Day 4: Where are they now? - 2kcbwday4

Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity. To me, this prompt make me think about the Cousin Hats for Waub, Musky, Gig and Meegis.

I started knitting with a vengence in the summer I was keen to show off my skills. During a trip to Ottawa for a friends wedding I brought along some of my knitting to show off to my relatives with whom I was staying for the weekend. While I was there I brought along a hat I had knit out of KnitPicks Elegance (baby alpaca and silk), which sadly had been discontinued. My aunt commented how much she would love to give her boys (three grown sons and a 5-year-old grandson) handknit hats like that one for Christmas.  Looking to impress my aunt, I agreed to make her the hats for the cost of the materials.

Thus began the saga of the Cousin Hats.  I had told her that I would only be making a single pattern in different colors and she would sort out who got which one (although one was to be smaller for her grandson).  I finally settled on the Top-Down Timothy Cap by Splindarella, which because it was top down and ribbed I could take advantage of the maximum amount of material, KnitPicks Andean Treasure (100% baby alpaca), and fit some very differently sized heads.

The project was painful for me, not only making four identical hats, but HAVING to make them and by a specific date. It took all the fun out of knitting. The only saving grace was the materials, the alpaca was nice, and didn't make me want to harm anyone with it.

So, I toiled through the hat making process, finishing them up well before their deadline.  As it turns out my aunt wanted me to give them to my cousins myself so they could thank me appropriately (which was very nice of her) and the two I did see (who are older than me) immediately picked their favorite and left the last one for their little brother.  The oldest of the three, Waub, is an on-camera reporter for the CBC (and has a book coming out in May, Midnight Sweatlodge) and he promised he would wear it on camera and send me a picture.

So, that is where one of them is now, forever immortalized on film.

Waub Hat

So I learned a few things from making these hats:

1. I don't do commission knitting 2. I am a Selfish Knitter 3. Getting your knitting on TV is really cool (particularly when your cousin gets all sorts of compliments on it when he posts the picture on Facebook for you)

Day 2: Skill + 1UP - 2kcbwday2

Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year? Last year for KnitCroBlog Week we were asked a question about what sort of skills we wanted to improve ... Let's see how we did (full post here)

The two main skills I wanted to learn/improve were spinning and continental knitting.

Check and Check.

While I don't have a picture, I do pretty much knit continental by default. Only when things get really tough or I have a whole WS purl row to complete do I use throwing rather than picking. I do surprise myself at times that I move into picking hand shape by default when I pick up my knitting.

Generally, my skill level has improved, mostly from practice, but I also discovered blocking and swatching (well I knew they existed before that, but I only started practicing them regularly this past summer).  This has been an easy way to make my projects look and fit better without knitting more stitches.

This time last year I had done mittens, bottom-up hats, and entrelac.

Since finishing up school in May I have made lace shawls, baby sweaters, top-down hats, Mobeus cowls, fair-isle hats.

I don't know where, but my father always quotes the fact that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to become truly proficient at an activity (that works out to about 1 year, but taking into consideration the realities of life can be about 3 years of hard work).  I have put in quite a few number of hours knitting since last year, but I am still many, many years away from my 10,000 hours.  I also have expanded my color palette.

This year, some of the things I want to accomplish are re-learning how to crochet and planning a project from fiber to yarn to finished object.  As far as techniques, I want to work on my colorwork and double knitting and since getting Cookie A.'s Knit.Sock.Love. I have been tempted to try socks, or maybe see if I can turn one of her sock designs into a pair of mittens.  Oooh and dyeing yarn and fiber ... and tatting and making art yarn and ... you get the picture.

On 2010 and Looking Back

Out with the old and in with the new, 2010 is coming to the end and it has been a wild year for me.  Without getting into too much detail, at the end of 2009 I had no idea that I would be here at the end of 2010.

In the past year, I got a Master's degree and moved 1,800 miles.  Now, back home on the shores of Georgian Bay, I am looking for work and playing with fiber.

My father is a numbers guy, he collates facts about his industry and published reports.  In the spirit of my Dad, here is 2010 by the numbers.

  • 23 miles of yarn acquired during the year
  • 18 miles of yarn currently in my stash
  • 4.5 miles of yarn knit into projects
  • 426 yards of handspun yarn
  • 2.6 kilograms of spinning fiber
  • 3 Phat Fiber Boxes
  • 7 pairs of mittens
  • 14 hats
  • 6 shawls or stoles
  • 1 sweater (but it was for a baby)

All in all 2010 was a great year, I discovered spindling and the Phat Fiber crew, got a spinning wheel and made an amazing diversity of projects. I reintroduced my sister, CarlaBee, to knitting and she has made some amazing things as well.

All in all, 2010 has been great, and I look forward to 2011 being even more amazing.