Wednesday, July 1, 2009

6-Month Check-up

With the year half over, this seemed like a good time to review my knitting goals for 2009 and see how I’m doing.

1. Knit two pairs of patterned socks per month, at least one of which will meet SKA’s monthly challenge. Both pairs must be knit from stash.

I think I can safely say that I have met the first part of this goal, having knit sixteen pairs of patterned socks (and several pairs of plain) so far this year; of these, eleven were for SKA. I initially thought that I had failed miserably at my goal to use only stash yarn but in fact ten pairs were knit from yarn I already owned before January 1st. Grade: A

2. Make the Great American Aran Afghan for my parents for Christmas. Knit the border as I go, one section for each square.

Although I’d hoped to be halfway done by the six-month mark, I am not that far behind, having completed the eleventh of twenty-four squares just yesterday. I initially knit a section of border immediately after I finished each square as planned but have put that on hold until I make a final decision on how I will assemble the blocks. I will probably arrange them four wide and six long but I have also been mulling over the idea of knitting an additional square and making a 5’x5’ afghan like I did for the Great American Afghan. Once I decide I will know where to place the corner sections in the border. Meanwhile, I would like to average a square a week from now on so that the afghan will be finished in plenty of time for Christmas. Grade: A-

3. Knit one new sweater for myself from stash. To be determined.

I haven’t knit a complete sweater since January but I did finish a vest (which has since been frogged) and recently completed my February Lady Sweater, barely begun last November. So far I have cast on two sweaters this year and hope to see them through to completion by the end of the year. Grade: A-

4. Knit more lace. Even though I already have a good selection of lace yarn and patterns, after much consideration I have decided to sign up for Embrace the Lace, a yarn club featuring eight lace projects over the course of a year. With any luck, receiving new yarn regularly will help me to meet goal #5.

I have definitely been knitting lace, finishing up old projects (Muir and Nightsongs), starting some new ones (Silver Birches and Aspen Grove), and whizzing through entire projects (Aeolian and Heart to Heart). I look forward to receiving future Embrace the Lace shipments and will be beginning a mystery shawl KAL next week. Grade: A+

5. Cut back on my yarn purchases and knit from stash. Notice I did not say eliminate yarn purchases. I am a realist, if nothing else.

I have no idea how this year’s purchases compare to last year’s but I do know that I have talked myself out of many a skein. I’ve made a conscious effort to reduce the number of impulse buys and mull over my shopping cart, sometimes for weeks or even months, before I press “Proceed to Checkout”. Grade: B+

6. Continuing in the same vein, take a realistic look at my stash and UFO’s. Frog anything I don’t plan to finish and get rid of yarn I don’t see myself knitting.

I finally got around to this job about a month ago. I frogged a number of UFO’s and took stock of what I had. There are some yarns that I may eventually destash but I’m holding on to them for now. Grade: A-

7. Finish three WIP’s, including the Garter Stitch Jacket that’s only missing one sleeve. Anything else is gravy.

Mission accomplished! Grade: A+

8. Make at least one blog post per week, even if it’s just a photo.

Er, not so much. While I frequently think about blogging, the truth is I’d usually rather spend my time knitting than writing about knitting. However, when I finally get around to it, I tend to do several posts in a short space of time because once I start writing I realize how much there is I want to talk about. I’ve never been a consistent journal writer so it’s no coincidence that I’m also an inconsistent blogger. But I’ll keep writing if you keep reading. Grade: C+

9. Enjoy my knitting. Avoid overcommitting to gift knitting and set reasonable goals and deadlines for myself.

So far I’ve done a good job of limiting my gift knitting list to the GAAA and about six pairs of socks. Whenever possible I am coordinating gift socks with SKA challenges in order to provide some extra motivation to get them done. Most importantly, I am spreading out the knitting over the course of the entire year so that I won’t feel overwhelmed as birthdays and Christmas draw near.

Even so, I have to admit that there are times when gift knitting and KAL’s get in the way of my knitting enjoyment. These deadlines, though they are self-imposed, sometimes add an undesirable element of pressure to my knitting life. Grade: A-

10. Feel free to revise my goals at any time. See goal #9.

Generally speaking, I am very pleased with my progress so far this year but there are a couple of goals that need some consideration. First, I’ve come to the realization that I am not a once-a-week blogger and will simply write when I have something to say and try not to feel guilty about prolonged silences. And second, I’d like to increase the enjoyment of my knitting by reducing the amount of pressure I put on myself to meet deadlines. I still want to knit the items on my gift list but while I will continue to take part in KAL’s such as SKA, I will try not to get too caught up in the excitement and cast on more deadline projects than I can handle. I want to knit on whatever catches my fancy without constantly feeling like I “should” be working on something else. After all, knitting is my hobby and it’s supposed to be fun.

I’m afraid this long post with no pictures hasn’t been too exciting for you to read but it has been a very useful exercise for me. I am amazed at how much I’ve accomplished in just six months but I’m afraid there is no denying my addiction to sock knitting! Although I will continue to knit socks like a fiend from here on out, I would like to spend more time on other types of projects like shawls and sweaters.

On another note, today is our nation’s 142nd birthday. Happy Canada Day!