The Year in Review - 2010 Edition

If it was possible to become any more enthusiastic about the fibre arts, then 2010 was the year for the growth of that enthusiasm.

Growth in terms of inspiration. Growth in terms of knowledge and learning new techniques. 

Growth in terms of (ahem) stash. What can I say? It was a road trip kind of year...

Here's a recap of all I learned this year - it's a doozy!


What I learned: intarsia knitting, knitting with bobbins, and that sometimes your 2 year old doesn't want to wear something just because you knit it. Project: Pirate's Cutie Sweater by Shiri Mor (Rav link)


What I learned: how to knit lace (sort of - there's still a lot to learn!), that knitting with 100% cashmere is awesome, that 100% cashmere grows when it's wet, that knitting elastic can help make something knit in cashmere fit when it's grown too big in it's washing/blocking, and not to stress oneself out with a crazy deadline like the Knitting Olympics (which I also learned was pretty fun!). Project: Ishbel Beret by Ysolda Teague


What I learned: buttonholes, knitting things for new babies is fun, and the combination of baby alpaca, merino, and bamboo is pretty gorgeous and soft. Project: Striped Baby Sweater by Denise Powell (Patternfish link)


What I learned: that sometimes knitting the exact same thing can be just as fun, if not more so, in another colour. Project: Striped Toddler Sweater (pattern was through The Purple Purl)


What I learned: knitting in the round, cables, specialty stitches, finishing with finer attention to detail, and that private lessons for extra help are totally worth it. Project: Botanica Medallion Cardigan by Shiri Mor


What I learned: spinning is fun! especially when it's a combination of merino and silk...


What I learned: three needle bind-off, that my kid will tell random strangers on the subway that his mommy is knitting him a dinosaur hat and that it's green. Project: Morehouse Dragon Hat


What I learned: how to knit socks, and that it's okay to still not be sure that you might be one of those crazy-addicted-to-knitting-socks kind of people. Project: Training Sock by Kate Atherley of Wise Hilda Knits


What I learned: seaming/finishing, adapting a pattern to suit your own needs, substituting another yarn, how to find more yarn when you think you're running out (just in case) and then not need it after all, how to tweak a pattern so that the details are "better", how to plan and stick to a schedule when knitting a project in secret for 5 months, and that it is still possible to surprise your husband for Christmas. Project: Tom by Jane Ellison


What I learned: more cabling, that you can find last-minute things to knit from your stash and get a lot done on a plane out west just in time for Christmas for your mother-in-law to be delighted. Project: Cabled Keyhole Scarf by Anne Hanson  

What I learned: felting, that it's okay to leave something off of a project because you're not crazy about it after all, and that there's still always time to finish one more project when you're on vacation. Project: French Press Felted Slippers by Melynda Bernardi 


I also learned that no matter how hard I try, I'm always going to have projects on the needles, and that's okay. Other learnings included stranded colourwork, wheel spinning, spindle spinning, and photography for knitters.

And while this wasn't a new learning it was nice to have it reinforced all the same: that it's so important to have a creative outlet through which you can express yourself, and that if you can share that creativity too, it's so rewarding. One of my stitchy friends, Lara, moved back to Toronto this year and I can't tell you how lovely it is for our whole group to be back together again. Creating together, laughing together, supporting each other together.

It's kind of been a big year - I can't wait to see what comes next with 2011!

DNF is not an option

In the Olympics as I've learned over the last week and a half, DNF stands for Did Not Finish. It's got to be pretty heartbreaking as an athlete to see that on the standings, for whatever reason, when you've worked so hard to get to that point.

It's cheesy, but makes me think of one of the last scenes in the film Cool Runnings, after the Jamaican bobsled team has wiped out on the track, and together the four teammates walk the rest of the way down the track, carrying their sled over the finish line (in typical Disney-fied, Hollywood fashion).

I'll be the first one to admit that starting over is probably a pretty gutsy if not stupid move at this point. But I also have to agree with Lara (who commented on my previous post) that to "just go with it" on a project that uses such beautiful yarn would be sort of sacreligious. I was prepared to continue until I ended up four stitches short on my latest round, with no idea where the heck they went. Clearly the fact that I've been concentrating to the point of causing severe muscular tension and ensuing headaches isn't enough and I need to pay attention more to what I'm doing. But hey, as the athletes would say, "no pain, no gain".

Next Olympics, someone remind me not to select a project that has lace in it. Just sayin'.

In any event, not being able to figure out where I'd gone wrong, and really wanting to do a good job with the projects from Whimsical Little Knits in the Miko Challenge at the Purple Purl this year, I decided to cast on from scratch tonight, after re-learning the provisional cast-on from a Lucy Neatby tutorial on YouTube. I'm now 14 rows in again, with another 6 to go before the lace starts. It's going to be a race to the finish.

I'm sure the Olympians wouldn't have it any other way.