Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lessons Learned

Here are the top ten lessons I have learned from knitting 13 sweaters this year.

Lessons Learned from the Sweat of Sweater Knitting

1. Stitch markers are your friends. Use stitch markers to help you pick up stitches. Use stitch markers to break up cable/lace patterns. Have a bottomless supply of stitch markers, because you will lose them. You will break them. They will somehow end up in your bed, your laundry, the bottom of every bag you own and in your cereal.

2. Only knit sweaters you WANT to knit in yarn you really enjoy or it will feel like a painful process.

3. Gauge swatch: ALWAYS!

4. Trust your instincts (when it comes to size and everything else). If your gut keeps telling you that the little pink cardigan you're knitting might be too small, the odds are high that it will be, whether you are three inches from the start or three inches from the finish. And let's face it, nobody likes to frog a whole sweater.

5. Measure your recipient and understand how the garment should be worn (+/- ease) BEFORE casting on!

6. Know your body and how you like sweaters to fit. Don't knit size A because you think you might fit into it after you lose baby weight (ahem, speaking from experience here). Knit size B now or don't knit it at all.

7. Read other Ravelers' project notes on Ravelry. A problem from the pattern may have already been resolved by another knitter - which would clearly save you time, a headache and an investment at your local liquor store.

8. Recognize that babies grow... fast! And that means any handknits won't fit or be worn very long. When in doubt, make the size larger than you planned.

9. Raid your stash! I was able to make 9 sweaters from my stash!

10. Be okay with ripping, frogging and throwing in the towel. Knitting is supposed to be a pleasurable experience, not one that ends in tears.

Have you learned any lessons from knitting this year?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

12 in 2012: And Done!

Here they are: the completed sweaters of 2012.

Sweet Peasy by Heidi Kirrmaier

Matelot from Sublime's Third Little Knits Book

Spring Garden Tee by Alana Dakos

Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig

Acacia by Georgie Hallam
Miriam by Carrie Bostick Hoge
Audrey's First Day by Elizabeth Smith
Kangaroo Vest by Hannah Fettig
Navajo Pullover by Andrea Sanchez

Raglan Cardigan by Debbie Bliss
Agnes by Melissa LaBarre
Organic Guernsey by Fawn Pea

And this is the bonus sweater (#13) which was made for my friend's new baby.
Owlet by Kate Davies

Tomorrow I will share with you the top 10 lessons I learned from this experience. For now I will share just a few notes.

I had originally hoped to make 4 each for Tommy, Emma and myself (remember, my hubs is a walking furnace, so he gets hats instead). However, I ended up making 4 for Emma, 5 for Tommy (he was only able to wear the Matelot sweater 2x since he grew so fast) and 3 for myself. Plus, I did knit one gift sweater for my friend's new baby, but that does not count toward the 12 in 2012 since it didn't meet the criteria. The sweaters were all made within the 2012 calendar year. The last one was completed on December 23, so I was cutting it kind of close.

Of the 12 sweaters made this year, 2 were made with newly purchased yarn, 1 was made with yarn from a gift certificate and the remaining 9 were all stash-busters. Pretty good, I'd say!

And now it is time to have some wine and chocolate and celebrate...

Or... I could go yarn shopping...

Monday, January 14, 2013

A New Year, A New Plan

Sorry for the big gap since my last post. After taking care of a sick household for 4 months (not kidding, at least 2 people at a time were sick since Labor Day), I finally caught a nasty cold. Then we went home to Pennsylvania for the holiday.

But now I'm back, re-energized and ready to start 2013. Like most people, I spent a few moments on New Year's Eve reflecting on the past 365 days and planning for the year ahead.

It seems that I have evolved into a goal-setter. So with that in mind, please allow me to share some reflections of my achieved goals from 2012 and line up some new ones for 2013.

Reflections of One Super Busy Year

  • Sixty-five. What does 65 have to do with me? Why that would be the number of knitting projects I completed this year. Oh my! I was absolutely stunned that I was able to do this in a year that included being pregnant and giving birth to my son.
  • Ah, Tommy. Yes, he is one BIG achievement. Super cute. Super snuggly. Super happy. Mr. Congeniality himself! His nicknames include: Squirt, Sir Thomas the Chunk, Lord Chunkington and Tommy Corleone. Okay, I'll stop... for now. But let me leave you with this...

  • As you are well aware, this year also included my 12 in 2012 project of knitting twelve sweaters for members of my household in one year. Been there. Done that.
  • Last year (2011) was my first year of blogging, during which I had planned to post on my blog once a week. I nearly met that goal of 44 posts (out of 52). Well this year I kept the same plan but smashed it to smithereens with 70 posts.
All in all, I'd say that 2012 was a busy year!

And now for a new plan...

The New Plan

  • In my personal life, my family and I are planning to buy our first house this spring. So that ought to be interesting. My son will turn one, my daughter will turn 4 and I am not telling you how old I will be in exactly one month. But if you guess correctly, I will high-five you virtually or in person, depending on where you live.
  • This year will bring a great focus on my designing. I intend to push harder with publishing both professionally (through yarn companies and pattern magazines) and personally with my self-publishing. My notebook is overflowing with ideas and I am eager to work them out as fast as my hands, brain and active children will allow.
  • At home, I hope to become more organized with my printed and downloaded patterns and find a system that works best for me.
  •  And finally, I vow to knit more from stash. Although, last year I did pretty well with 44 out of 65 projects from stash. Even so, it's time to downsize.
I've tossed around some other ideas such as knitting more socks (I have only one pair) and working more with breed-specific yarns, but I don't want to commit to those at this time. Maybe in 2014? We'll see....

For right now, I just want to knit.