Colour work & crafty calendar planning

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How has your January been, crafters?

With three dear friends expecting this Spring, the first weeks of 2018 have seen me exploring some basic baby knits and making plans for my upcoming longer-term knitting projects.

The two hat-and-mitten sets (above) were a joy to work. Done on size 7 DPNs with worsted weight, Melissa Thomson’s Golden Pear baby hat is workable in a little over an afternoon. This hat pattern features 8 rows of basic colour work, and was quite coincidentally the perfect project for applying myself to my 2018 intention to keep developing my stranded knitting skills.

I’m enjoying stranded knitting in the round on DPNsThere’s something about the proliferation of all the materials that works my mind out (i.e. managing 4 needles instead of two, say, and multiple strands instead of one). The two-handed yarn-hold that I prefer reminds me of playing the piano; each colour plays its part as bass and melody (this metaphor is how I now think of the initially puzzling concept of yarn dominance. It makes much more sense!). I enjoy the way stranded knitting on DPNs is an ambidextrous workout; there are a lot of little parts and processes to juggle, and it’s absorbing to keep it all in motion.

I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that the little “loop” at the top of the hat is done using none other than a simple i-cord – a technique I encountered only a few weeks ago while making hangers for last year’s batch of holiday mini-stockings. To make a hat-mitten set, I added 4 rows of colour work to the mittens as well, using Very Simple Baby Mitts as a basic pattern. Also worked on size 7 DPNS, these mitts are adorably and lovingly thumbless (now I am curious: what age do mittens officially sprout the opposable thumb?).

Crafty calendar planning

In the weeks ahead, I’ll be working on a longer-term knitting project. Having found myself spending most of 2017 longing to knit a full sweater, I would also like to begin to set some initial sweater-making plans and intentions. Even the best of intentions, I’ve noticed, have a tendency of slipping through the fingers if not brought down to earth (i.e. things like plans and daily quotas and To Do’s and timelines and, yes, deadlines can be allies in getting things done). In my own work, I benefit from turning a “big project” into many smaller, incremental, and non-scary pieces — pieces small enough to fit into the space of many afternoons, or the space between dinner and sleep. Planning is how I practice a little more courage.

Luckily, I am better prepared this year to do this – not least because my desktop has seen a new organizational addition: a January Beastie calendar page! Being a regular user of paper planners, and a Beasties fan, I was very keen to add 12 months of Beasties to my workspace. I was so thrilled, then, when Helen of Crawcrafts Beasties decided to offer free, full-colour printable PDF calendar pages for 2018 (woo hoo!). It’s such a treat to have a little Beastie charm while planning the important things.

The calendar is beautifully designed. January features a very crisp and full-colour Paddy and Plunkett — the adventurous tweed-and-cable-clad travelers whose regular road trips you’ll find on the BeastieBlog. As you can see, my workspace & corkboard are definitely sunnier with their presence!

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Ok, time for lunch, and more on the cro-nuts (crocheted donuts) in a later post. Looking forward to catching up on your recent projects!

How do you organize your projects and track your progress? One consecutive WIP at a time, or many? And what tools and practices help you to make space for your creative commitments?



20 thoughts on “Colour work & crafty calendar planning

  1. Oh I love seeing the Beasties calendar page displayed!
    Your hat and mitten sets are EXCEPTIONALLY CUTE – oh my goodness they made me smile 🙂
    Yes we need to plan our projects for 2018 so we can get them out of our heads and into reality – ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shirley, your wee baby hats and mitts are SO adorable, I can hardly stand it! Great color choices on them all. I love mitts with a simple band of color because those little stitches look just like hearts ❤ And good on you to make plans for a sweater this year. Knowing you, the process will be a shared one and we'll all get to benefit from your learning and awesome skillz. As for the Beasties . . . who could resist them? I downloaded the calendar, too, and can't wait for the next installment 🙂 Happy crafting to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoy them, Melissa! 🙂 You’re very right – knit stitches do look like hearts which is so fitting, isn’t it? (knitting is literally made of love). Thanks for the ongoing sweater inspiration; I feel that I’ve learned so much from following your various sweater journeys. And, happy to hear you, too, have a Beastie calendar page. It always makes me smile!


  3. Yaaaaay! Thanks for the ringing endorsement of the Beastie calendar page, Shirley! All being well, I should have a February followup instalment later today… I don’t want to be held responsible for your 2018 knitting plans going awry, especially after you’ve started the year on such a high! Those little matching hat and mitten sets are beautiful, and a gift your friends are sure to treasure. I’m looking forward to hearing more about those cro-nuts, too! Happy crafting 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, again, Helen for sharing this wonderful calendar series. It’s absolutely delightful, and it’s very clear that you’re making many people’s day(s) (months and year, too!) with this lovely gift. The page is such beautiful graphic design – from the photo and subtle borders, right down to that perfect font (something about the playful cursive very much embodies Beastie whimsy, I think). I am saving up my Benjamins to adopt a Beastie of my own this year (yes!) – the calendar is tiding me over until I can finally meet a Beastie in monster-person. A big thanks for this! ❤


      1. Oh, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments! I just put up February’s page yesterday, with a few adjustments… Hopefully you’ll approve. And how exciting that you’re thinking of adopting your own Beastie, too! I’ll be sure to save you a spot in my schedule 😉 Cheers, Shirley!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. These baby knits are lovely, and indeed, a great way to practice stranded knitting. I am a two-hand color knitter too, I find it makes everything just easier, but with 4 needles, it does take a bit of practice.
    I am not familiar with the Beasties so I will check them out, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the crochet donuts. I just bought a first step crochet magazine today that was sold for less than 1 euro, along with two small balls of yarn and a crochet hook, as an incentive to really get started on the craft.
    Maybe I should start to articulate my craft plans on my calendar too, or my diary – you’re right, things do progress better when you set some goals, otherwise it is always pushed back to later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Agnès! I enjoyed your previous post on baby knits; what I learned from it gave me the ok to knit in acrylic for its easier washability (I have yet to try Paintbox, but am intrigued by their colours). Nice to hear that, for all the coincidental knitting things we have had in common, two-handed stranding is also among them. 🙂 (I tried the alternative two-strands-in-one-hand holds, and couldn’t for the life of me prevent the yarn from tangling up). How exciting that you’ll be exploring crochet, too – I am sure your crochet work will be beautiful. I will look forward to reading your thoughts about it!


  5. I absolutely love your musical yarn metaphor! Makes perfect sense. Those baby gifts are absolutely adorable — especially the little heart detail on the hat. And oh my, hello Paddy and Plunkett!! Your Beastie calendar looks so good printed out in colour… I had to opt for covertly printing mine in black and white on a work printer. Still, either way does the job and brightens up the work space! Good luck to you with your ambitious projects ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks, Weekes! The public library colour-printer worked surprisingly well! And yes, seeing P & P at the desk makes starting work that much easier. 🙂 Likewise – wishing you many happy voyages and music-makes ahead (perhaps a trip to Aldovia is in order?) 😉


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