Nov 3, 2010

Live The Change

Yesterday Everett Bogue wrote an article about becoming an a-list minimalism blogger. While I’m not sure yet I even want to be an a-list anything, I loved the challenges he put forth to his readers – he gave nine tips for beefing up readership to your blog, and each was really a challenge to be a better person both on and off-line.

Cowl test

I may not always agree with everything Ev says, but I love his first tip – live the change you want to make in the world. It got me thinking: how am I living the change I want to make in the world, both on my blog and off?

I am knitting for charity. I want our world to be one where no one goes hungry, or gets cold, or has to survive without clean water. And so I donate – I give to organizations like Kiva, Charity: Water, and Doctors Without Borders. I sponsor the education of a child overseas. And I knit and crochet for charity.

Some months I do better than others – as will be evidenced by my October squares round-up tomorrow – but I make time each month to knit items for others. I do not deal well with the people around me going without warm woolens for the winter months, and my passion extends out to all the people of the world. Quite honestly, if I could figure out a way to get paid to knit solely for charity, I’d do it in a heart-beat.

I share my knitting in this space, and feature simple patterns even the most beginner knitters can pick up and work through. One of my long-term goals listed on the first piece of notes I took for this space was “share easy knits”. I wanted to make this space full of easy projects anyone can do – even if you’ve never picked up knitting needles or held a crochet hook in your hand, I wanted to be sure you could join in on the fun and make stuff for others.

Again, this is something I’ve done better at some months, and not as good in other months. To bring more of these simple knits your way I’m going to start featuring not just projects I’m working on, but also great patterns I’ve found that fall under the “simple knits” category that I haven’t gotten to yet.

Plus, now that I’ve got a better camera, I’m hoping to be able to get more photos of the items I’m knitting in general as well. I find myself constantly working on simple knits, and I should be sharing more of them with you.

I am consistently paring down what I own, and sharing the process here. While so many bloggers seem to have decided in one day to live with less than 100 things and tossed everything else, for me it’s been a difficult process to let go of my attachment to stuff. While the majority of this is based in fear {isn’t it always?} I know that because I was taught that the more stuff you had, the more it meant you were happy and well-off, I am butting up against deeply ingrained habits when I toss or donate the stuff I no longer want.

There is guilt abounding: over how much I’ve purchased and not used, over how much I am adding to the landfills, and mostly over all the poor choices I’ve made with my money in the past. There are questions left and right: what if I end up needing this after all, what happens when I don’t head to the store every few days just to shop, will I feel guilty when I need to purchase new yarn?

What I’ve learned is that the process is just as valid as the destination. Many of the minimalist bloggers I read didn’t start sharing their journey until they’d already gone through these steps, and so to me it seems like it was the easiest thing in the world to pare down – I was not there during the process however, so truly I have no idea how hard it may have been.

I chose to share my journey from day one, and I love that I’ve been able to walk this path with all of you – showing off items I’ve donated, sharing my struggles with letting go of most of my knitting supplies, and photographing the fine lines between too much yarn and not enough.

These three things are good, but there is much I am still not doing to live the change I want to see in the world. I still shop. We still watch too much television. I still eat fast food, and junk food, and not enough veggies. I still head to the craft store and wander aimlessly with friends on the weekends occasionally.

I want to do more with this little space I’ve carved out on the internet – share more tutorials and ways for you to use up the crafting supplies you have while making stuff you can give to others, give away more patterns, promote other bloggers and crafters who are part of the minimalist movement.

I want this space to become a haven for minimalist crafters – those who are choosing to use the minimum amount of supplies and those who are choosing to craft simple projects and give them to others. With all the magazines, stores, and many other blogs telling us we need this new tool or that new supply to make our crafting time complete, I want to be sure I’m carving out a space that says WHAT YOU HAVE IS ENOUGH. WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS ENOUGH.

On Tuesday I shared some of the shifts that this blog will take in the next six months. My hope is that through these shifts I can better be that change I want to see in the world – that I can inspire you to give more to charity, to knit simpler and with less, and to create to your heart’s content!

For those of you who are new here, and want to dig deeper into the idea of minimalism, here’s a few great resources to help you out:

Everett Bogue’s first e-book The Art Of Being Minimalist was the first I read on the subject, and it was the catalyst for tons of change in my world.

Chris Guillebeau’s blog The Art Of Non-Conformity was the first blog I read on minimalism, living your best life, and carving out a unique space in the world. To this day he remains my go-to writer, as well as friend.

Brett Oblack has a great book for creative types called Consume Less, Create More. It was the first time I saw minimalists give advice specifically to the creative set.

My free e-book The Minimalist Knitter’s Handbook talks specifically to knitters, and shares my path towards a more minimalist knitting life.

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