2015 First Quarter Plans

Last week we discussed the knits I finished in 2014, and the intention words around which I’ve chosen to focus my year. I also mentioned needing a ‘plan of attack’ for my WIPs and yarn stash. For the stash, I’ve ruthlessly gone through and and either donated or put up for destash all of the skeins that I don’t foresee using anytime soon. (If there’s anything in my regular stash that you’re interested in, feel free to inquire as well, I might be persuaded to let it go.) For the WIPs, I’ve decided to split the year up into quarters (3 month chunks) and have listed a 5 ‘new’ projects (began since Dec 2014), 4 sock WIPs, and 3 other WIPs (projects begun prior to Dec 2014) to work on each quarter.

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Knitting plans for Jan – Mar.

 

Let me tell you, when you only allow yourself a certain number of projects to knit at a time, it really forces you to choose wisely! I’ve given careful thought to the yarns I want to work with, the variety of projects I like on my needles, and the finished objects I’m anxious to wear to sort out my lists. I have not planned out every new project through the entire year, but I did assign all my WIPs to each quarter so I will at least be required to either finish them or frog them at some point soon. The above photo represents my first quarter knitting plans (minus 2 sock WIPs that I forgot to pull out).

New Projects:

Sock WIPs:

Other WIPs:

Phew! I bet you guys are sick of lists by now, but I have one more.

Woolen Diversions

Spin the Bin 2015

 

This year’s CTA Spin the Bin Challenge! The idea for this challenge is to pull out 12 ‘types’ of fiber from the depths of your stash, put them in a bin, and commit to spinning the whole shebang this year. This helps a spinner stay focused when the shiny, new, colorful braids are being too tempting. You only need to count 2 oz as one ‘type’ of fiber, so it’s easy enough to spread large bunches of fiber out over several categories, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t spin new fiber, just that you also commit to spinning up some of what you’ve had for a while. Here are my 12 types, many of which have been lingering in stash since 2012.

Spin the Bin 2015:

  1. Loop! Kermit Coordinate Bump – 5 oz
  2. TwoSistersStringworks Gotland in Rime – 4 oz
  3. TwoSistersStringworks Gotland in Canopy – 4oz
  4. BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit in Single Cell Dating Pool – 4 oz
  5. BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit in Single Cell Dating Pool – 4 oz
  6. Woolgatherings Polwarth/Silk – 4 oz
  7. Woolgatherings Polwarth/Silk – 4 oz
  8. Woolgatherings Polwarth/Silk – 4 oz
  9. BFL x Cormo locks – 2 oz
  10. BFL x Cormo locks – 2 oz
  11. BFL x Gotland locks – 2 oz
  12. BFL x Gotland locks – 2 oz

As you can see, I’m taking what are really 7 different fiber stash entries and spreading them out over the 12 ‘types’ for the year. There are plenty of other things I want to spin this year, but these bin spins are on the list because I don’t want to keep putting them off, especially the BFL cross locks. I’ve only committed to the minimum for those fibers, since I’m considering washing and prepping them by hand to be part of the challenge for me. Plus, I have a full pound of each and I’m not yet sure what I want to do with all of it, the goal this year is just to sample them.

And those are all of my lofty plans! If I manage to accomplish all of my first quarter knitting and the first three Spin the Bin goals, I will have used up 20 skeins of yarn and 13 oz of fiber. Not bad, right? Here’s hoping I can make it!

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A Nice Round Number

There’s something about the number ‘2015’ that I really like. It’s not technically a round number, not even an even number, but it feels like a nice, round number to me. I’ve been inspired by all the list-making and year-reviewing happening in blogland and I’d like to jump in with my own. In the past, I’ve made some pretty geeky year-end project charts. This year, my knitting production was way way less. I suspect there are a few reasons for this:

  1. a wrist injury that prevented knitting for most of 2 months
  2. the planning and execution of my wedding
  3. the opening of Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe
  4. more time spent spinning (52 oz of finished yarn!)
  5. and very few gifts knit this year (only 2)

All of these events means that my knitting production was so dismal, I’m not even making a graph of it. Compared to last year’s 50 project finished in 2013, during 2014 I completed a grand total of 18 projects–many of them hats. Shockingly, I have 44 WIPs from the last few years floating around my house somewhere… a situation which sorely needs to be remedied.

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Although I couldn’t resist making a table…

Somewhat more disappointing is the complete lack of disregard I showed for the goals I made last January. They were to knit myself a sweater, knit entirely from stash, and finish or frog all of my socks in progress. In fairness, I did knit about 70% of a vest (that I intend to finish by January 24th!), except for one hat I did knit entirely from older stash (but I still stashed over 60 skeins of yarn), and the sock status remains a disaster. I finished a grand total of two pairs of socks in 2014, with 17 pairs (actually, I just cast on a new one, so make that 18 pairs) still in some kind of progress.

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But isn’t the new sock delightful?!

Thus, I’ve concluded that I really needed some more concrete goals, with an associated plan of attack. Constructing such a plan of attack will be my WIP this week, I’m sure…

I believe I first encountered the idea of embracing a particular word for the new year instead of making concrete resolutions on Sarah’s blog (although you can also read about the idea here). I love the concept and think that approaching a year with intention is more doable than aiming for a particular outcome (clearly, based on my lack of goal-stick-to-it-iveness). Circumstances are so unpredictable and the only thing you can really control is the way that you approach it all, so framing your approach with mindfulness makes a lot of sense to me.

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Sunbeam of mindfulness.

I have two words this year. The first is Bravery. There’s a great line in a Jason Mraz song that goes “But my thoughts are all I got, so I try to make ’em brave” which has become a bit of a mantra for me. Even before I heard the song, I promised in one of my wedding vows to approach our life together with a sense of adventure and joy. I think part of what I meant was that I will try to be brave — to worry less, to enjoy more, to retain a sense of perspective, and to keep our life together fun, because it is a good life and we are lucky to have it. It takes a lot of courage for me to face uncertain futures and make decisions with a light heart, and I intend to do my best to cultivate such an attitude of bravery in 2015.

Woolen Diversions

Irrelevant to this post, just wanted to show off the awesome shirt I gave the Fiasco (my muppet-y man) for xmas.

My second word, partially inspired by this post, is Enough. While this word has negative connotations, I think it can be incredibly freeing, as well. Everything really is ok, in moderation, and learning when I’ve had/done enough and accepting that I am/do enough is key. I tend to throw myself into projects/ideas/plans with 150% of my being, whole-hog, guns-blazing, and all that jazz. And while that can be a productive approach, it can also lead to burn out, a lack of direction, unproductive backslides, and guilt. (Nobody needs that guilt.) So this year I intend to get ok with gradual amounts of progress, with spending moderate amounts of time in a variety of pursuits, and with realistically outlining my goals and priorities so that they aren’t quite so ‘all or nothing’. I am coming to the understanding that everything in my life cannot be top priority at all times, that some things must slide back while others come forward, and as long as the backburner doesn’t turn into a place where dreams go to die, it will all be just fine.

How do you greet the new year? Do you reflect on the past, look forward to the future? Do you make any goals? If so, what are you focusing on for 2015? And since I likely won’t make it back to this space before Friday, have a very Happy New Year!

IS #61: Spin the Bin 2014

I have to say, I think I found my new favorite spinning group over on the Ravelry forums: Completely Twisted and Arbitrary Spinning. They’re fun, welcoming, and really anything but arbitrary in their spinning because they’ve inspired me to organize myself and join in with their Spin the Bin 2014 challenge. The idea is that you choose 12 items from your stash that you wish to spin this year, and then you attempt to do it all! If you remove something from your list of 12, you have to add 2 other items to make up for it, so there’s a little bit of incentive to stick to your plans. Just the other day I was dreaming up all the spinning projects I wanted to undertake and lamenting the lack of a spinning queue feature on Ravelry to keep track. This isn’t exactly the same but it’s great motivation to commit to some of the things I’ve been meaning to get around to doing.

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My grand, grand plans.

There are a few things not pictured because they are still on their way to my house but once they arrive, I’ll have 85 ounces (over 5 pounds!) of fiber to spin this year. That number sounds kind of scary, until I remember that I did spin up 11 ounces in one week for Spinzilla in October, so it should be doable. Here are the details for my 12 bin items.

1) Long Island Livestock Company Alpaca Firestar, 2-ply, 6 oz

Alpaca Firestar. Click for project page.

I’m halfway done with this spin already, but since I started it after January I’m still counting it. This will be a DK-ish weight 2-ply for my mom when I’m done.

2) BMFA RWC Camel/Merino/Silk in Spring Dreamin’, 2-ply, 5 oz

BMFA Camel/Merino/Silk. Click for project page.

Similar to the alpaca, this spin has already been started (post-January) and will become a 2-ply yarn. However, this beauty will be for me!

3) Pigeonroof Fibers BFL with Frabjous Fibers BFL Sparkle, 2-ply, 8 oz

Frabjous Fibers BFL Sparkle. Click for stash page.

My Pigeonroof Fibers BFL hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ll be spinning up the Filigree colorway for this quarter’s CTA spin-along. (It’s so pretty!) I’m thinking that it will look lovely plied with this Frabjous Fibers braid.

4) Loop! Bump in Kermit Coordinate, 2-ply, 5 oz

Loop! Bump. Click for stash page.

This is the fiber that I am planning to ply together with the other Loop! bump that I am currently in the middle of spinning. The other bump won’t count for this challenge, but this one will. I think plying the two together will have a neat fractal effect on the color changes.

5) BMFA RWC BFL and Merino/Silk in Sleepy Hollow, possibly 2-ply, 8 oz

BMFA BFL and Merino/Silk. Click for stash page.

I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with this Rockin’ Whorl Club kit yet. I’ve seen some gorgeous examples of yarn where people spun each base and then plied the two together. I love how the silk stands out like little jewels. I might do the same with mine.

6) BMFA RWC Polwarth in Prism and Winter Solstice, 2-ply, 8 oz

BMFA Polwarth. Click for stash page.

I don’t have a photo of the Winter Solstice yet, but it’s a basic light grey. I have 4 oz of the Prism left and plan to either ply each color with itself and knit a two-color project, or ply the two colors together to create a muted rainbow, like in this lovely example. Still deciding.

7) BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit in Single Cell Dating Pool, 3-ply, 8 oz

BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit. Click for stash page.

I think I’ve finally gotten to spin thinly enough that I should be able to make a decent skein of 3-ply sock yarn, so that will be my goal with this kit.

8) Plymouth Yarn Alpaca carded with Silk, ? ply, 7 oz

Plymouth Yarn Alpaca. Click for stash page.

I received this baby-soft alpaca for my birthday and have ordered 2 oz of shiny, blue-green silk (that I’m still waiting for) to go with it. I’d like to use the drum carder I’ve rented to blend the alpaca and silk together into fluffy batts. Not sure how I’ll spin it yet, let’s see how the blending goes, first!

9) Two Sisters Stringworks Gotland in Canopy and Rime, possible 2-ply, 8 oz

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Two Sisters Stringworks Gotland. Click for stash page.

Again, I’m undecided about how exactly I’ll spin these, I think they’d work great spun separately and knitted together into something stripey, or plied together for a different look. Either way, I want to try out this Gotland fiber sooner than later, so it’s in the bin.

10) BFL x Cormo fiber, ? ply, 8 oz

BFL x Cormo fiber. Click for stash page.

I have about 16 oz of these lovely, unwashed locks stashed and I think it’s a good goal to aim to wash, flick, and spin up half of them this year. If I do more, great, but I wanted to commit to less than the full amount just in case I hated the process for some reason (which I obviously hope I don’t).

11) BFL x Gotland fiber, ? ply, 8 oz

BFL x Gotland fiber. Click for stash page.

Similarly, I have a bunch of these BFL x Gotland locks stashed that I’d like to experiment with. For these, I want to dye the locks in a few different colors and try combing and blending the colors into some sort of gradient (I think – don’t hold me to that).

12) West Mountain Farm Llama Down, 2-ply, 5 oz

West Mountain Farm Llama Down. Click for stash page.

Finally, last-but-not-least, a little bit of llama down to spin up since I’ve never spun llama before. I’m hoping it spins similarly to the alpaca that I’m enjoying so much right now!

Phew! I’m a bit tired already just looking at all of that fiber but I’m also feeling really excited about all the lovely yarn I’m going to make. There’s nothing I like more than a good plan. I’m sure I’ll spin other things throughout the year but it will be great to have this list to keep me motivated when I feel like I’m lacking inspiration. How do you choose what to spin (or knit, or make) next? Do you find goals to be helpful or a hindrance to your creativity? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Link along or leave a comment below and let us know!

February Focus

I’m not quite sure why I’ve never taken part in the Ravellenics events in the past. It could be because I wasn’t in a group that was really into it or because I don’t have cable TV (we’re a Netflix and Hulu household) or because I’ve never been fond of watching sports (although the Olympics are definitely more interesting than your average sportsball game). However, this year, I’m sort of taking part. In The Verdant Gryphon group on Ravelry we’re hosting The Gryphon Games. There are three categories you can enter: WIPs, small projects (under 400 yards), and large projects (over 400 yards). Finish any of those items by 3pm on Sunday Feb. 23rd and you’ll be entered to win either a $25 or $40 gift VG certificate.

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VG Codex, colorway Devil’s Dictionary. Click for project page.

I’m planning to enter with 2 projects. For the WIPs category, I’m trying to finish my Deep, Dark Stellaria shawl that I started back in August. The garter stitch section whizzed by but of course since the lace edging requires concentration, it has languished. I’m now almost halfway through the edging but man those rows are long.

Copyright Robin Ulrich. Click for pattern page.

For the small projects category, I’d like to knit a Bosc Hat by Robin Ulrich using Mondegreen in a lovely pale green color to match the Taygete Shawl I finished a while back. Those 2 projects alone would likely be doable over the next 2 weeks… but of course, they are not the only 2 projects I’m trying to complete in February.

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February goals. No big deal, right?

Here’s everything I’d like to get through this month (of course, the shortest month of the year). To the left, we have the Christmas socks I was hoping to finish by Valentine’s Day, which is not likely to happen over the next 4 days. In the back are 2 secret projects I was also hoping to finish this week. (Note: was.) Then we have the shawl and skein of Mondegreen for The Gryphon Games. And last but not least, to the right is 6 ounces of alpaca fiber I’d like to turn into yarn by the end of the month for my Mom’s birthday in early March. And let’s not even mention all the design swatching I need/plan to do.

I better get crackin’. Are you participating in any crazy deadline knitting? How do you handle your priorities/knitting whims?

Betwixt

I’m a tad late for WIP Wednesday and a little early for FO Friday, so I’m going to hit you with both at once! (OooOOoOooo!) This week is barreling by and flattening me in the process. Since my energy level is essentially zero, I’m going to keep this short, sweet, and full of pretty knits. Onwards!

Novelty:

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Feza Yarns Alp Light. Click for project page. (Terrible mirror selfie? Check!)

I finished my mom’s scarf-that-wouldn’t-end, huzzah! I have to say, the funky-factor was pretty cool after the knitting was finished. It’s not even a little bit my style but my mom will totally rock it. I admit my fingers are grateful to put down the novelty yarns and get back to good ol’ wool, though.

Fiasco’s Mitts:

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Feederbrook Farm alpaca/Shetland yarn. Click for project page.

The long-suffering fiance suffers no more! I stayed up working into the wee hours of the morning in a fit of relationship devotion to finish these mitts for him. I am happy I did because 1) they’ were my last holiday gift to finish and 2) nobody appreciates handknit items like my dear Fiasco. He truly loves them, which makes my knitterly heart so happy.

And now for a few WIPs…

Scummy Cedar Grove:

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts De-Vine, colorway Pond Scum. Click for project page.

My completely-selfish, couldn’t-wait-another-minute birthday shawl is well underway. Yes, birthday shawl. I’m hoping to have it finished by the 24th of this month. Do you think I can make it? It’s knit with rather bulky yarn on size 11 needles, so I think there’s a decent shot.

Festooned Joy:

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Blue Moon Fiber Arts STR, colorway Comfort and Joy. Click for project page.

And kicking off the Socks with Sarah KAL as well as the Socks That Rawk! Clean Slate KAL is this lovely old WIP begun in 2012. This poor holiday sock has wistfully watched two Christmases pass by without being finished. Since there’s so much pink and red in the yarn, I feel like it can pass for a Valentine’s Day sock easily enough, so V-day is my goal. I’d say it’s doable!

Clearly, I’m feeling optimistic tonight. Do you set yourself goals for completion or do you just knit whatever, whenever? Check out Tamis Amis for some more WIPs and FOs!