To tell the truth, I was seriously considering skipping this post. Is there anything more uncomfortable than looking back at your New Year’s resolutions at the end of the year? I had nearly forgotten what they were, since I made them last January, and I was afraid I’d open the old post and re-read it to find I’d totally failed at my goals.
Like most things, though, it wasn’t as stressful as I thought it’d be. I had been judicious in my choice of resolutions, and for the most part they were obtainable, and helped me grow as a crafter. So, how’d I do? I decided to assess my progress and give myself grades. Like they were back in my Peace Corps-teacher days, the grades are completely subjective and hastily decided on based on no numerical criteria whatsoever.
1. Stick to a Yarn Budget: B. At the beginning of the year, I resolved to spend no more than $35 per month on yarn. That works out to $420 per year. In fact, I came in under budget, at about $405! I found that this wasn’t a restrictive goal for me, and I probably could have pushed myself to be even more discriminating and spend less (although, when I look at everything I bought/knitted, I can’t imagine what I would have chosen to go without.) The state of my wallet after this exercise is middling, as usual, being as I am lazy about waged labor, and not much of a budgeter in general. But this resolution did help me consider my purchases more carefully, and reflect on the yarns that I like and am attracted to. I did very little magpie shopping in 2015. Instead, I bought almost entirely sweater quantities of yarn that I would not only definitely knit, but definitely wear.
This year, I’m not going to set a cap on my spending, although I’d like to spend less, maybe more like $300 for the year instead of $400. Instead, I’d like to knit from my stash before buying anything new. What I focused on in 2015 seemed to be sweater quantities, and I have the yarn for at least four sweaters sitting in my stash. I’d like to turn those piles into actual sweaters before buying anything new. I also want to give myself permission to be a tiny bit more frivolous, and experimental, with my yarn purchases. This means more single skeins of yarns I’ve never worked with before. So, in addition to knitting down my stash, the idea is to get maximum learning, and enjoyment, out of one or two skeins, instead of adding to my sweater collection.
2. Blog More: C+. This resolution was easily the one I was least successful at. I didn’t blog anywhere near once a week, let alone twice per week. However, I did publish a few posts, and a few designs, that I’m proud of, and that helped me grow tremendously as a writer (and a knitter).
I don’t know what my 2016 blogging goals are, exactly. Maybe I’ll never be the kind of blogger who posts multiple times per week, and that’s okay. The posts that I liked the best– and that generated the most heartening response– were long, and took me several days of work to finish. So, maybe I’m someone who gets, and gives, more as a writer when I give myself permission to write longer posts, but fewer of them. I won’t push myself to blog more often in 2016. What I will push myself to do is design more. This means more patterns, especially patterns like Toroni that will be easy, and available for free.
3. Define my color palette. A. Of all the resolutions, this one was the biggest success. It helps that it was fun. I love organizing my wardrobe, browsing photos and blogs for style inspiration, and navel-gazing about my own style and color choices.
Like I said a year ago, I’ll never be a head-to-toe neutrals kind of person. However, I’ve found it enormously liberating to narrow my color choices. In the past, I mistook “variety” for “style,” assuming it was necessarily boring to wear the same silhouettes, or the same colors, over and over again. 2015, though, was a big year for “capsule wardrobes,” minimalism, and “uniform dressing,” and I wasn’t immune to the bug. I found this blog extremely helpful in thinking about color, and started to conceptualize my look as radiating around a few main colors that I always love, that look good on me, and that can be combined nicely. For me, they’re dark blues, burnt oranges, tans and charcoals, with accents of pale pink, coral, and red.
This doesn’t mean I’m only “allowed” to buy these colors. Rather, these are the colors I’ve always gravitated towards, and I’ve given myself permission to honor that whenever I feel like it. If it means having a pile of accessories and sweaters that are all orange, why not? The color gets me compliments and makes me feel great. Same with navy or marine blue. Since making this switch, I’m finding it easier to let go of old clothes that aren’t working for me anymore, to resist impulse purchases that I know won’t fit my aesthetic, and to wear what I do own and love more often, and in more combinations.
4. Grow my library. A. Fun fun fun. Budgeting more money, and time, for good books has been an investment in my creativity, knowledge, and well-being. I added about a dozen books to my craft library this year, thanks in part to my awesome stepfather who works at Powell’s Books (if you’re ever there, go to the 4th floor and say hi to John!). My most recent additions have been Dutch Traditional Ganseys (so many knits and purls!!!), by Stella Ruhe, and 200 Fair Isle Motifs (such a beautiful book, and so intuitively organized!), by Mary Jane Mucklestone. Next on my list: this one and this one.
How’d everyone else do for their 2015? Any new goals for 2016?