Thursday, January 01, 2009

Twas the knit before Christmas...

...and all through the house, not a creature was stirring (except for Ingrid, who still had some last-minute knitting to finish off).

I know it is ages (half a year!) since I blogged, but I am still here, still knitting. The job I started at the end of February is taking up a great deal of time and the little time I have left over is given to the children. Knitting has to fit in to the small windows of opportunity I have - on the train on the way to and from work (when I can get a seat) and in the evenings when the chores are done.

This year has been quite eventful - other than my going back to work full time after a 10-year break (very scary, but definitely the right decision, particularly given the current economic woes), I have been in hospital twice (all fine now!), and we have tried (and failed) to move house. After giving up on moving for the moment, we have tried to content ourselves with moving things around a bit at home and now have the computer in the dining room, which makes life a lot easier. We are also planning for us all to move bedrooms, but we need to get some minor work done first.

I am optimistic that I will be able to get back to blogging now that the family has settled into a new routine around my job and the computer is easily accessible. We have also upgraded the computer so we now have one that works properly - our old computer was so creaky that everything was difficult on it!

Despite the demands of work, I still decided (at the last minute!) to knit the usual scarves for the teachers this year and made three of these:

Yes, it is the Misti alpaca ribs and ruffles scarf, an excellent free pattern.

One of the children's teachers this year already had one of these from me (from a previous year) so I decided to make her some fingerless mitts and used the Fetching pattern again, this time in Jamie possum, which I bought in iknit. I was really pleased with these - they were lovely and soft and the colours came out beautifully evenly:

I knitted another pair of mitts, this time from the Martin Storey's book of men's knits, but felt that this was a less successful pattern:

I also knitted my mum a Forest Canopy shawl in Malabrigo laceweight, which I was really pleased with:

The colours of this also came out beautifully and my mum was delighted with it:

All in all, it was a very pleasing project:

I did manage to complete everything I had planned to, and had a good Christmas - everyone was pleased with their gifts.

This coming year I want to try to make some small adjustments to our life. I want to be more organised with the cooking (this has been one area that has been very hard to keep on top of with my new job). I have bought two books which I hope will make a difference to the meals that I plan. The first, How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy Balanced Diet, with Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time, Even If You Have a Tiny Kitchen, Only Three Saucepans ... - Unless You Count the Garlic Crusher... by Gill Holcombe, I have had for a while, but have not used. Today, I made apple cake from it and plan to use some of the more general principles in it to plan our weekly shopping and eating. I have also bought The Kitchen Revolution, which, although I don't intend to follow it to the letter, has some sound principles in it. Despite our unsuccessful attempt to move house (it would be great to have a bit more space) I am well aware of how lucky we are as a family and how comparatively privileged we are.

Like everyone else in the current credit crunch, however, we need to make some economies, and this coming year I plan to do what everyone recommends you do to economise - keep track of where all your money goes down to the last penny.

So, like Sabine, who has been reading my old copy of Not Buying It by Judith Levine, I intend to downsize my wool stash. I shall buy yarn only for specific projects or for gifts and try to use more of my stash. I also intend to sort out the books in the house and all our clothes - I have already started down this road and have been thinning out the children's clothes considerably. There are some great ideas in Levine's book (although she can come across as slightly irritating sometimes - she still runs two houses and two cars in the book), and it is certainly thought-provoking. I have also recently read Kath Kelly's book on how she lived for a pound a day, which, in a similar vein, gives food for thought. While Kath Kelly's year holds much to admire, I think it would be hard to live like this with three children to feed, although I am tempted to use some of her ideas.

If moving is not an option for us because the housing market is so stagnant, then decluttering certainly is. As those of you who know me are well aware, however, I am not the tidiest person in the world, so this will be a real challenge for me. But I feel that with the economy the way it is and the uncertainty hanging over us all, we should make the most of what we have and I certainly have a lot to be grateful for. So, one step at a time, 2009 will be a journey for me into a more thoughtful and considered way of life. One incentive for me is to see how I feel about each purchase if I keep track of everything. I have done this before (when I was saving for my first flat) and actually found it just as satisfying as consuming.

But having a family is different. I hope that we will all learn from the coming year, whatever it may bring.

Happy New Year to you all!


Anonymous Brigid said...

Welcome back! The malabrigo shawl is gorgeous. Good luck with the decluttering - we've been doing that too and it does put you off shopping for a while.

10:20 AM  

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