Conventional wisdom says that sharing New Year’s resolutions with someone else is supposed to keep us accountable and thus more likely to achieve success.
I’ve come up with 6 reasonable and sustainable goals for my crafting life in the New Year. With your help, I think I can achieve them. Who wants to join me with these New Year’s Resolutions?
UPDATED: This post was originally written at the end of 2019. Then 2020 happened. I’ve added comments to each Resolution to tell you what really happened to that resolution in 2020, and how I’ve revised it for 2021.
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Resolution #1: Allow My Yarn to Mature
Not all yarn needs to be used immediately. Sometimes it needs to age until it is ready to reach its full potential.
This process may take years. Since yarn doesn’t go bad if properly cared for—in moth-proof storage, for example—there’s no time limit on when it must be used. I have yarn that is more than 25 years old. It’s still a nice color. It’s still wool. It just hasn’t decided what it’s going to be.
My yarn stash serves as high-quality housing insulation.
I resolve to not stash bust this year.
2020 UPDATE: I thought this would be the easiest of the resolutions to keep. But as with so many other things, 2020 surprised me. I actually made several projects from stash, some of which you’ll see in 2021. However, that’s not to say that I don’t have plenty of yarn still waiting its turn.
NEW RESOLUTION: Don’t try hard one way or another. Consult existing stash before starting a project, but don’t consider stash a collection that I can’t touch. Maybe I’ll even use some of that souvenir yarn (see Resolution #2).
Resolution #2: Allow My Yarn Stash to Grow
Forget “yarn diets”! They just make me feel guilty about buying new yarn. Yarn doesn’t have calories and it doesn’t make me fat, so why should I diet?
Instead, I want to embrace the joy that purchasing a beautiful new yarn brings: the expectation of a future project; the zen of repetitive motion as colorful fiber slips through my fingers; the prospect of unlimited options.
Yarn makes an excellent travel souvenir. Every time I see that ball of yarn I bought in Budapest, I remember the adventure I had finding the yarn shop. I couldn’t read the street signs, the store was on a small street away from any tourist areas, and no one around spoke English (or Spanish or French, which were other languages I tried). When I found the shop, we all had a marvelous time visiting and admiring each others’ work, despite some pretty significant language challenges. They helped me figure out how many forints I could spend and still have enough change to take the tram back to the boat. If I had been on a yarn diet, I would have missed that entire experience!
I resolve to buy more yarn this year.
2020 UPDATE: Because I didn’t travel much this year, I wasn’t tempted by all the offerings at shows and shops. There was no souvenir purchasing at all. I did, however, buy yarn from several smaller companies.
NEW RESOLUTION: Continue to support independent retailers, yarn shops, and all yarn companies as much as I can. We all need them to stay in business!
Resolution #3: Allow My Yarn to Range Free
Some people like a very tidy desk, a very tidy house, and a very tidy studio. I am not one of those people. While I like a neat kitchen, living room and bedroom, when it comes to my creative spaces, “tidy” is not a word that any one would use.
When I’m being creative, I want to see things out in the open. As I sit and crochet with one yarn, I like to let my eyes rest on other yarn that I have yet to use. I allow my mind to wander and dream of my next project. If everything is tucked away from sight, I can’t do that. I prefer free-range yarn.
I resolve not to organize my stash this year.
2020 UPDATE: Not exactly. With the switch to virtual teaching in April, I found I had to keep my background tidy. Which meant I had to keep half my studio tidy pretty much all the time. So what you see on camera really is what is there, and it is pretty well organized and even Instagram-worthy. The part that you can’t see on camera? We won’t talk about that.
NEW RESOLUTION: Now that the mess has been concentrated in half the space it previously was, my main goal is to keep a path clear from my desk to the printer, without having to move things. That should be achievable, right?
Resolution #4: Allow Some Yarn to Depart
This resolution may seem at odds with Resolutions #1 and #2, but it’s not. I do have a finite amount of storage space, and an even more finite amount of open (free-range) space.
Sometimes as yarn matures, it tells me it needs to leave the house and spread joy elsewhere. (Infrequently, it tells me this the moment it arrives at my house, but often it takes a bit longer.)
Maybe the color is not my thing, or the fiber content. Maybe I swatched with it and just couldn’t get it to behave in the way I wanted it to. These are the yarns that are ready to spread their wings and depart my nest.
There are plenty of people who would love my unloved yarn. I’ve given to senior centers, elementary and middle schools, and church groups, and they are always happy to accept donations.
I resolve to give away yarn this year.
2020 UPDATE: I probably gave away less yarn in 2020 than I have in the past several years. Not because I don’t have it to donate, but because not many groups in my area are taking it the way they did in the Before Times.
NEW RESOLUTION: Continue to collect the yarns that don’t spark joy and get them ready to donate when the time is right.
Resolution #5: Use the Best Tools
I have a lot of crochet hooks, and even more knitting needles. I have tape measures in every drawer and project bag.
However, some of those tools aren’t the greatest. Needles may have blunt tips or sticky finishes that I find annoying. A few circular needles have a catchy cable-to-needle join. Certain brands of crochet hooks don’t fit my hand and make crocheting awkward and uncomfortable. A couple of those tape measures are surely stretched out and faded.
Some of these items should be discarded entirely, while others would be perfect for another crafter. Why am I keeping these tools?
I resolve to use only tools that make my crafting more enjoyable.
2020 UPDATE: I totally nailed this one. Over several months, I invested a fair amount in upgrading my tools (needles, hooks, and notions). I don’t have to use tools that I don’t adore, and having non-annoying tools was a big mood lifter. I wish I had treated myself to them sooner!
NEW RESOLUTION: Keep up the good work. Discard to give away the old ones, so I don’t become a tool hoarder. (Who am I kidding? “Become” is probably not the correct verb here.)
Resolution #6: Practice Safe Crafting
If I want to keep knitting and crocheting for years to come, I need to take care of my body. This means avoiding repetitive stress injury, getting up and moving instead of sitting at my computer and behind my needles/hook. It means getting sufficient full-body exercise. It means using a body-friendly bag when I go to teaching gigs, fiber shows and shopping sprees. It means paying attention to proper lighting, keeping my yarn and electrical cords out from underfoot, and more.
These are not new resolutions to me, but it helps to remind myself of them. One of my go-to resources for reminding myself of these things is Carson Demers’ excellent book Knitting Comfortably. (Read my interview with Carson.)
I resolve to pay attention to crafting ergonomics this year.
2020 UPDATE: Other than a one-week period of tendonitis from overuse (which I’m going to blame on my exercise routine, not my yarn), I had no adverse physical issues all year. (I even kind of miss my physical therapist.) I even got a new desk chair the last week of 2020. It really pays to pay attention to this stuff!
NEW RESOLUTION: Re-read Carson’s book, because it’s worth internalizing this knowledge.
Of course, I could make more traditional goals that would make me more organized, tidier, and maybe even more financially responsible. But I probably wouldn’t keep them, and that failure would just make me feel bad.
I’m content with the way things are, and these goals fit into my lifestyle this year. If they don’t fit into yours, that’s fine. Perhaps you need to save money and thus should use stash yarn all year. Maybe an untidy crafting spaces gives you the creeps, or UFOs make you nervous. Perhaps your living space doesn’t allow for more yarn.
Embrace what works for you, and set your goals accordingly. This fiber-crafting thing is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Make it so.
What about you? What are your goals for the New Year that may be within your control?
Share in the Comments below.