Yesterday I completed the oldest UFO I had active in my pile of projects, Embossed Leaves from Interweave Knits' Favorite Socks.
It started out as this in November 2007:
In many ways, this project, which had been ripped out twice before finally getting it right, represents my growing skills as a knitter over the past eighteen months. When I began it, I was new to socks -- look, for example, how the original is knit on double points, which I haven't used for at least a year -- and I was new to lace, as evidenced in my working copy, all covered with my chicken scratches keeping track of where I was in the pattern. The first time I started this, I lost track of where I was and messed up the foot. The second time, I realized my gauge was way too big.
The third time happened just a few weeks ago when I suddenly had some uninterrupted chunks of knitting time when I could concentrate on a chart. I cast on on smaller, 40 inch circulars, and to my surprise, the pattern just flew. I didn't need stitch markers, I didn't need to mark up my pattern, and in time, I didn't even need the chart. I've learned to read my knitting accurately, and more important, trust my own judgment. I don't think there's a more valuable skill in knitting than that.