2016 in Review

Its hard to believe I’ve almost been knitting for a year.  I started out 2016  by taking a knitting class in January with my oldest daughter and I started my first actual project on February 20th, 2016.  I’ve definitely learned a lot since starting my first project.  I can now actually read my stitches which is a huge help!!.  I can now figure out where I was without having to count rows or stitches.  Yay!!  Those two things were so tedious when I first started and I’m so very glad I don’t have to do that every time I pick up my project like I did in the beginning. I also can cast on without having to watch a YouTube Video to jog my memory and I can do several different types of stitches although I still sometimes have to check out the YouTube on some of those.  Thank goodness for YouTube!!  I can also read patterns and have learned quite a bit of the lingo,  my stash is growing along with my needle inventory, and I no longer feel uncertain about trying something new.

So here is my thought.  Since everyone is doing their last year in review I was thinking maybe I would do a little different take on it.  Instead of just talking about what I accomplished, I’m going to list out the projects I took on, what I learned from the project, and whether or not I finished it and my thoughts on the pattern.  I hope this will not only be informative for anyone who is just starting out, but will also give some insight to those of you looking for different patterns to try.

Project #1:

Lovely Ruffly Shawl by Rebekah Liddicoat Cast on to February 20th, 2016

Savannah’s shawl

I made this for my youngest daughter to wear in Hawaii.  See I had this amazing idea that I was going to knit my youngest daughter and myself a shawl and my oldest would knit herself a shawl and then we would all wear them when my hubby and I renewed our vows in Hawaii in June.  Being my first project this took me until May to finish only leaving me 6 weeks to actually finish my shawl.  I came close to finishing, but my oldest dropped a stitch and didn’t realize it until her shawl was unraveling, so she basically had to start over and I decided I would not finish mine so she didn’t feel left out.  The good news is my youngest wore her’s in Hawaii and absolutely loves it!!

I used US size 7 needles for this with a 32 inch cable.  In my knitting class we were taught on straight wood needles so this was my first time using a cable.  The needles were wood and I can not for the life of me remember the brand.  They were ok to knit with.  After trying lots of different needles I’ve decided I much prefer medal needles as the stitches slide easier.  My main struggle with this project was moving my stitches on the needles as I am a really tight knitter.

Skills I learned: Cast on, Stretchy Bind Off, KF&B, Blocking

 

I finished the project May 5, 2016.  For the most part I really enjoyed knitting this shawl and I love how it turned out with the ruffly edge.  The only part I didn’t like about the project was the rows that were KF&B the entire row (especially that last two rows after having what felt like a million stitches already on the needles, but it was necessary as this is what makes the ruffle) and this pattern had no stitch count which was tough for me being a new knitter.   Otherwise the pattern was an easy knit and super easy to follow.

Project #2:

Firefly by Lydia Brown Cast on to March 2016

This project was the shawl I was knitting for myself for my vow renewal.  I decided to cast on to it while I was working on my youngest daughters shawl to hopefully make enough progress that I would be able to finish both by June.

I used US size 8 needles for this with a 32 inch cable.  This was my first time using medal needles and it was so much better than the wood needles I was using on my daughters shawl, but I hadn’t made the jump to Hiya Hiya Sharps yet so the tip was a little fiddly for picking up the stitches.  I used Medelinetosh Merino Light in 293 Sun Rose and absolutely love the feel and color of my shawl.

Skills I learned: K2tog tbl, PM, SM, YO, Aggressibely blocking to exaggerate the diamond shape

I didn’t actually finish this project until September. Once I decided to not finish it in Hawaii I set it aside for a bit and worked on a few other things.  I absolutely love the way this shawl turned out and the pattern was amazing.  It was really easy to read and memorize and it had a stitch count which made it easy to make sure I had the correct number of stitches for each section.  Plus you don’t end up with a ton of stitches to bind off at the end which is really nice considering most shawls aren’t this way.  Total stitches at the end were 391.

Project #3:

Pretty Lace Hand Warmers by Purl Soho Cast on May 2016

This is a project I started because my friend and I were going to go to a Hot August Nights event at our local winery and we had to dress up as people from the 40’s.  I wanted some lacey knit gloves to go with my dress and I stumbled across this free pattern on Ravelry and thought it would be perfect.

I used US size 5 needles for this with a 32 inch cable.  I ordered a pair of addi needles for this.  I also used Oh! Loops Twist Knot in The Queen and Her Games colorway.  I absolutely loved the color, but the needles were impossible.  At one point I was using another pair of needles just to help me get under the stitches.  A single row was taking me over an hour and it was so frustrating.  Every time I worked on it I wanted to throw it across the room.  I eventually bought a pair of hiya hiya sharps and my friend helped me move the project to those needles and then it was a bit better.

Skills I Learned:  Knitting with magic loop technique, knitting in the round, SSK, K2tog, M1R, M1L

Does this count as a WIP if I don’t like it??

I never finished this project.  I finished one glove with some help from my best friend.  The glove fits weird.  Its really tight and the cuff rolls down and won’t stay where it should.  The pattern in my opinion was probably the worst pattern I’ve ever read.  There were so many pictures and pages it was hard to navigate through.  It didn’t help that I didn’t see the tiny page numbers until I was almost done, but overall it was not a fun knit for me.

 

Project #4:

Lydia & Sarah’s Oh! Memories by Lydia Brown Cast on end of May 2016

My First Square

This project I started over memorial day weekend while I was camping before I went to Hawaii with the intention I would work on it during the plane ride and any time I was in the car or had any downtime while I was on vacation.  When I started it I was thinking in my mind that my blanket would be big enough by the time fall soccer started to cover myself to keep warm and knit on it during soccer games and practices.  This was not quite the case for me.  I ended up getting 4 squares done by the time soccer started so it was big enough to keep my knee warm or a small patch of my leg, but I could not figure out how to knit on it and stay warm since it was so small.

I was gifted a pair of US size 1 carbon straight needles for this project and I absolutely love them.  They are so light and easy to use and even though they are really long and straight they don’t bother me at all.  The only downside I have found to these needles is every once in a while because they are so long, they have managed to poke themselves through the side of my project bag.

Skills I Learned: All the stitches were ones I’ve already done, but I did learn how to pick up stitches to add on a new square and this knit has helped me understand better the meaning of RS and WS.

Knitting on my memories blanket. 

I love this knit and am hoping to do a lot more work on it in 2017.  It is super easy and relaxing to work on.  Even with being super easy I’ve made my fair share of mistakes to learn from.  One time I picked it up after setting it down for a month and started knitting the RS on the WS, so that had to be taken back out, and one of my miters is going the wrong way since I started the square wrong.  I like that its something that I can make mistakes on and learn and grow and not be stressed out about the mistakes.

Project #5:

Just Another Vanilla Sock by Sarah Stevens Cast on end of July 2016

The toe is so cute!!

This project I started for my hubby.  I bought yarn and needles in April to make my hubby a pair of socks and just hadn’t gotten around to it.  So on the way to the lake I YouTubed how to cast on to a toe up sock and cast on to his sock and continued to work on it while at the lake that day.  I was so excited I got the toe done in one day!!  I was going to have his socks done in no time…or not.

I used US Size 1 1/2 and Malibrigo Sock Caribeno (474).  I absolutely love this colorway and the yarn feels so soft.  My hubby has tried them on at different times to make sure everything was fitting and he is so excited for me to finish.

The heel is done

 

Skills I learned: CO for toe up sock (I used the Judy’s Magic Cast On), P2tog

I have not finished these yet and to be honest hadn’t even touched them since September.  I finally picked it back up last weekend and finished the heel and now am on the leg for the first sock.  I am bound and determined I am going to finish both socks in the first quarter of this year.  One thing I have realized by knitting these, my hubby has huge feet.  I can’t wait to knit a pair of socks for my youngest.  They are going to go so quick!!

Project #6

Looking at Her by Lydia Brown Cast on August 28th, 2016

I had the yarn so I started another shawl even though I knew I was going to be participating in a HPKAL. 

I cast on to this pattern to by some time until my Harry Potter yarn arrived.  I knew I wasn’t going to finish it in 2016, but am hoping to have it finished by the spring so I can wear it.  So far I absolutely love how the two colors and knitting up together.

I’m using US size 5 Hiya Hiya Sharp needs and yarn is Cottage Garden by Oh!Loops and Alcaucil by Malabrigo.

Project #7:

Rikke Hat by Sarah Young Cast on September 1, 2016

Mom’s hat is all done!!

I cast on to this hat to make for my mom for Christmas.  My good friend had made several of these Rikke Hats and I thought they were super cool looking and thought my mom would just love it.

I used US Size 4 and 7 Hiya Hiya Sharp needles with a 16″ cable with the Oh! Loops Loop to Loop Madam Rolanda Hooch colorway.

Skills I learned:  Switching to a different needle size during the project.  Switching to magic loop once the stitches were too tight.  Closing off the top of a hat.

I really liked this pattern. It was super easy to knit and easy to follow.  It did surprise me how long it felt like it took to get through the pattern as it got really repetitive after a while.  This being one of the reasons why I didn’t finish it until January 7th.  I missed Christmas with this one, but my mom absolutely loves it and I love how the colors pooled to make this beautiful diagonal strip pattern.  I will definitely make another one of these hats.  I have even purchased yarn to make one for myself and it’s on my to do list for 2017.

Project #8:

Drop Stitch Cowl by Abi Gregorio Cast on the middle of September 2016

Working on a cowl for Savannah. 

I started this for my youngest daughter with my first ever Harry Potter yarn purchase for Oh!Loops.  I actually bought I think around 12 skeins of yarn from her different Harry Potter updates and I had each of my girls pick a cowl pattern, hat pattern, and glove pattern that I was going to use to knit them items using this beautiful Harry Potter yarn I had purchased.  I had also purchased Harry Potter yarn for a pair of socks for my hubby, a hat and shawl for myself, and a hat for my mom.  Of all those items I only got this cowl done for Savannah and the hat done for my mom.  I am however still planning on knitting the rest and have come to the conclusion that I now have until next winter to get them done.  Stress adverted!!

I used US size 15 Hiya Hiya sharp needles and Oh!Loops Bulky in the Tonks colorway.  I absolutely love how this knit up and the bulky was amazing to work with with these huge needles.

Skills I learned: dropping YO without working them

It’s all done and I LOVE how squishy it is!!

I finished this item by the beginning of October.  Its the first project I’ve ever finished in two weeks.  The pattern is super easy and fast and fun to knit and I love how it turned out.  I’ve even purchased yarn to make myself one.  Although for mine I will add more stitches and make the cowl bigger as I don’t like things tight on my neck.  For my daughter this was perfect and she absolutely loves it.

Project #9:

Here’s Looking at You by Lydia Brown Cast on September 28th, 2016

The start of Savannah’s hat to match her cowl

When I cast onto this hat for Savannah to go with her Cowl, the only Christmas knitting I was doing was making a hat for my mom.  I cast on and figured I would have this done in a month and she would be able to wear it with her cowl this winter.  In my mind I was thinking “she is going to look so cute wearing her hat and matching cowl when we go to Ice Fest in January.”  Well unfortunately this did not happen.  By the beginning of October I had decided I was going to knit my two sweet nieces hats for Christmas and because I was making them hats I also needed to make my other two sweet nieces and nephew hats too so no one felt left out.  Needless to say I did not finish the project in 2016 and its not much farther than it is in the pictures.  My goal is to finish this in time for her to wear it for winter in 2017.

For this I am using US size 3 Hiya Hiya sharp needles on a 16″ cable with the Oh! Loops Fashion Knot Tonks colorway.  Since the needles are so small, I am thinking I am going to be working on this for a while.

Project #10:

Sous Son Aile by Lydia Brown Cast on October 1, 2016

I cast on to this pattern to participate for the first time in the Harry Potter Kal hosted by Oh!Loops.  Lets just say this was a sock-tastrophe.  It took me several tries to even cast on to the sock and then I made several mistakes that I had to rip back out and start again.  My last mistake being knitting the wrong row in the pattern.  That was when I got a bit discouraged and that is where my sock sits.  I have every intention of knitting this pattern and starting again, but with the Christmas knitting that happened, I have yet to do it.

I used US size 2 needles with a 32″ cable and Oh! Loops Fashion Knot in the Loyal Companion colorway.

This pattern looks amazing and is easy to follow.  I saw in the Kal that lots of people finished it and it looked amazing.  I’m not sure what why I was struggling, but like I said it was a sock-tastrophe for me.

Projects #11 & 12:

Be Mine by Lydia Brown Cast on October 16th and November 1st 2016

Zoey’s yarn on the left, Lilly’s Yarn on the right

I originally decided to make two of these hats, one for each of my nieces, as part of the Harry Potter Kal extra curricular activity for October.  I felt this was the perfect opportunity to make my nieces something for Christmas.  So now instead of just having my mom’s hat to knit for Christmas I had added two more project to knit too.  I did come really close to finishing the first hat for the Kal as I finished it on November 5th.  Only 5 days late!!

I used US size 8 hiya hiya sharps on a 16″ cable and a natural skein and blue and purple skein for my niece Zoey’s Hat and a natural skein and a pink and black skein for my niece Lilly’s hat.

B3 stitch so pretty, but a killer on my hands

 

Skills I learned: B3 (bind 3 stitches together. Slip 1 stitch with yarn in back purl wise, knit 1, yarn over, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over last 3 stitches) This was by far probably the hardest stitch I have done so far.  I think with DK weight yarn or fingering it wouldn’t be so bad, but trying to do this stitch with bulky yarn was super hard for me.  Something I am going to work on.

Zoey’s Hat turned out so cute
Lilly’s hat almost done

I knit the first hat super fast and overall it was a fun knit.  The only issue I had was the bulky yarn and the US size 8 needles.  After a while my hands were killing me.  I did run into a huge catastrophe with Lilly’s hat.  I’m literally working on it a couple weeks before Christmas and I can’t find the second skein of the colored yarn I will need to finish it.  I looked everywhere!!  In the car, in all my project bags, under my bed…everywhere.  I could not find the second ball of yarn anywhere!!  With time ticking down to Christmas I ripped out everything I had done so far on her hat to use another skein of yarn I had two of in the bulky that were the same colors.  The pink was just a bit darker.  Needless to say I did not get her hat done before Christmas!!  I was feeling pretty bad about it too!!  I felt like the worst aunt ever!!  How do you explain to a two year old that you just didn’t get her hat finished in time.  Fortunately my niece is super sweet and I showed her what I had finished on her hat at Christmas and she is really excited for me to finish it.  I only have 5 rows left!!  YAY!!

Projects #13, 14 & 15:

Barley by tincanknits Cast on to Mia’s Hat November 21st, Dominic’s November 30th, and Emma’s December 13th, 2016

Yarn for the three hats

I decided to do these three projects in November after I realized that I was giving two of my nieces hats for Christmas and leaving the other two and my nephew out.  My friend told me this pattern was a super fast knit so I decided it would be the perfect pattern to use to quickly knit three more hats for Christmas.

Dominic’s hat
Mia’s hat

I did not have US size 6 needles on a 16″ cable like the pattern calls for so I knit the whole hat on my US size 8 Hiya Hiya sharps with a 16″ cable.  I used three skeins of yarn from Oh!loops that miss Lydia dyed up for me.  The purple was for my niece Mia, the seahawk colors for my nephew Dominic, and the burgundy for my niece Emma.

Emma’s hat

I was able to finish all three of these hats by Christmas!!  YAY!!!  And everyone love them.  The knit was fun, super easy, and really fast.  The only thing I would do differently next time is add a few more rows to Emma’s hat.  I used the adult size small for her hat and it didn’t quite cover her ears.  I also changed Emma’s hat to have a hole in the top so she could wear her messy bun out the top of it.  She loved this!!

Looking Back:

Looking back at 2016 and being my first year of knitting I am really happy with how the year went.  I leaned a lot of new skills and became a ton more confident in my knitting skills.  I cast onto 15 projects and completed 8 of them by the end of the year.  I found my preferred needles being the Hiya Hiya Sharps and have collected a ton of different sizes in those needles.  One thing I have not found yet is my preferred type of yarn.  So far I like everything I have knit with and I feel there are pro’s and cons’s to each type.  I am hoping to expand on that this next year.  In 2016 all my knits were with fingering, bulky, or worsted.  My goal for 2017 will be to find patterns that use some different weights than what I’ve already tried and to expand my knowledge of yarn a bit.

I think my favorite part of knitting is being able to share this wonderful hobby with other fellow knitters and share items I make with those I love in my life.  There is no better feeling than finishing a knit and knowing I made the whole thing myself with my own two hands!!

I can’t wait to see what all I can accomplish for 2017!!

 

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