After finishing the Christmas knitting, my wife has corralled me into doing a couple of baby blankets for friends who are expecting. Funny how she's gone from skepticism and sometimes outright mockery when I first picked up needles to now drafting me for any gift which presents itself.
In any event, a picture of the WIP is attached (I must get a camera that takes clearer pictures rather than doing this with my cell phone), and working on it has taught me a few things (and doesn't any worthwhiile project teach us something?):
1. Not everything I knit has to be a technical marvel.
This is just a simple stockinette stitch blanket with a garter stitch border. No complicated increases, decreases, yarn overs (yarns over?), cables, slip stitches, knitting in the round, wrap & turn, or anything else. Just basic back and forth. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the magic of creating lace and cables and other cool effects (haven't gotten to color work yet, but I'm sure it's coming, as I'm awestruck by the Latvian vest in the latest Knitty), but there's something very relaxing about being able to just knit and not concentrate on a pattern or chart. The only person I have to impress is myself (and hopefully the recipient), and the truth is that most people are just impressed that I can knit anything at all. After these blankets are done I'll probably get back to something a bit more intense, though.
2. I don't always have to use the most expensive yarn I can find.
This blanket is made with something called "I Love This Yarn" which I picked up at the local big-box craft store. It's pretty soft, and knits up fairly well, and is a good consistency for a blanket. I don't think I would use it for some other projects, but for this it works just fine. I think I needed this to get away from some of the fiber snobbery that I encounter at the LYS. Nice ladies that work there, and very helpful, but they're not very adept at steering you to alternative yarns from those that cost $15 for 50 yards.
3. I really need to knit something for myself.
Everything I've done so far in the last 9 months or so that I've been knitting has been given away as a gift. Now, I do like that I've been doing things for other people, but now that I feel like I've got a certain amount of skill, I'd really like to do something nice for myself. I'm leaning toward a sweater of some sort, but I just can't bring myself to spend $100 or more on yarn for a single project. I mean, I can make a scarf for less than it costs to buy one in the store, but looking at the yarn suggestions and yardage requirements for most of the sweater patterns I've liked would cost twice as much (or more) as a storebought sweater just for the yarn. Must look closer at some of the less expensive stuff.