2017: A Look Back

Oh boy, has it been cold this week. My Icelandic sweater has sprung a hole in the left elbow from being worn constantly. Now I can learn to mend it!

Tuesday was a day of faculty meetings at school. That meant about four hours of knitting time. I had two projects with me, and colleagues nearby, as they often do, complimented me. When I pulled out the second project, one colleague expressed (a somewhat concerned) admiration that I had two projects going at once. I did not feel able to inform her of the other two projects sitting at home. It was one of those moments when I felt out there on the edge, knitting-wise. I guess I thought that a non-knitter might not understand how reasonable it is to have three, four, five projects going at once.

This past week I’ve found time to turn the heel and knit the heel flap of my Sockmatician toe-up sock. What a genius pattern! Toe-up with a gusset and heel flap. I couldn’t picture it as I read the instructions, but as I knit along, following the formula, everything worked and began to become clear.

I’ve also made progress on my Lovage sweater, after frogging when it became clear I was knitting a sweater with about fifteen inches of positive ease. Now that it’s a more reasonable size, I’m settling into the pleasing rhythm of the K4, P4 rib and the rugged beauty of the yarn.

2017 was my biggest year yet in terms of knitting, spinning, and fiber. I started knitting again in 2014, and according to Ravelry I completed three projects that year. In 2015 I completed six projects, and in 2016 twelve. Last year I completed twenty-six knitting projects, including eight Pussy Hats and eleven Honey Cowls. That means I’ve doubled my output for each of the last three years!

While I didn’t learn many new knitting skills or techniques last year, I did learn how to manage a large knitting project; I knit those cowls and completed them well in advance of my deadline. I learned how to set reasonable goals (about 30 minutes of cowl knitting a day), and I learned that I could increase my knitting output (quite a bit).

I started knitting baby things in 2017: three pairs of baby booties and a little sweater. It’s fun to make adorable wee things. There are more babies on the way this year, so I’ll be casting on more booties, wee hats, and wee sweaters.

Most of my knitting last year was for other people. Of those twenty-six projects, only four were for me. It feels good to send my knitting out into the world. I hope the items I’ve made last a long time and provide years of warmth, whether they stay with one person, get passed on, or even find their way to a secondhand shop.

My biggest and most fun learning curve of 2017 involved working with raw fleeces and learning to spin on my Schacht Flatiron, purchased in May. I love working with fleece, prepping fiber, making yarn. It has been joy, pure and simple, to make things from yarn I’ve spun myself.

I also learned that knitting can serve a political purpose. The Pussy Hats were the highlight of my knitting year. Although I could not make it to the Women’s March myself, I sent hats on the heads of students, friends, and friends of friends. On the day of the march, I sat at home, knitting, and watched the entire live stream. The sight of all those pussy hats made by women coming together in resistance was incredibly heartening. There’s so much more I have to say about this…material for another post, perhaps.

Finally, there is this blog, started in 2017, which is still very much a work in progress. I have found it useful and challenging to put my thoughts into words on the “page” here. It helps me chart my path, make sense of what I’m doing.

And here we are in 2018. I’m planning on another post to lay out my fiber plans for the year. In the meantime, readers, I’d love to hear about your knitting/spinning in 2017.

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