Tuesday, 6 January 2009

In with the New

So it's only taken me until the 6th to do the New Year's Resolutions...

Well, not resolutions exactly, but I do have some plans for the year to come. Shall I split into crafty and non-crafty?


Firstly, I have to get my knitting productivity up. I have a stupid amount of yarn. I love it all, and don't intend to destash (or kid myself that I'm not buying any more), but I do need to get on with knitting it. For me, that means making sure I have a mindless project on the needles at all times, such as stocking stitch socks, so that I can knit whilst commuting or in the canteen at work, and if I get to a heel or some other bit that requires concentration, I have to make sure I do it that evening so I can continue. I think I should spend less time on Ravelry to achieve this. I'm just addicted to reading other people's knitting questions and/or drama.

I have to finish a garment that is not socks or another kind of accessory. That KSH jumper would be a good start. I do also have the materials for a couple of other jumpers and it would be nice to do them - although this may be better achieved after the body shape changes that are mentioned below.

I have to knit myself a wedding shawl. I have a pattern, Icarus. I have yarn, undyed alpaca/silk/cashmere from Bluefaced. However, I've just realised that it's cobweb weight so that might be a mistake if I want to finish by September. I'm going to double strand it. To add to the confusion, I also have this gorgeous rust-coloured silk laceweight from Yarn Chef, which would match the wedding colours perfectly. So perhaps I should do the shawl in that instead? I've pretty much decided to go ahead with the white one first, and if the pattern proves as easy and pleasurable as I'm hoping, I'm thinking about making the orange one too and deciding then.

I've also joined an online KAL, on the Ravelry Socks That Rawk group, after having had my attention drawn to it on Turtlegirl's blog. We, over 100 of us, are each taking a different colour of STR for one pattern, Leyburn, and it will be interesting to see how it looks in all the different colours. Mine is Tide Pool in mediumweight and here it is, wound up:

Even the boyfriend remarked that this was "pretty" when he saw me winding it, and he never notices yarn (except in terms of the volume of it entering the house, and he's pretty good-natured about that). I have only about an hour's more work to finish the stripy socks then I'll be casting on for the Leyburns.

But... drumroll please... I have a new toy which could very easily derail all of the above, if I'm not careful. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet my Kromski Sonata:

Isn't it pretty? My dear parents bought it for me for Christmas (at my request, they're lovely but not psychic) and it is going to be a huge time suck. Should I name it, to give Ting's Ewan a sibling? If so, I think it's a girl wheel, and I shall name her Magda because that's the Polish name with which I'm most familiar. Say hello to Magda, everybody. Let's hope she needs less of my time this year than a real baby.

That's not even including any bead bouquet-making, baking, soap or needlefelting. Yikes!


Now I know this is an entirely stereotypical response to getting married, but I do really need to lose some weight this year. Not that I think I'm fat, exactly, but I am three stone heavier than when we met (nearly seven years ago) and I'd rather be back to that for the Day of a Thousand Photographs, and ongoing, of course. In the autumn of last year I lost a stone by diligent attendance at the gym coupled with a food diary to make myself more aware of what I was eating - not denying myself anything at all, even chocolate, but pausing to think about whether I really wanted whatever I was about to eat, and if I didn't really want it, I didn't have it, or had less. It worked incredibly well, in a way that nothing really has before because I've never truly tried. Then I hurt my ankle and that was followed by a series of colds, so I was out of action during November and December. I haven't put much back on during the festive season though, and I've been down the gym at least every other day since just after Christmas. Go me!

To kick-start things, during January I am doing the very restrictive detox diet I've done many times before, based on this book. I'm not a huge believer in the "detox" concept actually, but the principles cross over well to having a very healthy and calorie-restricted diet. So until a planned night out on 31 January, I am off alcohol, meat, dairy, wheat, sugar, caffeine... pretty much everything, leaving me to eat fish, rice, potatoes, soy, and all the fruit and vegetables I can stand. As I said, I've done it before and always had great results, just never coupled with an exercise regime to make it stick. I'm remarkably good at hyper-restrictive diets, with rules and a defined end date - I am not so good at trying to follow vague concepts such as "eat fewer Mars Bars". Also, this one still allows me to have my favourite food, sushi, so I cannot be unhappy. Five days in (started on 2 January so the hangover on New Year's Day could be dealt with appropriately with a fry-up) and I am not feeling the pinch yet.

I find it critical to have the correct food available at all times, to avoid unwanted lapses, so we took a bracing walk over the cold hills of north London at the weekend to the farmers' market, and bought fruit with leaves and wormholes, like fruit from the tree should have, and beautiful, sleek, fresh fish from the Dorset coast.

Now doesn't that look better than refined sugar?

Tying in with that, and mainly prompted by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's philosophies in this book, and my desire to make my own yummy chutneys from this book (both from my grandma for Christmas), I am seriously considering trying to grow some vegetables in my garden this year. I have no idea if it'll work. There are some borders I can dig out and plant, and I'm just going to try with some courgettes and carrots to start with, but it would make me very pleased indeed.  It's too cold to get started yet though.

Oh, that's far too much bucolic idyll, isn't it? Back to gritty urban life. I leave you with a symbol of London, a graffiti'd Tube train as seen on the way to the New Year's Eve party we attended:

May all your 2009 endeavours be fruitful.

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