Deadline knitting is kind of my thing. I release 20 patterns per year (not including 3rd party patterns), so to ensure my stress levels are maintained at a manageable level, I’ve turned deadline knitting into a science.
Here’s the short version: plan backward.
Here’s the long version:
Make a list (or spreadsheet, I’ve seen some very cool gift-knitting spreadsheets) of all the deadline knitting you have for the next year (birthdays, Christmas, and teacher gifts, for example)
Then open your planner (or calendar, or phone, or wherever you keep track of appointments and to-do lists) and starting with the first gift on your list, add the date the gift needs to be wrapped and ready to give to the recipient. For example, if we want to make our friend, Alex a pair of birthday socks and Alex’s birthday is October 25th, we’ll write: wrap Alex’s b-day socks on October 25th in our calendar.
Next, figure out the time required to block and weave in the ends of the gift. Alex’s socks will need 2 days to block and weave in the ends, so we’ll write: block and weave Alex’s sox on October 22nd in our calendar.
Then determine how long it will take to actually knit the gift and working backward from the blocking date add the cast-on date to the calendar. We’ll assume 2 months for Alex’s socks since we have 4 wips on our needles at any given time, and we like to rotate between projects. So, we’ll write: cast on Alex’s sox on August 22nd in our calendar
To make sure our gift knitting stays on track, and we aren’t pulling an all-nighter on October 24th to finish Alex’s socks, we’ll also add reminders at the 25%, 50%, and 75% marks for Alex’s socks. So on September 6th we’ll write: turn heel Alex’s sock (the approximate halfway point of the first sock), on September 22nd we’ll write: cast on 2nd sock Alex (the halfway point of Alex’s gift) and on October 6th (the three-quarter mark for Alex’s gift) we’ll write: turn heel Alex’s sock
Next, determine which pattern, yarn, and needles you’ll be using for Alex’s gift and make a note of them in your planner so aren’t scrambling on cast-on day to find everything. If you don’t know which pattern, yarn, and needles you’ll be using, create an entry a couple of weeks before the cast-on date to remind yourself to source the yarn and needles with enough time for them to arrive (if you order on-line) or book a time to go to the LYS and buy them.
Lastly, because I like to pretend believe that we live in a world where everyone swatches before they cast-on (also in my world, yarn is sold at the grocery store, knitting needles are allowed everywhere, and it is not only acceptable, but expected to knit during meetings) choose a date to swatch and write it in the calendar, leaving enough time to make another swatch if necessary, so maybe a week before the cast-on date, August 15th, we’ll write: swatch Alex’s socks.
Planning backward is intended to make your life easier, not more stressful, so if planning specific knitting tasks for specific dates is too regimented for you, don’t do it. Adapt backward planning to suit your needs and the way your brain works. For example, you can add these tasks to your to-do list on the week they are due instead of creating a day-specific task. So, your To-do list for August 15th would include the task: swatch Alex’s gift, and your task list for the week of August 22nd would include the task: cast on Alex’s gift and you would know that to stay on track with your gift knitting, those knitting tasks need to happen that week.
I hope you find this helpful! How do you plan deadline knitting? I’d love to hear about your system.