It is the first Friday of the New Year and as during the year Friday is normally my non working day I thought maybe the most likely option to get back into posting more regularly would be to aim for Friday mornings. I may not post every week especially as I need to tidy up some things from where I migrated to a different host a. couple of years back but even if I manage once a month I will be happy.

Just as my cancer treatment in 2023 had me musing about stash, so to did the start of the new year which is typically the time many crafters contemplate what they have achieved in the previous year and what they want to achieve in the next. Reflecting, I wanted to move my crafting from “I should…” to “I could”. I want to let go of the pressure of my stash to do something with it and the consequent drive to produce. The other thing I want to do is, in recognising there is already so much “stuff” in my stash, that in the interest of sustainability I focus on what I have. While there is an element of döstädning (Swedish Death Cleaning) in there – I have the luxury of knowing that at least one of my children can easily deal with my stash once gone, as even just giving it away she knows the “value”.

Starting with “I could…” when I shared my initial thoughts on this and my first project, on a Facebook group, a friend commented that her word for 2024 is Intentional. I loved that as it captures at it’s essence what I would like to achieve this year. In being intentional I am choosing projects that are meaningful to me in this time rather than a list of products to complete. Which lead me to a project that I have been putting off starting, partially as a carrot to complete other things first but largely because it is a project that will take a lot of time. The pattern is the Eunice cardigan and it is knit with Jamieson and Smith 2 ply (four ply weight yarn in seven colours. I fell in love with that pattern in Kuala Lumpur in April 2019, ordered the wool during Covid in 2020 to support a small yarn store in the UK (Holland Road Yarn is now a stockist) and had a romantic vision of knitting by the fire in our new house for winter 2021. For the first time rather than focus on finishing for January I did a 1 January project cast on.

First rows of a knitting project with three balls of yarn
The needles are 3 mm Tulip bamboo which I bought in Korea in March 2019. I have switched to a 3 mm Lykke and have a 3 mm Lantern Moon ebony tip coming. Needle review will be next post.

As I was writing it occurred to me that my delay in starting this project was probably related to the cancer related fatigue I was suffering for the past five years or so. One of the astonishing things that happened after my cancer surgery in January last year was about two weeks into recovery I noticed that a vague feeling of greyness in my brain that had been draining me of energy was gone. It had felt for sometime as if I had been running on 80% without that additional spark to do complicated or long term things. One example from a craft perspective was my lack of patience with complex patterns such as these socks where the lace repeat isn’t totally memorisable. After languishing for three years I finished them on New Years Eve so I had at least one thing complete!

Extended feet wearing violet and green lace patterned hand knit socks.
These are Violets Rising by Anne Hansen – very old Knitsch stash (there may have been silverfish or moth in the yarn as it had some breaks) and one of my oldest stash patterns. Needle reflections coming on these as well.

I think that sense of mental clarity is going to be helpful for the word I had already been mulling over which was persistence and I am going to chose two words for my year – intentional persistence.

Moving onto using what I have – I have also been sewing between Christmas and New Year. Sewing delivers a product so much more quickly than knitting! But I also have a fabric stash and as I sewed I realised that part of my mental model for sewing was to use stash so I had room for more. And my next thought was how many clothes in a year do I actually need? Sustainable fashion is one of things I feel strongly about, and I already have a full wardrobe. And sewing using high quality fabric actually means I need even less. One of the Great British Sewing Bee contestants I follow uses the UK war rationing system to manage her craft output for the year – my sewing thinking deserves a post of it’s own but that’s definitely something I want to explore.

Woman in mirror wearing long cap sleeve summer dress in black floral lawn.
Seamwork Benning in Fabric Godmother deadstock heavy cotton lawn which I bought in KL in 2018 (? possibly early 2016) This was my first Christmas sewing project.

Last but not least I also want to do a bit more embroidery and quilting which leads me to my list for 2024. And I also want to be more intentional about gardening and in the epitome of I’m a feminist but … I want to find some good plant based dinner recipes that my husband will actually enjoy! While it might read as a list of resolutions or goals – it’s not, its more an approach to the year.

  • Writing – to do some writing every week including continuing my knitting needle reviews 🙂
  • Knitting – colourwork has always been my favorite knitting, focus on pleasure projects rather than stash busting and time bound goals
  • Sewing – chose intentional makes that fill gaps or reflect the changes to my style, with a commitment to two things out for anything added
  • Embroidery and quilting – explore new techniques and options aiming for at least once a month
  • Gardening – plan gardening into meaningful small chunks
  • Increase our plant based dinner menu options to include things that my husband will cook and eat!

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