January’s progress has felt glacial. Only one month into this year, and I’m already grateful to the New Year Micah who set out the intention to write monthly progress reports. As we turned the page to a new month, I felt like I had accomplished absolutely nothing. Sitting down to take stock has been a balm.
As I look over the month, I realize that January has not been about tearing forward at a breakneck speed. It has been a month of ripping out. It has been taking apart what was there in order to make room for what needs to be. This isn’t a pursuit of perfection. It is an act of unhurried. It is about not rushing, and being ok with unfinished. This month, I have begun to reconcile myself to the need for iterating. That’s not as comfortable as plan, preform, product. But, it’s the place where growth happens. And it’s the growth, not the product that I’m interested in.
I started writing this paragraph with a peppy version of events that couched this month’s Unhurried Wardrobe as “mental progress”. And, I suppose, in some ways, that’s true. I have, at least, come to understand what’s keeping me from moving forward. But, I think it would be unduly optimistic to call this actual progress just yet.
I think a more accurate telling of the month in Wardrobe Planning would be one of paralysis. I’ve been paralyzed by the idea that, if I just do enough rigorous planning, I won’t make a misstep in my makes. Perfectionism rears its ugly head in so many guises. Simultaneously, I’ve had a horrid case of analysis paralysis. Despite believing that I need to plan first, I have still spend untold hours scrolling through pattern and fabric ideas. In an effort to expose myself to all the myriad of options, I’m just creating a sense of overwhelm.
The truly excellent news is that, having spent a month floundering a bit, it is abundantly clear to me what I need to change. Next month, I will:
- Write about where I’m at as a starting point. I think sorting this out in words will be crucial to seeing the next step. Not all the next steps at once, mind you. But, the one next step. I’ll continue the planning that I’ve begun, but I’m giving myself permission to abandon it if it doesn’t prove helpful. Regardless, I’m committed to documenting this process as it progresses.
- Make one garment. It may not be the most critical garment. It may not be a perfect garment. But, I’m at a point where I know that I just need to make something.
- Look at patterns, fabric or yarn only as it relates to meeting a specific, definable, immediate need. There is some part of me that wants to simply swearing off browsing for the month entirely. But, I know that isn’t possible right this moment, as I know there will be at least one project I’m looking to complete this month.
I had in mind that I would have this quilt made and basted by the start of the year. I know it will be a slow project and I envisioned a year of hand quilting under it. But, the year began with nothing but a few buttons taken off the clothes I was reclaiming for the quilt. It wasn’t until mid January that I began this project in earnest. Progress on it since then has been slow but steady. Most nights I can cut a few more strips or sew a few together. I’m beginning to amass a good pile. I can feel the steam gathering under this one. I’ve reset my deadline to have this one completed and basted by the end of the month so I can begin the quilting by March 1st.
I think it says a great deal about my month that I have accomplished so much more knitting than sewing. It has been a month for hand projects. This is both a function of need (I just have not been home as much as I would like) and desire (the feel of working on something with my hands is where I’m at right now). I’ve finished a scarf, a hat, and am 3/4 of the way through a second hat. None of them big projects to be sure. But, for me, that’s quite a bit of knitting in one month. One was an intentional choice to meet my goal of learning to knit cables (which are fun and addicting). In February, I’ll finish my cable hat but then I think I’ll take a short pause on knitting. I want to get further into my Wardrobe Planning before I begin any more knitting projects. Socks and a sweater are still on my radar. I just want to take my time and consider before starting another project on impulse.
I have a substantial pile of mending that is patiently awaiting my attention. I really thought I would make some substantial progress on it this month. Instead, I only completed one mend this month, and that didnt’ even come from my mending pile. My only pair of jeans sprouted a new hole in a very non-negotiable location. So I sewed patches two and three in (the third one prophylactically).
I also mended a button down for Steve. Twice. I ripped it out each time. It’s a shirt he loves and I think he’ll get lots more wear out of it if I can get this patch right. I think the only way I’m going to make real progress on my pile is to set aside a mending afternoon (or two). Also, I need to rifle through my pile to find any of the mends that can step in as my hand work projects while I get my quilt ready.
It may seem a bit odd to include my reading in my monthly making updates. But, the truth is, the two are intertwined. I’m often listening to an audiobook as I knit or sew and that colors my experience of making. It’s not uncommon to find me with a book in my lap and knitting project in my hands, or vice versa. I can’t quite knit as I read, but I often traverse between the two in rapid succession. So, it seems natural to add my reading here. Some of these I loved, others I almost put down, even though I was quite far into them. Seeing them here doesn’t necessarily imply an endorsement, but you’re certainly welcome to ask me how they were and I’m happy to chat about them.