New year’s knit resolutions

Suzie Blackman
Saturday, 3 January 2009

I’ve only been knitting since December 2006, but already I’ve developed a few bad habits. I have a number of WIPs that have been hanging round for months, my stash is out of control and I’m definitely guilty of avoiding a challenge. I know I’m not the only knitter who suffers from these afflictions,  but with some simple ground rules I’m going to new start in 2009.

1. Stop buying yarn

I pride myself on having an eye for a bargain, so when I see lovely yarn for half price what am I to do? Some of my favourite yarns are now discontinued – Noro Cash Iroha, Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK, and Rowan 4 Ply Soft – so if I see them in a nice colour, I buy them, it might be my last chance! I am also a sucker for Colinette‘s monthly specials, all those lovely colours, how could anyone resist? Despite being conscious of my weakness, I am shocked at how bad yarn situation has become – I have amassed over 250 balls of yarn, a terrifying 22,500 m.

I really don’t need any so I must stop buying. Anything I make will have to come from the existing stash (buying more if I run out mid-project is OK right?). I’ll make an exception if I’m making someone a special gift, but that’s it! Getting the stash down by 100 balls by the end of 2009 will be acceptable. If that means selling some, so be it.

2. Finish what’s started

I tend to work on several projects at once; something portable that I can knit on underground, something knotty that requires concentration, a big long-term project – a throw or similar, a couple of gifts and a sweater for myself. Sometimes perfectly good projects just fall out of favour and go into hibernation while I work on more enjoyable ones. In 2009 I want to clear the decks and either rip or finish everything remaining from 2008.

3. Embrace a challenge

I have knitted the ‘Gemma’ beret by Sarah Hatton (December 2007 Rowan free download) nine times! It’s a nice hat, and a quick knit by I can do it blindfolded. In 2009 I want to learn some new skills; more fairisle, more complex lace and aran, and design of fitted garments. Eunny Jang’s ‘Endpaper Mitts’ have given me a taste for colour work, so I’ll be having a go at Kim Hargreaves’ ‘Meredith’ sweater soon.

4. Be practical

Short sleeved cardigans, cabled tanks and chunky sleeveless jackets may be cute but I get cold arms so I just don’t wear them. Noro Kureyon looks amazing but it’s itchy as hell. Silk blends are luxurious until I accidentally put them on the hot wash and accidentally felt them. It’s time to be realistic – in 2009 I am only going to knit myself garments that I will wear and can look after.

5. Pass it on

A surprising amount of people have shown an interest in my knitting in 2008, but often they think they wouldn’t be able to do it themselves (just as I did two years ago). I want to help others take up the hobby in the hope that they’ll love it as much as I do. And of course, I’ll be continuing to share my experience and free patterns here on It’s a Stitch Up!

The author

Suzie Blackman

The dyer, designer, photographer, creative technologist and maker-of-things behind It's a Stitch Up. She lives in East London in a home filled with colour, fluff and house plants.


  1. LotusMonkey says:

    This blog entry makes me laugh. I have a large stash that is only partially represented on Ravelry. Kudos for empowering others to knit through your user-friendly blog! What’s your Ravelry username? Mine is of course LotusMonkey.

    Similarly resolved, I have pulled out abandoned wip’s, frogged them so that the yarn can be re-used; spent hours poring over knitting and crochet patterns to figure out how to use a particular stash of blue-purple and blue-green yarns in a way that I’ll actually like the garment afterward; placed 3 wip’s around the house to encourage me to trip over them enough that I’ll finish them….

    About your silk garment: you can, if you are so inclined, cut apart the felted garment and turn it into flowers, a purse, a mini skirt, pieces to be resewn for a plush animal, fill it with batting and turn it into a cushion….

    I guess I’m lucky not to be in the UK: no monthly Colinette specials here!

    • Suzie says:

      Hi LotusMonkey,
      Great to hear from you! I am suziesparkle on Ravelry. I’m impressed with your resolve. It’s a great idea to keep WIPs around the house in view is definitely a good idea. Once they get stuffed in a cupboard there’s little hope. Luckily the silk shrug is still wearable (just!) but it’s not what it used to be. I am not cut out for handwashing.
      I probably shouldn’t say this but have you been on the Colinette website? I don’t know how the prices compare with the US, but with the UK economy the way it is you’ve got a decent exchange rate right now.

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