2017: My knitting year in review

2017: My knitting year in review
2017: My knitting year in review

This has been a banner year for me on the knitting front. One of the lowest years in terms of quantity (which is 100% ok with me, regardless) but the best ever for quality. I mean, look at the four sweaters I added to my closet this year: the black modified-St. Brendan yoke sweater, the camel modified-Channel cardigan, the vintage Bernat fisherman and the plain vanilla Improv cardigan — heirloom quality sweaters that I expect to wear and wear and wear. And really there’s a fifth for this list, as I fully intend to have the last ends woven in on my grey Cline sweater before the ball drops. To me, these are hardworking “basics” that are anything but boring. I find them heartmeltingly beautiful. And to be able to say that these are the best garments I’ve ever owned and I made them myself is just a tremendous source of pride and accomplishment. Not gonna lie.

And then there are the three other things I finished this year:

2017: My knitting year in review

The sample hats for my Debutant teaching pattern (which I’m teaching again at Squam next June); the chunky linen Sloper experiment, which has gone to my sister; and the last bits of the purple lopi pullover from the Improv top-down tutorial, the fate of which is yet to be determined. Actually, it’s determined: I’m excited about the idea of cutting it into a V-neck cardigan; I just haven’t gotten the time or nerve to do it yet. So that’ll be one of 2018’s refashion projects — something truly new to look forward to!


PREVIOUSLY: 2016 knitting year in review







2016: My sewing year in review

2016: My sewing year in review

So this is a different sort of surprise for me: I sewed 12 garments this year, which is definitely more garments than I sewed in the previous 20 years combined! Granted, they are extremely simple little clothes, averaging maybe a yard and a quarter apiece. But I also haven’t sewn since sometime around mid-August — so really I sewed 12 garments in 7-ish months. And combined with the knitting, I made 21 things this year. No wonder my closet is feeling so much better.

More important, though, I like all of these clothes:

– The wool gauze pullover was worn a lot before it met an unfortunate fate in a dryer. It now lives with an 8-year-old friend, but a pal just sent me a length of the exact same fabric in case I want to make it again!

– The blue striped dress was in regular rotation for awhile and no doubt will be again this spring/summer

– The muumuu doesn’t get a lot of wear, of course, but it makes me smile every time I open my closet door

– The two sleeveless tops — black and blue striped — both factor heavily into my winter wardrobe, and I can’t wait to make another version

– The striped skirt was a test, but it’s gotten a little bit of wear and I’m eager to iterate on it

– The black muscle tee is a total favorite, my first time sewing a knit, and will be repeated soon!

– One reason to look forward to warm weather again is the chance to wear the two little box tops

– And the three camisoles are multi-functional and well-loved

If I have a resolution for 2017, it’s to advance my sewing skills and also figure out how to be more efficient about it. For one thing, I bought a serger back in October, which has yet to emerge from the box, but learning how to use it is my number one priority going into January. As I mentioned yesterday, I feel like I’ve reached a place where I know what I want in my closet. Now to bring my skills up to speed!


PREVIOUSLY: My 2016 knitting year in review


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

2015: My knitting year in review

My knitting year in review

Last year, I remember being so shocked to discover that I had only finished six projects within the span of the year. This year I’m equally shocked to find I finished thirteen! But this having been my Year of Sleevelessnees and of holding yarns triple, I guess it’s not that surprising! And it’s really more a dozen than a baker’s dozen, since my first FO of the year — my Amanda cardigan from the first Fringe and Friends Knitalong — was knitted in the last four months of 2014 (the reason for that year’s low count) and only finished in January of 2015. But still, I’m pretty proud of this list. Even more for the success of the items than the quantity:

My Bellows is easily the most-worn handknit of my four-year knitting career.

My “vintage waistcoat” was modified from a WWII-era knit-for-the-troops pattern, and led to the full reworking that is my Anna Vest pattern — my proudest moment of the year.

– The green vest was a test-knit of the vest pattern for the Fringe Cowichan-style Knitalong, which was followed by my black/natural/grey Cowichan-ish vest. That’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had knitting, and a garment I adore. (Although I still need to do something with the armhole edges.)

– The purple shawl for my grandmother’s 90th birthday may (or may not) have been the last shawl I’ll ever knit, but I loved having that to give to her, regardless. And as a profoundly unexpected bonus, I was pretty thrilled when Instagram asked if they could use my cast-on photo in the promo spot on the Explore page to promote 25 great knitters to follow.

– The two versions of my sleeveless turtleneck — camel and black — were super fun to knit, and although I’ve tried your patience, I’m flattered by everyone who has been begging for the pattern. Getting that written and tech edited is at the top of my to-do list for the new year.

– I’m a little bummed to have only finished 4 of the 6 Fringe Hatalong hats by the year’s end, but I’m also happy to still have the other two ahead of me! Pictured are my Audrey, L’Arbre, Hermaness Worsted and Laurus. And I love that my niece claimed L’Arbre while modeling it for me and Bob claimed Laurus as soon as it was off the needles. I couldn’t be happier with the range of patterns I wound up with for the Hatalongs, and am so grateful to all of the designers and knitters who participated with such enthusiasm! NOTE: It’s never too late to cast on for any of them!

– Which just leaves that one last hat up there, which was a quickie I knitted to use up the leftovers from the black turtleneck and turned out super cute. I’ll be along with the simple pattern for that one any minute.

I even got them all listed at Ravelry!

Thank you so much for all of the support and encouragement you guys have given me this year. You’re always very generously telling me how much you get out of the blog — and I appreciate that so much — but it’s a two-way street, you know. Happy new year to you! And I’ll see you in 2016—

2014: My knitting year in review

My knitting year in review

When I decided to line up all of my knits last year in a single post, I remember being chuffed that there were so many of them — more than I had realized. This year is the exact opposite! I mean, I’ve been aware of having a lot less knitting time available to me, and there’s the highly relevant matter of having worked on a single project for the past quarter, but I’m still floored to discover I apparently only finished six things this year. Six! And two of them barely count. But here’s what’s more important about them—

My Acer cardigan was knitted throughout 2013 and only finished in January of this year. But I’m constantly aware of how much that sweater taught me about knitting. And what a sweater!

— Then came the quick pair of Super Simple Mitts I made for my sweet niece.

The Gorro Montanhac was a peak experience. It’s Rosa Pomar’s amazing, amazing pattern and I knitted it Portuguese style, as taught by my friend Brooke, which was a total thrill to learn and do. Then there’s the fact that it was knitted partially in the pleasant environs of Claddagh yarn shop one afternoon in the company of Ann Shayne and begun on my roadtrip with Brooke and Saremy to Seattle for Vogue Knitting Live, where I also got to do the photo shoot for …

My Trillium cardigan, which was my Tag Team Sweater Project sweater. A project that left me with a fantastic sweater, which I now wear all the time, and more important, with a very dear friend in Anna. That whole project (not least the hilarious photo shoot with Kathy Cadigan, another great friendship in the making) was definitely one of the highlights of my year.

— The garter-stitch hat I knitted from my friend Rebekka Seale’s incredible handspun alpaca she gave me, and one of her Camellia Fiber Company patterns — a really simple, soothing knit that accompanied me on my trip to Indianapolis for the summer trade show and onward to Nashville. My friend DG and I visited Rebekka in her studio on that trip, where I took this picture of Rebekka in the unfinished hat, and now DG does all of the Fringe Supply Co. shipping in our studio right across the hall from Rebekka’s.

— And last but not least, Togue Stripes, my Pam Allen mash-up, which I began at Squam with Anna and finished on my migratory drive with Bob from California to Nashville.

That’s pretty awesome, right — not an insignificant, tossed-off thing in the bunch. I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot better. (Even though my last finished knit was in July! Oy vey.)

I did do a token amount of weaving and mending this year, I should add. And then there’s the tale of all of the stuff that’s still in the ol’ knitting bag—

My knitting year in review

Amanda, which is obviously epic as a project, a garment and a blog event. It’s been thoroughly amazing, and I should be wearing it very soon. (If it fits.)

Channel, which promises to be another true gem to make and to wear, but which I sadly had to frog back to the ribbing. I’m so eager to get this going forward again!

Fort (ish) for Bob is a bummer on so many levels. Taking away Fort’s beautiful texture has made this seem like a really sad project to me, on top of my existential sadness at not having supplied my husband with a sweater this year. I loved the swatch, but don’t like this color at all in stockinette. So it needs to be frogged and rethought.

Perkins Cove, the worsted version, I fully expect to be a good and useful garment, if not the most thrilling thing to knit. But after Amanda and Channel, something a little less thrilling has its own sort of appeal.

All told, not a bad batch of work. Thank you all SO MUCH for reading, commenting, sharing, egging me on (and shopping!) this year. It’s been simultaneously one of the best and worst years of my life, and the “best” part of that equation is owed almost entirely to you and this blog and the community that’s cropped up around it. I wish you all a magnificent New Year’s Eve and the best possible 2015!

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some cabling to do …


2013: My knitting year in review

2013: One knitter's year in review

For as anal-retentive and “organized” as I am, I’m not a very good record keeper when it comes to my knitting. Most Finished Objects make it onto the blog. Many appear in other forms on Instagram. Some things make it onto Ravelry. But I feel like there are still some things that never even get snapshotted. So I’ve been wanting to take stock of my 2013 knitting, and now that I’ve pulled these images together — organized as chronologically as I can reconstruct it — I’m kind of amazed. While I didn’t sew or crochet or weave a single thing this year, I knitted more than I realized. As much as I kick myself for the two unfinished sweaters in my basket, the three finished ones have become such wardrobe staples I forget they’re from this year. And I feel good about the fact that those two sweaters are my only UFOs right now, rather than the mess of unworthy WIPs I’ve let pile up in the past. There’s even some color!

But the thing that really stands out about this year is that I gave myself the opportunity to make a lot of more advanced mistakes. And from making and analyzing and fixing those mistakes, I’ve become an infinitely more capable knitter. So while there have been successes and failures, project-wise, this year has been a big, big win for me.

left: My chunky Walpole, begun last year and finished in January. I’ve decided open-front cardigans are not for me, but this still gets a lot of wear around the house.
middle: This State Street Cowl is among my favorites — an extremely fun and rewarding knit, and I love having it around my neck.
right: Dubbed the Almost Perfect Pullover, and although I wear it a lot, I chastise myself every time for the neck. Never again will I do a sweater with no neck shaping, and always will I pick up stitches (for some structure) rather than knitting it in one piece.

left: Wabi Mitts — I couldn’t be more proud of this pattern.
middle: Did I never blog about this one? I whipped out this Bulky Hat (pattern mentioned here) one evening while drinking and chatting at a crafty social gathering — that’s a fun, quick, simple knit.
right: Acer, sigh. Cast on at the end of February and I really hope to finish it before the year mark rolls around.

left: The sample sweater from my top-down sweater tutorial. Talk about rewarding: I don’t even have words for what it’s been like, seeing all the sweaters that have resulted from that tutorial.
middle: My first Orlane’s Textured Shawl. I love this shawl — even/especially the kerchief-y size of it — but wish it wasn’t ivory. I always feel like I have a bath towel around my neck.
right: see below

left and right: Along with the hat above, my little pattern collection: Stadium Hat, Stadium Mitts and Whichaway Mitts. Love all of these.
middle: My Heel Stitch Hat was both a hit and a miss. It got big when blocked, so I wound up felting it down a little, and now it looks like I sewed it out of a funky old orange bath mat. But I’ve taken to wearing it at night, pulled down over my eyes! So it’s my pal, even if it’s not much to look at anymore.

left: My first sock, so I love it, and I had a lot of fun knitting it. But I hate the yarn so much I never made it a mate.
middle and right: Bob’s skullcaps. These make me feel all warm and fuzzy every time he wears either of them.

left: My bigger, chunkier Orlane. Love it.
middle: Oh, Slade. Realizing I had yarn from two dye lots took the wind out of my sails a little bit, even if I still can’t see what the camera saw. But I’m picking this back up in the new year, don’t worry.
right: My first colorwork, these Muckle Mitts were definitely a major high point.

left to right: With the mania of the past several weeks, I took refuge in hats, from the Simple Rib Hat to the pair of Hill Country Hats to, finally, the absolute highlight of my year, my beautiful Gentian. Such a perfect final knit of the year. Although I think that yarn may have ruined me for anything else.

So that’s my year in a nutshell. Thank you to every single one of you for reading, linking, pinning, and especially commenting over the past year. It’s been an honor to have your company, and I’m looking forward to finding out what 2014 holds for us all. Have a fabulous New Year’s Eve!