On 2016

My final pattern released in 2016 was the Arrowhead Stole (a contribution and cover girl for Interweave Press, F+W Media collection, Garter Stitch Revival).

It's a nice pattern to close the year with... simple and lovely... a piece that reminds me of summer's eventual return... a true warm weather stole knit in a crunchy, cool yarn.  In fact, it's a taste of my recent transformation as a designer.  I'm getting down to the bare bones of where I want to go with knitwear, how I want to approach design, and what feels appropriate for seasonal pieces.  Things I once would have thought nothing of years past (like Icelandic wool sweaters for spring) utterly repel me.  However, like any other period of growth/change, I become rigid in a new way of thinking and then soften again with newfound knowledge. But this is all looking ahead rather than back - back into 2016 - *the year of "persevere" when in reality, it ended up being the year of "hold-on-for-dear-life" 

Looking back, 3 things stand out - first, the year went by so quickly, too quickly, months and seasons tumbled over each other at such a rapid pace I could hardly keep up.  Second, from start to finish, people were divided.  Race issues, gender issues, political issues... every time I turned around.  It forced me off social media for the most part and aided in my already steady retreat inward.  Lastly, 2016 was a big year of change for our family.  Mae's Trichotillomania spiked, causing strife and periods of melancholy.  Alizah chipped away at her chrysalis to expose a glimpse at the gorgeous creature forming within (that girl is a force).  And we made huge strides toward our goals on the homefront, adding ducks, chickens, and fruit trees to our little plot of earth, along with the start of our gardens. 

In the end though, I knew '16 would be a tough one for this monkey girl (navigating a monkey year) and so I avoided conflict, stayed steady, and wore a lucky amulet every day.  Hubs, on the other hand, was destined for good fortune.  We couldn't see the path, but as always, time cleared the way for us and the path was revealed.  I was grateful for his promotions and ability to leap over adversity like a gazelle... it gave our family stability and balance.

There seems to be a general "good riddance" attitude toward 2016.  Even though I felt mostly under water for the past 365 days, I don't feel that beaming optimism for the new year.  I feel older.  I feel rooted.  I feel rushed.  I am, however, looking forward to breaking the spell of introversion that I sank deeply into.  I also look forward to getting my feet out of the mud and getting back into design with a new, fresh perspective.  Mostly, I look forward to making it to the other side with my family intact and my little homestead growing.  **At this point, I feel like anyone who really knows me, knows about my New Year's Mantras... this post still resonates with me as I was saying farewell to 2014 - here is a small excerpt:  

 I don't make resolutions, as some of you already know, but I do set a mantra for myself.  2014 was simply "stay steady" and 2013's "be brave". I haven't quite settled on one for 2015 yet, but the past two years have served me well and have been years of personal and professional growth, and unexpected adventures.  Truly, I want to continue on in this way - staying steady, being brave, and pushing those two tasks further than I ever thought possible... and I wish that for all of you, too.  #pushitfurther

But, I was on a high when 2014 closed.  2016 hardened me.  And since I've been setting a word, phrase, or general idea to lean on for years, out of necessity and creation, I notice that this year, the not-even-day-old-year of 2017, social media is all a buzz with everyone's "word for the year" and I'm realizing quickly that the mantra I set for myself weeks ago is going to be far more difficult for me to lean into than I could have imagined.

2017.  Open, Flex.

And yet, I'm leaning back into the feeling I felt most of 2016 (hide and lock doors!).  I wish I could talk to 2014/2015 Courtney.  I bet she would have excellent advice for me right now.