Good times!

I do enjoy Christmas. The run up is always a little crazy with school nativities and activities, parties, planning and shopping, decorating, preparing and wrapping. I’ve had rehearsals for two different shows as well as taking part in my church carol service – learning the harmonies for various carols has been a particular highlight!

I also ended up with various creative projects on the go too. Along with the apron for my nephew which I showed you last time…

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There was a fair isle hearts hat for my niece. I used the TinCanKnits Clayoquot Toque pattern as the starting point, but changed it up with a folded brim and my own design for the hearts.

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And a wheat bag for my sister in law, which I made from a little corduroy skirt I found in a charity shop. I used my mum’s sewing machine to sew it – she’s got an all singing, all dancing Janome machine that took a little getting used to, but sewing machine aspirations right there! – and filled it with wheat and homegrown lavender.

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There’s also been a fair amount of baking. Vanilla shortbread and slightly experimental apple and cinnamon cupcakes with caramel buttercream (I’ll be making those again!). My first ever meringue kisses made in a hurry to use up some egg whites before we went away for a few days, and my first ever Christmas pudding which fed the family on Christmas Day.

Fortunately, Christmas itself is a time to chill out and spend time relaxing with family and generally not doing too much except eat and wash up and eat some more and keep the kids entertained!

When we travel up to spend time with my family, Mr Jack and I like to spend time on the journey reflecting on the year past. It’s been a good one, with lots of things falling into place following the last couple of years of upheaval with house hunting, moving, school uncertainties etc. The boys are well settled at their new school, and we feel better rooted in our new house and town. I’ve surprisingly become a runner over the last year. I’m loving parkrun, and though I didn’t quite officially meet my target of a sub-30 minute 5k parkrun by Christmas, I have done sub-30 training runs and I’m not far off that at parkrun. I’ve also shed nearly 2 and a half stone thanks to Slimming World. I aimed to be at target by Christmas and was just a couple of pounds away. Technically that’s within the target range anyway, so I’ll call it a win! I feel very boring going on about food and pounds but ultimately I feel so much better for having done it and just for me!

I’ve been involved in some great theatre this year too and am so excited for what’s lined up for next year already. My first turn in ¬†Shakespeare in February followed by a fun musical in March and then I’m booked to see both Harry Potter and Hamilton in London during April.

Then of course there’s also Unravel in Feb and the Knitting and Stitching show in March too. Plenty to be looking forward to.

For now though, I’m going to enjoy a few more days of food and family and a chance to not do much. Maybe I’ll manage to get this second crazy sleeve done before the year is out. Now that would be an achievement!

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Reverse startitis?

It’s been rather a long time, but I’m back to the knitting once more.

I’m not exactly sure what the generally accepted definition of Startitis is in the knitting world. I get the impression it’s when you keep starting new projects before the previous one is finished? In my case, startitis is the opposite – I seem to have a fear of, or at least a reluctance to cast on, despite having just about mastered the basic cast on that I’ve been using. Call it plain old procrastination if you will. I think it’s the perfectionist in me rearing its head.

Anyway, I’ve done battle with the procrastinating perfectionist and won, having cast on and completed the concentration-requiring ribbing section of not one, but two sleeves for my cardigan. It’s the first time I’ve tried knitting two at a time and so far, so good, so long as I remember to knit across both sleeves on each row, and don’t get the yarn tangled!

Getting back to the knitting has of course meant that I’ve got knitting on the brain again, so I’ve been browsing other projects on Ravelry. I’m itching to try out my KnitPro circulars, and I want to try something slightly more interesting, more challenging, but alot smaller. Namely a jumper for my littlest Pickle. I just haven’t picked specifically which one yet. And I am absolutely banning myself from starting anything new before my cardigan is finished, or it will just never get done. It’s already been on my needles for a year, and I want to get it finished soon so I can wear it this winter!

I’m also itching to finish my desk and get it into our new hallway. I’m just waiting on an order of Autentico paint so I can finish the inside, so hopefully I’ll be able to show you all soon.