Saturday, 29 December 2012

Dots and stripes review of 2012

This is where I look at the year just gone and sigh at my failure to achieve my last year's objectives.

In 2012 said I would:

reduce my yarn stash, so it fits easily into the two baskets, and I certainly want to finish the year with fewer skeins than I started with.
Partial success! My yarn stash did go down, but only by 700 yards. I have 14 fewer whole balls of yarn, 1 less partial ball, but scraps have gone up by 14. About the same on the fitting-into-baskets front.

aim to achieve a minimum of 12 completed sewing projects over the year, with the rainbow quilt counted as multiple projects, one for each pattern instruction (printed in parts) I complete.
I sewed total 8 projects, not 12. But if you count the rainbow quilt as multiple projects, as I said I would, it was the equivalent of 3 projects during 2012 so that would take the total up to 10. Still less than I hoped. Oh well.

try not to add to the long term languishing list.
Unfortunately the list grew by one. :-(

do more cultural things, especially with the children; support dd through her A Level journey and help ds to improve his handwriting; all of us to go on holiday.
I went to New York with dd at Easter and we had a truly cultural time, which included architecture, modern art, film locations, and immersion in a foreign culture (even though we speak the same language, I found the USA totally different to the UK). In August we spent a wonderful week in France by the sea on a family holiday. Ds and I went to Bath in October on a short visit. We made a lot of historical excursions, some of  which were practically on our doorstep, like Creswell Crags in Nottinghamshire. Both children seem to be getting on just fine at school. So all in all, top marks for this one.

stay employed, so I can afford to do all of the above.
Achieved this one too, and since they are now recruiting again in my work area, I'm not too worried about this for next year. Although I'd quite like a move for greater job interest, I can't see that really being feasible until ds has started secondary school, so I'll have to make the best of the employment I have in 2013.

What are your successes in 2012, dear reader? And your hopes for 2013?

Monday, 24 December 2012

Bring on the celebrations

Got my act together just in time! Tree up, mince pies made.

Snow topped spice cake in accordance with annual tradition:


This year with extra gold pearls!

And new in 2012, certosino (Italian-style fruit cake):


Made from a recipe in How to be a domestic goddess. I love the bejewelled look of it; hope it tastes equally good.

Merry Christmas to all my readers. See you on the other side of the festivities!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


I don't know what's up with me this year, but I seem to be seriously lacking in energy, or forward planning. I discovered yesterday, I'd left it too late to book a grocery delivery before Christmas, so I'll have to actually go to the shops (the horror!). I haven't made any kind of cake, or got any ready-roll pastry in for the mince pies. Nothing like leaving stuff to the last minute. Luckily I found half a box of crackers and load of wrapping paper in the loft where I'd packed it away last year, so I don't need to worry about that.

I've been lazy on the crafting front too, although I have re-knitted dd's fingerless mittens:

They fit her, finally. She has hands as small as mine, and I didn't realise this until now. I am still hatless though, having not even got to the frogging part of the reknit hat.

Also mildly amused by watching Yodel trundle a parcel of mine up and down the A1, between Hatfield and Newbridge. What is going on?? This online tracking lark reveals all sorts of inefficiences! It's only for me, so it won't matter too much if late.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


I'm terribly late with the seasonal preparations this year. Put it down to the House Cup focus that has been exercising me for the last three months, but which ended with a win for my team, so I'm celebrating!

My christmas crafting has been minimal. I made these decorations for our tree:

I have made one present and that is all. Next year, I might try a handmade approach to birthdays instead. They are staggered through the year, so this might be more achievable, given my tendency to crumble under the pressure in the months up to December.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Reduce, reduce, reduce

Last weekend, I got all of my yarn out of the baskets and counted it all up. Looks like this is becoming an annual December ritual, since I did just the same last year.

After a whole year of attemtping to stashdown, I really don't have very much less yarn than I had at this time last year. Last year, when I did the same count, I had 50 whole balls, 68 partial balls and 27 scraps (each less than half a skein). The same assessment this year finds 36 whole balls (down by 14!), 67 partial balls (not much change) and 41 scraps. Eek, my scraps have gone right up! But perhaps that is OK, as it can be a side effect of using whole balls.

Here is my stash, all laid out for your enjoyment. Lace weight is on the left, the weights increase to the single bag of bulky on the right. I keep it in ziplock bags with yarn wrappers included so I can easily identify yarn.

I did use up more yarn than I bought over the year, so there was a stashing down overall, and it was about 700 yards. Not bad... I would like to do better next year though. I should note that eight of the full balls are already earmarked for planned projects between Jan and March 2013. That should get me off to a good start.

I intend to follow these rules in 2013:
  • I will always look for stash options first when I want to knit something. 
  • I will look for stash options for House Cup participation. At least 2 classes out of stash before I may buy any new yarn for one new project (attempt to prevent further stash growth! Although I did stick to this rule last year, I found I still bought lots of yarn as well and hope to reduce this, in 2013). 
  • Yarn purchase only allowed when I have a specific project identified. No buying yarn just because it is pretty. 
I will do monthly reports again in 2013. Look for the stashdown tags.