Apr 30, 2010

On Minimalist Knitting

Minimalism is currently one of the hot button topics on the internet. I keep running into bloggers espousing minimalism to varying degrees, and the discussions between two distinct minimalist camps are starting to get pretty heated. Should we own less than a certain number of items? How do we count those items? Is there a danger in counting what we own – does that keep us enslaved to possessions? What about going car-less? How do you practice minimalism with a family and kids?

These are just a few of the arguments that I've been reading over the last few months, and despite a few caveats and reservations directed towards living a minimalist life, I'm ready to go all-in. Better late to the party than to never show up, I say! I've got a lot of stuff, you see; too much stuff for any one person to own.

I jokingly tell my husband I'm borderline hoarder, but it's not far from the truth. While I don't save all our old newspapers, I save items from old craft habits that have long since died, and I'm pretty sure my sock drawer has more single socks missing mates than socks that match up. Our office is littered with photo albums I've purchased and never filled, journals with only one or two pages used, and half-finished knitting projects. And let's not talk about the piles of yarn that sit all over!

While I may never be someone who owns only 100 things, I'm all for practicing minimalism – the idea that I only own what I need and what I love, and don't spend money on mindless consumerism. I think part of getting to my happiness point along my minimalist journey comes from massive purges - and I can feel another one coming shortly – but I also think that part of my minimalism journey will come from using what I've got and making decisions about what sorts of things I want to keep in my life.

To me, part of minimalism means I can't have it all. More specifically, it means that I don't want to have it all. It's acknowledging I'll never truly be a scrapbooker {not because I can’t, but because other things are more important to me}, and letting go of the multitudes of scrapbook supplies I've had. It means owning up to the fact that I'll never be a girl who wears tons of dresses, and so only keeping one or two and donating the rest.  And it means owning up to what type of knitter I am.

When it comes to knitting, despite what the office looks like, I strive to be a minimalist knitter. I tend to stick with knitting worsted weight yarn, occasionally branching into sport weight. I stick with needles sized between five and ten, and have only used smaller needles three or four times in my decade-long knitting past – and I hated every minute of it!

Enter The Minimalist Knitter Project.

Beginning May 1, I am challenging myself to become – and then consistently live as – a minimalist knitter by knitting through my stash and paring down my supplies to that which I will use over and over and/or truly love. I’ll be documenting the entire process here on the blog, sharing my thoughts on the process, before/after photos of my yarn stash and accessories, and sharing photos of all the amazing items I knit with just the yarn in my stash.

Over the next few weeks, while I knit away at my yarn stash I’ll be sharing photos of what exactly my yarn stash entails, tallying up all the yarn I have so I can track how I’m doing with the pare-down, and sharing some of my thoughts on what it means to me to be a minimalist knitter.

My goal? By my birthday next year (June 13, 2011) I want to have knit through all the yarn that was in my home at the beginning of the project, pared down my knitting accessories by at least 50%, and be 90% digital with my pattern library. I also want all of my knitting stuffs – any yarn I’ve got, accessories, and patterns – to be wholly contained by my yarn dresser. The next few days and weeks will be full of a bit more explanation and documentation, but I’m excited to begin this project!

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