Are You A Better Knitter Now Than 365 Days Ago?

I'm glad you all liked the Leapfrogging Hearts cable (below, in the turquoise yarn) I designed for my sister's Central Park Hoodie. I will definitely share the chart once I get a little further along and am sure that all the kinks in it are worked out. It would be my pleasure! Hang in there for a bit and I'll make sure we post it.

The Leapfrogging Hearts is my own design; it's not part of the Central Park Hoodie pattern in any way, so if you have the pattern for the CPH already, you won't have to purchase it again to get the cable pattern. (And if you'd like to purchase the Central Park Hoodie pattern, including extended plus sizing, it's here in the Interweave Store.)

Endings and Beginnings

I find the end of one year and the beginning of the next to be a challenging time for me personally. It's all too easy to look at my resolutions for last year and feel that I did not live up to my own hopes and dreams; it's also all too easy to look at a list of completed knitting projects and say, "Is that all I did?"

Goals are important, of course; and finishing projects is a lovely, heady feeling. But life isn't just about endings and beginnings, about checking things off on a list; life is what happens every day, in-between the beginning and the ending. So rather than mark my success by what was finished or checked off, I decided to look at my knitting and crafting life from the perspective of what I struggled with throughout the year.

Cables. This was the year of the cable for me. I learned not just how to cable without a cable needle, I also learned how to translate a cable chart into what stitch needs to go where when in the process. This sped up my knitting as though I'd turned on the warp engines! I also spent hours, and hours, and HOURS designing and swatching and playing with cables for a couple of sweater designs, my sister's hoodie being one of them. All that swatching and playing has given me a solid working knowledge of how to design and work with cables as part of my daily knitting vocabulary. (Here's my tutorial on cabling without a cable needle.)

My stash. I think many of us knitters are struggling with our stashes these days: How to store it, how much to keep around, when to add to it, what to add to it, how much to spend on it. At the beginning of the year, I went through my stash and organized it in a new-to-me way: by yarn weight. All the worsted weight went into one bin, all the sock yarn into another, and so on. This was really helpful in terms of project planning, especially if I wanted to make something with two different yarns, or two different colours of the same weight. I made much more efficient use of my stash this year than any other year; I also had a much more organized approach to what was a good idea to buy and what wasn't when it came time to hang out at a yarn shop or fibre festival. I feel that this is the first time I have really used my stash as a proper "tool," one that needs maintaining and upkeep in order to assist me with my knitting.

Yarn knowledge. This was the year I worked on my Spin-Off lace shawlette (in the brown and pink yarn at right), the one where I processed and spun a hunk of raw qiviut for the yarn and designed my own lace shawl. (The pattern is in Spin-Off Winter 2010.) There wasn't a lot of guidance on what to do with raw qiviut, I suppose because it is so rare; thus, I spent a lot of time reading about various fibres and yarns before I did anything to my little pile of fluff. It was like a crash course in Why Yarn Is The Way It Is; I learned so much about the characteristics of yarn and how these affect the final knitted project! I notice I am MUCH more confident with yarn choices than ever before.

There's just three things, just off the top of my head. If I learned all that in 2010, then it seems a bit silly to worry about how many projects I did or did not finish last year, or what boxes got checked on which list. Just thouse three things above have increased my knitting knowledge and skills immensely, making me a better knitter today than I was 365 days ago.

I wonder what next year will bring to my knitting.

How are you a better knitter now than you were at the beginning of 2010? Leave a comment, I'd love to know!

Warm wishes for a wonderful beginning to a year of surprises and great knitting!

– Sandi

Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. You can find her blogging here on Knitting Daily each week. Want more? Visit Sandi's personal blog, wiseheart knits. Or, if you're on Twitter, you can follow her: sandiwiseheart.

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