The minute you start to plan something, you can know with absolute certainty that the chances of the plan ending up looking the same at its end as it did at the beginning are fairly slim. This is equally true of battle planning, lesson planning, and craft planning.
I started this year with grand plans to finally replace The Man We Call Dad’s and my own store-bought Christmas stockings with hand made ones and maybe, if there was time, make new ones for the kids as well. Every year for the past 5 or 6, I have made 2-3 stockings a year for friends and family, along with countless other little projects in between. Making 2 stockings? Easy peasy, right? Even with added time for pattern alterations and Sharon Boggon-style sumptuous surface embroidery?
It was a grand plan.
It was a completely achievable plan, given that I made this plan at the start of 2014 and had well over 300 days in which to cut and embroider and sew together all the many little bits that make up a stocking.
They say no battle plan survives the moment of contact with the enemy. Apparently, no crafting plan ever survives contact with the busy days of our lives, either.
At some point shortly thereafter, it dawned on me that a cousin of mine had had a baby and another cousin was expecting twins and I had the perfect excuse to try my hand at a couple of little non-stocking projects I’d had my eye on. Plan revision #1: Add a felt horse for one and a felt baby mobile for the twins.
Sometime in spring, my sister-in-law announced she was expecting again, with the new baby due just before Christmas. Which meant a new baby blanket was a necessity. Plan revision #2: Add a baby blanket to the plan.
Mid-summer, B’s Girl Guide leaders sent out a call asking for volunteers to become leaders for the upcoming year. It’s something I’ve thought about since B first joined guiding, but something I’ve always dismissed after much thought due my pebble and our busy lives and concern that I would not be entirely able to manage week after week.
At some point in late summer, I finished The Man We Call Dad’s stocking and was feeling pretty pleased with the progress on the baby’s blanket. Work was in a good groove. The kids were in a great groove with growing independence and increased helpfulness with all the many details of daily living. While I had a fairly pain-filled summer, I was in a relatively good place and had a clear run ahead of me for autumn. Plan revision #3: Volunteer as a Girl Guide leader.
Then it occurred to me that my sister-in-law’s baby was due to arrive before Christmas. As in, the baby might actually be celebrating his first Christmas this year. Plan revision #4: Add another stocking.
At the end of August, my adorable nieces both, on separate occasions, asked me if I was making them anything for Christmas. I replied with something along the lines of “I would never, ever forget to buy you a Christmas present,” and they both gave me that look. You know the one – the one that says “What?!?? No hand-knit things??!?” and before you can say “you’re busy enough, crazy lady!” I found myself browsing Ravelry in search of an easy, fast, but adorably cute project. Plan revision #5: Mouse mittens.
And then I remembered my sister-in-law has three children, not two, and if I were gifting the not-yet-born nephew with handmades twice in the same month and his sister with handmades for Christmas, it just wasn’t fair to not include a handmade something for the middle child. Plan revision #6: A knit hat with a pompom on top for the most smiley not-yet-2-year-old I know.
By November, it was obvious that between guiding, working, taking on a new work role, mothering adventures, and trying to be human, The Plan was not going to survive. Plan revision #7: Stocking for baby-not-yet-born-but-due-any-day? Nope, sorry, out of time. Stocking for this mama? Worked on in spurts all fall, it was not going to get done for the big day. New stockings to replace the old mama-made stockings for K and B? Nope, not them either.
But when I look back at my year, at all I’ve done with my family and with friends and with Guides… I’ve had a damned good year.
This year’s plan: Finish this mama’s stocking, make one for my new nephew. Make new stockings for my kids. Mama-made mittens for my kids, too, seeing as how big a hit the mouse mittens were. And socks for my father-in-law who tells me how very much he loves hand-knit socks as his mother made him socks for Christmas every year and he would love it if I would make socks for him. He has one solitary pair of hand knit socks left in his drawer, carefully treasured and worn only rarely so as to make them last as long as possible, that were the very last pair his mother knit for him before she passed.
It’s a good plan. I can’t wait to see what happens to it.
Here’s wishing you all the best of everything for 2015 – best friends, best joys, best moments of wonder, and yes, best plans that never come to be.