Casting (an eye) on 2015

I have a few aspirations, not so much resolutions, for the year ahead:

  • Knit more for enjoyment, and for me!
  • Knit the big dreams!
  • Knit the pretties!
  • Keep knitting from stash!

 

The last point is probably going to be the hardest, although it ties in well with the others. At this stage most of my yarn stash is single skeins of lace and sock yarn. So that’s where my focus will be this year. It’s getting very hard to knit for all occasions or people from that stock so I might need a few extra skeins here or there, but I won’t have much money for yarn so it won’t be more than absolutely necessary. I already need to buy some cream yarn for a request from my mum. She loved the cowl I made her but it seems that, like me, she’s allergic to camellid yarns like alpaca.

I really want to focus on knitting for the enjoyment of knitting. This includes knitting for the challenge it provides and for the learning opportunities new techniques bring. It also means knitting nice easy projects, like plain vanilla socks, to have something to occupy my hands when my mind is going a mile a minute. Not spending all my time on baby knits, especially for babies that never wear their knits. I do have a mini-resolution to knit 6 pairs of socks this year, or more, but that ties in with my ideals.

Finally knitting those ‘some day’ projects – starting with those lace ones I have stash for! My next post will be on these plans.

I plan to bite the bullet and knit up those beautiful skeins of stash yarn that have languished, constantly admired but never used. I’m always scared of not choosing the right pattern or not making the right thing and ‘collapsing the wave’ of possibilities for them. The truth is there’s always beautiful new yarns coming into existence and I’ll get to enjoy them, and maybe even buy and knit a few, if I’ve really made the most of the ones I have already. Also, for all that they feel ‘oh so special’ and unique I can probably find another amazing blue lace yarn sometime in the future if I really make a mess of it.

I’ve already gotten a start on this, winding my most favourite yarn that I have in stash – Hedgehog Fibres Merino Silk singles in Down by the River colourway. This was an awesome PhD present from Stew and I just love looking at it. Always cheers me up when I’m down. It’s going to be Merrick (another cheer-me-up present – this time from the lovely Laura) and hopefully a hat that fits me. The only other hat I knit that has fit me got lost/stolen on the bus only a few days after I knit it. I have three skeins so I’m going to have a matching hat/cowl/mitts set for the first time! I’m so excited! And this yarn is so gorgeous I could probably knit any misshapen lump and I’d love it to bits!

Fingers crossed I can finish the hat (and all my exam corrections) before heading off to Seattle on Sunday. I’d love to hear recommendations on Seattle, especially yarn shops, from anyone who has visited. Also are there any American yarns I should keep an eye out for?

Cathy’s Crafty Year 2014

Towards the end of 2014 I fell off the blogging wagon. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to blog. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say – I had lots to report on between the knitting and stitching show, the dyeing workshop with Dublin Dye, Knitmas presents and a new cowlette design. It was simply that my first semester as a lecturer, settling into a new job left very little time and energy. What little I had left was spent with my family or snatching a few minutes to craft. I started in DCU within a week of G starting a new position so the whole household has been turned upside down, and housework sorely neglected! We barely got enough done to have Christmas. The coming semester my time should be split more evenly between teaching and research and I hope that means I’ll have a little time for some of my crafting goals.

Looking back on my resolutions for 2014 I’m pleasantly surprised by how many I made progress on. I planned to try some colourwork and I did – I knit Snawheid, which turned out a little small, and tried my hand at some slip-stitch colourwork techniques. I didn’t quite learn crochet nupps as planned but I did learn Irish crochet lace and broomstick crochet so I’m happy with that. I said I wanted to try my hand and test-knitting and maybe even designing. I did several test knits of my own designs, as well as 4 test-knits for others and I’ve found it’s something that I quite enjoy :) I also had two of my own designs test-knit and self-published. I’ve another design that I’m looking for test-knitters for – the Elanor cowlette from my Knitmas gift. My Knitmas gift also contained my second attempt at weaving – a hand-woven scarf of sock yarn, alpaca and sari ribbon. Weaving is a new skill I’ve tried my hand at this year, alongside sewing. I’d love to get a nice folding loom for making more scarves, maybe for Christmas next year!

I happily made my sock-knitting goal of knitting an average of a sock a month. Thankfully I had 6 pairs knit by September, including Christmas socks for G, because I’ve only knit one cuff since then! I tried lots of new things with my sock knitting -new constructions, new needle types, new heels and patterns. I hope to continue my sock-success this year. My lace knitting plans, alas, didn’t quite reach the mark. I completed only 3 lace shawls in 2014, finally finishing my Seascape shawl two years after cast on (though it still needs to be blocked.) I also finished my birthday cardigan from last year – the Talamh cardigan by Carol Feller. Despite lots of washed swatches to get gauge right and knitting a size smaller than I am it is has still somehow turned out loose and a bit baggy. Which explains why I also ran out of yarn and had to knit the sleeves 3 or 4 times before I was happy with them.

In contrast my Acer cardigan, knit over the 14 days of the Ravellenic Games, turned out wonderfully and I adore wearing it. The Ravellenic Games themselves were a fantastic experience. I loved captaining the Stashdown Ireland team, knitting away at my chosen projects and hanging out with my brilliant knit friends Stew and stripeycat. I even got to watch ice-skating! It’s a pity they won’t be held again this year!

I made much better inroads on my stash this year. I used up about 12km of yarn and bought hardly any. Which would have made a huge dent in my stash except that I was given a whopping 6km of yarn for my birthday! So I have another year of cold-sheeping ahead. It’s becoming exceedingly difficult as all that remains in my stash are single skeins of sock and lace yarn and a few odd balls. I’ll definitely have to get my lace-mojo back this year. It’s a pity lace shawls make such poor baby-gifts or I’d be doing much better on that front! I’ll have to have a think about my plans and goals for 2015 and then tell you about them!