2011 was a pretty good year overall. It was our first full year of being homeowners which had its ups and downs but I don't miss apartment living in the slightest. I planted my first garden, the Enabler started making his own beer, and I have room for my ever growing stash of yarn.
Ah the stash. It has changed quite considerably since a year ago. At the beginning of the year it consisted entirely of brightly coloured acrylic and cheap dishcloth cotton. Now most of what remains of those have been relegated to the storage bins underneath my bed while the wool (oh glorious wool!) takes the place of honour beside the couch which is where I spend most of my knitting time. I can't get rid of the acrylic outright, it certainly has its place (cheap and durable machine washable toys for example), but the days of me waiting for a sale on Vanna's Choice yarn and rushing to the big-box craft store to stock up when it hits $2.50 a ball are over.
2011 didn't just provide an awakening in terms of wool, it was also about gaining confidence and realizing that I do have the skills to do things that I thought I would never be able to do. Before I would reject 90% of patterns that I came across outright due to their perceived difficulty. Now instead of evaluating whether or not I CAN do something, the factors to consider now are usefulness, cost, care, and time. Whether or not I have the skills to do it doesn't even enter into the equation, because I know I can do it. If I can't do it, I'll learn. Throughout my life I've been pretty good at a lot of things, but I've never been great at anything. I think if I can only be great at one thing, why can't it be knitting?
That said, I haven't tackled a sweater yet. Not because I don't think I can do it, but because I haven't gotten around to it. But I'm ordering the yarn for it and once it comes that adventure will begin, and I have no doubt that it will be quite the adventure.
Okay so enough patting myself on the back for personal growth and blah blah blah. I've now given away all of the gifts that I made this year so I can finally post pictures of them! I'm sorry if you were expecting one and didn't get anything. All I can say is, better luck next time! ;)
Cupcake hat from Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies. Ridiculous and so much fun! Made out of some of that stash acrylic I was referring to earlier. It worked well for this hat!
Bella's Mittens out of Cascade Soft Spun, which sadly is no longer available at my LYS. It was nice to knit with though and I managed to buy up a bunch of it at half price when they were clearing it out.
Hitchhiker made with Punta yarns Mericash (80% merino, 20% cashmere). Sooooo soft and lovely to work with. I didn't have to block this as it had amazing drape already. This one was hard to give away, but it was for my mom so I would have felt bad keeping it. The name Hitchhiker comes from the designer's original design, when she knit up an entire skein of the yarn called for in the pattern following the 8 row pattern she'd devised, she ended up with 42 points. I used 2 skeins of the Mericash and there's a small chance that I may have been able to get another point out of the tiny ball of yarn I had left, but I got to 42 points and stopped. Because seriously, that's awesome.
Pepperoni Pizza scarf for my bro. From the same book as the cupcake hat above. I made it for two reasons: 1. I wanted to give something handmade to my brother, and 2. HILARIOUS. The cheesy part is actually quite soft, it's malabrigo worsted which was awesome to work with and I definitely want to use it again. The pepperonis and crust are Cascade 220 which is always useful. It was fun to make (although sewing on all the pepperoni was a little tedious), and the crust used crochet techniques I'd never used before.
A variation on the Noro Striped Scarf popularized by Brooklyn Tweed. It's a running joke with my friend that these were for that she loves anything that is blue and brown. So I picked two skeins of Noro Kureyon, one which was primarily blue and one which was primarily brown. However, as is the case with Noro, how it looks in the skein is totally different than how it looks when it's knitted! I used Helen's Basic Mittens pattern, and did alternating 3 row stripes using Eunny Jang's jogless stripes method, which is basically slipping the first stitch of the second round of each colour instead of knitting it. It's amazing, and really does work! A good soak in Eucalan and they softened up nicely as Noro can be scratchy at first.
Sunflowers Satchel out of Noro Silk Garden Sock. After taking this photo I ended up lining it with a green batik fabric in order to make it more useful as a handbag. It turned out quite lovely I think.
I had a couple of other gifts too but I'm awesome and gave them away without remembering to take photos of them. One was another destroyed cowl (the one featured in the photos of this post) but I didn't get a picture of the totally finished product. The other was a pair of fingerless mitts for my dad because he is a pianist and sometimes has to perform outside and his hands get cold. The pattern is Dashing and I made them out of Berroco Blackstone Tweed in a nice maroony colour. They were lovely and I'm sure he'd let me get a picture of them at some point but I may never get around to it because that's just how it goes sometimes.
Anyway this post is definitely long enough. And now, because it's kind of silly when people say this when you know you'll be seeing them soon, regardless of what calendar year it is, I must do the same.
See you next year!