Knitting: looking back at 2020 and a plan for 2021

Like a lot of people, I think, 2020 was a year when I had quite a lot of downtime for knitting, but overall it felt a bit flat. For most of the year, my attention span was so very short, and I felt I only had the energy for small, quick projects. And for a lot of the year I was knitting alone: because of COVID-19, my knitting group moved to meeting online from March until around July, and even though the sense of connection was there, knitting (and crochet!) is so much about touch, and sharing what we were working on with the rest of the group just wasn’t quite the same via Zoom (it was actually Google Meet, but that’s neither here nor there).

Mardi Gras knitted accessories

I do feel a small sense of accomplishment, looking back at 2020 though, as I did get quite a few of those small and quick projects finished. I started the year with the Ex-boyfriend Socks (Nathaniel bought me some lovely alpaca yarn from Hahndorf as a “break up gift” (who knew that was a thing!) and I turned it into socks and gave it back to him). I made accessories for Mardi Gras (an earring and a crown) out of the rainbow acrylic yarn I got for cheap in Lincraft’s closing down sale, and during lockdown I made three pairs of socks for myself, two pairs of mittens, and I had a go at embroidery onto knitted fabric with duplicate stitch.

The horrid cotton socks that look good but were not fun to knit

But there were a few speed bumps in my knitting too. After lockdown, in June, I started on a pair of cotton socks, and I hated knitting them so much, it took months to finish them. I found out via these socks that I hate working with cotton yarn, and even worse. I made the mistake of using a dark colored yarn on black needles (KnitPro Karbonz, which are by far my favorite needles), and I ended up losing any enthusiasm I had for knitting at all. And the Manta shawlette, the one I was so excited about at the end of the year progressed slowly, and is now indefinitely on hold: the pattern isn’t all that fun to work (it’s fiddly lace, has too many SSP stiches in it, and is worked around a double yarn-over in the middle which makes it feel like the whole thing is going to fall apart at any time) so I wasn’t enjoying knitting it, and in November the pattern designer went on a full-on “reverse racism is a thing” rant on Instagram, so I just didn’t want to work his pattern any more.

Christmas hat for Adrian with Latvian braids

I figured I wouldn’t be able to send knitted gifts home for Christmas this year because of postal delays: Australia Post had consistently only been offering a very limited service to the UK for much of the year, but I checked the Australia Post website in late October, and they’d re-introduced Express Post to the UK, so in two weeks (!!) I managed to knock out two pairs of socks and two pairs of gloves and made the Express Post last date for Christmas. That early deadline, of course, gave me time to make a hat for Adrian.

Over the Christmas period, I worked on another pair of socks for myself (very very basic ones), two jockstraps (one as a gift for a friend in Japan), and I started work on the Anubias shawl, which is very exciting.

As we move into 2021, I’ve found my enthusiasm for knitting again, but I do want to plan my projects this year, rather than just doing whatever I feel like when I feel like it (I think that was part of the problem with 2020: I didn’t have a plan so it all felt very erratic).

The Anubias shawl – a work in progress

The first part of the plan involves always having a pair of socks on the go. I never saw myself as a sock knitter, and I still don’t really, but I do quite like knitting socks, they don’t require a lot of *inspiration*, and I find them a good way of always feeling like I’m making progress. January’s socks are already finished, so I’m ahead of schedule (shhh, I cheated: they’re the basic basic socks that I started in December), and work on February’s socks can start. I bought some gorgeous hand-dyed yarn from my friend Mel, and I’m planning a pair with a lace panel running up the front and instep. After that, my Instagram friend Matt Akers (who I have a crush on) designed a collection of socks for Pride, so I might give one or two of his patterns a go.

I’ve already started planning for Christmas, including two jumpers (my nephew will be getting a Tin Can Knits FLAX sweater for Christmas) as well as a couple of Fair Isle projects.

The Mizu-sake coaster designed by Duke of Nikko (it reads 水 on the other side)

As well as finishing the Anubias shawl, working on my Christmas projects, and always having socks on the go, I have plans for some smaller projects that I will be working on to break things up a bit, and to make sure I get some things actually finished fairly regularly. Another Instagram friend, Duke Akiba (who I also have a crush on) designed a gorgeous hat called 绿 Midori (which is the Japanese word for green) and I’m looking forward to starting that in February. Duke is also the king of double knitting (I made his 水酒 Mizu Sake coaster last year and love it), and I’m planning to use his double knitting principles, as well as Amimoji principles and try to make a double knitting coaster with the character 愛, which means “love”.

There’s more planning to do, and I’m sure things will change as the year progresses, but for 2021’s knitting, I’m feeling much calmer, much more organised, and much more enthused!

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