Maker Objectives and Key Results

Work made me do a training on “Objectives and Key Results” which is just a business-y version of the goal setting techniques I learned in grade school: choose something big you want to do, even if you’re not sure all the steps to get you there or it’s not a thing that ever finishes, then choose some concrete things you can do that you think might move yourself in the right direction. Then learn from what you do and adjust and iterate.

I’m starting to brainstorm about Fiber Goals for the year, and it’s got me thinking that they often fall into a few “objective” style categories:

1. Use what I have.

Like many crafters, I aquire supplies faster than I use them. I don’t necessarily consider this a bad thing: I like having the materials on hand when I get an idea or have to pivot late at night when something doesn’t work out. I also find I need a certain amount of materials on hand or I get too anxious about using things up. But there’s only so much space in my house so I don’t want to collect indefinitely! Plus I have good taste and I like using my stuff.

Example previous fiber goals that fit with this objective: using my self striping and gradient yarns, using kits.

2. Try something new.

I like learning new things, and sometimes making one into a goal for the year helps me set aside time to do it! A lot of these have been things I could take classes in like learning to spin.

3. Do something hard / push my limits

“Hard” here doesn’t always mean that the action has to be hard. Often it means doing projects that are bigger or require more concentration, or can’t be done with my kid in the room. Sometimes it means just doing something I wouldn’t normally do.

The hardest example was finishing my sabbatical quilt, which was a slog for many reasons. A fun one was revisiting brioche.

4. Have fun.

Sometimes the goals are just something I think would be fun to do! Like making more toys for my kid this year.

And also…

There’s nothing wrong with fiber goals that fit into multiple categories: Knitting rainbows, for example, used stash and was fun and was pushed my habits to do something I hadn’t been doing naturally.

I don’t know that every fiber goal I set or brainstorm quite fits into these “objectives” but I do find them useful for brainstorming next year’s goals so I can get a mix of types of fiber goals in my draft doc before I choose four.

This will be my ninth year of doing fiber goals rather than new years resolutions and I love this tradition for myself.

Fiber Goals 2023: Mid-year check-in

It’s the middle of the year, so it’s time for a mid-year look at how my 2023 fiber goals are going!

This year’s goals were:

  1. Toys
  2. Hand-dyed, Hand-spun
  3. Complicated Cables
  4. Patterns I own

Most of these are going pretty well.


I’ve done a lot of these! I already talked about a few in April, and last week I finished this summer’s mystery gnome from Imagined Landscapes:

“Gnifty” the gnome from “The More You Gnome” (now renamed to “Big Gnose” by my kid)

I still have some stuff queued for him and a bunny kit I haven’t started, but I feel like I’ve met the goal regardless. There will always be more fun things to make!

Hand Dyed, Hand Spun

The lighter lavender and peach colours in the gnome above were dyed by my kid, and I also used one of his minis for the egg. I still haven’t gotten around to using my own handspun so that’s still on my list. Maybe doing Tour de Fleece (starting today!) will help get me in the mood for that?

Complicated Cables

I haven’t even made a dent in this goal, other than finding some yarn for the Lucy Hauge pattern that I bought. I’m going to have to prioritize that shawl for the fall, I think. And I’ve got a half-formed idea to go with a rainbow yarn I got in the spring Gauge Dyeworks club, but I haven’t even swatched that yet so I’m not sure if it’ll fit into the rest of the year.

Right now I’m back to finishing a sweater plus two things I cast on for travel (some Socks on Vacay/Pride socks and a big shawl), plus I’d like to start some socks for my mom’s birthday which should take me to mid August. It’s funny to think that I only have enough time for maybe 3 more shawl-sized projects before the end of the year, but I’m not a fast knitter and I’m planning to do baubles in November then advent/countdown something in December, so that really leaves me Aug/Sept/Oct to do something and each shawl takes me around a month so… not much time left for cables! Maybe I better make sure some of my baubles have cables? Or socks with cables?

Patterns I own

I’m currently working my way through the Golden Poppy Sweater that has been in my queue since it released:

Golden poppy sweater in progress. It features a large “poppy” panel in mosaic knitting (looks a bit more snowflake-y in the white/blue colours), and decreasing stripes at the end of the sleeves.

And I started the “Bubbles of Joy” shawl which I bought as a kit intending it for travel in 2019 and then by 2020 I wasn’t doing travel so it’s been sitting in my stash for a while.

The “bubbles of joy” shawl in progress with my kid jumping on the mattress in the background.

The story with the pattern is that it’s supposed to help you capture memories of joy, so I started it and took it on my first trip to Ottawa since 2019. I particularly enjoyed how well it matched an afghan made by my grandmother that my mom’s using in her house now. I’ll try to get the picture up later — wordpress is complaining it’s too big and I don’t feel like dealing with manual resizing right this second.

I’m also currently revisiting the Stumptown Socks pattern which I already owned:

Stumptown Sock in progress at the Nepean Concert Band concert.

Plus I finished some Glitz Mitts from a book I owned back in January and I finished an advent from 2022 in the beginning of 2023 too so it counts. So the current breakdown of knit/crochet/weaving I have listed on Ravelry looks like this:

4 patterns I owned before 2023

2 plain weavings (no pattern to buy exactly although I did take the course)

2 free patterns (amigurumi heart, a sock pattern I haven’t shown yet)

2 patterns I made up (rainbow + socks, feather shawl)

5 new patterns I bought (the gnome, romi mystery shawl, easter egg, good bear, rcyc mcal)

On the embroidery front, it’s all been stuff from stash including the Constellation Sampler and Floral Necklaces, plus I’ve got a summer sampler and a bee sampler on the go now. (I did buy a couple of extra samplers this year but on average I’m using more than I purchase. Which is definitely not something I can say about my yarn habit.)

So even though it’s only a few patterns, the ratio of “cast on new exciting thing” to “actually use what you have” is feeling pretty good. Plus most of the new things I bought were to go with knitalongs, which scratch a bit of a community itch that’s been a bit hard of late so I don’t regret finding a few opportunities for that!


I’d say 2 goals are pretty much done, the 3rd has some progress, and the 4th has a plan. Not bad!

Fiber goals 2023

For the past many years I’ve done fiber goals in lieu of new year’s resolutions. They’re a kind of fun way to direct my crafting for the year. I usually focus on some skill building, some “use the supplies you already have” type planning, and some things that I wouldn’t naturally do without a goal that I revisit every few months. Links to previous years are at the bottom of the post, but let’s start with this year’s goals!

1. Toys. my kid loves the gnomes and I should binge on making him stuff while he’s still into that. Probably some cute veggies and stuff for pretend play since he’s been loving making fake foods, and also some uber-cute amigurumi stuff because he’s been leaning in to cuteness lately. Maybe another Susan B Anderson pattern since I really enjoyed the giraffe? Or more video game stuff? Plus if you’ve seen any cute dog patterns, let me know!

2. Hand-dyed, hand-spun. I’ve got a nice stash of yarns dyed by my kid and myself, as well as some handspun yarns I’ve made that are currently just sitting around. Let’s try to make something with at least one of each this year, but hopefully more?

3. Complicated cables. Using the motifs from the Japanese stitch dictionary my brother gave me has me itching to do more fancy stuff. I’ve long admired Lucy Hague’s Celtic Cables and more recently I’ve been interested in Paola Albergamo’s designs (have you seen Lightbeams?) and I just queued this cool Entwined Queen’s shawl, so I’m sure I can find at least a few patterns to try.

4. Patterns I own. I own a lot of patterns that I’ve never knit. Some I even bought yarn for, but a lot are because I wanted something else in the magazine/collection, they were free for a limited time/with purchase, or sometimes I buy patterns as a tipping mechanism for designers whose work I admire. I recently made mitts for my mom from a pattern I don’t even remember buying and they’re really great, so I want to poke around my collection a bit and see what else I’m missing. Let’s try to do at least 2 from patterns bought before 2023. (I’ll also count the last few years of knitty patterns in here, at least since I joined the Patreon.) Since I knit about 12-20 things per year, that definitely won’t stop me from buying new patterns but hopefully will encourage me to look through my list!

Other ideas/brainstorming:

I always start this list around when I do my mid-year checkin and generate a lot of ideas before I settle on 4. Here’s the ones that didn’t make the cut — they’re still good ideas, just maybe I’m not ready to commit to working on them right now.

Stash related goals: Actually calculating in/out to see how things are going. More knitting machine experiments to use yarn faster? More organization (there’s still a few boxes that haven’t been properly integrated into the new box sorting system). Someone was talking about using 2023g of yarn in 2023 and maybe I could try that?

Two-colour projects / Perfect pairings: I have a nice stash of pairs of yarn, but I need to use more of them because I’m acquiring pairs faster than I use them (and the box where I keep them is a bit on the over-full side). I do the big Romi mystery shawl once per year and sometimes also do the rose city yarn crawl one (though this year they upped it to 3 skeins so no help there), but I think i need to plan for some non-mystery uses. Also, I haven’t done double-knitting in a while and maybe I should? Or brioche?

Sweater stash: I currently have a few sweater quantities of yarn: a Golden Poppy kit from Black Squirrel Berkley, a fade set from Space Cadet that I’ve got a few pattern ideas for, and a Knit Picks Barnsdall Cardi kit with blue and white yarns that I honestly don’t even know if it’s worth doing now. Plus I’ve got a few big mini sets that could reasonably become sweaters but don’t have patterns selected yet: a set of summer solstice minis from Teal Torch Knits, and a Kitty Pride Fibers summertime minis set that could be something else but I kind of have my heart set on a stripey sweater, and I’ve got a smaller set from Alwan Sultan Fibers that I really want as the bottom to a sweater. 6 sweaters-in-waiting is a lot if I only knit one per year (though some could and maybe should be switched to non-sweater use), so maybe try for two (or more!) in 2023.

Embroidery. I had fun with the big year-long constellations project, maybe there’s something else I could set up for myself with quarterly kits or something? I have some kiriki press dolls, and a lot of kits left over from my Fireside Textiles patreon subscription that I really do want to do, plus a few tiny necklaces and stuff.

Sewing: make pants. Try that spiral-rainbow skirt mentioned on epbot (apparently the pattern is peppermint swirl). Do something fun with my fireside textiles stash (try contrast triangle panels & pockets in the act of sewing skirt?)

Quilting: Maybe a monthly block project? Plus I’ve got the Adventureland kit to finish and a half baked plan of putting my charm packs into something gradient-ish.

Kits: I still have kits to use. They’re not out of control or anything, but it’s always good to go through them and make sure I actually get to make them or consider gifting them to someone else if I don’t. As well as the knitting ones, I even have a felting kit that I haven’t finished.

Prune the queue: My ravelry queue has over 100 things in it, some of which are just not going to happen: some were added when my kid was little before I knew what he would and wouldn’t like, some of which were added when I actually wore worsted weight sweaters, etc. It’s time to move more things to favourites if I don’t actually have plans to knit them.

Smaller Shawls: Is it time to revisit this much-delayed goal from 2020? I still love wearing smaller shawls, but I’ve been focusing on bigger knits because I don’t need to carry them to work and because honestly I need sweaters more now that I’m walking the dog after dark. So maybe not this year.

Knitty patterns. I’ve sponsored the Knitty magazine for a while now through their Patreon, and not only do they have regular new patterns but they also have a pretty intriguing back catalogue. I’ve knit a few knitty patterns and they tend to be pretty great, but I don’t always think to look there for stuff.

Organize the books/magazines. I’ve got a few books and magazines full of patterns, and some of them don’t much use because it’s not ready to search them. I’d like to spend time getting those books up on a single shelf in our library downstairs so they’re easy to search, maybe list them in my ravelry library so they’ll show up in searches better, and of course actually knit some designs!

Weaving. I’ve really wanted to do a class at Craft Emporium PDX for weaving but it felt not viable as covid numbers surged. But I still want to do it and at this point they’re one of few places still requiring masks.

Tunisian crochet. I thought after my one shawl took a year that I probably was done with this, but now that I have the hook I kind of want to try a sampler scarf or something just to try some stitches. Could even do this as a year long 12 months of stitches to try?

Spinning. Do more spinning year-round, somehow, because blitzing for Tour de Fleece hurts my hands and I need to keep the muscles in shape. I thought the swatch-a-long might work for that but it hasn’t so far, so I may need a new spinning goal. Monthly minis or some sort of year-round rainbow thing? Trying more bulky yarns? Maybe having something like a shawl or blanket that I’m adding to year round? I was pretty happy with how the different weight yarns worked in my Steggie so maybe that would be an idea?

e-spinning: try to really get to know my new eew nano 2. I love the idea of an e-spinner but mostly I actually like treadling so given the choice I turn to the big wheel. But I need to spin more to build the muscles I need so maybe a portable setup is the way to go? (Also one my kid is less interested in sticking papers in…)

Previous Years

Fiber Goals 2022: how did I do?

As in previous years, I chose Fiber goals for 2022. There were 4 things:

  1. Rainbows
  2. Advents Past
  3. Where we’re going we don’t need patterns (i.e. making my own designs and intentionally not planning to publish them)
  4. Finish the sabbatical quilt.

I’d actually finished most of these at my mid-year check-in point, and I’d even made headway on some of my non-goal ideas for 2022 too.So let’s talk about what happened since July!

Goal 1: Rainbows

This has been my favourite goal. I’ve knit so many things! And they’re great for a dopamine hit because they draw both social media likes and in-person compliments. But even if they didn’t, I just really enjoy buying and knitting rainbows, and I love wearing them, so I think this one is going to be a forever goal now. Some finished-post-July projects:

The Rainbow Sweater (Pattern: Playdate from Tin Can Knits, Yarn from PassionKnits yarns)

Terri wearing her rainbow playdate sweater.
The sweater with a special set of mismatched buttons.

The Queer Enough Shawl (design by me! Yarn from Knitted Wit)

Terri wearing her Queer Enough shawl.

The Spring Rainbow Shawl (design by me! Yarn from Chemknits)

Yarn minis with rainbow bag and the start of a knit shawl.
The finished Spring Rainbow shawl laid out mostly flat.
Terri sweating the Spring Rainbow shawl (also a rainbow sock arms sweater and a rainbow tie dyed shirt made this summer.

The Family Dye Day Shawl (design by me! Not written up yet. Yarn from Knit Picks but dyed by the whole family.)

A child sized Family Dye Day shawl is laid out flat on the patio stones.

I also did some rainbowy tie dye with my kid, and started a lightly rainbowy quilt.

Terri is wearing a rainbow tie dyed shirt. Hatch, a black lab mix dog, is on her lap. They are both looking to the right of the photo.
Adventureland quilt in progress.

And I’m currently working on the Rainbow of Emotions kit which is obviously pretty rainbow-y, a rainbow sock to knit in my “spare” December time (between all the countdown calendars), and i cast on a rainbow pair of mitts (because I could use some longer fingerless mitts for winter dog walks.)

Goal 2: Advents Past

I “finished” the Little Box of Crochet advent from 2018! I say “finished” because I did skip two more religious ornaments (an angel and a baby Jesus) because I just wasn’t feeling it. I’ll probably do them later since I have the yarn, and I’ve got ample supplies to duplicate the ones I like. But I *feel* done so I’m counting it. Saving the book to pull out a few times later vs not having crocheted the ones I wanted feels very different.

Tiny crocheted skates around the neck of a t-rex fighting gnomes.
Bell ornament from little box of crochet advent.
Pudding mouse from little box of crochet advent.
Drums (or as my kid prefers, fancy coffee) from the Little box of crochet advent.

I also finished the tree sampler from Dropcloth Samplers that I’d been working on for quite some time. Not an advent but the result was holiday ornaments so it feels like it’s in the same category!

Embroidered side of the dropcloth trees
Back side of the dropcloth trees, featuring some scraps from my other makes. The red one is from my wedding dress, the green from an early-pandemic mask, the other two are skirts.

That leaves me with one advent from years past that I haven’t done (mostly because I didn’t love the pattern), and one 10-day countdown that I have a plan for but haven’t cast on. Not bad! Well, plus all the ones I’m doing now, but I’m keeping up with those so far! I’ve also got two that are “yarn collecting” ones and I’ll decide what to do with them after I see the whole countdown.

Goal 3: Where we’re going we don’t need patterns

This has been a huge success in that I’ve played with a lot more of my own designs. The three rainbow ones again:

Plus the Steven the Bat socks.

I’ve found that if I don’t try to focus on designs that I can explain to others or where everything has to fit in a single chart and line up the repeats, I can be differently creative. Amusingly, this goal has resulted in me actually writing more partial patterns as you can see from the links. I feel like the notes are mostly written for my own use and if someone else finds them handy then good but I don’t stress over it. And I always have the option of writing up in detail later if I want to. This one is probably also going to be a goal I take with me forever now.

That said, my friend M really did knit the Queer Enough Shawl so that one at least can be knit (though she did have some fixes I need to add to the post).

Goal 4: Finish the Sabbatical Quilt

I did it!

The sabbatical quilt, with one corner flipped to show the back fabric.

This felt huge because I had a lot of Feelings around it — I felt shoved into taking the sabbatical and going part time at work, I was completely wiped out for most of the 7 weeks due to the first and second covid vaccines so I didn’t actually have enough time to finish it, and maybe I needed a more structured existing pattern for my first big quilt to take some of the mental load off. But the quilt is lovely, it’s on my kid’s bed and gets used every day, not only to sleep, but also he loves the little houses on the back so sometimes we make up stories about them during bedtime or spread it out and have his toys racing from house to house delivering packages.

I took a decent break after finishing, but I did start a new quilt learning from my experience with the first one: more pre-cut fabric (since I hate cutting), used an actual pattern (so I didn’t have to calculate stuff) and it’s smaller (so hopefully the actual machine quilting will be better). It’s going well, and I’m enjoying taking it slow and learning. It’s nice to have transferred this from the “hobby I have some regrets about” to “hobby I actualy enjoy on occasion.” And I’m *loving* the experience of looking at fabrics in a new way. So this goal was a success beyond where I thought it would be!

The “other” ideas

As in previous years, I fill my fiber goals brainstorming sheet with ideas all year, then just promote the chosen 4 to the top but leave the other ideas hanging around so I can read them and be inspired even if I wasn’t really ready to commit to putting them on the must-do list. So here’s some others that I did progress on:

Squishing the Stash — on top of destashing some acrylic, I’ve also been re-organizing my office. I used to have all my yarns sticking out where I can touch them, but after a few incidents with carpet beetles I had swapped them to smaller plastic boxes to reduce exposure to bugs. Unfortunately, the boxes with lids that fit in my shelves used up a fair amount of space leaving my stash in a bunch of large bins that didn’t fit on the shelf. So this year I picked up some more drawer-style things and a lot more plastic bags and I think I’ve found a reasonable solution. I still have a few bins for the bigger yarns, but I’m slowly getting things organized. I’d guess it’s around 80% there?

I haven’t resorted to vacuum sealing… yet!

More Kits – Both the advents and the rainbows helped me use things that I think of as kits, and in this second half of the year I also made a Tiny Giraffe kit from Barrett Wool Co. and made that, which was a total delight.

I also did a tiny Laura Nelkin cuff kit, which was fun! I’ll have to keep an eye out for new kits from her. They’re tiny and interesting to make.

Spinning – I did tour de fleece and tried to low-key join a spin-along immediately after, but got stalled out because I needed a physical break. But I did get all my handspun into a nice bin where I can see it and I have plans! I feel like I spun as much as I really wanted to and that’s fine, but I also want to plan so I spin a bit more year round so I don’t overdo it all during the Tour. Something to think about!

Embroidery – I continued to embroider (see: the tree sampler and the constellation sampler) but no pushing on big goals here. And that’s ok, that’s why they didn’t make the top 4! Embroidery continues to fill the niche of “I need a break from my knitting” and I think that’s about what I want out of it so we’re good.

The Act of Sewing – I made 1 shirt (it’s not great) and 4 skirts (I love them so much) but no pants yet! Expect at least one more skirt in the spring. I also have fabric and a pattern for a shirt that I think will suit me better; we’ll see.

Terri modeling a linen/cotton skirt. This one has blue/green florals on a grey background.
Terri modeling a linen cotton skirt. This one is red and black florals.

Other Crafts – I made a tiny weaving!

A very tiny (4.5cm square) weaving next to a US quarter for scale.

And I did make the Giraffe toy and some gnomes, including a giant one that has been a source of much delight and a few owies.


I am so delighted with how these goals (and bonus ideas) worked out for me.

I’m pretty happy with how I divided my time between crafts: mostly knitting (since I can multitask) with embroidery and sewing thrown in when I need to use different muscles. Then a little bit of crochet and spinning when I have something I want to do, like (Tour de Fleece or the Little Box of Crochet advent). My only concern is that I need to spread out my spinning time a bit more so I don’t overdo it in the summer.

I’ll post my goals for 2023 on January 1!

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.

Mid year check-in: 2022 fiber goals

For the past 7 years I’ve done fiber goals instead of new years resolutions. It’s been a fun way to guide my crafting plans. Here’s a link to my 2022 fiber goals. We’re nearly halfway through the year, so let’s talk about how it’s going.

Goal 1: Rainbows 🌈

Started strong with using half of my 2020 countdown calendar (see goal 2) to make a beautiful Steggy shawl.

Me wearing my rainbow Steggy Shawl

I also did some rainbow-adjacent Spell Shawls with one that’s pink-purple-yellow-brown and one that’s blue-green. Between the two of them they kind of make a rainbow?

I’ve started a fingering weight Playdate sweater that’s going to have a full rainbow when it’s done but it’s not too visible yet. I’m not in a hurry to finish this one now that we’re very clearly out of sweater season, but hopefully it’ll be done in the fall.

A sweater with large bands of colour is taking shape on the needles in the foreground. An inflatable pool with a rainbow floaty toy is visible in the background.

I made a fairly rainbow Diponaea hat as part of Quiet Queer Craftalong. The idea of the craftalong is to support queer creators and participate in a pride event that’s accessible to people who aren’t going to be doing pride parades and more traditional celebrations. (Like me and my sore leg!) So both the yarn dyer and pattern designer are non-binary for that project.

Hatch, a black lab mix dog, is lying with his nose on a colorful hat.

And I’m starting work on my own design (tentatively named “Queer Enough Shawl”) that will use this lovely rainbow set I have:

A small crescent shawl in progress beside a rainbow of yarn minis and a book.

This goal is about doing rainbows year round, so I expect to keep on rainbowing through 2022.🌈🌈🌈

Goal 2: Advents past 🎄

My first project was to use my 2020 Indie Untangled Countdown calendar to make that Steggie Shawl. I actually only used about half of it but that’s ok, I’m happy to save the rest for later. Maybe another shawl, though I’ll need some more yellow to make another rainbow so I’m waiting for my scraps pile to build up again.

Steggy Shawl in progress

I also used the 2018 Craftvent calendar as a weekly project, to be done during work meetings. Each box took about an hour or two, so very feasible to do during my regular meetings (one of which is my social knit group). It made a beautiful wrap. The All Together Now pattern was known and the calendar didn’t have a lot of extras so honestly I might have been more disappointed by that if I’d done it when I got it, but all these years later I was happy to have the curated prepared yarns and a weekly project.

My Little Box of Crochet advent from 2018 has a number of ornaments left to go, so I might try doing that one next. The patterns may need too much reading and counting to be good meeting fidgeting, but if they’re not a good fit for meeting times I’ll fit them into my plans another way. Goodness knows, I’ve got a whole rainbow sweater to work on that’s super easy knitting.

I’ve also got a countdown calendar that hasn’t got a pattern with it, and I’ve got a vaguely formed plan but no timeline on that one.

Goal 3: Where we’re going, we don’t need patterns 🕸️

Not as much progress on this one, but I did start that soon-to-be rainbow shawl (shown above) and my quilt (shown below) both of which are designed by me. It’s incredibly hard not to try to turn the rainbow one into a pattern but I’m compromising on a partially-formed recipe. I’ve also got a bunch of notes for a couple of mosaic knitted projects, so those might happen too.

Goal 4: Finish the sabbatical quilt 🪡

It’s actually getting close to done!

Quilt binding in foreground while my kid plays Paper Mario Origami King in the background.

I still have plans to do some embroidery on it after the binding is done, but it’s now reached the stage where I don’t need to have kid-free time for this so it’s less stressful to work on. I know, other quilters do stuff with their kids around, but my kid is way too interested in the sewing machine and … well, last time he was around I wound up having to give up and help him make a pillowcase instead.

Rainbow Quilt at the “trimming the sandwich” stage.

I won’t say I’ll never do another quilt again because I have second quilt top kit in my fabric stash (bought as a souvenir with a very Albuquerque-Mexican design). And I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed some of the process! Some thoughts on improving the experience:

  • I didn’t love cutting fabric but the jelly roll was fun so maybe more of those.
  • While I didn’t have much trouble with machine quilting on my heavy-duty signer, I’ll consider hiring someone with a longarm to do that part to save the many hours of rolling and unrolling that took.
  • Smaller might be better: I could try quilted bags or smaller throws in future.
  • I could also really use a more study desk for the sewing machine — I’m figuring out what that should be now.

Once this is done I’ll be taking a long break from quilts, but not from sewing! I’ve been enjoying making clothes, and would like to get back into bags and toys too. Maybe even make my kid some ponies if I can find that pattern.

Other non-goals: coming later

Everything is well on the way for these goals! I also had a bunch of things that didn’t quite make it to my top 4 goals but *did* make it into my life. I’ll put those in a separate post!

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 🎄– 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 🕸️ — 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 🪡 — 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


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.


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.


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.  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!