#45. 2020 Knitting Plan

IMG_20200106_221110_hdrAs discussed before, I really liked having a knitting plan last year so I made a plan for 2020. It was helpful among my knitting friends as well.  Kim and I are already working on the “advent” sweater together.  It’s helpful to have someone to bounce ideas and questions off of.

We shared plans on Jan 3 and made modifications so that sweaters we jointly wanted to knit were timed together.  Kim and I (and Collette and Colleen?) will knit the Vitamin B sweater starting in August.  Colleen and I (and Lise?) will knit the Amrum sweater (ITO yarn) beginning in April.  Tentatively I have the Professor Cat sweater for October with Collette but might switch with the Roselle Tee with Teresa.

This year I am not planning to take any classes as I have plenty of projects already on my plate.  In 2019 I took a brioche class that I’m planning to use in 2020 with the Vitamin B sweater and another shawl project.  And I took the argyl sock class that I didn’t finish so it’s a 2020 project.  Not surprisingly my first 3 years of knitting were filled with classes as I learned new techniques and how to make shawls, sweaters, and socks.  Now I’m ready to apply those skills.

I know the owner of my LYS may be insulted as I don’t have plans for classes there not a need for yarn.  I am not avoiding the shop it’s just that I already have enough yarn and desired projects.  In the past my knitting tended to be driven by the classes offered.  Now it’s being driven by my plan with yarns I’d already purchased.

#44. Florida Knitting

IMG_20200107_151244_hdrWell I’ve heard others say it but indeed I did it…. I packed my knitting projects that I want to knit while in Florida weeks ahead of packing my clothes. 😂  I know I’ve packed more than I can knit in 3 months but wanted to make sure I didn’t run out.  I packed a whole carryon duffle bag with yarn projects.

I of course packed the “advent” sweater that I started in December.  Unfortunately it took me all December to get my Christmas yarn socks knitted so I didn’t even get through the first ball of the “advent” sweater.  Kim has gotten a good start on it so I need to focus to catch up with her.  It is a simple knit so with her working and me not, I hope to catch up.

I also packed the shellseeker sweater that I want to knit for me.  I’ve already knit this sweater for Sara.  It also is not a complicated pattern so I’m hoping it knits up fast.  That will be two sweaters in 3 months which is highly aggressive for me.  But that’s not all …. I packed lots I fixation yarn to have a simple sock to knit during any social knitting I’m able to find.  Plus the  difficult argyl socks that are a carryover from 2019.

Plus I have enough yarn to make another pair of fingerless gloves.  So way more yarn than I can possibly knit up in 3 months.  Biggest issue will be focusing and possibly ergonomics issues.  I already have some problems with my thumb getting or elbow getting sore.  So I need to switch between Continental and English knitting, larger needles (sweaters) and smaller needles (socks/gloves) and learning to knit without looking at my knitting.  Lots to learn and make while counting down the days in Florida.

#43 Knitting Challenge Update

IMG_20191206_231928_hdrThis the first year that I created a knitting “plan” .  Previously I just bounced from one project to the next based an a class that sounded good. But now I have sufficient confidence in my ability to make socks, sweaters, shawls, etc.  I can think more along the lines of what do I want to make and for whom.

Turns out my plan for 2019 was a little aggressive but pretty good.  I’m a pretty slow sweater knitter.  I planned a lot of socks and indeed I made a lot (7 pairs).  Argyle socks turned out to be quite difficult so they got delayed into 2020.  They will be a Florida project.  I did make my first pair of fingerless mitts.  They are even easier than a pair of socks.

I did knit two shawls as planned but did change which shawl and yarn once I found yarn I wanted in Miami last February.  The other was difficult for a first project brioche shawl.  It took a lot more time than I had planned.

I did really like the experience of creating and following a year plan.  This way I could make sure I wasn’t trying to do too may projects at the same time.  I did update and substitute during the year – like the shawl.

As I’m preparing my 2020 calendar I created a point system to better estimate how many projects I could realistically do in a year.  Socks are quicker than sweaters.  This helped me realize I was planning way too many sweaters for 2020 unless I suddenly become a much faster sweater knitter.   I already have a sweater that I started this month that will carryover into 2020.  Plus those difficult argyle socks.  I have at least 6 sweaters I really wanted to make but will be lucky if I can get 4 of them done.  Thus I already have sweaters for 2021!!!  I know that I want to have “braindead” socks for social knitting.  Plus I  have some beautiful sock yarn that I really want to knit up.  I know that I’ll have a sweater and a sock project going at all times.

The net is that a yearly knitting plan is helpful for me.  It helps me feel in control of my knitting rather than my knitting is controlling me.  I don’t feel overwhelmed by all the projects I want to make because I have them on the schedule.  I know when they are planned.  They can move forward or back based on how fast a current project is going.  This will also help me to decide what projects to pack for snowbirding in Florida.  I certainly won’t need to buy yarn as I already have at least two years of projects in project bags in my knitting nook.

#42. Brioche #@$!&

IMG_20191108_130433_728I love this shawl now but I sure cursed it while knitting it!!!  The Haiku shaw is NOT a good first brioche project.  Brioche is really not that hard but it really took a long time for me to “get it”.  Now I can recognize knits and purls.  Increases and decreases were killer for me to tink.  I would have to have the teacher tink when I found a mistake.  I will knit brioche again as I do love the way it looks but it took me 7 months to get this shawl finished!!  Brioche does require concentration … at least this pattern does on the border!!

#41. Vogue Live Columbus


Went to my first (last?) Vogue Live knitting convention.  There was one in Columbus so it was very close.  They have about three a year and usually in big cities like New York and San Francisco.  We made a girls weekend out of it.  Four of us came back on Saturday evening while two others stayed till Sunday morning.

I took 2 classes.  Many others took 3 classes.  Most everyone enjoyed their classes and felt they were worth the $90 cost for 3 hours.  I took a class from “knitting rock star” Party Lyons about adjusting patterns to fit your gauge rather than trying to find the right needle to make guage.  I basically did this when I made Sara’s shellseeker sweater because I used a smaller weight yarn than the pattern called for.  So the class really didn’t teach me much.  Plus I’m not intimated by basic math.  But the ergonomics class had lots of good suggestions.  Others who took a knitting technique class were satisfied.  The marketplace was okay but I actually liked the Yellow Springs Wool Gathering back in September better, and it was free.

So it was a fun girls weekend.  It cost about $300. I’m not anxious to do it again but once in a while is fun.  I ended up buying two sweater projects so that was another $200.  One I will be a KAL with Kim and the other will be a KAL with Colleen and Lise.  Now I need to focus on knitting all the yarn I have and stop buying new yarn!!!

#40 Yellow Springs Wool Gathering

20190922_08414720190923_130201I attended my first Yellow Springs Wool Gathering with some knitting friends Saturday.  There were 6 of us that made the 1 hr trip.  It was two huge tents filled with booths.  Some were yarn shops that brought their wears.  Some were indie yarn dyers.  Some were indie yarn spinners.

I was on a quest to find Christmasy yarn for a pair of socks.  Sadly no one had any although two yarn dyers said they would soon.  I got the business card from one, Redbird Yarn Studio, so that I can order her Christmas yarn once she makes it.  Her colors are so vibrant!!  I couldn’t resist her fall Harvest skein.  Her skeins make self striping socks.  I’m already making a fall striped sock but it’s acrylic and nylon.  I’m looking forward to making a pair with the Redbird wool and nylon yarn.

I was also looking for some cute yarn bobbins.  Colleen taught us a way to make yarn bobbins for our argyl socks but a) I still need a way to distinguish between the two bobbins of main color and b) the bobbins seem to pull out if I drop them off my lap/table.  I wanted to try to see if yarn bobbins would help keep the yarn short.  I didn’t find much on etsy or yarn websites like webs or knitpicks.  I was tickled to find cute sheep bobbins in different colors at one booth.  Teresa, Ruth, and I bought different colors so we could exchange.

So my first wool gathering was a success.  I found beautiful yarn for a pair of socks as well as a contact to get vibrant colored Christmas sock yarn.  And I got some reasonable priced and cute yarn bobbins.  It was fun to go with a group.  Not sure I feel it’s a “have to go” trip but I would go next year as part of a group.  I’m probably less excited because of the big yarn show that will be in Columbus for Vogue Live Knitting the first weekend in November.  That’s a “once in a life time” event in Ohio so next year the Wool Gathering will be the only yarn event.



#39 Knit Companion

There is an app, Knit Companion, that is pretty handy for “storing” patterns.  The app lets you have a highlighter line for the line you are knitting which is easy to move down the pattern as you knit each line.  No more physically moving highlighter tape on your paper pattern.

It’s particularly helpful in two color knitting such as brioche because you can highlight the pattern lines in two colors to go with the two colors you are knitting in.  This is a helpful reminder to me which color I’m supposed to be using!!

It also lets you make notes on the pattern which is helpful to keep track of what you did as well as for future reference to help avoid making the same mistakes again.  (I also do this on my project page in Ravelry – and have gotten compliments on my good notes).

From knitting friends that use KC, I know it has many more features that I need to explore.  It has counters so I could stop using my counters that I put on the cable or my wrist abacus counter.  There are good tutorials that I need to watch so that I can get all the benefits of the app.  At $10 a year, I think it is quite a bargain.

The only negative to using the Knit Companion app is that my Kindle needs to be charged.  If the battery is low, then I can’t access my pattern.  This is why I always like to have a paper pattern as backup.  I have also had problems with the “project” suddenly no longer being able to open.  So now I’ve lost access to all my notes and where I am on the pattern.  I haven’t figured out how to save to DropBox which was KCs suggestion to my problem.  Also, now I have a new Kindle so the KC app says I’m not subscribed!!  I don’t want to buy a second subscription!!  In the short term, I’m going to have to use my old kindle as my knitting kindle so I can use the Knit Companion app.