At the beginning of 2011 I laid down some knitting goals for the year ahead, accompanied by the usual lyrical waxing about how the new year is basically a completely arbitrary point that doesn’t really have much significance when it comes to resolutions. Oh well. I am nothing if not (delightfully?) contradictory. Delightfully contradictory sounds better than hypocritical, right?
Anyway, the point is that back here I wrote a little about the knitting I wanted to do in 2011. I had wanted to knit myself more easy-to-wear garments that I’d actually reach for on a day-to-day basis. I had made plans for a new scarf. I’d been hankering to try more cables and to make an attempt at steeking. I had vowed to make more of my own designs. And of course there was the usual vow to knit mostly from stash in an attempt to use up some of my enormous collection of yarn. So, how did I do?
With regard to knitting easy to wear garments, it’s hard to say. I knitted several things that I have worn and like wearing. Unfortunately, however, this resolution was somewhat complicated by my acquiring a job with a dress code that wasn’t so great at accommodating the things that I was knitting (not that I couldn’t wear knits on the job; more that patterns I tend to knit err more on the side of casual than professional). I worked long hours and when I got home I was more likely to throw on slobby around-the-house clothes than knit pullovers. That said, I did wear my City Lights scarf (so I can also tick the scarf box), my Corona pullover and my short sleeve hoodie quite a bit. I was very pleased with the scarf in particular.
I’m also mostly finished a basic brown pullover that I have every intention of wearing to death once the weather gets cooler again. And does it count if the item was worn to death but I was not the culprit? Oscar has worn the scarf I made him to within an inch of its life; it’s now mostly felted from intense wear and seems to consist of more pills than scarf. Which is of course exactly what you like to see when you knit for someone.
It would be a filthy lie to say that I tried steeking. Nor did I come close to scratching my itch for more cables. I made some cabled hand-warmers as a gift at the start of the year and towards the end I drafted and used my own cable pattern for my Corona pullover (see below for a not-particularly-clear picture of the cable in question; I’m sure it’s not a unique cable that’s never been done before but I did draft it up from scratch on graph paper). I was very happy with these efforts, particularly the latter which came out looking great despite me making an embarrassing number of mistakes during its execution. However, I’d really hoped to get more done by way of cables. It’s not all failure though; while I was in Europe I spent some time sketching cable designs and making a start on charting them. I’ve created a couple of designs I’m really keen on, provided they successfully make the transition from pencil and paper to stitches. So watch this space!
As far as designing went, I suppose I technically met this goal. I executed two designs from my Awesome Blue Notebook, though I cheated a little because I used the Practical Procrastination Pullover pattern as the basis for the hoodie. Though on the other hand, since that’s my pattern too I guess it isn’t really cheating. Still, I technically reached this goal, I still wasn’t entirely satisfied with the amount of designing that I did. I have so many ideas and I really hoped to get more of my own ideas knitted up. Easier said than done, I suppose. Knitting your own designs is harder. It involves mathematics, actual thought and choices, and sometimes when you’re tired and stressed out these things are not what you want in your knitting. But that’s no excuse. I will do better next year.
With regard to stash, I did moderately well. Of the 12 projects I completed in 2011, half were from yarn that wasn’t bought specifically for that project. It probably would have been more but for the fact that I was uncharacteristically generous in 2011 and nearly half of the things I made were gifts for others, and when I’m going to the trouble of knitting for others I tend to prioritise their preferences over knitting from my stash. If they want yellow and I don’t have yellow, I will acquire yellow, and so on. Perhaps a better way of looking at my stash controlling efforts in 2011 is to consider the fact that while I didn’t always knit from the stash, I also didn’t add to it all that much. Most of my yarn purchases for the year were knitted up straight away. And when I did buy yarn only to stash it, it was virtually always heavily discounted and in garment quantities; much easier to use up than stray skeins of sock yarn. So I’ll call it a win. I also decreased the stash in other, more ruthless ways. A good-sized bag of yarn, most of it acrylic or novelty yarn I knew I was never going to voluntarily use, went to the op-shop. I don’t doubt that somebody will have some fun with it and I was glad to see it go. There’s still a long way to go on my journey towards a more manageable stash, but I’m getting there.
Reading back over the above, I get not so much a feeling of dissatisfaction as the sensation that I could have done better, which is I suppose how I feel about my 2011 knitting. I was pleased, for the most part, with the things I created, but I fell short of many of my ideas for how the year should have been. But it’s pointless to dwell on these things. I’ll just have to do better in 2012. I definitely look forward to trying!