Looking forward, eyes wide open

4

Last night, as L and I rang in the New Year, it snowed and snowed and snowed. So, this morning, when we woke up to 2017, the view from our windows was pristine: perfect, untouched, fluffy snow covered everything. Of course by now the plows have been out and our neighbours have been walking their dogs and the snow has been shovelled and heaped and stepped in, but still, it was a perfect scene to wake up to.

halligarth

I started knitting Halligarth in 2014 (!) and its time has come. Before I get going on anything else this year, I am finishing this shawl. It’s going to be a stunner.

I meant to do a wrap-up post yesterday, but I got so overwhelmed thinking about how many things I never blogged, or even took proper photos of, and the idea of catching up seemed too big, and then I lost the light (the days are getting longer, but not quickly). But, that paralysis was, in a way, also a catalyst. I don’t usually make resolutions, but this year I am: In 2017, I resolve to act.

2016 was a lot of things, and while I definitely feel like I accomplished a lot, I also feel the weight of the things I didn’t do — things I thought about doing, but never quite got around to (lots of blog posts that I fully thought out but never wrote; emails planned but never sent; garments planned but never sewn; articles bookmarked but never read, or only partially read; etc.). I never regret thinking about things, but I do regret not following through. So this year, my goal is to follow through. Most of the things in the list above do not actually take very long to do; it’s just a matter of sitting down and doing them or, in the case of sewing, blocking out pockets of time to sit down and do them.

al-70

I love this photo of L and I. It’s from last February, when we had engagement photos taken, and it features both my Karusellen hat and L’s scarf — the first thing I ever knit him. The photo is by Ramya Jegatheesan.

Before I get too down on myself though, here’s a reminder of some of the things I did accomplish last year:

  • I knit 20 garments, including three sweaters, five pairs of socks, and my long-dreamed-of dala horse hat and mittens set.
  • I sewed seven shirts, most of which are in regular warm-weather rotation, and two dresses (none of which I’ve blogged or properly photographed, which also means I may be forgetting something).
  • I travelled to the Bahamas, New York, and Iceland, as well as back and forth to Toronto, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.
  • I read, including audiobooks, 39 books. My top 5 of the year (in order of when I read them) were: H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald; All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr; Shrill written and read by Lindy West; My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (I am halfway through The Story of A New Name right now and am totally hooked); and Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay, read by Bahni Turpin.
  • I hiked, skied, snowshoed, skated, and swam, making the most of all the seasons
  • L and I got married! (And, relatedly, spent 10 months planning our wedding.)
  • And, just to make things interesting, with just weeks left in the year L and I quit our jobs and moved to Quebec!
reception-30

The best. (Photo by Ramya Jegatheesan.)

Taken on its own, it’s not a bad list. 2016 wasn’t all bad, even if it largely feels like it was a really dark year. I am carrying a lot of hope into 2017, but I am also facing reality that some of the darkness of last year is coming with us. That’s a big reason why I want to focus on action this year. It would be easier to hunker down, look inward, and try to focus on only the positives (all of which are good and valid things to do), but I want to enter this new year with my eyes open. I don’t want to be blindsided by the world like I was last year — it hurt too much — so instead I am looking at everything. The view isn’t all good, but you can’t do anything about the parts you don’t like if you can’t see them.

To start with, I set up a recurring donation to Plan International’s Because I Am A Girl program (I also have recurring donation set up for MSF. I like not having to think about it). I did it today, while L and I looked over our budget (New Year’s Day is a good day to check-in on your finances, actually) and it took almost no time at all, which is a good little reminder to myself that these kinds of things actually happen really fast when you just do them. Anyway. We’re still finding our feet in out new town, but I will be looking for local volunteer opportunities and organizations to support as well.

nightsocks1

I cast these on sometime in November and they are an immensely satisfying project to have in the background. Even knitting just a couple of rows in between working on other things is a delight. How had I not knit self-patterning yarn before this?

Of course, I am also making lists of all the things I want to make this year. I tend to make big plans and then get sidetracked, but this year I really do want to focus on building out my wardrobe. My main focus this year is sweaters, particularly ones that I can wear to work (in theory, all my sweaters are fine for work, but I’m working on refining my office look and part of that is allowing for a more defined work/weekend split in what I wear). I have updated my Ravelry queue, focusing mainly on the sweaters I have yarn for already, and while I’m sure things will change a bit, I’m feeling good about this as a starting point.

Sewing-wise, there are three garments I want to tackle this year: button-down shirts (I have both the Grainline Archer and Cashmerette Harrison Shirt patterns in my stash), a simple every-occasion dress (I have the Colette Laurel pattern, so that’s where I’m starting, but I also really like the By Hand London Zeena Dress), and t-shirts (I’m still kind of afraid of knits, but I need to get over that and have the Grainline Lark Tee, Deer & Doe Plaintain and Seamwork Jane patterns all ready and waiting). I have fabric to start all of these, and once we get a bit more unpacked I’m going to give myself time every week to sew (if I’ve learned one thing it’s that knitting might “just happen” but, around here, spontaneous sewing never does. Likewise, I’m going to give myself blogging time, because if I don’t schedule it, it won’t happen).

oda1

I swatched for Oda before Christmas and cast on last week, right before picking up Halligarth. Once the shawl is finished, I think this will be a relatively quick knit, and a really good winter-wardrobe staple.

Since a bunch of stuff I made last year never made it on here, I’m thinking I might still try for a top-5 makes of 2016 post. It’ll be photo- (and, thus, light-) dependent, but I’m going to try to make it happen.

Happy 2017 to you all! What big (or small) wonderful things do you have planned for the year?

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4 thoughts on “Looking forward, eyes wide open

  1. Julia

    I’m sending you a big, big hug! You wedding pictures are so beautiful, congratulations again!
    I know what you mean by follow through … I have had the same problem over the course of the year, and I mean to “better” myself in the blogging department again. 😉

    Here’s to a wonderful 2017! Have fun in Quebec!

  2. Audry

    First off, getting married takes a lot of time to do…. and after we got married, our minister said, “See you in 6 months.” It just took time to adjust to all sorts of different things. It just sounds like your personal bandwidth was used up this year by wedding/honeymoon/moving. I think you are doing fantastic.

    Also, self patterning/ self striping yarn is the best.

  3. Nicky

    I think you got quite alot accomplished in 2016 if I say so myself. I love your thoughts on what the year brought and what we need to focus on moving into 2017. I’m looking forward to seeing what you accomplish craft and community wise this year. cheers to you and your love for that bold move to quit your jobs and relocate. I love it!

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