Posted by: Aunt Magaidh | January 21, 2010

New Year, new knitting

The other day my mother came over and brought a knitting project for me to demystify for her.  She had lost track of where she was in a lace shawl project and wanted me to figure out where she had left off.  We got her back on track and she sat knitting while waiting for her laundry to finish.  Soon she was sighing and lightly cursing under her breath.  Laughing, I asked her if she really enjoyed knitting – particularly since I often hear her complaining about a tricky technique, her selected yarn, or a boring pattern.  She thought for a moment and then said yes.  She explained that she takes on challenging  projects to keep her brain engaged, and that in fact, she had always taken on challenging hand crafts as a way to engage her brain.  All those unfinished quilts, crocheted vests, stained glass bits, knitted scarves were ways for her to do something interesting and varied.

It was good to know that that is where I get my own tendency to take on projects that challenge me.  Being a Virgo and self criticizing, I tend to finish a project I hate instead of abandoning it to a pile.  (Except for that lousy red acrylic sweater that I started for my teenager when she was a kindergartener.  May it rest in peace.)

This conversation with my mom made me think again of my knitting resolutions for 2010.  “What? Knitting resolutions?”  Yep.  Here are mine.

  1. Do gauge swatches.  Really.  This comes from reading the great instructional section of the lovely book Domiknitrix by Jennifer Stafford.  Her patterns are more appropriate for my daughter and nieces, but her instructions are terrific.  And I think her argument for doing gauge swatches finally sunk into my mind and convinced me I wasn’t willing to knit a full sweater on faith that the size would fit me.  Discipline is what this is about.  I want to be able to really understand and control my knitting.  It’s so funny that my goal for discipline goes quite well with the name of the book.  (LOL.)
  2. Knit a lace shawl for myself.  A real lace pattern – not just plain knitting with big yarn on big needles.  For me this is a lesson in concentration and having faith that I am ready for something that is a little complicated.  I love the look of lace in a casual yarn.  I love the fact that lace works with handspun yarn.
  3. Learn a sexy new knitting technique.  I keep eyeing toe-up socks on 2 circulars.  Luckily for me, there are a couple of great sock knitters in my knitting circle who work this technique.  I might have to work my way up to using the circulars.  But I found the pattern I want to try, the “You’re Putting Me On” Socks by Judy Gibson.  I figure about March I’ll be ready to take this resolution on.  The stash has a bunch of great sock yarns just ready and waiting.
  4. Knit 90% of the Xmas gifts for 2010.  This is a repeat of the goal last year.  But this year I want to try some slightly more complicated patterns.  The slippers are calling to me…

It’s been interesting to see what projects I’ve  been drawn to lately.  I   needed to knit on mindless projects, and so finished two scarves in teal chenille (Lion Brand, Lion Suede, Teal) that was in the stash pile.  They quickly went into the Xmas bag for 2010.  I have just enough yarn left to make a baby hat, so that may happen soon.  Right now I am working on these projects:

  • Ingenue sweater by Wendy Bernard.  I have gotten past the collar and am into the soothing stockinette section.  The yarn is a beautiful heathery aqua green (Patons Classic Wool, Jade Heather).  The Ingenue sweater is my promise to make something for myself and fulfill one of my knitting resolutions.  I checked out the projects on Ravelry, found out what people said about using the Patons yarn instead of the yarn called for in the pattern.  I checked my guage.  Three times.  I have the gauge swatch to prove it.
  • 198 Yards of Heaven by Christy Verity.  I started this lace shawl for New Year’s Eve.  I’m using handspun wool in a heathery brown 2-ply DK weight.  I’m waiting for moments of quiet so that I can keep track of which row I’m in and count correctly.
  • Digging out my Beloved Husband’s halfway finished vest in black WoolEase.  I only put it down because I blew the stitch count when I got to the armholes.  I have to sit down and count 200+ stitches to figure out the front and backs…oh, I guess that means 400+ stitches.  (You can see why I haven’t picked that up lately.)
  • Relatively brainless knitting: a triangle shawl off of Ravelry.  December Shawl by Lucia Tedesco.  Using a gray mystery wool that I found at a LYS.  7 oz, unknown yardage, worsted weight.  It is a bit rough and tightly spun, so should be a shawl that I can wear a lot and not worry about wearing out.

So as we move into the new year – and winter is now kicking into high gear in Northern California with rain, rain, rain, and more rain – I’m working on my knitting to keep warm and dry.

Magaidh

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