Crafting 2022: Resolutions & Reflections
🎉 2021 is finally over and it's time to ring in the new year! 🎉
For me, New Year's Eve has held a lot of different meanings and I've celebrated it in different ways.
When I was a child, my parents would throw a party every year. When I was in high school, the party became a much bigger thing for me as I invited many friends over to celebrate with us and sleep over - it was a huge deal every year and holds some of my favorite memories.
Behold: NYE 2008 - playing Scrabble, apparently.
As an adult and, of course, during the pandemic, NYE has been much quieter. Still marking midnight, but while sitting on the couch with my husband and my dog. I don't mind it, actually, seeing as I tend to get tired around 10pm.
As we rev up for this year's quiet celebration, I thought some reflections and resolutions would be in good order.
Reflections on 2021
Reflecting is something that I feel we are not encouraged to do enough. We often focus on the road ahead and, while the future is important, we can't be guided in the future without learning from our past. If you haven't done so yet, take this paragraph as a sign to reflect on your 2021.
For me, the last year has seen the beginning of this blog and my Craftematics adventure (ok technically a year and 2 months but who's counting). Before I started this blog, I didn't have an Instagram and only sometimes remembered to take finished photos of my projects. My crafts have always been for myself and the people for whom I make gifts.
The idea of writing a blog started when I realized I was able to answer a lot of people's questions in a few pattern-based Facebook groups. I started thinking "I should just make a little doc on how to do this so I can link it because people keep asking the same things!" That put the thought into my head and, after mulling it over for a few months during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, I decided to just start doing it.
I won't lie and say that maintaining this blog is an easy thing or that learning how to make a website (even using a drag-and-drop platform like Wix) has been a cakewalk, but I will say that it's been rewarding. I'm a teacher by choice and by trade and, even though I'm not in the classroom anymore, I still want to teach. This blog has given that role back to me.
When I launched the blog, my goal was to make enough money in pattern sales to pay for the website and I gave myself 1 year to do that. Poor choice. When I hit the 1-year mark in October, I wasn't even close and it sent me spiraling. I seriously considered whether there was a point to keeping Craftematics up. At the bottom of the spiral, I made a post on Imgur that went to the front page. I cannot thank that community enough for their words of encouragement and continued support. I decided that my 1-year goal made more sense as a 2-year goal, with a potential extension into 3-years.
I also now continually remind myself that yes, this blog is for me, but it's also for the handful of people who keep coming back. And for the people who find just one post when searching on Google. And for the people who literally just need that one paragraph of information and bounce after 30 seconds of reading. So even when I'm not seeing the traffic that I hope for or comments at the bottom of my posts, I know that I'm still teaching someone something, and that is enough.
On a happier note - the last year of starting this blog has been the most productive crafting year of my life! Some fun stats I pulled from my Row Counter app and this blog for 2021:
Blog posts written: 27, including this one
Patterns written and launched: 11 (not including tutorials)
Crochet projects completed: 11
Knitting projects completed: 9
Sewing projects completed: 10, not including face masks
Time spent doing crochet/knitting: 420 hours, 16 minutes
Time spent sewing: ??? I should start tracking this better.
Largest project completed: The Zodiac Blanket (AKA Erika Gets Very Cold)
Started stitching September 2, 2021
Completed December 25, 2021
Time to complete: 184 hours, 17 minutes
Number of stitches: 177,870
Side note: pattern e-book coming soon!
New things learned:
How to restore a spinning wheel
How to hand spin wool
Knitting on double pointed needles
Quilting basics (definitely a lot of room for growth here)
Writing accessible patterns
Mistakes made: so, so many. Like, just so many.
Mistakes fixed: most of them
Resolutions for 2022
Typically, I avoid making New Year resolutions because I have never in my life managed to keep one. But this year? This year, I realize I can make craft-based resolutions and those sound much more attainable.
In writing the goals below, I'm sticking to the SMART structure (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely). If you're not familiar, the basic concept is you should be able to hand the goal to a complete and total stranger who has zero context for the goal and they should be able to understand what the goal is and how you'll know when it's been completed.
By December 31, 2022, I will:
Write and publish at least 5 patterns
Write and publish a new Craftematics blog post every 2 weeks, excepting major holidays
Hand spin a skein of yarn with a fiber other than wool
Dye a skein of yarn using a historical method and plant-based dye
Knit or crochet at least one project using handspun yarn
Restore my Antique 1920 Singer 66-1 Sewing Machine to working order
Sew one project on my antique sewing machine
Write, film, and publish to YouTube at least 2 videos teaching the basics of crochet
Complete at least one current Work in Progress
Now that it's written down, y'all will hold me accountable, right?
Did you catch that one about the sewing machine? I was gifted a project for Christmas and I am very excited to begin. I originally planned to hold off working on it until this post went live, but I'm not patient enough for that! Progress, of course, will be forthcoming as at least one blog post, probably a short series.
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What are your New Year Resolutions?