Far be it from me to try and think of an original topic for the end of the year, especially since I’ve become something of a podcast addict, and a lot of them are doing a similar thing. But I’ve tried a lot of new things at Ye Olde Fiber Buffet, and I’d like to continue to expand my skills. Plus, I’ve kind of got a lot of irons in the fire, and I don’t want to forget something I meant to do.

Speaking of podcasts, I freely admit I’ve become kind of a podcast slut. I never really bothered with them until my husband and I drove to New England this fall, and he downloaded a few dozen episodes of Marc Maron’s WTF. I like Marc Maron; I liked him in Almost Famous and I liked his appearances on Comics Come Home, and I liked him on Conan, but I never really sat down and listened to him talk. He’s an engaging interviewer, with some interesting perspectives on life.

So I got home and downloaded a podcast aggregating app (one I heard advertised on WTF, incidentally), but it turned out to kind of suck, so I got rid of it, and now I have Podcast Addict, which not only has a much broader selection of podcasts, but lets you play audio or video.* I added a few general interest ones, then I started searching for knitting podcasts.

I suppose the number of knitting blogs could have been a tip-off, but there are a lot of fiber-related podcasts, and I have subscribed to nearly all of them. The only ones I’m not are the ones that haven’t put out a new episode in months, or the two or three that I’ve just decided aren’t for me (too much yammering about their kids’ extracurriculars, one host overpowering the other, terrible audio/music). So my unofficial and ongoing project for the upcoming year is to listen to all these podcasts I’m downloading (in my opinion, it takes at least 3 to get a good feel for the tone) and cull out the ones I like. So far, the ones I’m sure I want to keep on my list are Knitmore Girls, Knit Knit Café, and Ready Set Knit.

Officially, here are the things I want to accomplish in 2014:

1. One pair of socks to meet every monthly SKA challenge. On the face of it, it doesn’t sound terribly challenging, because one pair a month is actually lower than what I knit in 2013 (13 pairs in sock weight, plus 10 that were either heavier weight, child-sized, or ankle socks). However, I’m starting a new position in February, and it’s not entirely a given that I will be able to knit at work, as I am now.** If not, my sock production time will take a pretty steep downturn.

Also, doing a structured monthly KAL like the SKA challenges, encourages me to clear out my queue. For each challenge, I go through my queued patterns and my stashed yarns, and match them up. My queue and my stash definitely need some crowd control measures, and I think doing KALs helps.

2. One skein of lightweight yarn for a shawl. I’m currently absolutely enamored of spinning, even though all I have right now is a homemade drop spindle. I have only spun up small amounts so far, to practice spinning and plying. I also painstakingly went back through my first handspun, the ball of unnamed brown wool and carefully untwisted, redrafted, and respun it. I want to do a little more practice spinning before I get into the 4 oz I already dyed, but I’m optimistic about the results I’ve already had.

*The only thing I don’t like is that if you’re watching a video, it automatically pauses when you switch to another app. If I’m listening to a podcast, I’m either walking to work or knitting, and if I’m knitting, I need my counting app to be front-and-center. Plus, I don’t really care that much about the visual aspect. I don’t really care that much about seeing what someone knit/spun/dyed/wove/etc because if I see something that piques my interest, I’d rather be on a computer already, where I can pause and scoot off to look at it more thoroughly.

** I know this seems to upset some people, but there are jobs where you can knit at work. Doesn’t mean you’re a bad employee, or you’re lazy, or you’re not needed. For example, I worked night shift at a hotel once, and after the last few guests checked in and the nightly financial paperwork was done, there was shit-all to do until the papers were delivered around 5. At the time, I wasn’t a knitter and I didn’t have a laptop, so I became a bit of a cable-news junkie. I’ve actually held at least three jobs where having a knitting project would be a perfect way to pass the time, and alas, I wasn’t yet a knitter for any of them. Currently I do have more responsibilities, but it’s still night shift, and there’s still downtime. I bring a small project – usually socks – with me every night, but there are some times I don’t get to it.