Sunday, January 18, 2015

On New Year challenges

Wow...I just didn't think it would ever happen to me. I'm in a funk for my knitting. i have 23 pages of queued items on Ravelry, and I just don't feel like knitting with any of them. I've been browsing the pages of my queue and reading the patterns. Most are pieced, need mods, or I'd planned to use different yarn than what I'm interested in right now. In some cases, the things I queued don't appeal to me anymore. I just don't have the excitement I had in past years to embark on the new knitting projects.

I am in 3 groups on Ravelry that have posted challenges for 2015. With the way I'm feeling this year, I just don't know if I'll be motivated to meet any of them.

The 12 in 2015 group, I don't think I'll stay with. I haven't knit 12 projects in a year since 2012 - it was mostly shawls and hats. I made some beautiful ones. I just hardly wear any of them.  So that, in hindsight, seems to be a bit of a waste.  In 2013, I changed to making cardigans, and pullovers, but even with stockinette that requires more attention than I have been able to put in this past year.  This last year, 2014, I was focused on house stuff, so there was a lot of reorganization that went on, and no time to just leave crafting stuff out and have fun. It can be pretty draining to live by someone else's unrealistic expectations of you.

CPA swaps group is having two challenges (at least) this year. One is to declare a bin of yarn that you will knit from, and if interested a bin of Unfinished Objects. You can also state "use it or lose it" meaning that if you don't knit by the end of the year, what you've declared you'll knit in January, you would lose the skeins of yarn to the prize pool. Yep, there's a prize pool to win more yarn if you meet your goals. Some people have offered to chip in $5 per skein of yarn unknit..this they say with 25-30 skeins in their bin (yikes!). Still a small price to pay I suppose for not meeting the challenge you sow for yourself.

The second challenge in CPA swaps is one that is longstanding - Stashdown 2015. You track your INs and OUTs on yarn in terms of yardage, including yarn you knit. I thought about doing this in 2012, but too myself out of the main spreadsheet. Instead, I've been tracking privately each year 2012, 2013, 2014, and including the $ I spent. I thought that seeing the $ go in/out would reduce my spending on yarn. It sort-of works. In the end, if I really want to buy something, I lie to myself and justify it some other way. I have donated a lot of yarn over the years, and gotten rid of the old LYS (local yarn store) yarn through a friend who destashes on usedvictoria at a fraction of the price. Also, my local knitting group has gotten a lot snobbier, so those yarns don't fly there.

Verdant Gryphon group is doing 12 projects in 2015, or can be counted as 12 skeins, for those of us that knit sweaters - yay! I might actually meet this one this year, if I can find a pattern that I want to knit with, and yarn I want to use. Yarn must be VG or the old SG (Sanguine Gryphon yarn). With the goal of meeting 14 skeins last year (2014), I would have been close if they'd counted the 3 skeins I used from CY, but alas no. Even with weaving projects in there, I think I used about 8 or 9 skeins, and nowhere near 12 projects. Only thing is that if I end up knitting with other yarn -some of my madtosh or skein, for example, those wouldn't count.

I think even since December, my plans are changing:
  • I miss the sun, and I'd like to do some travelling (which I haven't done a whole lot of since 2012, and even before 2009) this year.
  • I need to remember to Be gentle with myself..as I'm at a crossroads now that I feel like my mind is changing daily on what inspires me, and where and how I want to spend my time
  • I am giving myself permission this year to succeed, to be an artist, and to fail faster (if need be, to reach my goals. For info, read more on Tien Chiu's blog). For a long time, I've resisted this idea of being an artist thinking that I had to create from scratch, or to have more original ideas.

    I've realized that I'm great at taking found materials and making them my own. I have for a long time adapted patterns from designers to add the features, techniques or the "look" that I want, and that's ok. It's part of my creativity process. I do have a running list of ideas and I want to play and explore with them this year, without creating undue pressure on myself to be perfect the first time, or to formalize the result in some way.
  • I want to continue with the weaving (and potentially knitting) but on my own terms. I'm going to make what I want when I want to make, and most likely, make for me....with the possibility to gift items later. 
  • For some reason, people in my group feel the need to razz me about the knitted cardigans I make, or about not knitting and just socializing when I go to knit night. For me, knitting has always been about choosing what I want to make for me, as no one else really will appreciate the time and effort I've put into it.  These days, going to knit night has become more about connection to the people in my group, and less about the churning of product knitting that I have done in the past (especially in light of the challenges on Ravelry to knit - which is more about quantity than quality). I actually spent one recent night doing weaving planning which was intensely liberating.
  • On weaving, I charged out of the gate in October and made a bunch of scarves through December. There are endless ideas, and I'm working on some of my own, but I need to visually "see" what the end result will look like...and not to worry about conforming to what others have done, or to feel restricted by "rules".
  • My woven items are about "contrast", which differs from my knitting where yarns that are used in contrast tend to look gaudy. In weaving,  contrasting yarns seem to make the designs "pop" more.
  • I'm also going to try hard to resist buying.all.the.things...even as my 2015 self pushes to make.all.the.things...and to make items from my stash as I can.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's a new year!

It's a new year, and I'm planning a largish knitting yarn destash shortly, so stay tuned for upcoming posts. May also have some books, and circular needles.