The first is a crocheted afghan. I don't remember if I started it before or after I started knitting, but I suspect before. Before I began knitting, I taught myself crochet and made several doilies. I found the pattern in a book at a used bookstore, and decided to make this. The construction is in long strips. Every other strip is in plain afghan-stitch, and then it is embellished with cross-stitch: diamonds framing little flowers. The alternating strips are formed from granny squares. You can see I have one whole granny square strip and one whole afghan strip, with the embroidery begun. This has 5 or 7 trips total.
I took a very good knitting class to begin with. Our teacher, Molly, had us pick our own first projects. For the first, I picked children's hats with colorwork. I didn't know colorwork was supposed to be hard! For my second knitting project, I wanted to do a fancy lacy shawl, but Molly wasn't in the shop the day I picked it. The ladies there talked me out of it and into this, a supposedly easier shawl. It's hard! It is K1C2's Douceur Elegant Evening Wrap. I chose to do it in Dale Baby Ull (they didn't have much choice in laceweight) and it looks wonderful when you stretch out the lacy bits. It takes a lot of concentration and I haven't touched it in at least 5 years. [Sorry about the dim photo; it was so old, I forgot about it when I took most of the other photos by daylight.] I later told Molly what the other ladies had said, and her response is my mantra when thinking about very ambitious new knitters: Don't let anyone ever tell you what to knit and what not to knit! If you want to make it, then do it!
This project was supposed to be a gift for the Sweetie's finishing his Ph.D. and getting a new job as an assistant professor. My friend, E, was destashing for his mother, who had long ago given up knitting for quilting, but was in denial and was not actively reducing her yarn stash. He wanted to reduce the stash to a knitter (me) before the eventuality of having to liquidate the stash when at some point in the future his parents would be gone and the house would need to be emptied. He came up with the idea that the Sweetie needed a "professoring sweater" and together we looked at samples of yarn he pilfered from his mother's stash, and patterns from his mother's collection. We met secretively, because this was to be a surprise; unfortunately, Sweetie got suspicious and even a bit jealous about these meetings!
In any case, a few months before his job began, I started the sweater. It is a traditional Guernsey sweater, knit in the round with a traditional pattern on the yoke. It is an old Spinnerin pattern from E's mother's collection. It was slow going and eventually on a day he needed cheering up, I showed him his initials on the sweater. After a while, I got busy and put it away. And then thought, well, it can't be for his "new" job after 2 or 3 years at it.... guess it'll be his tenure sweater! And now, it's been six years and the Sweetie was awarded tenure and promotion to associate professor last June. The next milestone is full professor, and after that there's nothing else but retirement! So let's hope I finish it before he is an emeritus professor!