Wednesday, December 28

The end is near...

the end of the year that is!

I'm doing much better now than I was previously this month. I'm even knitting a bit again, although Farmville is sucking a whopping amount of my time. As much as that game is driving me to the brink, I have nearly a year invested in it, and haven't quite built up the courage to let it go. I will end up letting it go eventually, I'm just not quite ready yet.

A new year means new beginnings and such. Thanks to a ton of prayers and support from all our friends and family, Derek and I will be starting this new year completely fresh in a ton of ways. We can't begin to thank everyone that helped us out in some way, shape, or form over the last month. All I can say is to never doubt the power of prayer! Even our agnostic/ athiest friends were putting their hands together and looking skyward in our name.

This is the traditional time of year when people often start thinking of New Year's Resolutions. I am no different, although I don't do them every year, and am more likely to make resolutions when the opportunity presents itself, rather than a specific time of year. I have been very active on a few boards at Ravelry these past few months, in particular, the Knit Picks Lovers group. In November, the topic of 2012 resolutions came up, and got me thinking (realistically) what I'd like to accomplish this coming year. Without further ado, here's my list for the coming year (as posted in KPL):

  1. Release at least one pattern a month.
  2. Continue with listing everything on Rav. Most of what’s “missing” is hidden stash and UFOs! 
  3. Finish a sweater or shawl a month (knit or crochet; for me or others; OPPs or original).
  4. Learn/ practice knit colourwork. (This scares the beejeebers out of me more than cables did!)
  5. Work on promoting myself more. (Rav group, Facebook page, advertising, etc.)
  6. Reorganize my yarn stash, and get my craft room into a usable state.

Some of these I had already been working on, and some I have made a great deal of progress on since I originally posted this list in November. I have a few other additions to make, namely:

  • Tweet (link on sidebar), update Facebook status more for self-promotion. Even if it's not directly related to my designs, even mentioning what I'm working on etc. can build up a following... something that has been missing since the heydays of Nicole's Crochet Bistro in the mid-00's.
  • Improve my state of health. It had improved somewhat overall when I quit working outside the home nearly a year ago, but a wake-up call from my doctor earlier this month has brought many concerns to the forefront. Drastic changes are necessary, and necessary now.

I have a bit of a plan in mind for working towards all of these goals. I don't think any of them are un-realistic, and all of them will make me feel better physically, spiritually, or both.

  • Releasing a pattern every month will make me strive to actually finish up the designs and patterns I have in progress already. I have several that simply need tech editing, formatting, and/ or photography. These are details that *must* be done, but I put off indefinitely. I have at least a half-dozen I can think of off the top of my head that fit into this category. While new designs are so much more interesting to me to work on, there isn't a point to calling myself a designer if I don't publish as well.
  • Listing everything on Ravelry has several benefits to me. First and foremost, I am forced to face what I actually have on hand, and not focus so much on what I want to have. I have more acrylic in varying amounts than I could ever use in hats, mitts, scarves, slippers, and the like. This is what I tend to use it for mostly. I have to find projects that will quickly consume large amounts of this, without requiring large amounts of any particular colour. I often will reference many of my personal databases while out shopping, and this saves me time and money. While I have been diligent this past year about listing purchases of yarn, magazines, etc., it's my older stuff that needs to be listed. I got a huge chunk of it done in November, and was even sorting it into labelled bins, with those labels included on the listing for the yarn on Rav. The only listing that still needs major work is my needle database, and I want/ need to get that set up for mainly my Knit Picks needles. I also purchased bins today for lace-weight yarns and Derek's sock wool. Even though those yarns are all already listed in my stash, I will need to do the updates to indicate their locations.
  • I have joined several KAL/ CAL groups with the goal of "12 in 2012". While I may not actually participate in them, and in fact with all the kits and such I have on hand, there is no way I could, I'm hoping for the inspiration to actually complete projects from start to finish in a more timely manner. I want to spend a little bit of time going through my shawls and my sweaters, and make a kind of "to-do" list for each month. This list would also have which design pattern I will focus on completing for release.
  • Learning and practicing colourwork is something I've wanted to do for some time. I have recently purchased a few books on it, and have plans for acquiring a few more. I have one small kit purchased to try this out on a small scale. There are a couple more that are in my wish list at the Knit Picks web site.
  • Self-promotion is something I have never been good at. I simply don't have the salesman gene. I started the ball rolling recently by creating a Facebook page for my designs. A very small sampling of my patterns are currently listed, and I need to force myself to add more... not "time permitting", but actually "making the time" to do it. I want to start a Ravelry group as well, but for now I can allow myself to procrastinate a bit on that while I work on the Facebook side of it. I have many friends on Facebook all over the world, and I have my fingers crossed that they can be a springboard to opening up new markets for myself.
  • Reorganizing is a constant battle for me. For the first time ever in December, I can still access anything in my craft room with a relative minimum of fuss. Labelling my stash bins has already proven very valuable, as it cuts down the "diving" time drastically. I want to start sewing again, and doing some quilting this year, so that room has to be put into a state of usability rather than just storage. The biggest task was getting the yarns bins into better order, and while my living room had several days of looking like a yarn factory had thrown up all over it, it was all worth it. 
  • Tweeting (link on sidebar) and Facebook-ing are two ways I can "get my name out there" with a relative minimum of effort. I don't have many followers, but the more I "contact the universe", the more "the universe can contact me". I don't expect, and I don't think I'd even want, to be as well known as Yarn Harlot, however it would be nice to know that more people I don't know "read" me, than ones I do know!
  • Improving my state of health is gonna be a toughie. I finally have the life overall that I want, so the last thing I want now is for that life to be cut short. A discussion I had with my doctor recently has made me face all that head-on. Serious and drastic changes have to be made to my lifestyle and habits, and much sooner rather than later.
Stay tuned for my January task list... 
Nicole =o)

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