Rotations, rotations…

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I sorted through stash and came up with a pretty large amount of projects that have stitches in them.  I came up with an even larger amount of projects that are partially or fully kitted.  With that in mind, it’s time to really get down to thinking about rotations and what will be most effective for me to enjoy my stitching and be the most efficient I can be toward completing some of these projects.  What types of rotations worked best for me?  What did I seem to enjoy the most?  Where did I start losing my productivity?

Well… the answer to the final question’s pretty easy.  Having a child puts the damper on things just a wee bit.  That’s where I fell off the rails.

But before and after that, I’d been meandering with different styles of stitching rotations:

At one point, I was setting a 10-hour progress limit on projects.  This wasn’t something that was done right down to a stopwatch, but a generalized ten hours, then move to the next piece.  Each rotation round was set with somewhere between four and seven specific pieces. I tended to lean to the higher end with seven to give myself a good range of projects, unless I was on a deadline due to a round robin. I did very well on that rotation plan.

In my later pregnancy and in the first year or so, I was doing a “whatever I felt like stitching” method.  I did get things done, but my progress was slower, mostly due to Max being so young, but also because I had no organized rotation.  Looking back, I’m not a good “one at a time” style stitcher.

At some point, I was doing a hybrid one – 10 hours minimum, more if I wanted to keep going with my stitching mojo on a piece.  This isn’t a bad one, but I tend to lose track of those hours, and then the entire rotation seems to fall apart.  It’s a good idea in theory, but may be a little too unstructured for me to work efficiently.

I’ve also tried a rotation according to goals on each piece.  No set list of pieces, but once I start stitching on them, I set a goal to get to a certain point on it before I switch.  This had some moderate success, but still didn’t work that great.  My biggest problem here is that I consistently misjudge how long a certain goal will take, and then I feel like I need to stick with the piece because I’d made that goal.  I could try to scale back my vision for each mini-goal… but I know better than that about myself.  So a worthwhile rotation to try – just not the best for me personally.

So I think I’ll go back to my original rotation method.  10 hour blocks per piece, then move on.  I’m going to allow myself the flexibility that I don’t have to do these exactly in the order they’re typed, but I need to work on only this set group of pieces before I start a new rotation.  I may shorten the number of projects in later rounds, but for now I’ll stick with my standard seven – six that are focused on “normal” stitches, and one spot entirely focused on backstitching.

Round One – Started 11/28/17

  • I Love New England by Sampler Needlework – standard stitching (page 2)
  • Floral Bellpull by Teresa Wentzler – Backstitching only (squares 3 and 4)
  • Deep Blue Sea by Chatelaine – standard stitching (Part 3)
  • Strawberry Zipper Pouch by It’s Fine-ally Finished – standard stitching. (try to finish band)
  • Four Seasons of Mystic by Jeannette Douglas – standard stitching (beginning with Autumn)
  • Smoky Mountain Cats by Janlynn – standard stitching (on the sea of blue…)
  • Alpha-Bits by Wild Hearts Designs – New Years Day 2018 start (was originally slated to start in 2017, so fully kitted)

One thing I’m debating for a bit later – I’d planned on doing a Rotation Relay for the Stitching Olympics in February… basically a crazy rotation where you rotate projects every 2-4 hours to see how many you can work on.  Not a problem while I’m home, but there’s one SLIGHT problem with that plan this year:  Stitcher’s Hideaway.  Right smack in the middle of the Olympics.

While I can obviously bring a ton of pieces if I wanted to load up my car to the brim, I don’t know that I really want to flip through ones that quickly on that retreat.  I never bring only one project to Hideway.  I generally have three or four with me, under the theory that 1) at some point I’m going to get sick of stitching on one project, 2) lighting changes in the room from daytime to nighttime, so I may need easier pieces for the evening, and 3) I stitch for a long time during that retreat every day.  We’re talking 6-10 hours of stitching, aside from meals.  I get a ton done.

Instead of the couple-hour frenzy, I may just limit myself to one project per day for the Olympics, along the lines of what I normally do for Hideaway.  It’ll still be a Rotation Relay, but a little more controlled, and easier to port up to Sturbridge!  Doing one per day still means I’d work on 17 separate projects for the Olympics.  That’ll be pretty good.  And let’s be honest – some of those days, I’m only going to get that 2-3 hours in anyway due to work.

Planning, planning… it’s honestly fun to daydream about this stuff!


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  1. Robin in Virginia says:

    It is definitely fun to daydream about projects and how to fit them all in because each one is screaming to be worked on. My only suggestion to whatever rotation you use is perhaps add 1 or 2 in the mix that are more than half finished so you can get a few moved over into the pile of finishes.

  2. Susan says:

    It is amazing how many different ways we can come up with to stitch isn’t it? I like the one you’ve come up with. Not sure I could do the rotation relay as I just start really getting into a project after a couple hours (remembering symbol/color combinations etc).

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