My Top 3 Knits of 2017

Hello, makers! I’m wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

With 2018 approaching, I had the idea of posting a chronological knitting Year in Review. I relished the idea of seeing all my knits pictured together in a single post. Due to time constraints, I decided, however, that the knitting of 2018 might just as well be served by a more selectively reflective round-up of 2017’s knitting favourites. These are projects that not only stood out for being memorable ‘firsts’ for me (cheers to trying something new), but were projects that taught me a lot of valuable lessons during this first year “back” to the craft.

So, here’s a wistful look back on 2017’s Top 3 Knits.

Number 3: Sydanmäa Mittens

Sydanmaa FOs

I love a good mitten, and I love a good, wearable knit that does what knitting has long done best: keeping you warm in cold weather! (among other things). These mitts are getting a lot of wear on this visit to Canada where local temperatures are expected to drop to -29 C come New Year’s Day. In a cold, cold world, warm woolen mitts make braving the outdoors possible, and seeing cables on those mitts reminds you that a little beauty can still flourish on those relentless and unforgiving winter city-days. My very entry point into knitting was a strong desire to make interesting and useful things; every time I slip these puppies on to wait for yet another tram or bus on yet another slush-covered and blustery Toronto street-corner, I’m reminded of why I started to need knitting in the first place.


Number 2: Welcome Blanket

welcome blanket FO1

A harsh social climate can be trying, too. From this project, I learned that knitting has a social life and purpose; craft can be a source of collective hope and comfort as much as it is a practice in the cultivation of individual happiness. Like any good medicine, the act of making things has multiple benefits.

As an immigrant, and as a child of immigrants, I loved being part of a project that brought together knitters, crocheters, quilters, and other crafters to make a positive social statement about immigration. As of the end of the Welcome Blanket exhibit, the project had received over 2000 blankets (2088 to be exact, and maybe still counting). I’m a little happier, at 2017’s end, knowing that 2000 blankets are going out to 2000 people with messages of warmth, support, and welcome just because someone had a great idea that others believed in enough to support.


And, in 1st place: The drape front sweater

sweater composite

In terms of knitting projects, I think this one takes the cake for providing a challenge and delivering on some valuable knitting lessons. I aimed high on this one with the goal of producing an entirely recycled and wearable sweater in time for #summerofbasics. While the project didn’t go exactly as planned, this project taught me how to work a basic garment pattern and how to make some quite major modifications (in this case, eliminating the “drape front” and going for a simple knit-tee). I also had the chance to try my hand at some beginner yarn-recycling. For this, garment deconstruction and seam-ripping could have been lessons on their own, and frogging and processing yarn without getting lost in the tangle was good practice.

By the end of it, I wound up (pun very intended) with a slightly lop-sided but versatile wearable. I hope that 2018 offers more opportunities to do another recycled sweater. There is a lot of beautiful and affordable fiber out there waiting to be salvaged and reworked. I can’t wait to find it.

IMG_3509 - smaller

How about you? What were your favourite creative projects of 2017?

Which projects will you return to, for sure? Which ones are you excited to try for the first time? And what are your New Year’s crafting resolutions, if any? Do tell in the comments!

Warmest wishes to you for a joyful 2018! 😀

33 thoughts on “My Top 3 Knits of 2017

    1. Thank you, Tierney, and thanks for reading. 🙂 I have been very inspired by your blog and beautiful work to try some sewing this year (especially since learning that the bulk of EPP is apparently done by hand! wow). Very big hugs and all best to you and yours for 2018! ❤

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  1. There is so much to love in this post! You’ve really stretched yourself this year, Shirley! I think I found your blog around the time the drape front sweater project began. Following along as you tested and learned and thought and wrote about the whole thing was such a refreshing twist on the run-of-the-mill knitting blog post that I was completely hooked. I’ve continued to be delighted by the care and deliberation you bring to knitting and by the way you are able to articulate so many of the ways in which it empowers us and heals us and binds us together. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings! Happy New Year to you! May it be filled with wonder and joy!!

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    1. Thanks so much for these kind words, Melinda! I’m so warmed and happy to hear that you enjoy the blog – I have been so inspired by your knitting and spinning work, and your sweater-making chronicles have been so fun and instructive! (in a very infectious way!) Just everything – your blog is a beautiful account of the knitting life. 🙂 Likewise – I can’t wait to read about what new sweater (and more!) projects 2018 has in store. Wishing you a Happy New Year full of knitting, colours, and fiber magic! 🙂

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  2. You have learned a lot and grown as a knitter and human being. Projects that stretch our skills are teaching us a lot about perseverance and patience. I love your thoughtful approach. I think my favourite project this year was the Fragment tee that was a wonderful test knitting experience as well as a skill-enhancing one. I am wearing one of my Summer of Basics knit today. I’m looking forward for more wearable items in my 2018 knitting plans, and to continue reading your great blog.

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    1. Thanks very much for the kind words, Agnès. Strange enough, yes – I do feel that knitting grows one as a person, too. There are lots of good transferable skills knitting teaches. I so enjoyed that Fragment test-knit you did last year! And how great that a Summer of Basics piece is getting some wear en hiver as well! Can’t wait to see where Summer of Basics takes you this year! Likewise – I’m looking forward to more great reading from Ready to Knit! 😀

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  3. Gorgeous FOs! Happy New Year, Shirley! I hope 2018 is great for you! I made a summed top last spring that I wore all summer; I’m thinking about making another this year so I can wear it more often. But my most worn projects are actually my other 2 sweaters, both cardigans – I’ve been alternating between the Bohus & the cabled Michelle Wang sweater since it got cold enough to wear them.

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    1. Thanks, Mandy! Happy New Year to you, too! It makes me so happy to hear stories of knitted things that get good wear and mileage. Your 2017 was truly a great cardigan-year, and it was fun to follow along as you knit the Bohus and Michelle Wang. Thanks for sharing your process with us! (right down to cardigan-care and maintenance, very important!). Wishing you many more amazing projects for 2018. Keep the magic coming, Mandy! ❤

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  4. I love them all! Especially the story behind the Welcome Blanket. The drape-y sweater is also super impressive and a fabulous colour, recycled or no! You’ve inspired me to use my knitting needles for something other than percussion in 2018… after I finish an Elizabethan crewel piece that might take an eternity. Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you. 🙂 Happy New Year to you, too! Elizabethan crewel – oh là là! My eyes love this gorgeous embroidery-style! And yes, knitting needles are quite perfect for percussion, aren’t they? A jumble of them makes for the most perfect clinking! Hoping 2018 brings lots of fun adventures in tow, and looking forward to reading about them!

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  5. Oh wow, what a year of making it was! I actually can’t decide which of your top 3 is my favourite, all these projects are so great in different ways! I hope 2018 provides you with knitting opportunities and inspiration aplenty… I’m excited to see what you make next! A very happy (if a little belated) new year, Shirley!

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    1. Thank you, Helen! Here’s to another year of knitting. And, likewise – I’m very excited to see what new Beastie- and fiber-fun this year has in store for you. Thank you for sharing your Beastie adventures with us. I am such a huge fan!! ❤


  6. I’m so touched by your comments – thank you, Melissa, for reading and the supportive comments on my first year back to knitting again! It has meant a lot. 🙂 Happy New Year to you, too! I’m very much looking forward to catching up on your projects! ❤


  7. Wow, these are three amazing projects! I remember reading about the welcome blanket, that is so cool 🙂

    Thanks for the highlights, that’s a smart way to end the year. Hope you’re doing amazing. It’s lovely to reconnect with you. Blessings and have a beautiful weekend — Debbie

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