It's amazing what nieces and nephews can motivate me to do -- like knit stuffed animals and baby blankets!
As I put in my profile, my mom taught me to knit dish rags when I was about 5 years old. So I did these simple, garter stitch dish rags off and on growing up until about the time I hit my early teens, then stopped knitting all together. In my mid-twenties, I decided to pick knitting up again. Rather than knit up something realistic for my skill level, like a garter or stockinette stitch scarf, I jumped right into a cable-knit sweater done flat, teaching myself from books. Well, I worked on that for a few years off and on, completed the front, one sleeve, and about 1/3 of the back. The poor thing lied fallow for ages, but I never threw it out.
Enter my sister's pregnancy last summer. My mom decided to knit the new addition to our family a baby blanket and all of a sudden I got the itch to make one as well. So, I found the Blue Sky Alpaca's baby eyelet blanket pattern and bought the organic cotton to make it up. The only new skill I needed was picking up stitches for the ruffled edges. Then I found out my niece had a long femur discovered by an ultrasound (no surprise, my sister and brother-in-law are tall) and decided to make the blanket longer so she wouldn't outgrow it too fast. Alas, I didn't finish it in time for her birth, but she got it in her ninth week of being on our beautiful planet! My sister and brother-in-law love the blanket and they say the baby does, too.
As I was happily knitting this blanket, the guilt set in. The little voice in my head says "what about your OTHER nieces and nephews"?! I started the blanket late August, early September and she was due end of February. I have another niece who's birthday is at the end of January. "Why not knit her a teddy bear?" says the voice. Sure, why not. So the next thing I know, I have two projects going, this one Blue Sky Alpaca's teddy bear. I had to learn some new skills for this one, such as knitting in the round, picking up stitches, putting stitches on a needle holder. I think that was it. The pattern said for an "advanced beginner" -- WHATEVER! Well, as you can see, the quality of the bear isn't as high as I would have liked, but all things considered, he's still pretty cute. As far as I know, he hasn't fallen apart yet. My niece got it a few weeks after her birthday, and she loves it.
Now, I have projects planned for the rest of my nieces and nephews, including several for the new baby. Oh, and I've picked up the sweater that's been in progress for somewhere between 15 and 17 years now. My goal is to have it done by this winter. I'm also currently working on a sweater sampler from the book "The Sweater Workbook" so I can learn how to create my own sweaters in the round -- goodbye sewing seams!
OK, I admit I'm now obsessed and totally addicted! At least I haven't started a huge yarn stash--yet. My partner is a neat freak and hates clutter, so that should keep me to buying yarn just in time for a project! LOL