Just imagine yourself crocheting as quickly as your fingers would go with a huge clock ticking away the minutes until your deadline. You are crocheting to beat the clock, not for a prize or to win a race, but to finish a gift, a sale, or a contest entry before the due date. You want to focus on your love of crochet and the beauty of the WIP, but the end-time looms and you are trying to catch up with your production timeline. We have all been there. Sometimes there is the special gift. At others it is a sudden custom order or a bunch or orders. Frequently, we get bogged down with the holiday gifts we want to produce for everyone on our gift list. When will we learn to simplify, plan more accurately, or even say "no" to others or more importantly to ourselves? My guess is that this will not happen anytime soon. The challenge is too great. Besides we have all that yarn stored in our stash for just this moment.
Last week, I was preparing my gift for a cousin''s baby shower that would take place in a few days. I really felt on top of the time element. I wanted to give the mother-to-be a crocheted baby "blanket with holes." (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/blankets-with-holes). I was delighted when I learned that I already had crocheted a blanket with her chosen colors of white, blue, and gray for her baby boy that was expected at the end of the summer. Since I had completed the blanket several months ago, I needed to freshen it up by hand-washing it in organic baby detergent and by reblocking and air drying on a towel. Everything was good. The blanket was in fine shape and drying on schedule. However, while the blanket was attractive and well-done, it somehow felt a bit lonely as the only piece in the package. When the young mother opened the package I imagined a polite smile and "thank you" when I wanted a "wow!" With only a couple of days to work, I needed a couple of coordinating pieces to round out the present. As I keep everything, I had the remnants from the blanket and decided to make a lovey. I am on a lovey roll, anyway. I have made several since my lovey posting. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/what-makes-a-lovey-loveable). This one would be special because it was for this terrific young woman and her child. I dashed off the 12 inch mini granny blanket that matched the larger baby blanket in about an hour. The teddy head and arms with its embroidered features took about another 2 hours. I even squeezed in a hat. If the mom took her son out in the stroller, he would be coordinated and matching. My efforts were rewarded at the shower when all three pieces, but especially the lovey brought a wide smile to the guest of honor's face. Mission accomplished. I had beat that clock.
However, when I had started the lovey and the hat for the baby gifts, I had only just started a crocheted shawl that I wanted to present to my BFF at an important decade birthday party in less than 2 weeks. My husband, Bert, and I would be flying down to Georgia to her lake house to celebrate with her family and friends. As friend for 48 years, we knew each other's hearts and tried to make it to all major celebrations. I wanted to make her something special and had picked out an attractive "road trip" pattern that I had previously made in a heavier worsted. This rendition would a lighter version that she could throw over her shoulders at the movies or in an air- conditioned restaurant. The Unforgettable yarn that I had selected ranged in color from a pearly white to shades of grey and subyle variations of light greyish purple. (They tend to look lie taupe in my photos.) It was a 20 hour project at the very least, and as you my readers know, few projects get completed in the projected time.
I had set too many goals with too short a time horizon, and I was overwhelmed. I felt that I could really finish the piece on time, but that meant focusing only on crochet for the next 10 days. I had started the shawl before I began the lovey and hat projects, but I switched over because I could easily accomplish the short term goal first and cross them off my list. Now as the second deadline loomed, and I needed to deal with other aspects of my life in addition to crochet, I felt the first signs of tension that had not moved on to the panic stage (at least not yet.)
The 3 skeins of Unforgettable Yarn were lovely to look at, but represented several challenges. It did not split or shred as did many yarns with this label, but it was very difficult to frog and redo. If I stopped myself with an error, I had to undo stitch by stitch. Frequently the tiny fibers were so caught up with one another that I had to separate stitches with a tapestry needle point and exert a lot of pressure as I pulled them apart. This proved to be especially problematic when I was crocheting the complex border edging in the final stages. Once I was involved in crocheting the shawl, I did not want to abandon the piece and was determined to see the project to the end.
Day by day, I took pictures to create a photo-diary of my progress. I took the shawl, yarn and hook wherever I went, crocheting in the car, at meetings, when visiting, and while watching tv. Not a minute was wasted. Talk about multi-tasking. When I finished off the last stitch, well ahead of my travel day, I shouted "Yes!" and proceeded to hand wash and block the piece in preparation for gift giving. The last picture from the timeline is the one where my friend, Phyllis, modeled her gift. She declared that she loved her elegant shawl and would be sure to wear it for an upcoming dressy occasion on Cape Cod where the nights could be cool even in the summer. I am so glad that she enjoyed her shawl and that we were able to be with her for her own special celebration.
What situations cause you to crochet under time pressure? How do you handle the the challenges? What projects do you select when you are rushed. Please share your thoughts and photos in this blog's comments or on Facebook.