It took me a long while, but I eventually learned to never say never. Things can change. Circumstances, ideas, and above all, people, can change. Or at the very least, if a person isn't opening her narrow mind to the infinity of possibilities, she can rephrase her sentiments. For example, a knitter who would once emphatically proclaim: "I would never knit socks" might instead say something like, "I'm not really a sock knitter", thereby introducing the possibility, if not the probability that sock knitting might happen in her life. Likewise, another knitter might have spent the last decade firmly entrenched in the belief that project monogamy was essential to that project's completion and also that any other path led straight into the abyss of eternal startitis. Yet the turn of the new year has that knitter toying with the idea of starting all the projects all at once just to test the validity of that theory, because, hey, why not? and let's be honest, not a lot of knitting got done in all those years.
But that has nothing to do with me, I'm sure.
Let's talk about my recent knitting and the projects I have going. In the fall, I cast off my first ever bona fide socks. That's sort of a lie. I have knit a pair of "cabin socks" as a gift and a lifetime ago, I knit a pair of hiking socks (that could stand on their own, which was helpful because no one was prepared to assist them). What I have never knit until now is socks out of fingering-weight yarn, i.e., socks that were theoretically wearable inside a pair of shoes. And now I have.
After that, another pair of socks happened because the first pair was supposed to have been for me but didn't end up fitting. I learned that -10% ease is way too loose for my liking and in the interest of self-preservation, I just knit a longer foot and presented them to my partner, who also likes a snug sock. Why waste a perfectly good sock toe and a few inches of stockinette by frogging, I asked myself.
It's a good thing I got over the frogging aversion because otherwise, this second pair would also not have fit me or any adult I know. I'm glad I made the necessary changes because I'm pretty pleased with these socks! It's only been in the last year that I really came to appreciate wool on my feet after randomly buying a pair of wool socks to make it to the free shipping threshold for an online order. Am I about to become a sock-knitting addict? Jury's out (buying more self-striping sock yarn).*
It didn't take me long to cast on another pair of socks, despite having already started multiple projects since 2018 got going. Lest you begin to wonder, I am not really a sock knitter. Really.
When I bought this skein of fingering weight BFL last year in this super-charming "Dalmatian" colourway by Ancient Arts (another fantastic Canadian dyer) it was to make a hat, but I tried casting on for a hat, ripped it out, started again twice more and finally concluded that this yarn just wanted to be socks. Who was I to argue?
All this knitting has unfortunately caught up with me so to give my wrist flexors time to recover I'm taking a break from knitting and starting on my #2018makenine sewing projects. (Aside from a couple home decor items, I haven't sewn in the last few years so this is really exciting for me. Although, I'm not sure if the more exciting part is the fact that I now have a room in which I can actually do some sewing and not have to pack everything away at the end of the day so that we have somewhere to eat and can sit down without fear of getting stuck by errant pins.) I happened across the Make Nine challenge for the first time just last month and I really loved the idea partly because it was like a year-long Summer of Basics** challenge and partly because following the #2018makenine tag on IG has provided a nice dose of sewing inspiration. I've been out of the sewing game for so long that I'm pretty unfamiliar with what's been happening in terms of the range of independent pattern publishers and fabric sources available online. Seeing what people are choosing for their Make Nine gives me a nice little snapshot of what's going on and I really enjoy seeing people tackling their projects with such enthusiasm and confidence. I tend to hesitate for way too long before starting (or not starting at all) because I'm afraid of screwing something up or ending up with something that doesn't blow my mind away. But disappointments will happen and it's just a part of making. If I have any New Year's resolutions (besides the requisite commitment to stashdown and to start exercising regularly), it's to ignore the what-if-I'm-not-good-enough-fears that stop me from attempting things and just START already.
But, I'm a fan of baby steps. My #2018makenine is pretty tame. I have all the materials and patterns for nine projects that I'm totally stoked about making so I don't have to spend any time (or money) on acquiring stuff. (Truly, I have all the materials and patterns for much more than this, but I think nine projects in a 12-month is plenty ambitious for me). The projects I've chosen are not super-complicated, they are all things I really want in my wardrobe, and a few of them are already cast on or cut out. (WIPs are fair game too, right?) This means I've got way more projects in active rotation*** than I've ever had before.
It never occurred to me before this year that having several projects going at once might actually be more efficient if you are someone who is easily distracted when something about a task becomes frustrating or boring. You just switch gears and pick up something else that's also on the go. Something's getting done and it doesn't involve Train of Thought or mindless surfing. (I used to think that if I didn't start working on an entirely different project, I still had every intention of tackling the project at hand and toiling through the difficult stages--so I would do something noncommittal, like play a game on my phone or surf, but it would be weeks before I came back to it because life only offers you so many hours to spend on a hobby.) Which is why I'm experimenting with starting multiple projects without finishing something first. I can't deny that this feels a bit like skipping dinner and raiding the dessert table. Which is to say, I'm really enjoying this strategy at the moment but I fear there may be consequences.
*My first two pairs of socks were knit with Striped Turtle Toes by Turtlepurl Yarns, an independent Canadian dyer based in New Brunswick. The first colourway is "Beekeeper" which I purchased at The Knit Cafe and the second is "Comic Strip" which I found at Eweknit (both are fantastic shops in Toronto, but if you are not in Toronto, Turtlepurl's Etsy shop is well stocked). I think I may have given this whole sock knitting thing a whirl because I enjoyed these self-striping colourways so much and I needed an excuse to buy them. Not exactly in keeping with my stashdown goals, I know, but my guilt is somewhat assuaged by the fact that I knit two pairs of pretty fun socks as a result.
**My Summer of Basics wasn't exactly a success or a failure but it did get me to narrow down the infinite list of possible projects and I actually started (and completed!) a couple of projects. A real triumph for a perpetual procrastinator.
***This is not to suggest that I never had a huge pile of WIPs languishing in a corner. However, if I ever put aside a project to start something new, I had pretty much sentenced it to permanent exile. If it didn't get frogged or chucked, it's still sitting in a box somewhere. (Sorry, Mom. I really do mean to come by and deal with those.)