More with Less, Part I


032017 Skeins

The first day of Spring is as good a day as any to start a new project. Better even, dare I say, than the first of the year, which in my world usually ends up being full of family and food, and maybe a few sips of something boozy. Not the best day for reflection.

The fact that today is the first day of spring is coincidence, but one I’m enjoying. I happen to be working from home for a few hours, and I spent the rest of the morning finishing up my taxes and taking care of a few small tasks. Watering my plants is a particular favorite activity. It’s a beautiful morning in Southern California, where I live, and the simple act of puttering around the house is helping clarify a lot of the ideas I’ve been ruminating on for the past few months. So here it is:

My goal for the remaining months of 2017 is to do more with less. This thought is not by any means groundbreaking. Minimalism is having a moment of late, and I’d guess that many of my peers have their own versions of what I’m looking for on their list of resolutions. Capsule wardrobes, tiny houses, off-the-grid living, it’s all coming up in my social media feeds with increasing frequency. I find myself reaching out for it, seeking essays and podcast and blog posts from people who are doing it, living more minimally. The idea of living with less resonates with me (even as I occasionally make a ridiculous impulse buy at Target.

I like the idea of being more intentional with my dollars, and my days. And so, a series of new goals, intended to safeguard my budget but also to help me slow down, and embrace creative solutions.

First off, no new clothing purchases in 2017. If I want to add something to my closet, I’ll start with yarn, or yardage, and make it myself.

See, not long ago, I got the urge to add a new piece to my closet. For several years now, I’ve been reading blogs like Unfancy and Style Bee, intrigued by their spare wardrobes while my own closet runneth over. As I tried to refine my style and figure out what was actually practical for my life, I ended up with more than a few purchases that just weren’t quite right, but in the first month of this year I finally felt like things were clicking…except (there’s always an except, isn’t there?). Except for a lighter colored cardigan, to pair with darker colored jeans and bottoms on days where all black felt too severe. Preferably in a warm mustardy, caramel brown color, made ethically of natural fibers, under $120, not too chunky.

For a few days I combed the internet, checking all my favorite haunts, eventually even mall brands I’ve been trying to avoid. Nothing quite right, but then, I had a moment and remembered…I know how to knit. Why not find a pattern I love, a yarn I love and make it myself? I’m not an expert knitting by any means, but I enjoy it, and maybe it was time to push myself to learn some new skills?

Less than an hour later, I’d settled on a pattern from a line I’ve long admired, and a yarn from the same company. All total, the yarn (100% Wyoming-grown Targhee-Columbia wool, dyed in Philly and spun in New Hampshire) and pattern were a little less than what I’d budgeted for a new ready-to-wear sweater. It will take time, and patience, and probably more than a few moments cursing my head off, trying to keep things from unravelling, but the value in having a well made garment made by…me? That’s something I’m interested in.

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