Casting Off and Looking Back

There’s a lot to be said for the idea that January 1 is just another day. Too many resolutions can mean unnecessary pressure … and who needs that, especially coming off the back of 2020? That being said, I have definitely felt a different energy the past couple of days that’s manifested in a few ways … doing some reorganizing, tentatively talking about repainting some walls, baking cakes for no reason and, most importantly, thinking about and prioritizing crafting projects for the year. My head’s been full of plans for starting new projects and possible tricks for convincing myself to tackle long-unfinished ones. Maybe it’s the new year, maybe it’s the nice chunk of time off Mr. N and I have had, or maybe (most likely) it’s down to my nearly-fifteen-month-old tot finally (she whispers, hesitantly, hopefully) sleeping through the night. Whatever the reason, I’m embracing this momentum for as long as it sticks around, especially when it brings me something as cheery as my first cast off of 2021!

There’s not tons to say about these socks. They’re very simple, no pattern: cuff down, with 3×1 rib on the leg and top of the foot. They’ve got an afterthought heel (more on that in a second) and I used some contrast yarn for the small cuff and the toe. But the yarn. Oh, the yarn. It’s my first pair of socks using Fab Funky Fibres, who are now definitely the purveyors of my favorite self-striping sock yarn. The colors are out of this world, and, unlike a lot of lovely (and rather expensive) handdyed self-strpiing sock yarn I’ve bought in the past, they really, really saturate the yarn … none of the base white shows through, if you know what I mean. This colorway is called Trolls World Tour. I’ve, ahem, stashed a few more colors, and I cannot wait to cast on my next pair, although that has to wait until I’ve finished one of the several sock WIPs sitting in my unfinished object basket bin (see: tricks for convincing myself to finish projects).

I’ve talked here before about my love of afterthought heels (though not terribly recently), but this year, I tried out a new-to-me afterthought heel, originally for these BirthDay Socks (that’s a Ravelry link) and fell in love. I’ve always knit (and taught!) afterthought heels in the same way I do top down toes — with paired decreases at each side of the heel, creating a sort of wedge shape that looks quite funny off the foot but fits fine when worn. But then I tried these afterthought heels with decreases spread at equal intervals around the heel’s circumference, creating a more cupped heel, and I love the fit. I followed the instructions from Boost Your Knitting‘s Heartgyle Socks, though it’s also the heel used in the afterthought heel chapter of A Year of Techniques (and at time of writing, both of those books are on significant sale).

These socks are bright, they’re cheery, they’re just the thing for dark January days. There’s probably not many more ways I can tell you how much I love these socks, which I started back in the summer, but I thought, given posts were, I think it’s fair to say, thin on the ground in 2020, I could do a quick whizz around some of the knitting I did this past year. You can just spy one of them in the photo above … a Sooper Sweater by Anna Maltz for Willa, also from Boost Your Knitting and featuring the marlisle technique.

It’s one of three sweaters I made for the little one last year, the other two were Rigmor’s Shirt (link to Ravelry project page) and, my favorite of the year, a Petit Arc-En-Ciel, a present for her first birthday in the autumn.

Petit Arc-En-Ciel, knit with a kit from De Rerum Natura

There were some other knits for Willa … scrappy socks, a birthday crown, some baby shawls (that’s a Ravelry link — they make lovely gifts for a new baby!) and, most recently, this little puppy, a Christmas gift still searching for a name (and companion to last Christmas’s Penny the Panda — again, that’s a Rav link).

Waffles Puppy. Pattern and kit from Barrett Wool Co.

Mostly though, I knit for myself! After finishing my Bressay last March (which I blogged about here) I managed four other sweaters for me. In June I finished the Super Simple Summer Sweater by Joji Locatelli, knit using Mungo, a cotton-wool blend yarn made from recycled pre-consumer waste, from Retrosaria Rosa Pomar — I bought it as a kit. I LIVED in this sweater all summer and into the autumn. The yarn was a joy to knit with and softened significantly with wear … I am really looking forward to breaking this sweater out again as soon as the temperature rises a bit!

Super Simple Summer Sweater by Joji Locatelli (Ravelry link)

I also finished a summer top, the Rock It Tee from a kit (2020 was the year of the kit for me!) from Tanis Fiber Arts, which I finished in September but shared on Instagram a few days ago — you can see the post here. And in November and December I finished off two cardigans that I’d been working on the better part of the year, both of which I adore … First was the Piosa Cardigan (that’s a Ravelry link) by Renee Callahan, knit in some deep stash Junegrass Yarn from Fancy Tiger Crafts:

Followed by the fittingly festive Conviviality Cardigan designed by Sarah Hatton for Something To Knit Together (also on sale at time of writing) and knit in Something To Knit With 4ply:

When I sat down to work on this post, I tried to tot up all the knitting I’d done this year, and to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised. There were other bits and bobs for myself and others (shoutout to the Pupu Scrunchie [Rav link] which I’ve worn, sans bow, most days since I knit it). But at heart, I love knitting garments and that’s where I focused most of my energy this past year, even if progress at times felt painfulllly slow. During my year end craft audit, I also realized that I finished most projects I started in 2020: I have a current and very active sweater WIP on the needles, a wrap that I’m ready to get back to, a mitten waiting for a mate and a Ripple Bralette in-progress that will keep for warmer days, but otherwise, I didn’t add to the heap of unfinished objects that hides in my room this past year. Maybe 2021 will be the year I finally either finish or frog some of those historic WIPs.

I’m looking forward to continue to plod along on garment knitting and enjoying dreaming up sewing projects to go along with my knits … and hopefully sharing some of those projects with you here this year. I also have a design or two knocking around in my head, so maybe, just maybe, they’ll be a pattern to share at some point. Many people have written far more eloquently than I could do about the challenges of 2020, so I’ll just say I hope you’ve enjoyed some rest during the holiday period and that you have some crafty plans you’re feeling excited about for 2021. Thanks, as always, for spending a bit of your day here with me, and if you’d like to share any of your ideas for 2021 projects (or a favorite 2020 project) in the comments, I’d love to hear them!

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