We have been talking on NING among the casket makers about how it is so easy to get stymied by a big project. As everyone has been talking, I had forgotten that most people don't often take on enormous embroidery projects or likely very large projects in other aspects of their lives. It is my 'speciality'.
Since I was little, I often worked on very large embroideries for a youth competition or some sort of big project with many people. A PhD, writing research grants/running big product developments, and dealing with a new 9-12 month robotics competition build every year. All things that hone your ability to look up at some imagined skyscraper that needs to be built, which doesn't have a recipe book, and feel comfortable putting the first brick down for the foundation.
The key to this is LISTS. Lists are also the key to creativity but I will talk about that a different time (it is counter intuitive to people who aren't used to exercising creativity). The list is a way to both plan and off load your anxiety to a different place - it sits captured in the list. Every time my dyslexic kids start to hyperventilate and insist that they are just overloaded, I use this technique as well with them.
Take whatever you want to do and write down all the parts or tasks. Let's take an example of the Harmony Casket, starting with the parts first.
Then you sub divide it down to a monthly level of parts or tasks. Then you subdivide the first few months even finer. (I have only done this for a few months just to illustrate and save space). Then assign a week or a day for each depending on the amount of work it looks like is reasonable.
- Satin stitch flowers (2 weeks, one flower or leaf a day)
- gimp stems and centers (2 days)
- gimp around ovals (1 day)
Month 2 - Center of Front Panel
Month 3 - Garland of Front Panel
Month 4 - Silk Purls and some needlelace