Tuesday, January 3, 2017


I had this slightly mad-- completely bonkers, actually-- idea that I would get all of my unfinished projects done by midnight December 31st. Isn't there something alluring about a clean slate for the New Year? Then I remembered I started two-- TWO-- new textile pursuits in 2016 (sewing and spinning on the wheel), leading to exponential growth in UFO potential. This is good-- exciting! I'm not planning to give up any of my creative obsessions any time soon so why should it be somehow auspicious to start the new year with nothing in progress? But I am not entirely of the belief that "New Year" is a meaningless construct and I like to observe it in some ways-- drinking champagne, passing out on the couch before midnight, and taking down the Christmas tree are my usual rituals. And I thought instead of finishing all my projects-- which was not ever going to happen-- it would be good to start the year with a recap of the finished and unfinished of 2016.

Knitting-- Finished

Baby sweater trifecta:

I got my colorwork on and made good use of some hand-me-down yarn for these wee delights-- more here on # 2 & 3. I finished the first one before I dove back into blogging so I don't have any close-up shots-- you probably can't see but the buttons are tiny purple elephants!

Hermione's Everyday Socks:

Which would be MY everyday socks if I thought they could endure more abuse than they already take. These are comfortable and perfect and just the right amount of fancy.

Ribbed Hat:

My current go-to started as emergency knitting and got me over the fear of knitting with my handspun. I love the interaction of the chunky, irregular yarn and the organized structure of the ribbing, and the shape of the hat is a tiny bit pointy which makes me feel like a tasteful elf who digs earth tones. My husband steals this from me whenever I'm not looking, I should probably make him one of his own-- next time I'm in need of emergency knitting!

Quaker Yarn Stretcher Boomerang:

My absolute favorite project of the year! The yarn deserves a shout-out too:

I started with hand-dyed Polwarth top from Mad Color Fiber Arts and I spun a fractal-- I split the whole braid in half lengthwise, spun one half end to end for one single and the other half I stripped down into three lengthwise sections which I spun sequentially for the second single. I plied them together for a two-ply self-striping yarn with blended color transitions! I chose a pattern that would use up every last little bit of it and I loved every minute of knitting it. It belongs to someone special now, though I was very much tempted to keep it for myself!

I find it a little bit hard to believe that I only finished seven knitting projects in 2016-- I feel like I must me missing something? Probably all the time I spent frogging and re-knitting, because I knit almost every day!

Spinning-- Finished

Look at all that gorgeous yarn!! From left to right: hand-dyed BFL (spun on my drop spindle ages ago-- I used it to practice chain-plying on the wheel), hand-dyed Polwarth from PortFiber, undyed BFL, hand-dyed BFL/silk, and commercially dyed Romney. I ended 2016 with empty bobbins, which I promptly filled and emptied again on January 1st. I am so in love with spinning right now! I'm starting to be able to control my spinning to get the yarn I want and that allows me to think about what kind of yarn I want for a particular project. Knitting with my handspun and planning out projects from the fiber stage is so satisfying-- but I am also in love with the process and with the yarn.

Sewing-- Finished

Many months after officially starting, I still only have one finished sewing project under my belt-- the hemmed rectangles:

Sewing-- Unfinished

BUT, my kimono/robe is pretty close to the finish line:

Hanging it up to take pictures gave me a little burst of pride which I hope will translate into a big burst of finishing it, for God's sake! I definitely want to do more sewing this year-- I have started sketching out ideas and plans for my fabric stash... yeah, I have one of those already.

Knitting-- Unfinished

There's this thing, which is supposed to be a cowl:

and one of these days I'm going to whip it, and the pattern I am writing (!) into shape

And my Bartlett top-down raglan pullover:

Which sprouted a second version:

And now a third:

The perpetual indecision follies continue-- some things never change I guess. I'll post more on this one soon!

This is the first time in a while that I've taken a good look back at a year of making, and I like what I see-- my creative, restless mind and hands continually at work, maybe with not as many finished things to show for my efforts as in years past, but my process has become slower, more thoughtful and engaged, more open-ended. I am excited about my unfinished projects-- making is a continuous thread woven through my life, not something with a beginning and end, and I don't think I will ever be done with it, not as long as there is so much left to explore.

Here's to another year!

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