Looking back over last year, I was quite surprised and initially pleased at how much I was able to knit. It came at a cost though - when I tallied up the number of books I'd read and films I'd watched, they were among the lowest in probably the last twenty years. Perhaps, just perhaps, I've been letting knitting take over my life (the Liverpud would certainly agree!). So my word of 2016 is going to be "Balance".
I've pretty much cracked the work/life balance. I love my new life in Liverpool and feel enormously lucky to be able to work part-time which allows me plenty of hours for other creative pursuits. I just need to try and balance the many, many things that interest me and think more thoughtfully about the projects I choose to knit and when I should be knitting them (as ahem, I cast on yet another project up above - this will be my easy mindless tv knitting for the next few weeks - lots of stockinette). I still want to keep improving my skills, exploring new techniques, experimenting with different fibres and continue connecting with the really vibrant and inspiring knitting community that is out there. But I also really need to get my reading mojo back and make my way through an ever-growing pile of DVDs.
But still, it's always fun to have a few resolutions and goals and so here are my knitting/crafting ones for 2016:
1. One of the most exciting projects I've embarked upon is a distance learning course offered by City & Guilds. It's the Level 3 Certificate in Hand Knit Textiles and while the workload is slightly intimidating, I know it's going to make me a much better knitter and give me a really creative challenge as there will be some design work involved (eek!). One module at a time though. There are twelve in all and I'd really like to get through 4-5 of them this year as we only have three years to finish the course and I can see the modules getting more complex and time-intensive as we go on. I just need to be very disciplined and knuckle down. This has to be my priority before other knitting projects.
2. Still, there are at least 3 WIPS in progress that I also would really like to finish. My Deco by Kate Davies has been languishing in a project bag for years now and I just have to finish the sleeves. My Bowland by Susan Crawford was a project I really wanted to finish in time for Christmas (also one of last year's resolutions was to steek for the first time). I'm almost at steeking stage - just have a million ends to weave in, but would really love to have this done by the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March. And then there's my Anemone by Marie Wallin. All the knitted bits are done - it's just those crocheted sleeves which are the stumbling blocks. Still, these are three garments that I'd really love to have in my wardrobe, so if I can finish these up in 2016, I'll be chuffed.
3. I'd love to crochet a full garment. But if I can finish Anemone, I'll consider this resolution crossed off.
4. Buy only British wool/fibre. I've given up on a cold sheep yarn diet; I go to too many shows where the temptations are rampant. But I can certainly restrict myself to British yarns and support local businesses. No shortage of lovely options there. And that will stop me from buying bags of discontinued Rowan yarns because they are massively on sale. They just sit in my stash and glare at me.
5. Speaking of British wool, I want to continue participating in the Knit British Breeds swatch-a-long because I've really enjoyed the process so far. It's been fascinating to discover the properties of different breeds. I've done eight swatches already, six of which are the proper sized squares for an intended blanket. I hopefully can continue the process until I have 24 or 30 and can put together a decent sized blanket. It would be super if I could finish this in time for Wovember.
6. I want to learn to spin with a drop spindle. I'm booked for a class at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival so hopefully will crack this skill and spin up some roving by the end of the year. A friend gave me some gorgeous silk batting for Christmas which would be terrific to knit up.
7. At last year's Woolfest, I bought a double heddle for my loom which allows me to double the width of the fabric. It's still sitting in its packaging. I'd really like to assemble it and weave something using it this year.
8. I'd also actually like to sit down and read more of my knitting books. I'm great at acquiring them and looking at all the pretty pictures but I rarely sit down and read them in detail. I know there's a wealth of fascinating information and inspiration in my knitting library - time to start absorbing it all!
Whew - that should keep me busy for the next few months. I am not going to stress about it all though (well, maybe a little about the course) but try to calmly work through projects and enjoy the process. We'll see how that goes. . .