Crafting to a Deadline

There has been a quiet (blog quiet) period for me here. But we must not mistake that for inactivity! I have never worked harder. My daughter’s preschool is hosting the annual fundraising auction. And this event is more like a gala. It has taken on a life of it’s own.
We have crazy high donation goals, so I wanted to knock some of that out with lovely homemade things.
I decided to make a knit throw. And then i decided to do a quilt. (And then I should have had my head examined.)
So as I slave away on both projects, I had a conversation with Kathy about deadlines and crafting on a schedule. I told her I hate to craft on such a rigid schedule. But realistically, without a deadline, when are things going to be finished? Big things, like a quilt. In my house, the answer is “never”. Without the hard deadline, they would never get done.
And then, ironically, the day we had that conversation, Blair at Wise Craft posted a discussion of the same topic. She said that as a blogger, she sets her own deadlines.

I think that there are two factors at play here. First, how do you get things moved across the finish line? And the next, how do you “handle” yourself. Especially if you are crafting for a living. Or, if you are making things for an auction. For most of us, picking up needles at the end of the day is akin to yoga. It forces you to slow down, and read the pattern, and clear your mind. Does the deadline crowd in? Does it negate the “yoga moment”?
The question might also center around the size of the project. The Iron Craft challenges are not as stressful because they are smaller in nature, more “bite sized”. But in the case of a quilt, it could stretch on and on out to the horizon.
Do you work better to a deadline? Or do you work better just running at your own pace?


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6 Comments to Crafting to a Deadline
    • DrRuss
    • Susi,
      What a great question. I left my answer on Blair’s blog but thought that I would share it with you here are well.

      For me there are several issues, (1) am I getting paid for the endeavor? If I am getting paid, I feel much more pressure to complete a project and therefore, set definite deadlines for completion. (2) How much am I working outside of my studio? I work a full time day job and a full time night job when we have a show at our theater (I am a backstage doorman at a Broadway theater in NYC). When I have both jobs going, I limit the number of deadlines that I have and instead schedule time for projects. In other words, I will designate the hours of 10 PM to midnight for making things or wake up early and schedule 7 AM to 9 AM. This way, I feel that I am accomplishing something towards creatively working. (3) Am I selling the products that I am making? If I am selling something through my Etsy store, I am more likely to pick projects that I know that I can complete in the time that I have allotted myself. In other words, I don’t create products–I make them. Creating/developing products are much more likely to happen when I am only working my day job. Just my take on the question. Thanks for asking.

    • Katherine
    • I definitely get more done when I have a deadline. Challenges like Iron Craft give me something to work towards, and I always put a few craft projects in my monthly goals list, so I have at least a few things going. Otherwise, I end up putting off crafting in lieu of other things. Once I get going, I get things finished, but sometimes getting started is the hardest part.

    • Manisha
    • I had a deadline to finish a sweater for my little one whose birthday was Feb 10. Since I started back in November I didn’t think it would be a problem. But at the end of January, she and I headed to see her grandparents in Florida. I didn’t take the knitting with me. Then I came how exhausted and realized I wouldn’t have time to finish the sweater. I haven’t picked it up since. So, yes, a deadline is what I need to finish, but it doesn’t guarantee it will work. Oh well.

      I love it when you both talk about these other things that are required to get a craft done, not just materials and methods, but also about what it takes to cross that finish line.

    • Frilled Daisy
    • I definitely do better with deadlines! I joined our local art association so that I would have deadlines if I wanted to put work in their shows. It has really helped me to be more productive and I get to know the fellow artists in my area! Bonus!

    • Line
    • Definitely need a deadline. I prefer the ones I give myself but that is not always possible. The ironcraft challenges are self-imposed deadlines in a way and sometimes that works and others it doesn’t. Since I make my living by crafting, my own self-discipline determines, in a way, my final income. Good thing I love what I do because it would be easier to go work in an office. lol

    • Seanna Lea
    • I get more done when I am working on a deadline, but I feel less enjoyment of the process. I prefer my deadlines to be more organic or self motivated. It’s why I don’t really craft for gifts anymore. I give gifts, but more often they are things I started a couple of years ago and have finally finished in time for a gift giving opportunity.

      Of course, I would get more Iron Crafts done (as in more than 2-3 a year) if I decided on bite size projects. I only seem to have crazy pants sized projects.

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