2020 Top 5: Hits & Misses

Whatever else can be said about this year, I’m exceedingly pleased to be able to do an actual roundup at the end of it. In the past, I felt like I simply didn’t create enough to have anything meaningful to say about what I’d done. I fully expected that to be true again this year. If there were two groups of people this year, those who got a burst of creative energy and those whose passions languished, I definitely feel like I fell into the latter camp. Which is funny, because I think I’ve sewn more this year than any previous year, and while I knit more last year, this is by no means my least prolific year. It makes me glad that I’ve recorded my work here and in Ravelry, because it’s really helping me to gain a sense of perspective about what I’ve actually accomplished.

Hits

5. Sage Colette Zinnia

A sage green below-the-knee button-front skirt with a gathered waist and patch pockets
Sage Colette Zinnia

I don’t often sew with wovens because I prefer the ease and comfort of knits, and I’ve been (and still somewhat remain) dubious of skirts that sit at my natural waist, so it’s a bit strange to put this one in my top 5. But I can’t deny that I enjoyed the methodical process of assembling this skirt. I went slowly, taking time to mark, stitch, and press carefully, and I feel like that effort was rewarded. I love the buttons, I love the pockets, I love the swish. I haven’t worn it more than two or three times, but that’s down the fact that I’ve barely changed out of pajamas in nine months.

4. Ebbtide

A teal blue circular lace shawl with crescent moon motifs
Ebbtide

This shawl takes my love of one-skein projects and then removes the only drawback to traditional triangular and semi-circular scarves, which is ends that come untied. The yarn is a delightfully squishy and soft merino cashmere nylon blend and a treasured souvenir from our trip to London. The color, Tide, and the pattern, Luna Viridis, are a poetic match. Everything about this knit is pretty much perfect.

3. Everything Gold Must Stay

A golden-brown sweater with a central cable panel, turtleneck, and long sleeves
Everything Gold Must Stay

This pullover was born out of a desire for more relaxed fitting sweaters to wear around my chilly house when we started working from home in March. On the one hand, the dropped shoulders and central cable panel came out exactly how I pictured them. On the other other, I had hoped the body would be a little longer—closer to a tunic-length to wear with tights—and the edge of turtleneck would fan out more to cover where it’s attached to the neckline. But in the end, I’ve found myself pulling it out at least once a week because it’s comfy and looks nicer on video calls than a college sweatshirt.

2. Itch-to-Stitch Tierras

Low-rise sage green woven joggers with deep pockets
Itch to Stitch Tierras

Like the sweater above, I made these joggers to fill a specific wardrobe hole—specifically my lack of non-jean, non-trouser, non-pajama pants (although I am now also in need of pajama pants, because I’m got an irreparable hole in the seat of my favorite pair). I wanted something comfortable enough to wear while working from home, but also presentable for picking up dinner from the local food trucks. I could have made sweatpants or track pants—and still might, since my loungewear bottoms selection consists of these joggers and two pairs of identical black leggings—but I like that these look like I’m trying. The waistband hits right where I want and the pockets are huge. 10/10 would make again.

1. Lattice Topper

A top-down view of cable knit hat in off-white yarn being worn on the head
Lattice Topper

A humble hat, from a time when things were definitely not perfect but were earnest and determined and a little bit hopeful. It’s the warmest hat I own, and I’ve worn it countless times on damp autumn walks and evening takeout runs. I’ve worn it more than anything else I’ve made this year, and probably more than some older knits as well. It’s the one thing I reach for over and over again no matter what I’m doing or what kind of mood I’m in, and it provides a comfort that goes beyond keeping my ears from freezing.

Misses

None of these projects made it as far as the blog, so I don’t have any pictures to share. While I’d like to think my success rate has climbed a lot closer to my failure rate, I still had a sprinkling of misses this year.

4. Glitter Bomb

Before I decided to go the CustomFit drop-shoulder pullover route on my Everything Gold sweater, I downloaded and started knitting Ease by Alicia Plummer for a more sweatshirt-style sweater. I had a lot of trouble getting gauge, which is very important on a top-down seamless raglan, and after knitting about 50% of the sweater I realized I hated how it looked on me. I think it came down primarily to choosing a size that was too relaxed to be shapely and too close-fitting to be fashionably slouchy. I still think it’s a cute design, and I haven’t completely given up on the possibility of knitting it in a different yarn (or a different weight yarn), but I’ll definitely proceed with caution if I attempt it again.

3.Wingardium Leviosa Hat

This will be my second foray into stranded colorwork, and I just can’t seem to get the rhythm of it. I initially went up several needle sizes for fear that my floats would be too tight and strangle the project. It looked awful. I went down in needle sizes again. It looks better, but still not great. Someone online suggested it might be because the yarn is superwash, so it doesn’t fluff up and cause the stitches to grip their neighbors. At this point I think I’m going to scrap the project and make something else. Probably something striped, because I am apparently a glutton for my own punishment.

2. Plain White Camisoles

I had a pair of plain white camisoles with shelf bras from Aeropostale that I wore and washed and wore again until they were a dingy grey, stretched out, and growing holes. I thought I could knock them off by hacking the SBCC Tonic T-Shirt and using a mix of flat and foldover elastic I’d stashed. The fit was all wrong and I just could not motivate myself to tinker with it. I ended up buying camisoles online and turning the old ones into rags that I’ve used for a staining project. You win some, you lose some.

1. Eastwood Pajamas for Her

Back in November, Justin requested new pajama pants because he, too, had worn holes in his favorite pairs. While we were picking out flannel, he proposed that I make ones for me at the same time because we are the kind of insufferably cute couple to have matching pajamas. The pajama pant pattern I already owned didn’t include a large enough size to accommodate him, so I skipped on over to the Thread Theory website to check out the Eastwood Pajamas. Conveniently, their largest size just about fits Justin, and the smallest size worked for me, so I scooped them up.

I decided to sew mine first so I could practice the mock fly before moving on to the working button fly on his. I shortened the inseam for my shorter-than-average height, but opted not to shorten the crotch depth because it matched a pair of pajama pants I already owned. Unfortunately, I didn’t really account for the fact that I wear those pants slung around my hips, and the dropped crotch isn’t really a problem because they’re a thin jersey. In a thick flannel? Yeah, no. The fit looks wrong and feels wrong. I’m know I’m not going to wear them. It’s a shame, because I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to match the plaid, particularly on the back pockets.

I have more thoughts about the pattern, but I’ll save those for when I finish Justin’s pair, which will probably be some time in January.

Conclusion

When I look back on what I’ve actually done, including the time spent on missteps, I think I can say that I’d be happy to be about this productive every year. Would I like to stretch myself and do more than this? Sure. But if I finished a half dozen each knitting and sewing projects, I’d have enough to be proud of.

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