Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Celebrations, Part 2: Happy New Year!

Yeah, I know that that other New Year is long gone. But I was busy and sick at the time, and there wasn't much time for reflection. So I'm going to take advantage of the Lunar New Year on Feb 7 to do the typical new year reassessments. We are celebrating in style, and look, I even decorated the tree...

I had a great mentor a few years ago who was a big believer in finding the right balance in your life by being honest about what your values were and then aligning your goals and decisions to reflect that. This keeps you from feeling pulled in too many directions--so that you don't feel overwhelmed and guilty about all the things you think you should be doing, or not doing, and so that you can confidently say "yes" only to the things that matter, and "no" to everything else. This philosophy has worked well for me, and I try to step back from time to time and ask myself whether I need to make any adjustments. I don't know that I've really purposely applied the practice to knitting, but I figured I'd try setting up some decisions for the next 6 months. That carries me through the summer, and if I like this process, I'll keep going with it.

Value: Joy
Goal: To really enjoy all the new projects I start (and to let them go if I don't)
Decision: There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many of them can be spent knitting! So even though there are oodles of cute designs out there, I have to accept that I can't possible knit each one. To keep things in perspective, I am using my Ravelry queue/favs/comments in a different way than I think most people do. If I see someone's project or pattern that is appealing and that I appreciate, I leave a comment. I only put things as a "fav" if I could see myself knitting them or drawing inspiration from them in a significant way. The queue is reserved for things that I have the materials for and it's only a matter of time before I cast on. I used to keep a queue on Kaboodle, but it got huge. I know it's a matter of semantics, but listing all those things on the queue is adding to the long list of things that I'm frantically trying to knit through, knowing I'd never succeed. On the other hand, it feels better to me to have a very short queue but a long list of "favs," which are delightful, pre-selected sources of inspiration.

Value: Creativity
Goal: To create a unique knitted item
Decision: I will either "wing" another design or else heavily modify an existing pattern to make something that is just my own.

Value: Tenacity
Goal: To make progress on my languishing UFO's, the Ruffled Jacket and Pam
Decision: It's probably not realistic to commit to finishing these, especially since they are both pretty warm, and I know they'll get distasteful to me as the weather itself gets warmer. However, I will spend an hour a week on either the Ruffled Cardigan or Pam. I want to at least get the gears turning on those again.

Value: Competence
Goal: To be a more skilled knitter
Decision: When I first started knitting, I selected projects that would teach me something new. That was easy to do when you start out knowing nothing, but I haven't pushed myself in the same way lately. For the next six months, I'd like to work on my finishing techniques. I'm going to scope out a good book, tutorial, or class, and apply what I learn to my projects.

Value: Aspirations
Goal: To knit an aspirational item
Decision: I will pick one pattern that I really love but that I would ordinarily think would take up too much time. I'll focus on ultimately having the lovely item and I won't let myself be turned off by the prospect of not having an FO for awhile. One candidate project is the Auburn Camp Shirt at 31 sts and 41 rows = 4" in wide seeded rib.

Value: Generosity
Goal: To knit at least one gift item even though Christmas is way, way, way off
Decision: I think I'll knit one of Craftyalien's incredibly cute critters for my cousin, who loves that stuff!

I think that covers it. Now, because red is supposed to be a lucky color for the new year, let me share with you my latest project:

This is a cropped version of the ubiquitous Tilted Duster. I'm following eyeloveit's clever mods to create a look-alike of this fabulous cropped cardi.


  1. haha i have never seen a tree decorated for chinese new year but that's awesome :) The red yarn is gorgeous, and very in line with the whole chinese new year thing :D Hope you have a fab one, and eat lotsa yummies

  2. Gung Hay Fat Choy, my friend! I love your goals. Absolutely inspired and I may just have to copy you. Actually, there is no may about it. And I love your tree! That is so cute!

  3. Yay! I love the red yarn :) Can't wait to see the FO!

  4. Oh, I cannot WAIT to see your cropped cardi! I am making myself wait until I finish a pair of socks, but what the hell?

    I really, really love your values list. It takes getting organized to a deeper, more meaningful level.

  5. Happy New Year, though it just passed. It was nice to see goals aligned in this manner.

  6. Great ideas - and I'm excited to see how your modified Tilted Duster works out!

  7. Great goals. Good luck with all of them.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and entering my contest. :) It's always great to read your story. I love that your mom tried to set him up with a cousin.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  8. Hi, there-
    thanks for the comment on the blog- maybe I'll try seaming it together before I frog it. Part of why I was so confused is that I had the correct number of rows! Can't wait to see your progress shots!