I don’t admit defeat well, especially when it comes to knitting.  The nagging voice at the back of my head telling me something’s not quite right is one I am quite efficient at shoving into some recessed corner and ignoring for a very very long time.  But since my theme on the year is to progress, I am trying something new.

Yesterday after finishing a sweater, I cast on the new Knitting Season Hat from Kate Davies Designs.  If you know me, you know I’ve had a mad knitting crush on the designer for many years.  Her use of color and classic styling make me happy. Some of the modern updates have even caught my attention lately and I’ve tried new things. But this hat, it’s right in that wheel house of great color work that I can’t resist. So I cast on and knit to just past the half way point of the chart.

And knew there was no way this was going to fit.  I went to bed figuring I’d just finish a really great toddler hat.  And somewhere in the middle of the night I realized I’d forgotten to change needle sizes after the ribbing.  Which was only part of the problem, I admit, but it was enough to convince me I needed to progress past the stubbornness that usually grips me.  A great toddler hat it may be, but I do not have a toddler. And I really don’t want to repeat the same pattern twice in a row more often than not. So I progressed through regression…  In knitter vernacular, I frogged that hat. And I started over.

And in starting over I realized I can fix a problem that isn’t a problem but makes me a little OCD.  The first design element in the hat is corrugated rib which, by itself, is a technique I don’t adore, but love the look of so I do it.  Only I hate the way the first row of purls looks because of casting on with one color and purling with a different. I don’t like the two tone read. So in starting over I modified the first row to be knits so now the purls all read one color. And this makes me happy. So the backward leap is progress. I corrected something that I didn’t love and now I move forward again.

Of course I’m still too stubborn to swatch so, bets on successful guessing on needle sizes for this round?

So long, 44…

The older I get, the more birthdays bring about a level of reflection on where I’ve been, where I’m going, what I want to get out of the next trip around the sun…  The last couple have been a bit less status quo than most.  43 was a year of growth. Or, technically, shrinking.  Kicked off the year at nearly 200lbs, unhealthy and miserable, though I didn’t actually know it at the time.

15284090_10210941209426756_1066142052961583306_nEarly in my 43rd year, I was introduced to a diet change that turned into a life style change in the form of no longer eating sugar or grains.  NSNG was a complete game changer.  First, simply figuring out that yes, I could, in fact, give up the bread and sweets I’d loved so much.  And that I could no longer be the butt of my own fat jokes because as long as I was the one making them, they didn’t sting so much.  I learned the power of food in health, both mental and physical.  It is more than sustenance. It is medicine.  It heals.  It brings joy. That I wasn’t restricting myself to a boring diet but opening up a whole new world of flavor and options I’d never considered. Bacon every day.  Let me repeat that.  Bacon. Every. Single. Day!!

26195597_10214729047760347_4366175232994505689_nI welcomed 44 with a new outlook on life, 55lbs later, but a little skeptical of the staying power of this change.  Fifteen years of weight creeping up despite your best effort (or at least what you thought was your best effort) can make a girl doubt long term success.  While I’d never second guessed the diet-turned-lifestyle change, could the results be for real and life changing as well?

So 44 was a year of maintenance.  Proving to myself that I could do the thing I put my mind to.  In all other aspects of life, this wasn’t so much a question. I can be stubborn to a fault when I set my sights on a project, but I’d never much considered myself the project.  I’m not sure I considered myself wroth being the project. So 44 has been a pretty good year cuz it turned out I am hella worth being the project and am absolutely capable of maintaining.  This is heady stuff, let me tell you.

img_7203But as I reflect on 44 as I’m about to kick it to the curb, I’m realizing that maintaining has been my status quo and I don’t think I wand status quo to be my carry over into 45.  I want to progress.  Obviously maintaining the weight loss and lifestyle change is a given. But its time to focus on the next step of that journey- gym time.  I’ve already joined, been sidelined by injury and am working my way back, but this is something I want to truly focus on in the coming trip around the sun.  Not body builder style, but in firming up the things left saggy after years of excess weight.  In embracing the stuff that will never be firm because of the life lived in those years, but in accepting this, knowing everything else is working together to keep the change permanent.

I want to progress in my fiber enthusiasm.  Knitting and spinning have become a significant piece of who I am.  I don’t just enjoy them as hobbies, they are a part of my soul.  I want to do more. Part of this is continuing to work toward my Master Spinners Certificate.  The work toward completing Level 2 is underway and I plan to take the Level 3 classroom course later this year.  I want to continue to grow both my knowledge and my skills in creating yarn that is uniquely mine while learning how the craft has shaped modern life.

I want to grow as a knitter.  For the last dozen years or so, I have proven myself quite capable of making pretty things, but most of those things are made on the patterns others have created.  While there’s nothing wrong with recreating the works of others, I want to progress to my own designs.  I’m still not sure exactly what this means or how I will achieve this, but it is a goal worthy of effort on my part. I want the next 365 days to be the start of something exciting, maybe a little scary, but rewarding in knowing that I can continue to meet challenges and exceed my own expectations.  To 44 I say thank you.  You have shown me what is possible. You’ve helped me love myself a little more. You’ve helped me to let go of a lot of old baggage and know myself better. But its time to kick you to the curb and find out what 45 and I can do together. Lets do this.