It’s Good to Have Goals

When I decided to lease a studio space for the coming new year, I made a commitment to myself to set creative goals. One of those goals is to start designing knitting patterns again.

Although I never had much success selling my patterns or kits, I did have some success in making, showing, and selling my designs and artwork, and in teaching sewing, knitting, and felting classes. At the time, it was my way of trying to build a career for myself in the arts while also staying at home raising our young children.

Life happened while I was busy making other plans. I needed to earn an income – fast – and I started over, building another career in business. I am grateful and I feel fortunate to have been able to support myself and my kids, and wholeheartedly love my work in fair trade. I recognize how lucky I am to be able to earn a living wage while helping others do the same with handmade goods.

One of the boundaries to creating my own knitting patterns is the plethora of patterns out there. If I want to knit something, all I have to do is search for it on Ravelry, and there is usually something that fits the bill. This year, however, I’m not going to do that. My challenge to myself is to sketch what I want to make, take the measurements, swatch, do the math, and knit it (if I still want to make it.)

It doesn’t mean I’m not going to knit other designers’ patterns. I have a whole list of knits I want to make that will last me well into next year, and I’m sure there will be more! But when there is something that I am envisioning, I am challenging myself to create my own pattern for it.

I’m also setting goals to sketch one design per week, and create a pattern draft for one design per month. That doesn’t mean I have to knit it. But I do hope to knit at least four of my own patterns next year. I will also make patterns available for free to people who would like to test knit them for me.

In order to meet these goals, I am dedicating 8 hours each week to studio time: 3 hours on Wednesday evenings, and 5 hours on Sundays. This is a lot on top of a 40 hour work week, family time, Haven Herbs time (5-10 hours per week), gym time (1 hour per week,) hiking, phew! There’s so much I want to do! Luckily I’m one of those people who wakes up at 5AM and is finished with half my work before breakfast!

I also still need to fit in art making time at my studio, as I need to create work for another group show taking place in July 2019. I have old artwork on display in my studio, and another fear I have is of going down the artmaking road more than the design road. So I’ve got to be sure to balance these things if I really want to create my own designs.

Wow, thanks for reading all of that if you are still with me. Here’s your reward, some photos!

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Here’s me being impatient to try on my Carbeth sleeve. I’m ready to start sleeve number 2.

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Here’s my favorite 10 year old being creative with glitter. I love how scientific her approach is to creativity.

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Here’s my Christmas gift to Bob. He’s lived in the US so long, he does not have a passport. If he leaves the country, he can’t return. So I put together a little kit of (almost) everything he needs for his Canadian passport. The only thing I didn’t do is fill out the form for him. We are hoping to travel to Nova Scotia in October to visit his family.

Here’s a Q&A for you, my first! You can answer questions in the comments or post them to your blog. If you post them, please leave a comment so we can go read them!

  1. Do you set New Year’s Goals or Resolutions for yourself?
  2. Do you have any creative goals for the new year?
  3.  Some people like to set a goal for a certain number of things to make for the year. For example: 18 in 18. Do you do this? If so, what is the number? How do you decide the number of things to make?
  4. Do you have blogging goals for the new year? If so, what are they?
  5. What is your favorite thing you’ve made in 2018? Post a pic!

Now I have to answer my own questions.

  1. Yes, I do.
  2.  Yes, I listed them above.
  3.  I did create a number of designs I want to create in the new year. I came up with the number by trying to decide what was realistic, but still challenging, based on the time I am setting aside.
  4. My blogging goal for 2019 is to blog two times per week, although I hope to blog more.
  5. My favorite thing I’ve made in 2018 is my Birds of Blendon Hat!

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Tools

I thought it might be fun to post something about favorite knitting tools. Here’s a list of my “can’t do withouts”.

My Swahili Modern Fair Trade knitting basket. It was handmade by Senegalese artisans from grasses and salvaged strips of plastic. It used to have a handle, but my cat chewed it off. It’s okay. I carry it around like a big present because that’s how I feel about it, and it has a lid to keep the cat out of the knitting. Did I mention it is the happiest shade of orange?

From left:

Haven Herbs Flying Trapeze Balm for my dry and chapped hands. (Disclaimer: I’m a worker-owner of Haven Herbs.) The comfrey and calendula is healing and the lavender is antimicrobial and smells wonderful. It’s also natural and non-greasy because you don’t want that on your knitting.

Small Decomposition Notebook to jot down where I am on projects or other important notes. I love that these are 100% post consumer recycled paper and the different illustrations make me smile. Right now I’m using Wild Garden.

Plymouth Yarn Company’s travel crochet hooks. I use these on the regular because I’m a crochet cast-on person. Also good for picking up dropped stitches. Each end is a different size so they are compact. (These are old and I don’t know where you can get them now.)

Goose Pond’s sheep needle sizer and gauge measure. Cuz it’s efficient with 2-in-1 uses and it’s cute! (Also old. I’ve been knitting a long time.)

What are your favorite tools in your knitting kit? Please leave a comment if you post on your blog!

I wasn’t paid or rewarded in any way to endorse any of these products, except for sharing my joy. I wouldn’t mind if you checked out Haven Herbs, but no pressure.

Bonus question: Do you have favorite needles? If so, what are they? Mine are Peace Fleece‘s straight wooden needles with the painted balls on the end.

I would love to try their new yarn, too!

A Back to Blogging Q&A

I’m still not knitting much right now, but I got my peas and greens seeds planted in the garden. Then it snowed. Mother Nature told me, in a sing-song voice, that this would be the last snow this year. Or I might have dreamt that. She looked like this:

MotherNature

I have more seeds coming, so there’s more planting to do, and some baby seedlings to get started. I’m not sure how I’ll do that this year, since my grow house was damaged over the winter. I guess I’ll wing it, my go to.

Here’s a pic of the only plant to survive my attempt at a fall garden. I wonder if I’ll get any brussel sprouts? I’ve never grown them before, so only time will tell.Ms. B Sprout

After getting back from Boulder, I worked very hard on an exercise to get promoted at work! And I did! So that’s some good news.

I thought a Q&A would be a good exercise to get me back in the swing of blogging. This is from compassionknit.

Have you knit with a gradient yarn?

Yes.

If so, was your motivation partly due to the fact that there are no ends to weave in?

Probably. Also, I like watching the colors unfold.

Do you forbid your cats to sit on the table?

I don’t, but Bob (SO) does.

If you could go anywhere in the world this week, where would you go and who would you go with?

I would take Bob to Scotland.

Many of you suggested great shawls for me to knit next.  Thanks!  Do you want a few more that I found?

Sure! Although, I’m not sure compassionknit will be over here to read my answer. And I’m not a shawl fan, as a rule. I’d rather knit and wear a sweater. So it’s okay.

If you could pick two things that would grow well in your yard /garden/patio this year what would they be?

I will be growing snap peas, arugula, some kind of lettuce, and sorrel. Those are all heirloom seeds that I collected from the plants in my garden last fall. I will also be planting kale, tomatoes, basil, cilantro, german chamomile, lemon balm, dill, parsley (because Bob likes it), greek oregano, and some birds eye peppers that I collected the seeds from the last plant I grew from the last seed I had last year. Bob really likes these, so I’m going to try to grow several plants.

Bob Bob Bob. That’s all I ever talk about!

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Date night selfie.

What’s your favorite positive affirmation that you rely on to encourage yourself?

I engage in a lot of self talk, but nothing that I would call an affirmation. Just real talk from my real self to my real self.

Bobbles Thursday

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I finally finished the twilight row on (not raspberry) beret. It is full of bobbles! It took me some time to get around to this row because of the changing of the needles and change in pattern. I procrastinated, because change is hard.

But bobbles are fun and satisfying when complete!

This post reminds me of the holiday quiz where I found out my elf name several years ago. It was Baubles.

I celebrate one month of blogging today with an upgrade to a personal plan and the headknits.com domain. This is a big step for me!

I used to blog regularly many years ago. I had multiple mommy / crafting / art blogs. After a major life upheaval, I stopped. I had too much other work to do, both internally and externally. After some false starts, I’m very happy to finally get back to blogging. It feels like putting my feet back on the right path.

Why do you blog?