I have now officially been knitting for 1 year! I’ve decided to call this my knittiversary, and it’s technically on March 31st. I’m sort of lucky that I know when I started knitting, but I think I would be cool if people just made up a day that was fun for them to honor their knitting. Or maybe knitting groups can have knittiversaries. It should become a thing, kinda like “the 11th hour of knitting” seems to be a thing in December.
I joined Ravelry the day before to find patterns, and set out with my mom to go yarn shopping on 3/31/15. I bought some Addi bamboo fixed circulars in size 8, and knit with those for a while before moving on to anything else. The two yarns I picked up were Baah! Sonoma and Malabrigo Paya, from two of my Local Yarn Shops. As it turns out, both of those shops were destined to close a few months after I started knitting. I really resonated with one of the, and I think I will always identify that shop as my lys. Kinda like keeping one idea of what your hometown is even after you’ve moved.
It takes planning to make a celebration happen, and I didn’t do much planning. I did get a cake and a candle with the intent of getting a photo to post on social media. It had the added bonus of tasting good (chocolate fudge). I had asked the tsunami of recent Ello converts about what I should do to celebrate. Although I got a lot of loves on that post, no one offered up any comments. I was on my own to figure out what to do beyond cake. As I was eating the cake and posting my photo, it occurred to me that I should knit on my knittiversary – and in particular – I should cast on.
Duh, you should knit. Maybe that’s why no one got back to me. It is so painfully obvious that I should knit they must have thought – give her time, she’ll figure it out. Well I did, and I appreciated the loves of my post all the same. No really, I think the reception on Ello has been great and I’m thankful to everyone for it – particularly the moderators/curators for helping share everything. I like that better than Instagram.
The casting on, though… that I’m proud of. This was the day I started out, and it was the day I cast on my first project. I’m excited to start a tradition of casting on a new project every March 31st. I wasn’t fully prepared for it this time around, but I made it happen. I had to pick something, and my boyfriend saved the day by reminding me – yet again – of the octopus I promised to knit him last summer (progress pictured right). It’s really a shame that the people we’re close to often end up being the ones we’re most willing to fall short for. I think it’s because we know they’ll love us anyway, but they are the ones who most deserve our priorities. I mess that up when I’m not paying attention.
The octopus was the perfect cast on. It was a small time investment, I already had the yarn, and it didn’t need careful swatching. Actually, it’s the second thing I’ll knit for my boyfriend. The very first project was a scarf for him (pictured left), so the octopus is really fitting. (I also want to knit him this hat, but I’m not going to wait until my next knitiversary for that.) I’m happy with my new tradition. It’s meaningful and offers a way to invest in anticipation of the day.
Actually, I had started work on that octopus before, and took it out. There’s a lot of stuff about knitting small things, as well as knitting increases and decreases, that I didn’t understand then. Knitting this octopus is still a challenge, but at least I understand what’s going on, and I think it’s going to turn out a lot better than it would have several months ago.
I’ve done a lot in the past year, like everything that has anything to do with knitting in my life. Here’s what I think has been most significant, in approximate chronological order:
- I joined Ravelry.
- I switched to knitting continental (early on).
- I participated in a mystery knit-along (MKAL).
- I started listening to podcasts.
- I joined Instagram.
- I attended a fiber fair and started drop spinning.
- I attempted to make a sweater, and it didn’t fit.
- I started a blog.
- I’ve taken classes.
- I attended Stitches West (and blogged about it).
Ravelry was my point of entry into the knitting community, and I broadened that by participating in BayAreaKnitter’s MKAL. I found the MKAL through Ravelry, and it got me started on so many other things. Looking back on it, it seems like I was in a choose-your-own-adventure, and deciding to do the MKAL really set my path for the year in motion. Her blog got me searching for podcasts beyond her own, and participating in the MKAL got me onto Instagram. Really, it opened up the whole world of knitting social media, and that’s vast.
Just to note what the MKAL was like for a moment… I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I’ll do another one for a while. It was really nice to be part of a group doing something together, which would happen with a regular knit-along too. As far as I understand, regular KALs have a final due date, but MKALs end up with checkpoint due dates as each clue is released. Checkpoints work really well for me. For now, I don’t like it being a mystery. It’s more important for me to know what I’m using my yarn for and figuring out if it’s going to pair well with the pattern. I do like my shawl, and I’m glad that worked out.
The podcasts have also had a large influence on my knitting perspective. I wrote about them here. Blasta inspired me to get involved with my local knitting community. Part of that was attending a local fiber fair in October and I decided to give drop spindle a try. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have started spinning so soon. Learning about spinning has really supported my learning about knitting, and I really like doing it. Together the podcasts and the spinning have expanded my understanding of the medium I’m using to make something. Before, I was thinking my medium was yarn, and that’s like thinking of building with blocks. What type of blocks? Wood, concrete, Legos? Those different kinds of blocks are obviously going to make very different buildings. That was all too clear with my attempt to knit a Brooklyn Tweed sweater pattern with superwash merino sock yarn. That was wood vs Legos, and it didn’t work.
I think the blog is also impacting my knitting. It’s definitely making me more accountable and thoughtful. I ask myself questions about what’s worth sharing, what’s important to me, where do I want to go from here? I also feel obligated to make time for knitting in order to blog about it. I finally decided to take classes so that I could include those experiences in my blog, and that’s a great thing. I don’t know why I waited so long. I suppose I thought I could figure things out myself, but why not get information from people who are good at something? You’re going be able to learn faster, and you’ll discover subtle things that might not have occurred to you otherwise.
Here’s a list of where I want to go, in order of priority. I might only get the first two accomplished in this next year, but things are in the queue. 🙂
- Post the blog posts! I’ve got at least 4 posts I want to make and just haven’t done it yet.
- Knit more. Wax on wax off, right? I need to make those checkpoints for myself. Maybe do a few regular KALs…
- Figure out the best way to utilize Ravelry.
- Continue to look for my place in knitting social media, and balance that with connecting to knitters in person. I did attend a knit night for about 2 months, but it was hard to keep it in my schedule. I want to start that up again, and go to more festivals with the goal of meeting people. It’s tough to go and talk to people, but I’m convinced that more times than not I’ll be glad I did.
- Don’t take things to seriously. I think it’s safe to say I’m passionate about knitting, and that can push it into the realm of seriousness, but it doesn’t need to go there. It really doesn’t. Man – I should make this point number 1.