11.04.2014

the freedom of constraint



I'm a list maker. I love to make a good list. Or two. Or ten. I'm also way, way way into budgets. Yup, you read that right. I love me some excel spreadsheets and I love plugging my money into some math. It's not a sexy hobby but it has done me well in the past (see: my current, moderately stress-free unemployment) and the older I get, the better budgeting makes me feel with regard to that nagging "what am I doing with my life?!" thing I think we all experience. One thing I'm not doing with my life is creating a mountain of credit card debt, so at least I have that to cling to when the anxiety hits.

I jest. A little.

So here we are in a new state with one full-time salary and one hopefully soon part-time salary. And while Portland is oodles less expensive than San Francisco, cheaper rent is not going to make up the difference between our past income to spending ratio and our current one. Hence I've been making lists, and working on the new budget. Even though I fear I'm only giving you more evidence for the this-person-is-crazy column, I actually find this very calming and affirming. It gives me a sense of control. I think budgeting falls into the category of "finding freedom and creativity in restraint" - once I know my parameters, I love figuring out how to work best within them.

So I dove in and built a system I am actually really excited about using (I know! I love having spending restraints. I know it's weird. I can't help it. #anxietycopingmechanisms) and then I spent the last few days ironing some of it out, like monthly grocery breakdowns and health insurance estimates. And you know what I realized yesterday?

I didn't leave a penny - not one - in my budget for making materials.

At first this upset me. All that hard work, and I was back to the drawing board - and where was I going to pull money from to feed this new category? It's already hard for my fiercely independent self to not be an equal financial contributor to this household, let alone to budget what is mostly not my money for things that are strictly for my pleasure.

BUT. But. I have been following happily along with the incredible Felicia at the Craft Sessions as she talks about her new Stash Less Challenge. I've been admiring the rules she set for herself and applauding her determination to take things apart in order to make something better. So before panic set in, I turned to my trusty coping mechanisms, and I made a list. I share it here partially in case you're interested, but mostly to help hold myself accountable (especially once I lose that scrap of paper I scribbled it on to begin with). These are the projects I already own the materials for. (Actually, these are just the projects I can remember I have the materials for, because my whole studio has been packed in a storage container out of my sight for over 3 months.) Once I figured these out and wrote them all down, the panic subsided. It will take me months to get through these, and I know there's more in that giant box we'll be unloading this weekend.

Knitting Projects:
My mom's second Silver Birch Sock in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock, Nickel
Aureus Cardigan in Quince & Co Chickadee, Honey
Willow Lace Cardigan in Prism Delicato, Cabernet
Uniform Cardigan in Quince & Co Owl, Abyssinian

Knitting to unravel and re-appropriate:
My Camila Shawl in Malabrigo Yarn Silky Merino, Cape Cod Grey (lovely pattern, but haven't worn it once since I made it. I haven't even bothered to photograph the FO, as you may have noticed.)

Yarn without a project:
5 skeins EcoDuo in Almond Smoke
And much more, which I'll have to sort through after the move...

Quilts / pillows:
Two ombre baby quilts (one as a gift, one for the shop)
The first (hopefully of many) queen sized quilt for the shop
An overdue pillow for a friend who has been patiently waiting for a looooooong time
A pillow (or three) for the couch we don't have yet

Clothes:
Wiksten Tova in a lovely off-white polka dot cotton
Colette Negroni in blue flannel
Colette Negroni in grey flannel
Colette Negroni in light cotton pin-stripes

Fabric without a project:
This will have to be a To-Be-Continued list, but wow I already know it will be long. There's definitely enough fabric in my stash to keep me busy for a long time. I'll return to this post once I get my new making space unpacked and neatly organized. Don't laugh at that last pair of words.


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(photo from our 2012 trip to India)


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