2012 Year in Review: 12 for Myself

Back in January, I joined the Ravelry group 12 for Myself (now called For Myself!) with the hopes of making some crochet projects for me!  I’m that type of crocheter who always makse things for others and rarely for myself.  You know, the one who never has her own scarf finished in time for the winter because she was finishing a baby blanket for a colleague’s wife so she ends up buying one at the last minute.  This tendency has gotten even worse now that I’ve been designing, because I also have design deadlines that take precedence over gift and charity projects.

The original idea was to create 12 projects for me in 2012.  I actually made more than 12 projects, but there are only 5 that I actually use on a regular basis.  Others were repurposed as gifts or charity projects.  Since I probably only made one thing for myself in 2011, I consider this a good start!

My favorite projects were the two infinity scarves I made.

The All Weather Cowl (Ravelry project page/free pattern) is great because I used a neutral color so I can wear it a lot.

 

On the other hand, the Eyelet Ripple Infinity Scarf (Ravelry project page/for sale pattern) is really vibrant and bright, and I love to wear it on grey days.

The most unlikely project for myself that I actually love is this bathroom rug.

The backstory: I wanted to participate in as many competitions as possible in the Ravellenic Games.  This rug started out as the only partially completed project I was willing to unravel that was old enough to compete in the Frogging Trampoline.  At the same time, my current bathroom rug was looking really sad, so this seemed like the best usage of 1″ wide strips of cotton fabric.  I have used it every day since!

I’m also very proud of myself for finally finishing the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors Program in Knitting.  I consider the swatches I made for the program one of my favorite gifts to myself this year!

The final project for me success story is this placemat.  In many ways, it is totally impractical – after all, it has an uneven texture and the yarn doesn’t match my dining table in any way.  But I love it and it gives me a happy feeling to put my plate on it at dinner time.

After looking through what worked and what didn’t work for me this year, I learned a few things that will help me make more projects for myself in 2013.

  • I prefer functional projects for myself.
  • I still have a lot of trouble making things for me, so combining a “for me” project with an “obligatory” project (such as a design, testing out a pattern as part of a book review, or trying to use up stash yarn) seems to work best.
  • Although it helps to have some guidelines (“I’d like to make myself some winter accessories!”), I seem to use projects made spontaneously – and not necessarily with me as the intended recipient – more often.

Are you the type of crocheter or knitter who makes a lot of projects for yourself?  Do you plan to change that in 2013?

In training!

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My main focus this week has been preparing for the Ravellenic Games, which kick off on Friday during the opening ceremony for the London Olympics.

My personal Herculean effort will be to knit my first pair of socks.  I decided to use a pattern from Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes.  I’m far more comfortable with circular needles than with DPNs.  I think it is generally best to tackle one learning task at a time – this exercise should be about sock structures, shaping, and fit, not about learning to use a different type of needles.  For the same reason, I decided to use a skein of medium weight yarn instead of sock yarn.  When I was attempting to make a gauge swatch with sock yarn, I realized that my dexterity with thin yarn knitting is nearly non-existent.  (Apparently, summer crocheting with thread is not a transferable skill!)

This is a lovely skein of Malabrigo Rios in Primavera, purchased at Knitty City last fall.  This is one of those yarns that looks totally different wound.  I actually love it, though I confess that if I saw it wound in the store, I probably wouldn’t have bought it since the colors are a bit out of my comfort zone.  I chose this yarn for my socks two reasons.  While deciding on my sock pattern, I was skimming through The Knitter’s Book of SocksClara Parkes‘s first “beginner friendly” pattern is made with Malabrigo Rios.  Then I started poking around in Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks and found a few patterns using a heavier weight yarn. Given my clumsiness with thin yarn knitting and the fact that I had a skein in my stash just waiting for a project, it seemed like a wise choice.   I wasn’t sure if one skein would be enough for a pair, though, and I have a good amount of the Glazed Carrot left over from my hat.  Since these are toe up socks, I could always end with orange cuffs if necessary, right?

The famous Glazed Carrot skein.

It’s a bit hard to tell from these pictures, but there is a common orange color in both yarns.

Since this is such a big challenge, I’ve been making those real gauge swatches that are spoken about in books, not the fake ones I generally make :).

Isn’t she pretty?

I’m still fiddling around with needle sizes, but I should have a solid idea of pattern and needle by Friday (I hope).

I also plan to declare a goal for the Modular Relay, but I’m not sure which of the three motif projects I’m currently working on (yikes!) would be the best candidate for this.  I’ll have to decide first before saying how many motifs I plan to make.

As for reading, I’m currently about one-third into How To Love Your Job Or Find A New One by Joanna Penn.  I love her blog, The Creative Penn, and she recently offered her readers the opportunity to get a review copy of the revised edition of this book.  So far, I’m finding it really well written (no surprise, after reading her blog) and filled with actionable advice.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say as I get further into it.   I’ve put down  The Country of the Blind, and Other Stories by H.G. Wells for the moment.

Is anyone else making socks or modular items for the Ravellenic Games?  We can cheer each other on!

For more Works in Progress, visit Tami’s Amis.  For more Yarn Along posts, visit Small Things.

FO Friday: Mine, all mine

Back in January, I joined the 12 for myself group on Ravelry with plans to be a more selfish crocheter this year.  The vast majority of my creations have always been gifts.  (In the past few years, I’ve been making more projects to sell or as samples for patterns, but I still haven’t made many things for me.)  I never seem to have much of my own handiwork for myself, and I was hoping to change that in 2012.

It’s unfortunate, but I’ve realized that, in general, I don’t get very excited about making projects for myself.  So far this year, I have six finished projects on Ravelry tagged with “12forself2012.”  Except for the swatches I knit for the knitting instructor certification, everything else is a tiny project I made as part of my exploration of atypical crochet technique (usually ones found in Crochet Master Class) for the Year of Projects.

But that’s all changed.  Yes, I’ve finally made something for myself that I was excited about making, that I love, and that I’ve used every day since I finished it.  (It’s still tiny, and it is still inspired by the Year of Projects, but it way more awesome than the rest!)

My very own double-ended crochet camera pouch.

I had a lot of fun making this little pouch.  (You can see some in progress pictures here.)  I decided to make it pieces, and to alternate the color placement on each side to emphasize different colors.

I think I actually prefer the back.

The pouch was a bit large, so I made a little bubble wrap casing for my camera that fits perfectly inside.

I have the cutest camera pouch around, and it also provides a lot of protection.  How’s that for awesome?  And now I’m actually inspired to make something else cool for myself…

For more finished objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Painted crochet finale

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

I just have a quick update today, since I’m packing after celebrating Mother’s Day with my mom to get ready for my vacation.  I finally finished my painted crochet trivet!

When you last saw my trivet, it looked like this:

I was trying to decide what to do next after running out of the orange I started with before the orange and red round.

I ended up choosing a relatively dark orange and a red from the collection of solid embroidery floss I had on hand.

You can see that the orange and red are different than the other colors I used.

 

Then I did another round with both strands of red.

Yep, I ran out again.

I really wanted to end as I started, with rounds of double crochet instead of single.  But I just didn’t have enough of the embroidery floss.  At this point, I just said to myself, “This is a trivet, not a wearable.  Just finish the thing already.”

You can see the last few stitches are in another red.

I still have to weave in the ends and block it.  (Yes, I am blocking a trivet.  It’s for me and I want it to look right!  With all the different threads, stitches, and tensions I combined as I tried to make a rainbow of color on this trivet, it ruffled quite a bit.)

So, what did I learn about painted crochet from this experience?  Well, it is much easier to do than it looks.  Basically it is just a matter of holding multiple strands of a thread, embroidery floss, or thin yarn to make slow color effects.

On the other hand, it requires a fair amount of planning, since the impact of the color changes is dependent on you have the right amounts for each color change.  I don’t see myself using the technique frequently because I don’t really like buying a lot of supplies which are mostly unused.  But I definitely will be making some more scrappy trivets with my embroidery floss – I have way too much and so rarely embroider.

3KCBWDAY4 – A Knitter or Crocheter For All Seasons?

Seasonality doesn’t have much of an effect on my crocheting and knitting.  I probably make more blankets than anything else, and these are usually in response to events (new babies, new homes, engagements, etc.) that happen year round.  In years past, I was very good about planning ahead for the winter holidays, and actually made gifts for people as early as January so that I wouldn’t be a crocheting my fingers to the bone in December.  (Obviously, that didn’t happen last year!  But I do have an exciting plan for starting up my holiday crafting early this year.  I’ll be sharing details soon.)

This year, I am attempting (for once) to make more projects for myself.  This idea started with support from the nice folks in the 12 for myself and Selfish Knitters & Crocheters groups on Ravelry.  I realized that I give away (or sell) almost everything I make.  Since January, I’ve been following two amazing blog series, Crochet Concupiscence’s 365 Ways to Wear Crochet and Thornberry’s What I Wore.  I really have almost nothing crocheted or knitted in my wardrobe, except for the few cold weather scarves that are a must for Northeastern winters.  Seeing these two ladies incorporate their own creations into their wardrobes has made me really want to make more wearables.

For the first time, a little bit of seasonal thought has been floating into my mind.  If I start making more wearables for myself, I will have to think seasonally.  (I don’t have to make the item during the season I will use it, but I will have to think about the season when I will wear the item when I’m choosing yarn and pattern.)  I know there are crafters who focus on certain types of projects during certain times of the year, or even those who (gasp!) put away their crocheting or knitting altogether for the summer months, so I’m interested in seeing how other people respond to today’s prompt.  Perhaps I’ll pick up some tips to encourage me to make more for myself this spring!