Making Room for Projects that Excite You

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Recently, I decided to unravel 2 projects and I learned something from it. I realized that keeping projects around that I was lukewarm on was distracting me from the projects that I genuinely wanted to do. I stopped to count up my current projects and I was doing 6 projects at the time. I was mending jeans, repairing a top, making a swatch for a crocheted summer top design, swatching for another summer top, making a cardigan and knitting a blanket. I realized that I felt scattered with having this many projects at once.

The first project I decided to unravel was this top that I made. I had made the top many years ago and never wore it because the armholes were too big and weren’t flattering. I originally thought repairing the top would be a quick project. However, when I stopped to work on it, I realized that it would be a much bigger project than I planned.and would be harder to execute than I thought.  I thought about it and realized that I have been trying to fix the armholes for years and could never figure out how to do it. I also realized that I don’t have the garment construction skills to fix it. I wasn’t that excited about figuring out how to fix it so I decided to cut it up and reuse the materials. For another project, I had this idea to design a summer top using the yarn pictured above. The yarn is from a project I tried to do last summer that didn’t work out. When I did a swatch, I realized that with this stitch pattern, the hem would be uneven. I also felt lukewarm about doing the stitch pattern so I decided to also frog that project.

 Once I did that, I felt like it made room for me to work on projects I am genuinely excited to work on. I started working on a top I want to make and am excited to work on it. At the time, unraveling those projects felt like a small moment. I mean not deciding to do a crochet project or 2 is not a big deal. However, it made me realize that sometimes you need to let go of things to make room for what you really want to do. I really wanted to make this lace top but I kept looking at the top I was trying to fix and thinking that I should do that first. I would also look at the number of projects and feel scattered. Once I unraveled both, I felt like it was easier to focus on the projects I had left. In conclusion, it you are working on something and not that into it, don’t be afraid to unravel it.

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Making Garments for Special Ocassions

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I have recently realized that with knitting and crochet, I can make sweaters that are nicer than one I could afford to buy myself. The sweater I most recently finished made me rethink some of my ideas on garments that I want to make. Until recently, I had thought of handmade wardrobe for myself in terms of making items I could use in my everyday life. For example, the pullover to wear when it gets cold. I am also realizing that  it could be useful to make items that I could use for dressy occasions once they arrive. I realized this when I finished the Belcarra Cardigan., I suddenly had a sweater that was one of the nicest sweaters I had owned. It was a nice coat cardigan and I had never had one before. When I tried it on, it fit well and made my jeans and T-shirt look dressier. If I hadn’t made it myself, I wouldn’t have this sweater. In fact, I wouldn’t know where to get such a sweater. I also most likely couldn’t afford to buy a ready made versions of this sweater. 

When I finished The Belcarra Cardigan, I went back and forth on what project I wanted to do next. I was eyeing a lace tank top. I thought it was pretty and  liked that it It uses yarn I have on hand. The yardage I would need for the top also works with what I have. Then I looked at it and realized that the tank top is pretty dressy and I didn’t have a place to wear it right now. I hesitated because I was thinking that I couldn’t really use it right now. I told my mom about my doubts and she encouraged me to go ahead and make it. She pointed out that if is nice to have clothes on hand just in case the occasion arises. For example, you get invited to nice party. She pointed out that if you get invited to an event and need to find an outfit, that it is very hard to find anything at the last minute and the stores may be already stocking for next season when you need something for the current season. I decided to make it for those reasons and also because I think it will be fun to make. Going forward I am definitively looking into making nicer items for my wardrobe in addition to basics I can wear every day.

My Current Projects

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I thought I would give you an update on the projects I am currently working on.

 Featherweight Cardgian

I started making the Featherweight Cardigan at the beginning of March. I am enjoying it so far and it working up faster than I thought it would. I haven’t made much progress because I have been trying to finish the Belcarra. Now that I finished the Belcarra, I want to focus on finishing this sweater. 

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 Log Cabin Blanket

I started this because I wanted a mindless project to work on while I was watching a DVD or listening to a podcast. I was also stressed out and I like to start new projects when I am stressed out. This will be smaller blanket that uses up some acrylic yarn in my stash. I wanted a smaller blanket that I could wrap around myself when I am stressed out and it is cold out. I really wanted to use the navy and burgundy yarn and I liked the pink with the navy and burgundy. I showed it to my mom and she suggested adding the white and light blue. I am happy with the color scheme and like log cabin type projects. I mainly wanted to have this on hand to work on but I don’t really have a set time that I want to finish it.

Product vs Process Knitting

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The cardigan I just finished got me thinking about product vs process knitting. Product knitting is when you knit because you want to use the finished object. A process knitter likes the process and isn’t necessarily knitting to use the finished project. I have realized that up until now, I have been more of a process knitter. Until recently, I would pick projects based on how much fun they would be or what skill I wanted to learn. Often it would be a thought process of, “I just finished a piece and now what do I want to do?” Or I would pick a project so I could learn a specific skill. When I started to read Karen Templers blog more and the handmade wardrobe hashtag, I started to want to be more deliberate about what I chose to make. I was inspired to make pieces I could use in my wardrobe. At the time I was so inspired by the pictures of people wearing the pretty garments that they made and being thoughtful about what they wanted to add to their wardrobe and I wanted the same thing.

I saw another side to all this when I recently finished making The Belcarra Cardigan. The piece was frustrating and it was a struggle to keep doing it. It took a lot longer than I thought to make it and I had to unravel and redo it several times before I got a good start. I almost put this sweater on hold because it was taking so long and spring was coming . It was frustrating to be still working on this sweater I had hoped to wear this past winter. I ended up pushing through and finishing it. I knew it would bother me to have an unfinished project hanging around until next fall. I also persevered because I wanted that sweater in my wardrobe.

During the process of making this sweater, I lost some enthusiasm for making garments on a regular basis. Not too long before, I had been so inspired by making more garments but my frustrations with this project dampened my enthusiasm. I read somewhere that the pieces that end up being wardrobe staples are often very boring to make. I can definitely see how that can happen. I realized that it can be draining to plug through a frustrating process because you want the finished object.

I had been moving towards being more of a product knitter but I realized I also needed to make sure I was working on projects that are fun. I realized that the pieces I do because “wouldn’t hat be cool!” keep things fun and alive. I made a log cabin scarf because I really wanted to do a log cabin project. At the time, I certainly didn’t need another scarf or another project. I want to make a lace scarf out of light green yarn because I like doing lace knitting. Moving forward, I still want to make useful garments but I am realizing that I need to make sure that I leave room to be spontaneous and have fun with my projects. I am also thinking that the next time I am frustrated with a project, I will give myself permission to frog it and put it on hold.

My Belcarra Cardigan

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I recently finished the Belcarra Cardigan by Robyn Chachula. I am very happy with how it turned out but I found it to be a frustrating project. The main thing that frustrated me was that it took a lot longer than I thought to finish it. I started making this in late November. I finished the sweater in mid May. and I had hoped to be wearing it this past winter. I had to unravel the same section several times before I could get a good start on it. I finally got a good start then I got distracted by Christmas knitting and a log cabin project.

 I thought about putting it on hold or unraveling it a few times. The main reason I kept going was that I had bought the yarn to make the project and I wanted this sweater in my wardrobe.  I did end up up putting it on hold for a while. I finally started working on it again and had to restart a couple of sections several times. Near the end this was all I worked on because I wanted to finish it before it was too hot to wear it. I did finally finish it but it was a struggle.

 Now that it is done, I am glad to have it. It is the nicest sweater I have. Before this project, I didn’t have a nice coat cardigan. This is a much needed addition to my wardrobe. When I was making it, there were times that I wasn’t sure how much I liked it. I didn’t like the sleeves before I added the cuffs. Once I added the cuffs, it came together and looked good but before that, I was pretty discouraged and thought the sleeves looked funny. Now that I am done, I am very happy to have with how this sweater looks. 

Projects I Finished

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During the time when I was wasn’t posting regularly, I finished a few projects and wanted to give you an update. To be honest, I hesitated to write this post. Part of me was concerned about posting a, “What I have been working on” post after I wrote a long post saying that I want to write about more than that. However, I feel funny not posting what I have been doing. Plus I enjoy reading other people’s blog posts about their projects and the thoughts behind it. So, here is a what I have finished lately.

 Grey Cable Scarf

I started this project back in December. I had looked at my scarves and hats and decided that I could use a grey scarf with a textured stitch pattern. I fnally finished it on March 20. I like cables and saw a lot of cable scarf patterns on Ravelry that I loved. I also wanted to knit a cable scarf because I had tried to make a cable scarf the previous year and it didn’t work out and I wanted to try again. I enjoyed working on this scarf but it took me longer than I thought it would to finish it. Since it is now spring, I now have a scarf for next winter.

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 Basketweave Hat

I had made an identical hat years go. This winter, I lost it when I went to run errands. I upset me when I lost the hat. I decided to make another one because I liked the hat. I had also made a matching scarf that didn’t go with many of my other hats. I almost didn’t make the hat because it felt like an obligation, as in I should make this because I lost the other one. However, once I started making it I enjoyed working on it and really like this pattern. I recommend it if you are looking for a hat to knit.

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 Log Cabin Scarf

I did this as part of the Log Cabin knit a long that Mason Dixon Knitting and Karen Templer hosted. When I heard about this knit a long, I wasn’t looking to start another project. At the time, I was already working on a scarf and two sweaters. But I had recently watched a tutorial of log cabin knitting and really wanted to try it. I found out about this knit a long right after I watched the tutorial and I decided to go for it. I used yarn leftover from a blanket I made plus some other odd yarns in my stash that fit the color scheme. I enjoyed working on it. It is a habit forming technique and a great way to use up scrap yarn in a creative way. This scarf came out a lot longer than I thought but that should be good for days when the temperature is freezing. When fall comes closer, I may try making a log cabin type hat to match.

Me Made May

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One of the big reasons I have become interested in handmade wardrobe and slow fashion is Me Made May. I found about it from Andi Sattterlund. She is a knit designer who also sews. She has consistently posted outfit photos for Me Made May for a few years. From her posts, I started following the Me Made May hashtag and the handmade wardrobe hashtag on Instagram. I found the posts of people wearing clothes they made inspiring and made me want to focus on making more garments for myself.

 Me Made May is a popular online challenge that starts every year on May 1 and lasts all month. The idea of Me Made May is to challenge participants to wear handmade items every day. It was started by Zoe of  the So Zo blog. Here is an FAQ about Me Made May. Many people who participate will wear an outfit every day  that contains something they made and photograph it. I am not planing to actively participate this year but I will be checking out the hashtag. I encourage you to check it you have any interest in making your own clothes by knitting, crochet, or sewing.

Why I Stopped my 100 Day Project

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I ended up only lasting about two weeks on the 100 Day project. I had set a goal to write or proofread a post every day for a at least a few minutes. I ended up burning out and stopping. I was hesitant to write this post but I decided to risk being honest and admit that I didn’t finish. I wanted to write about what I learned from this. Another reason that I wanted to post an update was that I had told everyone I was doing the 100 day project and I wanted to let people know what was going on.

At first, I was excited about this project. I have wanted to get in the habit of writing on a regular basis for a while and this project seemed like a good way to create a regular writing habit. The 100 Day Project is a big project with a lot of participants. I figured that since a lot of people do this project, that I would get some support from other participants. I was also picturing doing all the writing projects that I think about doing but don’t do and gaining  new content for my blog.The first week or so went well. I got a lot of writing done and was feeling good about writing every day. Since I was writing more, I started reading the book Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott.

 Then I started to burn out and struggle with this project.During the week I did OK. On the weekends it was hard to get myself to write. Plus, I got sick around that time and didn’t feel well at all. It was hard to get myself to write when I felt sick. There are so many posts on the hashtag that it is easy to get lost and I struggled to read any of them. I felt like it was hard to get interaction with others who are doing this project. I got bored with reading Bird by Bird and didn’t want to finish reading it. I was also uneasy with looking like I did this to promote my blog. I felt uncomfortable writing a post then constantly sending people to my blog because I didn’t do this to promote my blog. I mainly wanted to write more often.

 I also struggled with posting updates on Instagram. I keep thinking that who cares what I post? Who cares if I write every day? I felt out of place with the sea of people posting pretty pictures of their visual art. I was worried my posts were boring and I struggled with what to say on the posts. A post saying, “Hi I proofread a post” is not necessarily Instagram worthy or that interesting. Also, “Hi I wrote today isn’t Instagram worthy either. Some of the writing I was doing is not anything I want to publish and I feel funny saying that in an update. Will people want to see what I wrote? Will it seem rude to say I am writing but I don’t want to show you? I am not comfortable with that part of social media where you are supposed to share everything that you are doing. I wasn’t comfortable doing daily updates at all. I also felt like I was posting 100 day project posts in the place of my knitting posts on Instagram. The knitting and crochet community on Instagram is so supportive and I missed interacting with them.

 I thought about quitting. Then I thought about how I already told everyone that I was doing this. I thought about how embarrassed I would be to suddenly stop posting updates. I got bored reading Bird by Bird. The main reason I finished Bird by Bird was because I already told everyone on Instagram that I was reading it. Then I think, is that a good reason to do this, to do anything?  In the end, I decided to shelve the project. I quietly stopped posting updates. I am not sure anyone noticed. Honestly, I was relieved when I stopped. I realized that I am not comfortable posting what I will do and would rather post an update after I finished. I also learned that I don’t want to get caught up in the fear of , “what will people think?” I don’t want to be afraid to change course because of that.  I like to write and want to build a regular writing practice but I also have realized I want to keep the daily process private and don’t want to write daily Instagram posts about it. 

My 100 Day Project

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I have decided to do the 100 day project. It is a free global art project that is open to anyone. It is run by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson. What happens is that decide to do  a creative activity every day for 100 days. Once you decide on an action, you announce your project and post regular updates of your progress on Instagram. The idea is by working on a project or skill every day, you are building a creative habit and will learn a lot from the process. If you want to see what projects people are doing you can check out the hashtag for the project.

For my project, I will be doing 100 days of writing. I have realized from doing this blog that I like to write. For a while, it has been in the back of my mind that I want to get in the habit of writing every day or at least on a regular basis but I didn’t get around to doing it. I thought this project would be a good way to build a writing habit and while getting support from others. I have a lot of ideas that I have wanted to write but haven’t been doing. I will be posting periodic updates on this blog and on my Instagram. If you want to know more about the 100 day project, here is a link to the page. You can also check out Elle Luna’s and Lindsay Jean Thomson’s Instagram for details.

Burnout and Changes

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 I wanted to post an update so people would know what is going on with this blog right now. As you could tell, I fell out of posting again. I haven’t posted because I have been struggling with burnout . Not only did I fall out of posting on this blog but I had signed up for a blog class and a social media challenge and I ended up not doing either because I was burned out. I also had a minor crisis about what to do with this blog. This is at least the third time that I have fell out of posting. I decided to stop and do some soul searching on why I keep burning out on creating content for this blog. This time, I got tired of the cycle of, I post for a while, burn out, stop posting and then get back to it. I am tired of trying to decide how to do the, “Sorry I haven’t been posting lately” blog post.

Weeks before, had read this post written by Jasika Nicole and I could strongly relate. One the points she makes is that she sensed that her attitude towards sewing was changing and that she wanted to make room for other creative projects in her life. I can relate to that. I have also been realizing that my attitude towards this blog and what I want to write is changing. I have been re thinking how I want to do this blog. I have realized that I am just not that inspired by what I write. I have realized that if I changed what I write about a little, I would be a lot more inspired. I looked at my past blog posts and realized that most of them are lists of links or posts about my current projects and I want to write about more than that. I realized that I have been writing posts at the last minute and not really putting a lot of thought about what content really want to write. I also realized that there are things that are on my mind that I haven’t been writing.

I have also realized that I had started this blog as a something to do while I was looking for work and I wanted a creative outlet at the time. I feel like I need more of a reason than that to keep doing this.  I have started to realize that I need bigger blogging goals other than create content because it is something to do. I love yarn crafts but I am bored with only writing about knitting and crochet.  Through a Facebook group and Twitter chats, I met other bloggers and started to realize that if I wanted to have this blog go to the next level that I would need to change some things about this blog.

So all of this means that I want to try some new things with this blog. I want to put more of myself into this and say more than just “This is what I have been making.” I want to write about more than my current projects. In the future, I am going try some blog topics and see how it goes. I still want to wite about knitting crochet and handmade. I love to make things and I can’t imagine life without it. I also have made some great connections with other craft bloggers and I want to keep those connections. I also will continue to write posts about my current projects. I enjoy reading blogs posts about what people are working on and I like having an online journal of what I have been making and my thoughts a the time. I just want to shift what I write about and change the approach. I want to write about new things that aren’t necessarily about knitting and crochet. I want to think about how to make posts that will be more useful to my readers. I am hesitant to say exactly what topics I am going to be writing about because I am still figuring that out. However, I wanted to communicate that I am thinking about making changes. I  also wanted to write about why I am thinking about changing this blog. It is important to me that I am honest and transparent with my readers.