Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year of Knitting

I remember when I was a kid and people asked me what my New Year's Resolutions were, I was always at a loss. Somehow I couldn't think far enough ahead to think of something I wouldn't jump in and do at a moment's notice, or of anything I needed to get accomplished. Life was simple then, and I was never bored because my mind would seize on a project and before I knew it, I was in the middle of figuring it out.

Not much as really changed since those simple days when I lived in the country and invented my own entertainment. I'm just a little older and, well, some bigger. Now that 'bigger' part does come to mind for needing resolutions, and actually, this year when I had my annual heart checkup, I asked my doctor if there was anything he could prescribe which would make me get up and start moving around. Before I knew it, a nurse had me on the phone asking if I liked to swim or do Pilates, and before the conversation was over, I had committed to three months of exercise, whether I liked it or not. He's pretty good, isn't he? He acted swiftly and with determination, and I could hardly say 'no, I don't like to swim in the winter time!' because too many people already knew that I need to get up and move, so I would just shame myself, really, if I acted churlish about swimming in the winter time. And, I knew it. I heard my own voice starting to protest, and then just shut up. Nope. I am going to do the program and come out of it in three months' time having done more exercise than knit and type!

So, an improvement in health was not on my resolution list at all. What I like to think up as a sort of resolution is a new skill or hobby. Like the year I decided I was going to learn to weave. I went into it full throttle, just as I have always done with a new game/toy/hobby, and signed up for a weeklong class and bought one of the studio's used looms at the end of the week. For at least a year I tried to be a weaver. I loved the actual weaving part where you toss the shuttle back and forth and stomp on the pedals and watch the fabric form in front of your eyes, thread by thread, literally. What I hated was warping the loom. To me it was tedious and boring. I just never got the art of warping down, and I gave it a good try. One day last year, I woke up and with great clarity declared, 'I am not a weaver.' For a week I tried to sell my loom, and then had it moved upstairs to the attic, half-dressed with a warp. The decision was made, but I decided to keep my membership in the weaving guild because I had met some very interesting people there. Admitting that I am not a weaver, did not dampen my enthusiasm for hand-woven fabric at all. All my life I have been a collector of hand-woven fabric. The only regret about leaving the loom behind is that I never achieved my goal of creating a stack of dishtowels to serve me for years into the future. I'll just have to buy them and appreciate the hand work of others.

Last year I declared openly on the Internet that 2008 would be the year of the cable for me. I didn't do many cables, I admit. OK, I did some but never an intricate Aran sweater, or a sidewise hat band, or even cabled wristwarmers. I did a couple of sweaters with a cable running the sleeves and down the front. Cables fall close to warping the loom in my mind. Moving stitches to that tiny needle and then balancing that little thing while you do something else ... well, that's just irritating to me. But, I did some cables here and there, and they were nice looking and even, too. So, in a sense, I did cables. I am just not emerging from 2008 with a pile of intricate sweaters.

For the coming year, I've got several projects going already. For one thing, I want to knit the samples for my new website, using the beautiful handdyed yarns which are beginning to come into stock. Maybe I won't knit all of them. Well, OK, I know I will not knit all of the samples for the site because I've already farmed out one lovely silk shawl and it's finished and lying just where I can see it as I type today. And, yesterday I doled out pattern, yarn, needles to a mother-and-daughter team of test knitters. There will be lots and lots more samples to be knit, and I want to be right in there knitting my share of them. So, I declare that sample knitting is on my 2009 resolution list.

Actually, that sounds like a lot of work, now that I think of it, so I am going to quit here and not add a thing to my list. Yes, this feels right. Besides, I know there will be more projects to come up, trips .. like the one to the new Stitches South in late April, and maybe to TNNA this year ... and there will also be those small events I put on for Virginia knitters on the Circular Sock Machines, and then I've got the baby hat project going for the new social services baby clinic. So, I think I'll limit my list to one item, Sample Knitting for new website, so that I can have time left over to play!

What's on your resolution list?


Jadielady said...

If you need any more test knitting let me know ;)
I attempted cables for the first time for holiday knitting, and completed 4 pairs of fetching in as many weeks. Whew!
My goals for the new year are not so much new skills, as just taking advantage of the ones I used last year. I want to knit a pair of socks per month!

Lia said...

I love knitting cables, but I can see how they'd be really irritating to some people. That's how I feel about lace. Openwork is fine, but I can't imagine knitting real lace with lace-weight yarn. Too much room for error. I'd end up like a friend of mine who has 13 miles of lace-weight yarn but no lace projects!

My resolutions are the usual ones, but the knitterly ones are to have fewer projects OTN and to learn entrelac (it eludes me).

And I'm with Jadielady--if you need another test knitter, let me know! I love doing that.