Make it a project: how to keep focus on a long-term WIP and startitis at bay

To help when knitting a long-term project, I envisaged a strategy to keep focused and enthusiast: make a project out of it!

The current WIP is the Thistle scarf that I have been blogging about recently, but lately I’ve been thinking to cast on new projects to complement my WIP – more on this in a follow-up post 🙂

Breaking down the project into chunks – that when reached give a sense of achievement and progress towards the FO – can make it more enjoyable! Basically, you divide your long-term project into sub-sections. In my case, I have the flowery lace sub-section for a total of 7 repeats (this accounts for about 1/3 of the total length) and the scarf body sub-section (which features a simpler lace and accounts for 2/3 of the total project). Each sub-section can be further split into tasks, if you like. Then for each of them, you enter a start and end date, can add task dependencies, record the progress made thus far and export the project in various formats (for example, as an image, a PDF, etc).

Thistle lace scarf, the project

Thistle lace scarf, the Gantt chart of the project

I have created a project plan using the open source software for Gantt charts called Gantt Project. Open source means that, thanks to development communities who volunteer their time, it’s free – no fees, nothing to pay whatsoever. Cool, I love open source!

From Wikipedia:

[Gantt Project] features most basic project management functions like a Gantt chart for project scheduling of tasks, and doing resource management using resource load charts. It has a number of reporting options (MS Project, HTML, PDF, spreadsheets).

It’s really easy to use; here is a tutorial that explains how to install, set up and use it:

Gantt Project - YouTube tutorial

Gantt Project – YouTube tutorial

You can download Gantt Project from their webpage: ganttproject.biz

By the way, I completed task ‘Repeat 3’ (the third repeat in the flowers lace section) and I can see that I should have the whole flower repeats by the 25th August, according to the schedule. The body of the scarf should get done prior to the end of September.

Thistle scarf, the 3rd lace repeat

Thistle scarf, the 3rd lace repeat it’s done!

Thistle scarf, detail of the 3rd lace repeat

Now I know (and cannot possibly attempt to ignore!) that there is a limited resource: knitting time… so I can’t just keep adding new WIPs. Conversely, casting on new projects will have an impact on the completion of the current ones.

This is my new tool to keep startitis at bay 🙂