13 in ’13! And 11 of them new projects started in this year, with only two of them WIPs carried over from last year! And this is without going on a knitting hyperdrive or taking leave from work to knit. In fact, I had fewer holidays than last year, and sometimes weeks went by without picking up the needles. 13 Sweaters made through after-work knitting, a couple of hours on weekend days.
Top: Nanook, Annis Shrug, Delysia
Second: Ginger Lizette, Cranberry Nectar, Tiger Whisperer
Third: Aidez, Beatnik Hoodie, George St Pullover
Fourth: Charcoal Dahlia, Koukla, Adriatic
Last: Rosamund’s Cardigan
So I thought about how I managed to do it. Were there Significant Life Lessons here? You decide, dear readers.
Decide to do it. I’ve made similar decisions in the past, but this time it worked. Perhaps I kept the decision at the top of my mind more often?
Be inspired. Before knowing about the knitting explosion on the internet, I would have thought churning out one sweater per year a pretty good goal. Seeing other, regular, people churn out sweaters every week or ten days sets the bar higher. Your brain starts seeing it as something possible, desirable and even doable. Once your brain accepts that a goal requires no special skill or perfect timing to get something done, it just goes ahead and does it.
Don’t compare. On the other hand, seeing people churn out a new sweater a week can be a source of despair! I was careful not to compare my own pace with any other person’s. Whatever worked was fine for me.
The two preceding paragraphs sound contradictory; a delicate balance is required. Turn off comparisons if they drain you, and only look to others as long as it serves as a healthy sort of inspiration. I would start checking other people’s completed sweaters on Ravelry only when I finished one of my own, or to top up flagging levels of my sweater greed, just for the feeling of belonging to an achievers’ club.
Pick your own pace. This was really important to me. I used to belong to a group on Ravelry which aimed to do a project, any project, each month. Although it was great fun and the organizers really put a lot of effort into the theme, after a while I started feeling a great sense of dissatisfaction and stress, because it didn’t mesh with my style of knitting. I like making large stuff, and it really annoyed me to make tiddly little things just to finish them within a month. Also, having to wait till the start of the next month, grrrrr!
So then I joined the IntSweMoDo group which was perfect! Aim to make one sweater a month at your own pace, starting and ending whenever. Sweaters, not egg cozies! Complete freedom of starting and ending time! Lavish praise when a sweater was finished! Perfect!
This freedom was particularly important to me because knitting very much occupies a ‘Do Whatever I Want’ space in my mind, as opposed to work where we are subjected to the tugs of what feels like millions of factions. I enjoy my work, which is a cause dear to my heart and has us conduct large, international, activities. But it also involves coordination with governments, donors, partners; requires constant checking to make sure everybody is mostly satisfied and nobody is offended; and is the sort of work which by definition can never come to a definite end. On good days it feels intricate and exhilarating, with a finger on the pulse of the world. On bad days it is wretchedly exhausting. So, monthly knitting goals would just be… NO. A loose and non-enforceable goal of 13 in 13, if I wanted to, was perfect.
Set things up to be easy. My multi-project harem system really worked. The most tedious tasks of any project are swatching, calculating, casting on. Decisions take time. So I would finish all the tedious work for a batch of projects in one go, and just enjoy soothing knitting for the next few months. This really helped with after-work knitting when brains were just too fried to think about anything.
Remember. In all this, I remind myself that knitting is something I want to do and can stop any time 🙂
So… you’ll notice I said 13-ish in ’13, and that’s because the last project is still incomplete (and I may only get 95% done by the end of the year). But WordPress reminded me this is my 100th post, so I wanted it to be Significant in some way.
Next year… I’ll start on the smaller stuff. I love making sweaters, but I do need cowls and hats and gloves, and have a few good patterns languishing in my queue for years. Perhaps 14 in 14 may work, mostly knitting small stuff? This is dangerous ground; the secret of success is to know the value of restraint.