Mid-year fiber goals check-in: the “other” ideas

As in previous years, I chose four Fiber Goals for 2022. That small number always leaves me with a bunch of ideas that I toss out there on the post that I wasn’t committing to finish but also wanted to record as ideas. A year is a long time so some of those always manage to happen even if they didn’t make the top four.

De-stashing: I was lucky enough to find a local friend to take a big box of acrylic at the beginning of the year. She’d gotten into making crocheted baskets, so this box of sturdy yarn I’d “inherited” from someone else’s mother in law was actually useful! And just recently, my sister uncovered 7 giant tubs of yarn in my grandmother’s basement, and I was able to find a different crocheting friend who could take those. Cleaning out my grandmother’s house is a huge job and I was glad to have been able to help with one tiny thing from far away even though it was kind of a drop in the bucket. This was not the first cache of yarn my sister has found, but hopefully it’ll be the last big one!

Hatch observes the crates of yarn pulled out of the closet at my house.
Layer 1 of the yarns I was able to fit in the shipping box.

Finishing some languishing WIPs: I jumped on a challenge from Sox Therapist and finished my Tunisian shawl finally as well as a Flickering Light Shawl that I’d started in New Zealand and never finished after we got back. I thought I probably wouldn’t be doing more Tunisian for a while but I keep thinking about it so maybe there’ll be some smaller swatch/dishcloths in my future?

Terri holds her completed Loveland Lite shawl, a Tunisian crochet triangle shaped two colour shawl. Yarn from Alwan Sultan Fiber.
Finished Flickering Light shawl. Yarn was a kit from Space Cadet yarns.

Year-long project: I did the Get Together Advent wrap as a 24-week project (so half-year), but I also have an embroidery constellations kit and I’m doing zodiac signs around the year. (well, ok, I’m behind by a few weeks right now, but I’ll get caught up.)

Kiriki press constellation embroidery sampler. I’ve done the zodiac constellations as they come up in the year but haven’t quite finished Gemini yet.

Fingering Weight Sweater: As mentioned in the previous post: it’s started! I’m using the “I love me more than you” box of minis from Passionknits yarn to do big chunky stripes on the Playdate sweater from Tin Can Knits. It’ll be a rainbow when it’s done!

Sweater body showing 6 colours.
Tiny rainbow sleeve swatch showing all the colours to come.

The Act of Sewing: I made the top, which was not a great fit and needs re-thinking, and the skirt with added pockets, which has become a wardrobe staple this summer. I might make a few more skirts.

Top from The Act of Sewing. Careful photography makes it look not awful here but it’s way too big.
Bicycle print skirt with giant pockets. I wear this plenty now that it’s warm!

Glowforge: I made an embroidery floss holder as part of a care package for Marlene, and a no soliciting sign for our front door.

Yarn care package for my friend Marlene. The yarn is a hobbit themed one from Valkyrie Fibers and I picked up notions and tea to be on theme. The laser cut embroidery floss holder with the silhouette of the Lord of the Rings characters is on the top left.
A wooden sign that reads “No Soliciting (The dog gets very upset)”

Knitting machine: We made a tube with some of the yarn my kid dyed and he uses it a lot for play. Most often it’s attached to a toy so he can play a fishing game involving throwing all his stuffed animals on the floor then tossing his “fishing rod” out to touch the one he wants to catch. But I haven’t done much since then!

Tube made with green/yellow hand dyed yarn.

That’s a pretty large number of non-goals achieved or in progress! Not all of them, but the destashing ones were especially a relief.

Fiber goals 2022

Fiber goals time! Still more fun than new years resolutions.

Previous years:

  1. Rainbows 🌈 — I’ve taken to trying to find a rainbow project for pride month every year, but what if I just knit rainbows year round? Maybe not *every* project but more than two in the summer.
  2. Advents past πŸŽ„– I have an Indie Untangled countdown from 2020 and a few older things that haven’t been used. It’s past time! I might try one as a 24 week project instead of a 24 day one, or just take over February which isn’t my favourite month anyhow.
  3. Where we’re going, we don’t need patterns πŸ•ΈοΈ — I like designing things for myself but I keep trying to notes and make it reproducible and write up a pattern. What if I just let go of that restriction and just did more freeform knitting and going off script? I like writing patterns but maybe this is not the phase of my life for that. I think this might also help me use my handspun because I can let the materials tell me what they want to be, the way my dad used to describe soapstone carving to me.
  4. Finsh the sabbatical quilt πŸͺ‘ — I started a quilt during my 8 week work sabbatical, then spent 5 of those weeks sleeping off my vaccine reactions, among other more mundane things. It was nice to have the break but it was definitely not the experience I’d imagined and waited 7 years to have. Disappointment aside, the quilt exists because I felt like I’d rather have a physical accomplishment as part of the whole less than satisfying experience, and I’d like to get it on my kid’s bed in 2022.

Other ideas

Here’s my brainstorming list of ideas that didn’t make this year’s top 4 cut, but might be fun to try or save for another year.

Squishing the stash — organizing it (and thus literally squishing it all) and also paring it down a bit for space and giving away the stuff I inherited from someone else’s mother in law that I really don’t need. I actually did a toss recently so it’s still a good goal but maybe not needed this year unless an opportunity comes up to give away that inherited yarn. Also, I bought some vacuum seal bags so I might literally squish up a bunch of that extra yarn so it can take up less space.

– other knitting ideas: more beads. More kits. Do a year long project again (maybe with the advents?). Colourwork (though I think that will happen with rainbows) Try unpopular patterns and new designers. Finsh more stuff I started (including my Tunisian crochet shawl!). Finally do that fingering weight sweater. (Maybe as the year long project?)

– Spinning ideas: finally doing my sampler kits, more fluff-to-stuff (aka, actually making more with my handspun)

– embroidery ideas: do that cute necklace kit that seems intimidating, do more of my fireside textiles patreon kits, try embroidery on clothes, finally learn to use the embroidery machine.

– sewing: Start on the first few patterns from The Act of Sewing, make pants.

-other crafts: actually make a go of weaving. Use the glowforge to make more buttons and tools. Do more with the hand cranked knitting machines. Crochet more toys.

2021 Fiber Goals: how did I do?

My 2021 fiber goals were as follows:

  1. Knit something famous.
  2. Self striping stuff
  3. Kits in Stash
  4. Crochet cables

I’d actually done enough to feel like I’d met all of these when I did my August mid-year goals check in. Including finishing many of the goals that didn’t make the cut for top 4 last year! So this is just an update since then and some end of year thoughts.

Most of what I’ve done since then was this one sweater, which was “something famous” and “self striping” and “kit in stash” so it definitely counts:

Me wearing an unfinished sweater.

That’s the Sock Arms Cardigan, knit from a kit from Must Stash Yarn. It’s a delightful pattern, but I accidently used the wrong needle for one arm and ripped that back, then accidentally-ish put in too many body increases and didn’t like the result. So I basically knit it one and a half times and it’s still not done. I had to take a bunch of breaks because it actually started hurting my hands in repetitive strain way! (And I only very very rarely get any sort of pain from knitting, so it was a big concern and I took it seriously.)

Anyhow, I’ve taken the month of December off for advent/countdown calendar knits, so the sweater will be back on the needles at the end of the month. I’m eager to wear it despite how long it’s taking!

1. Knit something famous

Gnomes!

Gnorwen the ice cream gnome
Gnombleberry the Longest Gnight Gnome
Surprise, two gnomes!

That’s 2 gnome knit a longs, and 3 gnomes because the second knit along had two.

I also had been intending to do Wingspan in the fall, but the sweater sucked up a lot of time. Plus I made a cute Halloween knit along hat that didn’t fit into any yearly goals:

All treats, no tricks hat from kit by Jimmy Beans Wool, mashed up with some charts from the Autumn Doodle cowl

2. Self striping stuff

Honestly it was more about the gradients for the last part of the year. I couldn’t resist casting on from Michele’s new book, Brioche Knit Love:

Chai Tea Latte scarf from PDX Knitterati’s excellent new brioche book!

And then I finally gave in to the temptation to get some yarn from Gauge Dyeworks, which has a fancy gradient where you pull from one end to do the heel, and wind off some chunks in between the matching balls for colourwork on these Wildflower Meadow socks. I guess they might count as famous too?

Mom’s xmas socks
If I double-layer my socks with Mom’s you can pretend they fit me.

3. Kits in stash

I did a few more Christmas ornaments from my 2018 Little Box of Crochet advent. I knew I wouldn’t finish them in 2018 because I had a baby, but I’m impressed that I’m still doing a few in 2021. They’re kind of a delight and I’m not in a hurry, though.

The holiday gnomes also used up an old Jimmy Beans Beanie Bag kit, so that was nice. I even found some dpn holders when I was going through the kits! I seldom use dpns (I’ve gotten fond of the small circulars and occasionally magic loop) but I use dpns for gnomes so they can live in that kit now.

Tiny gnome in progress with needles in a cardboard tube dpn holder. Cute mitten stitch marker from my Monarchy Threads advent.

I also did something I haven’t done in a while and tossed my stash to see what I have on hand. I definitely still have a bunch of kits, but I was impressed by how many two-skein sets I’d paired up with no particular plan. I’ve got a huge box of those mostly in one place now to facilitate using them.

4. Crochet cables

Nothing new on this goal. And that’s ok! I learned what I wanted to know. And I learned again with that and the ornaments and the Tunisian shawl that it’s harder to fit crochet into my day, so it’s going to continue to be a sometimes thing around here.

Other

These goals worked out really well, though I’ve still got a few things on my famous knits short list that I haven’t done, and I’ve got lots of kits and self striping yarn.

I’m strangely happy with the state of my stash after moving things around a bit, in that I can almost always put together something I want to make with minimal effort. Digging through it didn’t find as many gaps as last time and left me feeling like I didn’t need to go shopping! Which would be more convenient if it hadn’t happened right when it was time to buy myself some presents (my mom sends money for my birthday/Christmas every year and I like to choose at least one tangible thing to buy from her!). I’m going with the Sincere Sheep Made Here yarn subscription again this year for my year-long birthday present. (Happy birthday to me!)

The stash still needs to shrink a bit, but I feel like that will happen in time as long as I keep knitting. Still eyeing those expensive sock machines to make it happen faster, though!

So that’s a wrap on this year. January 1 I’ll post up my 2022 goals!

Fiber goals 2021: the rejected ideas

When I did my August check in I’d already achieved all of 2021’s goals. (August goals post.) So let’s talk about the other non-goals I’d talked about first. (2021 goals post.)

1. Spinning Techniques

I did try out core spinning! I only did a little sample but I’ve got plans for more. My real problem is that I’m not sure what to do with the finished fiber. It’s a bit thick for the stuff I usually make. Still fun just to do it, though.

I took part in a plying sample a long via Jillian Moreno’s patreon, which honestly taught me some surprising things about how much I like marled tonals at different ply levels. It turns out I loved the two and three plies a lot, and I even liked my singles more than I expected. I don’t love commercial single ply so I wasn’t expecting to like it at all, but it was ok. I do think I’ll try to go back and do her woolen to worsted one too.

I did get to know (and love) the new magnetic head for my spinning wheel. But mostly I did familiar stuff and that’s ok because it means I’ve got a bunch of handspun I’m ready to actually use.

2. Being intentional about purchases

I definitely did this one. I stopped following a number of larger yarn companies and started curating my Instagram to include more dyers who were part of marginalized communities. I bought more adorable stitch markers and patterns (even patterns I’m not sure I’ll ever get time to make!)

That said, I still have a bit of a stash problem. But I at least don’t feel like I’ve made it worse? And I do feel like I made a few creators who I admire happy!

3. Dyeing

Did some with my toddler. The solar dyeing and the “dye using tree bits” were fun. I’ve got some more ideas here now that it’s cool enough for us to be outside for this again.

4. Craftsy

I wound up using craftsy for quilting stuff while I was on sabbatical, but after that I haven’t made time for it. So I went to cancel my subscription today and… The phone number they tell you to call is a very scammy “you may have already won a gift card…” message and the whole interaction raised all my red flags as a security person when they tried to charge a cancellation fee and couldn’t use my card on file. Not sure if they were hacked or the company that bought them is just a giant scam.

Normally I’d take to social media to figure out what’s up, but Facebook is down today and no one answered on Twitter, so I’m not sure what to do next. I made sure they had an empty gift card for renewal and I’ll try to dig through my email to see if I had a different cancellation method at the beginning. But I anticipate this only ending with a stop payment on my credit card.

I expected cancellation to be a big pain but that is above and beyond. I definitely won’t be doing business with Craftsy again.

5. Embroidery

I did some! Finished my old psyanky egg, made a dent in my xmas trees, and bought a pretty constellation sampler from kiriki.

Haven’t tried to do anything special on the embroidery front, but that’s ok. Glad that I’m still enjoying it enough to do a few kits per year. It’s a very nice break when I need to do something physically different from knitting. I actually started getting sore from socks so I needed some bread time.

6. Design and design tools

I finally made pyKnit, my python knitting math open source/free project. I’ve used it to adjust things, gave a talk about it at Pycon 2021, and had people working with me on it during the pycon sprints. I’m pretty pleased with that!

I’ve got more that I want to do with it, but I’m glad to say that it got to the point of being useful and being in good enough shape documentation-wise that people could help me. Wish I had more time to hack on it, but that’s always the problem with ideas.

Didn’t release any knitting designs, but I did get one put into pyKnit’s examples, so that’s fun.

In summary…

Despite these being not really goals, I feel like I got pretty far on them. My only regret is Craftsy, which I suspect is going to turn into a giant mess because I can’t seem to cancel the auto-renewal properly.

2021 fiber goals: August progress

Not exactly a mid-year check-in because I stopped blogging when the Moderna vaccine knocked me on my butt and I spent a month sleeping while my immune system did its thing. I’m fine now but got out of the blogging habit when I needed more naps. But when you check on after nine months instead of six, progress looks extra great!

1. Knit something famous.

Despite frequently looking at patterns with this in mind, I’ve only knit one!

Fish lips kiss heel socks, knit in Must Stash Yarn Quinceanera.

My one famous pattern is actually only part of a pattern: the Fish Lips Kiss heel. It did require a whole bunch of measurement (and optional math) that I’ll be reusing, and i really liked the doubled stitch style of short row so I’ll be using it elsewhere. (And I may rip back and reknit the first sock because I liked my second sock slip stitch mod!)

I’ve got one more famous pattern in my plans for the rest of the year, but even if I only knit the one I feel like I’ve learned a lot from having this goal by looking at how many people have knit a pattern. A lot of patterns I love and thought for sure would have gotten lots of love only show a few people knitting them on Ravelry! Maybe I need a challenge for patterns that have fewer than 20 finished projects? That would be a great knit-a-long theme if I were in to running those.

2. Self striping stuff

Okay, obviously I knit the socks above, but also…

Knitting machine tube in KnitPicks felici worsted (we made a bunch of these while a friend was visiting)
My own single ply handspun turned out self striping!
Socks for my mom in Must Stash”lavender apple picking”

And I’ve got one big self striping project to come probably starting in September.

Yarn for the Sock Arms cardigan alongside the Knit Happy With Self Striping Yarn book that’s got the pattern.

I’m definitely happy with how this goal has worked out. And I’ve still got some self-striping stash for more to come next year!

3. Kits in Stash

I did two that were full kits with a pattern:

Composition Book Mitts in Knitted Wit yarn
Cassio kit by Laura Nelkin

And a few more that I had yarn earmarked to go together but weren’t explicit kits made by someone else:

Diversity minis by Kitty Pryde yarn, turned into a More Than The Month shawl
I had made my own kit for Pdxknitterati’s beautiful Syncopation shawl out of a charcoal from Anzula and gradient from Fierce Fibers
My Berry Crumble Shawl kit, put together from Yarn Indulgences yarn a year ago. I’ll hopefully have finished pictures later; it’s on the needles now.

I’d say this was pretty successful although I still have lots of stuff kitted up in my stash.

4. Crochet cables

Made a little crochet cable towel

This was definitely the easiest goal! I didn’t do more cables but I got into doing a big Tunisian crochet shawl so I feel like I got some serious crochet in this year.

In conclusion…

I could probably mark everything on this year’s list as done right now! I do have one partially finished project related to the list, and one not yet started, so there should be some new stuff to show at the end of the year, and I’ll talk about whether I did anything on the other ideas I had when I do the final wrap up. But basically, go me!

2021 Fiber Goals

As usual, fiber goals are more fun than new years resolutions.

Previously….

1. Knit something famous.

I’ve never knit a Find Your Fade or anything by Stephen West. But I did try something by Casapinka and some Imagined Landscapes Mystery Gnomes this year, and I had a lot of fun! I’m not going to bother to categorize what “famous” means, but I have a few things in my queue I’ve seen shared or knit or just talked about a lot. Maybe it’s time to try a few more things: they must be loved by others for a reason, right?

2. Self striping stuff

I’ve put together a nice little cache of self striping sock, but I’ve been doing sock knit a longs that don’t use those yarns. Time to give that self striping some love. Probably mostly in socks, but I’ve been eyeing that Sock Arms sweater (though I’d have to cardigan mod it). I’ll probably allow some gradients too. I just got a cool book for my birthday to help with this one!

3. Kits in Stash

Revisiting a 2018 goal: I love buying kits and making my own preplanned sets of yarn for projects but I have a habit of saving these for travel, which obviously didn’t work out in 2020 and 2021 isn’t looking so hot for that either. The queue searching this year was really helpful, so I think pulling out some of those preplanned kits (and maybe putting some in my queue if they’re not) might similarly get my mind going. And if I don’t think I’m going to do them, maybe it’s time to earmark some for gifts or release the yarn into the general stash.

4. Crochet cables

I’ve seen a couple of beautiful designs with crocheted cables, and I was sorely tempted to pick up this year’s Jimmy Beans Wool Craftvent box because I loved the design. But by the time it came around, I already had two other advent-y things in mind, so I’m putting it on this list instead. There are so many neat crochet techniques, maybe I’ll learn a few more if I get back to picking up my hook!

Other goals I’d considered:

  • Learn some new spinning techniques, but I’m pretty sure I’ll do that without putting it on a list.Β  Core spinning is the next technique I think I want to play with (not because I think I’ll love it but because I have a batt to use and it seems like a fun thing to try!) I also got some new equipment to learn so I’ll start with that in 2021.
  • I’m also considering being more intentional about what I buy, but I don’t really want to resolve to have a “yarn diet” because (a) no fun and (b) I have money and many small businesses in this industry could use it. But I’m low on physical space in my office for more yarn, so I need to figure out some changes that feed my love but takes up less space and still helps the fiber world. More yarn as presents? Buy ridiculously expensive fancy fibers? Make sure every nth purchase supports minority businesses? Upgrade tools? Buy more patterns? (Ok, that last one is definitely good.) But since I’m not sure how yet, this didn’t feel like a full goal yet. I’ll experiment, I guess.
  • I still want to spend more time on dyeing, since that was fun, but I may stick to food colouring so it’s still toddler friendly. My order of undyed yarn is apparently gone astray, though, so it may be a while.
  • I got the $2.49 Craftsy subscription, so I’m going to explore that some. Maybe learn some dye techniques as well as the spinning I’ve enjoyed this far.
  • I debated an embroidery goal but honestly, I’m kind of happy to just muck around and try to find my style(s). So far I know it involves a lot less satin stitch! Maybe I’ll try to do some embroidery on clothes? Learn to use the embroidery machine a friend gave me when he moved? I don’t really want to put pressure into this one.
  • I’ve got design and design tool goals in mind, but I don’t want to put them on the list because I’m trying to find space in my day for them that doesn’t take away from family time or sleep. Most of my goals I can do without isolating myself (eg, I knit while toddler finishes lunch) but not these ones.

Basically, I wanted to stick to goals that were fun for me without too much deep thinking. So that’s what made the top four. Here’s to 2021!

2020 Fiber Goals: How did I do?

My 2020 goals were as follows:

  1. Whittle down the WIPs and Query the Queue.
  2. A Bit of Brioche.
  3.  Top to Toes
  4. Some Smaller Shawls

By my mid-year 2020 fiber-goals check in post, I’d already done 3 of them and decided that #4 was a silly goal in a year when it was finally easy for me to work on sweaters.

1. Whittle down the WIPs and Query the Queue.

The big work in progress for me this time was my 2018 Little Box of Crochet Advent. I still haven’t finished it, but I made it further and I’m pretty happy with that. I may turn the rest into my year-long project because they’re good palette cleansers, but if I crochet too much at once sometimes I get a cramp in my hands and have to take a while off.

Robin crocheted ornament hanging on the tree.
Crocheted Holly

I didn’t hit the queue as hard, but I *did* finally finish the Aspen Leaf scarf, which was the design that inspired me to give brioche another shot!

Aspen Leaf scarf with real trembling aspen leaves!

2. A Bit of Brioche.

I did petit brioche, then the Heliotrope hat and made it to the Aspen Leaf scarf that was my brioche goal, but I’m definitely not done.

Heliotrope brioche hat

I took a second PDXKnitterari class and started her Syncopation Shawl, which I put on pause to do seasonal things but intend to finish in the new year. I may restart it, though: I’d been thinking about doing the thinnest width but after rescuing a shawl end from puppy mouth today I’m thinking the wide one might be safer to wear right now!

3. Top to Toes

I did a few more top down socks! The top down version of my favourite Sundae Socks:

And two more Made By SarahS knit a longs:

So definitely a success!

4. Some Smaller Shawls Sweaters!

As well as finishing my Pocca sweater, I did a Hazelwood sweater:

And the Stepping Stones cardi:

And I bought some lovely yarn for the california poppy one from By Hand Serial (though I got the blue colour, because having just completed a yellow sweater I didn’t think I was in the mood for a peachy one). It’s going to be my first adult sized fingering weight sweater!

It wasn’t the goal I’d planned, but I’m pretty pleased with how it worked out.

And I *did* cast on for one single-skein shawl, but it got dropped in favour of end of the year knitting, so it may be my first finish of 2021.

Plus, as I mentioned in the mid year update, I did a bunch of the goals I’d considered but hadn’t chosen too. Pretty good for a very unusual year!

I know a lot of folks have had more time for hobbies, but I’m doing a full time job in 4 hours per day and being the solo parent on duty for the other 4. So I’ve got a lot less time to craft than I used to and I spent a month pushing burnout before we got my workload right (mostly I had to drop projects that needed a lot of meetings or weren’t in good time zones, and I took up more training and documentation instead). So I’m really happy we managed to find ways to do things like the yarn dyeing as a family, and glad that kiddo is starting to enjoy more independent play so I can knit and help him build/do/pretend when he wants to do it himself.

On to 2021!