Behind the scenes in designing (first steps)

When I have finished my current personal project (left above) and then the stale one that is next on my list (right above) I will be able to work on something completely new. This means I have approximately a month of planning time, if all goes well with both, and thought I'd share the planning process with readers.

Whatever the actual starting point, a great yarn, a technique you want to try, etc. the first thing that needs decided is *what to make*. In my case I'm making a set of bedroom curtains because when we replaced the windows (they weren't keeping the weather on the *outside* nearly as well as they should have) the new window frames are slightly wider than the old and the blinds we used to use no longer fit.

A step in decision making that we often don't consider consciously, and maybe should, is to determine what *exactly* the function of the item will be. If it is meant to look pretty on a wall there will be a different decision tree than if it needs to be a sturdy wearable. I almost missed doing this step myself since, after all, I know what curtains are for. Upon further consideration I realized that there were details that would affect my final decisions and it would be wise to clarify to myself what I wanted so as to be able to tell if I had succeeded when finished. There needs to be three curtains (or at least coverage of three windows) and I need to be able to open/close the windows at will. The curtains aren't necessary for privacy, but there is a street light fairly near so it is desirable that they block light better than the sheers I currently am using (without being so light-blocking that I can't wake up in the morning). The supplies need to be relatively inexpensive and I want to use what I have on hand as much as possible. They also need to not be excessively time-consuming to make as I want to use them in this lifetime. All these factors determine the "skeleton" of my mental decision making. Based on them some materials and techniques will be automatically discarded while others will have to be weighed carefully to determine what is both workable and provides the level of challenge and interest that I need to keep me working.

That last paragraph may look daunting, but much of the determinations are actually made nearly subconsciously. Next week I will share what the answers were that create my tree for this project.

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