Into the Future
By Request

Where Knitting Meets Intention

Last fall, I took a good look at my knitting.  

Like. . .  at all of it.  Past and present and future.  Completed projects.  Projects in my queue (which is entirely a queue-of-the-mind in my case; I don't utilize the Ravelry Queue feature).  Yarn in my stash.

And after a bit of an inventory and some careful analysis, I came up with a few shocking revelations:

  • I have three drawers full of shawls/scarves/wraps, a bin full of hats, and a bin full of mittens/fingerless mitts.
  • Most of the sweaters I knit . . . have ended up at Goodwill.  
  • I knit things in colors I love to look at -- but never actually wear.  (Although I do wear some rather surprising colors all the time.  Like yellow/gold.  And orange.)
  • I knit sweaters I would never purchase if I were shopping - and that don't fit into my wardrobe at all.  (Which explains the Goodwill thing.)
  • Tom has stated out loud and on numerous occasions, "I do not need any more hats."
  • My children have also mentioned, "Enough hats."
  • Etc.

Shocking.  True.  And why last fall I stopped knitting . . . whatever I felt like knitting.  You know . . . whichever new and groovy pattern happened to catch my fickle eye.  (Because there are plenty.)  Instead, I specifically asked my kids what they might like me to knit for them -- and I knit those things as Christmas gifts.  I knit little gnomes -- because family and friends loved them and wanted one.  I knit dish cloths -- because I needed them.

And I've been thinking a  lot about . . . where knitting meets intention.  (Because you know I won't stop knitting!)

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So for now (and maybe for the rest of time), my goal is to knit in the "sweet spot."  Which means:

  • Making a careful analysis (BEFORE the excitment of casting on) of whether a given project is something I will actually wear, something I actually need, and something that will fit into my existing wardrobe.  (Because I'm tired of knitting for the Goodwill bag.)
  • I'm paying close attention to the kinds of knits I actually DO love and wear (and there really are many of them) as the key to where I might keep my knitting focus.
  • I'm going to use yarn in my stash first.  And I'm also going to give away and donate the many beautiful yarns I have in my stash that don't fit into my "sweet spot."  (Remember to comment by Friday if you'd like Monday's Giveaway yarns!)
  • I'm staying away from any of the FOMO kinds of projects:  the"mystery" knits (which account for many of the shawls at the very bottom of my shawl drawers), "challenge" knits, or KALs.  Knitting with a group is great fun -- but I'm fine knitting on my own at this point in my knitting "career," and I no longer feel the need to "bang out" anything alongside other knitters.
  • I'm going to ask family and friends what they might like me to knit for them before foisting yet another hat on them.

This process was very enlightening for me.  I feel good about the knitting-direction I'm headed in now -- very much like I did after my reading-epiphany last year.  Knitting with focus; knitting with intention.  

Stay tuned. . . we'll see where this ends up by the end of the year!

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Be sure to head over to Kat's for more Unraveled posts today!

 

Comments

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margene

That's why I knit so many socks. I love them, I wear them. I'm also a shawl wearer (always cold and now always walking the dog) and I've been very grateful for the shawls I've made in the past. I just made another sweater I'll never wear. I'm not sure (yet) what I'm going to do about sweater knitting. (Maybe stop?)

Anne

Kym- your posts these last few days are especially thought provoking. I so admire your ability to think things through and to express the insights that come from that analysis and reflection. You have a real gift as a thinker and writer.

Cheryl S

I've been trying to do pretty much the same myself. I've realized that I just don't really wear most of my knit things besides sweaters and gloves, and just a handful of shawls/scarves.

I was just thinking this morning that I need to clear out more of the knits I've made that I'll never wear, and was wondering whether I should ship them off to the thrift store, or take them to the knitters' retreat this fall in case other knitters might want them (even if only to reclaim the yarn). I sent a bunch of stuff to the thrift store last year, but there are a lot more things I should get rid of.

I've also been trying to use what's in my stash, or give it away. But between that and really taking a hard look at whether or not I'll actually wear whatever pattern I'm considering, it's making it really hard to find anything to knit!

Patty

Oh I love your thought process. Maybe that's why I'm knitting baby blankets! :-)

Honore´

I think living life in "the sweet spot" as you so aptly describe it is my goal...I'm arriving at your same conclusions tho' without the "deep work" you put into it...so appreciate your sharing your thinking and applaud you for foraging new paths and sharing . Thank you!
Cheers~

Dee Kissinger

I would imagine knitting for the Goodwill bag could get quite expensive, especially in SWEATER quantities. Although, some of my socks have ended up there after awhile because they just didn't fit as nicely as I know I can make now.

I know, as much as shawls are pretty . . . I probably won't wear them. (There is one in my queue that I still will make ... hopefully for me, but maybe it will be a gift.)

I'm hoping to stay in MY sweet spot from now on.

(P.S. GREAT post!)

Geri

Intentional knitting! I am totally with you on this. How could I knit so much and yet not have staples that blend with my wardrobe? I’ve abandoned MKALs this year as well to focus on items that are functional. I also need to think carefully about my stash. That will be another day in April.

kmkat

Hear, hear! I have an eternal conflict between sweaters that don't take forever to knit, i.e., small needles, thin yarn, and sweater that I like to wear, i.e., not too warm. One part of my sweet spot is wool blend yarns -- wool and cotton, wool and bamboo, wool and acrylic (I know!). A worsted weight sweater out of one of those would be very wearable. This year I have been trying to knit up my stash; the largish shawl and several scarves I made last summer helped, and they were all intended for a silent auction this spring so I don't need to try to work them into my wardrobe. (Although I wouldn't mind, actually.)

Love this post and your analytical thinking to improve your life!

Bonny

I think I've (almost) always knit this way. I knit baby sweaters when my kids were little, but after I made John and Ryan matching sweaters one year that ended up in the Goodwill bag, I know not to knit sweaters any more. I ask my kids what knitted gifts they want, and they've even started asking for specific things occasionally. I hope you find and knit in your sweet spot!

Laine

Excellent plan. Also, in the interest of full disclosure: I steal all your insights & resolutions and make them my own. (I think there might be a scary movie about me.) Off to knit... with intention.

Vicki

I am definitely becoming more wise about this myself, and striving to make better choices about my projects. I mailed off a BUNCH (not all!) of those MKAL shawls & the like before Christmas for someone doing hospice work and collecting items for her patients' family members.

Kat

All of this... thus the year of Gift Knitting with a sprinkling of well curated "me" knits! But, I do love that sweater you are knitting now - and no sleeves! I might have added this to my list for this year!

kathy b

so many great thoughts in this post. I really feel my knits must be gifted or used by me to justify the expense. All my socks get used to death. I rarely wear shawls but I enjoy the simplicity of knitting them. I wear my fingerless gloves often too. Sweaters.....Ive made one I've loved. The others....nope. I prefer a vest to wear anyhow.
And if you ask me to knit you something , I will do it if I love you tremendously but I hate to be asked to knit something.
Charity knitting appeals to me a lot
Thanks for the thought prompt

Bridget

I think I learned this lesson (though I didn't realize it at the time) when I first started knitting. It might also be that for a while, I was not very adventurous, so I knit a lot of things I knew - socks, hats, scarves. But as my knitting "career" goes on, I realize that there are not that many people that I want to knit things for, and if I'm knitting for myself mostly, it had better be worth the time!

I wish you the best of luck with your attempts to always be in the sweet spot! :-)

Vera

What a great post! I've gotten pretty good at knitting with intention - a lot of socks which are used all the time, some shawls which I do wear, fingerless mitts, a hat, a sweater, a cowl - all in use. My *problem* is that I keep buying yarn at a pace faster than I can knit. Also glossy magazines (Laine, Amirisu) - so far I haven't knit anything from them, but I certainly do enjoy thumbing through them.

Lorraine

Instead of donating to Goodwill, consider donating knitted/crocheted items to a Womens shelter or baby items to a Pregnancy center.

Mary

:-) knitting and a venn diagram ... my heart sings!

Jane

Very thoughtful Kym. One of the best things about this community is that there is space for every kind of knitting and knitter. I do think asking or observing what knitted items family members prefer/wear/use is wise. Keep on knitting.

Chloe

Very relevant post, Kym. I love the first sweater I made, but have never worn it. I am not a prolific knitter, however, rather a prolific buyer of yarn.. but it comforts me. And might insulate my house if the electric grid ever goes out. Oh, and do NOT give away that White Sangria of yours. It looks fabulous on you.

Carole

I'm with you on this. I struggle with LOVING the process of knitting lace shawls but then not actually wearing them. I'm trying to be very intentional with the things I'm knitting. Dale and I stopped at WEBS yesterday on our way home and he stated pretty emphatically that he'd really like me to knit him a cabled cardigan. I need to focus on requests like that instead of knitting more lace shawls.

Caffeine Girl

This is a great post. You put into words something that we all struggle with -- but haven't been able to crystalize as well as you have.
I have been moving in this direction, but your post is going to help me get there faster! I have way too many shawls! I'm now pickier about knitting shawls, and I'm looking more at cowls, which make great gifts.

Karen

Love this! I struggle with this. Especially knitting hats. A couple of friends provide items for the homeless in our area. If I've got an itch to make a hat or scarf but no one needs another one, that's the bin it goes into. Also, NICUs sometimes want baby hats - a great use for bits of yarn.

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