Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WIPs and Goals, or Lack Thereof

It is, to everyone in the fiber community with an internet connection at least, WIP Wednesday! And what WIP's do I have on the needles/hooks? Um, not much.

I finished the Alice mitts, so yay! I wove in all my dangling ends, so more yay! I set to work on another peace sign granny square, again in yellow. It kind of sucks only having two of my six rainbow colors, but I know that sooner or later the yarn will needed will be found. And I'm getting to work on a coffee cup cozy for my dad. And I've been re-ordering my queue to reflect things that I really want to knit more than the others.

So yeah . . . not much WIPing. Stupid yarn drought. That's not to say I don't have yarn. I do, a slightly overflowing, over stuffed grocery bag. But it's all mostly leftovers from days of not knowing any better. For example, two balls of Lion Brand Homespun. I don't even like working with this stuff, but it was some of the first yarn I ever bought for my first full size project (an afghan that got frogged) so when I bought it, I had no clue that I wouldn't like working with it much. So what to do when you're really broke and don't know how to use your yarn?

And my other dilemma is my Ravelry queue keeps growing! I've been trying to be very diligent about not adding patterns willy-nilly and only to include ones I really do like and think I will actually knit, in addition to honestly deleting any I've changed my mind about. But it's not working. I've gone from 101 patterns queued, to 123. I've added what amounts to about pattern a day since I first noticed how big my queue has grown. Insanity! (But in a good way!)

Well, it seems like when most people have big challenging projects in front of them, they set up some goals.

Not me! Because I'm weird, but also I don't do goals anymore. I think Leo over at Zen Habits said it best - The Best Goal is No Goal.

After reading that, I started thinking really hard, and I realized he's absolutely right. Goals are great to get you jump-started on something, but they can become your whole life and end up limiting you more than enabling you. Every semester I'd start classes fresh, excited, full of goals to get good grades, and by mid-terms I was tired, burnt out, frustrated, and more likely than not, failing. But if I had all these amazing goals, how come I would always crash and burn so easily? Because I was so focused on using goals to achieve what I thought I was supposed to do, and didn't once consider what I really wanted or what would be best for me.

But launching off goal-less to just DO is hard. So I propose an alternative to goals: The Quest

When a hero in a story sets out on a quest, he does so because he wants something - to seek his fortune, to rescue a maiden, to conquer and evil king, whatever. That seems an awful lot like a goal. But it's not, because as the hero continues on his quest, thing come up, get in the way, send him off on side quests. Eventually the hero reaches the end of his quest, and maybe he gets what he wants, or maybe he finds out the mythical dragon to slay for the mythical treasure . . . is just a myth. But he's had an adventure!

Quests, as opposed to goals, are all about adventure. A goal, and any subgoals, give you an exact path to follow. And when things on the path go awry, the whole plan gets thrown off and needs to be re-planned. But on a quest, if a pack of hungry orcs jump out at you brandishing swords . . . well, that's kind of supposed to happen, so you pick up your sword and vanquish them. And then not only are you still on your quest but now you have all this cool orc loot too!

So to bring this back full circle to my knitting, I am starting two new quests. The first is the De-Stash The Yarn I Have No Clue What To Do With Quest. I will be taking each yarn one by one and searching for something to do with it. I could just take it all to Goodwill, but since I'm still broke that would leave me next to nothing to knit with at all. In the end, some yarns may just get donated anyway, but I do plan to give each of them a fair chance. They're sort of like puppies from the pound, I brought them home so now I have to be responsible for them. It's not their fault they are less than ideal. And at least they're housebroken (though I still have my suspicions about that Fun Fur . . .).

The second quest will be the 10 Projects I Really Want To Make And How I Find The Materials Necessary Quest. This idea came in part from this thread here on Ravelry, but since the official quest doesn't begin until July, I figured I'd just get going on it anyway. I'm figuring at the rate I queue things compared to the rate I knit things, I'll still have plenty of patterns to work through if I want to join the official fun in July.

Foreseeable side quests will include continuing work on my peace sign blanket and this blog, and you know, whatever crazy stuff may pop into my head.


  1. Quest sounds so much more adventurous and fun than goal. True, goals can bog you down and end up as no fun.
    Glad you finished your Alice mitts. Can't wait to see the pic.

  2. I adore your thoughts on quests vs. GOALS. GOals are duanting at times. I will quest with you!
    May I suggest some easy blankets for the animal shelter nearby? The cats love an acrylic little blankie while they wait for their forever homes. THey dont care if the yarn doesnt match perfectly...or purrfectly....

    happy questing!

  3. What an interesting perspective!

    Maybe next semester I won't get so class-burnt-out...