Skill + 1UP

Day 2: Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?

When I originally started picking out projects I resolved to learn something new every time.

This time last year I had just finished two of the most scary projects of my life: My first baby, and my first sweater. I had only knit two hats and a pair of bootees previously. I chose a fairly ambitious sweater (in my mind), because it had a tiny bit of cabling. I have been fascinated by cabling because of the Aran knitting “tradition” in Ireland (actually a myth perpetuated by tourist traps, something I only recently learned!) I am still extremely proud of this sweater, because I was so pushed by the project, and there was a great deal of love and promise in it.

I'm so cute

A year later, I am doing another cabled sweater! Same yarn (Sirdar Snuggly DK), pattern by the same company (Sirdar)! It is a surprise for a baby due any day now, but there is not an inch of stockinette in the whole thing! (Horseshoe cable, classic cable, and double moss stitch.) Naturally, I can’t say that cabling is a new skill because it was the first skill I tried to incorporate into my knitting, but I have done so many cables this year that I am definitely improving!

Here is my cable timeline:

“Oh crikey this is hard”, head furrowed in deep concentration… (Pembroke vest)

I still love my feet

“Oh hey, this isn’t so hard after all…” (Sirdar Children’s Cardigan 2230)

I loooove cables

“Oh my God will it ever end?!”, or “The Marigold Mitten Marathon” (Bella’s Mittens and Hat, own design scarf)

Marigold Medley for Michigan

Current project (“SSHHH it’s a secret!)

Blurred and wrong colour to protect identity (ahem cough cough)

So, cabling as a new skill this year? Yes and no. Easy cabling to complicated cabling perhaps. But cabling is easy once you take that initial step. I would like to work on fixing the gap that appears between the knit stitches and purl stitches just after I’ve cabled. That really bugs me! Still, my knit night buddies marvel that I can do my current cables while chatting away, and W thinks it looks really complicated – so maybe that’s a skill? From head buried deep in concentration with Conor’s Pembroke sweater to passing it off lightly as something that is not hard once the pattern is established?

As for other skills I was delighted to add this year:

  • Using double-pointed needles
  • Knitting in the round
  • Using beads (would never have tried without seeing it at knit night)
  • Doing “math” to alter patterns to account for W’s big head and Conor’s long torso
  • Changing yarn colors
  • Lining knitting
  • Magic Loop knitting
  • Devising a scarf pattern based on another pattern (see Marigold scarf above)
  • Short rows
  • Three-needle bind-off (definitely sounds scarier than it is)

These are very simple for seasoned knitters, but very scary for new knitters! It leaves me struggling a bit to find really cool new skills to add to the repertoire. Lace is definitely the next goal. Oh, and socks. Karen has prevailed!



  1. Hehehe. Sucked in another one with the socks…
    Cables are a skill. The first cables I did when H was about 9 or so. I had to write down each stitch as I did it so I didn’t get lost. You are amazing with cables. I can’t wait to see you tackle socks and lace. You’ll love both.

  2. Gorgeous cables! The first time I tried them was in a scarf, and I put a lifeline in before every single cable row at first. By the end of the scarf I was so comfortable with cabling that I’ve never again thought twice about taking on a cabled pattern!

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