My knitting never fails to teach me things. Here are the top ten things I’ve learned from my knitting this year:
10. A Classic is a classic.
I knitted up Jared Flood’s Shale Baby Blanket in an off-white mercerized cotton. It’s a classic pattern based on Old Shale. Mercerized cotton is a practical choice for a baby blanket — it’s easy-care and has a lovely sheen.
9. Take easy knitting when travelling through stunning scenery.
We took a family road trip through Utah and Arizona. I wanted to knit, of course, but didn’t want to be so absorbed in my work that I wouldn’t enjoy the scenery. I decided to work on the garter stitch center for my black Shetland crepe shawl. It was a great way to do what otherwise would be mind-numbing knitting.
8. Perseverance pays off.
The Rosebud Shawl isn’t terribly complicated, as Shetland cobweb shawls go, but it is very time-consuming. I knitted and knitted and knitted for what seemed like forever, always making barely discernable progress. I kept at it, though, and finally finished the shawl after working on it for over a year. While quick knits are wonderful, you can’t have the bragging rights to say you’ve knit a Shetland shawl or complicated Aran unless, well, you slog through it. Totally worth it, at least to me.
(switch) Knitter, warm thyself.
One of the most practical benefits of being a knitter is being able to keep myself warm. We moved to a new office building this year — one that tends to be a good deal cooler, particularly in the early morning hours. In short order, I’d knitted myself these mitts for those times when my hands were chilled by typing on my keyboard. I also knitted up a shawlette in a neutral shade to keep in my office.
An easy pattern in a colorful yarn can be balm to the soul.
6. Getting control of my stash made me more efficient.
I invested the time in cleaning out my stash, and the effort was well worth it. I sent some of my stash along to a better home, knowing that I had a much better chance of knitting up the remainder without the other stuff in the way. I took the time to weigh out any partial skeins of yarn so that I knew exactly what I had, and then cataloged everything on Ravelry. Knowing what I had in the stash has helped me use up the oddball bits and pieces of yarn, like this washcloth I made from a leftover skein of Cotlin.
5. Cataloging my library has also made me more efficient.
Along the same vein, I noted all of my library items in Ravelry. Knowing what I have and using what I’ve got has helped me to make better use of my time and resources. Instead of spending hours that I usually don’t even have to peruse books and magazines in seach of a pattern I can barely remember, I can do a quick search using Ravlery and pair up patterns and stash yarn to come up with projects efficiently. It’s not a perfect system, but any time I can find a way to eke out more efficient knitting time, I’m all for it. With my stash and library cataloged, I was able to pair up a pattern for this Swirl Hat and some leftover yarn to make this hat. If I didn’t have things cataloged, the yarn would probably still be languishing in my stash. Instead, it’s a useful object.
4. Keeping a variety of projects going makes it more likely that I’ll spend more time knitting.
I used to be a more monogamous knitter. Or at least bigamist. I often kept a difficult project and an easy project going, and that was it. These days, it’s more like four to six projects, all of varying types, portability, and degrees of difficulty. Whether I’m in a lace mood, a cabling mood, or in need of something super simple, I’ve got it all in my knitting basket. Right now, my easy project is this Miranda Shawl. It’s too big to be a purse project, but it’s fine for those times when I need to do a few rows of garter stitch to take the edge off.
3. Having a small project for my purse expands my knitting time opportunities.
Although I try to carve out time for knitting, I’m not always successful. If I have a small project for my purse, I’m able to take advantage of odd moments that I’d otherwise spend idly surfing the web on my phone. My current purse project is this Triple Seed Stitch Cowl. I’m knitting up the rest of my Mountain Colors Mountain Twilight 4/8. Stash busting and tedium-busting at the same time.
2. Repetition kills initiative.
What’s wrong with this picture? Absolutely nothing. The yarn is a dream, and the pattern, a heavily modified Cobalt Cables, is behaving nicely and has blocked out to the exact measurements I need. So, what’s the problem? It’s the third [expletive] dark green Aran I’ve made as of late, and I’m totally over dark green Arans at this point. I was doing pretty well at avoiding knitting on it, until I finally faced the fact that it wasn’t going to knit itself, and I’d come too far to start again with other yarn. Besides, this is for my husband, who requested the color, and I agreed. I should have known that it would nearly kill me to make a third sweater so similar to others, though. A few years ago, I made Melbourne Pullovers for my husband and two brothers. Three guys, three sweaters. By the third one, I was about ready to chew my knitting needles. I’ll make more Arans, but it’s going to be a long time before I make another green one.
This wasn’t an easy year for me, in a number of respects. Therapy knitting played a prominent role in my knitterly life. During some of my worst days, about the only thing I had the wherewithal to knit on was a simple cabled scarf in a cheerful rainbow colorway. It was one place in my life where I could make tangible progress and look at something soft, warm, and colorful.
With it being such a tough year, there were other therapeutic projects, too. All pretty easy, all in colorways and yarns that I loved to hold. It was the year of easy knitting for tough times. I’m hoping that 2014 will be an easier year, as I’ve got some fairly challenging knitting projects planned for this coming year.