Ten MORE Knitting Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

ten-more-knitting-lessons-i-learned-this-year

Oh knitters. I hate to say it, but the year is winding down. I am glancing at my calendar (with tremendous angst) and realizing just how close we are to the end of December. Maybe, for you, 2016 was your best year ever. Or maybe it was your worst. Either way, I am guessing knitting got you through it.

Knitting got me through my year too. That and Reed, who you know I love.

I have knit so much this year (yet it felt like not nearly enough) that I can hardly remember what I worked up in those early months, seemingly eons ago. It’s so hard to keep it all straight! When I review my bucket list for the year, I actually did pretty darn good. I didn’t check absolutely everything off, but I did get to most things.

High five.

(Yes, I know that was dorky. And I don’t care.)

Despite my many years as a knitter, I am still learning to be a better and perhaps more daring knitter all the time. Although I refuse to try steeking.

Even I have my limits.

Sorry.

As with last year, most of my lessons learned came to me from my mistakes, which were numerous despite my best efforts to the contrary. It’s always the easy things that prove hard. And the hard things that reveal themselves to be even harder.

That’s why we have determination.

So, what did I learn this year? Well…

All the Grey

I knit with too much grey! All the things! Grey! And not in the 50 Shades of Grey-sense either. Nothing nearly that exciting.

Ten (more) knitting lessons I learned the hard way this year. Of course.

I designed two grey ponchos and one grey shawl. This is on top of knitting a third (HUGE) grey poncho and working up Reed’s first sweater, which of course inadvertently has a grey base.

Fresh on top of my two grey hat designs from last year, I feel like I am swimming in grey. Obviously I love to wear grey.

Who doesn’t?

It’s so versatile.

Now that winter has arrived and my grey outfits blur into the ominous clouded sky, it all feels a bit drab.

I hereby pledge to take a break from grey yarn in 2017. Color, here I come!

Goodbye, Lace Weight

I have sworn off super fine lace weight yarn. Even if it is cheap and astoundingly pretty in that jewel-toned sort of way that always hooks me. It’s just not worth it. I find it painfully slow to knit with, easy to snag, and stressful to wear.

Maybe some future Me without a young child and in possession of more free time will better enjoy the bliss of working with yarn possibly spun by a (giant) spider, but this Me says NO THANKS.

And pass the wine.

Knitted Toys, No More

Knitted toys?!?! Never again! (Okay, maybe.) I thought Reed’s Easter bunny was going to be a slam dunk. One night of knitting and I would have a marvelous handmade gift to augment his consumer-based, sugar-laden basket. Super Mom!

Uh, no.

Dozens of hours and lots of tears later, Spearmint was born. The good news is Reed still loves his dear bunny and was just toting him around the house yesterday. He has already placed MANY more requests for a plethora of additional hand knit toys, to which I have replied Mama is already busy knitting you a sweater.

Sometimes moms just have to change the subject.

Metal Needles (Almost) All the Way

After breaking two sets of wooden sock needles this year, I switched to metal needles only. They break less and work up yarn faster. I used to think my stitches always slipped off and hated metal needles resolutely.

No more.

My mind has opened. Time is money.

Hold your stitches tight and knit like there’s no tomorrow.

(I received this set for my birthday and have been quite happy!)

The Blocking Kerfuddle

Sometimes blocking works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

It all depends.

And here’s the crappy bit: you just have to try to find out.

Crappier still: if it doesn’t work, there’s no going back.

You’re just screwed.

You can’t unblock it (but you can reknit it, although who wants to do that…). I found I don’t like to block stitches with a lot of texture like the honeycomb stitch unless I am prepared for my knit to flatten out significantly.

And not in a tummy tuck sort of way.

On the other hand, I’ve knit some big screw ups this year that rolled and folded in all the wrong places (designing has it’s limitations!), and was rescued after an unplanned soak in the tub.

(Although as a general rule, I do prefer to block most things and always wet block my swatches.)

Hang in There for The Long Haul

Occasionally projects take six months to finish. That’s okay. My Waterlily was on the needles FOREVER, but I did eventually finish it. Knitting with linen wasn’t my favorite, but washing linen in the machine without much stress IS divine…so I might just knit with linen again after all.

Nothing is ever certain.

Waterlily also taught me that seemingly scary things like Latvian braids are possible. Yes, I fretted and worked myself into a frenzy, painstakingly studying the directions not unlike Matt Damon in Mars, determined to survive and someday return to Planet Earth Yarn.

It was serious.

But, I did it. Without screwing up.

Which means I earned extra chocolate that day.

Sometimes Scissors ARE Required

Cutting knitting with scissors isn’t (always) as bad as it sounds. Even if you think you’re about to have a stroke. Yes, it means you probably screwed up in the first place (uh, hello…always!).

Thankfully some mistakes are easier to fix than others. Try it sometime.

Sleep Deprivation and Knitting Don’t Always Mix

Designing a pattern when you have a newborn and are seriously sleep deprived (and possibly EVERYTHING deprived) may not work out and will likely only lead to crazy patterns you’ll just have to rewrite later. Be advised!

Sleep first. Design later.

Also, invest in a tech editor.

Colorwork is Actually Kind of Cool

Now, I might be speaking a little prematurely on this one given Reed’s sweater is still on the needles, but (so far) colorwork actually isn’t that bad. In fact, I might just like it.

Even though it takes me forever.

And I’m probably doing it all wrong.

AND, blocking might not resolve as many issues as I hope it will.

Still, I like it.

Now I just need to buy more yarn so I have some color options to work with for future projects. I tend to purchase my yarn monochromatically. It’s a whole new Knitting World out there!

Knitting Adds Up

If you knit a lot, you actually get a lot of knitting done.

(This includes socks.)

All these years of being Knit Obsessed means I now have enough knitted items to wear something handmade each day. Some of my Not Quite design attempts look too goofy to gift, but I really should give more finished knits and samples away. I’m starting to run into a hand knit storage issue, and my teeny tiny closet (that I share with Reed) isn’t exactly helping.

(Dear Santa, please bring me MY OWN ROOM for Christmas. Virginia Woolf was really on to something…)

In case you missed them and could use a little extra chuckle in your life today, my top ten list from last year is here.

Knit on. Knit ever. Just knit.

 

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