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

FO Friday: Selbu Modern

My days have been so busy getting ready for tomorrow's Road Trip to the Bath Christmas Market that I've not really had a chance to plan what knitting will be going with me in the coach! I'll have to think of something though, as last weekend I put the finishing touches on a hat I started almost at the very beginning of the year: Selbu Modern.

With all the Christmas crazy happening all around already, it's nice to have the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing a project - however small! 

Selbu Modern - loving the contrast of the blue and green although the hat isn't as slouchy as I'd like.

Selbu Modern - loving the contrast of the blue and green although the hat isn't as slouchy as I'd like.

This is a popular, free pattern on Ravelry and one that I've been attracted to since the first moment I saw a fellow knitter wearing it. It's meant to be a somewhat slouchy beret, although I was a bit tight with my gauge, resulting in a smaller hat in spite of wet blocking over a plate!

Blocking the hat over a plate helped to even everything out and stretched it a little bit.

Blocking the hat over a plate helped to even everything out and stretched it a little bit.

The pattern is clearly written, and the design is carefully thought out through the decreases in the crown to carry the design to completion. The yarn I used is Koigu KPM (or Koigu Premium Merino) and has a pretty tight twist.

The yarn and pattern were a kit I purchases at the KW Knitter's Fair right before I moved to the UK and I was thrilled with the idea of the green setting off nicely with my green winter coat. I'd be tempted to knit it again though with a slightly loftier yarn to try and get a little more if a slouchy hat.

As for why it took me so long to finish? Well on Episode 2 of the Yarn in the City podcast, Rachel and I had a brief conversation about "the right tool for the right job". Frankly, I was knitting magic loop with a needle that had a too short cable, and even switching to DPNs the ones I had were too short and I kept losing stitches off the end. It was a frustrating knit and I ended up parking it when the weather got warmer. Why knit if you're not enjoying it?

I was determined to finish though, and bought a new needle at my LYS, Loop. They had the new Addi Sock Rockets so it gave me an opportunity to try them out. Wow! Obviously it make a huge difference having a cable the right length, but the smooth finish on the Sock Rockets is amazing. Happily, the size needle I purchased is one that can be employed again for knitting socks. Maybe it will make me a faster sock knitter?

A podcasting we will go...

Those of you who know me well know that I love to try new things. So it may come as little surprise that as part of the fun we've been having with Yarn in the City, Rachel and I decided we should add a podcast to the mix.

Rachel's new handspun sample: Sitka Spruce by Tin Can Knits in the Porpoise Fur Haematoma colourway

Rachel's new handspun sample: Sitka Spruce by Tin Can Knits in the Porpoise Fur Haematoma colourway

As much as I feel like I "um-ed" and "ah-ed" my way through our first episode, it was a lot of fun to do. I was immediately reminded of a time, very long ago, when I trained at the campus radio station at uni. Another friend and I would go in and record our own "shows" as practice for being on air. Not that either of us ever ended up on air, but we sure had a blast doing the talking segments between the music we selected. 

And that's how it was with our first episode. Rachel and I, tucked away in the attic of her house with our notes on various knitty things and just having a laugh. There's something extremely comforting about venturing into something new with your bestie beside you. Along with a huge sense of relief when you realise that you've never had a conversation about musical tastes before but are pleased to discover that you're more or less on the same page!

It was also a strangely intimate experience, which was unexpected. I suspect that has to do with the fact that many folks listen to their podcasts with headphones, or while on their own, and so there was that sensation afterwards in the editing that we're talking directly to our listeners. So it's also been a relief to hear back from folks that (sound mix aside) they enjoyed our first episode and are looking forward to hearing more from us.

Me too. I can't wait to see what we get up to next!