When I started, I had 17 ongoing projects. Right now, I have 8. In total, I finished 25 projects in the past twelve months, including eight gifts. So that’s about two projects per month – pretty good, as far as I’m concerned. Here are some of the things I finished in that time (click on the picture to go to the relevant blog post):
I did not manage to clear many boxes (actually I think I only managed to empty one), but because there is less stuff just lying around, my flat does have a calmer appearance. I have been trying to also declutter other things, like books. Like everything else, this is a slow process, but it is working. It has also gotten me to read some books that had been in my bookcase for ages, to determine if they were good enough to keep. Most are, some aren’t. One thing I haven’t figured out how to declutter are my handmade gifts. I have a bunch of scarfs, mittens etcetera that would make lovely gifts for people – but I am never quite sure of other people’s tastes. So I either buy them something or make them something that is ‘safer’ than the fun projects that are in my gift drawer (because things that are in my gift drawer are made because I liked the pattern or the project, and I can’t expect everyone to share my tastes!). I have thought about donating them, but the items that are called for are never the ones I have, and I don’t want to donate handmade items if they’re just going to be thrown out with the textile recycling. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!
There have been some frustrations. My interests change, and so do my tastes. I want to experiment more with certain techniques, but can’t buy new fabric to try them with. I see new patterns pop up and want to make them, but don’t have the appropriate yarn for it. I am getting a better sense of my fashion style and what suits my body (only took me until my late twenties), but have to wait until I get further in my decluttering before I can explore that more. I lost weight and a lot of clothes I bought only a year ago are now far too big (trousers dropping off my ass big), so lately I am spending quite some time taking things in which is time I am not spending on making new things. I could of course buy more ready-to-wear, but there too I am trying to declutter (which, I admit, is helped by the weight loss: if you have to decide if something is worth the effort of taking in, you very quickly learn that you just don’t like some clothes that much).
That is not to say that I regret doing this or am thinking about stopping. All in all, I love this process. I don’t stick to “the rules” occasionally – like buying that knit fabric for the dress, then buying more when the first one didn’t work out – but I don’t beat myself up over it. After all, I’m trying and doing a pretty good job! Being on this self-imposed crafting diet meant that I had a sense of commitment, responsibility and urgency that was missing before. I treat my projects with more respect. What I mean is: before, projects were just something I did because it caught my interest and to be dropped when I lost interest. Now, I am more aware of the ‘costs’ of a project. Not the financial costs (I never really splurged or had a problem handling money), but the environmental costs of the materials and the ‘mental’ costs of keeping something in my house that is not making me feel better, but is making me feel more stressed. Finally, keeping track of things on this blog helped a lot. I would have no update for over a week and think ‘I really need to finish something or my blog will start gathering dust’. The mere fact that the blog exists makes me feel a sense of accountability.
I am planning to move later this year and want to move only the minimum. There will be no summer holidays for me this year, only a week or so at home, or possibly my parents’ home, with a bunch of projects. Regardless of the amount of WIP’s I have at that time, I will allow myself to start a weaving project. For the rest… we’ll see how long my stash can keep me going!