with Oprah and friends (I previously read the book in a class a year or so ago). It is all about being in the present moment (same premise as his previous book, The Power of Now). And thinking about being in the present moment, made me realize that I am always thinking about the next thing, the new thing, where am I going to be after this. Perhaps, by getting to that place of purchasing the next project as you finish one, it allows you to be closer to that present moment. The celebration of finishing something with a new piece. Now, I know I am getting all philosophical about stitching, but the same could be applied to my books. I am currently reading four books officially (I think there are others I’ve started but never finished and forgotten about). I have more books than I know what to do with. That’s not to say I’m going to run right out and get rid of all the books. But, I think there is also something to be said for finishing a book, and then purchasing a new one. One that appeals to you right in that moment. I don’t know if I will ever get to that place of finish one/buy one. But, it seems like a good thing to work towards.


Based on The Plan, my first focus projects of the year are supposed to be Mystery 9, Tesori d’Italia and Barnabee’s Quest. I allowed myself a new start on January 1st (ok two new starts) – Red Thread series and Mermaids of the Deep Blue (both SALs). I think I’ve done really well the past month or so on Barnabee, since instituting Just Nan Sundays. I’ve finally completed Part 2, and as you can see above, I’ve made a good start on Part 3. This weekend I stitched the border, the row of pansies, the row of caterpillars, and made a start on the row of ducks (these are over one, so you know how that goes!). I’m really pleased with my progress, and I can definitely see a finish on the horizon. I am now reminding myself that Mystery 9 and Tesori both are needing to see some attention too. So, I’m going to try to get back with The Plan, and refocus my energy on what I already have started.

Just Nan Sundays will continue, and I hope that I can get in a little on the other two throughout the rest of the week. Let’s see how that goes. What’s that phrase – the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Well, let’s hope not.

The current state of affairs:
Stitching WIPs – 16
Total charts (not yet stitched) – 338
Reading WIPs – 4
Total books (not yet read) – 201

And just as an additional reminder to myself – reading those books and finishing my stitching WIPs are both on my 101 Thing List. I hope I haven’t bored you with all my meanderings here, it just is really hitting me that my overabundance of stuff is affecting all areas of my life, including losing weight. I think that by taking a serious look at this area, I can make some changes in others. Can getting rid of stash help you lose weight? We’ll see!

I am grateful for doing yoga this morning.

16 thoughts on “Back to the Plan”

  1. Michelle, you’ve really touched a chord with me on this post! I am so guilty of planning the next thing that I’m going to stitch (something that I’ve done a lot of just lately), that I don’t always appreciate the things that I am stitching on “here and now”. I’ve even gone so far to pick out threads and fabric for charts I don’t even own yet :0

    I was actually just saying to DH the other night that I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by my stash (everything, not just charts) and I’m in the process of doing some serious weeding. I’m definitely trying to reduce my chart stash significantly, to the point where I could do what you have suggested, finish one piece and then buy the next one and stitch it straight away. This would be more like how I was when I first started stitching, before it became such an obsession! πŸ˜‰ I’ve bought so much stash that I’ve then sold on unstitched because my tastes have changed by the time I’ve gotten around to stitching on it and it’s something that I really want to change.

    Funnily enough, I don’t do this with books. I hate having more than one book on the go so I do read them 2-3 at a time, read them in turn then buy a couple more when I’m done and read them straight away. I spend quite a bit of time choosing the exactly what I’m in the mood to read, which means I’ve more chance of reading and enjoying them.

    Sorry about the long and rambling comment but it’s lovely to read that other people feel the same way – perhaps we can help each other out with this?

  2. Good luck with your plan Michelle. I really should set myself and do something like that. I’m the same as Karen and have bought charts in the past, never got around to stitching them then my tastes have changed. Now I try just to buy charts that I really really love.

  3. Well, I’m exactly the same! I have way too many WIPs and it sometimes feels overwhelming. I think at heart I’m probably a one-at-a-timer. Or maybe two or three WIPs at the most. (I need a travel piece and I do enjoy the variety of over one versus over 2.) I’m really, really enjoying working on just one or two main projects at the moment and aiming for finishes. (It feels so good to have Earth and Blackstone both getting there πŸ™‚ And if I could reduce my WIP list to a couple I could then start and finish things so much faster. I sometimes have to put a design away because I feel guilty about other things, and it would be lovely to just concentrate on one main thing and do it πŸ™‚

  4. Good luck with your plan! I’m relatively “stash lite” as an almost newbie. Having said that I do have a box with things that I bought a couple years ago and am no where near starting! I’m also guilty of surfing way too much for new stuff when I’m too tired to stitch, v.bad habit!

    PS I didn’t get chance to comment at the time, but I loved your red and white wedding anniversary quilt, v.special πŸ™‚

  5. I had similar plans for myself this year (that and cutting down on the exchanges I send – not doing so well there either). Thank you for the reminder. It’s been just lovely looking at your WIPs I still love the Garden du Roi (or whatever it’s called). Best of luck with your plans, we are all behind you!

  6. I sure understand where you are coming from girl. I have so many projects on the go now I’m not feeling that I am accomplishing much. And I have all these threads, fabrics and patterns for the next. Maybe weeding some of the stuff will help. I could lose a few pounds too LOL.

  7. Like the other commmentors, I was also hit by what you wrote. I have enough to keep me happily stitching for years now. Although I don’t spend lots of time thinking about what I’ll stitch next, I do need to stop worrying so much about finishing the few WIPS/UFOS I decided “must” be finished, and instead simply enjoy what I am currently stitching. Good luck!

  8. I’ve found it a lot easier to think “in the moment” since I sorted out my stash, and kitted up a lot of the charts in it with fabric – it means that I know I can pick something up and start it, so I don’t need to worry when my current WIP comes to an end – I can just enjoy what I’m stitching.

    And although I’m goal oriented, I do also enjoy the *process* of stitching, so I try not to stress about finishes. That said, I have cut back on the number of WIPs I have on the go – I currently have an SAL piece, a travel piece, and two others, one of which I won’t replace when it’s finished.

    As for books – I have almost 800 to read, but that doesn’t cause me huge amounts of stress, as I read 250+ a year – I just have to make sure acquisitions stay below that – I’m a Bookcrosser and Book Moocher, and have four charity shops almost on the doorstep, so it’s a challenge ;o) My problem with those is leaving the present moment, if I’m tied up with the characters…

  9. A very thought provoking post and one that’s obviously given all of us something to think about. It’s sad when we lose sight of the pleasure of stitching with guilt over our WIP or UFO numbers and all the stash that we have. Focusing on the moment is an important part of keeping that initial pleasure – that thrill of pulling thread through fabric and creating something special and unique.

  10. Oh gosh, I know exactly what you mean! I try every New Year to not buy new stash because the one I have is so huge. This is the first year I’ve been better at it, although I really do need to focus harder, if you know what I mean!
    I admire your goal setting and wish you a lot of luck! You can do it!

  11. Good luck with your plan Michelle, if that is what works for you. I know that I’m happiest with a small number of wips (currently 4) and having a small baby I’m savoring every second when I get any stitching time.

    However I refuse to feel guilty about the size of my stash, I could kit out a not so small LNS. It’s my ‘collection’ and I get immense enjoyment out of browsing through my charts and fondling my silks and as long as I can afford it why not.

  12. Beautiful post. I have multiple WIPs, too – and stitch my WIPs based on my mood.

    A GF had a post re. the word “focus” and I’ve tried to focus on one thing & enjoy it. Not sure I’m quite there, b/c planning ahead is a difficult habit to break.

    As for stash, there are just some patterns I enjoy having – like my repro samplers. I just enjoy them. I cannot get over the fact somebody ‘SAVED’ the stitched piece — either a family member, or a flea market browser … saved the stitched piece. And bless those who carefully chart, photograph, and sell those designs!

    Now, I’ve got to get back to my housework and then stitching. Thanks for your post – it really touches me today

  13. 338! You’ve got a lot of charts to stitch. I have to say that waiting until one is finished to buy another sounds like a nightmare to me… but then again, I’m a serial starter and have come to terms with the fact that there are projects I just won’t ever finish. I wish you success on your plan, though πŸ™‚

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