Remember the surprise yarn purchase that I couldn't show you before?
Well, I can show you now.
It's my very first colorwork project! I'm knitting the Alliance Lion Mitts, which are basically the perfect culmination of my knitting and Warcraft obsessions. And, quite possibly, the only project that could have impelled me to push my knitting boundaries so far and so quickly.
See, I think there are really two types of learning, when you learn how to knit. One is learning techniques - how to cast on and bind off, how to make various stitches and increases and decreases, how to cable and do colorwork and bead your knitting and so on. The other is learning structure - the general pattern that a hat or sock or sweater should take, the way that certain techniques will alter your fabric, the way that the construction of something fits together and makes sense. Learning techniques allows you to follow patterns. Learning structure allows you to understand why they're written the way they are, and how to alter them to fit the needs of your own knitting.
I was originally going to write that colorwork is the first new thing that I've learned in a long time. But this isn't really true, you see. The last major technique I learned was probably cabling, a couple of years ago. But there has been a steady stream of smaller things I've been learning too. The shape (and shaping) of a sock. The structure of a stitch, and how to diagnose and fix unruly ones.
So while learning this new technique is very exciting, and is something that I can easily show off to other people and myself as a milestone, a big step of progress, it's really my knowledge of structure that gives me the quiet confidence that really, I'm becoming quite a decent knitter. No matter how many false starts and curse words I have to expend over other projects.
In conclusion, look at my pretty floats!