At the beginning of the year, many of us make resolutions to improve ourselves over the coming twelve months.  When you get to the heart of the matter, a resolution--any resolution--is a declaration that you intend to be more deliberate, more in control of some part of your life.  You want to plan, not react.

An element of planning can be useful in needlework, too.  I do a lot of needlework that is based on needs, rather than just what I feel like making.  I make sweaters for my sons when they need them, dishcloths for the kitchen, and socks for myself.  Making things that I need feels good, but it can pile up if I'm not careful.  It's like planning a schedule, where you need to be careful not to over-commit and to give yourself enough time to complete each item.

It can be a good exercise to list out and prioritize the things you want to make.  Here's an example:
I need a new pair of house socks, but it's a bit late in the game to make them for this year.  All three boys are going to need new sweaters, hats, and mittens at some point.  I need to finish the sweater I'm making for myself, and the baby will eventually need a blanket when he moves into his own bed.  Given seasons, sizes, immediacy of need, and the time involved in making things, I can prioritize these projects thus:
  1. Sweater for me
  2. Hats and mittens for the boys
  3. Socks for me
  4. Sweaters for the boys (oldest to youngest, according to their need)
  5. Blanket for the baby
This isn't a schedule that's set in stone, but it helps me plan ahead and get things done in a timely manner.  My making things for the family is useless if I produce sweaters that will only fit this summer or find my self scrambling to make mittens a few days before a snow trip.  I can also prioritize the kinds of yarn purchases I make.  I know that my prioritized projects probably will not involve a lot of cottons or novelty yarns, and that, when I shop a sale, I should look for yarns that will fit the larger projects I want to make.

These ideas are all related to the larger subject of being a smart consumer and a smart producer, but smart shopping and just-in-time delivery are often left behind when it comes to hobbies.  So in the new year, let us resolve to be resolute.