37) May roundup, June goals

  1. *Launch an online shop for Yarnscape.
    No…  I've barely thought about this at all, I'm afraid.  I need to break this down into babysteps.
  2. *Finish J's quilt
    All but the signature, and that's half done!  And it's a good job, too, cos it was his birthday gift for yesterday.  Expect an FO post by the end of the week.
  3. Cast on another knitting (or crochet?) project – a garment.
    No, but I've been knitting a fair bit on my current stole.  I'm trying to decide whether this counts as success or not; I've certainly been knitting more, even if not as much as I'd like.  There are lots of summery garments I would like to wear this year, though, so I'm going to call the stole a work/travel project and go for the summer knits in the meantime.
  4. *Experiment with knitting socks on my knitting machine.
    Pah!  Not at all.
  5. Finish at least half of the blue silk
    Overachievement at last!  It's all spun, and about half plied.  After my rather whiny post about it, it's been growing on me rather, and the finished yarn is looking… nice!

  6. Keep up with the planting/weeding schedule; this is a busy time of
    year in the garden!

    Kinda/sorta.  I need to get better at the stuff that needs regular re-planting (salad greens and some herbs).  I bought a herb planter thingy a couple of weeks ago, though, so that might help.
  7. Plan and maybe warp my  handspun silk scarf project.

Hmm.  About 2.5 out of seven – not so great.  I've been feeling fatigued and overwhelmed, and the quilt has taken more time than I expected.  Add in the fact that the spinning grabbed me and Would Not Let Go, other goals have suffered rather.

This month, I need to look after my health and energy.  Frustratingly, I also need to get running.  I've entered the Race For Life, and would really like to run a whole 5k at the beginning of July.  I can walk if I must – but I don't want to.  So that goes on the list.  I'm scaling back my Yarnscape commitment, but it's working towards the same goal, really.  Other than that, the list looks rather familiar…

  1. **Yarnscape: work at photographing dyed yarn (step 1)
  2. Overdye summer tweed yarn and cast on Basil (Ravelry link).
  3. **Experiment with knitting socks on my knitting machine.
  4. Finish plying the blue silk and pick out a new spinning project
  5. Keep up with the gardening!
  6. *Plan and maybe warp my  handspun silk scarf project.
  7. Train for my Race For Life event.

30) March/April roundup and May goals

May!  Wow.  That means we're 1/3 of the way through the year; I can't believe how fast it is flying by!  This list has been in progress for two months now, so we should expect to see great progress, yes?  Well…

  1. Launch an online shop for Yarnscape.
    No, but I've found a software package and at least started putting it together.

  2. Finish J's quilt. 
    Not even slightly.  He's still bugging me about it, though less as the weather warms up.
  3. **Make significant progress on the maze

    Yes!!  In fact, it's off the loom and wet finished.  Expect a post on this…

  4. Experiment with knitting socks on my knitting machine.
    Nope, though I did buy yarn…
  5. Start a new spinning project
    Yes!  One of the silk bricks I've been collecting. Boy, they go a long way…

  6. Get the veg beds organised and fed/mulched as needed.

  7. Continue cultivating my exercise habit.
    Yes!  In fact, I think I've been overdoing it rather.

Wow, five out of seven!  I think, if I'd checked in a month ago, it would have been 3.5 out of seven, which isn't bad going.  So, what's up for May?

  1. *Launch an online shop for Yarnscape.
  2. *Finish J's quilt.
  3. Cast on another knitting (or crochet?) project – a garment.
  4. *Experiment with knitting socks on my knitting machine.
  5. Finish at least half of the blue silk
  6. Keep up with the planting/weeding schedule; this is a busy time of year in the garden!
  7. Plan and maybe warp my  handspun silk scarf project.

29) Taking the pressure off

Wow, it's been a while.  I think my laptop has all but forgotten my login details!

In the meantime, I've been doing… not a lot.  In knitting, I've finally finished Moor, including bands and stitching down the facing.  I'm reasonably sure that's my longest running project in the last five years, which is pretty crazy for a sleeveless top.  I've also been inching my way through another Ann Hanson pattern – the Nightingale Wing stole – at the rate of about one row per day.  And that's it.

Spinning?  Some blue silk on my wheel.  But I'm yet to finish the first bobbin.

Weaving?  There has been some, but not that much, really.

Dyeing??  After my wonderful success at Textiles in Focus, don't even ask!

And other than that, my cooking mojo has all but deserted me – sourdough is now a regular habit, but I can't remember a year since leaving home when I've cooked less.  There has been some brewing activity (two batches of beer and one of wine have been started), and I've been gardening a fair bit, but in all honesty, I'm not sure where my time's been going.

One thing I do know, is that I've felt under a lot of pressure.  This post could have been titled, "What to do when the whole world looks like your to-do list," except I don't have a good answer.  Mostly, I seem to have been chasing my own tail and falling into myself in an introverted spiral.

Now, though, I think I might be waking up.  I've revisited my aims for the year:

  • Appreciate what I have;
  • Release what I don't need;
  • Keep up with the obligations I have taken on;
  • Be more aware of what I am achieving.

And I've been thinking about what they mean.  To mix it up a bit, I'm releasing some obligations I really don't need, and I'm trying to work on understanding that I don't have to overshoot every target; that it is worth doing a little bit of everything, to let go of the perfectionism I tend (just occasionally!) to lapse into.  Concentrating on relaxing

Now, I feel a bit like a flower emerging from a bud – unfurling, unwrapping, sighing in relief at the release of pressure.  Petals being teased out and ruffled by the wind, and a sense of ease being allowed to creep in to my life.

I'm starting to give myself permission to sit on the sofa and knit for a whole evening again.  I'm not sure when, but that's stopped being a nightly scenario and now feels unspeakably lazy and self-indulgent.  I think the fact that I'm blogging is itself a good sign – its too easy, when you've taken a break, to feel you have to catch up with the backlog of things you 'should' have been writing about.  Maybe I will catch up on some of those – but I won't make myself.

Besides, it's kinda hard to stress when Woody is sharing your sofa:


23) February round-up, March goals

February isn't quite over yet, but I thought I'd start the roundup anyway.  I'm just in that sort of mood!  It's been a changeable kind of day, with spells of blue sky, sunshine and mild, spring-like air, but now the sun is fading and it's tipping down with rain.  A grey and reflective kind of moment.

So, how did I do against my February goals?

1) Keep up the momentum for Yarnscape/Textiles In Focus.
Yes!  TIF was last weekend, and I had a *wonderful* time.  Re-entry back into the day job has been hard.  Very hard.

2) *Finish my Moor sweater!
So close.  **So** close.  So close, in fact, that it might yet happen before the end of the month, and it's not really worth including as a March goal.  I have steeked it, and knit the first armhole band, so there's just one more armhole, the neck band, stitching down the facings and a good blocking to go.  Hmm.  Maybe not the end of the month, then.

3) *Make significant progress on the maze scarf
No.  Not one pick, not at all.  Depressingly, that's exactly what I wrote last month.

4) *Ply up the Sweet Georgia Shetland
Yes!  I have 650 metres of two-ply laceweight yarn, wpi yet to be determined.  It's probably some of the finest and most consistent spinning I've done to dat, and I'm pleased.


5) Sample fleece for a 'sleeves in your pi' cardigan (Rav link).

In progress.  I'm playing with sampling some Manx Loaghtan fleece I was gifted last year, in the grease:


  I've managed to get a rather lumpy three ply of the right weight, but I'm not sure if it's the sort of yarn I really want to be spinning, or if I enjoy the process, so still ongoing.

6) *Plan my veg garden for the year;
Yes!  As ever, I'm probably over-optimistic, but seeds have been surveyed and top-ups ordered.  We're very close to planting time again now, albeit only the indoors bit.

7) Start cultivating my Pilates habit again
Not 100% success with this; I think I've managed six practises in the month, or 1.5 per week.  There's time to fit in a couple more, which would boost the weekly average to 2, but that seems like cheating somehow.  More to do here.

Okay!  So, I have three solid 'yes' votes, out of seven, and a couple of 'partials'.  Again, this list has kept me moving forwards on a range of projects, rather than letting everything else stagnate in favour of only one tight focus.  Also again, I've vastly over-estimated what I can actually achieve in a month.  So, what's
coming up for March??

  1. Launch an online shop for Yarnscape.
  2. Finish J's quilt.  I made the top for him almost two years ago, and he's been bugging me and bugging me about it this winter.
  3. **Make significant progress on the maze scarf;
  4. Experiment with knitting socks on my knitting machine.
  5. EITHER: make significant progress on the spinning for the 'sleeves in your pi' cardigan (Rav link),
    OR: decide I don't want to do this project, and pick/start another.
  6. Get the veg beds organised and fed/mulched as needed.
  7. Continue cultivating my exercise habit.  This time round, this includes running, walking and yoga as well as Pilates.  I'd like to be exercising 4-5 days per week, including longer dog walks.

There's also some brewing that needs attention, etc. etc.  It's no wonder I don't ever seem to make progress against the eternal list of projects; it takes me so long to do anything!!

9) January Roundup, February goals

Wow, it's February already!  And in my part of the world, it's dawned cold and bright, with a hard enough frost to cover the roads and make them truly treacherous.

So, how did I do against my January goals?

1) Spend at least 15 minutes per day working towards my Yarnscape obligations
Yes!  In fact, on average, I'm pretty sure I've spent well over an hour a day.  Yarn is getting dyed at a very satisfying rate…

2) Finish my Moor sweater;
No.  Though I have started reinforcing the steeks.

3) Start fixing Dad's Christmas sweater
from 2007
No, but I have a get-out clause for this one; it's off being photographed by The Knitter!

4) Make significant progress on the maze scarf
No.  Not one pick, not at all.  If I still plan to finish this one in February, I need to get weaving!

5) Finish spinning the shetland roving from the SweetGeorgia club
Well, technically I have spun it all, but now it needs plying.  Going by the literal meaning of the goal, I win, but it's not what I meant, so… no.

6) Plan my veg garden for the year;

7) Start making sourdough on a regular basis!
Yes!  Just.  I have some plans for making at least one loaf per week, with the minimum of fuss and wastage.  Let's see if I can keep this one going.

Hmm.  So, I score 2/7, but you know what the interesting thing is?  I really feel like this is a 'win' for me.  Thanks to this list, I've spent time doing some things that wouldn't have been touched.  Progress has been made towards goals that would otherwise have languished, and I'm starting to build some new and (I hope) productive habits.  It's also pretty clear that I can't achieve anything like the amount I think I can (or, alternatively, that yarn dyeing eats significantly more time than I anticipated).  So, what's coming up for February?

  1. Keep up the momentum for Yarnscape/Textiles In Focus.  This needs to include not only dyeing but also preparing the stall/labelling the yarns and so on.
  2. *Finish my Moor sweater!
  3. *Make significant progress on the maze scarf;
  4. *Ply up the Sweet Georgia shetland;
  5. Sample fleece for a 'sleeves in your pi' cardigan (Rav link).  There is a spin-and-knit along for this cardi on Ravelry, and although I'm not officially joining in, I think the lovely chocolate coloured Manx fleece I was given last year will be a delicious match for this pattern.  I'd like to try spinning it 'in the grease', so if I can do enough experimenting to come up with a washed swatch by the end of the month, I'll be really happy.
  6. *Plan my veg garden for the year;
  7. Start cultivating my Pilates habit again.  I used to do at least 10 minutes a day, which doesn't sound like a lot, but is lots more than nothing.  The amount of time I spend sitting down is taking its toll on my back, and I need to get it strengthened and moving again.

Anything carried over from last month gets prefixed with a *.  If I have to carry things over for multiple months, I'll stack up the *'s!  The 'biggie' this month is still TIF, but it's nice to remember I have other things on my plate, too.

2) Year-goals vs. month-goals

I wanted the 'Y' of my alphabet challenge to be Yarnscape.  I am itching to get a website put together and a proper launch made, but really (in keeping with my resolution of keeping up with existing obligations), I need to realise that this isn't going to happen this week, or probably next week, and just blog already.

I mentioned earlier that I don't want to set many year-long goals for 2010.  Long term plans tend to set me up for failure, especially if they are the detailed, hard-and-fast kind.  Unexpected inspiration pops up all the time, leading to wandering little byway-projects and occasionally whole new hobbies; my focus drifts from one area to another, but usually in circles.  Following my inspiration is an important part of the way I work and learn, and I don't want to stifle that.

I do, however, need to rein in my expectations occasionally.  So I'm going to set a few goals, at or near the beginning of every month, a la Dawn.  She sets, I think, seven goals per month, and has to be one of the most productive knitters I know!

Anyway, January is slipping past us already, and I haven't set any goals for this month yet.  So, this month I hope to:

  1. Spend at least 15 minutes per day working towards my Yarnscape obligations;
  2. Finish my Moor sweater;
  3. Start fixing Dad's Christmas sweater from 2007.  The body needs to be longer and narrower, and the sleeves need to be made longer, too.  Basically, the shape is too boxy for the heavy, stiff fabric;
  4. Make significant progress on the maze scarf (I'd like to finish this one in February);
  5. Finish spinning the shetland roving from the SweetGeorgia club (looks like I haven't blogged this at all yet.  ooops!);
  6. Plan my veg garden for the year;
  7. Start making sourdough on a regular basis!

Let's see how we manage, eh?

102) Time, tracking and TODO!

I'm a huge fan of lists.  I write them, sort them, organise them (usually using a spreadsheet – I love them, too!), colour-code them, and then, often, ignore them.  I love knowing where I am at a given point in time, but, like so many things, I'm very bad at maintaining the lists I create, so I end up making new lists rather than updating the old.  There must be a balance to strike between a list that is easy to maintain, and one that gives me the information I need, but I haven't found that magic formula yet!

The latest attempt at list-simplicity has been triggered by my recent destash efforts.  I have tried, quite hard, to eliminate anything from my stash that is there because it 'might come in useful', or 'is pretty'.  Things get to stay in my stash if I love them, know what I want to do with them, and look forwards to doing it – no more guilt-stash!

So my latest tracking spreadsheet is project-driven.  Rather than creating a massive inventory of what yarn, fabric, fibre etc. I have, and where, I have created lists of projects I want to carry out, and what I want to use for them.  I've split the list down into dressmaking, quilting, spinning, weaving and knitting lists.  Here's a peek at my dressmaking list:


Things in there are more of an aide memoire for myself, rather than anything that would be of use to anyone else.  I've also made an effort to indicate how committed to each project I am, whether it's for everyday use or SCA, and whether it's a garment that would get most use in the summer or in the winter.  Unsurprisingly, it seems I plan mostly to knit cold weather garments – but buy fabric mostly for warm weather ones! 

I though it would be interesting to estimate just how long it would take to work through my new (reduced! lean! efficient!!) stash.  I normally reckon it takes me a month to finish a sweater-sized
knitting project or a complex shawl, but recently things have been going slower than

that, because I've been working on other things, too. Other projects are normally quicker, particularly dressmaking and spinning ones.  As are small knitting projects.  So let's say I can finish two projects per month.  So, totalling up the waiting projects, we have:

Dressmaking projects:       31
Quilting projects:                7
Mending/alterations:           5
Spinning projects:             19
Knitting projects:              62 (ouch!!)
Weaving projects:             12

Grand total: 136 projects.

One hundred and thirty six.  Good grief.  Even if I finish two projects per month, that's five and a half years' worth of projects stacked up there.  And that's without allowing for the fact that spinning projects turn into weaving projects or knitting projects when they're done.  And, in fact, that weaving projects may themselves turn into sewing projects.  Or that I will not be able to resist buying more materials as time goes by.

I'm going to try and keep up with this list, and work out how many projects I do actually finish per month.  Let's see if I can, at least, stick to the rule that I should finish more projects per month than I accumulate.

70) Planning the weekend

11am on a Friday morning, and thoughts turn to the weekend ahead…

I have been in nearly-permanent catchup mode since starting my new job (which is going GREAT, btw), and now I'm in serious danger of planning far too much to fit into a mere two days.

Saturday is spinning day; the whole day (well, from 10 till 4, anyway) spent spinning in great company, in Rampton village.  I received the most **glorious** fibre in the post last Saturday, and despite my resolution to get my lace flyer attached to the Ashford for my next bout of spinning, I think I need to tackle this stuff first.  I treated myself to three months' membership of the SweetGeorgia fibre club, and this is the first installment:


It's 50% merino/25% silk/25% bamboo, in fantastically autumnal colours, and I couldn't be more delighted with it.  I think I'm going to spin it fractally, and aim for a bouncy, squishy 2-ply to make fingerless gloves or mitts with.  For me.

I need to attend to the brewing, too; I currently have ale for Christmas 2010 (yes, really!) in two demijohns which needs racking off and/or bottling; wine for my Dad's Christmas present in a primary fermenter, which needs racking off; dandelion wine which probably needs bottling but is currently sitting in a plastic bottle (eww!) in the garage; a kit which was started two weeks ago sitting in a primary fermenter, and which needs checking on if nothing else; and last Monday I picked and washed three pounds of elderberries (from the volunteer tree in our garden!) and mashed them and a pound of sultanas and two pounds of sugar in boiling water.  The yeast for that little lot arrived yesterday, and needs adding.

Then, there's one Pilsner-style kit and the ingredients for my first non-kit beer brew sitting in the kitchen.  Along with a new primary fermenter and my very shiny new mash/boiler tun which arrived yesterday.  Oh – and the crabapples are ripe.  I would love to make wine, and jelly if there's enough fruit, from those, but experience suggests that they bruise easily, and go soft even faster than pears, not to mention being a perfect breeding ground for fruit flies if you give them even the slightest excuse.

I have handspun wool singles sitting in Kilner jars, slowly turning yellow under the influence of elder leaves, and a loom which needs renovating so I can weave the yellow yarn on it.  I have a whole business plan, drawn up in June, which has been roundly ignored ever since I interviewed for this job.

So.  This evening, I plan to check the veg garden for stuff that needs picking, start the elderberry wine, make a cake for tomorrow, possibly blend some fibre, pack for tomorrow's spinning day, cook and eat dinner, and (if I have my sensible head on), catch up with the ironing.

Katarina is still unfinished, and likely to remain so for the weekend; two evenings of concerted knitting effort have resulted in a garter-stitch band that is roughly two inches deep.  I need it to be over twice that, and then I need to finish seaming the sleeves, and, ideally, re-block before she's really finished.  Even if I stay up all night, I'm unlikely to have a wearable garment by tomorrow, and much as I would love to wear it to Rampton tomorrow, it's really not that important.

32) Frrrriday!

That weekend feeling is definitely sinking in, folks!

It's gonna be (another) busy one; we are visiting family tomorrow, and J wants to go bike-shopping on Sunday.  Dunno whether we'll make it to archery on Sunday afternoon, but heck, we haven't managed that since early February, so why break a losing streak!?

And I have a nasty, hot, prickle in the back of my throat, too.

All this, though, doesn't stop me from filling up the hours lying ahead of me with plan after sparkling plan.  The sheer *potential* of a weekend is breathtaking right now.  Things I'd really love to do include:

  • Sow the seeds due this week
  • Dig more veg. beds
  • Make significant progress on the current knitting project (shouldn't be hard – above mentioned family visis equates to lots of quality car passenger time)
  • Write up my plans for A&S50 (no, haven't mentioned that here yet)
  • Wind up some dyed yarn
  • Bottle the lager
  • Stabilise the wine
  • Maybe start another brew?
  • Look through my fabric stash; as well as the gardening bug (and whatever bug is gnawing at my tonsils right now), I can feel the sewing bug starting to sew again.

Well.  If I achieve even a fraction of that lot, it probably means we've reached Wednesday and I've not even noticed.  And that's only the bubbling foam off the top of the inspiration-well.

26) Weaving courses – what would you do? Also, Q for Blogspot people

OK, I have been planning to go on a week-long weaving course in July, but I'm now thinking that it might be a bit too basic even for me.  Here's a synopsis:

"Learn to weave on a four-shaft loom. In this course you will have
the opportunity to sample a variety of different weave structures,
experimenting with colour combinations, yarn qualities, surface
textures and effects. End results can range from braids and fringes
for soft furnishing, to cushion covers and scarves. Looms will be
threaded up ready for beginners. Weavers with previous experience
are also welcome, and are encouraged to discuss their ideas with the tutor before the course."

OK.  I've warped my own looms (4 shaft and rigid heddle) before.  I weave, occasionally.  I've figured out how to do 2/1 twill on a RH loom with two heddles, and 2/2 twill on my little sampling loom.  I'm generally pretty smart, with a good grasp of theoretical things, and a tendency to work stuff out on my own.  What I haven't already done is weave on a floor loom, but the synopsis doesn't state floor or table looms.

Then, there's this course:

"Tapestry weaving is an ancient process so simple in principle that
it may be taken in many directions, from the creation of complex
imagery to bold colour-field pieces. Play with texture and colour
and learn a range of techniques. Bring along ideas for a project
of your own or play with the geometry of the warp. It is suitable
for students of all abilities from beginners to those with some experience."

I've never done any tapestry weaving, but do I really need someone to teach me?  Either course would set me back £200, plus five day's holiday.  On the other hand, I'd get to meet a local teacher, local weavers and have the use of the other facilities (swimming pool!!) after class is over for the day.

£200 seems a bit steep just to play with a floor loom, or learn a bit of tapestry.  Maybe I'd be better off saving for a more complex course?  Or even putting towards a loom of my own?

Maybe I should take the holiday, and set myself a learn-weaving syllabus for the week?  What would you do?  (Feel free to substitute another hobby if you can't get behind the idea of learning to weave…)

But how do I comment? – Blogger people, please let me know!
Right.  Blogger bloggers, blogspot bloggers.  What is the best way for someone like me, who has a blogger profile but doesn't blog there any more, and who has a separate blog, to post a comment?  I remember that blogger is a PITA when it comes to passing on email addresses; it generally doesn't let you reply to your commenters.  It's one of the reasons I switched to Typepad.  But what works best for you?  Should I comment via my blogger profile (which, incidentally, send replies to my comments to the wrong email account)?  Should I use my name and my blog URL, which definitely leaves you with no way to contact me?  Is there a good way to work this thang?  Again, answers in my comments please – whence I shall, really, be able to reply to you.

© Copyright yarninmypocket - Designed by Pexeto