How 2019 Went

Last December I wrote about my accomplishments for the year gone by, and my hopes for 2019. It was very interesting to read through and see what I thought would happen, and compare it to the reality.

I. Intentions That Came True… Sort Of

A. The Year of the Sweater

I declared 2019 to be The Year of the Sweater. That’s not exactly how things worked out, but I did focus my knitting much more on sweaters. I completed four adult sweaters and three children’s sweaters, almost all by Kate Davies, almost all at fine gauge, and learned a lot.

Knitting Season by Kate Davies (January)
Draper by Amy Herzog (February)
Northmavine by Kate Davies (June)
Strodie by Kate Davies (October)
Bluebells by Kate Davies (December)

Even good swatches lie. I worked so hard on my swatch for the Northmavine Hoody, and it so failed me. Really, the only reliable swatch is the first 6” of sweater. Last year I got used to the discipline of swatching. This year I need to get used to the discipline of blocking and ripping.

In Rachel of Wool n’ Spinning’s words: there is such a thing as too much planning. I was bemoaning my traitorous swatches when she said that, and I laughed out loud. A couple years ago, I was in a place where I really needed to learn intentionality and discipline. Now I’m pretty disciplined and need to add in some gut judgment and flexibility!

I got one big surprise, though: knitting machines are awesome. I can’t do everything in this life, but is there a machine in my future? No idea. Probably only if I start knitting sweaters as a job, which seems unlikely, but I’m at least super-thankful that my mom lets me play with hers when I’m home and she has it out!

B. Vlogging & Blogging

I also started video podcasting again, but not at all how I expected. I tried to make some videos in January, but it just didn’t work in my life. Editing is very time-intensive, and really, I didn’t have anything to say yet. It felt like putting myself forward just to do it. Not worth it, not right. So I set it aside.

But when I started weaving, the urge came back. Reflecting on a new learning process was really fun via video. We’ll see where it takes me in the new year. I haven’t vlogged the weaving I’ve been learning via Liz Gipson’s courses because I don’t want to infringe on her paid content, but I would like to vlog my next few projects. Or maybe I’ll just get too caught up in weaving to want to make videos! When I know what I have to say, I’ll know how I want to say it.

Episode 1: My First Weave
Episode 2: The Pillows

As far as blogging goes, I made 64 posts! That’s a lot, considering I don’t feel as if I wrote that much. The most fun were the monthly roundup posts, but I’m sure it was 51 Yarns that kept me going. Speaking of which:

C. 51 Yarns = Epic

I committed myself to take two years to spin through the 51 Yarns book by Jacey Boggs Faulkner with the Wool n’ Spinning community. It has been really cool to dig into that process, learn, and share. I’ve fallen behind at the moment. It’s not that much spinning per month, but when you add in the documentation and knitting samples, it adds up to a lot of work. It’s very much worth it for me.

Check out all my 51 Yarns posts here.

D. Excellent Kamiik

I put Jared’s kamiik at the top of my priority list last year, and that paid off. I’m very proud of how this pair turned out. As my fourth pair, they benefited from the many trials and errors I had with the other three sets. He’s worn them a good bit, though they need a stretch right now.

II. By the Wayside

Some plans went great, some plans took a different shape than expected, and some plans did not materialize. That is so okay with me! A friend of mine just posted the following on Facebook:

In that spirit, I want to include these mislaid goals this year. Not because I think of them as failures, but because I don’t think of them as failures, and I don’t want you to look at your unachieved goals as failures either.

A. Not Enough Time

  1. I had high hopes of knitting a sweater a month last year, but knitting time has gone by the wayside. It’s part of the phase of life I’m in right now, constantly on my feet tidying or playing or cooking. When I do sit down for a bit, I want to do something a little meatier.
  2. The sweater spin did not happen, but it did start. I got through maybe a third of a sweater quantity of Lopi-style singles, sorta in the grease, that I’m very happy with. They’re still top of the list when I come to a more intensive spinning season.

2. Not the Right Time

There’s one main entry for this category: Knitwear design. I had a period last year when I thought about getting more seriously back into knitwear design. It didn’t take me long to realize that even aside from the practical difficulties, my heart isn’t in it.

III. Unexpected Sidetracks

There were things I didn’t get to – there always are! – but one of the main reasons I didn’t end up doing as much knitting and spinning this year is that some other major things came up. And I do mean major!

A. Homemaking

We Moved. While this wasn’t exactly unexpected, what caught me by surprise in the last few months was how much I enjoyed making our new house into a home. It’s a small but logical space, and Jared and I have enjoyed the organizational problem solving of creating the home we want.

A proud moment!

Also, in the process of moving, some switch got flipped in my brain and I learned to tidy. It was in a listicle I clicked on Facebook ages ago, which turned out to be a complicated ad for housecleaning products, that I picked up two enormously helpful insights: 1) Tidy people never store things on the floor, and 2) Tidy people are in a constant state of low-level tidying. The first made me start looking and thinking in new ways about where things are put “away” in our home, and the second has become a discipline in which I am growing.

I also got into Flylady for a few months in the earlier part of the year. I don’t still try to follow her routines or gameify homemaking with the app, but I learned a lot about how to think about getting organized. For example, the concept of “hot spots,” and cleaning area by area, and how to keep the bathroom clean small daily efforts, and so on and so on. It was a helpful resource.

The kitchen in process. In case you think “tidier” in my case means “actually tidy.”

In this category I would also put all the cooking I’ve been doing (which I’ve not written about at all), and little things like sorting LEGO, doing supplemental schoolwork with the kids, and Sunday School.

Maybe the most helpful thing I did for myself was to give homemaking a place on this blog, even if just in my monthly roundups. Keeping my house tidy takes creative energy, and is life-giving, the way all my other crafts are. Writing about it is a reminder of that, and an affirmation that I don’t need to feel annoyed at housework because it gets in the way of my real handwork. While it isn’t exactly a hobby, and my house is a long way from spotless (especially now, between a cold and Christmastide chaos), I am learning to find it rewarding at the level that makes us happy enough.

B. Weaving

Wow, this was one big sidetrack! I did not expect last January that I would acquire such a large new hobby as rigid-heddle weaving, or as large a tool as a 27″ loom with stand (which takes up as much room as a small floor loom!). But weaving turned out to be just what I needed this year. My friend Rebecca directed me to an article that equates self-care with learning a new skill, rather than self-indulgence. I have seen that to be true in the latter part of this year.

Most of my weaving has come from this book:

And Liz Gipson’s classes. I signed up for the highest level of her Patreon in October, which allowed me to sign up for all of her classes for a relatively low price. I would recommend this to anyone learning to weave. Her teaching is excellent and covers so much ground.

I would say I grew a lot, and quickly, in this season of lots of weaving. I started as a rank beginner on a tapestry loom in August:

and started December with a large pile of kitchen towels.

I am very thankful for the beginner experience I have had, and wonder what next year will bring. I would like to continue in the orderly fashion that I started, but this whole adventure started as a surprise. So we’ll see what surprises come next.

C. Sewing Some Stuff

While I didn’t exactly do a ton of sewing, I did a lot more than I expected. That was mostly because of the months I had with neither wheel nor loom. Mostly I didn’t expect this to happen.

There was a lot of mending as well, in the early parts of this year. I’m very grateful for that phase, and wish it would come around again. But as usual, it’s difficult to prioritize.

Crafting with Stringbean has also been a super-fun part of this year.

IV. So What?

I told myself last December that my post of intentions for the year would be a starting point, not a to-do list. I think I’ve given myself that freedom.

I would say that this has been the year that I really became multi-craftual. Before, anything I did that wasn’t spinning or knitting was in the way of spinning and knitting time. I don’t really feel that way anymore. Now I am a little more conscious of how I let my hobbies get in the way of family time.

This year is ending so differently from how it began. Our kiddos have grown and transitioned through so many stages, we are a couple thousand miles west, we said goodbye to old friends and made new ones, we started growing into new roles. The next year should be more stable, though there are plenty of adventures ahead. In a couple of days, I’ll post again about my hopes, dreams, and prayers for 2020. Have a fun celebration! What are you most thankful for this year? What did you let go? What surprised you?

2 thoughts on “How 2019 Went

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