On Second Thought: A Case of the Februaries Might Not Need New Projects

I wrote a few days ago about how I’ve been hit by the February ennui that tackles me every year, and how I’d decided to just give in to every new project that flitted across my radar in an attempt to give myself some happy chemical boosts and weather out the rest of this gray month. I published my post, went off to continue working on the new Linen Stitch scarf, and as I was knitting away the day, my mind wandered and I remembered something I read about in the The Twelve Week Year called the “Emotional Cycle of Change,” which comes with a handy little visual in the book:

I recalled the first time I worked The Twelve Week Year system, way back in the summer of 2020, and how much impact that little image had on me because I absolutely identified with it. When I was putting in the work on that cycle’s goals, I hit that nasty wall of despair right around Week Five and it stuck with me for a good two or three weeks where all I wanted to do was give up, give up, give up. But, thankfully, I was aware of it, I had people to talk to about it who encouraged me to keep going, and yep, I kept at it and eventually pulled up and out of that funk because I didn’t give up and I didn’t shift my focus onto something else. I got to experience the high of sticking with that project until the end, even though I really wanted to just die for a few weeks whenever I thought about another stupid day of doing this.

And I think that’s what’s going on right now. I started the new year with the idea of doing good on crafty goals, and I’ve been going forward with all the energy and zeal of an optimistic goal-getter, and it’s now hitting really hard that progress isn’t an overnight thing and I am smack dab in the Boring Middle of it all. The answer isn’t to quit or switch focus, because when I get to the end of this twelve week cycle (in the last week of March), I don’t want to look back and regret that I stopped working on these goals. Honestly, it’s a bit of a weird goal cycle because I don’t have anything huge going on because I just couldn’t come up with anything except “take a break from striving all the time,” because I’ve been striving hard for eighteen months straight and just felt like I needed a break. So I’m only doing some low-key stuff to help prep me to do bigger things come April, but it is important to me to tie up a lot of these loose crafty ends, if only to “close the circuit” on these open/unfinished projects.

So the answer right now is that I’m having a normal reaction to change. I’ve been really good at showing up to work on these crafty goals; it’s become my routine and it’s no longer a new, exciting thing, and I’m jonesing for the high of a new project…but that’s what gets me into this mess of having eighty-seven UFOs cluttering up my craft room and driving me crazy all the time. The answer is to just keep showing up and doing the work, even if I need to grit my teeth somedays, and remind myself of how good it’s going to feel to get that pile of quilt tops completed. In a few weeks’ time I’ll start seeing the results of that consistency and I’ll start getting excited about the dash to the finish line, and the high of finishing a big goal is way bigger than the high of starting a new project. Lasts longer, too.

Another thing I might to watch out for is the impulse to indulge in retail therapy–it might be one of the first signs that I’m approaching Stage 2 or Stage 3 of this cycle. That being said, there is a still an ungodly amount of yarn currently making its way to me in the mail because…well, I didn’t figure this out until after I’d already ordered it. Guess I’ll be making a lot of socks and fingerless mittens for the foreseeable future, even though I know I’m only capable of about seven pairs a year, given my “comfortable knitting” calculations I just figured out.

How many skeins of sock yarn did I order? Nine. *sigh*

I’ll do better the next time.

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#craftygoals: February 2022

Y’all hanging in there? January’s a hard month to survive, I think. Good job making it to February! Alas, I think February often gives January a run for its miserable money most years, which makes me feel like…

But we’re just going to keep our heads down and go to work on those awesome crafty goals, and we’ll pass this gray, cold month with color in our hands and beautiful stitches to chase away the days. Sounds like an excellent plan! Go forth!

I had a plan for February, but as I went about to start prepping for it, I asked the person I was going to make a thing for if they wanted the thing I was planning to make for them and THEY SAID NO. So…I need some new plans. (It was a dress for Rachel. She’s so thrilled with her new Halloween skirt that she said she didn’t need anything new at the moment, and anyways, that particular dress was something she was “only into for, like, last summer.” 😒 This is why, more and more, I’m against surprise crafting. It often ends poorly. Just ask people what they want and then tell them it’s going to take forever to make. Everyone ends up happy. Even if it takes ten years to finish the thing. Trust me, I have A LOT of experience with this.)

I didn’t mention it in my January #craftygoals post, but I want to try to sew up an article of clothing each month this year. (I didn’t mention it because it would have hinted that “Rachel’s Birthday Gift” was a piece of clothing. Which ended up not mattering because I had to spoil the secret anyway. Gah.) I like the idea of making well-fitting clothes, but it’s a very new skill for me and I avoid it because it’s still kind of difficult to do well. It’s way more gratifying to crank out quilts because I’m already good at them. Clothes, though…eek. Practice, practice, practice.

1. So, with Rachel’s dress off the table, I need to come up with another clothing item to make, and I need a little time to figure that out because reasons.

The other #craftygoals for February are:

2. Finish the Rainbow Coin Strip quilt. I don’t think I’ve ever posted about this quilt, but I started it in December 2019 as a kick-off for the coming year being devoted to sewing up my scraps, and almost got the top completed, actually. And then my first shipment of Blank Quilting fabric arrived and the Rainbow Coin Strip quilt went into hibernation very quickly. The Convoluted Formula™ dictates that it be the next thing I work on. I’m pleased it’ll be completed soon. It’s cute.

3. Continue (maybe finish?) the Far Far Away quilt.

4. Brick House Scrap Quilt blocks #5-8

5. Clementine Quilt Along Month 3 & 4. I didn’t quite finish the Month 3 blocks last month because of my back, but they’re close. Hopefully I can railroad through the fourth month’s blocks, too.

6. Berry Blocks. Not even started, annoyingly.

7. HST Leaders & Enders. Also not started, extra annoyingly. But we’re not going to worry because Scrappy Thursday is for working with scraps at the pace that I can work. There are no deadlines in the Land of Scrappy Thursdays, just a love of scraps. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN, DARN IT.

Hand Stitching-wise, I’m still knitting away on Michael’s Building Blocks sock, and really should be able to finish those up by the end of the month.

I have NO idea what I’ll work on after that. I think I need a portable project for taking to work, and an “at-home” project that is more involved or larger or whatever. Maybe a pair of vanilla socks for work, and resume working on the Stalagmite socks that I started three years ago? Or the Better Days Sweater? I don’t know, but it’s gotta be something yarny. My fingers are so cold in the winter that I have a hard time with hand sewing.

January’s #craftygoals went really good. I finished the Cat Lady quilt, Rachel’s Halloween skirt (pictures coming), the Mini Charm Chiffon Baby quilt (pictures waiting on delivery), and was able to start working on the Far Far Away quilt.

Scrappy Thursday-wise, I got the Brick House blocks for the month done and almost finished the Clementine blocks. As previously stated, I did not get to the Berry Blocks or HST Leaders & Enders. Not much I can do about that. Hopefully everything cooperates in the universe and I’m able to work on them this month.

And in the sphere of Hand Stitching, I finally finished the Nereid Mitts! Huzzah!

Good luck with your #craftygoals for the month!

Popping In…

…to let you know that I am still here and I haven’t abandoned blogging. My back went out last week, and then there was another thing that I don’t want to talk about on the internet, and then I went to the doctor yesterday to talk about the thing I don’t want to talk about, and he was like, “Hey, you didn’t get your flu shot this year, would you like to do that now?”

And I was like, “Yeah, sure, that’s probably wise.”

And then he said, “Do you need a COVID booster, too?”

And I was all wide-eyed with disbelief and said, “You have those?! I haven’t been able to schedule one online.”

“Yeah, we’ve got them, you want one?”

“Um, YES.”

So now, on the day that I thought I’d finally get back to doing some sewing or knitting after way too many days of not sewing or knitting, I’m nursing a very sore left deltoid and feeling slightly sick and feverish as my body figures out how to deal with the injected germs. Which is the absolutely best way to spend today, but it infringes on my crafty goals and I feel a little panicked that I’m totally going to miss the mark on a few of them, but then I remind myself that they’re just benchmarks in the air that I thought would be nice to achieve and nothing bad will actually happen if I don’t finish them on time, and geez, calm down.

I might try knitting a little today, just to try to work some of the soreness out of my shoulder, but I might not because it’s boring knitting that I’m really bored of and geez, I need a new knitting project. So many people are making awesome sweaters right now and I want to be like them. But noooooo, I’ve decided to be responsible and stuff and finish UFOs and dumb stuff like that. (It is so hard to keep that commitment when you feel like crap and decide to do a little online window shopping because you’re too worn out to really do anything else.)

(I may or may not have fallen down a retail therapy rabbit hole at a certain online fabric store…the anticipation of receiving a package in the mail is pretty much the only thing that has brought joy into my life this past week. #selfcare)

Alright, head on off to your lives. I’ll just be here, doing that greasy sick sweating thing and stalking people’s crafting-in-progress photos on Instagram. Leave a comment if you’ve got some good in-progress photos for me to look at. Tell me how to find them. I beg you.