I haven’t had time to research its beginnings, but I first heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) back in about 2003. I knew about it, but only gave it a couple passing thoughts along the line of “That would be a cool thing to do.” What is NaNoWriMo? It’s a challenge to promote the literary art of novel writing, challenging folks to write a 50,000 word novel during the thirty days of November.

While the prospect of writing a novel is enticing, I can’t make a commitment of that scale at this point in my life/career/whatever. BUT, an off-shoot challenge has erupted recently called National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo), challenging people to post to their blogs daily during the month. Since I’ve been away from my blog for a very long time, I believe I will accept this challenge. I don’t know if I can manage daily blogging of any real substance, but I can give it a shot

I do have quite a bit of knitting planned for the month, some for myself and some for others, so that will absorb a lot of my non-working time. Still, I can punch out a few paragraphs a day, even if it’s just a summary of what I’ve accomplished in my knitting life…lol!

I’m not kidding when I say there’s quite a bit of knitting planned. I have five projects already on the needles in progress – one from early in the year, two long-term (3-month) projects and two carryover projects from last month. The biggest project is a mitered-square skirt I plan to wear for Christmas Eve Mass. If I can manage it, I’d like to sew a coordinating vest to go with it. The other bigger projects are a shawl and two scarves. New projects for the month include a hooded baby sweater and coordinating crocheted baby boots (commissioned), an adult-sized sweater I’ve been planning since summer, three pairs of socks, of which two are gifts and one has been commissioned, and, if I can manage it, another shawl.

Yes, even to the most productive knitter, this is a lot of work. And I may not achieve all my goals. But, in true Ravenclaw fashion, if I’m going to fail it will be spectacular! And if I don’t get it ALL done, I will get a LOT done, and that works for me. It will work to my favor, though, that I have three vacation days plus the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend to boost my knitting availability.

I have two motivators prodding me to complete these knitting goals. One is a challenge to use up my stash, or at least some of it! I have amassed quite a collection of fibery goodness, and I honestly suspect that I have reached the SABLE point (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy). But at least I can gear my goals toward using what I have, rather than buying new yarn to meet the needs of new projects. The other motivator is part of the online community called Ravelry, the social networking site for fans of the fiber arts (knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning & dyeing).

The Harry Potter Knit-Crochet House Cup is a group within the Rav community that revels in the fictional world created by J.K. Rowling. Participants are sorted into the four houses (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw & Slytherin) based on a questionnaire about their personality traits and interests. While I started off in my first term with little regard for the meaning of the houses, by the second term I discovered that I embody the spirit of Ravenclaw in my love for all things intellectual, and particularly in my interest in spreadsheets. This tool, whether in Excel or the Open Office equivalent, has made me SO much more productive, and given me encouragement like nothing else to date has done. Knowing how many stitches per day I must complete on a project to achieve my goal urges me to exceed, often getting the item done earlier than expected. This has also helped me manage multiple projects simultaneously.

In September, the House Cup inspired me to knit an adult-sized sweater as a test knit for a designer, which used over 1,000 yards of yarn; I also managed to knit a baby blanket as a gift, also consuming over 1,000 yards of yarn. In that same month I knit a pair of socks (part of the global Sock Sniper game), a scarf, a baby hat that looks like Yoda ears, a baby sweater, and a blanket square to be included in a comfort afghan for a friend whose mother was in her last days on this mortal coil. So five of these items were for others, while two were for me. I like that mix very much. It doesn’t always work out that way, but such is the balance in life.

Time for me to return to my sticks & string. I have thousands of stitches to complete today, in addition to quite a bit of work. Knit On!

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