In the past, my knitting goals have been highly unrealistic. Take, for instance, the year I learned to knit. After doing a scarf and a couple simple baby ponchos, I got it in my head that I could make two sweaters, four stoles, an afghan, and a plus-sized shrug… All in the course of one summer. As a beginning knitter. Add to this the fact that I had no idea what sort of yarns were right for these patterns, and… Well, if you can’t see where this is going, you will in a few years. 😉
I’ve grown – and frogged! – a lot since then, and I like to think that my expectations are a lot more realistic. I check to make sure that the yarn is the right weight for a project, I at least have some idea of where my gauge will fall on most projects, and if I don’t, I double check before I get too far in (unless it doesn’t matter, of course.) And, most of all… I try not to have too much on my plate.
I’m one of those that, when I know I have a lot to get done, tends to get nothing done, because I’m thinking too much of “ACK! I have to do this, this, this, this, and THIS!” and not “Ok, I’ll do this now, and this at this time, and then I’ll work on this.” I’m learning to work with my ADD, and not have too many projects going at once, so I can focus on just what’s on my plate right now, and not flitting between projects.
So, if I’m trying to be realistic, why did I commit to making socks for everyone in my family this year? Well, it’s for the same reason that I started all those huge projects when I was first beginning… I like a challenge. Knitting socks for everyone pushes me to try new things, whether it’s new patterns, or new yarns, or new techniques… But, at the same time, they’re small projects that I can take just about anywhere. It takes me about 2 weeks to knit a pair of socks – sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less – so it’s not like I’m committing to spending months on each gift. Plus, with the way birthdays are spread out in my family, I have some breathing room and I will be done with my last pair by the end of August, and have the rest of the year for my own selfish knits.
So far, it’s going great. I’ve finished 4 pairs of gift socks this year, plus 1 pair of my own. Granted, 2 of the 4 pairs were late, but that was only because I timed the yarn orders badly. It doesn’t help when you get the yarn only days before the birthday, or even just a couple of weeks before – if something goes wrong, there’s no cushion to fix it! Everything from here on out, though, is going to be awesome. I either have the yarn in my possession, or it’s on its way. I have 8 weeks until the next pair is due, and another 4 weeks after that before I need the second. After that, it gets a little tighter, but as long as I start the socks at least 3 weeks before each pair is due, I’m good!
I’m really pleased with how well they’ve been received, too. Yesterday, I handed off my Hedera socks, in a pink tonal colorway on Knit Picks Stroll. My sister-in-law seemed to like them well enough – as much as she likes anything we give her, at least. And my 18-month-old niece loved them! Carried them around for a good 15 minutes, and tried to put them on her own feet.
This past weekend, I gave my other sister-in-law (well, sister-in-not-that-state’s-law…) her pair of socks. These were special to me… She’s a vegan, so I went out of my way to find a good vegan sock yarn (which I’ve totally fallen in love with, by the way.) She loves bright colors, and penguins, and the only way I could find to make socks that fit my vision for her was to make my own pattern. So… These were my very first attempt at making my own pattern. Plus, it was my first attempt at colorwork like this. So, I was very pleased to see the smile on her face when she opened the package. And the bigger smile when she saw the penguins. And the even bigger smile when she realized they were handmade. And the even bigger smile when I told her they were vegan-friendly.
So, yeah… So far, this is going over well. Of course, my tougher critics are coming up still, but I am determined to see this through (and earn my grab bag!) 🙂