It’s been shamefully long since I last showed my face around here. And what better time to come back than the new year? I thought I would start with a “reflections and dreams” post. Reflect on the old year, and dream of what this new one may have in store!
But first, let’s go back a little. For me 2017 was the year of doing instead of dreaming, and I am so happy I finally took the leap! At the start of 2017, which also happened to be the start of this very blog, I set some goals for the year. As with all goals, they were meant to serve as beacons guiding me back to the correct path if I ever veered too far from it. I don’t know that I referred to them as often as I thought I would, but there’s definitely a power to writing things down and hitting publish. Anyway, I won’t go into all the details, but I thought I would highlight a few things that went well, and some that didn’t.
THE “WELL” PILE
- Be present. A long way away from perfect, but this was by far the most important goal of 2017, and, I would probably say, forever to come. I spent more time stopping to smell the flowers, and watching the birds, and reveling in the beauty of sunsets than I have ever done before. So, I’m calling it a win!
- Consume less. Aced this one!
- Knit with intention. I was so focused on this goal that at some point during the year I couldn’t knit. I felt paralyzed. Thankfully, once this passed, I was able to knit a few pieces that I’m very proud of (like my Tegna that I never wanna take off)!
- Run a marathon. I did it! This was one of my lifelong dreams, and I did it! It was one of the highlights of the year, so much fun, and such a fulfilling experience. I can’t wait to run more marathons.
- Discipline. Running the marathon was the easy part. Training for it was a whole other story. Thankful to some amazing podcasts for keeping me company and to my husband for taking care of Anya so I could go out there and run for hours at a time.
- Yarn. When I wrote my goals for 2017, the yarn aspect of Oysters and Purls was only a dream. And one of my goals at the time was to start dyeing and selling yarn. Not only did I start this little business of mine, but I also released 7 different collections, and managed to find and switch to a local supplier, all in one year!
- Collaborations. So many good ones, and so many more that I’m excited for in the future!
The following were not goals I specifically set out to achieve at the start of the year, but they are some of the brightest and most rewarding moments of 2017!
- Getting published. Sometime in May I spent a week swatching. I was flooded with design ideas, and I couldn’t stop! I proceeded to submit 4 of those designs to a publication I love and admire: Making Stories. And, to my delight, not just one, but two of my designs were accepted! I still can’t believe that I will have a design of mine published in a book.
- Making friends. The knitting community, without a doubt, is comprised of the sweetest, kindest, most incredible souls, and I’m so grateful to call a few of them my friends. I met some amazing people this past year, and some of them I even met in person. Can’t wait to spend more quality time in person with them this year!
- 26+ months of breastfeeding. Symbolically, the end of the old year seems to have also marked the end of our breastfeeding journey. It is bittersweet, so I try not to think about it too much. But I’m so grateful for every second of it (yes, even the painful, long, unending hours of nursing)!
THE “NOT SO WELL” PILE
- Be kind, to others and myself. This is another one of those goals that I’m certain will be a work in progress for most of my life. Somehow it’s easier to be kind to others than to yourself. I have been working on being less critical and more forgiving to myself, and this year has posed several instances where this has been especially difficult to do. But, always room to improve, always working on it, and getting better one tiny step at a time.
- One design a month. I was able to stick this out for about 2 months. And then yarn dyeing took over knitwear design.
- Blog. As you very well know, this fell off the wagon sometime in June. So, yea…
One thing in particular that I didn’t explicitly state in my goals last year, and something I have put to the side for far too long now is self care. I drank very little water and too much alcohol, ate poorly (think no breakfast, and cheese and crackers for lunch), did not prioritize sleep, all the while overexerting my body every single day. Hoping to make major changes this year!
But enough about 2017, let’s talk a little about 2018!
I won’t give you the full rundown of my goals, but I wanted to mention a few of my favorites.
- Read more. I essentially sacrificed reading when I took up knitting two years ago. Since I’m not one of those talented people who can knit and read at the same time, and since I barely find the time to knit most days, there’s never any time for reading. So, this year I plan to make an effort to read. My husband and I have decided that one night a week will be reading night. And hopefully I’ll find other nooks of time here and there to squeeze in a page or two.
- Spend more quality time with my husband. It can be so easy to just watch Netflix after a long and exhausting day. And since we don’t have family around, we rarely ever go out just the two of us. Plus, my work starts after Anya goes to bed on most days. So, spending any meaningful time together can be rough. Which is why we’re introducing reading nights and talking nights, and claiming this time spent together for ourselves!
- Self care. Drink more water, eat better, slowly replace alcohol with tea (at least on some evenings), exercise, and spend more time in nature!
- Meditate. Getting in the habit of meditating has been on my mind for months now, but I haven’t found the right time just yet. If you have any recommendations and resources, please share!
- Spend less time on my phone (and other devices). Ideally, I would have hours in the day and a day a week where I go completely tech-free.
- Knit more. I set this goal last year, and maybe I did better this time around, but there’s a lot of room for improvement!
- Colorwork! I am calling 2018 the year of colorwork. I have never knit colorwork before, and I think it’s time I tried. Besides, we’re going on a trip to Iceland in March, and I don’t plan to come back empty handed! Also, I’ve been dreaming of knitting a Birkin sweater for far too long now.
- Improve my sewing skills. I would love to get good enough to sew garments! I have this idea in my head that sewing is super complicated, and I’ll never be able to do it, but I should probably give it a good try before giving up.
- Submit designs to publications. After my success with Making Stories, I really want to pick a few of my favorite publications, ignore the voice in my head that says my designs aren’t good enough, and just submit them. What’s the worst that can happen?!
- SQUAM!!! Perhaps what I’m most excited for this year is attending the Squam Spring Retreat. I CANNOT WAIT!
- Plan! Plan! Plan! I did a poor job of this last year. So, this year I want to plan ahead as much and as far as possible.
- Permanent colorways. I’ve talked about this for a while, but I think it’s time to start dyeing up some permanent colorways. I love the format of collections, which is what I’ve been doing so far. But it’s really exhausting. So, I’m hoping to still do maybe 3-4 collections, with more regular updates in between.
- Fairs. I already applied to be a vendor at the Squam Art Fair. And I’d love to do Indie Untangled at Rhinebeck. No idea what that means in terms of the amount of yarn I would need to dye or any of the other logistics. But I’ll figure it out. It’s time to face some of my irrational fears this year!
- Collaborations. More! More! And more! That’s all I have to say about that!
- Natural dyeing challenge. This has been a lingering idea for some time now. And, as with other things, I’ve had some ridiculous fears around it (not being able to figure it out, or not doing it well…). So I’m hoping that putting it here will make me feel accountable.
- Revamp the website. When I get everything else done, I really really want to breathe some fresh new life into the website and start writing blog posts again. I think I need to write, even if they are small. Please let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like to hear. More about natural dyeing? More about my knitting projects? Motherhood? Running? I’d love to know what you’re interested in!
- We started the year with a trip to Charleston. Just my husband and I! It’s true we got snowed in and couldn’t see or do a single thing you’re meant to see or do when visiting Charleston because the entire town was shut down. But we had the most fabulous time regardless. Such luxury to spend a few short days alone with a loved one. No baby, no family, no friends. Just us, all day every day! Eating and drinking our way through Charleston! Hoping to do more trips like this now that Anya’s old enough.
- Iceland. This year’s family trip is to Iceland, and I couldn’t be more excited!
- Cyprus. Right after Iceland I will travel to Cyprus with Anya to spend a few weeks with the other side of the family.
- Berlin. Hoping to leave Anya in Cyprus and sneak away for a few days to meet some friends I haven’t met in real life yet. Super duper excited for this!
- Squam. I know I mentioned this already, it’s so exciting that it deserves another mention! It’s gonna be a paradise full of knitters and makers and some of my heros, and I’m gonna share a room with a friend I met on Instagram through a test knit I did for friends I’m planning to meet in Berlin….ah, this community is the absolute best!
- Cabin in the woods with a dear friend. Hoping to spend a quiet weekend away from civilization with one of my closest friends, just knitting, eating, drinking, and talking away! Secretly, the trip I’m looking forward to the most.
- Rhinebeck. My trip to Rhinebeck was too quick, unplanned, and haphazard this past year, and I really want to fix that. I would love to plan it better this time around, and do it right. Maybe rent a house with a few knitter friends, and enjoy the full experience!
That’s all that’s planned for now. I’m pretty sure there will also be a trip to Armenia sometime in the summer. But as it is, this is already starting to feel like too much travel and too little work.