December 2020 Making Review

A photo diary of my finished projects in December…

Lola Socks
Tidings Shawl
Alpine embroidery
Disney cross stitch
Zooming Socks
Tilda Santa
Silent Night Socks
A great many large stars that I didn’t photograph!

And a few things I made in November but were gifts…

Christmas face masks!
Christmas Project Bags

21. A Very Relaxing Christmas

A very Merry Christmas to you! I am really enjoying this extremely relaxing break from work. I have been knitting and crocheting and winding wool; watching movies and playing board games; and of course, eating yummy Christmas food! It’s been the laziest Christmas we’ve ever had and today we woke up to snow! We don’t often get snow here so it was such a lovely surprise and Cosmo got to experience his first outing in the snow. He wasn’t very keen to go out to the toilet this morning, but after much coaxing and standing outside in my pyjamas, he finally braved it!

Before Christmas Eve, I managed to finish another three of my projects:

Zooming Home for Christmas socks that I cast on on 1st December and was able to wear on Christmas Day…

The long-term Disney castle cross stitch…

And after much faffing, my Tilda Santa…

I’m so pleased to have got these lovely things finished. I have made progress on my Elton cardigan but I haven’t picked up my Cheering socks so I think these will be in the January WiP pile. It’s fine. I’m so happy with the things I did manage to finish and getting all of them done was just an arbitrary goal I’d set myself.

On Christmas Eve, I cast on the Silent Night socks using yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners. I decided to use the free pattern that came with it for the Comet socks. However, I only did 40 rows in pattern as I want to get them finished before the end of the year and I was having a little trouble focusing and watching movies!

I was a very lucky girl for Christmas and got some yarn and knitting books this year. Here are the books I received:

I would like to have a Christmas Box of Socks and currently have 6 pairs, so one of my goals for 2021 is to add to this box and over the next few years, I would like to knit enough to have 31 pairs of Christmas socks to wear through December. I love wearing my handmade socks so much.

I will share some of my other plans for 2021 next week. Until then, I hope you enjoy the rest of 2020 as much as you can xx

20. Race to the Finish Line

Hello! Welcome to the latest crafty weekly round up. At this time of year, I always want to get things finished, so I can start the brand new year on as much of a clean slate as possible. To that end, I am going to be working hard to finish off as many of my outstanding projects as I can. In an ideal world, they would all get done but some are so very far from finishing (Battenberg, Cosmo’s blanket, Faye’s quilt – I’m looking at you three) that they are not even on the agenda.

At the beginning of the week, that left me with six remaining projects still to complete in 2020: the alpine hoop embroidery, the Disney castle cross stitch, the Tilda Santa, two pairs of socks and a cardigan. They were all in various states of progress, but I’m happy to say that I have finished one off that list and worked on all but one of the others.

The finished project for this week is my shaky foray into embroidery. It’s not my best work but I did enjoy making it and this is a skill I want to improve on next year. More about that in January. For now, here is my finished alpine hoop! The pattern was from Love Embroidery magazine. I used threads from stash as I have loads.

I’ve focused my evening knitting time on my Elton cardigan this week and have made good progress. I’ve finished the body so I can pick up the sleeves now. I’m so looking forward to being able to wear it! I had to learn how to do a tubular cast off and although it took ten years to cast off, I am really happy with how it looks and feels. The photos are in no way going to do this justice until it is finished and blocked but, you get the idea…

My advent socks (affectionately known as my Zooming socks due to the colourway name ‘Zooming Home for Christmas’) are very nearly complete. It’s been difficult not to pick these up in the evening to get them finished but I really wanted to just work on them for one hour each morning of advent so that I could visibly track my progress with a daily Instagram stories photo.

It just goes to show that with an hour a day, it’s possible to make a pair of socks in a month. I know everyone has busy lives and finding a whole hour can be difficult but it could be split up too. Starting my morning with some knitting really sets me up for the day.

I will definitely have these finished before 24th December when I’ll be ready to cast on my Chrismas Eve socks. I have chosen to knit the Comet socks in the West Yorkshire Spinners ‘Silent Night’ yarn. This is their Christmas offering for 2020. I’ve also got out a mini skein so I can do the heels with this. I’ve cast on a pair of socks on Christmas Eve for the last two years and I really enjoy it. I start them in the morning and then depending on how many things I still have left to do, I work on them all through the day in between preparation for Christmas Day. I always make sure to book Christmas Eve as holiday so I can really enjoy this relaxing build up.

I would love to get my Cheering socks finished by the end of the year too but if not, it’s no problem. I’ll get there at some point. I have done a few more rows on the first sock this week but nothing photo-worthy again.

I’ve spent 30-45 minutes a day on my Disney castle cross stitch again this week too. I can definitely get this one finished with a bit of daily stitching. I’ve made some progress and it’s really not that far off from being complete now!

I started making the Tilda Santa from a kit in January this year. I’ve had it for a few years and was a bit intimidated to try making it as I haven’t really done much patchwork and I was still scared of my sewing machine at that point! I decided to put it away half finished until I felt Christmassy again. And having done more sewing this year, I feel a bit more capable now. Still very much a nervous beginner but much better than I was which is progress, isn’t it? I haven’t done anything other than get it out of hibernation this week but I would love to get it finished over the weekend.

Here is where I got to in the middle of January:

My last working day is 23rd December and then I have a lovely 11 days off! This year will be strange not to see family for get-togethers, but we have decided to stay home on our own this year, despite the loosening of the guidelines as we still feel that we do not want to put anyone at risk unnecessarily. We are not in a bubble with anyone as everyone we would be in one with has needed to be in one with someone else. This has been absolutely fine for us. Thank goodness for all the wonderful technology we have that allows us to still be in touch with the people we love all of the time. When I’m having a tough day and missing people, I just remind myself that this will pass. One certainty in life is that nothing stays the same. One day this will all be a crazy memory. And each gathering we have in the future will be that bit more special because of this.

I’m very much looking forward to lots of free time to lounge about, watch movies, play board games, go on dog walks, and of course, as much knitting and other crafts as I can fit in. I don’t plan to ‘get things done’ but rather to do what I feel like. If that involves casting on five new projects then so be it! I’m just going to give myself the freedom to choose each day, and that is a true luxury.

This will be my last post before Christmas now, so I would like to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas! I hope you have a lovely break and enjoy your crafting time. I’ll be back here before the year is over for a December round up and to take a look back at my projects of 2020.

See you all soon xxx

19. Twelve Pairs in 2020!!

Hello and welcome to this week’s crafty installment. Ooh, it’s been a busy one this week and I’m so happy it’s the weekend. My brain is well and truly fried. My Rob asks me a question and he’s lucky if I get to the end of the sentence before I’ve forgotten what he asked. He keeps saying, ‘There is a delay on this Zoom call.’

Onto good, positive, delightful things this week, and… I finished my Lola socks!!! Woo hoo! This is incredibly eventful because not only is that me completing my first pair of lacy socks but it also takes me to 12 pairs of finished socks this year and completes my 2020 goal! I’m so pleased!

It’s just a lovely pair of socks to complete my goal on too as this pattern was the official pattern by Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet for Ali of Little Drops of Wonderful’s Strictly Sockalong 2020. Money from each pattern was also being donated by Jooles to Gayna from Tales of Cuckoo Land to raise money for her son’s school’s mini bus. And the loveliest thing of all was watching Gayna’s YouTube update this week when the bus arrived. Such a lovely thing to be a tiny part of with all the other knitters.

So here they are, my finished Lola socks, 12th pair of 2020 in the beautiful yarn from Lay Family Yarns in the colourway ‘Fab-U-Lous’…

I’ve also cast off my Tidings Shawl this week. I’d have to call it a ‘shawlette’ really as I made it a lot smaller than the pattern. I wasn’t really enjoying knitting it because of the colours I chose and every row was beginning to feel like a slog. I gave myself the option of putting it in hibernation until next year or finishing off the second colour to the pattern and adding a few rows of garter stitch and casting off. After much procrastinating and indecisiveness, I went for the second option. I really didn’t think I’d feel any different about it next year. I’m so glad I did. I said last week that Faye had her eye on it but she changed her mind as she’s seen a tartan scarf in Matalan online that she loved, so I treated her to that instead.

I’ve worn my Tidings shawlette on my evening dog walks this week and it’s absolutely perfect for wrapping around my neck and fits inside my coat when I need to pull the hood up against the wind and rain.

This now leaves me with just three items left on my needles to get cast off before the end of December so I can have a casting on party in January! I will also be casting on some Christmas Eve socks but more about that in good time.

I am thoroughly enjoying working on my Zooming socks every morning before I start work. With an hour every morning, I finished sock one in 10 days. I’ve really looked forward to adding to it each day. I’m sharing it daily over on my Instagram stories along with my advent calendar treats.

I haven’t had chance to add any more rows to my Cheering socks this week but hopefully I will over the weekend.

My final knitting WIP has just come out of hibernation and it’s my Elton cardigan. The pattern is by Joji Locatelli and I’m using Drops yarn. I cast this on in January this year and I’m sort of annoyed at myself that I’ve left it in the project bag for so long. In my defence, I seem to have had a bit of a problem with the mohair in the warmer months and it’s only just got cold again now. I’m aiming now to do a stripe a day which is 4 rows, 4 long rows. I know I will start to enjoy knitting on it again once I get back into the swing of it because it is very mindless and that is the perfect kind of project for me at the moment.

Once I had cast off the Lola socks and the Tidings shawl, I turned my main project focus to the Alpine Hoop and I’m making good progress on this now. This is probably famous last words, but I am aiming to get that finished next week.

My craft time has been slightly hampered this week by the recommencement of the crafting community Christmas project which I thought I had finished with. However, they needed volunteers to sew the names onto the crochet stars and no-one was coming forward, so… what was I to do? I have seen it through this far and didn’t want it to fall at the last hurdle. It transpired that the lady doing this lovely stitching perhaps hadn’t considered the size and lots of them didn’t fit onto the stars we had made. Cue more crochet burn on my finger as I attempted to make bigger stars with lots more yarn strands and bigger hooks. I don’t enjoy using big hooks and am very slow because it really makes my hands ache. I had to do this in my craft room on my lunch breaks as even the best puppy probably wouldn’t be able to control himself with lots of yarn balls rolling off in different directions!

I managed to get my quota done and have now delivered all of the stars to the lady (bless her heart) who is constructing the whole thing. It would be much easier to do if we weren’t in Covid times. I imagine we would have all been together at the craft hub listening to Christmas music and eating mince pies. Ah, well!

In all honesty, I have reached the point where I will be glad when this is complete. I know when it’s up, I’ll be really glad I took part. And hopefully, it will make many people feel happy when they see it.

In happier news, I am absolutely loving my progress keepers in my beautiful stitch marker advent calendar by Mrs G Makes. Here is a photo of all the beautiful ones I have opened so far. I think Day 1 is my absolute favourite but I love all of them.

It’s really been a full-on week with highs and lows but I’m just so pleased that I completed a long-term goal and I’m honestly not sure the last time I did that. I usually set goals that are much too much and then can’t complete them or end up talking myself out of them part way through, so this really does feel like such an achievement. My sock mojo is still extremely high, so there will be more!

I hope you are managing to fit in some joyful, crafty moments through these busy weeks. See you next week when we will be getting closer to the big day and, thank goodness, my Christmas holiday break from work! Take care xxx

18. Christmas is Coming!

Hello! Welcome back to another review of my crafty week. It’s mostly sock knitting this week with a few extras and the start of advent calendar season! I absolutely love the countdown to Christmas and even though it’s very different in lots of ways this year, I’m still counting my blessings and trying to make the most of each day.

This is my first Christmas with a puppy and I was honestly in two minds about decorating the house as usual. He’s a very good boy but he is a boisterous Border Collie and my house is very small! In the end, I decided that he needs to learn right from the start what he can and can’t do in our house, so over the last few weeks I’ve been leaving things around on the floor like the odd bag etc to see what he does (secretly supervised of course!), and I was heartened to see that nothing more than a little investigative sniff occurred!

So, on Sunday (a little earlier than usual), we put up the tree and the Christmas decorations. With boxes everywhere and shiny things being passed around left, right and centre, our little Cosmo was an angel. The only thing he was slightly tempted with were Rob’s Grinch slippers (after all they do look like big fluffy toys!) but once told they weren’t for him, he decided to lie down and watch us from the comfort of his bed. Such a sweetie!

I even managed to get a picture of him in front of the tree (by holding a treat in the air… Tactics!)! We joked that Faye has been replaced for the annual Christmas tree photo, but then she is as tall as it now and happy enough to be usurped by a cheeky pup!

So onto crafting for this week, mostly knitting and mostly socks. I was hoping to have a finished object but with the decorating and the advent preparation, it wasn’t going to happen. Perhaps if I was a one-project-at-a-time knitter, but I’m not! I have still made good progress on the second Lola sock and I’m still really enjoying working it.

I also put in a bit of work on the first of the Cheering socks. This is the fifth Knitvent pattern this year and it’s perfect for me because it’s socks but also a challenge with my first ever cable sock pattern. I have to admit that it has been surprisingly simple and I’m using the most beautiful yarn from Mr and Mrs Rabbit Yarns. It’s a high twist luxury sock yarn in the colourway, ‘Blackberry Stained Pinafores’.

I’ve put a bit more knitting on my Tidings shawl and it’s now about halfway through. I was very excited to reach the colour change. I’m not enjoying this project so much. It’s purely down to the navy colour. The pattern is beautiful and the yarn is lovely too, but it’s just not my colour. I was beginning to wonder about ripping it back until a certain little lady said, ‘Mum, who is that for?’ To which I replied that I wasn’t sure. ‘Ooh, could I have it then, please?’ I’m going to have to watch out, I think, as she’s becoming a bit f a knitting magpie! On this occasion though, I was thrilled as it’s now spurred me on to try to get it finished for Christmas!

The final knitting project is a new cast on for this week. I decided I wanted to start a pair of Advent socks. I dream about having a full box of Christmas socks for every day of December, so 31 pairs. I currently have 4 pairs. So I have a long way to go! This idea is inspired by Amy Florence of Stranded Dyeworks. Each year, I have missed out on her Christmas colourways, so I was on a mission this year to purchase as many as I could. I mean, I’ve been setting actual timers and it has paid off! I have managed to get all but one of her past colourways which are Christmas presents from my lovely husband (more on that later in the month) and I also got my mitts on this year’s Christmas sock set!! I give you ‘Zooming Home for Christmas’ with ‘Christmas Green’:

I wound the yarn and cast on the stitches on the evening of 30th November (a bit sneaky, but you know, my socks, my rules) and have been knitting on them each morning of advent for about an hour. I’m already at the heel flap and I just absolutely love the colour. I’m definitely usually a pastels person, but I love some brights and jewel tones at Christmas. The colours in this sock make me think of 80s Christmases with all the coloured lights and the foil ceiling decorations with used to hang. Ah, memories!

I’ve made a bit of progress on my alpine hoop (pattern from Love Embroidery Magazine). I have been trying to do 20-30 minutes a day on this but I think I’ve only managed about four days! Must try harder to squeeze every last minute out of my free time. I don’t love the snow on the mountains so I might have to go over some of that.

I feel like this post is becoming a bit long and waffly, so I’ll try to keep these last few bits short. I’ve joined in with a read-a-long of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens with Clara Peggoty of the Sheep and Cheerful podcast. I’ve had this book on my shelf since I was a girl and never got around to reading despite the fact that is actually quite a short book. So far, I’ve read and enjoyed the first stave (chapter).

I was so lucky to get my hands on the very last Stitch Marker Advent Calendar by Mrs G Makes. I only have two progress keepers in my collection, so Amanda (aka Mrs G) offered whatever type of clasp I would like and I chose the progress keeper variety. Is it lobster claw? I’m not sure now. So far, I have opened up 4 absolutely beautiful stitch markers. I haven’t managed to take a photo of them in daylight together so I’ll endeavour to do that for next week. Here is a picture of the packaging and the lovely drawstring bag that came in the parcel.

I neglected to mention last week that I had attended a wonderful Zoom Knit and Natter hosted by Claire and Madeleine of Mr and Mrs Rabbit Yarns. I was so nervous as I can be a bit awkward when I don’t know people, but everyone was so nice and we just chatted about knitting and yarn and crochet, and showed some of the things we were making. It was absolutely lovely! Then Claire drew my name out of a raffle at the end and I won this amazing set of yarn minis in the colourways ‘Vintage Christmas Baubles’. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. I don’t usually win things and these colours are just perfect. I felt so lucky!

While going through the Christmas decorations, I was absolutely grateful to past me for finally buying proper stackable, lidded boxes for the decorations but also, I had completely forgotten that last year between Christmas and New Year, I’d used Faye’s Big Shot to prepare some papercuts for card making this year! It was so amazing. All I needed to do was get the glue out and finish them off! I would definitely like to do something similar this year, if not make the cards ready. I still haven’t written them yet, but one step at a time, right?

I think that brings me to the end of my waffle. I hope you too enjoyed a fun-packed festive and creative week. See you next time xx