Tag Archives: goals

Fashionably late

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karusellen3

Karusellen, off the needles and destined for blocking and then finishing (I can’t wait to sew on that pompom!)

The time has come! I know it’s late for the traditional intentions/goals/resolutions setting, but there are still 50 weeks left in 2016, so I think I’m safe. Anyway, without any further ado, here is where I see this year going, and what I want to prioritize as it unfolds, when I look out over the (mostly) empty pages of my calendar.

  1. More winter accessories: At the moment, I have one hat, one pair of mittens, and one cowl. I live in a place that gets approximately six months of cold weather a year, and probably half that time is really cold (-10C/14F or colder), so what the heck!? If I am going to spend half the year wearing mittens and hats and scarves and cowls, I feel that my hand-knit wardrobe should reflect that a little more. I’m just finishing my new hat (Karusellen, above), and have plans for at least one more. I’d also like to knit a couple pairs of mittens, another pair of fingerless mitts, and maybe a couple of cowls. These projects will also be excellent ways to use up the odd bits in my stash, which brings me to…
  2. Knitting up my stash: I actually think I did pretty well with this last year (11 of the the garments/items I knit were knit from stash), but I also think I added more to my stash than I knit, which is a problem. I don’t want to get rid of my stash by any stretch, but I think keeping the yardage at neutral is a reasonable goal for the year, and using up yarn I have rather than buying more of the same is just sensible.
    2b. Use what’s in my stash as a basis for choosing projects. In the past, I’ve tried to shoehorn my stash into projects I want to make, and that has not been a recipe for success (as a recipe for buying new yarn, though, it has excelled). This year, I’m going to try harder to think about what yarn I want to knit with, and then look for a suitable project.
    2c. NO MORE SOCK YARN. That’s in all-caps, because I’m yelling it at myself. I have a ton of sock yarn, and the rate at which I knit socks has decreased by quite a lot as I’ve started prioritizing larger garments. I have more than enough to see me through several years, so I can certainly go one year without buying more. This is my one hard-and-fast resolution, and I am going to be militant about it (aside from gifts, of course).

    next2

    L will get at least two more pairs of striped socks this year. The top yarn is one he chose, Zitron Unisono #1210, and the bottom two are Knit Picks Felici in Baker Street.

  3. Knit more socks for L: This is a pretty easy one even with the above injunction. I have lots of man-specific sock yarn in my stash (purchased with L in mind) and this winter he has really embraced hand-knit socks. He was always appreciative in the past, but maybe moving to a slightly colder city has had an affect — he wore the pair I gave him for Christmas for four days straight. And then picked out yarn for a new pair the next time we were in an LYS. So, yes, I would say he’s onboard, and there’s nothing like an appreciative recipient to encourage output.
  4. Spread my holiday knitting throughout the year: I desperately need to stop the routine I’m in of not starting anything until mid-October. It’s crazy, and stresses me out way too much. This year, I’m starting in the spring and want to be half done by September. Totally doable.
  5. Sweaters! I have yarn for four, and if I finish two I will be very, very happy. I’d like to knit at least one cardigan and one pullover this year (maybe two pullovers, if I get my act together early). The next week or two are for swatching, and then the fun begins.
  6. Actually sew: I get so in my head about how time-consuming and labour-intensive sewing is, and as a result I spend more time thinking about how much work it will be than actually just doing the work. It’s ridiculous, and the only way to stop that spiral is to just do it already. I was given the pattern for the Gallery Tunic & Dress and I have the fabric for it, so that’s where I’m starting. Today I plan to trace the pattern and cut the fabric. If I don’t get farther than that, fine, maybe the secret to sewing is not trying to cram everything into one long exhausting session. I really do want to sew, but I’m so intimidated!
  7. Stop worrying about productivity: It can be hard to read blogs or check Ravelry and see people who are able to churn out one or two finished garments a week (or, more astoundingly, seven or eight sweaters a year). The why can’t I do that? question sometimes rings in the back of my mind, and I just need to get over it. My life has changed, this year is going to be nuts, and I need to adjust my expectations accordingly. Even if it takes me a month to knit a pair of socks now, I need to remember that I am still knitting and am still producing, and when your time is limited things take longer. I’m sure I’ll still struggle with it, but I hope I can get better at practicing patience with myself.
  8. Be a better blogger! This is something else that stressed me out last year, for absolutely no good reason. Last year I worried too much about having the time to write a long post, or getting up-to-date photos, and lots of other (in retrospect) silly little things that kept me from actually sitting down and writing. This year, I’m not going to let those things get in the way. Blog posts not happening in the order I had arbitrarily planned? Who cares (hence this post coming so late). Photo not a 100% accurate representation of where I am in a project? Oh well! I have come to realize that, in order to blog during the week, I need to take the photos one day, write one day, and proofread/post on another day. That obviously means things won’t line up exactly, but that’s okay. I’m aiming to post at least once a week this year, so prepare yourselves for lots of in-progress knitting. When blogging was a habit, it was easy, and I just need to get it back into my routine.

So, there you have it! Ten things for 2016, and some of them already in practice. Not so bad, late start notwithstanding. I’m sure you’ve all already written about your own goals/intentions for the year, so please feel free to share them in the comments — either your top picks, or a link, or whatever. Sometimes letting others in on your plans makes them feel more concrete and attainable (at least that’s what I’m banking on).

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Up next for me: The white yarn on the left is a gorgeous skein of 100% alpaca that my almost-sister-in-law (and her husband) gave me for Christmas. It’s from a local farm and the name of the Alpaca the wool is from is on the label! It is incredibly soft, and I can’t wait to turn it into a cozy cowl. The two right-hand skeins are Classic Elite Fresco (in Greystone and Superman Yellow) and they will be my Dala mittens.

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February is for focusing

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I was going to say that February is for finishing, but then I realized I have too many unfinished projects to possibly make that claim during the shortest month of the year. So instead, a compromise. I realized this week that, other than my Christmas socks, I haven’t knit anything for myself since mid-November. I’m not saying that this is some kind of travesty or anything – I love giving handknits and also how knitting gifts gives me the opportunity to tackle projects I wouldn’t necessarily knit for myself – but there comes a point when you just want to knit something that doesn’t have a gift-by deadline, you know?

I got this yarn (and two more skeins just like it) for Christmas. This skein, or part of it, is destined to be a headband.

I got this yarn (and two more skeins just like it) for Christmas. This skein, or part of it, is destined to be a headband.

So, this month I’m going to try and focus my knitting on a few key things that I’ve been wanting. The main thing on this list is mittens. Since October I have knit three pairs of mittens and one pair of gloves and this has given me a lot time to think about what mittens I want for myself (mine, knit last year, have grown very thin indeed). Thus, they are priority number one, and would be a super quick knit if I weren’t designing my own (with the intention of releasing the pattern, which slows things down a little). I also need a headband, which shouldn’t take more than an afternoon, really.

In progress. I'm already knit and ripped and reknit a couple of times, but I think I've got it more or less figured out now.

In progress. I’m already knit and ripped and reknit a couple of times, but I think I’ve got it more or less figured out now.

The real focus of this month, though, will be my Woodstove Season cardigan. I started it back in November, then realized I was knitting the wrong size and ripped it out. I got re-started after the holidays, but put it down again to focus on the Moose Gloves, but now that those are finished (!) I am feeling the pull of the sweater. At least part of that is reactionary, since it’s been steadily cold for the past few weeks and I hate being cold. But I’m also starting to feel like a full finished sweater is a hurdle a need to get over, and I think this one is the one to get me there. I’m almost ready to divide for the armpits, and from there it’s pretty straightforward, so I just need to stick to it and it’ll be fine.

I love this colour. I am also totally smitten by these chevrons.

I love this colour. I am also totally smitten by these chevrons.

So, that’s where I think this month is heading – I’ll try to work on things in cycles so at least the blog will stay interesting. What are your plans for this short month?

Looking ahead to 2013

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It never really feels like a new year has begun until I have a new day planner. It probably sounds really quaint that I still use paper, but I have tried iCal and Google Calendar and the calendar on my phone and, frankly, I hate them all. I like writing things down and being able to map things out and add Post-It lists, and I really like having them as a record of my year. I don’t keep a diary anymore, so instead I use my day planner to keep track of things and while most of it is boring work stuff, it’s also a record of plans with friends, holidays, and all the fun stuff in my life.

Anyway, now that the organizational side of my brain has the whole year laid out in paper-form, I thought maybe my creative side should try to do a little goal-setting too. I’m not big on resolutions (it seems the point is more to make them than to work toward them), but I like goals (they’re more active and less lofty, it seems to me), so here are a few of mine, in no particular order:

1. Complete a sweater. I came so close with Buckwheat, but the endless stockinette killed me. This year, I want to get past that. I wear a lot of sweaters (pullovers and cardigans) in the winter, fall, and spring, so besides being a milestone in knitting, they’re a super practical addition to my wardrobe.

2. Learn to knit toe-up socks. I knit a lot of socks and generally don’t feel limited by my top-down style. Still, I learned a bunch of skills last year, and I don’t want to stagnate (as if that’s even possible with knitting.)

3. Consider the stash first. Deciding to go on a yarn diet would be pointless, because as soon as I said it I’d itch to buy something. Instead, when starting something new or eyeing a new pattern, I will look to my stash first. I have a lot of awesome yarn there, and it’s easy to forget that when the lure of a new project is dangling in front of me; however, I am running out of space, and want to use the yarn I bought, so it gets first priority. If, though, I don’t have what I need, or there’s a good reason to buy more yarn (I’m on a trip, it’s crazy on sale, whatever) I give myself permission to do so.

4. Be a more creative cook. Our New Year’s Eve dinner party went really well, and I want to have more of them (although maybe with fewer people – cooking for 11 is a lot of work). I don’t cook as much as I used to, and when I do I often make the same things. This year I want to try and branch out, both in terms of what I cook and who I cook for.

5. Publish a couple of patterns. I have a few designs kicking around that I’ve been too lazy to publish, and that’s dumb. This isn’t so much a pride thing as it is about creativity and being part of the larger community, and I want to dive in there.

Alright, that out of the way, here’s what’s on my needles to start 2012:

First up, my Woodstove Season cardigan. This may well be what accomplishes Goal 1, and I really hope it is because I love the design and the wool, and I really want to wear it.

The chevrons are just starting to be visible. (I'm knitting this in SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in Cyprus)

The chevrons are just starting to be visible. (I’m knitting this in SweetGeorgia Superwash Worsted in Cyprus)

I picked up some Tosh Sock at Gaspereau Valley Fibres when I was at home over the holidays (I did a bit of yarn shopping, actually, but we can talk about that later) and after I finished my Cranberry Biscotti Socks, I cast on for new ones. I hemmed and hawed about the pattern, but after casting on for three different ones, I settled on Hermione’s Everyday Socks since they were simple and pretty. I like them a lot.

Tosh Sock in Jade.

Tosh Sock in Jade.

Lastly, this clearly isn’t quite on my needles yet, but this yarn will become the Moose Gloves you see in the photo (no one on Ravelry has made this pattern, so there’s no link).

This is more yarn purchased at Gaspereau – this time New England Shetland in Red and Charcoal. The gloves will be grey with red moose.

This is more yarn purchased at Gaspereau – this time New England Shetland in Red and Charcoal. The gloves will be grey with red moose and patterning. (The red is only slightly less vibrant in person.)

L has wanted these gloves since before he bought me Norwegian Mittens and Gloves (they are why he bought it) and his birthday is coming up, so I’m going to buckle down and knit them up. The pattern calls for sport-weight, but since they all run a little small, I’m going to hold this fingering weight Shetland double. In my head, this is a perfect solution – what do you think?

So, that’s three projects on the go, plus five goals – not a bad start to the year. How’s your 2013 outlook?