Thursday, March 25, 2010


Throughout the week, Noel and I have been trading off the task of keeping the kids occupied. They're on spring break -- no school. I'm on spring break, too, but apart from Monday and Tuesday when campus was closed for computer system upgrades, I've been on the clock and expected to be in the office. And of course, Noel has his usual weekly workload.

Monday I took the kids into the closed office for half a day. Tuesday I tried to go work in the closed office, but the power had been cut to the building. Wednesday I went to work, but came home in the afternoon to take Cady Gray shoe shopping. Today I took the kids to work with me in the morning.

All that is to say that this afternoon, Noel took the kids on a playground and shopping trip that left me at home alone for a little more than an hour. At such times, I get almost giddy with anticipation. How will I spend my time? What major project will I undertake, or what minor leisure will I indulge in?

My immediate thought was to use the time to select and prepare for my next major knitting project. I just finished a large blanket, and the only other projects I have going are small and quick. It's time to embark on something relatively big and complex, something that will keep me occupied for a month or more. A sweater, I thought, and I had just the one in mind -- a summer cardigan I've been looking forward to for quite a while.

As Noel and the kids pulled out of the driveway, I plopped down with my computer to look up the pattern in my Ravelry queue. But then I had a second thought ... I knew I'd been saving some summer knits for Cady Gray, patterns that she might get too big for if I waited too much longer. I started browsing my queue to see what kid tops and sweaters I'd made plans to make.

And then it happened. I found that my queue was disorganized. A while back I reconfigured the way I was using it, arranging patterns that I already had yarn for and making notes about where I'd packaged and stored the materials. But there were pages and pages of patterns I had queued before I started that system -- patterns I had saved there just because I thought I might want to make them someday, not because I had yarn or any immediate plans. These days I use Ravelry's "favorites" function to keep track of those, but here were all these patterns in my queue from before -- patterns I wasn't noticing when I browsed my favorites for ideas, because they were in the wrong place.

So I started cleaning up my queue. An hour later, when Noel brought the kids home, I was maybe a third of the way through the job. Time wasted? Not to me. I love organizational schemes, and I love making plans to do things I love almost as much as I love doing them. It was a wonderful hour getting reacquainted with these patterns that I had noticed and queued a year or two (or three) ago. I found evidence of old and temporary obsessions, when I thought I wouldn't be knitting anything but toe-up socks for the foreseeable future, for example, and queued every one I could find. I was reminded of great ideas that had gotten lost in the shuffle, and I saw how my taste had changed since the beginning of my knitting career. Some of those queued items didn't even make it into my favorites.

The best organizational jobs are the ones that promise many pleasures to come, and that take a nice long time to accomplish. I'm looking forward both to completing this one, and to the chance to reevaluate it somewhere down the road. Because the most wonderful thing about organization is that whatever scheme you implement now need not be forever.

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