While my title may seem facetious and mocking the idea of goals, I really do recognize their value. I’ve been investing time and energy in the arena of goal-setting and striving to meet those goals. The one facet of my routine that has consistently been goal-driven, of course, is my knitting. Under the auspices of the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup on Ravelry, I have been particularly productive in my knitting activities. I’m involved in a number of other groups in the Ravelry community, and all of them provide me with motivation to continue my crafting efforts, learning new techniques (and crafts) and perfecting those I’ve already learned.

This year my crafting efforts have produced some additional rewards, both for me and for others. Over the summer, I was honored to receive a couple ribbons in recognition of my knitting skills in my first year submitting work to the Ohio State Fair. When I found out I won a blue ribbon for my cable-heavy pullover sweater, I was truly ecstatic. But my knitting isn’t all about me. I also began knitting for charity, contributing a collection of hats for a couple different programs. Hats for Kiddos has received a number of hats from me this year, and more will come this fall. This program benefits the children in Tennessee’s Early Intervention Program. I’ve also started knitting for the Hats for Grammy collection, which donates hats for the homeless administered by Grace United Methodist Church. I’m still identifying other charity organizations to contribute to, as these I’ve already mentioned were promoted through a retreat group based in Tennessee, and I’d also like to help folks closer to home.

Hats for Kiddos
Hats for Kiddos

I have other goals, too, that drive my knitting efforts. Gifts are always a fun way to put my talents to use. I’ve knit several baby sweaters for co-workers’ newborns, and one colleague even got a super-fun colorful baby blanket that should come in handy as the cool weather approaches. For my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary last year, I put a lot of time into an afghan that was inspired by one of the rose windows in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I’ve also recently finished an afghan of cable-accented squares that will be gifted to a bride & groom later this month. These milestones all have the benefit of being planned well in advance, giving me time to plan the gift, choosing the pattern and yarn, and then executing the knitting efforts.

This year, my crafting has expanded a bit into the “multi-craftual” realm. Last year I learned how to spin with my spinning wheel, though this new craft requires time, effort and concentration to master. It will be some time, I am sure, before I can really say I’ve mastered the skills. Still, with every spinning session, I gain experience and understanding of the process. Practice, practice, practice! It was definitely challenging for me to feel like a fool at first, making “crappy” yarn as I learned to work with the fiber. But as with all things, my spinning efforts improved over time, and last month I even managed to knit a shawlette out of yarn I’d spun and plied myself. That was a tremdous achievement for me, one I’m extreely proud of. And a positive experence like this motivates me all the more to continue my efforts – improve my spinning technique, and then knit with the resulting yarn!

Shawl knit from my homespun yarn!
Shawl knit from my homespun yarn!

The latest craft I’ve picked up after a long hiatus is sewing. This crafty revival started when I volunteered to help a local theater group in making some costumes for a show they’re opening this fall. Dusting off my skills with the sewing machine while making a couple kimonos, I remembered how satisfying this craft can be. And its end results are achieved much faster than in knitting. I had signed up to participate in a swap, and one of the agreed-to items was something handmade. More often for me, that would be a knitted object – but then I realized I could sew a unique gift as well. So, I located the perfect fabric for my swap partner, an avid reader, and I put together a handy project bag that showcases her appreciation for books. Now I’m working on a somewhat adventurous project, making a dress to wear for the wedding I mentioned earlier. It’s been years since I made a dress for myself, and more than 25 years since I sewed my first dress with the hep of my aunt. I have about ten days to complete this project, so daily goals are important as I work toward the finish!

And the knits just keep on coming – I recently learned of a knit-along (“KAL”) hosted by a podcaster in the Boston area (Down Cellar Studio) that runs for the duration of the NFL football season. Points are earned by crafting finished objects (knit, crochet, spin, weave), and yardage determines the points along with the use of team colors (NFL or college), use of a logo, an obvious football theme, and more. Another KAL that was begun by a central Ohio designer involves knitting a cowl to document the scoreboard results of a football season for a collegiate or professional football team. This fun project ties nicely to the bigger points-earning event (brilliantly called the Down Cellar Studio Pigskin Party). Not only am I knitting up a bright, cheery cowl to spotlight the season for the Ohio State Buckeyes, I’ll be renewing a love from my youth for the Pittsburgh Steelers, crafting a cowl to document their season. It helps knowing there are a number of Buckeyes in the Steelers roster! I’ve cast on my scarlet & gray cowl, which is far more scarlet than gray after two games so far. Since the scarlet is sparkly, it’s very fun.

Following the Buckeyes' shutout of Hawai'i, here's my Scoreboard Cowl in progress
Following the Buckeyes’ shutout of Hawai’i, here’s my Scoreboard Cowl in progress

As a fairly polygamous knitter, I now have five projects on the needles and plenty more waiting in my queue to be cast on. I have a schedule mapped out to finish each project in a timely manner based on my (often internally imposed) deadlines. Now we’ll see how many points I can rack up as the NFL season progresses…

Knit on.

Editor’s note: After finishing my draft, I was pleased to learn that my Sock Sniper socks reached their target in the UK. The completed socks earned me a “kill” in this fun game, and I’ve made a new online friend in the process!