I had an inclination to write a sort of “line in the sand” post with the hope that the coming year would be more….amenable…than the past two. Summer is just starting to study “Of Mice and Men” and the quote which inspired it seems so apposite for the last couple of years:
The best laid plans o’ mice and men
gang aft agley*
and leave us nought but grief and pain
for promised joy!Robert Burns – “To a Mouse” – 1786. *often go wrong
Never a truer word spoken. It has been such a time of grief, and pain, stress and worry. Many have lost loved ones, and those who haven’t have lost time with their people.
We’re into the second week of January 2022 and ‘plus ça change’!**.
After a beautifully laid back and quiet Christmas spent with the grandparents and the sofa, we are in the blessed position of all the grown ups having had the Covid booster jabs and the children having had 2 jabs. We’re as covered against Covid as we can be and yet still have spent the last week with Dave Covid positive and not well.
Thankfully, although he is felt like he had a bad dose of the flu, within less than a week of testing positive he was back on his feet and working from home. We are so lucky he caught it this year not at the beginning of the pandemic. It would likely have been a different story then.
I’m typing this with children sat either side of me doing school work and it feels like they’re in the right place too. I’m isolating them, although they’re testing negative, until we have passed the mandated isolation period and everyone is still negative. Then they can go back.
That said, I’m investigating homeschooling as an option for Summer, who is really struggling with mainstream school. She’s not happy, she’s not learning. There has to be a better way. We shall see.
Last year felt quite stagnant creatively. I made multiples of the same patterns and I was ok with that.
I knitted things that I love, just not many of them.
But we ticked along, doing what needed to be done and that was enough. I gave myself a huge amount of grace after a very difficult 2021 when both my physical and mental health were challenged.
The biggest change last year was joining CrossFit Leyland and beginning my journey to health. The increased risk factors of being obese and unfit in a global pandemic were sobering. Dave had a cardiac event in the middle of Lockdown 1.0, and at one point I thought my last words to him would be “I’ll park the car and see you inside”. Of course I wasn’t allowed in!
Sat here in isolation the thing I’m missing the most is the camaraderie and challenge of the 6am CrossFit class. I don’t even recognise myself as the person typing that particular sentence. I’ve never been particularly sporty except for horseriding, which is a sport beyond my time and financial means at the moment. I’m certainly not the type to get up in the dark and cold, and schlep off to do a hard workout before the day even starts.
Yet. Now I am. I’m also the person itching for the weather to warm up so I can do more wild swimming. After a few swims last year, I’m wanting to find a safe spot closer to home and then spend more time in the water this year. I’d like it to become a regular part of my week, and to be able to swim in lower temperatures.
Whilst the world is still a very unsafe and unpleasant place in general, we are feeling hopeful for the year.
In December we found the spark for decorating. They do say you should live in a house for a while before decorating, but I think letting the place languish for 5 years is a bit much. However, something clicked over the autumn Dave fitted faux panelling into the hallways and stairs.
In December we painted the kitchen/diner and the sitting room. I made the curtain and blind for the sitting room, shampooed the rug and stuck the sofa cushions in the washing machine. Turns out a cold wool wash and a jeans drying cycle work perfectly for getting Laura Ashley sofa cushions clean!
With the tree and twinkly lights, the rooms cosy for Christmas and I’m looking forward to getting the curtains and blinds up in the kitchen very soon.
The house is my focus for the early part of next year. I have painting and decorating and home decor sewing at the top of my list. Once I’ve got that done I’m really looking forward to garment sewing for both myself and Dave.
I’ve got plans for that!
For Dave I need to perfect a shirt pattern for him and then I have two beautiful lengths of shirting to make up to him. I’m toying with drafting a pattern for him using the Telestia Method I learned at Ray Stitch with Alice. He’s always been broad shouldered, but lifting weights at CrossFit is making him even more so, so I think I’ll be making lots of shirts for him in the future.
I’m also planning to make the Hot Patterns Hemmingway Windcheater. I’ve had this (now discontinued) pattern for so very long but this year looks to be the one I tackle this.
He’s also requested more of the joggers I made, but didn’t blog, last year, and also more of the Henleys. I may also make some of these for me. Dave absolutely adores them and the two pairs I made are in constant rotation.
For me I’m looking to get more basics into my wardrobe that are comfy for my current lifestyle, which is mostly spent at home with occasional forays out for buying coffee beans and dance lessons.
These are the patterns I want to crack for me this year (links in the caption to each pattern):
I’ve had my eye on the Roscoe blouse since it was first published decided to buy this during the pre-Christmas sale. It looks such a versatile pattern that is universally stylish. I’d like to make this in every colour for next year to wear with jeans and shorts. I think it’s the sort of blouse that will elevate jeans and trainers.
I’m also tempted to make the dress version too in the hope we have warm summer days.
I love a polo neck sweater under a dress or blouse for the winter, but struggle to get RTW to fit. A hand knitted polo is a joy but nowhere near fine enough to style this way. Even at 4ply.
Enter the Nikko sweater. This will be the perfect black polo neck for winters to come.
I love a tiered skirt in the summer and have bought many of them over the years and worn them to rags. I like the Mave skirt both as a midi and a maxi. This will be a summer staple too.
I’m in dire need of jeans. I had a style that I loved and had in blue and black, and wore to rag. Sadly this style is now discontinued. I’ve tried lots of other jeans but struggle with the rise and unless they’re super skinny, I look like Spongebob Squarepants!
This is sufficient incentive for me to finally fit the Ginger Jeans and start making my own. I have some deep stash stretch denim that I’m happy to sacrifice for a wearable toile. Then Cone Denim S-Gene, or something of a similar quality, is a fabric I’m happy to drop £££££ on and pay the import costs for.
I’m probably the last sewist in the world to the M7969 party.
I’m excited to have an invitation to wedding in August. I haven’t been to a wedding in years. So I’m looking forward to a new frock and will be making either M7969 or Closet Core Elodie pattern.
I’ve time to make both of them up in more quotidian fabrics before splashing out on something lovely for the party frock.
I also need to find a hoodie to go with the joggers, and decide on a pattern for some pyjamas that make me look less like a bag lady.
So all in all I have some fun stuff in the pipeline for this year.
Before I start the dressmaking projects I’m giving my sewing room a bit of a spruce. Dave’s going to fit more shelves in the store cupboard and we’ve added more desk space. I used to have a desk in the joint office but now that’s Dave’s room and I’m on the kitchen table.
The new desk area means that the sewing room is at capacity for furniture, but I have a dedicated computer space, with the printer and my Cricut now have a permanent home. Happy days.
Now I just need to have a proper sort out and organise so I can actually find everything I have in there!
After a turbulent and, frankly, unpleasant, time with his last dance partner and her family, Dylan and his current partner are having a fabulous time. Though the pandemic and lockdowns hit just as they decided to dance together, they took the time to build the partnership. Now they are firm friends and work so well together. He’s as happy as a clam and is looking forward to being on the competition floor this year. Their first comp should have been the 8th Jan but our isolation means that didn’t happen.
However, their first outing will likely be on the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, so all is not lost.
Summer is embracing CrossFit and we’re hoping for more classes next year. Astonishingly she didn’t dismiss the idea of competing at the Teen CrossFit games in the autumn. We shall see.
More importantly this has had a massive impact on her self esteem and relationship with food. The female role models at CrossFit are magnificent…strong, independent and impressive women. Being skinny isn’t a thing. Lifting big, running fast and believing in your own abilities is what they model.
Two years ago Summer was under the care of the specialist eating team who very much feared an eating disorder. Today she eats like a normal teen and doesn’t care if someone calls her a name. She’s got the muscles to prove them wrong!
So, life is anything but as it was pre-pandemic. But we have found a new lifestyle. It that is smaller, quieter, slower, and more sustainable.
There are still trials and worries, it’s real life after all. In February we will, God help us, have two teenagers in the house. But for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, we have, above all else, brought our family even closer together.
We are stronger for it.
I’ll be back soon with sewing and knitting content. In the meantime, please stay safe, give yourself grace in the face of everything that you’re juggling at the moment. And do try to find some space for the things that bring you joy.
Happy New Year to you and yours, from me and mine.
** plus ça change plus c’est la même chose – the more things change, the more they stay the same