Could you complete a Creative Challenge?

I posted in December about my creative challenge for 2016, to knit 12 shawls in one year, and gave you the update on the first half of the challenge last week. Read on to find out how the second half of the challenge went!

The Story So Far

The early stages of the challenge

In my last post I shared the first 6 projects. By the time I finished it was mid August, so I knew I had 4 and half months to knit 6 shawls if I wanted to complete the challenge. And this didn’t mean just knitting 6 small shawls to beat the clock. They still had to be projects I wanted to do, with challenging features in their own right. So I took a deep breath and got stuck in! As in last week’s post, the shawls are largely displayed in my garden at the Creative Coastal Home.

Project 7: Spring Wood Shawl

The Spring Wood Shawl

The Spring Wood Shawl was unimaginatively named after the pattern, by Denise Bartels. It’s freely available on Ravelry, link here: Spring Wood Shawl. This took me 3 months on and off, interspersed with other projects.

Top tip: If you’re getting bogged down or bored with an aspect of the challenge, set it aside whilst you concentrate on another aspect, then pick it up again when you feel renewed. You don’t necessarily have to tackle a challenge in strict sequence.

Project 8: Wa na na na na na na na Bat Shawl!

The Bat Shawl

This project was also named after the knitting pattern, because it’s a really cool name! Especially if you’re a bit of a sci fi geek, and love Halloween….so it ticked all the boxes for me! The pattern, by Emilee Mooney, is freely available on Ravelry here: Bat Shawl. This one took me 3 weeks and I loved every minute of it. It’s one of my favourite projects, I just wish I’d made it bigger! Here’s a close-up:

Close up of the Bats

I’ll be wearing it every Halloween and any other occasion it’s appropriate for.

Top tip: Make sure there is a fun element to your challenge!

Project 9: Silver Fantoosh

Silver Fantoosh!

Number 9 is Fantoosh! by Kate Davies, a very talented UK designer. The pattern can be purchased from Ravelry here.

It took me a month, so when I finished, late November, I was into the last 6 weeks of the year, with 3 projects to go. Some people might give up at this point. But there was 6 weeks left….

Top tip: When it feels like you might not get there, keep on going!

Project 10: Town Square Shawl

Town Square Shawl

This is another project named after the pattern, Town Square Shawl by the very talented Romi Hill, from the book New Lace Knitting. This is up there with the Bat Shawl as one of my favourites of the year. Although this was one of the more complicated ones I whizzed through it in 3 weeks – can you detect the determination to not be beaten by a challenge kicking in?!

Town Square Shawl Close-up

Top tip: There’s always a bit of reserve left to get you there if you’re determined!

Project 11: Coronation Peacock

The Coronation Peacock – and my looming shadow!

Coronation Peacock was named for the yarn, which reminded me of a peacock, and the pattern book. The pattern is Diamond Stole, by an awesome British designer, Susan Crawford, who specialises in vintage patterns. It came from the book Coronation Knits which was released in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. You may recognise it as the shawl that featured in my post last December in the very early days of the blog:

Shawl 11 of 2016

I managed this in 8 days flat, in December, whilst planning Christmas and a house move. Some people might think that wasn’t quite the right priorities. But when you’ve got to do something, you’ve got to do it!

Top Tip: Plan your project a little more evenly, and know when to step up the pace. A power spurt earlier in the year would have been helpful!

Project 12: Candyfloss

Candyfloss Shawl

So on Christmas Eve, I cast on for shawl number 12 of the year. Yes, I may be slightly mad! I had some logic along the lines of – there’ll be lots of time chilling out with the family in front of the TV….The pattern is Candyfloss by a great shawl designer, Anniken Allis, and it was featured in The Knitter magazine number 105. I basically spent a week knitting like mad, casting off at 11.40pm on New Year’s Eve. Just in time to post my challenge completion online and pour a stiff drink to see in the New Year.

Top tip: Ok, maybe space your challenge a bit more evenly so you don’t spend the entire last month knitting like a crazy lady….

Top Tips for your own Creative Challenge

So yes, I DID complete the challenge! There was no prize other than personal satisfaction but I was still quite chuffed. Here’s the round-up of top tips to help if you’re planning your own creative challenge:

  1. Plan before you start, and do whatever you can to ensure you get a good head start
  2. Start with a quick project/element to get an early win and keep enthusiasm
  3. Next, tackle a more difficult element to get that out of the way
  4. Take on a challenge involving elements you actually want to learn to keep your interest
  5. Keep on going – you can do it!
  6. Do not involve camels in any way. And keep a sense of humour at all times
  7. If you get stuck on one element, do something else then come back to it later – you don’t necessarily have to follow a strict sequence
  8. Include a fun element
  9. Keep on going…..
  10. And going…..
  11. Plan your project as evenly as possible and keep taking stock, so you can step up the pace earlier rather than later if necessary!
  12. Take HUGE satisfaction in your achievement!

Have you set yourself a creative challenge? Or do you want to set one? Share it with us!

A Gaggle of Shawls just hanging out in the garden

Amazon links to books referenced:

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