Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Things I Should Already Have Known

This was the year for learning (over and over)that technique is not a substitute for judgment. The knitting mistakes were not a matter of not being able to do something, but not knowing whether it was a good idea! I hope that by writing down (and publishing!) my mistakes I'll be able to avoid them in the future. In the spirit of self-examination, here are a few things I learned this year:
1. Size matters
Despite all my gauge swatches and self-measurements, I have a tendency to make things too large for myself. the Mission Falls cardigan is wearable but would be better if the sleeves were narrower; the bolero (from Feminine Knits) turned out so big that I gave it to a friend. Sizing in lace garments is particularly dicey. The remedy for this problem seems to be taking the work off the needles and trying it on, and choosing a smaller size.

The other lesson I learned from these cardigans it to knit both fronts and both sleeves simultaneously. Despite my efforts at row counting, I haven't found another way to make them match.
2. Scarves Should be Long
When I lived in a cold climate many years ago, scarves were often worn inside the neck of a coat, in my memory at least. Since then, it seems that the very long scarf has totally dominated the world of winter. I made 3 scarves this fall that were not long enough; 2 I'm adding onto and 1 will sleep with the fishes in the pond.

3. Even a Cotton Scarf is Too Hot for Tallahassee in the Summer
I love this scarf. It's my favorite light cotton (Paton's Grace) in my favorite colors, but its unwearable in the summer, which means until the end of October.
4. Knitting for Felting Hurts My Hands
Felting always seems like such a good idea! the knitting goes fast on those big needles, and the finished products are useful and sturdy, what could be better than these felted slippers? The sad truth is that, for me, knitting on those big needles requires a lot of pushing and pulling. I don't think I'll give up on felting entirely, but I must repect my limits.
That being said, this bag is one of my favorite projects. I use it as my carry-on bag when I travel, and always get compliments.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking Back Before Looking Forward

2009 has been a great year for family, traveling, weddings, and knitting, but not for blogging, obviously. Here are just a few of the successful projects completed this year. The unsuccessful ones have taught me a lot and really deserve their own entry.

The gray shawl was inspired by the Little Dorritt series. It is my own design and I used 1 skein of Malabrigo Lace in Paris Night. I'm thinking about making a larger, more open shawl in the same pattern. It seems a little goth!
These three are among the successful Christmas knits. I like the Noro Silken Garden scarf, but 2 skeins does not yield quite enough length. DH wore it as is in NYC over Christmas, but I'm contemplating adding 2 more skeins.
Here we have too much cat in the picture, not enough scarf! 2 skeins of Plymouth Happy Feet in a reversible cable Fisherman's Scarf. I loved both the process and the product!
For knitting purposes, it's great to have children who live in a cold climate. The cloche was made for DD1 from 2 skeins of Wisdom Poems, gently felted. The black band is knitted from stashed mystery sock yarn, and the flower was made by a Tallahassee fiber artist.

I hope to be back soon with wedding pictures, stories of travels, and lessons learned.