Plans for 2013

I know I’m a little late to this party, but that seems to be the way it is at the moment! Time is flying by so fast, I’m missing all sorts of things. For example, a very good friend had her birthday one month and five days ago (you know who you are!) and I’ve yet to send her her birthday parcel. She’s going to have a lovely late spring surprise at this rate! The daft thing is that I had almost everything I wanted to send ahead of time, and then the days got away from me and I didn’t do it. It’s OK, I do realise how rubbish I am!

So, plans for the remaining ten and a half months of the year include;

1. Holiday – don’t know where, don’t know when but we will have a change of scenery and see somewhere new this year!

2. Redecorate Sweetie’s room before she moves in. Her cot is in our room at the moment, and I think will be for a little while. We need to work out how to put up a curtain rail, as there is no space between the top of the window frame and the ceiling. I sorted out everything in her room this last week though so there’s no rubbish in there any more! However, I still need to decide on a room layout and colour scheme.

3. Get a new kitchen sink. We have one of those beige plastic kitchen sinks at the moment, and since we moved in I’ve wanted to swap it for a stainless steel one. I can’t dye yarn easily until I do, as it would wreck our current sink. Our plumber should be coming out to replace a radiator soon though, so I’ll ask him about it then.

4. Fitness – improve it! I was almost immobile during the last few months of my pregnancy last year, and then it took longer than last time for the pain to go away. On the whole things seem to be more or less back to normal now, so I’m very slowly improving my fitness levels. I aim to go out for walks more as the weather improves, and I always run up the stairs (except when I’m carrying the baby of course!). Baby steps, but it’s slowly slowly paying off.

5. Get my Etsy shop back up and running. I’m planning and working on items for my shop at the moment. I hope to go back to the craft market later in the Spring too, if they have room for me! But I want to revamp my stall completely, so I need to work on that for the next couple of months.

6. Enjoy my kids. They are all three of them growing and changing before my eyes, and I don’t want to miss a minute! Well, maybe the odd minute here or there to go to knit night or Wonderwool Wales, but you get the general gist!

So, these are my overall goals. I’ve got more specific ones, such as improving my baking, or certain projects I want to make. Hopefully I’ll find time to talk more about these as and when they happen.

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February

It has been nearly¬†a whole month since I last visited here, and yet it feels like a second. My time is flying by, and I’m not quite sure what I make of that! In my last post I said that I wouldn’t be packing until we’d exchanged contracts. Unfortunately, due to what I’m almost certain is incompetence on the part of solicitors representing other people in our chain, we’re yet to exchange contracts, and yet our moving date is only a few days away. And so I gave in, and the flat is nearly completely packed up. At a push, we could probably finish the packing in a couple of hours, but I’m really appreciating that I’ve had a little more time to actually sort through our belongings and clear out clutter that has accumulated over the last eleven years. Tomorrow I’ll finish packing the living room, finish emptying the hall cupboards and empty the laundry basket.

Little Miss Bonus¬† has only 13 weeks left to grow now before she’s due to make her appearance in the world, as I’ve hit 27 weeks pregnant today. And so on into my third trimester. She seems to be doing fine with her job of growing at a good rate, as am I! And the stiffness in my joints (especially in my hips and pelvis) is increasing, especially at night time when I wake up aching if I’ve not moved in a while! But never mind, I’m off to see a physio next week, so hopefully I’ll get some good exercises that will make a difference to me. And if not, in three short months I’ll be able to introduce my beautiful girl to the world, and none of these minor inconveniences will matter. Also next week I get to take a glucose tolerance test. I’m not quite sure why, as although my sons weren’t small, they weren’t at the size that generally necessitates a test for gestational diabetes in subsequent pregnancies. Hopefully I’ll (or at least my insulin will) sail through the test and I’ll be able to carry on with my normal eating habits rather than having to stop before every mouthful to evaluate the sugar load!

As predicted, knitting has slowed down this month. I did get to half way on my cardigan that I mentioned in my last post, and started the first sleeve, but following the colourwork pattern requires far more concentration and general brain power than I have to spare right at the moment. I did manage to finish a cardigan for my niece, Miss M, in time for her 6 month birthday, and I also managed to design and make a hat for Cheeky. I haven’t, however, managed to find the time to get any of my projects up onto Ravelry yet. I really need to do that soon, otherwise I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance, given that I’m almost certain to be without an internet connection for at least a little while after we move.

Anyway, Little Miss Bonus is kicking me now as if to remind me that I need to get an early night in order to get some of the energy required to get through the next week or so! I’ll probably not post again until after we’ve moved, so see you soon in our new house!

Some good news to start the year!

So, I’ve got some news for you, something I’ve been really hoping I’d be able to share for some time now.

First, in September we had this;

And then, in December, we had this;

Since then, on Tuesday we had the main scan and a wriggly, strong baby is doing very well, with all the bits and pieces that a baby half way through the cooking process should have! We’re due on May 22nd, and with two birthdays in April already, this little one is most certainly not allowed to be more than three weeks early!

I’m off to plan my knitting now!

Rediscovering the yarnie mojo

I’ve just spent two hours or more shopping online for yarn. Not fun. I want to make a Velvet Morning cardigan for myself but the recommended yarn is 1. from America (which would take aaaaaaages to be delivered) and 2. far too expensive for a cardigan for me. Even though I absolutely love the blue yarn they use. So I needed to find a substitute. I was hoping to go for a Rowan or Debbie Bliss merino or pure wool blend and I even went wool smooshing (which is squishing and judging general yumminess, NOT stealing as my lovely husband suggested!) in John Lewis yesterday to get some inspiration. But when I went to find a good deal online today, the best deal I could find still involved me paying upwards of ¬£120 to get enough yarn for just one cardigan! Needless to say that was way out of my budget, and I’ve not found a cardigan in existence which I would value at that. So I found a cheaper alternative, a James C Brett Aran with Wool. I’ve used James C Brett yarns before and they were nice so I’m hoping this one will be too. I’m still spending about ¬£45 on the yarn, but it comes in big 400g balls, and so I will have about 300g of each of the three contrast colours left with which I can knit lots of lovely things for our niece, little M.

My knitting mojo definitely abandoned me last year. I did one large project, a baby blanket for little M, two little cardigans also for her and a handful of scarves and other small items. I’m hoping to really get back into the swing of things in this coming year, including getting back into dyeing again. Luckily I’d built up a decent collection of hand dyed yarns because I’ve not done any more dyeing since last spring. But my stocks are running a little low, so I’ll have to sit myself down and think of some good colourways shortly.

With regard to what I want to knit this year, I’d like to do my cardigan as soon as possible, so that I can get plenty of wear and enjoyment out of it before the weather warms up. I’ve been wanting to make GG a jumper for years and have never got round to it, so hopefully this will be the year for that too. I have plans for gloves or mittens for each of my three boys (GG is counted as one of my boys, obviously!) and something nice for my friend M for her birthday in September (I won’t say what on the off chance she comes and has a look!). I’m going to make a few things for little M, at least one jumpery/cardigany thing in each age range, which means at least three with the first one due in February when she hits six months old. Plus I’m planning some general non-specific items which can go on the stall once I go back to the market or can be put aside for next year’s Christmas presents. So, there’s enough to keep me busy for a while!

Reading that back, it sounds a bit optimistic. But I know that if I knuckle down, and don’t waste time in front of the TV in the evenings by having idle hands, I can get an awful lot done in a year. It will be interesting to look back in a year and see what I did achieve in 2012. Here’s to a good year!

Flying by

I know that time is supposed to go faster as you get older, but I didn’t think I was old enough for time to fly as it has been recently! How is it only nine days from Christmas Day already? Last time I turned round it was November.

So, news update; we’ve sold the flat at last! Or at least, because I feel uncomfortable with being too confident, we’ve accepted an offer and the solicitors are doing their thing preparing the documents and swapping details before an exchange of contracts. We’ve also found a house to buy which has a nice garden, a garage and an upstairs, all of which will be new for us! Please keep your fingers crossed for us that it all goes through smoothly, and that we’re moving into our new home in the early Spring.

I’m nearly ready for Christmas; all the present buying is done apart from the last minute things which I have planned to buy at various points through next week, the cards are written and posted and the decorations have been up for nearly a fortnight now. We’re all enjoying all the lights that we’ve put up, and will definitely be sad when they have to come down on twelfth night. I’ve got a list of festive recipes which I’m looking forward to attempting next week, especially as our lovely brother in law is doing the Christmas dinner, so I feel more free to do some festive baking. One thing I’m defnitely hoping to try is Joy the Baker’s chocolate peppermint roll – we all love minty chocolate things, and a bonus is that this recipe is gluten free. I have some good friends who have coeliac disease, and I’m always on the lookout for good gluten free recipes for them. Another is chocolate honeycomb (like Crunchie bars), the recipe for which I have in a lovely book my Mum gave me last year. In fact, there are so many recipes I’d like to try, I think I could bake a couple of times a day from here to new year and still not get through them all! Plus by then I’d have put my family into a diabetic coma!

My knitting has picked up pace a little in the last few weeks as I’ve been knitting slipper socks for the kids for Christmas. The first pair were knitted in a sport weight Mountain Meadow merino wool and are really nice feeling. It was good to knit with too; the only small complaint I would have was that the wool seemed to be full of little bits of grass that I had to pull out as I knitted through it! The second pair are almost done, and are made from an aran weight blue faced leicester. I had some undyed skeins and so I thought it would be fun to knit them up and then dye the socks once they’re finished. Then I can apply the liquid rubber to the soles so that they won’t skid everywhere!

Anyway, I hope you are all looking forward to Christmas and have a happy and healthy time. And if I’m not back before then, happy new year to you all! Here’s hoping that 2012 is filled with good things for us all!

Exciting new venture (again!)

It’s not long since I told you about my Etsy shop selling jewelry, www.jennieworldcrafts.com. And yet there is another venture which I’ve not yet shared with you. Since the summer, Ellie and I have been dyeing yarn, and we also have an Etsy shop set up for that at www.jelliebeanyarns.etsy.com. I’m so enjoying doing this. It’s so close to my most loved craft; knitting. And yet it’s so different that I can flit from one thing to the other without getting bored!

Another thing about it that I love is that if I feel like knitting, say, a shawl in purple, I know that I can now go and dye that yarn myself rather than waiting to get to a yarn shop or wool festival before I find my perfect colour.

Anyway, I’ll share some pictures of my yarns with you in a minute, but first off, we had very good news at the weekend! As soon as we choose which yarns to take, we will have our yarn stocked in ‘Big Knitters’ yarn shop in Roath, Cardiff! This is tremendously exciting news, especially as we are such a new little enterprise. We’ve only been dyeing for a few months, but we’ve had such a gratifying response both from people we know and those we’ve only just met. Many of our friends at the local knitting groups have been kind enough to buy some of our yarn. We’ve also been fortunate enough to sell to crafters visiting from the United States as well as, via our Etsy store, to the US and Finland! And every skein I hand over or send off brings little shivers of excitement! It’s thrilling to think that, sometime in the future, this could be a viable, profit-making, income-bringing business for us!

Anyway, here are some of my yarns so far:

Firstly, those which will be listed in the shop in the coming few days;

Witching Hour

Midnight Jade

Autumn Days

And next, those which are already listed in the shop, or have already sold;

Acid Hiss

Blackberry Blueberry

Gryffie Roar

Ocean Swell

I am loving the opportunity to play with all the different colours and see how they all meld together so beautifully. My only problem at the moment is that I want to knit with them all! I have reserved a skein of the ‘Midnight Jade’ for myself (there have to be some perks to this job!!) and I’m designing a shawl with it at the moment. To my credit, I think I’ve only held back four or five skeins for myself so far, all to use to design new knitting patterns, so I think that’s pretty restrained!

This yarn is all British wool, from Blue Faced Leicester sheep in a 4ply or sock weight. The wool is yummy because it takes the colour so well, but it also has a sheen about it which really accentuates your work. We’ve also got new yarn bases in to try, so I’m looking forward to sharing some of them with you soon, just as soon as I’ve planned which colours to use for which bases!

Faster than an aeroplane, slower than a snail

A lot of the time, my life carries on at a comfortable, slow pace, my daily routine taking me from one week to the next quite happily. At other times, I really have to run to keep up! At the moment, I’m developing three hobbies with the hope that at least two of them might become profitable enough in a couple of years to enable me to leave my part time office job. Of course, doing two things at once is quite hard, but doing three means that I’m totally absorbed…in all three!

One new thing which begins soon is my having stalls at craft markets. On Saturday I shall be sharing a stall with my friend Alison, from my Thursday night knitting group, next door to my friend Ellie’s stall. I’ve been busily making jewellery for a little while, so I hope to be able to satisfactorily fill my little area (and have a little bit over in case I sell out – if wishing made it so!!). I’ll be thinking a bit about presentation this week, and have the willing help and experience of my Dad to call on for help with that. We’ve been talking about internet presentation, and Dad has ever so kindly offered (a big weight off my mind!) to take over the photography, until I’m producing more than he can photograph, of course!! I’ve already registered to have an online shop, and I’m hoping to be able to unveil that, later¬†this¬†week. I want to get a good few items in there before I direct you to it all. There’s no point asking you to look at an empty shop front, is there?!

So, all in all my mind has been very occupied recently with patterns, jewellery design (trying to make sure I’m not copying anyone else as well) and yarn, to the exclusion of all else! I’ve come to the conclusion that my mind has a definite limit to it’s capacity, and I regularly find that my memory can’t hold a half of what I would like it to! When I went to look in my jewellery box (the¬†pieces I’ve made, rather than the stuff I already owned) I was pleasantly surprised by some of the items I found, having completely forgotten I’d made them! And if I had a fiver for each time I’d been to the bead shop in Cardiff and bought the exact same beads as I had on a previous trip, I’d be able to fund my yarn obsession for a fair while! I think this may be a large part of the reason that Dad’s offering to photograph my work, in order that I don’t forget it all as soon as I sell it! Oh dear, and knitters are supposed to have a better memory than non-knitters – there’s really no hope for my old age!