This year is going quickly!
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that this week I bought lots of yarn for a knitted blanket project I had in mind. I chose Sirdar Ella yarn, because it’s beautiful and I’ve been wanting to use it for a project for ages. The colours are gorgeous and they have little specks of glitter in them!
I was going to knit squares, and then crochet them together into a giant blanket. I had Wednesday off work, and I got started on my sample squares to test the pattern and my ideas. Sadly, none of it worked and I gave up after a rather frustrating day. I couldn’t get the knitting pattern to work with the crochet stitching I wanted to use, and in the end I lost patience.
I was then going to make a crochet blanket, but I already have the ripple one started, and I don’t need another crochet project. So, I looked on Ravelry and I’ve decided to make a jumper instead. I’m going to use the dark purple for this jumper (top left hand corner of the image above), and I’ll show it to you as it progresses.
My Mother has claimed some of the other yarns for two jumper patterns she has, and I think I’m going to use the pale pink for another jumper I have in mind. So the yarn will get used up, but not in the way I’d originally planned! It’s beautiful yarn, so if you’re looking for some DK for a pattern I recommend you check it out!
My goals for February are similar to January, which should be easy – except as mentioned earlier this week, I’m doing terribly with my diet!
I haven’t had the urge to buy clothes yet, which has made the “no buy” goal quite easy to follow. It’s inevitable that something will test my resolve soon though, and we’ll see how committed I really am to this challenge!
I’m reading two long books this month, and I’m half-heartedly hoping to finish both of them. Realistically, I will not finish Don Quixote. It is ridiculously long and I only read little bits at a time.
My crochet blanket is coming along nicely – I might have it finished in a month or two at this rate!
Years ago, I bought a pack of cheap fabric squares, with the intention of using them to make a quilt blanket that I could use to test out individual stitching patterns. The plan was to stitch each square individually with a different pattern, to practice designs and different stitches.
I started it, decided I didn’t like it, and then abandoned it. Stitching each square in a different pattern made the blanket very random and inconsistent, and I didn’t like the effect.
I was tidying my craft box a couple of weeks ago, and as always when I got to this blanket I wondered what to do with it. It annoyed me that it was taking up so much space in my craft box, but I didn’t want to throw it away (in recycling!). I took the blanket out the box and brought it downstairs to sit on a dining room chair whilst I decided what to do with it.
Ultimately, I decided to unpick the stitching I’d done, machine sew the patchwork layer, wadding and back together, and be done with it. It’s not quilted, but it’s a useable blanket and I can move on with my life!
I’m actually saving this blanket for when I have a dog, to put on his bed. That was always the plan, as there’s no colour theme (and originally the stitches would have all been random). Archie’s been playing with it, but she already has three or four blankets, and doesn’t need another!
For January, I read six books as planned. It was a close run thing though, and I almost didn’t succeed. I had intended to reduce the number of books I started for this month, but that didn’t work as I currently have five on the go again. However, I’ve only started enough books to reach my reading goal for February (six books again), so that counts as being organised, right??
This is the first book I read in 2014, which is a shame as it was quite disappointing in places. I’m not the first one to make this observation, but it’s basically a poorer version of Caitlyn Moran’s How to be a woman. I thought the author had a tendency to waffle, and many sentences were too long. Still, the book raised some interesting points regarding feminism, so it’s still an ok book to read.
This book is written by a lady who, after becoming intrigued by the Amish, goes to live with them for a summer on two separate occasions. The book is interesting for anyone who likes the Amish (like me), but I didn’t like something about the way the author adores them. I’m not sure “adores” is the right word – there’s almost a tone throughout her book of idolisation. At the end of the day, the Amish are just one group of people who have chosen a specific way of life. We can study their lives, but we shouldn’t put them up on pedastals. If you ignore the author’s sentiments though, it’s an interesting sneak-peak into a world we don’t get to see.
I can’t remember why this book ended up on my reading list, but I’ve been reading it on and off for quite a few months now. It really shouldn’t have taken me as long to read as it ultimately did. It’s not a big book, and it was quite amusing and insightful in places. You could easily read it in a week if you stopped picking up other books! The book is about a retired bank manager who, on the death of his Mother, meets an aunt at the funeral that he never really knew. They become companions and go travelling to various European places together, and stories ensue. It’s set in the 50s (maybe 60s?) when travel was more glamourous than it is today. Maggie Smith played the aunt in the film version of the story, which I can totally imagine!
This is one of my favourite books ever, and I thought it was time I re-read it. I also watched the TV series twice during January (not that I’m obsessive at all…). I love Mr Thornton – he’s totally better than Mr Darcy. It’s also a fascinating look into the North/South divide, which Brits will know is a centuries long argument about which part of the country is better (FYI, I’m a Midlander. Maybe I should be Switzerland, but I’m not; the North is better!). The book is very similar to Pride and Prejudice (sort of), and basically follows the story of Margaret as her Father uproots the family from a small village in Hampshire and moves them to a mill town up north (fictional town, but thought to be Manchester). Margaret has to learn the ways of the north, adjust to living in a town of industry and navigate the stress of family life after the upheaval. It’s a great read!
Gosh, this book took me ages to read. Months! Amundsen was a bit of a rambler. Haha, I’m kidding – maybe. He did after all go to the South Pole; he had a lot to write about. The book’s actually really well written (and I assume well-translated). I originally decided to read this book because I’ve naturally favoured British explorers, and therefore hated all non-Brits that have beaten us to important geographical locations. Amundsen is doubly disliked by the British as he beat Scott to the Pole, and then Scott died on the way home (this is obviously Norway’s fault).
Having now read his biography, I have many thoughts (if you’re not a polar fan like me, skip this bit as it will be boring):
On a sad note, the Norwegians – knowing they’d got to the Pole first – left a tent with some equipment they didn’t need for Scott in case his team needed anything. Ironically, they didn’t leave any food because, having an over-abundance of their own, they must have assumed he would too. Had they left food as well as equipment for Scott’s team, they may well have made it home again. As it was, Scott’s team starved to death on the journey back and Amundsen’s team couldn’t eat everything they’d brought with them. Their dogs were in such fine form when they got back to the ship that they ended up taking them off Antarctica (instead of shooting them) and giving them to the Australian Antarctica team who were going out the following year.
I read this book on a whim because it was in my local library’s digital section (most the books are fiction, which I don’t read much). I’m really glad I did spot it, because it’s a gem. The book is written by an anarchist who lives in the UK. It’s about living separate from the State, making a living of your own choosing, and basically being off the grid as much as possible. It’s mixed with anecdotes, theories, British and world history and advice. It’s a brilliant read, and I really recommend it.
Did you read any good books in January?
February has crept up on me, and now it’s the 10th and I still haven’t recapped my January goals!
My January goals were to:
I’m pleased to say that I completed all five goals. YEY! I’ve already shown you my crochet blanket so far, and I’ll be doing a separate post on my January books. The other three goals really don’t warrant posts of their own!
I bought an exercise bike before Christmas, so I’ve been trying to use that, and I’ve been using an app (My Fitness Pal) to track my calories. Mostly, I need to just stop eating everything. Haha – I suspect that’s true for most dieters! February has been a disaster so far, but hopefully I won’t regain what I lost in January.
The charity shop trip was a success, although as soon as I went the box in the garage magically filled itself up, so I do now need another trip. I favour Oxfam, as my local shop has parking just outside the front door so you can lug your bags in easily, and the staff are always nice.
I’ve already got started on my February goals, and I’ll be sharing them in a post later this week!
How did you do with your January goals?
The final full weeks of January. It’s whizzed by!
This week seems very orange now that I look back on it. I did make carrot soup so maybe it was a theme. On a side note, you can see how bad show-through is Moleskines on this spread!
Someone sent the kitten postcard to our office, and I thought it was cute so I stuck it in my planner. This was a sad week because my laptop charger, which had been faulty since I bought the laptop, died completely. I’d already had a partial refund to cover the cost of the charger, but I had to go without a laptop for a few days whilst I waited for the delivery of the new charger. Also this week, I had Chinese takeaway (yum yum) and my sister came home for the weekend. And I saw a rainbow!
This weekend was a particularly lovely one. The sun shone; I pottered about with my crochet blanket, started knitting a new scarf, had lots of tea, read, made soup and generally relaxed. I also took a few pictures on my camera, which has been feeling neglected recently.
These are all the ends of my crochet blanket so far. They’re going into the scarf that’s photographed further up.
I hope you had a lovely weekend too.
One of my goals for January was to complete 10 stripes, or 30 rows, of my crochet blanket. I managed this, and I thought I’d show you how the ripple blanket is progressing.
On some days I don’t like the colours – I think that the coloured stripes are too bright. On other days, I like the combination of the cream and the colours. It’s a bit of a hit or miss blanket I think. Still, the ripple pattern looks great.
I’ve got a lot to do before it’s finished, as it will be a big blanket. I really want to finish it this year though!