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A Knitter's Resolution

"If I can keep all my resolutions, this will definitely be the best year ever. I almost wish it was the year 2000 again because that was more than a new year--it was a new millennium. And these resolutions are millennium-worthy!"
- Marissa Moss, Amelia’s Must-Keep Resolutions for the Best Year Ever! 2008

A few days after New Year's, my husband Rody and I were in a busy waiting room at the University of Iowa Dental College. Our youngest daughter Lelia had a check-up.

Rody had settled into his morning's Wall Street Journal and I had begun knitting. Spread out on my needles was the fresh start of a healing shawl I had frogged the night before. My re-knitting had to do with trusting the pattern’s recommendations – varying the number of increase stitches to allow the shawl to hug the shoulder--something I didn't do the first time, but had vowed to do this second round. The shawl pattern was an easy one, mostly stockinette stitch. The already long rows of straight knitting freed me to observe the room. People watch.

She walked in with husband. A garter stitch headband in a gay red held back her thick dark curls. They sat across from us. We smiled a hello at each other. Then, minding my waiting room etiquette, I left them alone, returning to Rody and my knitting.

Later, on her way out, we chatted and exchanged seasonal pleasantries. Neither of us introduced our spouses. We had met only recently at the local yarn store and I wasn't sure of her name. I'll bet she didn't know mine either. And it didn't matter. We knew our common bond.

"A knitter?" Rody asked after she left.

I nodded my yes, making a recommended increase on the shawl.

"It's like tennis," he said. Correctly pointing out the club-like aspect of my changed knitting world.

Michelle's Resolution Card
Click here to download card [PDF]

Not that long ago, before blogs, Ravelry, Facebook and newsletters like this one, I was a person who knit. Back then, it was a solitary pursuit, almost never done in the company of other knitters. These days I define myself as a "knitter," and feel, like so many others, a part of huge global community that includes those I happen to met in my hometown, or on a blog from Finland. Our club membership is the passion we share. So I knew when I was thinking about my 2011 knitting goals, so were many other knitters.

This December, the knitter's World Wide Web buzzed with our declarations, confessions, vows, promises and pledges. Many of the public proclamations resonated with my own hopes; finish UFOS, master new techniques, organize the stash, knit the stash, bust the stash, donate the stash, knit for others. Knit more. Socks. Cowls. Sweaters.

It's mind boggling how much we knitters aspire to do. To the list of this year's knitter's goals, I'd like to add a few modest ones of my own: Learn to darn and put my basket of broken socks back into action this sock-wearing season. Keep my knitting a peaceful, quiet place. Accept my mistakes and move on without stress--like re-knitting the healing shawl. Enjoy my yarn and needles. Pay attention to the pattern. Take careful measurements. Make useful gauge swatches. Label and save them.

"It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end," wrote Ursula le Guin. Resolutions can be helpful on our knitting journey. Serving to remind us of our starting points, alerting us to our arrival at our destinations. And to help us on this path, I've made a handy commitment card. A gentle reminder, small enough to carry in your work bag. From my knitting spot in Iowa City, Iowa to wherever you are in the knitting universe, best wishes for Happy New Year.

Michelle's Recommended Patterns, Resources and Knitting Help for the New Year

Cowl: Basic Knit Cowl or Crochet Tweed Stripes Cowl

Socks: If this is year, you are planning to master socks and need help, Visit the Video Library in the Learning Center, scroll down to "Knit Socks" and check out these video tutorials to help you through all aspects of socking knitting: casting on and working cuffs, working the heel flap, turning the heel, picking up gusset stitches, decreasing for the toe, and closing the toe with Kitchener stitch.

Sweater: Knit Pert Classic Pullover. You can also use up your stash with this—add few stripes.

Mittens: Easy Knit Mittens. A good pattern to start understanding mitten basics – cuff, gusset and thumb.

Gloves: Fledging Gloves. Gloves are a little trickier than mittens. This very cute pattern is for more experienced knitters. It's on my 2011 "to knit" list.

Stash Busters Afghan Recipe: Use these easy, basic patterns to bust your stash: Knit with two strands of yarn on large needles to desired size. Mix types of yarn if you like. If you want the afghan to be machine washable, be careful that all yarns used have the same washing instructions!

  • Knit Delightful Tweed Baby Blanket. To make this a full size afghan, repeat last row until you  have 198 stitches (instead of the 99 stitches specified in the pattern). Then follow the pattern as written.
  • Knit "My Blankie". To make this a full size afghan, cast on 120 stitches (instead of the 60 stitches specified in the pattern). Then work until piece measures 72 inches from the beginning (instead of the 36 inches specified in the pattern).
  • Crochet 5 1/2 Hour Throw. Combine a couple of strands of yarn with a big hook for an afghan you can make in a weekend.

Charity Connection: Visit Lion Brand's Charity Connection to find a charity, get free charity patterns, register a charity, add your charity story, read other's stories, or download free prayer shawl cards.

Authored by

Michelle Edwards is the author/illustrator of A KNITTER'S HOME COMPANION and many award-winning children's books including CHICKEN MAN and STINKY STERN FOREVER. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys talking about books in schools throughout the US and beyond. Her newest book, Room for the Baby, will be available from Random House in Fall 2012. Visit Michelle Edwards at her website or on Facebook.
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