Are you a fan of New Year's Resolutions? I am as I find they keep me focussed and grounded at least during the first part of the year and so I have made them for the last 20 years if not longer. They tend to follow a similar theme every year - loose a bit of weight, maintain or improve my fitness and take a little bit more care of myself and others. As 2020 drew to a close and the promise of a Covid vaccine hit the headlines a month or so ago it was exciting to imagine a better and brighter New Year and I had high hopes for my resolutions, but as the reality of the British winter hit and as we have once again headed into lockdown I have to admit that I have found it increasingly hard to stay positive.
I use my resolutions as a way of making a promise to myself to keep an eye on things and not let my weight or my health get in to bad shape, whilst also reminding myself to take a little bit more care of myself, which for me means trying to avoid becoming consumed by work, making sure my home life is balanced correctly and taking a bit more ‘me’ time. During lockdown this has meant doing things like sitting down with a book or taking a nice long walk.
The trouble is that I am really bad at settling down to anything these days and find my concentration level at an all time low. I am easily distracted and have found myself wasting quite a lot of time. I am not sure whether this is as a result of lockdown or of my (fabulously menopausal) age, but I am relieved to have found that one of the answers to counteract my lack of motivation is to purposely dip in and out of things and not beat myself up over my lack of commitment! I have found the time scale of 30 minutes to be a great incentive to 'get things done' and at times I even set a timer so that I am reminded to stop one task and then move on to something else.
It has been a surprise to see how much can be achieved in 30 minutes and with the help of a list of jobs that I write daily I can definitely vouch for the effectiveness of breaking activities down into bite size pieces and - as a life long lover of a list - I take huge pleasure in ticking things off and heading to bed at the end of the day knowing that at least a few tasks have been completed. I have even been known to add an already completed task to a list just so that I can have the pleasure of immediately crossing it off!
Over the last few months Sarah and I have been working on a revamp of my Indian Roses design and although the pattern rewrite (as it turned out to be) was pretty challenging at times I have really enjoyed coming up with a couple of new colour ways for the design. Dipping in and out of making the new samples has been a lovely thing to do as we ease into 2021 and so now I am looking at a new project to revisit. I have had Mystical Lanterns on my list of designs to look at again for quite a while so this week I spent half an hour or so putting together a dedicated Pinterest board to help me get some ideas for a new blanket layout and colour way. You can find the board here.
Making a Pinterest board is something I often do at the beginning of a project. I use them as an on line mood board and making a new board is one of the aspects of the design process that I really enjoy, but as faffing about on Pinterest can be a real time guzzler I have found that my 30 minute timer has come in useful for this too!
Projects like Mystical Lanterns and Sunshine and Showers are great for when you find your concentration is a tad low. The Mystical Lantern motifs are just 4 rounds long and are pretty straightforward to make. They are an ideal stash buster too. I really fancy coming up with a new layout that focusses on the bigger shapes that the pieces could make when the blanket is joined together. I am thinking that striped versions could look great or maybe a blanket with a central piece in alternative shades to the rest. I have not decided yet but I am definitely enjoying dipping in and out of this project.
Because of the new lockdown Andy and I are working from home 2 days a week so I have been using this time to revisit some older projects. The pattern for Indian Roses, which will be available separately to a yarn kit as a paper or a download version, should be available next week and I have also started to revamp my Diego's Flowers motif (shown above), which I featured on the blog a few years ago.
Heading further into the year I am excited to say that there will be a new blanket CAL project from me, which will feature in Inside Crochet magazine over the summer months and, as it is Janie Crow's 10th Birthday this year, I am also planning a CAL for next winter, which will hopefully feature many of the techniques and design features of my past CAL projects. So it looks like my trusty 30 minute timer is in for a lot of use over the next few months!
For more news and updates look out for the next Janie Crow newsletter, which is set to drop into your email inbox on Friday 22nd January. Until then I hope that you continue to stay safe and that like me you are finding your craft projects bring you much solace at this difficult time.
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