Saturday, 17 January 2015

Galloping through January

Wow - is it really halfway through January? New Year seems like yesterday in some ways, but a distant memory in others. We celebrated the start of 2015 in Amsterdam on a lovely Cruise break. It was a wonderful time, especially as we were all together as a family - Hubby, son, 2 daughters and little old me. We watched our daughter perform in the amazing shows (She's a dancer on the ship) and we enjoyed Bruges and Amsterdam before we said goodbye to Izzy as she headed off to the Caribbean.


Once home, my aim was to ease myself gently into the new year and take stock of my progress so far and think about where I wanted my little business to go. I have a lot more time on my hands now that my children are growing up and for the most part it's just myself, hubby and youngest son at home. Ollie is 13 now and is growing into a lovely young man. But he spends most of his time at home either at his friends or in his room. We eat together at meal times, always and have a good chat and often I'll pop into his room to make sure he's OK or to make sure he's done his homework, but mostly he's connected online to his friends, and they're usually having a good old laugh at something they're doing together together. My girls are doing their own things now, but still need a lot of support, in one way or another, so sometimes things can get a bit hectic before they calm down and I'm back in my steady routine.

Well my dreams were soon shattered as over the last couple of week I've been flooded with a number of new commissions, teaching, a couple of fabulous new crochet books to proof read/edit and some advisory work for a new knitting mag. Wowsers. Now my diary is full up to the end of February. Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining; in fact quite the opposite as I love my work. But I did hope to find a small amount of time to work on some new ideas that I'd like to develop.

I have found a little time to make some things for myself though. I mentioned here that I had an embarrassingly large yarn stash to trawl through, and I'm pleased to say I've been keeping up with my fairisle blanket knit-a-long, my crochet-a-long and have yet to start my Let's Knit Secret Garden blanket.

I have a stack of gorgeous yarns just waiting to be turned into something lovely and I'm still working on my 90 knitted squares. But when the postman delivers this sort of parcel - what's not to like. It's a mix of British Gotland 4ply and Double Knitting from I can't wait to dive in and make a start on 2 lovely commissions for Homemaker Magazine.

I hope you've had a good start to the year - have you made any crafty resolutions? and are you sticking to them? I'd love to hear.

See you soon xx

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

CALs and KALs

Well, it's another new year and for some reason I always feel as though it's a new start - even though I'm still doing the same things as last year. But like everyone, I have new plans, new ideas and new projects to get started on.

I've emptied my stash onto my spare bed (eek!!! do I really have that much yarn??) and this year I'm determined to reduce it to a more manageable level, as it's really getting out of control!!! This photo shows about half of my stash.

I was pondering what I can do with all my yarn when coincidentally there seems to be lots of CALs and KALs going on. If you're new to these acronyms, a CAL is a Crochet-a-long and and KAL is a Knit-a-long, where a designer produces a design that people can join in with. They may release the pattern all in one go and let you get on with it at your own pace, or they may release the pattern bit by bit. Because of the nature of a CAL or KAL, they are usually blankets.

The question is - which ones do I join - there seems so many (including one of my own which I will blog about separately).

I love the Secret Garden KAL in Let's Knit issue 88, designed by Sian Brown. You can find it here on ravelry:

and if you want to tweet your progress you can use #lksecretgarden on Twitter.

I love Rico yarns and Sian has designed her blanket in some very pretty shades of Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran. I'll be making mine in more muted tones, and in DK yarn, as I don't have enough Aran in my stash. I'll hopefully find a bright colour for a bit of spark. The blanket will be useful in my knitting demos and classes to demonstrate various techniques and also making up.

I'm also joining a CAL (Crochet-a-long), using up lots of oddments of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino that I have. I just hope I have enough. This CAL has been designed by Ali Campbell who is an expert crochet tutor, author and designer. Her CAL uses baby hexagon motifs and each one literally takes 10-15 minutes.You can join in if you like and the link for the pattern is here:

I've already made 12 (I got a bit carried away - plus I have a busy week this week so I thought 'd get a head start!!). I've just realised though that I have made a mistake in each hexagon as I failed to read the pattern properly - oops. I rushed in with all guns blazing and introduced an extra chain in between each of the 6 corner groups. Oh well, there's no going back now so I'll just have to make them all with the extra chains. I'm joining as I go and I'm also weaving in the ends once a week so that I don't have any nasty jobs to do at the end. Here's mine so far:

I'll keep you posted about my knit and crochet-a-longs and I have a knit-a-long of my very own that is being published any day now in Woman's Weekly Knitting and Crochet Magazine. I'll post more about that one when the yarn packs are available. What an exciting start to the year :)

Have a Fab and Crafty 2015 wherever you are xxx