I've traditionally been known as what could conservatively be called 'the most impatient person in the world'. I like things to be done and I'm a big fan of instant gratification. This has often resulted in crappy hair-cuts, acrylic nails that looked like I had jelly beans affixed to my nailbeds and a scrapbook full of slapped together pages.
I knew the next way to challenge myself in knitting was to try a lace project. I found the free pattern for this Georgian Lace Cap on KnitPicks, and used some Cotton-Ease yarn that I already had in my stash. One skein is enough to do two hats.
My first attempt, I was feeling pretty cocky as I worked the first couple rounds, but it was my first time using a chart and let's just say that about three rounds into the pattern, things didn't look so hot. So, I ripped it out.
Second attempt gave me three repeats of the 8 row pattern, so when I ripped out those 28 rows (including the four stockinette rows) it was a little more painful. I put the needles and yarn on my bookcase and glowered at them in the corner for the rest of the evening.
My third attempt, I successfully completed my first repeat and realized what my error had been before...after that, I took the hat to bookclub with me and was able to discuss the book and complete most of the hat, which I finished at home. Fairly instant gratification and a more complex looking pattern; makes my little knitty heart warm.
I think I have a new appreciation for charts. It allowed me to see what was supposed to be emerging as I knit so that after a couple of repeats (when they're done correctly, unlike my first two tries) you start to automatically sense when yarn-overs and decreases are going to happen so that you can knit a lace pattern and do something else at the same time.
Speaking of double-duty, or double fisting, I just bought the book Pints and Purls: Portable Projects for the Social Knitter and really like a lot of the patterns. Along with great full-color photos, there are ideas for fun knitting nights and drink suggestions that will result in less tears when spilled (aka Gin and Tonic vs. Red Wine when knitting with a lovely creamy silk yarn).
Next on the needles is the Ruff Neck Warmer from the book, which I'm knitting in an alpaca/silk blend that is the most beautiful shade of blue I've seen in a long time (kenai). A fun and simple gift that will be going to someone who the color may "matcher" their eyes.
For a more whimsical project, I recently knit this tooth-fairy pillow for a customer and received responses from friends and H that it looked like everything from a bunny to a fat person in long-john's with the flap on the butt. You be the judge of little Mervin the Molar.
I also finally mastered the magic loop for socks, and I don't think there's any turning back. I'm not a huge fan of using two circulars because I felt like I spent all my time sliding yard across the cables, but it's much less so with just the one in magic loop.