Wicked WIP Wednesday

I often joke 'there's no rest for the wicked!' when things are busy but oh my gosh it's just been full on since the holidays ended!

When things are this crazy, it can be difficult not to be distracted from all the 'ooh shiny' of new projects or patterns. It's a huge occupational hazard to be keeping up with knitting sites and chat boards on Ravelry when there are all kinds of tempting goodies are on offer!

Case in point - Rachel's new shawl design that I blogged about last week. It's brilliant, and straight-forward, and I think I'm in love with the simplicity of it. Of course, I'm on the miles of garter stitch body at the moment but even the lace bit looks to be not very complicated either (and we all know how I feel about lace!).

Still, I've been managing to sneak in a row here and there while on buses, or at a morning coffee with the mums after the school run, or one last row before I fall into bed after working late, so the shawl is growing slowly but surely.

While I'm still at that point in a newly cast-on project where it's all I want to knit, I'm wondering if there isn't some truth to Rachel's theory that knitting handspun projects just progress faster. Like knitting stranded colourwork or stripes, there's that urgency and motivation to get to the next bit to see how it's going to turn out - and that's more or less how I'm feeling about discovering how this handspun is going to look when it's knitted up.

Only time will tell! What lovely distractions are keeping you from your own work, or knitting?

FO Friday: Spinning Edition

One of the things I took the time to do over the holidays was update my stash on Ravelry and make sure that any new yarn purchases were logged and that my projects were all up to date.

Apparently I started spinning this little braid of SweetGeorgia Superwash BFL fibre back in April 2014. Colourway is Spring Garden.

Apparently I started spinning this little braid of SweetGeorgia Superwash BFL fibre back in April 2014. Colourway is Spring Garden.

But you know how once you get started organising something you seem to keep going? Well, I did. And it meant that two days later I had completely logged and photographed my entire spinning stash. Needless to say I won't be adding any fibre to the stash this year - there's more than enough there to keep me going for quite a while! 

Letting the bobbins rest before finishing. I debated between plying them or leaving them as singles.

Letting the bobbins rest before finishing. I debated between plying them or leaving them as singles.

It was inspiring to see all the goodies in there and as I'd barely touched my wheel in 2014 I'm making it one of my goals for 2015 - to spin more. So I dusted off my trusty Sidekick and spun up the last 50g of superwash BFL that I started earlier in 2014 onto a second bobbin. It didn't take long, and it was lovely to peddle and have all the muscle memory come back with my spinning.

Happily, while I was waiting for the bobbins to rest before plying, Rachel came over wearing a brand new shawl that she's designed and knit in her own handspun and I decided it would be perfect for my newly spun yarn! We debated plying versus not - the Spring Garden colourway has lovely lengths of green and purple and white that I'd like to leave unmarled. Since I've never finished any of my handspun as singles before (and really, it was the only way I was going to get the needed yardage) that's the way I decided to go.

All paired up and ready to go!

All paired up and ready to go!

The two bobbins resulted in approximately 390 yards of fingering weight yarn (about 18-20 WPI). I plan on pairing them with some 100% linen from my stash for the lace border in a complementary mossy green. Can't wait to get started on this!

And with extra BKFF thanks to Rachel for sending over an advance copy of the pattern!

2015: Start as you mean to go on

It's funny how when you've got two glorious weeks of a family-centred staycation stretched out in front of you that you think there will be time to do ALL. THE. THINGS. and then those last few days pass in a blur. Such is how it's been at our house, and oh my goodness the family time we've had with our staycation has been glorious.

One of the things that I've appreciated most is the time off to get to all that "stuff" that you always mean to do, and then somehow it gets put off or shuffled to the bottom of the priority list. Doing a major re-org of our office/my crafting space has been one of those things that I've been wanting to tackle for a while and while I'm not done yet, I made such a good dent over the holidays that it's enough motivation to keep the momentum going.

We also did a huge top to bottom clean, tidy and organisation of the flat and that feels good too. It's a nice way to start the new year, and we did in style with some of our friends from Mr. H's school, his buddies and a few work friends too with an Open House to welcome 2015. It turns out our flat isn't too small for entertaining folks, so hopefully we'll do that again soon.

So what do I mean by "start as you mean to go on"? Well, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and newness of a new year, all jazzed and energised before we catch ourselves backsliding into familiar (not necessarily always bad!) habits. I'm the first one to recognise that when my energy levels start to flag that I'm not as motivated or as efficient as I could be.

My goals then for 2015 are pretty simple: keep up my energy and keep building momentum. And while that might seem simple and vague, it's flexible enough for me to make it work how I need for me. Am I feeling tired and cranky? To keep up my energy why not try getting to sleep earlier, or going for a run? And what do I need to do to keep building momentum? Well there's being more focused, for a start, setting CLEAR goals (as opposed to SMART ones) with various projects, and making sure I'm using the right tools for the job to get it done, and done well.

What goals are you setting for yourself for this year? I'd love to hear about them - and your plan for making them happen!

2014: Year in Review

The last couple of days I've been taking time to reflect on the past year, taking stock of what I've accomplished and where things fell down (stashdown attempt, I'm looking at you). As usual, there's always more that I'd like to have done (blogging, for instance), and I chalk this up to not enough planning or goal-setting at the beginning of the year. I'm sure I meant to, but as usual best intentions and all that...

This year I am definitely planning on being more organised, both with goals and with life in general as 2015 is already shaping up to incredibly busy! I'll be taking the rest of the holiday to put more thought to how everything is going to unfold, and which goals I want to share here and which ones will be more personal milestones.

In the meantime, how about a quick look back at 2014?

My 2014 finishes, all of which can be found in my projects on Ravelry

My 2014 finishes, all of which can be found in my projects on Ravelry

16 projects were finished: 6 hats, 2 cowls, 2 sweaters, 2 shawls. A capelet, wrap, tea cosy and blanket rounded out the rest.

A little over 10,000 yards went out of the stash, although about only half of that was knit as the rest was gifted, sold, traded or just plain given away. And while 10,000+ yards sounds great, I still finished the year with a net +12,000 yards. Boo. Time to redouble my stashdown efforts in 2015...

Work-wise I immersed myself even more in the UK yarn and knitting community and I couldn't be more thrilled with how I've been able to combine my passion for knitting with my background in marketing and project management. I'm working with some amazing clients - all of whom are amazing individuals and companies. I'm really humbled to be helping spread the word about the great things things that they do.

How Yarn in the City has grown! No longer just the home of the Great London Yarn Crawl, we've now got a road trip under our belt, a book on the way, a new podcast to keep us busy, more events in the works and BIG plans for GLYC2015. Phew!

And family-wise we're all good. We're still thrilled to be living in the UK and enjoying the work-life balance and lifestyle that has come with being here. Aside from us all having colds this holiday, we're healthy, and happy, and really, I can't ask for any more than that.

Happy and healthy wishes for you and yours for 2015! xx