Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Waving goodbye to 2013!

So here we are then - Christmas is done and dusted chez josiekitten and the decorations have been packed away in the loft for another year. (I like to start the New Year with all signs of Christmas gone!) I hope you had a good celebration. Mr JK and I had a lovely time. It was so good to just have time to do nothing! Not that we sat around being lazy, but our day to day lives are so busy, it was great to not have to worry about meeting deadlines and just being able to please ourselves. I have done lots of knitting and Mr JK has been reading and cooking. Bliss! We did get a jigsaw puzzle out a couple of days ago, and it won't come as any surprise to you that Florence was keen to lend a paw! What is it with cats? She has never shown any interest in sitting on this table until now!
Flo helps with the jigsaw (2)

It's the time of year to sit back and reflect on my yarny projects over the past 12 months. I have to say that there don't seem to be as many as usual! I'm not too sure why, except that for a couple of months we were preoccupied with moving house and unpacking boxes at the start of the year. So I shall blame my lack of productivity on that! Here are a couple of my favourite projects from the past year.
Firstly, a beaded Citron shawl, knit for a dear friend's birthday. The beaded cast off nearly killed me, but it was worth it in the end!
Beaded purple citron 043

Beads feature again in another favourite - my not so plain Jhayne mitts. These were knit using a ball of qiviuk yarn; a truly luxurious fibre from the underbelly of the Alaskan musk ox. I cannot begin to tell you just how soft and warm these are.

Not so Plain Jhaynes 005

Finally, a pair of comfortable, slouchy socks. Anne Hanson named these Helen socks after me and I was delighted to be able to test knit them. They are fast becoming one of my favourite sock patterns!
Helen sock 010

Now comes the bit I am dreading - looking at last year's knitting resolutions!!! (I have the feeling that I am going to score a big fat fail here!) Deep breath - here goes! I am among friends after all!

1. To knit from stash as much as possible.
Actually, when I look back through the stash photos from this year, it's nowhere near as bad as I thought! Pretty much all my new stash has come from swaps, and yarn that I have bought was specifically to give away in swaps. The only thing I have splurged out on is some yarn for a couple of sweaters, and both lots were in the sale! (So really I was saving money wasn't I?!)
2. To try some colourwork.
Sigh! No hiding place here, but all I can say is I will try harder to actually achieve this next year. I have several pairs of mitts favourited on Ravelry. They would probably be a good starting project.
3. To carry on spinning.
I have spun during the year, but in little bursts. I did spin most days during the Tour de Fleece. I shall carry on being a member of Marianne's Luxury Fibre Club because it is simply the nicest fibre I have ever spun! My favourite skein of handspun is a very pink skein of Wylie - a blend of Polwarth, yak and mulberry silk.
Tour de Fleece Day 8 2013 (9)

I have joined my local spinning guild and they meet every week. My aim is to go to a couple of meetings each month, which will help to keep me spinning all year.
4. To have a go at designing something.
Well, I actually have dabbled a little bit this year and hope to release a pattern in the New Year! More of that in another post!!
5. To do some knitting/crocheting for charity.
I have done some crocheting for charity - I made a cat blanket that Flo rather took a shining to! (Naturally!) But I ought to have done more. I rather ambitiously named this cat blanket no. 1, suggesting that there would be more!
cat blankie no (5)

My class made pompoms for Sense's Great Pompom Challenge and I did knit Innocent Smoothie hats with the kids at school as part of this year's Big Knit, so that's got to count for something, right?!
6. To knit a blanket.
Well, I have started a blanket, but it's not finished yet!! My 64 Crayons blanket using all my odd balls of Noro Silk Garden is going to be amazing when it's done! Hopefully this time next year, I'll be showing you a photo of it on our sofa with 'you know who' curled up asleep on it!!

colouring in 005

Time to set some woolly goals for 2014. I am calling 2014 the Year of the Jumper!! I have knit so many pairs of socks, scarves, cowls and other smaller projects, it's time to get stuck in to some serious sweater stitches!! So here are my goals for 2014.
1. To knit from stash as much as possible.
2. To spin more regularly and enter something either into Fibre East or one of my local guild competitions.
3. To knit at least one jumper for myself.
4. To carry on designing.
5. To try some colourwork!!!
6. To finish the 64 Crayons blanket.
So there we are, that's almost it for 2013. But before I go, I must just tell you about a wonderful scholarship scheme that Anne Hanson over at Knitspot has running. Each year she designs a scarf and the proceeds from the pattern sale go towards the Red Scarf project. It is a wonderful scheme which provides support to foster care kids as they go through college. This year's scarf is great (and the pattern includes a cowl too if your prefer!) Today is the last day for buying this pattern and helping a student through funding a knitspot scholarship. So what are you waiting for, it's a win-win situation. You get a great pattern plus that warm feeling from knowing that you are helping a young person through the next stage of their life. This is taken directly from Anne's blog -
foster care 2 success helps students who are aging out of the foster care system to navigate a continuing education and advancement into independent adulthood. they provide guidance and counseling, classes in life skills, scholarships, and other types of support that a family would normally provide.
Go here to buy - all the proceeds from the sale go to the fund! If you prefer, you can buy it through Ravelry so the pattern goes into your library.
Anne also released a shawl kit and for today only, $5 will be donated to the fund for each kit sold. The kit is limited edition and is rather beautiful. You can buy it here.
Thank you to each and every one of you who reads my blog. I love writing it and hope you enjoy reading it! I wish you a very happy New Year, filled with happy times, good health and peace. See you in 2014!! I have a feeling it's going to be an exciting year! xxx


Christine65 said...

Happy New Year to you. I think you've done rather well this year. I'm so tempted to join the waiting list for Marianne's fibre club, but think I need to reduce my fibre stash (as well as my yarn stash) first. Thanks for the link to the AH pattern; I've just bought it via Ravelry.

Bridget said...

Sounds like you had a pretty good year! My knitting output was less than stellar, but that's OK.

Thanks for the heads up about the scarf pattern - I just bought it for myself.

Happy New Year to everyone at your house!

Anonymous said...

happy new year's ms. kitten!!
i think you did quite well with your resolutions (i like to think of them as "guidelines") in my opinion!
here's to another fabulous year of crafting!!
(and flo!! i always want more flo!!)

Shiela Dixon said...

Happy New Year Helen, hope to bump into you again in 2014. It's lovely to see the Wylie spun up. Do you have a project in mind yet? My recent pink socks were the same blend from Marianne, I really enjoy her club too.

SapphireBlue said...

You have a great set of goals. Happy New Year!

TT in MD said...

Happy new year! I'm so glad you had a relaxing holiday. Your knitting was great for the year and your goals for this year are too! I too want to knit more for charity. I knit for a couple of great groups but my knitting time lagged last year :(

Lynne said...

I know I'm a bit late, but happy new year! Good luck with your knitting goals!