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.

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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.

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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

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Forget-me-nots

As soon as I said forget-me-nots couldn’t work in the roses for Grandma blanket, my brain started whirring. There might be a way to fit them in, but first I had to work out how they could be made.

A reference photo, as I realise they might not be called forget-me-nots everywhere

I had an idea

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That in reality turned out to be pants

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So then I started experimenting, and these are the results

One
Two
Three

My question for everyone is which do you think looks best? I am slightly leaning towards one of them, but my mind could yet be changed!

So one, two or three? Or do you know of a better way to make them? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

New stitches: knitted cables

 

I have noticed an issue with a lot of cable tutorial videos. They’ll tell you how to read charts or instructions for those 4, 6, 8 etc stitches. They show you how to cable left or right, placing the 2, 3, 4 stitches to the front or back. They can even show you how to do fancy stag head or owl cables, as many stitches as the cables need. And that’s it.

My first attempt looked a right mess because I did the cabling on every single row, when not one of those videos explained knitting straight rows in between.  My ‘cables’ also looked camouflaged, because none of them mentioned that cables stand out better against purl stitches. These seem like vital parts of cabling to me, so I don’t understand why they’re not included in cable tutorials!

Luckily, I found this video here, which explains it fully (if a bit waffle-y) and I saw where I’d been going wrong.  I also used this one to see how I could do it without a cable needle. Which is of course the method I use, as I’m too stingy to pay for a cable needle, and too lazy to dig out a thinner knitting needle when it can work perfectly well without.

At first I tried using some red yarn that was just sitting beside me on the sofa, forgetting that red is a terribly difficult colour to photograph!

So I just had to try again with a better colour

After figuring out the issues, I can’t believe how simple cabling is! I’ve always thought of them as a super advanced skill that I can only dream of one day mastering, and now I’m messing around making up my own (very simple) pattern with them.

So if anyone else is a bit scared of cables my advice is to just give it a go using a good tutorial. There’s nothing to lose, and an awesome new skill to gain!

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.

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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!

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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

WIP Wednesday 03.01.18

And happy 100th post to me!

Current WIP count: 5

Remember the Drops yarn I got in my secret santa parcel

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I just couldn’t resist starting something with it so I plugged the weight and yardage in to Ravelry, and had a look through the free patterns that came up.

You’d think it would take hours, dithering over all the beautiful things to make, but as soon as I saw the Swirl Hat I knew it was the one.

I’m calling it my new year knit, as I cast on first thing on January 1st when I was feeling too queasy to do anything other than knit in bed. What can I say, it was a good Hogmanay party 😉

Despite the fine yarn and tiny needles (3.5mm) it’s growing faster than I expected, and I have this much so far:

Hopefully it won’t take me the whole of 2018 to finish it!

I’ve also been working on my own pattern for a quick little crochet cowl, but it’s not ready for posting or photos yet.

So that’s been my week so far! What’s everyone else been working on? Are you all back to work as well? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

Ho Ho Oh.

I feel like I say this every time, but where did this month go?? It’s whizzed by and I’ve hardly got anything done!

These were my goals for November:

  1. Get my snowflakes listed in my shop.
  2. Write up my waffle hat pattern
  3. Make at least one Christmas present per week.
  4. Make all Christmas cards for my family/friends

Number 1 has got nowhere at all thanks to rubbish winter light, busy, busy weekends, and my new ring light not working. Sadface.

BUT the good news is number 2 is complete! I have finally written up my waffle hat pattern!! I don’t know why I faffed about for so long, it was basically ready in the blog post and I just had to neaten it up a bit.

Does anyone fancy having a test of it for me? Just to make sure I haven’t written in any stupid mistakes or missed out something vital. If you’re interested, drop me an email at quietwatercraft at gmail dot com.

My third goal went a bit by the wayside when I got distracted by my new circular knitting needles. Although one of the hats I made is a gift so at least I wasn’t completely off track!

I’ve started two amigurumis this week, which will end up as Christmas presents, so I’m not too far behind schedule. Yet 😉

The Christmas cards are actually going pretty well, I just haven’t shown any of them on here. I finally have a night off this evening so my plan is to finish up the last few, and that’ll be another goal complete.

It helps that I’ve gone for quite simple designs this year with a lot of blank space; I must be going through a minimalist phase!

Well there we go I’ve managed half of my goals, that’s not as bad as I thought. I’ve decided not to set any goals for December though. It’ll be busy enough with singing events, secret Santas, cards and presents to make, and Christmas meals with everyone.  I just hope I can get my Christmas goodies into my shop before the actual day arrives!

How was your November? Did you have goals and did you meet them? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

Here endeth October

Happy Halloween 😀

We’re rocketing on with the year and it’s already November tomorrow, I can’t wait for bonfire night!

Here’s how I did with my October goals:

1.Make at least one Christmas decoration per week.

Done. Post coming soon to show them all off.

2. List the rest of my cards in the shop.

All done, plus a few extra goodies I made

3. Make 12 new blog posts (3 per week).

So done! This is post number 17 for October, which I find particularly impressive considering I lost 4-5 days going to Budapest.

4. Write up a proper pattern for my waffle hat.

Um. Yeah.  I at least looked at the rough notes I made in a blog post a while back.

I wouldn’t be me if I met all my goals for the month!

5. Finish this doily that’s been hanging around for months

Done. I sent a photo and he seemed really pleased with it, so hopefully he’ll like it as much in person. I’ll be handing it over next week at choir.

 

Something I didn’t write down, but was kind of hoping for, was reaching 500 views on this here blog. It was a bit of a stretch goal, but the views have been steadily increasing month by month so I thought I could probably just about manage it.

I was wrong.

Views

I totally smashed it!!

Thank you so much to everyone who’s popped in for a read, like, and comment this month; I love all the interaction in this crafty community and the new friends I’ve ‘met’. I just love yous all!

Now, on to next month! Here are my goals for November:

  1. Get my snowflakes listed in my shop.
  2. Write up my waffle hat pattern
  3. Make at least one Christmas present per week.
  4. Make all Christmas cards for my family/friends

It’s getting very Christmassy around here, and I’m already starting to get excited about it. The only way I could love Christmas more is if face paint were a regular part of it. Then it would be perfect!

How’s your October been? Got any plans for November? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

Progress report

The middle of October has sailed past me (where did the time go??) so it’s time for a quick review of my goals for the month.

1.Make at least one Christmas decoration per week.

I didn’t manage any in the first week, but I’ve certainly caught up since then.

2. List the rest of my cards in the shop.

Nada yet. But Etsy gave everyone 50 free listings and they run out tomorrow, so you bet this is my task for tonight!

3. Make 12 new blog posts (3 per week).

I’m doing super well with this one! The count is 8 so far and this here progress post will be number 9.

Lesson learned: it’s really best for me when I sort a few posts at once and then schedule them.

4. Write up a proper pattern for my waffle hat.

Not even a little bit. Maybe when I’m travelling next week, if they won’t allow my crochet hook on the plane.

5. Finish this doily that’s been hanging around for months

I’m nearly there! One more round and some blocking, and it’ll be all done.

It might warrant its own blog post when I’m finished; there have been all kind of ups, downs, and tweaks with this thing.

 

From the looks of that I’m just about on track. Well done, me 😉  How’s everyone’s October going? Is it whizzing by for you too? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

 

Happy Halloween month

I love October, if only for the multiple excuses to paint my face!

It feels like September was less busy than August, what with me having a virus for the last few weeks and spending a lot of it resting, but it seems I still managed to get quite a lot done.

3 Christmas presents are now complete, I made some Daisies for Vicky, got a commission for a birthday card, finished off 2 Seafoam Scarves and 2 cosies, and made some good progress on my scoodie.

I finally managed a mass listing session for my Etsy shop so now my items are into double figures. And I also had a very successful giveaway on Instagram, and reached 1,000 followers on there.

Ooft I’m tired just typing all that!

So now we’re into October, I’m going to try setting some goals and see if I can achieve even more.

  1. Make at least one Christmas decoration per week. They’re small, it should be easy enough.
  2. List the rest of my cards in the shop.
  3. Make 12 new blog posts (3 per week).
  4. Write up a proper pattern for my waffle hat. Which will probably involve making it up again because it’s been so long.
  5. Finish this doily that’s been hanging around for months It’s long past time!

I’m away to a festival in Budapest at the end of the month, which will give me a bit of crochet time while I’m travelling there and back, but not much at all while I’m there. It should be really fun though so I don’t mind too much.

How did your September go? Got any goals for this month? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

Look, no pattern!

 

I’m almost certainly running before I can walk here, but I’ve decided to start making some crochet goodies without patterns.

The patterns I’ve bought so far are fabulous, but they take up almost 20% of the money I’ve spent on my shop. Plus they all (so far) use really simple stitches that I know how to use; in theory I could have written any of the patterns I have bought.  So I’m going to give it a go!

Obviously you don’t just dive into something super-complicated for your first go without a pattern, so I decided to start with a hat.

I know from experience (having to restart one hat project at least 5 times) that beginning with the brim and working up doesn’t really work so well for me. Those chains were determined to twist, no matter what I did! There’s also the fact that I love magic rings, so the obvious choice for me was to start from the top and work my way downward.

Here’s what I did (Yes, I’m as British as they come but still use American crochet terms. Don’t go looking for logic here – there is none):

1) Make a magic ring, 6 double crochet into the ring (6)

2) 2dc in each stitch (12)

3) *dc, 2dc into next stitch* 4 times (18)

4) *dc, dc, 2dc into next stitch* 6 times (24)

5) dc in each stitch (24)

6) *dc, dc, dc, 2dc into next stitch* 6 times (30)

At this point I wanted to do something a  bit more interesting, so I decided to experiment with some front post and back post double crochet (fpdc and bpdc)

7) Ch 2 (counted as dc), fpdc, *dc, fpdc* repeat ** around and join to starting chain (30)

8) Ch 2 (counted as bpdc), dc, *bpdc, dc* repeat ** around and join to starting chain (30)

9) Repeat 7) and 8) until desired length (including a stripe of colour because I can) (30)

10) Finish it all off with a row of single crochet and a slip stitch at the end (30)

 

That gave me this awesome waffle-patterned hat

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Ta da!

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Looking at it on my desk I was super proud of myself for actually making a real thing without a pattern, but…I didn’t like it. To me it looked like an old lady hat. Given the choice, I would never wear it.  But my taste in hats is not everybody’s taste in hats so I tried it on, ready to take some photos for listing in the shop, and it’s actually not that bad!

Then one of my friends modelled it for me

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She really likes it, which makes me feel super duper proud! Thank goodness for individual tastes in the world – if my friend likes the hat then there will definitely be someone out on the internet willing to buy it when my shop finally goes live.

So there you have it; my very first pattern-free crochet make.

What do you think? Would you wear the hat? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx