It always takes me longer than I'd like to get back into the swing of things after a holiday. The decorations are down now and the house looks very bare (and rather dusty); small daughter is back at school and big daughter goes back to university on Monday, and I've spent these last few days feeling as if I'm getting nowhere fast. Oh don't get me wrong, I'm all fired up and ready to go for the New Year ... it's just the thought of getting going!
The dog is very happy to be back in his usual routine, although I have to say that I'm a bit fed up of seeing the same soggy paths. Where's the snow? Or even a bit of frost to give the ground that winter crunch? It's not even really cold enough to be wearing my hat and mitts, so although I start off with them on, I've been having to take them off and carry them about half way round our walk. I've been having to get my snow fix through Instagram this year and although vicarious snow is better than none at all, just a little bit would be nice!
Now that the New Year is here, my husband has had his annual chuckle at the sight of me trawling through pages of free planner printables in an attempt to get myself under some kind of organised control. Two years ago, I decided to take a plunge into bullet journaling which lasted all of about six weeks ...
and last year I tried using various printed pages and diaries which again, lasted all of about six weeks, which is why I'm looking at the free printables and not a paid-for planner! My problem (or so I tell myself) is that none of the pages actually do what I need them to do - I've got so many different things that I need to keep track of: the blog, the family, the socks, the work that I do with my husband's business, the pets, holidays etc etc - that I end up missing something out and then I get cross and stop using the planner altogether. We do use Google calendar as a family so that we can update in real time where everyone is and what they're doing (and I have had to get used to using that as my husband takes the view that if it's not on the calendar it's not happening, and he can book what he likes (usually work!) into the free space), but no matter how many to-do lists and task lists I set up, I still end up running round like something silly.
Yes, yes, of course it's all down to discipline and actually using the planner pages - my husband likes to point out that writing it down isn't enough and I still need to do whatever it is, but I think he's just asking for a poke in the eye! - and I'm going to try very hard to last for longer than six weeks this year. And besides, I like to look at all the planner pages and imagine that my life is super-organised and clutter-free. I've even set up a new Pinterest page with styles that I like which isn't procrastinating at all but even I know that there are limits and I can't begin to look at stickers, doodling or any other form of planner decoration because then I really will never get anything done!
So here's my choice for 2017 (or at least, until the middle of February): simple pages from www.kraftyowl.com which I can hopefully use to write down some of the stuff that I need to do every day rather than try to keep it all in my head. There's no date on the weekly pages either, so I won't feel guilty if I miss some pages out. You never know. It might just work this year. I'll keep you posted!
I woke up really early on Saturday morning (why does this happen? I'm never ready to get out of bed really early during the week!) and decided to get up and make a start on my Moorland Blanket, the new crochetalong using Lucy's brand new pattern. It's been a long time since I crocheted a blanket - July 2013 in fact - and that was my neat ripple blanket which I originally made to wrap myself up in whilst I'm meditating, but have found myself snuggling under it far more often. I've been promising myself another crocheted blanket ever since, but have never quite got round to it until now. Lucy had a sample of her new neat wave blanket at Yarndale and I knew this was going to be the one. I bought myself a new crochet hook (mine are all ancient metal ones) from Nicola at Fleabubs by Lala at Yarndale. I'm very pleased with it - I may have mentioned my pink sparkly unicorn hook before ...
and set about making my tension swatch. I'm using up stash to make this blanket - I have a pack of original Lucy colours which have been sitting in the cupboard for a few years so much as I love the colours that Lucy has chosen for her blanket, I really must use what I have before I buy anything else. Of course, once it's gone then that leaves me free to buy any blanket packs I might like in the future or possibly - ahem - some more rare breed sock yarn ...
I was just looking and it fell into my basket. What could I do?
Getting back into crocheting again this weekend has been lovely, and although I needed a bit of a refresher on one of the stitches (luckily, Lucy has thought of this and written instructions for people like me), it wasn't long before I was happily hooking away. It was really foggy (foggy! what's that all about?) here in Winwick yesterday and it didn't get light until quite late in the morning. The family were asleep, even the pets took themselves back to bed after their breakfasts, and I was quite content with my cup of tea and the crackling of the fire for company.
I've decided to go for random stripes so this new blanket will probably end up looking quite similar to my neat ripple blanket, but as I really like those colours anyway it's not a problem. I suspect that this blanket will end up living on our sofa so that there's an extra one for TV snuggling, and as our sofa is a rather battered brown leather one, some bright yarny colours will be just the thing!
My brother and his wife bought me this which is just right for this project ...
That's a cute fox, isn't it? It's a Jane Foster large knitting bucket and I've managed to pack all 17 balls of yarn that I have into it so it will be perfect for TV crocheting.
I have no idea how long it's going to take me make this blanket because I've always got so many things going on (all right, I can hear you shouting "use your planner!") and I have got some Exciting Sock Stuff to be working on too, but it's nice to have got started and it will get finished during the year.
Ooh, did you hear me say "Exciting Sock Stuff"? I did say that! I told you last year about the new tutorial socks that I'm making and planner or no planner, I'm doing my best to have the tutorial ready for the end of this month. It will be the first in a series that I want to do this year which will look at expanding sock knitting skills and taking another step towards discovering all the fabulous patterns that are available. I absolutely love it when people tell me that the Sockalong tutorials have helped them to get started knitting socks but I've also been told that sometimes people are still a bit reluctant to make the next step into exploring new patterns. I'm hoping to help put that right!
Also under the heading of "Exciting Sock Stuff" is something that is very new to me and quite some way out of my comfort zone ... I'm going to make some videos to go with the tutorial as I know that there are some people who like to watch rather than just see pictures. Ulp! It does feel very scary but just like any new skill, we all have to start somewhere and if I don't just launch in and do them, I'll never get any better. And if I've told you that I'm going to do them, then I just have to get on with it, don't I?!
I think we're pretty much caught up on everything for now ... I have finished knitting my Fair Isle skirt again after the lumpy bumpy disaster that it was; it's looking much better this time and early indications are that it's going to fit much better too. I've woven all the ends in (and there were so many ends!) and just need to put a zip in and then it'll be done.
And just to finish off on the subject of knitting - and socks - I'd like to thank everyone who's added their pair of basic Sockalong socks to the Ravelry project page - there are over 1,100 projects on there now which is quite amazing! I always love to see the socks that are linked, and you can find all my free patterns on Ravelry as well as on the Free Patterns and Printables page here on the blog (it's in the tabs at the top of the page). There's also the more practical application too in that the more people who are able to find the Sockalong tutorials, the more people can start their own sock adventures - and there's always room for more sock knitters in the world!
Have a lovely weekend everybody - and may it be calm and organised! What are your own planner intentions this year? I'd love to know as it might help me stick with mine for longer than six weeks! J