Day Two: 29th March. Skill + 1UP
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. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didnâ€™t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?
I’ve discussed over on the Sanday Spinners blog the new skills gained through test knitting and my leanings towards a design focus. I thought for a while that I would find nothing fresh to say here, so I took a trip through my 2010 project listings at Ravelry. It was a bit of an eye opener.
In the last 12 months I have knitted my first commissions, learning thereby to knit to strict deadlines and to quality controls that I might not otherwise operate. You can’t fudge wrong stitch counts when you are taking money from customers… it has toÂ be done right.
In the knitting techniques department, I made my first Shetland construction square shawl in the last year… just a simple one, the Bridgewater, but I am now poised to build on that achievement and toÂ cast on for something more recognisably Shetland. In fact, I haveÂ the yarn at the ready and am simply waiting for my copy of Heirloom Knitting to arrive.
I was slightly disappointed to find that I could not claim toÂ have beaded my first shawl in the last 12 months; in actual fact my beaded Bitterroot was made in January 2010… but I can assert that I have consolidated my beading skills by knitting the most fabulous shoulder shawl, Maia as well as a Teardrop Stole and matching headscarf (these two were commissioned and I was very proud of them when they were done.)
Most recently, I have learned a short row hat shaping, with Japanese Short Rows – in the Antalya hat from Twist Collective. I’d like to say that it also improved my grafting skills but the hat still awaits that feat (and I messed up the grafting in the Bridgwater too.) I confess to being a wimp about grafting, not to mention totally cack-handed with it.
One very important skill that has developed in the last few months is the ability to recognise a dead duck and to know how to frog it without guilt.Â This is an important sub-skill of the larger skillset used in reducing the UFO count. I plan on developing both further in the coming year. I also intend to develop those meagre grafting skills and to be able to crow about what an expert I am the next time this subject comes up. Hey, a girl can dream you know.
Afterthought: perhaps I should not neglect to acknowledge the fact that my blocking skills are much increased over the last 12 months. There is room for much further improvement but my finished projects really do look more professional these days than they did previously.