The holidays were great, but I'm happy to be on the other side of them. I've had enough cookies, candies, rich meals, and other gastronomic overages to last me for another year. (And I have the enhanced waistline to prove it.) I wish there were such a thing as aerobic knitting.
My camera has died after a long illness. It is survived by me, dozens of special friends, and a bunch of pictures. While I am waiting until I can get a new camera, you will have to use your imagination to envision the projects I describe. Besides, they were mostly boring lately:
I knit a bunch of things over the holidays, but most of them were hats, scarves, and the like that I gave as gifts. I knit several more two-color brioche scarves. (They're good enough, they're smart enough, and doggone it, people like them.) I knit another moebius for my mother. I finally put the fringe on a scarf I'd knitted for my sister last year.
The only thing I completed that was slightly interesting was the "Caplet", as my sister dubbed it. The Caplet is my own take on the Dubbelmossa hat, the two-layer hat that is essentially one hat inside the other, with the hats being joined at the brim edge. When it is opened up, with the top of one hat at one end and the top of the other hat at the opposite end, and the line of demarcation in the middle, it looks like a giant Tylenol capsule.
I made the Caplet by starting with a provisional cast-on (I used the knit-up-stitches-in-a-crochet-chain method), then I knit the first hat normally. Then I took out the provisional cast-on, picked up those stitches, and knit the other hat identically. I experimented with a YO, K1 turning row at the border between the two hats, hoping to get a picot edge, but the yarn I used (Cascade's DiVe Autumno) was too thick to show the picot. Next time, I'll do a purl row for a turning row. I was concerned about finishing off the top of the second hat, as at that point I didn't have access to the wrong side to weave in the ends, but I was able to take the yarn tail around in several circles at the top and it looks just fine.
Knitting advice for 2008: Be Fearless!
I meet a lot of people in classes and help sessions, and I have never met anyone who can't knit. I have met a lot of people who think they can't knit, or think they can't understand a pattern, or think they can't master a certain technique.
We are often afraid to try something because we think we might fail. I've avoided lots of things for this reason. And it's true, you might fail. Or you might find you don't like it. Or you might find you can do it, but prefer not to. Or that it's too much work. But it's rarely the case that you can't do it.
And anyway, it's just yarn, right? It's just knitting. No lives are at stake. If you feel severely displeased with something you've worked on, you can unravel it, hide it in a closet, give it away, or -- gasp -- throw it in the trash. I have trashed several projects, including an Aran sweater that was 3/4 finished. But by the time I was to that point, I realized the yarn I'd chosen wasn't very high quality (I hadn't been knitting very long, and didn't know much about choosing yarn), and the gauge was way off, to the point that the sweater would have been suitable for a man over 6'5" tall with very big shoulders. I kept it a few years while I was mourning, then I popped it in the dumpster. I learned a lot from that project, and I'm not sorry I spent time on it. The next Aran sweater I made was very lovely and I wear it all the time.
What's the worst that can happen? You can spend (I don't like to say "waste") some time and money that don't result in a piece that you can use for the intended purpose. But if you enjoy knitting, time spent knitting can't be considered to be wasted. And money, well ... if we were in this to save money, we wouldn't do it. (And it's better than buying pulltabs). And you almost always learn from every project, even if all you learn was that you chose an inappropriate yarn and didn't check your gauge well enough.
Be creative with your unexpected results (I don't like to say "failures"). If what you've knit is feltable, felt it, cut it into pieces, and make something out of it -- felt flowers, a cell phone holder, a purse, a haggis* caddy, or whatever fun or outrageous thing you can imagine.
Use it as a test swatch to try out new techniques. Make it into a doll blanket. Or call it art and hang it on the wall. Give it to the Goodwill if it's wearable. Give the yarn to the Goodwill if it's not. You get the idea.
Why not make 2008 the year you become a Fearless Knitter?
*Haggis is the traditional Scottish dish composed of such things as lamb parts** and barley, and cooked in a sheep's bladder. These days they use the better parts of the lamb and cook it in something more appealing, and it's delicious. But historically it was a way to use up all the bits and pieces of a sheep so they didn't go to waste, and the family didn't starve.
** Lips, innards*** and other unmentionables.
*** I would bet this is the only knitting blog that has ever mentioned lips and innards.