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Tomorrow is my birthday.

I’ve always liked how neatly the years of my life line up with the years on the calendar; there’s something very tidy about being the same age for an entire calendar year. I also haven’t had to throw myself a birthday party for years – I get to celebrate with the whole world, welcoming a new year, without the focus being on me (which is kind of the best of both worlds). After 2014, I find myself at a little bit of a crossroads, trying to figure out where I want my future to take me. I’ve had a very good year, and it’s been a great year for Paper Tiger, but in a very different way than 2013 was. At this juncture, I am especially grateful to all of you who make what I do possible. Your support means the world to me. It’s such a joy to see your projects, to listen to your suggestions, to think of new ways to tackle your questions. I feel like I have learned so much and grown so much as a knitter and a designer. So thank you for that.

Inspired by Karen’s post about her knitting year in review, I started to assemble a folder of finished knits for the year, and it’s insane to realize how absurd my output has gotten. Excluding things I’ve knit that are for patterns that are still under wraps, there’s 27 finished objects. Adding in things I can’t share yet bumps the total up to about 32 items, I think.

One of my goals for this year was to do more personal non-work knitting. I think I succeeded with flying colors. Next year’s goal is to take it easy a little bit. 

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This leaves out current WIPs entirely, but if you’re super curious, you can always check out my Ravelry project page. I managed to finish some long-suffering WIPs this year, but I still have too many things on the needles. I’d like to get that down to a sane, manageable number.

I’m looking forward to working on more patterns in 2015 (I only released four proper patterns this year) and I’m looking forward to more teaching – the Nordic Knitting Conference and my workshop at Knit Purl were definitely highlights this year. I’m also looking forward to my future becoming a little more certain; I’ve applied to go back to school, and while I await decisions from schools I’m trying to decide what my next move will be if any of the programs offer me a place.

As for this space, you can look forward to more patterns and more blogging – I have a series of tutorial posts I’m starting to put together, based on the most common questions I get about patterns. I’m looking forward to getting some of that up. Thank you again for your continued support, and I wish you all a very happy new year!

knit fit!

The second weekend in November was this year’s Knit Fit! While I didn’t have a market booth this year, I did end up attending both Friday (opening night) and Saturday. It was quite a lot of fun to simply go as a student and not be working for the weekend!

For those who don’t know, Knit Fit is a local knit & crochet event here in Seattle, held in November. I think this was the third year, so it’s still a new-ish event, but it gets better every year and I’m so proud of the organizers for the weekend they put together. The weekend is made up of an opening night talk on Friday evening followed by two days of wonderful classes on Saturday and Sunday. There’s also a marketplace full of fantastic independent vendors that runs both Saturday and Sunday, and this year’s was bigger and better than ever.

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I specifically wanted to mention the opening night talk this year – given by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, linguist, anthropologist, and textile expert (I swooned a little bit the first time I read that). You may have heard of some of her works, such as Prehistoric Textiles, THE book on prehistoric textiles, or Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years. I had heard of these works, but never read them, and I’m currently about two thirds of the way through Women’s Work (which is fantastic, for the record). I was very excited to hear her speak and despite a few technical hiccups, I still really enjoyed her wonderful talk. If you ever get a chance to go see her speak, you should do it! Barber is one of the people credited with bringing this type of textile-related anthropological work to the forefront, and focusing on women’s roles in ancient societies (due to the nature of textiles, they tend to decompose, so the physical remnants of that section of society is harder to trace and was thus largely ignored by early archeology).

1ccab32311330c46-knitfithaulcroppedFrom left to right: YOTH Big Sister in Blueberry and Olive, Farm Girl Products BFL/alpaca, Three Fates Yarns Superwash Worsted in Commuter

On Saturday I took a crochet class with Shibaguyz, which was a lot of fun and I learned quite a bit. A visit to the market took me to the booths of many of my favorite yarnies, including Spincycle and Jorstad Creek, and I picked up some new-to-me yarns as well from both YOTH and Farm Girl Products. The YOTH booth was incredible! But the beautiful grey BFL/alpaca blend I picked up from Farm Girl might be what I’m most excited about.

I also did Game Knitting for the first time. Game Knitting is the brainchild of Lee Meredith and the easiest way to explain it is to say that it’s kind of like a drinking game, but with knitting, not drinking. You queue up a film or TV show with a list of suitable cues on hand, as if you were going to play a drinking game. You pick an item to knit during the game (something simple, like a hat, a cowl, a scarf, etc) and you pick a variation – that is, a characteristic that you change whenever you reach a cue in the film/show. In the simplest version, you switch from knit stitch to purl stitch or from purl to knit whenever you reach a cue, so your knitted item would be made up of a random pattern of knit lines and purl lines. It’s a really fantastic concept, and the sky’s truly the limit. For Game Fitting at Knit Fit, they like to show a Seattle-related movie, and this year’s was Ten Things I Hate About You, which I hadn’t seen in ages, so it was a lot of fun.

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Because I am a crazy person, I decided I would work all knit stitches, but I would change colors every time we hit a cue. Many of the stretches of knitting between cues were really too long for stranding (and I knew going in that they would be), so that basically meant that rather than stranding, I just had a literal rat’s nest of ends to weave in after the fact. Fortunately, I like weaving in ends, so it worked out. I used Heirloom Romney and managed to get most of the hat knit during the movie, and then finished it off later on with a big stretch of red followed by a stretch of the undyed off-white (which isn’t really visible in this photo). In the spirit of Game Knitting, there’s no shaping on the hat; instead, I did a 3-needle bind off and stitched the two corners together, topping it all off with a jaunty pom pom. I’m excited that Game Knitting yielded a hat that is super wearable and absolutely unique!

On top of all of that, one of the most fun things about events like this is getting to hang out with so many fiber industry folks all at once – since for so many of us, especially designers, so much of our work is very solitary. Aside from the aforementioned yarnies, it was fun to see Kathy CadiganAndi SatterlundAndrea Rangel (who was down from Canada to teach), Lee Meredith (up from Portland), and others.

If you’re interested in learning more about Knit Fit, you should head to the website and read up! And perhaps put it on the calendar for next year – it’s usually the first or second weekend in November, but keep an eye on the website for exact dates. And congrats to the Knit Fit crew on another wonderful year!