I look on all of my projects for this past year as learning experiences. If something came out nice and actually wearable, that was a plus. I tended to buy fancy yarns at first and let the yarn do the work, a simple garter stitch was sufficient, but now I am into lace and cables and enjoy working on intricate patterns instead.
I have learned a whole bunch of new techniques that I had never done before. Some were only used once and I have forgotten them already, like fancy cast-ons, but others have turned out to be quite useful. The one technique that has made a huge difference in my knitting enjoyment, was learning to knit Continental style. It took a long time to get comfortable with the purl stitch and I continued to switch hands whenever things got tricky, but now I am doing everything with my left hand.
I also learned a lot about yarns this year. My experience in dyeing my own yarn was very helpful in learning the strengths and weaknesses of wool and I learned a lot about felting without intending to! I learned that you could wash wool and silk, even in hot water, if you were careful. I learned that the stretchiness of a yarn is very important. The cotton yarns that don't stretch at all were the hardest to work with and the Gedifra TopSoft was too stretchy. I leaned to love Rowan's KidSilk Haze even though I hated it at first. The triangle shawl in the photo is my latest completed project done with KSH. It's the Shoulder Shawl in Cherry Leaf Pattern from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today. This one is for my daughter and I have just bought some more KSH to make the Maltese Shawl for my daughter-in-law in Meadow.
Throughout the year there were lots of mistakes, lots of frogging back (with a grrrr... ), and a few disasters like the Gedifra TopSoft pattern No. 848 that turned out to be too stretchy. (I am planning to try that one again with smaller needles.) Some things I just didn't like after starting to work on them, or even after completing them. I don't like the Rowan Tapestry yarn. It splits too easily, and is scratchy. I started on Rowan's Sorrel, from Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine No. 40, and have left it with the back 3/4s finished. I got bored with the "Where's the Opaque?" sweater from Sally Melville's The Knit Stitch. It's all just garter stitch and the yarn I chose is not that interesting to me anymore although I may still finish it. Last winter when it was on sale, I bought the yarn for Rowan's Anya, magazine No. 40, which should be gorgeous if I ever get around to making it. I am waiting for the correct beads to arrive from England.
Currently, I am working on my first Nora Gaughan pattern—Elodie from the new Berroco pattern book. It is just flying off my needles. The yarn is Berroco's Ultra Alpaca Light, the color is Oceanic Mix. Elodie is a shrug with collar, knitted in a lace pattern that imitates waves. The light alpaca yarn is a bit scratchy but I am hoping that after it is blocked it will soften up. This should be just the thing to warm me up on chilly Fall days.
Techniques still to master: DPNs and sock knitting.