I don’t usually feel the desire to hibernate during winter, but this year that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I stepped away from a lot of my normal activities during December and the first half of January: knitting, writing, exercising have all gone by the board. I’ve mainly been eating and working on my cushion cover (it’s so close to being finished that I felt quite frustrated when I ran out of the single shade of tapestry wool I need to complete it) and using social media to escape reality. Despite the fact there’s still a lot of winter left to come, the days are getting a little longer and this morning it felt quite right to resume my ten-minute yoga routine, watched by an unusually high number of birds flying past my window, and I can detect a desire stirring in my soul to get back to my other activities.

Knitting? Well, I mentioned last week that I’d ordered and received a lovely bundle of yarn from Woolyknit, which I thought was a bit of a steal with the sale reducing prices which are highy competitive under normal circumstances. My main photo shows all the things I bought. As you can see, I have already swatched the pink yarns to test if they will work for the Brooklyn Tweed/Ann McCauley Arabella jumper. This is designed at a very annoying gauge which I am struggling to match, thus the two cones of pink yarn. One is 100% merino wool 4-ply weight and the other is 100% acrylic which is half the thickness of the merino. I’m still working on the best needle size and the swatch needs washing so I can see if that makes a difference to the overall gauge. If it comes out just a little larger after the wash I’ll be happy; if it comes out smaller I’ll be slightly less pleased.

Anyway, enough with the pink, what about those other two? Well, the bag of merino DK weight wool in a colour Woolyknit have called Rust (a brown/red) was simply such a good bargain that there was no doubt at all in my mind that I would buy it. 500g of pure wool – enough to make me a decent sweater – for £8.99 seems almost too good to be true. This is destined to be stowed in my stash as I have no immediate plans for it, but I’m happy knowing that it will be there ready to do something autumnal later in the year. When I looked more closely at the colour, I started having some dreams about combining it with a lovely golden accent, so that will keep me occupied for the next twenty months as I fail to find anything that comes even vaguely close to the colour in my mind’s eye and end up with a jumper that costs £60 despite me thinking I’m using bargain wool! I rather like that the ball bands show the total weight and length for the 10-ball bag rather than the individual balls.

The blue wool is also 500g of 100% Merino DK weight, but this time in a single skein rather than wound into balls. This is a massive skein – see how it dwarves a standard 100g skein of sock wool? The colour is quite similar to the wool I used for my Helsinki Sweater which is a good thing as it’s a colour I very much enjoy wearing, which makes sense because I wouldn’t have bought a colour I didn’t like wearing. Again, I don’t have any specific plans for this, but it’s a good sweater quantity and there’s no shortage of lovely patterns for this weight of wool; for example there’s a fisherman-style sweater in The Knitter issue 158 that has caught my eye.

So, yoga is covered, knitting is covered, what about writing? The time is definitely nigh to do a complete read-through of the first draft of my pen shop novel and see what I think now I’ve (supposedly) gained some emotional detachment from it. When I finished the draft I already had some ideas about things that needed to be strengthened and some elements that I might need to let go because I introduced the ideas but didn’t really follow them through. I’ve never done this process before so I feel a little trepidation, but it’s my novel so it’s not something that I can do ‘wrong’. Somewhere a long way down the line there might be professional input that suggests I’ve no idea what I’m doing, but right now it’s just me, and what I say goes.

Have you been hibernating? Do you feel any desire yet to stir? I’ll just finish by reassuring you that the skein of tapestry wool I need to finish the cushion cover is already winging its way to me and is due to arrive tomorrow. I might yet have the project off the frame and ready to photograph by mid-week!

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