First of all, let's get this out of the way:
Now on to the actual post.
Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet?
Answering this question would be very difficult without Ravelry's notebook feature. It's so great to have a record of (almost) all of my projects, and the ability to sort them by name, date, happiness level, etc. It's less great to be confronted with the fact that I haven't actually learned any significant new skills in the last year. Oops. I did learn a new way to do long tail cast-on that ensures you won't run out of yarn (video of the technique) which can be adapted into a super easy provisional cast on (video of that). I used the double-ball long tail for one of my current swap projects, which involved casting on 320 stitches...no way I could have guesstimated the right amount of yarn for that.
The last significant skill I learned was how to do toe-up socks. Again, thank you Rav for letting me know I learned that in September of 2009, picked those socks back up again in September of 2010, and recently finished the first of the pair. Slow. I haz it.
On the first sock I used DPNs to do Judy's Magic Cast-On. Big mistake! It took me about eight times to get past the first row, because it was so hard to knit into the cast-on row. In December, I did JMCO with Magic Loop on the Kindle covers I made for Christmas and it was significantly easier!
(Pretend there is a picture of the first finished sock here. This morning when I drafted this post (during my new Writing Time, 8:00AM-8:30AM) I had grand plans to get home around 6:30PM and take advantage of DST to do a mini-photoshoot. It's raining, I haven't left the office yet, and I've had some last-minute evening plans materialize, so we're all going to use our imaginations.)
Now that I've freed up the one circ I have that can be used to Magic Loop socks by finishing my Alice's Charade socks, I can get right on to casting on the second Anastasia. After I finish my swap projects and all the knitting that I've promised to other people. Here's today's betting item: can I finish the second sock, and thus the entire pair, by September 2011?
I'm deciding not to beat myself up over not learning anything new in the past year. My research has done nothing but get more interesting and time-consuming, and is taking almost all of my brain power. So I'm churning out a lot of basic lace, easily-memorizable patterns, simple socks, etc. They may be simple, but they are nice, and the gifts (of which there have been many) are knit with love. That's what matters.