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Having not been here for most of this year to review the goals I set out back in January, I thought I’d do a quick recap, see what I had written and if I have been working on any. Although the fact that I can’t remember what I wrote does kind of give you an idea that I haven’t really thought about them…

Back to knitting the sock again, after a long hiatus!

It’s still 2012 though, and being the the type of person that believes they can accomplish things in short spaces of time, I’m sure I can complete a handful of these!

Knitting

  1. Have a go at Intarsia and/or Fair Isle. I did mention that it didn’t matter if this turned out to be just a practice swatch. It would still be trying Intarsia/Fair Isle for the firs time! There are a few patterns in my queue for knitted baubles and cushion covers which I’m sure I want to do leading up to Christmas
  2. Make at least 6 pairs of socks. Ahem. Well… I still haven’t finished that sock I was documenting on here! I certainly won’t be knitting 6 pairs, I’m not that optimistic about this goal! I’m sure I can finish the one pair at least though.
  3. Knit a jumper/cardigan. This could possibly be achieved. I really want to knit myself a cardigan or sweater, as I’m too picky with the shop ones. It would be great to accomplish this when the weather gets really cold.
  4. Learn some other knitting techniques. Aha! Now this one I can cross off!!! In creating the pair of socks, I have learnt how to do a short row toe and heel! I really enjoyed this new technique and once I got the hand of it, it got easier. I’m sure I will learn more new things, but I can at least I can say I’ve learnt one new thing 🙂
  5. Go to a Stitch London meeting. This goal I could have achieved whilst living with my parents, but trying to arrange going home every week and getting someone to pick me up after the meet ups would have been annoying. But now I’m living in London again, I don’t really have an excuse. I’m going to try and go to a meet up this year. At least one!
  6. And finally, knit more for myself. Well, as there’s not been much knitting, there obviously hasn’t been much knitting for myself. But hopefully I can rectify that with something for the winter months coming up. Maybe a pair of socks or cardigan with intarsia, and then I’ve knocked a couple of goals on the head at the same time 😉

Alvin's Birthday Cake - Butterscotch Layer Cake

Non-Knitting

  1. Keep on baking. I’ve baked a fair few things this year, which I’m pleased about. It’s been mostly for celebrations like Birthdays, so I’m at least continuing. I want to bake more often though. I’m crossing it off, even though it’s not the end of the year yet, as I’m being consistent – I made a Victoria sponge last Sunday 🙂
  2. Try out different recipes. Now we’ve got our own place, I am starting to try new recipes, but there’s still so many to try and so many cookbooks I own but have hardly tried.
  3. And then there are the usual goals – I’m exercising in the morning before work at the moment, since I can leave the flat later than when I was with my parents. Hopefully I can continue exercising in the morning as it’s really the only time I get to do it! As for other goals, I still procrastinate, but try not to, trying to eat healthier now we cook our own food. It’s a continuous goal!

All in all, it’s quite surprising to see that there are a couple of things I’ve kind of done! But I’m not surprised to see a lot not done, especially the knitting goals. But there’s still a few more months of 2012 left to accomplish some more!

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In the garden...

It feels like years since I updated this blog – way back in February. My last post showed snow! I’m afraid I have what is the usual set of excuses. Back when I did my last post, I think I was just getting into a huge project at work. We overhauled the company’s website design and back end system, and being the senior web designer, I was in charge of the branding, design and testing when it was launched. Since the site launched, things have settled down on the work front, so I’m not getting back home exhausted and not wanting to do anything.

At the same time as being busy at work, it’s also been busy personally. Alvin and me bought a flat in August! We knew it was the place for us when we set foot inside for the first time. It’s in North London (we were previously living with my parents outside of London), which means getting to work by walking and taking the Tube, no more having to leave places early to make the long trek back home, being able to meet up with people and stay out spontaneously… It’s all great!

At the Woseley having afternoon tea!

We have a spare bedroom, which will be great for people staying round, a nice big living room with a dining area to entertain and a little patio where I intend to start a mini veg and herb garden! I’m hoping that moving into our own place will help get me back into my favourite hobbies, like baking without worrying about messing up my mum’s kitchen etc.

I did manage to knit the baby booties I mentioned a while back for Alvin’s cousin’s wife. I made the booties using the KnitPicks Summer Vacation yarn I bought as the baby’s sex was going to be a surprise. I finished them in time for the baby shower and she loved them, I was so happy! She had a little girl in the end, so I can see myself planning more baby girl stuff to knit!

Baby Booties finished!

I also started on a red Beret from Stitch ‘n’ Bitch Superstar Knitting. I’m not sure whether I like it enough to wear myself or if I’ll give it away, but it’s a really fun knit. I love knitting cables! I  joined the Yarn to Knit yarn club for 3 months and received some gorgeous soft and squishy yarn. I’ll be making lots of socks with them!

Received 1st Yarn to Knit Sock Club - gorgeous and soft!
And that’s it for Yarn related things!

Big events happened this year as well. We went to the Olympics! Alvin managed to get tickets for the Women’s Hockey. It was an amazing day out, didn’t rain the whole day and was so pleased to have been at a once in a life time event. Everyone there was in a great mood, the sport was so fun to watch and I would go again if I got the chance!

Match 2 - NZL vs RSA

A sad event happened this year. Our dog Rupert had to be put down. He was old and not too well, although perfectly happy and not in pain until that point. His liver and kidneys failed and so we knew the time had come. He was the most amazing dog. I’m glad he’s not in any discomfort now and resting in peace in his favourite woods.

Rupert relaxing

It is now my favourite time of year: Autumn, and with Autumn comes the need to wear things a little warmer. I’m hoping to make a big dent in my stash this year and churn out projects for the colder months. Maybe not go quite so crazy with the knitted Christmas gift ideas like last year! But I definitely want to make a few things for family and friends. We’ll see 🙂

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Quick sock update: I envy those who seem to be able to churn out socks like there’s no tomorrow. I am still knitting away at the basic sock and I’m only halfway through, about to do the heel. I know that it’s my first proper sock, it’s man-sized (so fairly big) and knit using tiny yarn and tiny needles, but it would just be nice not to spend 2 months per sock, which seems to be the time it’s taking so far. And I think I’m spending an OK amount of time on them amongst the busyness that is life – I get a few evenings a week, and any time during the weekend knitting it. Maybe I need to ramp it up a bit more. I don’t know! But I am enjoying it none the less, even if it is taking a while…

It snowed!

It snowed over the weekend!

Onto the acquisitions. I purchased some yarn from Knit Picks with these baby booties in mind. Again, I seem to be going back to knitting things for other people (the sock earlier isn’t for me, which you probably got from the fact that the socks are ‘man-sized’) and when I found out that one of Alvin’s cousins is pregnant, I just have to cast on a pair of the cute little booties! There are so many colour combinations from different people’s versions, so I had to follow suit and get some variegated yarn to make them. I don’t know if she wants to know the sex of the baby or if it’ll be a surprise, so I covered all bases (of course I did, it meant I could buy more gorgeous yarn!):

Knit Picks Imagination in 'Damsel'

Knit Picks Imagination in 'Damsel'

If it’s a girl, I’ll use Knit Picks hand painted Imagination yarn in ‘Damsel’.

Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in 'Lullaby'

Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in 'Lullaby'

If it’s a boy, Knit Picks Hand Painted Stroll yarn in ‘Lullaby’.

Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in 'Summer Vacation'

Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in 'Summer Vacation'

And for either, Knit Picks Hand Painted Stroll yarn in ‘Summer Vacation’.

They are such lovely, squishy, soft, colourful yarns, I can’t wait to knit with them! I’m thinking of starting the multi-coloured ‘either girl or boy’ booties first, so that whatever happens, there are some finished booties waiting. And then I’ll get on with the blue and pink ones. There are quite a few cousins who are settling down, so I can see myself knitting a whole line of multi-coloured booties 🙂

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Apart from the Toddler Mittens that I managed to finish in time for my Niece’s Birthday, the only knitted gift I managed to finish was my Mum’s scarf (it was finished Christmas Eve!). I started my Grandma’s scarf at some point though, but changed the pattern from a mistake rib to something else, but can’t remember what it’s called… Anyway, that’s still a work in progress.

My Mum's Scarf

My Mum's Scarf

Following on from my resolutions in my last post, I’ve started a basic sock as my first ‘12 Socks in 2012‘ project. For Christmas, I got ‘Socks from the Toe Up’ as I wanted a good book to tell me exactly what to do and where when knitting socks (as well as a book full of patterns that I want to knit, not just half of them). And I have to say, even as a beginner knitter, the book is clear and easy to follow. Of course, there were things that I needed to clarify by watching YouTube videos and looked up a few things, but I’m really please with how my sock is going!

Socks from the Toe Up

Socks from the Toe Up

It’s quite slow going with the sock. I’ve never knit with anything thinner than DK weight yarn and nothing smaller than size 4mm needles, and it’s also my first ever sock, so it’s to be expected that it’ll take a while to finish. Just a couple more inches and then I knit my first heel ever. I’m definitely going to cast on the second sock straight away to avoid second sock syndrome!

The sock is coming along nicely

The sock is coming along nicely

I know that one of my resolutions was to knit more for me. Well… these socks are for my boyfriend, Alvin… But I will definitely be knitting some socks for myself soon I think, carrying on the 12 socks in 2012 🙂

In other knitterly news, I purchased my first sock club subscription from Yarn to Knit. I don’t have the budget to spend £200 on a yearly knitting club, but this one seemed perfect. It’s 3 months at a time, £35 including p&p (so £35 for 3 months) and it’s lovely hand dyed wool. I love surprises, especially of the sock yarn kind 😉

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Happy New Year!

As this is my first New Year where I am knitting, I thought I’d write down some knitting goals to achieve this year. I call them goals, because I’ve never believed in ‘New Years Resolutions’ – I think this name gives people pressure to change whatever it is they are trying to change and eventually give them up. Obviously this is not always the case. Plenty of people keep their resolutions, but I am not usually one of them! So I am going to list ‘knitting goals’ for myself to achieve throughout the year (and maybe some non-knitting related goals to shake it up a bit). So, here goes:

Knitting

  1. Have a go at Intarsia and/or Fair Isle. I have never done this before and to me this will be one of my biggest knitting challenges. I’m not putting the pressure on to knit a particular item using colour work, just to at least try, even if it turns out to just be a practice swatch.
  2. Make at least 6 pairs of socks. I’m putting a number on this one, as socks are very portable, quick to knit and as gifts, I think one of the most acceptable. I’ve joined the 12 Socks in 2012 group on Ravelry to help with this. I always admire hand knitted socks, so it’s time to just start knitting!
  3. Knit a jumper/cardigan (or sweater for those form the US). Another big knitting challenge. I want to at least try knitting a cardigan or jumper. Either for myself or a baby sized for my niece (which would be much easier!). Never knit one before, so why not!
  4. Learn some other knitting techniques. Apart from the colour work goal, I’d like to learn some different cast ons, maybe the magic loop method and possibly try lace as well.
  5. Go to a Stitch London meeting. I’ve always wanted to go to a knitting meet up with fellow knitters, but have never had the guts to just do it. It may sound silly, but to anyone else who’s is also a little on the shy side, you’ll understand! So this year, I need to bite the bullet and just go to one. They meet in venues around London, from 6pm (which is perfect seeing as I work in London) and I know I’d enjoy myself immensely once I’m there.
  6. And finally, knit more for myself. I have a bad habit upon learning anyone’s birthday or an event or holiday coming up – I get a sudden burst of inspiration to knit gifts for people. I love knitting things for people, but I need to be a little more selfish and make some items for myself. It also gets rid of the pressure of getting things done by certain dates!

Non-Knitting

  1. Keep on baking. Sounds a bit weird to say keep on baking rather than bake more or whatever, but in recent months I have been making the effort to bake things for birthdays and family gatherings, and I feel good putting in the effort and sharing the sweetness 🙂
  2. Try out different recipes. An extension of the above goal. I have my tried and tested favourites, it’s time I branched out and tried some different recipes. Not just baking, but savoury dishes as well. I have so many lovely cookbooks, I should try and step out of my comfort zone!
  3. And then there are the usual goals – eat healthier, start exercising again, procrastinate less…

..And I think I’ll leave it there before I list so many knitting goals, I won’t be able to even look at the list! Good luck to anyone else setting goals for the year ahead and hope you’ve had a great start so far!

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I’ve been fairly consistent with my knitting lately. I’m knitting nearly every day, and although it’s slow going, I’m managing to make a small dent in my list of knitted gifts for my family and friends. I think some items might end up being birthday presents as there are quite a few birthdays coming up before and after Christmas. It all depends on how quickly/slowly I get my gifts knitted!

Anyway, onto the list…

  1. Wash Cloths: friend (surprise gift) –  these are actually finished now, they just need to be blocked
  2. Toddler Mittens & scarf: my Niece [Birthday present – 24th November]
  3. Beer Gloves: Alvin [ASAP]
  4. Mistake Rib Scarf: my Mum [Christmas present]
  5. Mistake Rib Scarf: my Grandma [Christmas present]
  6. Mistake Rib Scarf: my Sister [Christmas present]
  7. Palm Readers: Me! [Whenever I have time]
  8. Star Crossed Slouchy Beret (using the same yarn to go with the Palm Readers): Me [Whenever I have time]
  9. Gretel hat: Me [Whenever I have time]
  10. Mr. Pitt’s Socks: my Dad [Christmas or Birthday present – 6th February]
  11. Tea Time Blanket: my Niece [Biggest project and of course I was convinced it’d be done by Christmas! I think it’ll post Christmas now]

Can I get all this done in time for Christmas? I’m currently full of delusion thinking yeah, that’s completely doable… I’m sure I’ll be panicking nearer the time!

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I almost didn’t go to the Knitting and Stitching Show; I know, shock horror! From reading up about it and looking at past pictures, I got the impression it was mainly exhibitions and galleries. I’m glad I was wrong and decided to go in the end!

The Knitting & Stitching Show

The Knitting & Stitching Show (not the greatest picture - I was busy taking in all the yarn!)

I went with my Mum (who’s more into sewing) on the Sunday and we had a really fun time. The place was packed and some stalls you had to wade through the sea of people to get near enough. I don’t know whether it was because of the last day or not, but a far amount of items had prices knocked down. I don’t know how I managed to do it, but I refrained from splurging on yarn. Maybe it was partly to do with the fact that my stash has become so large that it only just fits into my 3 drawer unit I bought the other day (pictures to follow). Eek!

We did get some yarn though. My Mum had asked me to knit her a scarf (after seeing the mistake rib scarf I’d made myself) and so this was the perfect opportunity for her to pick out some wool! She picked out this gorgeous muted blue wool with strands of pink, yellow, green and purple in. I also purchased some wool, a really bright magenta and purple mix. I didn’t go with a list of things to buy, so although there was a lot of tempting yarns, I just bought two of the magenta/purple yarn. I’m thinking a fingerless glove and hat set for myself 🙂

Can’t wait for the next knitting event. Next time, I’ll come armed with a shopping list!

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