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January knitting and thinking about life with less stress in it

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I took a step back as the calendar changed to 2015.  I didn’t launch head long into making huge changes or decisions.  I am too aware of years gone past where I have made promises to myself that were either impossible to keep or just petered out after a few days or weeks.

Therefore there was no blog post directly on 1st January, no New Years Resolutions as such, although it did make me muse about the future.  I got to thinking about something an old work colleague said when I was quite young.  I didn’t ‘get it’ at the time, in fact I thought he was just being tight. St Valentine’s Day was approaching and I was anticipating dinner out with a fairly new boyfriend.  My colleague said St Valentine’s Day was an excuse for retailers and restaurants to bump up their prices and  overcharge everybody.  He also said the media encouraged us to make sure we said ‘I Love You’ on that one day whereas he said it to his wife everyday (lucky wife!).  I wondered why he questioned being told to say ‘I Love You’ at all.

I guess you can possibly say similar rules apply to New Year’s Eve celebrations.  Don’t get me wrong here. I am not bah humbug at all about New Year. I love New Year! I have very happy memories of being proposed to and accepting as one year turned into another.  I have great memories of parties and other celebrations with friends here and abroad as clocks changed.  However, it is so true that many restaurants charge a lot extra to eat out on 31st December, many supermarkets bring out ‘special’ food (sometimes more expensive too) for the same date.  Yes, you have to factor in paying staff, keeping venues open out of hours, but is it really overdone these days?  And, why is it that people take this date to review the past year and make changes?  Why don’t we do it on May 3rd, September 7th or any other date?  Historically it was when the calendar was reset in the 1500’s but mostly nowadays it revolves around making keep fit decisions rather than being farmers and being aware of the seasons!

I had been thinking I was barely keeping my head above water for some time.  November became rather a blur.  I had been working hard, newish job, lots to learn.  I had been trying to juggle home life, being a good wife and mother.  I was struggling to keep healthy and to keep off the pounds I had lost in the past 18 months. It all seemed to work but I was exhausted and not enjoying most things. The seeds of change were planted in November, which did mean a change of working hours before Christmas, for the better. December, amongst the juggling, obligatory family stuff took place.  As always we came out of Christmas feeling we had done our bit for the season but this year I felt flat and pushed and pulled every which way.

So, between Christmas and New Year I started to take stock of my life at ‘the moment’, not particularly long term but ‘for now’.  I am part of an online knitting forum but had taken on board more commitment on it for three years.  I decided to give that up, enjoy some time for me on the forum.  I didn’t want to dash fellow knitters hopes but had to put myself first this time and it feels good that I have.  Secondly, I decided to try and sell some of my knitted things again.  There was an opportunity proposed to me in Spring 2014, I hadn’t taken it up but I have done so now.  It is very casual but in a week I have sold 25% of my items – which to me is good news.  I still dash from day to day but sometimes consciously stop and ‘smell the roses’.  For example, on the train platform the other day I was surrounded by fellow commuters, six of which in the near vicinity were wearing headphones.  They all seemed unaware of their surrounding.  I stood waiting for the train, basking in the sunshine streaming down upon us, just taking stock of the start of the day and felt calm and relaxed when the train arrived.

A couple of pics just for show off !  A trip to Greenwich in London pre Christmas.  A lovely snap of The Cutty Sark.  Well worth a visit if you are up that way.

And a little bit of knitting, though photo a bit rubbish – oops!  More knitty pictures will be uploaded soon.   WP_20141117_002cutty sark greenwich 151114

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Still many WIPS

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Knitting more in my mind than in actuality.  Anyone else not settling down to it?  There’s always so many other things to be done this time of year! Who am I kidding? Just myself.  I could pick up the needles but find myself getting distracted by searching for patterns and yarn online.  If I actually downloaded or bought all the patterns I am drawn to I would have enough to keep me going for years!  Likewise if I actually knitted my stash – but as any true knitter knows, they will never get down to not having a stash!  ha ha!

My green tunic sits across the lounge peeking out of the top of it’s project bag.  It showed promise but it has temporarily lost momentum.  I started a man’s hat for a Secret Santa gift – it was supposed to be a quick knit and I was going great guns on it, steady for two train journeys in one day.  Then ….. I found out my Secret Santa gift was to be for a girl in the office – trust me to have taken a gamble – so man’s hat on hold and girl’s hat cast on and half done last night.  Of course some could ask why did I start or why didn’t I start a unisex hat?  I ask myself that – guess I got carried away with the yarn to hand (a happy half hour perusing my stash!) Besides, when I was given the girl’s name I realise she is very ‘girly’ and just needs a ‘girly’ hat!  One week to go – easy peasy – it will be off the pins by end of the day tomorrow.  Then to decide on which embellishment – flower or pompom?

The weekend has been busy, apart from the crafting.  Hubby full of cold so he needed some TLC .  Teenager tetchy so he needed a little TLC but a more hands off approach.  Christmas decs up, courtesy of hubby, who finds it hard to sit and do nothing but at least he agreed not to leave the house (my idea of speeding up his recuperation, staying at home that is, probably his idea of hell!)  When son and I popped out to pick up hubby’s Christmas gift he was agast not to be invited, but luckily we had a very good excuse to stop him coming.

So, weekend over and it will soon by Monday.

In need of knitting and sewing therapy – so thankful for this morning

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padded coathangers 2 nov 14What a shattering week it has been.  A week of disappointments and frustrations.  I am over tired, have been over-wrought and thank goodness the week is almost over itself!  (It’s now Saturday afternoon. When do you say your week begins, Sundays or Mondays?  For me it is Mondays.  I digress…)

A frustrating week: buses were late, trains cancelled, colleagues absent, work extreme, teenager a ‘stroppy’ teenager.  The weather turned cold and chilly, the skies were grey all day and to see photos on line of my hubby in the Dubai sunshine enjoying his holiday (oops, business trip!) added to the despair of the week.  Disappointments briefly: work ethic not being appreciated, being a good mother, being a successful wife.  There were a few bright lights, namely a morning spent with friends on Thursday and a satisfying parents evening giving praise to my teenager (no strops that evening from either of us, wahay!).

When I am a lone parent for a few days I revel in the chaos of my life and home.  I rule the roost, I tidy when I want to (usually half an hour before anyone else comes over), I craft more and generally have a ‘break’ from week to week routine.  This week it just has not worked out that way.  The knitting did not take off – I kept running out of time to knit – my time management sucked.  The sewing remained on the dining table space, left neglected and unloved.

So thank goodness for this morning! Look what I made – mine is the navy spotted one.  Four friends met and sewed together.  The lovely Carrie helped us make a padded coathanger (one friend popped in to say hi, sup a coffee and did not stay long, so did not sew).  This has been a project on the back burner for months.  Twice we had arranged to meet and make it but with all of us and our chaotic lives it wasn’t until today that it actually happened.  Friends, sewing needles, fabric, girl heaven.  Therapy in a couple of hours.

Cabling in green, second time lucky!

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I promised myself I would actually get on a bit with my crafting and  I have, though it’s been a wobbly few days.  I have started to reknit the tunic top.  I took a deep breath, undid the smaller size and started again, less stitches but bigger needles.  Wahay I’m off!

So my green tunic grows on it’s 8mm needles, perhaps not as quickly as I’d hoped, but is IS growing.  I couldn’t knit as much as planned yesterday – due to being out of the house for nearly the whole day and then being too excited to knit when last night’s ‘Strictly’ was on TV (!)  Any fellow Strictly fans may agree with me ….

So here’s a mini show off and the next time I pop a photo on here it will be nearer completion.  Sunday today, time to relax this afternoon.  Shall I knit or shall I sew?  Hubby’s away, son is amusing himself,  where shall I start?

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Showing off a little sewing….. remember I say ‘a little’ ….

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I’ve returned from my second awe-inspiring new craft group.  I can hardly believe it’s been a week since the last one! Since I have been home I have moved my sewing machine table and sewing things into an area with better light to get on with my unfinished sewing project. I have read a few wordpress crafty blogs which made me smile.  I have contacted the ladies within my sewing group about our next session. Plus I’ve even imagined what my next knitting project will be when I finish my current WIP and ordered more yarn on line  Last week I said these ladies were encouraging – this week they did not disappoint.  I so admire a lovely lady who is doing a textile course and who was showing us a little piece she is working on to reflect her interpretation of reptiles …. photo, if allowed, will be here one day.  Three of us were knitting this morning, all different styles, all different tastes.  One was cross-stitching.  A few ladies did not come along today but there were enough of us to chitchat and make plans for future projects.  Wow!

A little pic of the last mini project my sewing friends and I made together.  Mines the pink one with roses.  I thought if I show off a sewing project on here every time I see it I WILL get into sewing more. sewing bags

A little pic of a lovely little hat pattern by garnstudio (aka DROPS) number 150-40. I have just finished one of these in DROPs Nepal, in bright pink – no photo to hand as I left my hat at work – but you can see the pattern at least! Fab little yarn shop in Bromley, Kent (littlewooliebromley.co,uk) 

One beautiful year

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It makes you think!

write meg!

Wedding

Monday marked one year of marriage — and in my typical fashion as of late, I’m behind the times. Eternally behind the times. But I’m here! And I certainly haven’t forgotten!

You know, we really thought we lucked out with the weather that day: mild, bright and breezy, with temperatures in the mid-60s and plenty of warmth in the sun. As I’m obsessive-compulsive even when I’m not planning a life-changing event for 150 people, I’d checked the Farmer’s Almanac average temperatures like a lunatic in the months leading up to our wedding day. An outdoor wedding in November? Who does that? But their warm predictions held true.

What I remember most about that day was my anxious excitement to see Spencer. And the way that I managed, after months of planning and obsessing, to actually stay in the moment. That elusive idea — that I enjoy the now —…

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Truly inspirational new friends and new projects

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It’s been a while….. busy everyday life took over…. but I am back!

Yesterday I met the most wonderful group of ladies at a new Knit, Stitch and Craft coffee morning.  They have given me a new boost and inspiration. I realise I have been jigging along just doing my own thing craftwise, happy and successful at times but occasionally producing nothing to be proud of.  In recent months I have intentionally attacked my wool stack, feeling a little guilty than yarn is really taking over my life (that, and the big hint from hubby that we might have to move if I get any more – or was that ‘he’ might have to move?…)  So I made a chunky shrug – very pretty but it didn’t fit me – it’s been donated to someone less busty!   I made arm warmers too, ready for the chilly winter.  It wasn’t much, but it was a start.  I also made a cowl, but that was from a sneaky new yarn purchase ….

The new ladies from yesterday came from all walks of life, of different age groups and different abilities.  There was an interesting retired textiles teacher, a Japanese medic who has her own online fabric shop, a lady who made prom dresses, a couple of people who haven’t knitted for some time but want to do so, someone who had been on many courses in years gone by but has never continued those skills learned. It was so interesting to chat about what they’d made in the past, who they went to for their craft supplies, what they are hoping to make.  One great suggestion is to all have a very cheap garment the same and embellish it – just to see what we all come up with. That sounds like fun!  We shall meet weekly hopefully so I am looking forward to moving my own skills on or even just getting together with likeminded people and chewing the cud.

My sewing projects have been sparse over the summer and autumn season so far. MY sewing group has struggled to maintain momentum and I am wondering how much longer we will survive  There are a couple of people keen to meet but not so keen to make mini group projects.  It is really difficult to suggest little things to sew just for two hours and still have a reasonable item as you leave. We are a mixed bunch, experienced and no so experienced.  Some of us could come along with our own projects to work on and just spend time sewing and chatting, others need to have guidance but do not have current projects.  We have one more meeting before Christmas and I think this could be the crux as we are or we shall change completely or even disband.  I have a half finished quilted sewing machine cover that keeps winking at me from my sewing table.  I had an issue with some thread stuck in the works of the machine, so I took a break to work out how to ‘work it out’ promising myself I wasn’t going to give up and shout too much! I managed to wiggle the thread out and get started again. Machines and mechanics are not particularly favourite things of mine so I was quite proud of myself but of course that time spent on fixing things meant no time for more sewing that day.  Well, onwards and upwards, I have given myself a goal to finish the cover this weekend.  You never know, there might even be a photo on here soon.

Happy crafting everyone!