l i l e p h y t e

December 17th, 12:10 | Thinking about the new year

What? Two posts in two days? Yes, it does happen. Come on, people, the Yule is upon us. Everyone knows that means my introspection and Need To Let The World Know kicks into high gear. You also know it'll die off as soon as I grok, you know, really get that I'm never going to finish my aunt's shawl in time for Christmas, and might briefly pick up again in the New Year.

...or maybe not so briefly? Thinking about the last... maybe 4 months of this year, and finding what I like doing with my time, I've pretty much got my theme* for next year, and 3 projects to go along with it, picked out.

* As some of you might know, I don't hold with resolutions. There is too big a temptation to just make a huge long list of them, and they turn more into project to-dos than the personality make-over type idea that I would like them to be. So instead I pick a theme, and then try to double-check my decisions and actions throughout the year to make sure they're in keeping with the theme. Past themes have included "Get Out of Your Comfort Zone", "No Histrionics", etc.

Overall theme: Small steps. (Short form for "A small step forward is better than no progress at all.") I tend to be sort of all-or-nothing when it comes to projects and habit-forming. You can guess how successful that is.

Project 1: Project 365 Made famous by this guy, this is sort of like taking this year's goal (take 200 photos) up a notch, but in a feasible way -- giving myself the slack of "only" 200 photos over a whole year, meant I spent a lot of time being lazy. If I'm forced to document every single day with at least one photograph, I'm much likelier to get into the habit of just taking pictures of my life -- which is what I'm hoping for anyway.

Besides that, I'm also looking forward to becoming a better photographer which, if I really do aim to take at least one picture every single day, seems likely.

Other benefits from this project include hopefully being motivated to haul ass out of the house more often, and more consistent (or at least frequent) blogging (recommended to explain, document, supplement, etc. the photos).

Project 2: The Artist's Way. I'm hesitant to write this out here, because it sounds so pretentious, but mehn. I bought the book a couple years ago, but never actually read it through and did all the "exercises" because I Didn't Have Time. Accepting the fact that I Will Never Have Time, I've decided this January is the time to jump in, come Hell or high water, and if I miss a week, then I'll just pick up the next week and not worry too much about it. (Thus, I'm not holding myself to the 12-week regimen. If I finish before July, I'll consider that a victory.)

I'm hoping Chuu will join me on this particular wagon (it's frou-frou and artsy, so I'm hoping he'll be in), but even if he's not, this is one project I definitely want to do.

Project 3: Yarn Embargo. I would actually call it a "stash diet", but I like my dad's wording better. In essence, I'm not allowed to buy yarn until Hallowe'en 2008 (at which point I'm hoping to sign myself up for the Socks That Rock yarn club), unless I run out first.

The point of this isn't so much that I have just oodles and oodles of fondle-able yarn waiting for me so much as that I do have lots of perfectly good, serviceable yarn, but I'll never use it if I keep letting myself head LYS-ward and keep buying newer, sexier yarn instead.

After some debate, I decided that if someone requested that I knit something for them, I would be allowed to buy yarn for the project. After all, if we acknowledge that what I have is Not That Great yarn, and I'm making a present for someone, I really should be buying them Awesome Nice yarn, right?

So. I have a list a page long of ideas for what to make with my yarns (the ones I could remember; I know I have others stashed), and for all the acrylic and acrylic blends, I'll be knitting a whole host of baby stuff, either for friends, or for charity.

Now, side-rant on the topic of acrylic: I know EZ was not a fan, and that it's really fashionable to look down one's pointy nose at the plastic-users but people? Current acrylic is not the squeaky horror it was in EZ's day. I know many a parent who is completely thrilled to get a handknit garment which is not only machine washable, but won't pill, despite being crawled around in, spit up on, and rewashed 800 times. (Yes, I have heard of superwash, hear me out.)

Don't get me wrong. I love wool/alpaca/silk/whatever natural fibre you yourself lust after, and if I'm knitting for me, it's probably what I'll choose. That said, I still find that for most parents, the most durable yarn to go with is a wool-acrylic blend. So that's what I use. Also, for those of us who can't afford to be knitting our friends baby garments out of Debbie Bliss, it's nice to know that you're still giving a gift that is loved and appreciated and that cost about $2 for 5 balls (especially since it'll be outgrown in a month). Some of us are on a budget, is all I'm saying.

My last thought: yarn preferences are, like all matters of opinion, completely valid for the holder of the opinion. It seems to me like bad form, however, for you to take your snobbery and make people at your local Stitch 'n' Bitch feel bad about what they're knitting just because it doesn't meet your lofty natural fibre standards. Anyone who cares enough to be knitting for friends (or charity, or both) deserves better (and should ignore that kind of comment anyway). So praise their unselfishness, or say nothing at all.

Conspicuously absent from my theme and projects for the year are any physical well-being goals I might want to throw in there. Part of it is sheer laziness: I can understand the importance of eating properly, but I can't seem to make regular activity or strength training a priority for myself for some reason. So although I'm still working on that, it seems kind of pointless to have formal goals for it.

And... that's what my new year is looking like so far. What thoughts is your Yuletide bringing you?

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