December 31, 2005

STRETCH YOURSELF!

HNY.jpg
New Year's is my favorite holiday. First of all, any holiday that calls for champagne has got to be a good one, right? And sure, I love the festive atmosphere.

But after the party's over, I'm a reflective person, and I most love that aspect of the holiday that's about taking stock. What lessons did I learn from 2005? What do I plan to accomplish in 2006?

I always make New Year's Resolutions, and I manage to keep them (admittedly not always, but often enough). As I wrote a few months back in the entry about 43things.com, I love setting goals. Set hard, but achievable goals -- the kind that stretch a person.

"Out with the old, in with the new" always gets me going on a round of clutter clearing, too. Every year there are tasks to be done or things around the house that I'm tired of looking at, and I think, "I'm not taking that into next year." So, I deal with those things by the December 31 deadline.

One of my resolutions for 2006 is to keep a knitting journal, with the intention that this will help me to stay focused on getting projects completed. To continue the metaphor: Keeping the knitting journal itself will be a small, warm-up stretch in service to the yoga-marathon-sized-stretch of finishing projects.

A few years ago, when I was working on earning my teaching certificate, doing a full-time internship at a junior high school, and had a tremendous amount of reading and research to do (not only for planning the lessons I was teaching but also for the thesis I was writing), I had very little time to knit. But I needed the knitting in my life as a meditative activity; I needed to set aside time every day to get lost in those knitting motions and zone out out of all the myriad other things that made demands on my time and my psyche. So to give myself some structure, I made a spreadsheet in Excel. Each knitting project that I considered "current" had its own row. Then, the first two columns contained the vital statistics for that project (needle size, pattern, etc.; date started). Then, the next columns were for recording the progress made during the days of the coming week.

I had this rule for myself -- I could knit as much as I liked on any of the projects, but at the end of the week, I had to have knitted at least a little bit on each of them. (This rule allowed me to spend more time on projects that were at the enjoyable stage of just rolling along, while still tending to the other projects that were in more tedious stages -- without feeling guilty and without losing any project to neglect.)

During this period, I actually accomplished quite a bit of knitting (relative to how little time I had to knit). I have fond memories of that Excel spreadsheet and my knitting projects that were "current" back then.

So for 2006, I want to get back to that system for keeping myself accountable. I think it will be useful to keep this knitting journal in a 3-ring binder, so that I can interleave fresh pages as needed. (During all those years I spent writing, I found that nothing gave me writer's block faster than the gift of a lovely leather-bound journal. Such a formal and pristine object required that the first word recorded in it be worthy of that book and worth recording for posterity; thus, it was easier to not write any word at all.)

Other things I'm looking forward to, in 2006 --
* Going to the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat in Tacoma, Washington in February, where I'll take classes from Jean Wong and from Sally Melville
* Going with Scott on a business trip to Orlando, Florida in March
* Taking Couture Knitting classes from Catherine Lowe, in Seattle in April
* Attending the TKGA National Convention in Oakland in April, where I'll meet up with Knit-buds Anne, Frances, Nancy, Jewel

And for you, Dear Reader, I hope that you also take the invitation that the New Year offers you to stretch yourself!

Posted by Karen at December 31, 2005 04:29 PM
Comments

Wow and jeez! Just before going to bed tonight--after our annual blasting and whirling of the antique family noisemakers--I checked to see if you'd made a new entry and your big "Happy New Year" sign actually made me jump. Gadzooks. I fear I may not be as ready for 2006 as you appear to be... I might could *snap* instead of stretch...

Posted by: Kit at January 1, 2006 01:54 AM

It is interesting to see all of us taking stock of our lives and our projects. Best wishes for the new year Karen!

Angela

Posted by: Angela at January 4, 2006 11:14 AM