keeping track of WIPs

I always have many works in progress (WIPs). The same thing happens to me with books. I may set a project aside for months … or years and return to it and continue as if there was no pause. How do I keep track of all the details? Carefully.

The other day someone asked me how I don’t mess up and work on instructions for a different project. It happens! This is definitely true if I’m working on a few projects with similar stitch rhythms.

Sometimes keeping track of my WIPs doesn’t go as planned. I don’t always follow my own advice! More often than I’d like to admit, I’ve had to scour my own social media posts and photo archives to try to remember what size needle I used, what materials I chose, or if I made a planned modification or a mistake.

Here’s my ideal world process to keep track of my WIPs.

Where I keep my project records

  1. As soon as I commit to a project, it gets a page in my notebook1. When I start a new notebook2, relevant information on existing WIPs is migrated as appropriate.
  2. Each project also receives an index card. These are my quick notes and used mostly for me to track progress though I will often put a crib sheet of the pattern there too. Think of these index cards as the due date slips in library books. Yes, I have a date stamp which I often use.
  3. I’ll create a project online, this is hopefully in the fledgling notebook website I’ve created, but I also add it on Ravelry.

What I record in my project records.

  1. All basic information: yarn and colorway, needle size, pattern information.
  2. Any modifications I make to the pattern.
  3. A note for project bag the project is stored in.
  4. A photo or doodle.

Years ago, I sketched and colored examples of my project bags and printed stickers. My intent was to put them in my notebooks. That hasn’t worked well for me, as I constantly swap the bags around depending on various factors. It’s been easier for me to write that out each time. I still like the sticker idea!

Where I keep my WIPs

It is important for me to keep my studio tidy and cat safe. Dot has very good taste in yarn and it’s not hers to play with whenever she wants. This IKEA “expedit” cabinet3 is where I keep most of my WIPs and yarn and fiber. It isn’t the only one in my studio, there are also two smaller units.

It’s not the most user friendly of systems for me – if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. I keep index cards for WIPs grouped by its bin. The cards help me to go through my current projects without pulling out all the bins to search for the right project. It has worked out well, except when the cat decides to run off with the index card.

How do you keep track of your WIPs?

This post was first published in 2015 and updated for 2024.

  1. This is a new design in Oink Pigments Dapper, colorway Random Carp. I hope to finish the pattern soon! Interested in being one of the first to know? Please follow @creativeacorns on Instagram and sign up for the newsletter. ↩︎
  2. A few notebooks are still available in the shop, if they are sold out, I also offer notebooks at PSG Studio↩︎
  3. For many years it wasn’t in my studio and stored other things. After renovating my space I realized it would now fit and provide much needed storage. ↩︎

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