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After an old year draws to a close, with all the heightened frenzy of the holidays, the month of January glides in with so much fresh promise. The first page on a new a calendar brings with it the possibility of transformation. We all know the drill, out with the bad habits and in with the virtuous ones! Now unless this new year will have more hours in each day, it stands to reason many of the changes we desire, will not in fact manifest. At least not in the expected way.

Sonya is wearing: Stopover by Mary Jane Mucklestone (modified to cardigan) in Istex Lettlopi and Noro Kureyon; Earth & Sky Shawl by Stephen West in The Fibre Company Road to China Light; 100 Acts of Sewing Dress no. 2; and pants (own pattern).

Deep down inside, we all just want a quick fix, but the reality is, change happens slowly and is often a long and trying process. As knitters, we know slow. Each stitch of a hat, shawl or sweater must be formed individually. Shifting behavior isn’t something that happens overnight, nor is it necessarily a linear progression. For every positive step, there can be an accompanying negative or maybe lukewarm one. It’s a circuitous pattern for sure!

Carbeth Cardigan by Kate Davies in GGH Via Mala; Dress no. 2; and Pants no. 2.

Did you make a commitment to do something new this year? Maybe you have wardrobe objectives, to make more of what you wear or finally get organized with a journal or start a daily meditation practice. Slot in any expectation here and what often happens is a strong start, then those intentions dwindle as March comes around. Maybe instead of a twelve month outlook, we need to take a page from the world of business and break things down into three month or seasonal segments. View it as an opportunity to reassess and adjust if necessary.

Knitting Pure & Simple # 9725 Neck Down Cardigan for Women by Diane Soucy in Manos del Uruguay Wool Classica; Dress no. 2; Skirt no. 1; and Pants no. 2.

Because you and I won’t be the same people 365 days from today. Life will happen and throw unexpected things in our path as it invariably does. How we adapt and reframe is key, because when we focus on failures, it clouds everything else in our life that might be just fine. Say you ate take out every night instead of cooking the healthy meals you planned. You nourished yourself in the most convenient way because life is hectic and there’s always next week. Or perhaps you only knit one sweater instead of the six you intended. That garment is one more glorious handknit object in the world today because of you, so bravo!

Liz Christy Shawl by Kirsten Kapur in Starcroft Nash Island Tide; Tunic No. 1 jacket modification; Dress no. 1; and Pants no. 2 .

About The Author

Sonya Philip is an artist, designer, teacher, and the author of The Act of Sewing. She has made it her mission to convince people to make their own clothes, by teaching classes and selling patterns. When not covered in bits of thread, she can be found knitting another shawl or cardigan. Sonya lives in San Francisco with her family and their scruffy terrier duo, Willie and Hazel.


  • Beautiful words Sonya! Change is slow, so true. Patience and compassion for myself is something I’m working on daily for sure, not always with success. You spread joy my friend. xo

  • Love your photos. Your outfits are simply adorable. The colors, prints.. the way you put your clothing together is really artistic and fun!!!

  • Thanks Sonya for your wise words. I so love seeing your beautiful outfits,and being reminded to be pragmatic and seasonal in our resolutions and life changes is good advice. Thank you. Happy New Season! Ellen

  • Thanks Sonya (and MDK for posting) the words of kindness , compassion, vision and insight. Love the pictures ,color combinations and many ideas for future projects.

  • Exactly what I needed to read this morning! Thanks!

  • Once again, Thank You Sonya! Whenever I see “Wear What You Make” in my MDK e-mail, I get all excited, and I’m never disappointed. I think this may be my favorite of all your essays. As Misa said, you spread joy.

    • Exactly what I felt and was thinking! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks kayt

  • I am always so thrilled when Sonya comes to have a closet consultation with me in my inbox! Her confidence and knitwear stylings leave me wanting more color, more joy, more knits on my body. Knit it, wear it, share it.

  • ‘Not every day and not all at once’ – perfect words. I need to remember to not berate myself for not accomplishing all the knitting I dream of, but instead remembering that even one finished project is a glorious new handknit object out in the world. We knitters should always remember the value of that!

  • “Not every day, and not all at once” – this could be my new tattoo. Thank you Sonya!

  • I love your posts!!!!

  • “How we adapt and reframe is key, because when we focus on failures, it clouds everything else in our life that might be just fine.” This is so true, no matter the topic. Thanks for a wonderful post.

  • “Not all at once and not everyday” this is brilliant! I’m going to apply this to every aspect of my life, except knitting

  • I love your panache for fashion and for life! You are beautiful inside and out!!!

  • Cue standing ovation! I don’t do “New Year’s Resolutions” per se, but I do try to take the month of January to check in with myself, evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and reformat my personal and professional goals. I LOVE the idea of doing this every three months, though. Once a year is just not often enough to keep myself on a clear path. And a slowly-prepared, multi-course, home-cooked meal with friends and family is exactly the kind of thing we all need – and deserve – to enjoy more often.

  • Thank you for this. Puts change and progress in perspective, and in this “get it done NOW” world, this is the truth: it takes time, and give yourself that time.

  • I so appreciate the gentle words of encouragement that you (Sonya) always provide.

  • Beautiful outfits and beautiful words!!

  • Another treasure. Thank you so much!

  • “ not every day, and not all at once” ! Great reminder.
    Thank you. Again, every one of your outfits are terrific, fun, and beautiful.

  • Sonya, what a beautiful article. You have described life with it’s joys and troubles in a way that calms and slows the mind. Thank you.

  • Sonya, thank you so much for these wise and thoughtful words. They left me feeling lighter. Always admire your knitwear and wonderful way of putting things together! Each outfit is an event!

  • Amen, sister! One step at a time.

  • LOVE your style!

  • Wise words. Very inspiring. I love your outfits. So bright and uplifting! You are a talented artist!

  • Thank you so much for this post, what a needed and beautiful reminder.

  • Thank you, Sonya. I have been listening and am making a conscious effort to change some life-long conditioning, so remembering not all at once/not every day is so very helpful. You inspire me.

  • Sonya, you are such an inspiration! I can’t wait to knit one of the cropped cardigans you’ve been wearing. You wear them so well! Thanks!

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