I did need to take a break from Lizard Ridge. Just to knit something else. And I'm glad I did, because I quickly found that I've been short-row-ing for so long that it was actually a challenge to get my hands to knit plain again. Weird!
Anyway, I decided that I needed a new hat. I have been wearing the same Sunflower Tam (Rav link) for a zillion years now (I knitted it back when we lived in Atlanta -- living in the South, knitting a hat was an act of faith!) and I love it but it's not holding up in the New England winters as well as I'd like. The problem is that it's 100% alpaca (again, act of faith! Alpaca is 4x warmer than wool!), and the ribbing "relaxed" enough that it's no longer tight around the ears. Although the hat itself is very warm, the wind comes right in and defeats the purpose of wearing a hat at all. So I decided that I need a wool one. Voila:
Knitting up a new Sunflower Tam was a really good exercise, not just for getting past short rows, but also because it gave me a chance to reflect on how far I've come in the five-ish years since I knitted the last one. There's "far" in the literal sense, moving from Atlanta to Burlington, but there's also "far" in the knitting-skill sense. Five years ago, the Sunflower Tam was a really challenging pattern for me. The fact that every single row was different was intimidating. The funny crossed stitches that stood out over the rest of the pattern were difficult to understand. I learned so much from this pattern, and I was so proud of myself when I'd finished. Five years ago, the Sunflower Tam was hard to make.
Now, not so much. It took me two evenings to finish. The crossed stitches took a moment for me to figure out, but I didn't have to read the instructions for them every single time I encountered the direction to do one. I watched TV while knitting, because I didn't have to concentrate so hard on the row-by-row pattern. The Sunflower Tam pattern was FAR more intuitive the second time around.
What a difference five years makes, eh?
Makes me think back to my life five years ago -- and that classic interview question, "where do you see yourself in five years?" Most of what I expected for myself has come true. By now I figured I'd be married to Husband (check!), working in a church (check! -- although 5 years ago I didn't think I was going to be a solo pastor, and now I have a hard time imagining anything else), a homeowner (check!), and a mother (ummmm, not-check). The other details, like where I'd be living, were less important at the time -- although 5 years ago I don't know if I'd dreamed I could be fortunate enough to live in Burlington, Vermont, a place I adore. It's really wonderful to look back on where I've been over the past five years and know that I'm far more satisfied with my life (aside from the no-kids thing) than I really expected I would be five years ago.
Knitting a new Sunflower Tam made me reflect on how truly blessed I am. I guess knitting will do that sometimes.
Details: Yarn is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran (now discontinued) in Merlot, ~1.5 skeins (two different dye lots but you'd never know), on size 9 needles (size 8 for ribbing -- I might take out the ribbing and redo it on 7s). It will look much better when blocked.