Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Resolute: 9 thoughts for the new year

This is the Thuja hat (from Knittty's Breast Cancer Awareness PDF) that I'm knitting for Mr. Fiberflash. It's the first thing that I've ever knit for him, and I actually finished it the day after Christmas, but it was too small. I ripped back to the columns of cables and added back on two more pattern repeats. I hope to finish it today, because I'm dying to see how it looks on him, and how he likes it.

I'm pretty sure that I've never made up a list of New Year's resolutions. Well, maybe once or twice when I was little, but only because I thought that was expected. I realize that it's just a big list that people love to make, and end up feeling guilty about within a week or so. This year though, I started thinking that there are a few things I might like to do... I listened to the latest episode of Craftypod podcast, and was thrilled to hear the most inspiring ideas ever. Diane suggests that, rather than resolving to exercise more (I would like to start doing Yoga again), eat better (I don't even want to think about how many sticks of butter I consumed via Christmas cookies, food, etc.), or always remember to use the spell check feature on my blog (oh wait, maybe that's just me). Instead, she suggests setting some goals that will be fun to keep. She's got tons of great, fun ideas that I loved; I would highly recommend listening to it as soon as possible for inspiration.

Following is my list of things I've learned about myself in the past year, as well as things that I plan to do in the coming year. All of my plans are low stress and fun. This list is actually all just for my own amusement -- it'll be interesting for me to read back a the end of the year.

1) I can be highly motivated while still being one of the worst procrastinators I know. I love to be busy, I'm extremely competitive (mostly just with myself), and am almost driven at times. Examples of all of this: I write this blog, my family blog, host a bi-monthly podcast, have chosen to be a stay-at-home mom, am raising two small children, decided to get pregnant with a third baby, and am attempting to learn a second language (German).

2) I never take into consideration the skill level of a project before I begin. There is no such thing as "beyond my expertise". If I don't know how to do it, I'll learn for that project. It doesn't occur to me until I'm straight in the middle of something that this might cause a bit of frustration, or take a little while to straighten things out. However, I've learned a whole lot of new techniques this way, and, for the good or for the bad, have become rather fearless.

3) I thrive on challenge. I've never knit a shawl. Well, I've never completed one. I began Kiri last year, but never finished it. I haven't decided to frog or finish yet, but I already have the needles and yarn for the Swallowtail Shawl, which I'll cast on for as soon as I give myself a moment to do so.

4) I hate to cast on for a new project, because casting on involves counting stitches, and getting adjusted to whatever new techniques, stitch patterns, etc. are involved. My favorite two moments of a project are when I first get comfortable with a pattern (usually a few inches into the piece), and when I bind off.

5) I like to do small projects. They might be very complicated (see above), but I like them to be small so that I can finish them quickly. Another reason is that I'm rather cost conscious (my husband and I give ourselves each a certain amount of "allowance" each paycheck, and that's made me very careful about managing my personal spending money), so I enjoy knitting things like socks, hats, etc. in luxury fibers and brand names, since I feel like I'm getting the most "bang for my buck", and can therefore afford my expensive taste and fiber snobbery. If you notice two paragraphs above though, I do plan on starting a shawl, so we'll see how well that works out for me.

6) Along the same line of thought, if I feel like scrapbooking, I won't feel guilty about "trying to keep up" a huge, comprehensive book of my life (as I have in my World Before Knitting). I will be contented with tiny, creative little books, since that's what makes me the most happy. I will stash dive as much as possible, since it thrills me to no end to "make due" when I'm sewing or scrapping or making cards. I'm way more inventive when I "have" to use stash to make something work or get across an idea.

7) I would love to learn how to card wool. However, my wrists are a little bit stressed from all of the obsessive crafting, so hand carders are a bad idea. Also, I'm all about speed, so a drum carder is the only way to go.

8) Unfortunately, I haven't finished paying off the credit card that I bought my wheel on, and I really need to focus on getting that taken care of. This is the only non-fun part of this list: I am going to pay that off before buying a drum carder. Of course, I may not be interested in a drum carder by the time that happens (pregnancy makes me do funny things), but regardless, I hate being in debt. I will attempt not to buy any new fiber or yarn before I pay the credit card off. I've already taken a big step towards that by paying a few hundred on the card this last billing period. It should take me a few more months to complete. If, however, a project needs more yarn than what I have, I might let myself buy more. All projects must start from the stash though.

9) One last thing, and this is pure fun. I intend to give myself more room for expanding my crafty language. I won't allow myself to feel tied down to any one thing. As much as I love to knit and spin, I won't let that get in the way of exploring other things. I would love to explore quilting a little bit...of course tiny, doll sized ones and quilted cards and such. Tiny all the way!

Here is some stash enhancement that happened in the month of December:

More fun to come!!

Check back in the next few days for a list of sites and podcasts that have challenged and inspired me creatively in the past year.

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