29. Happy Stitches

Hello and welcome to another crafty catch up! I’ve run out of steam a bit this week. Although, I am enjoying all of my projects, I have just had that urge to get some things finished but I haven’t managed it. Over the weekend, I made great progress on the Umbel Shawl and I’m now onto the final yarn colour, but the lace pattern requires even more concentration so I’m knitting really slowly. I think I have around 40 rows to go. I love how the colours looks together. It’s difficult to show you how it looks at the moment. Blocking at the end will really show it in all its lacy glory.

I completed my first month of the Happy Stitches Journal (Volume 1) and really enjoyed it. I added in ‘2021’ as this will be on the first page.

I’ve really enjoyed adding the full March palette pack from Lay Family Yarn into my Rainbow Granny Stripe Blanket this week. I have the yellows ready to wind up into a ball. I might attempt a magic knot ball this time, though I have never done one before, so we’ll see!

I worked some more on my Battenberg Blanket this week and the pink section is growing. I think maybe 2-3 weeks more of plain squares, then I’ll be onto the oranges and peaches. Although it’s not as fun to make the plain squares, because I’m joining them with the pink, it does motivate me to get on with it. I think if I was just crocheting a stack of plain squares, I might not be getting on with it so well!

I’ve been managing to hand quilt two circles on my hexies quilt each evening this week. I go upstairs straight after I’ve finished work and get them done and it takes me around 20 minutes. I’m definitely finding the hand quilting a challenge. I’m very awkward and my stitches are far too big but I’ve given up worrying about it. Better to just get on with it. It’s not like I’m entering it into a competition or anything, so why worry!

I’ve lost my sock mojo a bit this week and have only put a few rounds on the two pairs I’m working on. Hopefully, I can find it over the weekend!

I have quite a lot of year-long projects on the go which means I’m not really finishing much. I do like to give myself little check points so I feel like I’m getting somewhere. I think I need to get some of my shorter projects finished and hold off casting anything new on until they are complete. I have so many things I want to make this year, but if I’m not careful, I’ll find that I stop enjoying what I’m working on at the time because I’m too busy dreaming about what I want to start!

I hope you managed to work on your happy projects this week too. Until next time, Happy Crafting! Xx

28. Project Love

Hello! How are you all? Welcome back to my crafty corner of the internet where I share what projects I’ve been working on this week.

I started and finished my February cross stitch this week using my kit from Little Dove’s Cross Stitch. I love the pinks in this one and it’s such a pretty design.

I also finished one of my Lion, Witch and Wardrobe ribbed socks and have cast on the second. I hadn’t knit a ribbed sock before but I got Rob to try it for fit and he preferred them to the vanilla socks although he felt they might still slip down his slim legs. I have a few ideas on that so he may get a pair for his birthday yet. I have the yarn waiting but I need to know they won’t just sit in a drawer unworn!

After finishing the yoke on my Fern and Feather sweater last week and knitting a few rows, I reached a part in the pattern that was bit vague for me to understand. In the end I decided I thought I knew what it meant and went for it and it has turned out great. I have now split for the sleeves and am ready to begin the stockinette rows. The perfect TV knitting! We’ve been enjoying the series ‘Ashes to Ashes’ on Netflix.

I wish there were more hours in the day for all my lovely projects. I’m desperate to give my Umbel shawl some serious attention and intend to do just that this coming weekend. I have added a few more rows since I last shared it on the blog…

I have also made a start on my February Rainbow Sock Chronicles socks using the Winter Rose pattern by Helen Stewart. I had to laugh because it wasn’t anywhere near as difficult as I had built up in my mind after my previous attempt in 2018. It really showed me how much my skills have improved! I did decide to use an alternating colour for the heels, toes and cuffs and have picked the West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in the colour ‘Cherry Drop’.

I feel like I seem to go on about how I love every project at the moment, but I really do. They bring me so much happiness and joy. I started crocheting some plain squares and joining them on my Battenberg Blanket this week. I didn’t do as many as I’d hoped to but I love how it looks!

This year, I signed up to make a Happy Stitches Journal (Volume 1) with Sarah Edgar of Pretty Fabrics and Trims I didn’t get to go to any of the craft shows last year or join any clubs or workshops for obvious reasons, and this year looks to be a similar scenario, so I thought I’d treat myself to this to make up for it. The January pack arrived last week and it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful thing to work on. The first month doesn’t look too intimidating either, so now I’ve completed my cross stitch for this month, I’m going to start work on this next.

We’ve had some more snow here in Staffordshire and very cold temperatures, so have enjoyed the huddling indoors this week! It was also the last week of home school for Faye and she is very pleased to have half-term week off. She received a lovely little postcard from the History Department this morning to thank her for her hard work. It really put a smile on her face. I’ll still be working from home next week but with a little less stress without the home school!

I hope you enjoyed some making time this week. Do you have any nice crafty plans for the weekend?

See you next time. Happy Crafting! xx

27. Make 9, Quilt Sandwich & Liberty Socks

Hello! How are you? This week I’ve enjoyed that we’ve had a bit more daylight, a few snowdrops have flowered and my daffodils are waiting patiently in the wings. I enjoy lots of things about winter (except having to hose the mud of the dog every time we play outside and the fact that my garden looks like a school football pitch!). In fact, I enjoy all the seasons, but I particularly love Spring. It feels so full of hope and last year, I didn’t feel that for all the obvious reasons of the world turning on it’s head in March. This lockdown isn’t about getting to grips with new things, but rather persevering with new learned behaviours and some of those are very welcome. Faye particularly enjoys not having to wear her school uniform and being able to drink a cup of tea while doing her lessons; not forgetting that extra time in bed that she would usually spend standing outside in the cold at the bus stop. There is, of course, so much to miss, but we try not to dwell too much on that as we don’t find it helpful.

I have enjoyed another crafty week and have one finished object, three works in progress and two new projects to share with you this time.

My finished object this week are my Liberty Annabella C socks! The yarn was from www.mrandmrsrabbityarns.co.uk and was the mystery Liberty inspired yarn club for January. I used my favourite Basic Sock pattern by Winwick Mum just modifying it slightly to practice my skills on German twisted cast on and twisted rib for the cuff. I also added two purl rows every 9th and 10th round of the leg for an extra detail. I like how it’s given them a slouchy look, though they don’t feel slouchy when they’re on my feet. I’m really looking forward to seeing the yarn for February. I absolutely love Liberty prints so this is perfect for me.

At the weekend, Faye assisted me in finally sandwiching her hexies quilt. I’ve put this off for a few weeks now as I was worrying about ruining it. It required a lot of space to lay it all out flat and have room around the edge to work on it and my house is quite small. I ended up measuring the layers out roughly on my bed and cutting down the wadding and backing fabric that way (very unprofessional!). My wadding wasn’t long enough so I had ordered some tape to enable me to fix two pieces together and this worked really well.

We moved it down to a well hoovered living room once Rob had taken Cosmo out on a long walk and lay it out as flat as possible, then used a temporary glue spray to help fix the layers together and once happy (ish!), we used quilting safety pins to pin from the centre out to keep the layers together.

It’s not going to be perfect and once I wash it when it’s all finished, it will wrinkle up and hide a multitude of sins anyway. I created a circle template simply using a compass, a pencil and a piece of card. I then drew around it with my favourite Frixion pen to create a cathedral window effect.

My next job is to hand quilt through the layers on the circles working from the centre of the quilt out, using a quilting hoop to keep the quilt sandwich taut as I sew. I have only managed a few circles this week as I need to sit on my bed to do it and let’s just say, hand quilting is not my forte… yet, anyway! I’m hoping the more I do, the more I will improve. This is going to be a very homemade quilt! But as I tell my daughter all the time – you rarely start something new and get it perfect on the first attempt. Most things take lots of practice! And let’s face it, I’ll get lots of practice on this quilt!

My first work in progress this week is my Fern and Feather sweater. Oh, I have loved knitting this. I finished the yoke at the weekend and haven’t added much further but I’m looking forward to giving it some more attention this weekend. I just need to get my head around the wrap and turn shaping again before I hit the rows and rows of stockinette!

I’m so happy to have finished my first colour category on my Battenberg Blanket. The pinks and reds are complete – all 105 of them, ends sewn in too. I have come to the decision that I will sew them to join so that I can work from the corner in a diagonal way. This allows me to make sure I don’t have any of the same yarns together and I don’t mind the sewing as I can do the ends at the same time on the plain squares.

So my job next week is to make start on those plain squares in the Drops Flora yarn in colour 03 Light Grey and join a few each day. I’m really looking forward to this! Then eventually after I have finished this section, I’ll move onto the next colour category which is orange, peach and yellow, and complete 105 of these as well.

I do have other works in progress but I have decided to just focus on a few each week that I have made the most progress on, so it doesn’t get too boring for you!

Onto new projects now. As I have finished my Liberty socks, I am now ready to cast on my February Rainbow Sock Chronicles socks! I am using up some stash yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in the colour ‘Honeysuckle’. I am contemplating knitting the heels, toes and cuffs in a red colour but I need to think about it some more. I’m using a pattern from stash too – the Winter Rose Socks by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade. I tried this pattern back in 2018 when it was released as part of The Handmade Sock Society. I took it to Bude with some wooden needles. I had only made a few pairs of socks at that point and I wasn’t very confident with lace knitting. I didn’t really know that you could get different levels of sharpness on sock needles as such, managed to snap the wooden needles part way through the leg section! I couldn’t get hold of any alternative needles on holiday and when I got home, I was struggling to make sense of where I had gotten to in the pattern, so I frogged it and put the pattern away. Now though, I think I have learned enough to have another go and I purchased some Hiya Hiya sharps needles from Ellie at Craft House Magic which should solve some of the major problems I had last time. I’m also confident with sock construction now and have a few more lace projects under my belt.

I did promise myself that I would branch out a bit more this year and challenge myself more with pattern choices. I love to knit a plain sock and I will continue to do so as I love to wear them as well, but I’d like to learn some different sock knitting skills too. I want to become more confident with garment knitting and have a few on my Make 9 list. It took me all of January to make a final decision on my Make 9. I decided to leave out socks and it is purely knitting, so doesn’t include any of my crochet goals or other crafts, so in that sense it is quite ambitious.

My Make 9 List

  1. Fern and Feather Sweater by Jennifer Steingass
  2. Umbel Shawl by Susan Crawford
  3. Like a Cloud Cardigan by Joji Locatelli
  4. Pebble Beach Shawl by Helen Stewart
  5. Orchid Sweater by Susan Crawford
  6. Rosa Sweater by Susan Crawford
  7. Whitmoor Sweater by Ami Lowden
  8. Snowmelt Shawl by Helen Stewart
  9. Snuggle Down Cowl by Jooles Hill

You can see my queue here on Ravelry for the patterns: Delighted Gem Make 9 Do you have a Make 9 list this year?

And finally, I will be starting my February cross stitch this weekend. I am stitching each month of the Little Doves Year kit from Little Dove Cross Stitch in the month itself. This one has lots of lovely pinks in it and I can’t wait to stitch it up.

I had 14 hours without internet this week, so that did cause a bit of stress. However, my clever boss taught me how to tether a laptop to your mobile phone so that you can use your 4G data to continue working. It was amazing and enabled us to continue working and schooling without too much interruption. My lovely colleague stepped in and helped me out with an urgent task too. I also found the online platform with Virgin Media really useful to test and sort the problem. So through a difficult interruption to our week, it was heartening that we were able to work around it with all the help and backup in place. Although, I couldn’t watch the TV one evening, I listened to my audiobook instead!

I have just finished listening to ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig and read by Carey Mulligan. I really enjoyed it and Carey’s voice is so soothing. I think that makes all the difference for me when listening to an audiobook. Previously, I have enjoyed audiobooks read by Stephen Fry, Richard Armitage, Robert Glenister, David Tennant, Rory Kinnear and Phillip Pullman. Rob tells me that Michael Sheen is also a great reader. How about you? Do you listen to audiobooks? Who are your favourite readers?

That’s about it for this week. Happy crafting! xx

26. Snow Day!

Another week and still no finished projects to share with you. None of my current projects are near completion because I have a lot of projects on the go. The good thing is that I’m thoroughly enjoying working on all of them!

I think my most enjoyable project this week has been adding those little 10g minis from Lay Family Yarn to my Rainbow Granny Stripe Blanket. I added in all of the February palette pack and made a start on March too. I had intended to work on it month by month but I just really wanted to do it, so I did!

Having said that, I have LOVED working on my Fern and Feather sweater this week. Even though it is really slow work, it looks and feels lovely and I’m just enjoying it. It won’t be long before I finish on the yoke.

I haven’t made much progress on my Umbel shawl this week but it’s a beautiful pattern and I’m really spurred on at the thought of another equally gorgeous colour change coming soon! Confession – I have made a few little errors but have managed to get back on track and I do think it’s the kind of texture where you couldn’t really spot them. And the recipient really doesn’t mind… me!

I didn’t do such a good job of keeping up with my Battenberg squares this week. In fact, I went four straight days without making a single one and then attempted to catch up. I managed to crochet 22 but didn’t get round to sewing in the ends. I am still getting lots of enjoyment out of making them and I’m really excited to start making the plain squares and then beginning to join.

I’m not sure I’m going to join them in the recommended way as I want to start in the corner and join them diagonally so it requires a bit more thought. I may even sew them together rather than crocheting as I’m not keen on the ridge that crocheting them creates on the back with how tiny the squares are. I might give it a try and see how it looks. My yarn has arrived for the plain squares. I chose Drops Flora in the Light Grey (03) colourway. I ordered twenty balls so I hopeful that will be enough!

We had lots and lots of snow here on Sunday! This is just about the deepest snow we ever get and it’s not very often so it was really exciting. I must admit though that I am someone who loves looking at it through the window and letting the others go outside to play in it. Cosmo absolutely loved leaping about in it, eating it, catching snowballs! It was fun to watch.

Did you have any snow this week? I hope you are enjoying your crafts as much as I am.

Happy making xx

25. Pick and Mix

Another week complete! I hope you are keeping well. This week I seem to have been doing a little bit on all my projects so there are no finished projects to share with you this week. I don’t think my attention span has been too good this week as I was unable to focus on any one thing. I decided to just go with it and picked up which ever project I fancied working on in my early morning quiet starts, my relaxing evening hours and these long, peaceful weekends in the house.

It was exciting to get to a colour change on my Umbel Shawl this week and I’m just about ready to start the next one.

At the weekend, I cast on my Fern and Feather sweater. I made a few mistakes and had to frog and restart but I got into the swing of it (it does help if you read the pattern properly!) and I’m really enjoying knitting on it. As lovely as it is to see the yoke coming together, it is very slow knitting as this is only my second colourwork project, so I’m looking forward to skipping round and round those knit rows on the body.

The yarn from Dandelion and Dogwood is just beautiful for my Lion, Witch and Wardrobe socks. I haven’t done loads on these but I am enjoying working on them.

I shared my beautiful yarn purchase from Mr and Mrs Rabbit Yarns for their Liberty Sock Club last week and I couldn’t resist winding the skein and casting on another pair of socks. For added interest, I am purling every 9th and 10th round on the leg.

I’ve added another seven rows to Cosmo’s blanket and find the easiness of this project so soothing.

I used three mini skeins on my Battenberg squares this week. I’ve also ordered the yarn for the plain squares now and decided to go with a very pale grey rather than white or cream. I’m going to forge ahead on my pink/red squares until I have 105 and then make a start on the plain squares so I can start joining them together. I’m really excited about that!

As I was very low on orange, peach and yellow yarns for my Battenberg Blanket, I ordered some gorgeous mini skeins from Wild Rose Yarn.

Now, will I be brave enough to make my quilt sandwich this weekend so I can make a start on hand quilting Faye’s hexies quilt? I’ve been putting it off as I’m so worried I’m going to mess it up. It’s also difficult to find enough space in my little house to lay it all out flat. I think I need to just get it done and stop worrying. It’s never going to be perfect. It’s handmade! Wish me luck!

24. Rainbows and Frogging

Hello and welcome back to my crafty corner! Hope you’re all getting on okay and squeezing in as much craft time as possible. I’ve had a good week for finishing things off and have three finished projects to share with you this week along with two long-term works in progress, a frogged project, a brand new cast on, plans for next week and some incoming goodies! And it’s still only January!

My first finished project was a Rainbow Project Bag! I made this following Ali from Little Drops of Wonderful’s ‘Dodgy Bag’ tutorial. The beautiful fabric was from The Fat Quarter. I chose the following fabrics:

  • Rainbows – Turquoise from the Makower Daydream fabric range
  • Bright Rainbows – Yellow from the Lewis and Irene Rainbow fabric range

I made this to hold my monthly Rainbow Sock Chronicles socks and have added my gorgeous little pin badge from Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet.

And on the subject of the Rainbow Sock Chronicles… I have finished my first pair for January! The pink stripy socks knit using the beautiful 5 skein of minis from Lay Family Yarn. I used the basic sock pattern from Winwick Mum and used fur of the mini skeins in 5 row stripes, keeping the deepest shade for the heels and toes. They are going into my sock box now as I’ve decided not to wear any of these pairs until next January.

I finally finished my Elton Cardigan this week too! Pattern by Joji Locatelli and I used Drops Alpaca and Kid Silk yarns. I’m so incredibly pleased about this as I cast it on last January! Honestly, I’m not too sure why I didn’t just get on with it as the pattern was lovely. I think maybe it was just the mohair that I didn’t enjoy working with. Perhaps if it hadn’t been such a crazy year, I would have finished it in March or April. But it doesn’t matter now anyway. It’s finished. It fits! That’s all that really matters. I made both the body and the arms a little longer than the pattern called for as that was my preference. I just kept trying it on until I felt like it was the right length for me.

Another week down and I have kept up my Battenberg squares goal of 4 a day.

I also decided to aim for a row a day on Cosmo’s blanket too so that I could get it finished before his first birthday in June.

After I had cast off my pink stripy socks, I thought I would get on with the Cheering socks I started in November. I was going great until I made a few mistakes and ripped back and then made a few more. It wasn’t the pattern, it was definitely me, but in the end I decided to just frog it and start them again when I feel like I have the brain power to cope with a cable pattern. That time is not now, unfortunately. I’m disappointed because I love the pattern and the yarn but it’s okay. I will make them in the future. Perhaps when the sun is shining.

On Sunday, I spent a lot of time looking through my knitting books and squishing my yarn from Christmas. It was the best! I enjoyed myself so much that I decided I needed to make the Umbel shawl from the Susan Crawford book: ‘Evolution’ using my gorgeous Sleeping Beauty minis from The Fibre Fox and my pretty skein of ‘Patisserie’ from Stranded Dyeworks. Unfortunately, I was a bit too eager. I couldn’t find the correct needle size so in the end plumped to go up a needle size and just start as I do tend towards being a tight knitter. Through the week, I worked on it and it was slow going as the yarn was so slippy. I realised the knitting just looked too loose and I wasn’t enjoying it. So I went through project bags and baskets and found the right needles, frogged all those rows and cast on again. I’m so glad I did! I’m now thoroughly enjoying the knitting and the gauge is so much better!

As I have cast off my Elton, I can happily start a new garment project and this one has been in waiting for quite some time: Fern and Feather by Jennifer Steingas. I’m using Cascade yarn and plan to cast on this weekend. How exciting!

I also needed to get another pair of socks on the needles too. So I chose this beautiful sock set from Dandelion and Dogwood that I’ve had in stash since last Christmas, in the colourway ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. These will be going into my Christmas sock box. To change things up a bit, I am doing a 3 x 1 rib.

I had the most beautiful post this week from Mr and Mrs Rabbit Yarns. I decided to sign up to their Liberty Love Sock Club and I’m so glad I did. I love Liberty fabrics so this was right up my street! The yarn is absolutely beautiful. I had to stop myself from winding it immediately and casting on! The photo just doesn’t do it justice.

I also had a little splurge in Ellie’s shop: Craft House Magic and ordered her January Mixed Tape Minis Yarn Club along with a new crochet hook and my first set of Hiya Hiya sharps. I really wanted to get these needles as I think that might be part of the problem I have with patterned socks. I shall be roadtesting them in February for my next Rainbow Sock Chronicles pair!

I was thinking this week how grateful I am to be into all of these lovely crafts. Making things really does make my life so happy. It brings real joy to every single day.

Happy crafting xx

23. Is it really only the 8th January?!

Hello, how are you? If you’re anything like me after a week of working from home whilst simultaneously homeschooling and looking after a puppy, you’re feeling just a teeny bit frazzled… Like me, you may also be wondering how the heck it is only 8th January?! But – we made it through to the weekend, didn’t we? So all is good. And better yet, much crafting was squeezed in at every possible opportunity and much more is planned for the upcoming weekend! Hoorah!

Through the Christmas break, I worked on adding the last few rows of hexagons to Faye’s quilt and then ordered the rest of the fabric I needed. The cream for the border arrived last weekend and I finally, finally got the top finished! I’m so incredibly pleased with it. I can’t really say it’s been a labour of love because honestly I have enjoyed making it even though the making has already spanned 3 years! I started making those hexies back in January 2018!

The absolutely gorgeous Liberty fabric arrived for the back along with the wadding, quilting pins and 505 spray that I ordered. I’m just waiting on the quilting hoop and some tape I’ve ordered so that I can join the wadding properly. The wadding I ordered isn’t quite big enough so I ordered two rolls and watched a YouTube video on how to join them properly. I’m excitedly apprehensive about the next steps!

I think I might actually have caught the quilting bug because last weekend I thought I’d just cut out some squares to make Cosmo a little mat with some Harry Potter fabrics I’ve had in stash for a while. Three hours later, I had finished all but the binding! I decided to hand-stitch the binding on after my last attempt at binding on the sewing machine. I also thought it would be good practice for my proper quilts. I finished sewing it on last night. I think he likes it! I only wish I’d made it a bit bigger. But there are plenty more stash fabrics to make him another one.

I mentioned in the last post about my beautiful new cross stitch kit from Little Dove Cross Stitch. I have planned to stitch each month in that particular month. I was enjoying stitching on it so much over the last few wintery evenings, that I finished January!

That’s all of my finished projects this week. I have made really good progress on my pink stripy socks that I cast on on 1st January for the Rainbow Sock Chronicles. As I was doing a 5 row repeat before changing colour with those beautiful minis from Lay Family Yarn, it did mean that I had a lot of ends to sew in. It took me about 2 hours and I have to admit that the ends aren’t a job I enjoy too much but look, it was totally worth it, wasn’t it?

I mentioned last week that I’m planning on getting some big projects finished this year. I started a crochet blanket for Cosmo while we were waiting for him to come home in July last year. Then when he did arrive, it took a back seat while we were in the throes of dealing with that new little pup. I quickly realised that it wouldn’t be safe to give him for a while anyway as he still has the occasional chew at his blankets, although he is getting better. I brought it out of hibernation last weekend and worked a row or two each evening. I’m using up Stylecraft Special DK stash and a 4mm hook, just crocheting trebles. I’ve decided that I need to do 200 rows and I’m currently on row 66, so still a fair way to go but it is one of those relaxing projects that doesn’t take a lot of concentration. I love having those projects on the go at all times.

I think I also mentioned last week that I was aiming to make at least 4 squares for my Battenberg blanket each day and I have managed to stay on track this week and sew the ends in (!), so I’m feeling really chuffed about that! I have been using up beautiful bits from other projects this week…

I’m very excited about all the projects I have planned for the next few weeks and months. As you know, I’m taking part in the Rainbow Sock Chronicles this year with my sock knitting and my rainbow blanket, so I wanted to make a designated project bag for my socks. Earlier this week, some gorgeous fabric arrived from The Fat Quarter Ltd. I can’t wait to get working on it over the weekend!

This morning I received the most happiest of mail from my friendly postman. A beautiful needle-minder from the amazing Chapel View Crafts and gorgeous stitch marker and pin from Jooles at Sew Sweet Violet. It was just the best thing after a tough week.

I don’t want to dwell on the current situation that we are all facing. I just hope you are okay. I hope you are finding a little bit of joy each day in whatever way you can. I try not to look too far ahead. I just accept that one day this will be a memory and I hope I can remember as many of those special little bits of time as possible.

There is good and bad in each day. One minute you’re receiving a lovely little parcel of joy from your friendly postie; the next you are cursing next door’s cat for leaving a horrible parcel outside for your curious puppy to eat. Why does he like to eat cat poo?!? Baffling! And he knows he’ll get told off for it!

I just find life a lot easier when I focus on the happy mail and quickly deal with the cat poo breath!

Sending virtual hugs out to anyone needing one! Happy crafting xx

22. Craftmas and the Start of 2021

Happy New Year! There is a lot to be said about 2020, but I want to reflect on the positive aspects for myself and my family. For me, this was the first time I ever had to do my job from home and I have loved it. I love being in my house and I have been able to do my job without any problems from home. This is mostly because it has changed significantly this last year because of the pandemic. I have juggled home working with home schooling but this has also been a positive thing for me as I got to spend so much extra time with Faye. We are ready for the challenge again over the coming weeks and who knows how long for thereafter.

Our most special part of 2020 was welcoming our gorgeous pup, Cosmo, into our home. Our first dog. We have thought about having a dog many, many times over the years. In fact, Faye has been desperate to have a dog her whole life. 2020 gave us the perfect opportunity to be home all day and train him up which so far I think we have done successfully as he is a lovely little pup. We will have new issues to navigate as life continues to change but I don’t think we could have chosen a more perfect time to have him.

2020 has also been a year of crafting! I have made lots of lovely things and learned a lot. I have enjoyed all that making so much and am thoroughly looking forward to lots more in 2021.

With that in mind, onto my finished objects over the last week or so, or what I have been affectionately calling: ‘Craftmas’. How joyful it was to wake up every morning and ask myself, ‘What do I want to work on today?’

I cast on the Silent Night Socks on Christmas Eve using the new Christmas colourway ‘Silent Night’ from West Yorkshire Spinners and a contrasting mini skein from stash for the heels and toes. I used the Comet Sock pattern from Winwick Mum but I modified it to just do 40 rows in pattern down the leg of my socks. This was mostly because I wanted to get them finished before the end of the year and they required concentration. This way, I felt I got the best of both worlds and I’m really happy with them.

I received the beautiful book ‘Romantic Crochet’ by Emma Escott for Christmas and there are so many projects in there that I want to cast on. I decided as I actually needed a pair of fingerless mitts, that I would cast on the wrist warmers from the book and use up some stash yarn too. The yarn was from Stranded Dyeworks in the colourway ‘Inappropriate Crush’. I learned three new techniques to make these mittens and I loved crocheting them so much that I can’t wait to make another pair!

Over the holidays, I worked a lot on my Elton cardigan in the hopes I could get this off the needles before 31st December, but it was just a stretch too far. I did, however, finish the second sleeve on 1st January and now just have the button band to go.

Rob and I decided that this year, we would order our own gifts from each other to save the other person any stress. I know this isn’t very romantic but we were both happy with the decision and after 21 years together, I don’t see it as a problem. Love is more than a surprise gift after all! I ordered myself a Liberty jelly roll from Alice Caroline with the vague idea of making a quilt. I didn’t really know what I was getting as I’m new to quilting. It’s absolutely beautiful and after much time browsing the internet for ideas, I decided to just keep things straightforward and sew the panels together in stripes. I soon realised that I would in fact need a second jelly roll to complete it this way, so I ordered another!

I absolutely love how it looks so far even in it’s un-ironed, half-sewn state. More to come over the month with this project.

“Rob” also treated me to a cross stitch kit that I have been coveting for some time: The Little Doves Year Cross Stitch. My plan with this is to cross stitch the month in the month so it will be a year long project to be savoured and enjoyed.

I’ve been so excited for the start of January so I could cast on my first pair of socks for the Rainbow Sock Chronicles. This is a year-long knit-a-long set up by Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet and Kelly of Lay Family Yarn. The first month is ‘pink’ and I did buy the corresponding mini skein kit to start with from Kelly. I absolutely love these colours and have decided to keep it simple and stripe the yarns in the basic sock pattern.

I am also purchasing the palette pack of 10 x 10g minis from Kelly so that I can make a beautiful granny stripe blanket. I absolutely could not resist casting this on when I finished work on Christmas Eve Eve (23rd) and it was just such a pleasure to crochet those rows. I cast on 302 chains using a 3.5mm hook. This wasn’t a very good measurement in terms of doing so many rows per mini but it is perfect double bed width. Rather than waste any yarn, I decided to just crochet continuously changing mid row and it still looks absolutely beautiful. I’m just banking on Kelly doing 12 palette packs so that I can make a full blanket!

I have lots of beautiful projects on the go already this year with more in the pipe line. However, I also have some big projects from last year (and before that), that I would like to get finished this year so I have hopefully come up with a way to manage them. I have a bullet journal / goal tracking notebook to help me organise myself month to month, with goals for the month and how I will achieve them.

I have planned this for the first quarter of the year but then I’ll review how I’m doing before I plan beyond that. I have set myself loose goals for my Battenberg blanket, Cosmo’s striped blanket, Faye’s hexies quilt, my rainbow granny stripe blanket and cross stitch. For each, I have tried to give myself a manageable amount to do for the month rather than daily goals. I find that I over plan my days and then get disheartened when I can’t keep up. And let’s face it, sometimes you are just not in the mood for a particular project.

For my Battenberg, I am going to aim for 4 squares a day (they are only tiny), but with the overall goal of 80 squares a month. I could use the weekend to do a few more to either get ahead or catch up if I’m behind, so I’m still allowing myself some flexibility. And obviously the world will not end if I don’t meet my quota. It’s just a guide to help me reach the finished blanket.

My sock goals for 2021 are obviously to knit 12 pairs for the Rainbow Sock Chronicles but I also want to knit more Christmas socks for my Christmas Box of Socks project. I’m not setting a goal for this but I know in my head I’d love to add 10 pairs this year. It might be a bit ambitious though! It’s just that last year, I aimed for 12 pairs and knit 14. I didn’t do a great deal of knitting over the summer because I focused on my garden more. We also had Cosmo at the end of August and for a few weeks there, I only did a few Battenberg squares as I was exhausted! I also had a reading goal last year to read 50 books (I managed 45 so not bad). In 2021, I’m not setting any reading goals as I’ve lost my reading mojo a bit. I also won’t be growing any veg in my garden next year. We are scaling down on the garden since my back diagnosis and also to create more room for Cosmo to run around in so there will be much less to do out there in 2021.

Theoretically, I should have even more time for knitting and crochet!

My 2021 sewing goals are quite relaxed. I would like to keep using my sewing machine so that I can continue growing in confidence. My only plan is to always be working on something. I have quite a few ideas of what I would like to make but we’ll see!

The only thing left to tell you about is my word for the year. Last year, I chose ‘organised’ and goodness me, did I need to be organised last year. When I chose it, I obviously had no idea how important it would be!

My word for 2021 is ‘Enjoy’. I really want to focus on enjoying as many things as I can. I have a tendency to stress myself out over the smallest things. I hope having this word in the back of my mind will remind me to just relax and take time to do things I enjoy every day.

Do you have a word for the year? How about making goals? I’d love to know!

Until next time, happy crafting! xx

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