2015 – one month in…

I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions, it seems that making an idea into a resolution dooms it to failure. I contemplated ‘dry January’ but lasted 10 days. I wasn’t really that committed.

However, a resolution has emerged over January that I am now determined to stick to and that is to improve my work-life balance. I love and passionately committed to my job as a teacher but for as long as I can remember it has been gruelling and there has been little time to relax and do things for me (as opposed to someone else). I’ve always worked full-time which has been fine – my career is rewarding. But when my children were small it was hard to balance my home responsibilities and my school responsibilities as well as find time for myself. As my children grew, the home responsibilities have got much easier (encouraging for those with babies – it does get easier!) but work has been hugely demanding and left me feeling fraught at times.

Christmas this year was marked by a slower pace and I discovered evenings again: knitting time and time for chatting to my husband. Going back to work was tough – I didn’t want to lose the warm rosy glow. Somehow, I’ve managed to work a little less hard – and keep some of the evening time. It’s made me feel so much better and in control of my life. I’m still working hard and usually for some of the evening – I don’t mind that as I want to do a good job. It’s just that the edge of work has gone.

Another part of this resolution is to write this blog each week. I enjoy writing and also a bit of time to think about the week in the context of knitting – rather than work.

The second half of the resolution came about accidentally. I want to ensure I exercise every day, walking to work as much as possible. If I’m not dropping the children off to childcare, I usually cycle to school – this takes 10 minutes. It’s been too cold for that here though, the route has been icy. Needing a bit of fresh air, I decided to walk. I’d always written walking off as slow and boring but I loved it – I plugged in my iPod and listened to my songs and it was a relaxing way to start the day. It takes 25 minutes each way so by the end of the week, my legs were a bit sore. It’s helped to stop me rushing around and that can only be a good thing.

I can officially make socks…. my first pair are off the needles and ready for blocking.

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I didn’t intend to bother with blocking but a bit of reading around the subject has convinced me that it’s worth the effort. There’s now going to be a bit of a delay while I wait the for kit I’ve ordered to arrive. You will guess, I’m very proud of them- it was tricky at first to manage the needles but as the project progressed, it all started to seem easy.

My next challenge is to learn to do continental knitting; this is to work towards my more ultimate aim of being able to do two- stranded knitting with two hands. At the moment, this seems impossibly difficult but I’m discovering that, with practice, I’m getting the hang of lots of new skills. A technique starts off by feeling tricky and there is some fiddling around and failed attempts but after that, it starts to come together fairly quickly. I’m also finding that its worth spending time learning the skills to improve my technique – my knitting becomes more fluent and faster.

The yarn arrived early this week, beautifully packaged; this made you feel a real connection with the seller who had put the time into making this so nice. They want you to like and feel happy with their work. it even came with a lovely little project bag which I have started to use.

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The yarn itself is gorgeous – it’s a lovely rich colour with a beautiful sheen. My photos don’t do it justice.

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The continental knitting has been a bit difficult to get started with. After all, it’s a radical change to swap your yarn hand. You Tube tutorials plugged into my ears, my fingers felt floppy and clumsy – yet again. I spent an evening attempting a swatch that looked like something my 8 year old son would make. Full of dropped stitches, holes and wrapped yarn. However, gradually I got a fluent stitch that seemed to work quite well. The only problem was that my purl stitch was leaving the stitches sitting the wrong way on the needle to make the knit stitch. Another blog, another tutorial and I worked out that I was wrapping my yarn the wrong way. The stitch looked right but it was not helping the next row. More floppy fingers until I got the hang of the new the rhythm.

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