Stashdown Quarter 1: Easily Distracted

Welcome back, readers, and thank you for all your well wishes on the last post. I hope you are all healthy and surviving this massive disruption.

Staying at home was what I expected to be doing with my March so the Stashdown has proceeded without unexpected issues. The issue I should have expected is my own seasonal attention span, or rather the lack thereof. If you look back at my Ravelry projects from previous years, you can see it: the old year ends, I finish those big holiday gifts and tie up the loose ends on a massive yearlong project, and then my brain goes skibbling around looking to start all the fast, fun projects I didn’t have time for when I was on a deadline.

It has happened just about every year before now, and sure enough, it happened again. My project list for the first quarter was as follows:

  • Plaidscape cape
  • Sothern sweater
  • Ease pullover
  • Baby Surprise Jacket
  • Mousie
  • Little Sprout Baby Hat
  • Garden Gnome Hoodie

What I actually ended up knitting was…

  • Wooly Cactus
  • Plaidscape cape
  • Sothern sweater
  • Aperture Cowldana
  • Baby Surprise Jacket
  • Two Little Sprout Hats
  • Two Ballband dishcloths

When given the choice between casting on a big thing for myself or a small thing for someone else, I went for the gift knit almost every time. Washcloths for new homeowners, cuddly knits for Dollop, a sweater for Peanut (started but not finished, he’s out of the one-skein sweater phase, *teary sniffle*). The Aperture Cowldana KAL at the beginning of the year was a fun exception and pulled me out of my late-pregnancy funk for two weeks of simple, no-pressure knitting. It was a welcome respite and meant one of my second quarter projects got finished a few months early. Even though most of my knits were small, I still knitted 2,868 yards out of the stash and made some darn cute stuff so I will not complain.

Perhaps related to my penchant for quick gift knits were the mixed successes of my two garment knits, the Plaidscape and Sothern sweater. I cast on the Plaidscape in a rush at the end of last year using yarn that had been frogged and not rewashed, and shocker, the gauge grew after blocking. I cast on a large and made some mods to add to the length, and it came out very big. I didn’t feel good wearing it while pregnant, and while there will enough room to stash Dollop in his carrier underneath next fall, I’m worried I won’t be able to style it I’m such a way I feel confident in it sans baby.

The Sothern sweater suffered twice over, first from being the project I chose to learn lever knitting and two-handed fair isle and then from being set aside for three years when life got disruptive with a move. And a baby. And another move. And another baby. Are you rolling your eyes at me? I’m rolling my eyes at me. I can’t recommend a fitted garment as a learning piece for not one, but two, techniques. My gauge changed so much over the course of the learning process, especially when I had to relearn after setting everything aside for so long. It is technically finished, but the sleeve caps are not what I expected to end up with based on the pattern photos. I swear I knitted what the designer told me to, but I ended up with something quite pouftastic. Can I pull off that look? I am not really sure, but summer is nearly upon us, so I have several months to make up my mind.

Completing two iffy garments in a row has reminded me I can be a good knitter when I actually use the skills I have learned over the years. With two little humans my knitting time has become much more limited, and the projects where I have actually planned out my work and knitted a swatch have given me such better results than the ones where I just go “sure, sounds about right!” and take off.

For my next three months of the Stashdown 2020 challenge, I would like to work on getting better results out of my knitting by swatching consistently and staying on track with a couple of projects rather than bouncing around among several. How do you get the best results out of your knitting time?

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