Unlike juggling multiple books at once (a task I’ve never been able to accomplish successfully without confusing plots), stitching multiple canvases at once is completely feasible. In fact, since projects range in size, shape and intensity, I find it nice to break up the monotony that can occur with repetitive projects and keep my mind sharp by jumping between projects.
A few tips to juggle multiple projects at once:
- Keep your threads separate. There’s nothing worse than getting to a section that requires blue but when you go to find the thread you realize you have three variations of that same blue in your thread drawer. I use floss-a-way organizer bags and metal rings to keep my threads organized by project. This also helps me keep track of what each thread is and what the lot number is.
- Be mindful of finishing times. Some projects have hard deadlines, others don’t. I do a lot of needlepoint wedding gifts and like to have those done by the wedding shower (ambitious) or more likely by the actual wedding. Finishing times on ornaments and little door hangers can be up to 12 weeks so I have to plan ahead and remember that the date on the save the date on my fridge is not my stitch deadline. Other projects, like my giant no-name chicken, have no real deadline so I can put it down for weeks at a time to work on other projects and be completely fine. If some of your projects have deadlines, set calendar reminders to keep yourself on track.
- Be strategic in choosing where you stitch each project. I know that my 19” by 19” chicken won’t fit in my work bag. Because of that, I pack my 8” by 9” door hanger when I need to bring a project in for craft lunch at work. Similarly, I know that I don’t have a lot of extra arm space on the airplane so I pack my belt project when I fly because I know I won’t have room to pull out a big canvas. Belts are great because you can keep the project rolled up and just unroll parts as you need. If you are working on multiple projects in all different sizes, plan accordingly and work on the projects that make the most sense in the space you’re working in.
- Make sure you are actually finishing projects. As much as juggling projects has its perks, ask yourself - how many projects do you really need to be juggling? There’s something so gratifying about getting a project back from the finisher. You don’t want to have 10 different projects you are always working on and never finish any of them.
On the topic of juggling projects, here are a few that I’m juggling at the moment!
Wedding Door Hanger
I love doing these as wedding gifts because I can customize it to match the wedding colors and play around with different stitches at the same time. I used two variations of the gobelin (not goblin) stitch on this one
I’m nearing the one year mark of when I started this canvas so I’ll be cutting it close on my goal of stitching it in one year. Of course this goal was totally arbitrary and I had no real concept of the time commitment when I started on it.
Aquatic Creatures Belt
I’ve had so much fun with this one! Belts as gifts are another great way to personalize a needlepoint gift, especially as there is so much room on the canvas. More on this one as I make it more than ⅛ of the way through. (Ready to design your own belt? Here’s a how-to for needlepoint belts)
This project was started in January when I attended my first needlepoint class but unfortunately I haven’t made much progress on it since. I’m going to blame its seasonality when explaining why I haven’t felt any pressure to hurry it along and actually finish it.
I’m partnering with Elizabeth Bradley to talk about their mini kits so I’m really excited to get started on this one once I finish up one of my other current projects. I’m taking my own advice and not throwing another project into the rotation until I meet a few of my other deadlines.
Are you juggling projects? How do you stay on top of them all?