Sunday 1 January 2023

Today is the start of the rest of our lives

Happy New Year!

All over the world, people woke up this morning full of resolutions and good intentions.  Within a few weeks, they’ll feel let down and discouraged.  All the hoped for miracles/changes of behaviour will have vanished.  Why do we imbue January 1st with so much importance?  Given that our time on earth is finite, every morning offers the same promise: 24 hours in which to make a difference.

I reckon it’s just a point in time to focus the mind.  So what will I endeavour to do this year, to change or make a difference?  Here are my resolutions.  It’s 2023 so I am aiming to complete 23 Challenges:-

  1. Read 23 books.
  2. Use up at least 23 balls of yarn by knitting or crocheting them into items.
  3. Use 23 new-to-me recipes and make dishes that I’ve never attempted before.
  4. Go to the cinema at least 6 times.  (I get "free" tickets via my bank.  Might as well use them.)
  5. Go to the theatre 4 times.
  6. Restart my running and run in an organised 5k race.
  7.  Continue with my 15 minutes a day Duolingo.  (I'm currently on day 943.  Started in 2020.)
  8. 23 sessions of weight training.
  9. Socialise 23 times.  This doesn't include the weekly pub quiz, RPG sessions, etc, that are already in my calendar.
  10. Blog at least 23 times.
  11. Spend an hour per week for 23 weeks, writing that book.  
  12. Do 23 singing lessons/practice sessions resulting therefrom.  (My voice and breathing haven't recovered from Covid in December 2019.  Yes, I had it before it was famous.)
  13. Make 23 phone calls to family and friends, just to catch up and chat.
  14. Replace Lucky Car.  I have no choice.  At the end of August, the border of London’s ULEZ - ultra low emission zone - will be extended to include all of the outer-London suburbs.  He’s diesel, 13 years old and does not comply.
  15. Go on a “proper” holiday, overseas.  We haven’t had one since the start of the Pandemic.  Destination TBA.
  16. Continue doing the Fashion on the Ration Challenge on MSE.
  17. Not buy any yarn in 2023.  This excludes the one skein that was ordered before Christmas, but won’t be delivered until next week.
  18. Finish and sew up all my knitting and crochet WIPs or frog them.   I think there are 8 in the queue, including a couple of cardigans that just need buttons sewn on.  (This excludes the jumper and two pairs of socks currently on the needles.)
  19. Dust off my sewing machine and sew a suit.
  20. Complete at least one embroidery.  
  21. Have 23 gardening sessions, where I do more than look at the weeds and lament.
  22. For 23 weeks, spend at least an hour tidying up.  I am not one of your naturally tidy people, I want to change that. (I can put a pen on an empty table and, 10 seconds later, it’ll look like a bomb has hit it.)
  23. TBA
Yes, that’s right.  I haven’t got a 23rd challenge yet.  I’ll come up with something….

Got it!  Number 23 is to reduce my Podcast queue from 639 to under 200!  God knows how it got to be so high.

- Pip

In which PipneyJane goes pattern shopping

In John Lewis, I fell victim to some pale grey yarn:  Manos Del Uruguay Fino, in the colourway “Silver Teaset”.   It’s 4-ply, 70% Merino wool, 30% silk, in a 100g (450m) hank.  Three hanks purchased, which will be enough for a jumper.  Not cheap (£70.50 in total) but I’ve saved money all year for a blow out like this.  6 coupons spent.

My reason for being there was to browse the pattern books for a suit pattern, so that I can make a suit from the wool fabric I picked up at that charity fabric sale in ?July. OMG was I disappointed!  The last time I did a serious browse for patterns was a decade ago.  Do you remember back then, when there were several different pattern books laid out on the counter, one for each pattern company?  Well, now, there is one book.  I always knew that Vogue and Butterick patterns were owned by the same publisher, apparently they also own Simplicity and McCalls.  No New Look pattern book.  No Burda, just that one pattern book to look through.

I flipped through it in growing disappointment.  Virtually no suit patterns - I can recall only one (didn’t appeal) - no capsule wardrobes, and only one picture per pattern to display the garments.  (How the hell am I going to know what the top of that dress looks like, if you only display it with the jacket on?).   Seriously, there was NOTHING suitable for the office and nothing I would want to make.  Did I miss the memo saying that nobody has to dress professionally for work anymore?

John Lewis Oxford Street also had virtually no fabric.  (No suiting.  What a surprise?)  Last time I was in there was pre-Pandemic.  The Haberdashery Department is only 1/3 of the size it was then, and about a tenth of the size it was in the 1990’s, when I worked around the corner.   The lady who rang up my yarn sale told me that “nobody makes a summer dress anymore”.

It looks like I’m going to have to find the bag of paper patterns I purchased in the 1990’s.  Hopefully, there will be a suitable suit pattern in there that I haven’t cut out - since I’m a totally different size now - which I can use/adapt to my current style.  There may be a possibility that I’ll find something at the Knit & Stitch Show at Ally Pally next month, but unlikely.  (I had my arm twisted by a friend to go to the show; the same friend who was too sick to come along yesterday.)

Anyway, the above yarn purchase brings my total spend to 69 coupons, leaving 7 for the rest of the year.  

Wish me luck.

- Pip