Friday, January 4, 2013

Looking back, and ahead

I hope it's not too late for a post looking back at my yarny accomplishments of 2012 and ahead at my goals for 2013. We're only 96 hours into the new year and still in the twelve days of Christmas, so I think I'm okay.

Going by my Ravelry projects page, I finished 26 projects this year. Being unemployed for six months certainly has done wonders for my hobbies! At the beginning of 2012, my yarn-related goals were very simple: 1) block one of the scarves I had made, and 2) knit something besides a scarf. A year ago, these seemed like reasonable, slightly challenging but worthwhile goals. Now, it's hard to remember that it was only a year ago that these were things I had never done before.

In fact, as I was looking back over what I made in 2012, I was actually surprised to remember that I've been knitting for less than two years. I have been really hard on myself, believing that all of my mistakes were nothing any reasonably intelligent person would ever do, and that the reason I messed up seemingly simple instructions is because I just don't have the talent for making sense of knitting. But... of course I mess up every toe-up sock or thumb gusset when the one I'm working on is the first one I've ever tried! It's strange that I somehow forgot this, but I think part of it has to do with having been more interested in the knitting community this year. I've been following people on Ravelry, listening to podcasts, and attending knit-togethers at my LYS, and my impulse is to compare myself to these people - forgetting that almost all of them have been knitting for many years more than me. I clearly have room for improvement, but twelve months ago, I had two scarves to my name. Now I've made cowls, cozies, shawls, socks, slippers, mitts, and a tiny frog. I think I'm doing okay.

As for my goals for 2013, besides not being so hard on my knitting self, I'd like to:
- Write and, in some form, publish a pattern for my crocheted Nessie
- Come up with some more original crochet designs
- Knit something using colorwork
- Knit a type of garment I haven't made yet - maybe a hat, or a sweater if I'm feeling really bold
- Continue to obliterate my beginner-stash

I think that sounds doable.

For fun, here's a list of my 2012 FOs, with links to my Ravelry project pages:

Phannie hat
Granny afghan
Sheep friend
Diamond Ridges
Grocery tote
Mini donut
Divine Hat
Christmas cat toys
Star blanket

iPod cozy
Easy Does It
Old Town
Shadyside shawl
Avengers iPad cozy
Traveling cowl
Colin's mitts
Genin socks
Tiny frog
Dad's mitts

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dad's mitts

My dad had one thing on his Christmas wish list this year, which made it a little tough to shop for him. Coupled with my perennial worry that I'll buy people all the same presents that somebody else got for them, the obvious solution was to make him something, but it took me a while to arrive at that conclusion. The year I first learned to crochet, I made him a scarf that he and I were both happy with, so I think I sort of permanently crossed him off my gift-making list: he's not an accessories kind of guy and since he liked the one scarf I made, it seemed redundant to make him another one. Plus, while there are some patterns for crocheted hats and mitts that look nice on guys, I was not so much into making garments, and I do think crochet in general lends itself better to more feminine designs (or stuffed toys, also not really up my dad's alley).

I don't want to say that knitting is "better" than crochet, but it has expanded the possibilities of what I can make for somebody, because I do think it's a lot more versatile. So, since the mitts I made for my boyfriend were so quick and easy and well-received, it seemed like a great present for the dad who has too much of everything and doesn't particularly want anything.

I used a different pattern, Peekaboo Mitts, and cast on a few more stitches to make them a more comfortable fit for man-hands. Of course, me being me, what should have taken just a day or two ended up taking a week because I encountered something I didn't know how to do, messed it up, redid it, tried other experiments, considered them failures, and (I think this is one of my stupidest knitting mistakes so far) decided to rip out and redo the thumb on one mitt, did so, realized I had gone after the wrong mitt, groaned, knit it back up, ripped out the thumb on the other mitt, then realized I had been right the first time. In short: I am still an idiot when knitting.

But! My dad has a handmade Christmas present and I'm happy about it. And someday I'll remember my troubles with a perfectly simple little knitting pattern and laugh. I hope.