I'm getting to the time of year when I get busy and my crafty productivity takes a nosedive. However, I'm trying to remember to enjoy what I'm doing.
I was enjoying a wintery Saturday morning (something we haven't had here in the GTA for several weeks now) with my Cozy Memories Blanket and a cup of coffee and was checking out blogs, something I don't do nearly enough. Thankfully, one of the first I hit on was the fantastic Friday feature from Julie Crawford at Knitted Bliss.
This week's edition has a whole pile of excellent links (as always!, Julie does a great job) but the one that I was interested was from Interweave and about yarn trends for 2017. In an amongst the neon yarns and arm knitting was a great conversation about "How do we make more knitters" that touches on Pussyhats and yarn stores and has a great reflection on minimalism and how yarn stores might play off that trend for their benefit. The whole article is worth a read, and I would encourage you to do it.
In the section I was struck about how my feelings about my yarn stash have changed over the years. Like most knitters, when I first started knitting I was just manic about it, both the knitting and the stashing. Within my first few years my stash just ballooned. There were many reasons for that, but in large part it was about not wanting to miss out on special yarns. With indie dyeing at an all time high, there was a never ending buffet of amazing one of a kind yarns that I just had to have. While my stashing rate was consistently growing, my output wasn't keeping pace. While in the beginning you are churning out mittens, hats, cowls, shawls and an incredible rate, you begin to realize that you don't have enough hands, necks or heads to wear all those that you have made and if you are me, that really you have one favourite and wear it every day. So the stash keeps growing far faster than the pile of knitted objects. At a certain point you come to realize that things are out of control. You go "Cold Sheep" and swear to not buy anymore yarn till you knit what you have. But this never works, you want the newest yarn, that special limited edition base with that custom colour. And you buy it and stash it, because you have to use up the yarn in your stash, and when you finally find that special, just had to have it yarn it just another "stash yarn" you have to get through and you've forgotten why you just had to have it.
I don't know when I finally broke on the inside, but after having lived this cycle for longer than I'm willing to admit, my stash was unreasonable (for me!). I have divested myself of most of my yarn (and fiber, cause I spin too!) and now when I walk into a yarn store I might get something special; and plan to knit it next, before it becomes stash yarn.
So to the folks at Interweave, suggesting that yarn stores focus on quality over quantity, you have my attention because that's where I'm at right now. And while I'm not a new knitter who will go on a stashing spree, I'm happy to be a steady knitter who buys what she needs, and wants, when she needs or wants it, and will spend a few more dollars to get something special, because yarn is special.
Yarn is possibility and future, warm and wooly, and the best thing ever. Let's keep our yarn stores in business with thoughtful buying and stashing, and hopefully.
Here's to a new year!
So here I am sitting on my couch, drinking a coffee my cat may have gotten the first sip of (well at least a lap of the foam), enjoying a beautiful morning and thinking about the new year.
So now its time to think about what I'm going to get done in 2017, and I've been thinking this for a while. My "year" kinda started back in October. With my job, which is so focused on the summer, I've been writing 2017 on files since I wrapped up last summer's paperwork. Also, with the way my time runs, I try to get my WIPs done as I head into the summer, because I know that I just don't have time for them in the summer (although that is something I would really like to change) and I get recharged in September once I'm back to a more 9-5 life.
So, with that in mind, here are my goals for 2017.
Make Something that Means Something
So, I'm more of a process knitter, which means I'm not as interested in the thing I'm making as I am in making it. This means that I end up making a whole bunch of things I can't really use and I give away, which is great, but I want to make things that mean things to me.
To that end I already have an unofficial goal, finish a sweater for me that fits me! I made myself a vest a few years back, that doesn't really fit me well (it always falls off my shoulders), but I tried on Carla's Mailin when I was home for Christmas and the yoke/sweatshirt style fit like a dream. It was more tailored on me that it was on her (or the model) but it is going to look really great in the Georgian Bay Fibre Co Bayfield Aran in Granite (a dark grey).
I'm hoping that by making something that means something I will feel more motivated to create.
Make Slow Fashion
One of the big revelations for me in 2016 was how much how what I wear informs how I feel about myself. I pared down my wardrobe, found a store where I could find clothes that fit properly and feel like myself (Torrid, they have my size and if you dig they have some amazing stuff). However, the clothes I'm buying are intended as Fast Fashion. While I'm fortunate in that I can afford the cash to buy good quality clothing, my size (anywhere from an 18 to a 24 depending on brand, store and part of body) makes buying the kinds of heirloom pieces I'm looking for very difficult. So, the solution is to make them myself.
I'm a bit intimidated by the process. Coming face to face with your own body is a hard to thing to do when you've been running from it since puberty, but that's why I'm taking it slow, starting with a great wool sweater (see above goal) and then seen what else I can make.
It's funny, turning 30 a few years back was a big one for me, because I spend most of my 20s feeling kinda shitty about my body, but I decided when I couldn't afford to feel terrible about myself. This body of mine can do amazing things and I needed to give it the respect that it deserves. Since then it has helped me do great things! So I want to honour it with good looking, fitting and ethical clothing.
Make the World Around Me
This one is more about the whole person who is doing the making. In the past few months I've really started to jump in. That hasn't always been my way. But if I can turn the heel on a sock, I can make new friends, I can make my world somewhere I want to live. This means being positive and truthful on social media/blogs, this means making time to for things that matter to me and making sure that I don't waste my time on things that don't.
Making is such an important concept. I have the ability to make and I want to apply it to my whole world.
So here's to 2017, with all the terrifying and joyful challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
It's that time of year again, where I review the numbers and set goals for the next year.
This year was not the best (in so many ways) but the one thing it did do was help me figure out how important fiber crafts are in my life. I have not had such an "unproductive" year since when I first started knitting in 2007-09.
I knit about 2.3 miles of yarn. This is a whole bunch less than my most productive year, 2012 where I knit (and wove, to my recollection) 8.7 miles of yarn.
However, I think I did my best to make those 2.3 miles count. In the end I made,
- an R&R Hoodie for Henry (my 4th, and not my last)
- a baby vertebrae for Henry (which will be my last because that pattern is not that much fun.
- 5 pairs of socks (3 for me and 2 for others)
- two shawls (a Bradway and a Mara)
I do have a few projects, including my cozy memories blanket that I did major work on in 2016 but that won't be finished until 2017, which counts for a whole bunch of yarn yardage. Currently it is about 1,500 yards of yarn, but I'm only about halfway (or less) from being done. However, according to my own rules I can't count the yardage in my system till it's done. Also in progress is another shawl and two pairs of socks.
I also set goals for 2016, the are as follows:
Make More! Consume Less! Keep Blogging!
Well, I think I did okay on these goals. I did make few things, but they were meaningful and considering the time I had available, pretty decent. I did buy less materials than ever before (although my little detour into watercolours did get me some new supplies) and also I did spend less time wasted on social media. That said I do enjoy posting and looking at Instagram pictures, but I spend much less time on Twitter, which is good for my mental health.
Two out of three ain't bad!
So, I will set my 2017 goals today and share them with you tomorrow.
Here are some of my past years Review Posts -
Wow, it's been a while since I've managed to get a blog post out. After a summer at camp I'm pretty wrung out and drained. I love camp, it's truly my passion, but like all things that matter it is completely exhausting, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
However, over the past few months I've managed to refill my cup (so to speak).
I've been working on lots of knitting, as well as adding lots of new artistic and physical pursuits to my schedule. During each week I manage to go to an Irish Dance class, swimming lessons, choir, board game meet-up, watercolour painting class and an online course in Adult Education.
So here's a little taste of what I've been up to, and I look forward to getting back into the swing of blogging, as I really enjoy sharing on the blog.