It's the last week of Slow Fashion October, and my final thoughts for the month have been focused on why I choose to knit the projects I do, and being more mindful during the decision-making process.
It is easy to be drawn in by photos--designers are, very often, trying to sell you a pattern by selling you a lifestyle. Yes, I want to be standing in a grove of snow-covered trees, carrying firewood back to my cozy cabin, wearing a heavily cabled sweater knit in the most perfect rustic yarn. But what I am usually doing is standing in the middle of my kitchen with a bottle in one hand, a yogurt pouch in the other, and pureed fruit smeared across my tshirt while my coffee grows cold, yet again, on the counter.
It's important to make fashion and knitting choices based on the lifestyle I have, not the one I want. That's not to say a heavily cabled, rustic sweater doesn't fit with my lifestyle--it very well may--but, rather, that I need to put more thought into my projects, rather than being caught up in the "ooh, shiny" moment when I first see those photos.
As part of this process, I recently reviewed and pared down my Ravelry queue--from 6 pages to 3! I found a lot of very similar sweaters--and of course, it makes sense that I would be drawn to common design elements, but it doesn't mean I need five just slightly different cardigans with leaf motifs in my closet.
I also found myself un-queuing designs that have become exceptionally popular. For example, I love Baby Cocktails' Dark and Stormy, but you know who has one? Everyone. Part of the fun of knitting is having something relatively unique--I don't need every piece to be completely original, but with so many gorgeous patterns out there, it just doesn't make sense to me to constantly be knitting the same thing as everyone else. (Don't worry, plenty of other Baby Cocktails' patterns remain in my queue.)
I also looked more critically at some of the patterns I had queued for the kids. On the one hand, there's less concern about knitting similar sweaters because they grow out of them so quickly--this year's hoodie will be history by the end of winter. On the other, putting hours and hours of work into a particularly complicated sweater that they'll grow out of in 3 months may not be the best use of my time.
None of this means that every single project I knit has to be practical--I believe in spontaneous, silly, pointless, just-for-fun knitting too! But, like almost everyone, my crafting time is limited--I have 2 little men to raise (3 if you count my husband, which I sometimes do), a house to make a home, freelance translation work to pay (some of) the bills, and a half-hobby/half-business design enterprise to devote my time to. Which means it's important to seek balance between creativity and practicality. I believe there's room for both.