Make nine challenge 2020

I’m very late to the Make Nine Challenge (it seems to have started in 2015), but that’s nothing new.

Unlike a lot of posts I’ve seen on Instagram, I’m not aiming for nine specific things I want to make. It’s mainly skills I want to learn, with a couple of specific items thrown in there.

  1. Learn brioche knitting
  2. Knit a pair of socks
  3. Make a jumper/cardigan using the super chunky yarn I bought at a craft fair last year
  4. Learn double knitting
  5. Make something using colourwork
  6. Knit something using this book I got for Christmas: Book
  7. Make a Belladonna dress
  8. Make a Strange Signs blanket Strange
  9. Knit some selbu mittens

I’d say that’s enough to be getting on with for one year, especially considering what a slow knitter I am. Being realistic, let’s say I want to start these 9 things this year and any finishes will be a bonus.

Hannah

xXx

November goal – week 4

I’m currently dealing with a mild case of start-itis. As well as the cupcake hat I cast on last week:

20191128_191550-1.jpg

There’s also a crochet hat in the making, using some new Starlight yarn with reflective thread. I ‘need’ it for going running in the dark, you see, so I had to start it.

20191128_191734-1.jpg

With flash so you can see the shiny bits

20191128_191723-1.jpg

If I’m honest, these are both procraftination because I’m reluctant to start the sleeves on the baby Flax Light. So tiny. So fiddly. So…possibly needing a brand new-to-me technique that scares me a little bit.

I really should just jump in and get on with it. But at least I’ve done some sort of crafting every day of November so far – I’m pretty proud of that! With only 2 more days to go I’m confident that I’ll meet this month’s goal no problem.

Hannah

xXx

November goal – week 2

I officially love baby knits. It took weeks and weeks (if not months) to plough through the body section of my own Flax Light, but one session in a hospital waiting room and I’m already on to the ribbing for this one.

20191114_134434.jpg

Look how tiny and cute it is!!

Not quite sure what I’m going to do with the sleeves, as even my short circulars might be a bit too long for this. Maybe third time will be the charm for DPNs? Either way, I’m getting more confident that my wee jumper will be finished in time for baby’s birthday.

I have worked on literally nothing else in the last week, but I’m pleased I’ve picked this up every day so far.

Hannah

xXx

November goal – week 1

I’m doing well with my goal so far. There were three little bits of knitting last Friday (1st), then Saturday I got to flex my little-used face painting skills for a Hallowe’en party at my archery club.

I was pleased with it, but I think I should have made the teeth a little bit wider.

Then every day after that I’ve managed more knitting on the baby Flax Light, and it’s finally up to the body section with 4 weeks til baby’s birthday!

20191107_111352-1.jpg

Most of my crafting will be knitting this jumper I think, but I am hoping to make a start on my Christmas cards at some point soon. I’m not going nuts like some years when I made one for every slight acquaintance; instead I’m going to focus on making special cards for the people really important to me. Maybe even some bloggy friends if I can dig out that email with the addresses on.

How’s your November going?

Hannah

xXx

October Review – where did it go?

What on earth happened to October? Seriously, I must have lost a fortnight somewhere. I’d blame the new job, but I’m enjoying it too much to start laying blame on it already. It’s so nice to discover that existential dread isn’t actually a standard part of Sunday afternoon/evenings…

Anyway, I want to say “on to craft talk”, but there really isn’t much to talk about for this month. I did finish Changing Staircases and it’s kept me warm a few times.

And I made some progress with my baby Flax Light, but then stalled with re-doing the same 10 rounds over and over to fix mistakes.

And that’s it. I’ve no idea what I’ve been doing for the last 31 days, but apparently it wasn’t making things!

Things never slow down in the run up to Christmas, so I’m setting more of a process goal for November rather than a results goal: I will do some form of crafting every day for the next 30 days. Even if it’s just one stitch or sticking a peel-off on one card, I will do something.

Today’s crafting was some knitting on the way to and from work so that’s day one – done!

Hannah

xXx

Dragon no more

Current WIP count: 5

It’s a sad day for the amigurumi dragon. The poor thing hasn’t been worked on for months and months, and he’s been moved from pillar to post so often I’m not even sure where all the parts are.

He had reached UFO status and I’d rather lost interest, so I had a frogging session.

I still love dragons and amigurumi; he’s going to get made at some point, but not until I have a chunk of time to dedicate to him. Experience has finally taught me that I’m not organised enough to work on something with lots of parts over a long period of time without losing them.

Which, incidentally, is why Flax Light is perfect for me! Just one long piece on one set of circular needles that I can chuck in my bag any time. I’m actually really glad I frogged the first attempt now, as I switched to smaller needles and I’m much happier with it.

It’s funny how gauge can change so much from one project to the next.

Having lost a week somewhere in October (how are we only 8 days from Halloween already??) I very much doubt I’ll meet my goals for this month. Looking at them from this side, they seem wildly optimistic. Maybe my next goal should be to set more realistic goals…

Hannah

xXx

August Review

White rabbits!

This should be a pretty quick one, as I only worked on 3 projects last month. That’s about as close to a monogamous crafter as I want to get!

The main one was the Lego blanket. I have a week left and it now looks like this:

In between working on that my Changing Tides blanket got a look in now and then.

With Flax Light falling way behind at just a few row’s progress.

My goal for September is to finally cross some projects off my WIP list.

1. Lego blanket – as the only one with a deadline, this one is priority.

2. Changing Tides – this will be my next focus, simply because I’m now almost a month “late” for finishing it if you go by the end of the CAL.

3. Flax Light – Did you know I started this in February? I know I’m a fairly new knitter, but that’s still far too long so I want it done and wearable this month.

4. Needle felted unicorn – It’s small and cute, and will give my hands a rest from knitting/crochet so I’d like to focus on this one as well.

That would exactly halve my WIP list, which feels much more manageable. If I manage to work on any of the other 4 projects then I’ll just count that as a bonus.

Hannah

xXx

18 for 2018 – end of year review

Welcome to 2019 everyone! I hope the holidays and new year were everything you hoped for.

It’s hard to believe a whole year has gone by since I decided on these goals – time just goes so quickly! But a year it has been so without further ado let’s get on with my final review.

1 New blog followed per week – 7/7 (yearly total 52/52) COMPLETE!

I made it!

 

2 New stitches/techniques learned per month – 1/2 (18/24)

This month I figured out how to do a long dc for my African Flower motifs.

20181205_074916-1.jpg

No met goal here, but I have learned a lot and developed more confidence with my knitting.

 

3 Instagram posts per week – 14/15 (147/156)

I was so sure I could meet this one, but Christmas and new year kind of knocked me off my game a bit. Still, I’m happy that I managed to post fairly regularly.

 

4 Exercise sessions per week – 22/18 (204/208)

Oooh so close!!

 

5 Blog posts written per week – 10/22 (161/260)

Wow, I really fell behind with this one. Even more than I thought.

 

6 Patterns written up – 5/6 (5/6)

I wrote up the pattern for my crochet crotchet, and then added on some bits to create a pattern for a pair of quavers.

Screenshot_2018-12-21-19-25-06-1.png

I’m pretty pleased that I managed to get to 5, considering at the beginning of the year I believed I just wasn’t made for pattern writing!

 

7 Areas in my flat sorted – 7/7 (7/7) COMPLETE!

I sorted my kitchen cupboards and got rid of quite a lot. Vitamins and supplements that I took for about a month and then forgot about, a frying pan that was so worn out it was starting to rust, plus some tea that I’d had for over 10 years.

I don’t know if tea can go off and be bad for you, but I figured if I haven’t used it in 10 years then I’m probably never going to!

 

8 Minutes of writing per day COMPLETE! 

 

9 pm bed time – 10/31 (103/365)

Well at least I met my mini goal of 100! Clearly I need to keep working on taking better care of my sleep.

 

10% of wages saved – 10/10 COMPLETE!

I managed this every month so now I’ve got a nice chunk of savings in the bank.

 

12 Hand-written letters – 13/12 COMPLETE!

A lot of things came up around Christmas time so I didn’t get to send all the cards and letters I was planning to. Still, this goal is definitely smashed!

 

13 New recipes tried – 14/13 COMPLETE!

An experiment with leftovers led to a really tasty casserole this month, just nudging me over the goal line.

 

14 Meet ups with friends – 14/14 COMPLETE! (stretch goal 31/25) DOUBLE COMPLETE!

We all knew Christmas would make this one easier, but I never expected to smash my stretch goal quite so much!  There was singing in various pubs, archery parties, cups of tea with friends, chips for breakfast, baby snuggles, and a cheeky Nandos. I’m ready for a wee break now!

 

15 Birthdays on time – 15/15 COMPLETE!

The present for my friend in Germany went out super early this month and then my two friends with birthdays on new year’s eve pushed me over the finish line. I’m so glad I met this one; I always feel like a terrible human being when I miss people’s birthdays, so although I didn’t quite manage them all I’m still feeling good that I got so many on time.

 

16 Christmas cards made – 18/16 COMPLETE!

Done and done.

 

17 Birthday cards made – 9/17

Just one this month for my friend in Germany, although I forgot to take a photo of it.

 

18 Items decluttered – 18/18 COMPLETE!

My frying pan, tea, and bottles of old vitamins bring the total up to 18. I’m definitely going to keep on decluttering as and when the need comes up, I just love the freed-up space and the feeling of achievement that comes with it.

 

That’s 10 goals met, and a couple very nearly met, which is honestly much better than I expected of myself. It was good to have some goals to work toward and something to focus on, but I’ve got a lot of stressors going on in my life right now so I’ve decided not to do this again for 2019.  For now I shall just be all smug and enjoy my success over the last year!

 

Hannah

xXx

18 for 2018 July review

Gosh I’m a week late already! But I didn’t get back from camp til Saturday (and I needed Sunday to recover) so I’m letting myself off.

1 New blog followed per week – 4/4 (yearly total 29/29)

I branched out a bit this month and followed some papercrafting blogs.

 

2 New stitches/techniques learned per month – 2/2 (12/14)

This month I had a look at Bosnian crochet and the extended single crochet stitch. I swear I’ll get on and post about them soon…

 

3 Instagram posts per week – 10/14 (98/89)

Not too bad, considering I wasn’t feeling it at all.

 

4 Exercise sessions per week – 19/18 (119/118)

I’m still keeping up with my walks. In fact it’s been going so well that I’ve upped my daily step goal from 6,000 to 7,000. Still not back up to 10,000 yet because I’d rather go super slowly and make sure I don’t re-injure my knee, but I know I’ll get there eventually.

 

5 Blog posts written per week – 16/22 (121/147)

I’m actually surprised I managed this many, what with being at camp for a week. It really helps to do a bundle of Tangle of the Week posts at once and schedule them in so I’ll try to keep doing that.

 

6 Patterns written up – 2.5/6 (1.5/6)

I typed up the pattern for the bunny lovey I made this month.

 

7 Areas in my flat sorted – 3.5/7 (3.5/7)

Nope, but I am proud of myself for unpacking and putting everything away the day after I got back from camp. I seem to be turning into a somewhat tidy person!

 

8 Minutes of writing per day

Not at all when I was at camp, but I did okay the rest of the month.

 

9 pm bed time – 7/31 (66/212)

Same as last month.

 

10% of wages saved – 10/10

Done.

 

12 Hand-written letters – 7/12

It’s a set activity at camp to send a postcard home. I’ve been a leader for 12 years now and I still send mine!

 

13 New recipes tried – 9/13

This month I discovered honey mustard chicken thighs, and I cannot stop making them. Once I ran out of lemon juice and tried it with white vinegar instead and it still tasted amazing, so it’s a double win!

I also tried a slow cooker turkey lasagne, which worked out okay. I do love using the slow cooker, but in this case I think the proper oven version is better.

 

14 Meet ups with friends – 14/14 COMPLETE! (stretch goal 16/25)

Seeing as I finished this one so early, I’ve set myself a stretch goal. I’m going for 25 because I like round numbers.

This month I met up with my friend who’s having a baby, we went for ice cream and a walk, and had a good long natter.

We also had a day out to Millport (my favourite place) with my women’s singing group and a male singing group, which was possibly my favourite thing ever. We got to sing all day, have a barbecue on the beach, drink buckets of tea, and laugh til my sides hurt.

 

15 Birthdays on time – 11/15

No birthdays this month.

 

16 Christmas cards made – 3/16

I was so close. I went to a friend’s place and took my Christmas card set with me, but then I got there and realised I’d left all the backing papers at home! All my motivation disappeared after that.

 

17 Birthday cards made – 7/17

None this month.

 

18 Items decluttered – 7/18

I took back some clothes I had bought but later realised I didn’t like. My usual practice is to leave them lying around for months until it’s too late to return them and I have to send them to a charity shop, so I’m counting this because I got them sorted out in time!

 

Not terribly great progress this time, but I don’t mind too much as I knew camp would have an effect on quite a few of them. This month (now the normal Scottish weather has returned) I’m going to focus on getting these Christmas cards made and getting to my bed on time.

Hannah

xXx

18 for 2018 February review

So I meant to post this before I headed back from NZ, but I was just so busy having fun that it didn’t happen! Then came 40+ hours of travelling. Let’s not talk about that. So now I’m back on UK soil let’s have a look at my 18 for 2018 goals

 

1 New blog followed per week – 4/4 (yearly total 9/9)

Done, done, done! Mainly crochet, but I’ve also found some amazing Zentangle blogs.

 

2 New stitches/techniques learned per month – 2/2 (4/4)

Still going with Tunisian crochet! This time I learned the purl stitch and how to Tunisian in the round, finally making use of that double-ended hook!

 

3 Instagram posts per week – 12/12 (26/26)

I’m actually surprised I managed to meet this one, considering I posted very little when I was in NZ.  But meet it I did so onwards and upwards!

 

4 Exercise sessions per week – 16/16 (32/34)

It seemed rather optimistic packing my running gear, but I actually went for a run while I was away! There was also LOTS of walking so I’ve had a pretty active month 🙂

 

5 Blog posts written per week – 20/20 (39/40)

A confession for this one: for the first couple of weeks of February I only wrote two or three posts. The other 14-15 were zentangle posts that I wrote during my looooong stopovers in Sydney/Melbourne airport.  So I met my goal, but it didn’t really help with building a habit.

 

6 Patterns written up – 0.5/6 (0.5/6)

I was hoping to work on this during a stopover, but sadly it didn’t happen.

 

7 Rooms in my flat sorted – 0.5/7 (0.5/7)

Still plugging away at my box room, and I also had a sort out of my books and DVDs.

 

8 Minutes of writing per day

Getting better at tracking this one, but still not perfect.

 

9 pm bed time – 7/28 (31/59)

Yeah, not even a little bit. For 6 days of this month I was so busy crossing time zones I had no idea when 9pm even was. Then for half the month I was staying with a family friend and they do not sleep early. So no.

 

10% of wages saved – 0/10

Well.

After having paid quite a bit of money to get to NZ, the clutch died on my car. Then the following week my MOT was due, and you bet that hunk of junk didn’t pass first time.  And then I was on holiday, where you have to spend money to get places and do things.

So my saving for February is a big nada.

But, this has helped me realise how privileged I am. I know there are many, many people in the world who can’t even afford tickets to New Zealand, and here I was able to buy the tickets, fix and MOT my car, and still have some spending money left over. Even though I’m not ‘rich’ by Western standards, I know I’m one of the very lucky few in this world who hardly ever have to worry about being able to afford the basic necessities.  I need to remember and appreciate that more often.

 

11 Items listed in my shop – 0/11

Nah.

 

12 Hand-written letters – 3/12

I managed to get one written before I left for hols, and I sent a couple from my travels!

 

13 New recipes tried – 3/13

Things have been tight money-wise this month, so I haven’t been able to go and buy specific ingredients for new recipes. Hopefully next month will be a lot less expensive and I’ll be able to shop for what I want instead of whatever the supermarket has reduced.

 

14 Meet ups with friends – 3/14

I’ve been out for drinks with a friend, and oh yeah I flew to New Zealand for a wedding!

 

15 Birthdays on time – 4/15

My brother’s card arrived bang on his birthday, I’m so proud!

This is usually the point in the year when I give up on being on time for people’s birthdays because I’ve already missed so many (a lot of my loved ones were Winter babies!), but this year I’m feeling good and I’m determined to keep up with this.

 

16 Christmas cards made – 0/16

Still none so far.

 

17 Birthday cards made – 2/17

The only birthday this month was my brother’s, which I bought a card for, so nothing new to add on this one.

 

18 Items decluttered – 1/18

It hurt me to do it, but I’ve thrown away my old pair of converse trainers. There were holes in the soles, frayed ends on the laces, and my right little toe poked out of the side where the canvas had worn away.  I should have binned them a long time ago, but I do so love my converse.

Next up will be taking out the books and DVDs I no longer want.

 

Lesson learned this month: international travel can interrupt the best-planned goals, but that’s totally okay.  Also, always have a stash of money ready for when the car goes wrong. Again.

I need to pull my finger out and get on track with more of these in March. Wish me luck!

Hannah

xXx

18 for 2018 January review

White rabbits! Here’s a look at how my 18 for 2018 goals are going so far.

1 New blog followed per week – 5/5

Done for this month, I’ve found some lovely new crochet blogs to follow.

 

2 New stitches/techniques learned per month – 2/2

You all know I’ve been getting right into Tunisian crochet this month. I can’t believe I put it off for so long. I’ve learned the simple stitch and the knit stitch (no I’m not counting my ‘mistake’ until I learn it properly).

 

3 Instagram posts per week – 14/14

When I post today that’ll be me at my goal for January. Woo hoo!

 

4 Exercise sessions per week – 16/18

I missed a couple this week and last, because I seem to have forgotten how to sleep properly. So when my alarm goes off at 6am the snooze button seems far more important than my kettlebells ever could be. Here’s hoping the sleep thing won’t last!

 

5 Blog posts written per week – 19/22

I was so close with this one. And I only slipped because my Dad came to visit for the weekend and we went to the zoo when usually I would be blogging. I’m okay with that 🙂

6 Patterns written up – 0.5/6

Still working on my cowl/neck warmer pattern.

 

7 Rooms in my flat sorted – 0.5/7

I made a great start a couple of weekends ago, but then it sort of fizzled out. I definitely work better just picking at it 10 minutes at a time, instead of one massive decluttering slog.

I’m working on my box room at the moment, and I’ve propped the door open so the mess isn’t hidden from sight (out of sight, out of mind is so true!) and I can just do little bits every time I walk past.

 

8 Minutes of writing per day

I’m really, really bad at tracking this one! I write most days but I’ve no idea how long for. Sometimes it’s half an hour or more and that’s obvious, but if I just scribble down ideas throughout the day then I have no way of telling how long I spent on it.

I think I need to set some time aside, set a timer for the 8 minutes and just focus on nothing but writing. Much easier to track, and it’ll probably make the writing better if I focus on it properly.

 

9 pm bed time – 24/31

This one actually isn’t possible 100% of the time, considering choir every Monday doesn’t finish til 9pm, and my singing group every other Tuesday runs til 9:30pm.

But the days when I’m at home, I have been getting to bed on time more often than not. It’s such an improvement and I’m already noticing the benefits so I’m keeping up with this one!

 

10% of wages saved – 10/10

My flights to New Zealand turned out a lot cheaper than I had budgeted for, so I still managed to put some money aside this month. Thank goodness for Sky Scanner.

 

**UPDATE: Is it Sod’s Law?  I think that’s the one.  The clutch in my car went yesterday, and I’ve just this second had a call from the garage to say that replacing it will cost almost £400.  At least I had my savings for a couple of weeks!

 

11 Items listed in my shop – 0/11

None yet, but I’ve taken photos of a couple of items so I just need to get them uploaded.

 

12 Hand-written letters – 0.5/12

If I wrote a letter every time I thought about writing a letter, I would have smashed this goal already.

I’ve stuck some stationery in my bag so I can add a couple of paragraphs whenever I get a few spare minutes, and I’ve made a start on a rambly letter to a friend.

 

13 New recipes tried – 3/13

The first new recipe this year was coca cola slow cooked gammon, and I have to say I was pretty disappointed with it. It tasted no different to regular slow cooked gammon so I may as well use water, which comes out of the tap for free.

20180105_182525-1.jpg

I made some chicken madras using a BBC recipe, which was okay but nothing to write home about.

Then I made a cauliflower-base pizza. I am not exaggerating (or using ‘literally’ in an incorrect manner) when I say this was literally the best pizza I have ever tasted. I topped it with mushroom, gherkin, chilli cheese, and pesto, and the whole way through the first slice I was making involuntary noises. It was just. so. GOOD!

20180121_140410.jpg

The pizza is definitely being added in to my regular menu.

 

14 Meet ups with friends – 1/14

We threw a surprise party for a friend’s 60th birthday and it was so much fun!

 

15 Birthdays on time – 3/15

I missed a couple right at the start of the month, but I got prezzies sent out on time for my not-godson and his brother so I’m proud of that! I also made a scarf for the friend who turned 60.

 

16 Christmas cards made – 0/16

None yet, but I do have a couple of ideas that I want to make before I forget them so I’ll get some done soon.

 

17 Birthday cards made – 2/17

One for my not-godson, and one for his brother.

Does anyone else get really stressed about putting numbers on birthday cards? I’m always so afraid I’ll use the wrong one!

 

18 Items decluttered – 0/18

I have a few things ready to go, but it doesn’t count until they’re actually out of the flat. I get no points for things sitting in binbags by the door rather than sitting in a bottom drawer :p

 

Overall it’s not been a bad start to the year, really. I know where I need to direct more energy if I’m going to meet my goals, and I’ve set up some systems to make it easier to work on them.

I know quite a few people set goals for this year, how are they going? Are you enjoying it or finding them hard work? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

18 for 2018

Last year I followed a few bloggers who were doing the 17 for 2017 goal-setting challenge.  I loved the idea, but by the time I came across it the year was already well under way and I felt it was too late to join in and try catching up.

I wasn’t entirely sure I would try it this year either, but then (most unlike me) I started thinking about it in the run up to Christmas, and making a plan.

To start off I just wrote a list of everything I want to work on this year – things like making my Etsy shop more successful, getting my fitness back, and tidying up/decluttering my flat.

Then I had a play around putting them into order by priority level, and the amount of time it would take to achieve them. And finally I assigned them all to their number.

I’ll be honest; I’m not 100% convinced I’ll keep all of these goals in these formats, but it’s a starting point and gives me something to work towards. So here are my 18 for 2018 goals:

1 New blog followed per week

I love my blogging family and I’d love to grow it even more.

2 New stitches/techniques learned per month

I tend to stick with my favourite stitches in crochet, and I’d love to advance my knitting.

3 Instagram posts per week

This was supposed to be another avenue for advertising my shop, but I kinda failed last year. I’m hoping to fix that this year.

4 Exercise sessions per week

Oh I want to be fit and strong again!

5 Blog posts written per week

For more regular posting, but also to create a backlog that I can use as scheduled posts during busy weeks.

6 Patterns written up

I think this will be the year I really get into writing patterns. I’ve already made a start on one and I enjoyed the process.

7 Rooms in my flat sorted

There are still some boxes I have never unpacked since I moved into this flat 9 months ago, plus I’m just a messy person. It needs sorting.

8 Minutes of writing per day

This could be blogs, short stories, or the novel I’ve been working on for years. Doesn’t matter, just as long as I get my creative writing muscles flexing.

9 pm bed time

I need a lot of sleep. A lot. But I would also like to start getting up early enough to exercise before work like I used to, so the only answer is to get to bed on time.

10% of wages saved

My friend in New Zealand is getting married this year, and going to that will wipe out pretty much all of my savings. This goal will hopefully build them back up again pretty quickly.

11 Items listed in my shop

I was utterly rubbish with this last year. Time to sort myself out.

12 Hand-written letters sent

My friends and I used to write letters to each other regularly, but at some point we got out of the habit. I’m determined to get back into it again.

13 New recipes tried

I get bored easily.

14 Meet ups with friends

I had a looooooot of problems last year, and one of my coping mechanisms (which turned out to be hindrance rather than help) was to withdraw from pretty much everyone. I’m an introvert so I do need my alone time, but I refuse to let it slide into loneliness again.

15 Birthdays on time

Confession: I still haven’t sent a present to my friend whose birthday was in September. I’m great at buying/making the presents, now I just need to get myself to the post office and send them on time!

16 Christmas cards made

The hope being that I won’t need a frantic making sessions in the second week of December.

17 Birthday cards made

Partly ties in with 15, but I’m also hoping to build up some stock for the shop.

18 Items decluttered

I have too much stuff. Nuff said.

 

I’m a bit of a nerd, so I printed off a chart for tracking them all weekly and it’s going to be pinned to my bedroom mirror so I can keep an eye on it as the year goes on. They’re even colour-coded by weekly/monthly/yearly goals.

Wish me luck!

Hannah

xXx