2016: My knitting year in review

2016: My knitting year in review

This little exercise can be such a shock sometimes: I knitted a grand total of 8 things this year — 7 sweaters and a pair of slippers. Can that even be right? But let’s look at it another way:

2016: My knitting year in review

– I made a pullover for my husband (the first sweater I’ve made him) and a linen tee for my sister (the first sweater I’ve made her). Both are well-loved and well-worn. And yes, I did wind up changing the neck on Bob’s to a basic crewneck.

– I made one ill-advised impulse sweater that will very likely never be worn and I’m very close to frogging, as soon as I figure out a better use for the yarn.

– I made these slippers, which are darling and useful. As I noted at the time, Shelter was not a good choice of yarn for slippers — it was just handy at that moment — but I’ve since thrown them in the wash and they felted up quite nicely.

– Oh wait — 9 things! I also knitted the sample for my Camellia Tank pattern that’s featured in the second issue of Making magazine, my great honor of the year. (File under: Top-secret knitting that never made it onto the blog.)

2016: My knitting year in review

And that leaves the four sweaters at the top of the post, which I made for myself, and which you can see amount to a set of fantastic basics: a black pullover, a black vest, a black cardigan, and a black-and-ivory pullover. Total wardrobe building blocks my closet was sorely lacking, and that have either already gotten or will get a ton of wear for years to come.

But the bigger reflection is that I feel like I really reached a great place this year in my knitting. In the past, if I was “working on” anything about my knitting, it was building up skills, or stretching them in whatever ways. More recently, my focus has really shifted to making good choices about what to spend my scant knitting time on — this was even my New Year’s resolution the last two years. Between the knitting (and the sewing) and the blogging about it, I’ve learned a lot about myself in terms of what I’m making, why I’m making my clothes, how much they cost, and how it is adding up to a functional wardrobe. I’ve genuinely reached a place where I’m more interested in quality (in the sense of materials/construction but also how valuable the garment will be to my ability to get dressed) than quantity. So ok, I made myself four great sweaters this year, and that feels like a whopping success.

I’ll forgive myself for the blue thing. ;)

(For more details: see all of my FO posts for 2016 and/or my projects on Ravelry.)


PREVIOUSLY: 2015 Year in Review

Camellia Tank photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge for Making

28 thoughts on “2016: My knitting year in review

  1. that is a huge amount of knitting – I am lucky to get one sweater a year done! As fro the blue thing – we all make those mistakes – and it is a pretty sweater, just doesn’t fit in your life. Maybe it will make a lovely gift to someone? ;-)

  2. Lot’s of basics that will be worn a ton. I’d say if you only had one make that you don’t use, you are ahead of the game.

  3. I am reaching the same point after about 5 years of knitting : the first years were focused on developing skills and each new project was aimed at learning a new technique. Yarn wise I got crazy about hand dyed yarns and amassed a huge stash. Now I am focusing more about knitting things I will truly wear, in neutral colors that can match with many different items in my wardrobe. I think it might the first step towarss knitting maturity.

  4. This year I am going to splurge for the yarn I REALLY want and forego the other stuff that gets made up and not worn or well liked. I want to knit with needles under size 8:)

  5. Your posts have changed my way of thinking about my wardrobe and my projects. I like your “impulse” Super Cropped Sweater. When you originally posted it, I thought, I bet even I could make this. However, I do prefer the Super Cropped Cardigan on the Loopy Mango website instead of the sweater. Using some of the tools and planning tips I’ve learned from you, I think the cardigan in dark green would be a great addition to the streamlined wardrobe I’m planning. So, even though it was ill-advised for you, I’m glad you posted about it. It encouraged me to think I CAN.

  6. I am planning a lot of new basics this year. But I suspect the pendulum will swing back at some point, I will get bored with it and want to make unusual and impractical things again.

    • Ha! I don’t think interesting has to be impractical, necessarily. I want to make some really striking garments, but still in the realm of what I’ll really wear — the two I’m knitting right now both meet that criteria, and that feels really great.

  7. It’s funny, when I saw the blue sweater I thought to myself ‘that doesn’t feel like Karen’ but we all have moments. Meanwhile a blue sweater fits right on into my colorful wardrobe. I’ve knit a lot this year (so far 67 things with 1 last sweater for my husband on my needles). I made myself 18 sweaters and 1 cape. There’s only 1 sweater in that mix I don’t love and I told myself 2016 was my year of selfish knitting. I’m excited for 2017 because I’ve got 2 piles of Madelinetosh to make myself two really amazing sweaters and then I’ll probably get back to a lot of baby knits for pregnant friends.

      • Hahahaha I get asked this a lot. So I usually have an hour in the car a couple days a week (my husband drives) and then most evenings from 8-10 of we are watching tv I knit. I always have a project with me and most of my projects are dk or worsted weight. I think I’m also just a quick knitter. It’s truly how I destress because I work a full time job and I’m an adjunct professor.

  8. I remember wondering about that blue sweater too. I think it might look better if you reknit the sleeves so they are narrower . They seem to add a lot of bulk. It is a pretty color on you.

    • It’s really the drop-shoulder that doesn’t work on me, so narrower sleeves wouldn’t solve it. I’d have to reknit it as raglan or set-in and change the proportions, and I don’t care enough to do that! Would rather find it an owner it looks great on. It is a really cute sweater on the right person.

  9. I don’t think the blue sweater was ill advised. Sometimes we have to follow our curiosity and make things for the fun of it! This may be a special occasion sweater, or be frogged and become something else, but at least it looked fun to knit and you had the experience of working with such lovely yarn!

    • Yeah, that was what I said about it at the time — there needs to be room for some impulsivity. Unfortunately, I chose something I know I don’t like to wear, which is drop shoulders. But hey, at least I spent very little time on it!

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  11. I love the blue sweater! I love the others too. Sometimes a shot of colour is just the ticket. Ideal for a cold blue sky day!

    • The color is definitely not the problem — light blue is pretty much the heart of my wardrobe. I just really don’t like wearing drop-shoulder sweaters and this one feels especially ill-suited to my frame. I can’t wear it more than 5 minutes without wanting to tear it off myself in a fit!

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  13. I’m sorry to hear about the blue sweater. Like someone wrote at the beginning I was suspicious whether it was ‘you’ but when you showed it I really liked it. But I think even though we are developping into people who think a lot about their wardrobe and what we really wear (and need) this will happen our whole life. It might just get less frequent ;)
    When I started knitting I joined a group on Ravelry and every time the designer shared a new design I felt the urge to knit it. I frogged all of these jumpers (at least four finished ones) and understood I should knit things I’d also buy in the shop or that are similar to things I already own. Additionally I also learnt that it is the basics I love, need and wear and not the latest hypes on Ravelry ;)
    It’s so funny to see that I have to develop the same things when sewing (I’ve just recently really started sewing garments for myself).

    • It’s really hard when patterns come out and they look really great, or you see something a friend knitted that looks adorable on her and fun to knit — hard to stop and think “what does that actually have to do with me?” I think it’s a skill or habit we all realize we have to develop at some point — or else knit whatever you want to knit for the fun of knitting it, with the idea you’ll find someone suitable to give it to!

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