Day 2: Skill + 1UP

March 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

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.

This past year I learned so much in knitting, crochet, and spinning, and even about yarn in general. Around this time last year I picked up a copy of The Knitter’s Book of Yarn, quickly followed by The Knitter’s Book of Wool, both by the amazing Clara Parkes, which introduced me not only to picking fibers best suited to certain types of projects, but also planted the idea in my mind that, hello, I could use the freaking internet to find not only materials (Etsy helped a bunch here too, since I started typing in sheep breeds into the search to find breed-specific yarn), but also to find other crafters out there. Eventually I guess I became curious enough to figure out what on earth this “Ravelry” thing is and suddenly everything clicked for me. Well, that and my fondness for purchasing knitting magazines helped too — I started collecting them in earnest in January 2010 and now that I have to pack up the stupid things to move, I am somewhat regretting the massive piles I have accumulated!

But anyway, back on track to the main question.

For crochet, I have learned how to:

  • broomstick crochet
  • read crochet charts (very helpful if you love Japanese patterns, as I do)
  • read the character for stitch in Japanese (well, this is a very short list for crochet so I have to fill it out somehow, right?)
  • not only design my own patterns, but actually write them out so I, and others, can make them AGAIN!

For knitting, I have learned how to:

  • read knitting charts
  • do a few new cast-ons and bind-offs, my favorite bind-off so far being Jeny’s Super-Simple (or is it Super-Stretchy? whatever) bindoff
  • make a triangular shawl
  • design my own patterns, and write down what I did! And publish them…here, but still!
  • make thumb gussets
  • turn a heel/refresh how to turn a heel
  • read my knitting more precisely
  • knit intentionally through the back loop (i.e. make twisted stitches)
  • block!
  • brioche knit
  • knit a möbius using the easy möbius cast on by Cat Bordhi

For spinning, I have learned how to:

  • spin, not very well, on a drop spindle
  • ply, again not very well, on a drop spindle

General tips that I’ve learned through trial and error, sometimes a bit too late for my sanity:

  • Owning a nostepinne is nice for small amounts, but a ballwinder (mine is made by Royal) is really, really nice for large quantities
  • A collapsible swift — I like my Amish-style one as it is compact yet can handle almost any size skein — is also way better than using the back of a chair

Things I want to learn:

  • Hairpin crochet, as I have the frame but just haven’t had time yet
  • Naalbinding, as I have the pattern picked out but again, haven’t had time yet
  • Double-knitting, and I’m taking a class for that at my fave LYS next month
  • Dyeing my own yarn, as I just ordered a book on dyeing with kitchen ingredients, can’t wait till that arrives!

Overall I think I’ve learned how to do a bunch of different techniques, many of which I taught myself (from a book or online pictorial, but whatever). Hopefully this year I’ll continue to be just as productive. Like maybe actually finishing my larger projects. Though I make NO promises!

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