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New Year

It’s a new year, and traditionally the time to make resolutions, but I couldn’t think of anything apart from the usual “eat less cake and tidy up more” sort of thing. 2018 has been a pretty busy year – I almost finished uni, had a baby, started selling my work online and in store at The Leith Collective, published 8 patterns, and did a whole lot of other stuff as well. I thought – “maybe in 2019 I won’t set any goals, I’ll just go with the flow and have a chilled out year”. Well, we’re six days in and I’ve already been tempted by a few challenges – not resolutions as such, but just things I’d like to try.

First of all, I logged in to Ravelry. Ravelry told me that I’d knitted and crocheted 94 items in 2018. These weren’t all big things – for example, 15 of them were sets of crochet baubles, and there were lots of baby items in there too. But that got me thinking, could I make 100 items in 2019? Ravelry now has a project challenge feature where you can set yourself a goal for the year, so I decided to aim for 100 and hope that I don’t end up with RSI by the summer. Unfinished projects from 2018 will count towards the total, so I already have a head start.

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Part of the reason for setting this goal was that Ravelry also told me I have 14,809 metres of yarn in my stash. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Unfortunately it doesn’t tell the full story – I have yarn waiting for several sweaters, a couple of bags worth earmarked for designs, and a whole pile that’s for knitting items for my shop. Oh, and the enormous scrap bag.  None of this is counted in the total. So, goal number two. I’m going to aim to knit 10,000 metres over the course of the next year. Apparently, my projects for 2018 used up over 15,000 metres of yarn, so this is a perfectly reasonable goal. The main problem will be that the Edinburgh Yarn Festival is in March, and I don’t have much willpower when it comes to resisting yarn. Part of goal number two, then, is that I’m not going to buy any yarn until March. Even if it’s in a charity shop and it’s super cheap and really pretty – this one will be a challenge!

Goal number three is a big one, and something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve blogged before about wanting to support small and independent brands, and to shop locally and handmade wherever possible. I also buy a lot of second hand stuff. I love trawling round charity shops, and very rarely get myself any new clothes. Ruth McGilp has been writing some excellent blogs about the ethics of the fashion industry recently, and really making the case for living sustainably. Recently she shared an article from Sophie Davies, who is challenging herself to buy all non-essential items second hand for a year. I liked the idea of this challenge, but wanted to add an extra element to it. Since I love making things, I’ve decided that my big challenge for 2019 will be to make my baby’s wardrobe. I already buy most of her things second hand, and I’m really lucky to have been given some beautiful clothes as presents for her. However, from now on, I’m not going to buy anything else. I can knit socks, jumpers, and cardigans. I’ve just had my sewing machine fixed, and with the help of the classes I did at Red Thread Studio and a great book I got in a sale today, I should be able to make trousers, t shirts, dungarees, dresses and so on. I’ll be using mostly fabrics from my stash, and if there’s anything else I need then I’ll look in charity shops and scrap stores for it. It will be a lot of work, but it will also be really satisfying I think. If all goes well, I might do the same for myself and the older kids next year!

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If you fancy taking up the handmade challenge or shopping sustainably for yourself, I’ve found some great blog posts which might give you some ideas –

Sustainably sewing your me-made wardrobe

Sustainable sewing blog series

My green closet

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