LESSONS LEARNED AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS – 2005

One distinct advantage of cataloging my knitting life here – at year’s end, I can look back over my posts and see how productive (or unproductive) I’ve been.  It doesn’t look like I actually accomplished much this year in the way of actual knitting.  I certainly achieved conservation of un-finished projects, starting as many new ones as old projects that were brought to closure, although I did work on several major efforts.  In any case, here’s a catalog of what I learned and did in 2005:

Projects finished

  • Crazy Raglan.  Knit for the smaller daughter and started in 2004, this was an exercise in the use of DK weight self-striping yarn for something other than socks, scarves and hats.  I had several false starts on this one, ripping back when I didn’t like the patterning that resulted.  I finally hit upon working the piece in several sections, joined Intarsia style.  This allowed the yarn to play better over narrower strips of width.  The project was a modified success, with most of the failure laid to the length of time it took me to get it done.  In the intervening months, target daughter grew, so the final product was a bit smaller on her than I intended.  Oh well.  I get to knit her another sweater now.

  • Fingerless whatevers – (also see patterns, below).   A happy confluence of expedience and need, my hot color combo fingerless mitts made last winter bearable in my drafty house.  I can’t say I learned much from this project besides the fact that not everyone sees the charm in garish, magpie color contrasts.  But it was fun to do, and resulted in a pattern for general consumption plus a rare item made for me.

  • Paisley Shawl – I started with some lovely hand-dyed multicolor lace weight yarn and Sharon Miller’s Birds Eye shawl pattern, but found out that the color variations in the yarn were too fierce and overwhelmed the delicate texture of that design  So I began experimenting and looking around for alternatives.  I found that the simpler the pattern and larger the plain stockinette (or garter) area, the better texture patterns coexist with color riot.  I ended up working a mostly-garter pattern from Spring ’05 Interweave Knits.  It’s an easy project, suitable for folk who are just embarking on lacy knitting.  My Paisley turned out quite nicely, and became a much-appreciated gift.

  • Alcazar – The Hazel Carter pattern.  Fun to knit, but again a lesson learned.  This type of complex lace knitting needs special care if it’s attempted in something other than wool.  Wool’s stretch makes it optimal for the distortions required to span corners and block flat.  My Alcazar turned out beautifully, but the unstretchy nature of the faux-silk rayon made it difficult to work with, and limited the effectiveness of the corners, making them a bit more cupped than they would have been had I used wool.   Became a very much appreciated gift.

  • Small grapevine in long armed cross stitch and double running.  Been sitting around forever.  I finally finished this one off and gave it as a gift (notice the theme, here?)  The next day’s post goes into additional detail.

  • Holiday knitting, including five scarves, seven pairs of socks, three hats, a pair of flip-top mittens, and a pair of fingerless mitts.  Nothing much exciting here (except for Kureopatora’s Snake, see below).  All gifts…

Still in the bag

  • Cursed Socks.  I can’t say why this is still ongoing, but this pair of socks has sat on the sidelines for the past two years.  I could probably finish off the second sock in an evening or two.  I hang my head in disgrace.
  • Dragon Skin Rogue Cardigan – Starting with the excellent Rogue pattern, I introduced some materials substitution, gauge, sizing and texture modifications.  All was going well until a mishap led to the front being pulled off the needles and a tangled mess.  Elder daughter looks at me with cow eyes every time she passes the knitting bag containing it.  My lesson learned here – take better care of projects in process, and don’t let things languish just because I’m frustrated by the prospect of ripping back a mile, and figuring out where I left off.  More chagrin.
  • North Truro Counterpane.  This one is going to take a very long time, even if I pursue it with dogged determination.  Still, I really like the way it’s coming out.  I’m about 20% done (by eyeballed estimate), and will continue plugging along – probably as a perennial summer project.  The cotton motifs are perfect for knitting when it’s too hot to knit anything else.  I’m not embarrassed about this one.
  • One total disaster, actually abandoned – the Mystery Project – a felted bag commission undertaken for Classic Elite.  Try as I might, I could not get the entire thing to full evenly.  My bag ended up a misshapen lump, and the tight deadline I was working under didn’t allow a second try.  Horror in a handbag – that’s the only description I can think of that’s near accurate.  Packed up in a box with the left-overs and mailed back in shame, so I can’ t truly say it’s still in the bag.

Reference articles

In spite of a dearth of personal knitting, I did write quite a few articles for String that I hope have been useful.  So that’s something at least.

Patterns

And some patterns. 

Books reviewed

And I posted reviews of a bunch of knitting books not often written about.  Mostly these are out of print books I got through my local library.  Insert shameless plug for local libraries.  Go.  Look.  Take books out.  If these older knitting books just sit on the shelves, the staff will be tempted to clear them out to make room for other stuff, and chances are the new books won’t be about knitting.

Plus there have been all sorts of other posts here this year, blathering on about knitting, techniques, horrific mistakes I’ve made in my own projects, nifty things I’ve stumbled across, and the like.  Less however since my re-entry into full-time employment, as lengthy notes like this now take a couple of days to complete.  I’ll soldier on into the New Year both blogging and knitting. I’ve already got two more pairs of socks I can rack up against my upcoming 2006 grand total.

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