2016 Knitting Project round-up

Here are my knitting/crochet/spinning aims from the beginning of 2016:

  • Continue with the aim of one finished object per month
    Considering I had almost three months off knitting, I’m fairly pleased with managing to complete 11 projects.  3 of the completed items were started in 2015, the others are all from 2016.
  • Knit a usable item from my handspun
    Still not quite managed this, but I’m including my mittens from unspun mawata in this category.
  • Watch more of the Craftsy classes I have bought (so tempting when they are on sale to buy them all)
    I have watched a few more of them, but still could do better. At least I haven’t bought many this year!
  • Learn a new skill (perhaps Brioche stitch)
    Still not learned Brioche.
    I did spend a week learning inkle weaving, so I’m ticking this category
    I also learnt to knit backwards
  • Spin more
    Had a go at spindle-spinning silk tops
    I’m pretty bad at keeping records of spinning. I have done some more spinning.

Here’s the gallery of finished items: 6 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of mittens, a shawl, a blanket and a toy.

Note that Ravelry links will only work if you are a Rav member (sign up: it’s free)

  1. Mittens from Knitworthy 2, project finished on New Year’s Day
  2. Sweet Coriolis socks. Using yarn from a Knitting Goddess club from years ago – one sock is mostly yellow with some grey, the other is mostly grey with some yellow. I don’t have a picture of the finished pair, but they fit very well.
  3. A non-matching pair of socks, using two patterns that I only wanted to knit once.
  4. Tour de Sock 2016 round 1
  5. Tour de Sock 2016 round 2
  6. Tour de Sock 2016 round 3: backwards knitting!
  7. My Ravellenic Games project: A Follow Your Arrow 2 shawl. Really chuffed to get this done within the time limit
  8. Crochet blanket for my beautiful niece
  9. Tour de Sock 2016 round 6: finished some time after the deadline
  10. Squad Mitts – a surprise present for a good friend
  11. Denise: a toy for de niece, from Edwards Crochet Imaginarium

Aims for 2017:

  • Complete 12 or more knitting/crochet projects
  • Complete 2 or more spinning projects
  • Keep accurate spinning records
  • Knit something from handspun
  • Brioche stitch
  • Watch more Craftsy classes

2016 Reading Challenge final round-up and 2017 challenge launch

Towards the end of the year,  I stopped checking the challenge list for things to read, so I wasn’t sure how many of these I would have managed. I’ve relaxed my rule on not including re-reads and I’m allowing books to appear in more than one category.

  • a book published this year.
    The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
    Poison or Protect, by Gail Carriger
    Angel of Storms, by Trudi Canavan (paperback published this year)
    Imprudence, by Gail Carriger
    Virgins: An Outlander short story, by Diana Gabaldon
  • a book you can finish in a day.
    According to Yes by Dawn French
  • a book you’ve been meaning to read.
    The Hunger Games Trilogy
    To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • a book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller.
    The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett. Recommended by  White Rose Books in Thirsk.
  • a book you should have read in school.
    To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
  • a book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF.
    Recommended by my son:
    Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
    Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters
    Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse
    Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth
    Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian
  • a book published before you were born.
    I’ve had to go to the re-reads for this category.
    The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • a book that was banned at some point.
    Third entry for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • a book you previously abandoned.
    I don’t think I ever managed this category. I did try Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell again, but stalled at about the same place as before.
  • a book you own but have never read.
    having wandered round the house looking at bookshelves, I’m not sure I finished any books in this category. I’ve picked up various work books that I have for reference and read the odd chapter.
  • a book that intimidates you.
    I really don’t think any book intimidates me, but these are the closest I can come to this category
    Girl Up, by Laura Bates. More stridently feminist than I am comfortable with, but I found this a really interesting read. Given that I’m going to be the mother of teenagers before too long, this is a good thing to read and understand the world they are growing up in.
    Jerusalem: The Biography, by Simon Sebag Montefiore. I don’t always manage to get to the end of historical books, but I enjoyed this one.
  • a book you’ve already read at least once.
    See here for quite a long list. Towards the end of the year, I’ve also re-read
    The Island, by Victoria Hislop
    The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas

New books read that don’t quite fit any of these categories.
The Pact, by Jodi Picoult
The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
Happier at Home, by Gretchen Rubin
Better than before, by Gretchen Rubin
I really enjoyed these three books. Gretchen has spent a lot of time figuring out what makes her happier and trying different methods of improving her life and her habits. While we are quite different personality types, there was plenty of food for thought there.
Fast Exercise, by Michael Mosley
Vulcan 607, by Rowland White
Prudence,  by Gail Carriger
The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
The Road to Little Dribbling, by Bill Bryson

Over-all, the reading challenge did make me read some books I would never have picked up. The recommendation from your local bookshop category was particularly good. I’ve got into the habit of popping in there and picking up something every two to three months or so.

Here are the 2017 reading challenges from the same person (Modern Mrs Darcy).

I’m not particularly taken with either of them, so here is my own list, taking inspiration from both of them (and last year too).

I’ll include re-reads unless the category particularly excludes them and also allow books to appear in multiple categories.

First, looking at how I spend money on books:

  • A book borrowed from the library
  • A book on Kindle Unlimited
  • A book that has been waiting on your bedside table for a long time
  • A book you own but have never read
  • A book from a second-hand bookshop
  • A book bought in 2017 from an independent bookshop

Second, considering reading that will stretch my mind

  • A book published before 1900
  • A book from a Booker prize shortlist (any year)
  • A book recommended by a friend or family member
  • A historical book (can include biography/autobiography)
  • An academic theological book
  • A book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks author

Third, including reading that will relax and restore me

  • A Discworld book (re-read)
  • A new book by a favourite author
  • A book I have wanted to read for a while
  • A book that inspires personal growth
  • A spiritual classic
  • Whatever I want to read

Tidy up

Happy New Year. I’m beginning the year with a major focus on tidying up and organising. The blog (although often neglected as usual) is no exception.  New theme (Twenty Seventeen), new header.

Coming soon:

  • An update on the 2016 reading challenge  (done)
  • The state of the stash
  • Completed knitting/crochet projects 2016 (done)

Darn it 2

It only took me nearly 4 months to get round to putting the instructions I linked to in my last post into action.

darn2 darn1

It’s a bit fiddly, and I’m not sure how comfortable it will be in a shoe, but I think it works.

As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted

The last three months in brief

  • My thumb is better
  • I got out of the habit of knitting and have had to re-introduce it into my routine
  • Work went crazy for a while, but it is a little calmer at the moment.
  • I’ve been doing huge amounts of reading, but mostly as a kind of warm blanket, so very light reading
  • In June I knitted three pairs of socks for Tour de Sock
  • Since last autumn I’ve been trying to complete 10,000 steps per day using a fitbit. It appears I can either achieve this or knit, not both.

The reading challenge

Bearing in mind my self-imposed extra rule that there should be no re-reads except in the re-read category.

  • a book published this year. The new Ben Aaronovitch is on pre-order, but delayed until October. In the mean time I have have read Poison or Protect, by Gail Carriger. Only a novella, but I very much enjoyed it.
  • a book you can finish in a day. According to Yes by Dawn French
  • a book you’ve been meaning to read. I have shelves full of stuff I’ve been meaning to read, but the lure of the new seems to win.
  • a book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller. The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett. Recommended by  White Rose Books in Thirsk.
  • a book you should have read in school. To Kill a Mockingbird. Amazing book. I see what all the fuss is about now.
  • a book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF. My son has been enjoying the Percy Jackson books, and he has encouraged me to read them too. I’ve read Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse
  • a book published before you were born. Haven’t got round to thinking about this yet. I’ve had Lorna Doone suggested, but I haven’t made any headway.
  • a book that was banned at some point. Not looked into this yet
  • a book you previously abandoned. Ideas: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Gormenghast, or Wuthering Heights
  • a book you own but have never read. Not got round to looking through the bookshelves yet
  • a book that intimidates you. Although not easily intimidated by literature, I sometimes struggle with feminist writing. I have bought Girl Up, by Laura Bates and I’m working my way through it. I like the style and, although I don’t agree with everything she says, I am beginning to think it should be required reading for every parent. This next generation are going to have a tough time.
  • a book you’ve already read at least once. I’m doing very well with this category. See below

Progress at the beginning of July: six complete, one under way, five to begin

Also-read, in no particular order

I did a complete re-read of all my Gail Carriger books and picked up more of them. I absolutely adore her fantasy world. Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless, Timeless, Prudence, Etiquette and Espionage, Curtsies and Conspiracies, Waistcoats and Weaponry, Manners and Mutiny, The Curious Case of the Werewolf that wasn’t etc.

Another mammoth re-read: most of Diana Gabaldon’s output

Vulcan 607, an account of the longest range bombing mission ever, to the Falkland Islands. I heard a talk by the pilot of the mission and read the book over the next couple of days. An incredible story.

Three books by Gretchen Rubin that don’t really fit into any of the categories above: Happier at Home, The Happiness Project and Better than Before. The first two are all about what makes people happy and how to improve our happiness. The third book is about how people form habits. I really enjoyed these.

Finding a voice: A Lent course on The King’s Speech. This one was for work. Really interesting and provoked a lot of fascinating discussion.

I re-read The Nine Tailors and Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L Sayers.

The Hunger Games trilogy – heartbreaking dystopia – Also did another re-read of the Twilight series.

I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. It would have been better if it wasn’t plastered in reviews raving about the ‘unreliable narrator’. I would have preferred to work that out for myself.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Yeuch. I couldn’t even remember whether it was a re-read or just so similar to his other books. From the library.

Tiny Stations by Dixe Wills. Quintessentially British travelogue. Rather like Bill Bryson, but without the sense of the outsider looking in. Loved it.

Update on reading

Remember the reading challenge I mentioned last month?
After a trip to the library this afternoon, I have completed one of the challenges.
A book you can read in a day – According to Yes by Dawn French, a very funny novel, with some of the best swearing I have read. It has something to say about families and how easy it is to become disfunctional.
I’m also continuing to rack up the re-reads, in the absence of knitting. I’m on the fourth installment of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander Series, having begun from the beginning.

My thumb has got worse again this week, so I’ll be back off to the doctor again soon. However, I’ve been doing a very small amount of practice at continental knitting, which doesn’t involve moving that thumb very much at all. I bought a very useful craftsy class that shows exactly how to hold the yarn and move the fingers.

I keep adding to the list of things I shouldn’t do because it aggravates the tendons. Today I added “clean stove”: a great excuse to avoid housework.

Cold Turkey

It feels like absolutely AGES since I last picked up the needles. I’ve been very good and tried to minimise any use of my right thumb – no sewing, knitting, spinning or crochet and minimal typing and writing. Every day I can feel that the healing is progressing more. Today I’ve hardly thought about resting it because I’ve had very few reminders of the tendonitis.

The day before I went to the doctor, I tried to open a screw-lid on a can of petrol to decant into the car. It was very tight and it aggravated the thumb to the worst pain it had been. I had to call DH to come and help me in the end.

After a couple of days of rest, I couldn’t feel any ill effects of typing so I could at least do my work. The handwriting took longer to be painless, so my great resolution of daily writing took a bit of a knock, but that is now back to normal. Yesterday I did a colouring page in my Mason-Dixon Knitter’s Colouring Book and only felt a little twinge.

This evening I am going to try knitting again, just for a little while, with plenty of breaks and hand-stretches.

The deprivation has been really annoying. I’ve spent evenings feeling twitchy and as if I’m wasting time in front of the tv with nothing to do. As I was telling one of my knitting friends about this at the school gate, I estimated that I’ve been off knitting for 3 weeks. Nope – 10 days, (I just checked my diary) but it has felt a lot longer. I think it has felt a lot longer to the people around me too! Poor children: why is Mummy so grumpy?

For the next week, I’m going to try avoiding pulling, twisting and lifting things with my right hand, as that seems to be what aggravates the tendon. Fine movements, such as flicking yarn round a needle, should be OK.

Edit to add: Alas, knitting is not possible yet. I set myself the challenge of completing 2 rounds of a sock. Round 1 was fine. Round 2 not so much.