Sunday, May 26, 2013


I'm a list-maker.  I always have been.  I'm one of those people that will even put an already-completed item onto a list, just for the pleasure of crossing it off again.

For knitting, my list is mostly the first half of the first page of my Ravelry queue.  My Ravelry queue is fluid - I use it to keep track of projects I intend to make as well as projects I could make using stash yarns I have.  Because of the brilliant way the site is organized, it's easy to move things around within the queue, so the first page is usually made up of the things that are at the top of my mind.

Sewing is a little trickier.  How many times have I heard a person who both knits and sews say, "I wish there were a Ravelry for sewing!"  If only . . .  but we're left to our own devices.  I've tried a few different ways.

Around the beginning of the year, I made 3 different sewing spreadsheets using Google Drive:  one for projects I wanted to make and for which I already had the pattern and fabric; another for patterns I wanted to make but didn't have fabric for; and a third for stash fabric.  I took pictures of everything, resized them and added them to the spreadsheets.  And that worked for me for a little while.  But I found it cumbersome - it wasn't easy to make changes and move things around if, say, I wanted to use a stash fabric with pattern B rather than pattern A.

So at the beginning of April I sat down in front of my stash and made a hand-written list in a little notebook I dedicated just to this purpose.

By now, the list extends to the following page, which I didn't bother to picture.  You can see that I've been able to cross off a fair number of items in the last month and a half.   You can also see that I've made some changes - for instance, I have a piece of black stretch twill that I'd originally intended to use for another pair of Colette Clovers, but then decided I'd like to try out the Burda 7447 pattern instead.  And the entry "yellow plaid Sencha" has a star next to it because I'm not sure the fabric is an appropriate weight for the pattern - I'm still thinking it over.

This is working for me a little better than the Google spreadsheets, but I'm still not 100% in love with this method of list-making.  Part of the problem is that my ideas about what I want to make change pretty quickly.  It's easy to make changes here, but I know that once my notebook doesn't look nice any more, I won't want to use it!

I also sometimes feel overwhelmed by my list:  it makes me feel that there is too much to do, so I procrastinate about starting anything.  It weighs on me sometimes.  But other times it feels like a little notebook full of possibility.

How do you all keep track of things you want to make, if you do at all?  Do lists encourage you to stay on track, or do they feel burdensome?


  1. Technology has failed us! My "list system" isn't really worth discussing - I hand write a list in a moment of inspiration, and then either lose it or never look at it again. I did fiddle with Springpad a couple months ago, though, and it seemed like it could be really good for lists and creative organization. I didn't really get a system going since I'm not much of list maker anyway, but you've inspired me to check it out again, especially now that I am doing more with photographs and my own blog. Good luck!

  2. Ravelry is just great isn't it? I couldn't agree more that the sewing world is crying out for something similar :-) The way your organise your sewing plans really got my brain working overtime!! In a former life I used to define requirements for IT systems....
    I wonder what things others would come up with?
    I use Pinterest a bit but I'm not overly taken with it. Mostly I just have lots of information in my head! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    Louise x

  3. I really wish we had a Ravelry for sewing. I use Pattern Review, but oh dear, that website is like revisiting the 1990s.

    In the absence of anything like a sensible online database, I use a combination of spreadsheets in Excel in which I track everything I buy, make and plan in detail. The other part of my sewing planning is that, ridiculously, I make composite images of the next few things I plan to make in an editing tool (Pixelmator, which is like a cut price Photoshop for Mac).

    I've always been super list oriented, but the imagery is a new thing, and it's really because I'm tired of having a wardrobe full of clothes that don't go together! So I've started to sew in sets of items that theoretically all go together. (I say theoretically because I'm not sure I'm terribly successful at this yet, but the intention is there at any rate.)

  4. OMG - I write things I've done on lists so I can cross them off too! I LOVE me a list. I find, frequently, that something written by hand, in my craft book (or books, at this point), works perfectly. I mean these lists are very fluid. You're using up fabric, and buying all the time. You're not a factory. I think a written list is just the ticket. Having said this, I've never been able to maintain a fabric stash inventory. I don't have that much of it. Whenever I make a new project I consider whether what I've got is adequate. Otherwise, I buy more. Not very list-lovin' of me.

  5. I re-write my sewing list almost every month. I rip out the old one and get rid of it, moving stuff I still want to do to the top of the new list and then adding anything else I think of. I add to the list as I go along and make changes to it, but the re-writing clarifies things for me and helps me see what's still important and what I fancied but actually have no intention of making! I think having the list in my sewing room rather than leaving the sewing room to use the computer to make a list is more productive, if I started playing on the computer my sewing time would be gone before I knew it.

    Even if there was a Ravelry for sewing I really don't think I'd ever load my stash onto it, there's just too much there and it'd take months of sewing time measuring and photographing! I didn't have a very big yarn stash when I joined Ravelry and have managed to keep it up to date since which is nice, things get added before they go upstairs. My queue is a HUGE list so I don't have to search all of Ravelry for a project for yarn I want to use, the first 2 pages are things I have the yarn for, but that doesn't mean they're set in concrete!

    Can't live without lists!

  6. I love making lists too! Since I got an ipad at Christmas I've been sketching out monthly lists of what i'd like to make. At the end of the month I take a look back and check off anything I made. If I didn't make it, I might add it to the next months list... but as often as not, what I want has changed by then and I've got new ideas instead! I like the monthly lists because they don't get too long... and if a project gets lost along the way then it clearly wasn't something I really wanted to make anyway!

  7. I really only have a mental sewing list, as I do tend to change my mind fairly frequently.

    I do need a way of storing detail of my fabric stash, although its not large by many peoples standard I do often forget things I've got. I'm in the middle of setting myself up a sewing room, so I'm thinking swatches on a pinboard, so I can see at a glance what I've got. And a "to make" list pinned up next to it.

  8. What if you put the projects on index cards? Then they would be much easier to reorder.

    You could put fabric on sitcky notes. Then the fabric could be moved around from card to card as the mood strikes.

    Or you could do it the opposite way if you have a lot more stash than projects...

    I'm feeling rather brilliant at the moment and wishing my stuff wasn't it a storage container. Soon....

  9. The closest I had to lists were those Powerpoint boards I made of future projects with the pattern illustrations and scanned fabric swatches. Though I'm no longer sticking with those particular expectations I'm stil working on completing those projects now in my own time and order. And since I still have the files and paper copies you can bet I still go and mark them off. Without that pressure I'm doing pretty good. Three projects in less than two months and starting another today!

  10. I've used Trello with some success. It is really only limited to list making and a few comments but you can upload documents to it. You can also have columns - I have one for "to do", "doing" and "done". I use it at work and it is a life saver!

  11. whoah, i really thought i was the only one who was crazy enough to write down the already done things just to cross it off a list! all my list making is done in a notebook. i try to keep a realistic que of things to sew. i know i can get 1-3 items done a week (depending on how involved they are) so i have basically a "next five makes" list. i also tend to buy as i go and get fabrics with a specific project in mind. whenever i buy something without a project it tends to sit around for months. also, having such an exhaustive "i'll never get to it all" list puts the focus in the wrong place. it makes me feel inadequate and ignores all i have accomplished--which is a lot (and you have too!).

  12. I love making lists! But not on my computer, phone, etc. I like them on paper, so I can cross things off. If I must make a list on my phone, I will.

  13. I make written lists for home and work, but never for sewing. I have no idea why not. I have a general sewing plan in my head that's constantly changing so it's not at all efficient, and I find myself just standing in my sewing room not knowing what I should start next.

  14. I frequently have this problem as well, there are never any programs or sites or organization techniques that are exactly the way that I want. I have always found myself coming back to Evernote though, it is definitely the best I've found for storing information and lists. I like the notebook though, it has this charm about it!

  15. I love lists. But the minute I write things down I don't want to do them any more. It's tricky. So I try to only make lists for food we need on my little blackboard in the kitchen. It's a double problem because I am awfully fond of wee notebooks perfect for lists ....

  16. I'm a bit wishy washy with lists. For example, I have projects listed in my Rav queue and am cool with it because I definitely wanna make those patterns and have yarn designated for them. But I know when I had joined Year of Projects, I got real restless and was distracted and wishy washy about projects that had caught my eye and those that were listed already.
    So when it comes to crafting, I generally don't make lists. Bt I do for grocery shopping as I'm anal about all that and sometimes for errands I have to do because it helps me remember.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.