I’d just never make a good hamster, running around on that same wheel day in and day out. Living in that well-lit but tiny little castle. No lists of things to mark through to make me feel productive, like I’ve accomplished something. I’d be cranky, real, real cranky.
So when I’m stitching one of the In Our Own Language pieces – the series in which I stitch every single one of Nancy’s drawings* – I create a system or risk shopping for sales of bales of cedar shavings to stuff in my pillowcase and socks.
There were 167 drawings in In Our Own Language 1; 454 in In Our Own Language 2; and 271 in In Our Own Language 3 (I’m currently working on IOOL 3). Now it’s true that 271 sounds like not so much after stitching 454, but I get discouraged rather quickly. I need traction, so here’s what I do:
I divided the drawings into groups of 50, putting each group into a separate envelope. Manageable milestones, you know. Markers. Attainable bites of the elephant. Then I set a goal of stitching a minimum of 25 drawings each week**, and I track my progress by logging the date and the numbers on the envelope. I also note the time spent stitching so I can estimate how long it takes me to stitch each drawing – that’s just for my own interest. And to maybe offer as bonus points on any pop quiz I toss out. I’m bad to do pop quizzes.
So now you have it: Jeanne’s Anti-Hamster System. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you a bedtime story about the actual stitching. Or maybe I’ll just bring you a glass of warm milk. We’ll see.
* Nancy is my 54 year old developmentally disabled sister-in-law. Every time we visit Nancy, she draws, and I bring home those drawings and stitch each drawing in the set, then each set becomes a cloth in the In Our Own Language series. Said another way: she draws, I stitch, we collaborate.
** I can usually stitch more than 25 in a week (even when traveling), but I don’t want to set myself up to fail, so I shoot in the medium range and treat it like I do my walking: my official goal is 10k steps a day, but my actual, unpublished (till now, anyway) goal is 12,500 steps/day. Why don’t I change the goal to 12,500, you might ask. Because I’m a sucker for the “You’re such an overachiever, Jeanne” messages my fitbit sends when I get over 10k steps.
Either, after 40 years, the engineer has rubbed off on you, or you are more of an engineer at heart than you’ve ever admitted. All this planning, scheduling, aligning, designs to prove to you that you’ve “accomplished” something. Not a criticism, just an observation…..closet engineer?