2018 – Happiness Goal No. 1

Well, it has been quite a long time since I last posted.  I could go into great backward looking detail about the various reasons I lost the desire to blog for a while, but I feel like it would be much better to the future.  I am here, in my chair, fingers on my keyboard and full of ideas and resolutions for the new year.

One of the biggest things I learned over the past few stressful months is that I need to remember to step back and enjoy the little things in life, from the sounds of the wind in the trees, my husband playing guitar, the kids playing together, the dog snoring quietly.  I need to make time for the things I enjoy (such as knitting, blogging, and blogging about knitting!) and not get swept up in the sometimes overwhelming stress of others.

Over the holiday, I started the Happier Podcast by Gretchen Rubin and was motivated by her 18 in 2018 challenge.  Basically, the idea is that instead of making new years resolutions that are too loosely defined (such as, I will use up my stash yarn or I will blog more) and therefore, less likely to be kept, set 18 happiness goals to strive for in 2018, #18in2018 (such as, I will use Yarn X to make Pattern Y, or I will set myself a blog challenge).  Looking through my yarn stash between Christmas and New Years, I realized that I have a fair bit of yarn that I consider so special that somehow ends up being saved instead of used.  It is like my wedding china which is still in boxes in the basement.  The special yarn includes some special blends; however, most of the fiber has a personal meaning in some way.  Quite a few of the special yarns are souvenirs, including some local Alpaca yarn purchased in the village where my Great Aunt lives in England, some handspun bought in the craft co-op near where my Aunt lives (also in England), yarn brought back from Peru by my husband and yarn bought with my lovely sister while visiting her in Winnipeg.   Some of the yarns evoke memories of the past, including some Blue Brick yarn in the delightful colours “Egg Shell” and “Kim’s Barn” which bring me back to my childhood on the farm with chickens, ducks and geese who laid eggs for us in a variety of colours and sizes.

I don’t really know why I am reluctant to use up these yarns, I have an underlying feeling that I should save them for the perfect pattern, the perfect time or the perfect frame of mind?   Well, this is the year that I will use up the good stuff!   This will be my 2018 blog challenge.   Below are a few photos of most of the yarn that is in the “Special” box in my stash – a few new ones that I received as Christmas gifts didn’t make it into the photo session but rest assured they are special and will be used up soon.

I am working on putting the special yarns into my stash on Ravelry and matching them up with patterns in my queue.  When I cast on these projects, I plan to reflect on the associated good memories, enjoy the feel of the yarn and the colours as they evolve into a finished object that I will wear or give to someone special.  Every time I wear the finished object the memories are bound to be brought to mind.  My challenge is to actually do this throughout the year and to share this process on the blog.  Note that it is sheer coincidence that there are 18 yarns above!  I don’t know if I could actually complete 18 knitting projects in one year but I’ll certainly try to make a dent in the pile!

Next time, I’ll tell you all about my second blog related Happiness Goal for 2018.

Do you know anyone who likes to save the good yarn like it’s the good china?  Feel free to share this post with your friends using the buttons below.

Blog Reflections

I have been thinking a lot about the blog lately and how it continues to evolve.

My goals with the blog, as I work through Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book (1843) are to:

  • Bring forgotten knitting patterns back to life.
  • Provide you with some guidance on working through Victorian knitting patterns.
  • Share with you images of the patterns from the unillustrated text; and
  • Teach you something new about the Victorian era through sharing my research related to the patterns.

From my own perspective, I want to share my journey with you.  I want to share the feeling of connection with the past that I get from knitting these patterns and my enjoyment of the paths that this project has taken me in researching various questions that come up along the way.  I want to share my excitement with decoding these patterns, solving their puzzles and discovering repeatedly how little knitting really has changed over the past 173 years!

And though our country everywhere is filld

With ladies, and with gentlewomen, skilld

In this rare art, yet here we may discerne

Something to teach them if they list to learn.

(John Taylor, as quoted in Miss Lambert’s Hand-Book of Needlework, 1842)

With all that in mind, I am trying to come up with a more firm plan for the blog and have been thinking about how to reach more people who  will find it interesting.

So, here is my call to action:

Do you like what you see?  Follow me on WordPress, via e-mail or on the Thread Forward Facebook page and leave comments to let me know what you like!

Spread the word!  Do you know someone who would find the blog interesting?  Feel free to share any blog post with friends or via social media.

Provide your input!  What would you like to see on the blog?  More history?  Less technical?  Longer posts?  Less detail?  More photographs?  Are re-writes of the Victorian patterns in modern language useful? Please let me know in the comments below.

A Brief MKB Project Update  

I have been procrastinating somewhat on the subject of Muffs (the next two patterns in Miss Lambert’s book) (because who needs Muffs these days?) (the connotations of the word alone are absurdly embarrassing).  This week-end, I will pull together my plan, overcome my embarassment and tackle these patterns!


Looking Back and Looking Forward

It is hard to believe that it is almost the end of 2015!  It has been a year full of ups and downs (as every year is I suppose) but two definite upsides have been this blog and making the decision to take knitting design more seriously.  Thank you so much to all of you who read the blog and follow along with my adventures with knitting and history!

Initially, I had planned to give the blog a try over the summer to keep me busy during a tough time; but soon enough I discovered that I truly enjoyed it.  I re-discovered the joy of writing and gained energy from it.  I also rediscovered my love of history (especially when I can relate it to my own family history).  With a busy family life, I quickly found that writing the blog and doing research to learn more about the mysteries of the patterns in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book to be far more rewarding than I expected and give me valuable and much needed me time.

Looking forward to 2016, I plan to continue to work my way through Miss Lambert’s book and write about whatever comes to mind along the way.  I have a few design ideas in mind inspired by the stitch patterns I have encountered in the book.  I also plan to increase my social media presence and have set up a Facebook page (here) and a Ravelry page (here) where I hope to be able to interact more with the knitting and historical knitting communities.

Take a look at this pretty little booklet summarizing, in photographs, the first 13 projects in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book.  Thank you again for a great 2015 and I will see you again in 2016!