Tuesday, January 16, 2007

300 years ago today

What follows isn't knitting or stitching but just some random recent thoughts on the history of where I'm from
300 years ago today, the original Scottish Parliament passed the Act of Union which joined Scotland to England and Wales as Great Britain under one Monarch but with separate legal and education systems and a independent Church of Scotland.
At school, I learned about the Act and the turbulent and rebellion filled time which followed and I was encouraged to be proud of my country's history inspite of the many failures. I do sometimes wonder how things might have been if the Act of Union had never happened and if an independent Scotland would have thrived. Or perhaps the hard times are what made Scotland the nation it is today. I guess the world would have been different for many countries as so many Scots left to seek better times elsewhere as times got tough at home.
Today I choose to remember that we make our own decisions about how history affects our future. In the past, Scotland has let itself dwell on past injustices and how a now 300 year old act, which many were opposed to, caused the country to feel resentful about its bigger neighbour. The best thing that any country can to do is to look forward to a better future and ensure that its talented people are helped to achieve their potential and great traditions are preserved so that future generations can appreciate the country they live in, not forced to leave for whatever reason.
Today I am proud to be Scottish but also British. It makes for a interesting bag of different experiences.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Wet and wild

Wet and wild pretty much describes the year so far around here. I've been off work for the past week and I've spent most days indoors because the weather has been so awful. I had big plans for my week off - I was going to paint my living room and think about paint colours for my bedroom but post Christmas lethargy has set in. I have moved some furniture around and tidied out some stuff that I no longer need but thats pretty much it.

I did knit a pair of socks though.

I'm taking part in a Sock a month knit a long on Crafty threads 'n' yarns forum
and this pair is January's pair. They are knit in Posh Yarn's Lucia yarn in the shade Highland mist. The yarn has been in my stash for a while so its good to see it knitted up. I do have quite a bit of it leftover as I do with most of my sock yarn as I have quite small feet. I'm starting to have quite a collection of leftovers. I took a class with Kerrie Allman of Hipknits at Harrogate which was about knitting small flowers for decoration so I think some of it might end up being used up that way.

Stitching wise, I've started Noah's sub but there isn't really enough progress to see yet. I have also been stitching on some exchange things too, which I can't share either but look out for pictures of them next month once they reach their destinations.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy new year and a review of 2006

Happy new year everyone. I've been taking it easy and generally relaxing over the past few days. I was going to to say I had been chilling out but that phrase grates with me a bit now as someone at work uses it every five minutes and I can't bear to hear it anymore.
2007 came in with a bang in Scotland. Pretty much every outdoor event was cancelled because of 70-80 miles per hour winds and driving rain so my plan to stay at home was the right decision. I was a little worried at several points during the evening when the power flicked off and then on again as my heating is electric powered but thankfully it was okay. In quite a few areas nearby, they weren't so lucky and engineers are still trying to get the power back on.

Scotland pretty much still grinds to a halt at New Year. The only shops that are open tend to be garages. Many shops are still shut on the 2nd of January as it is also a Scottish bank holiday as well as the 1st of January. There was an outcry in 2005 when one of the department stores in Edinburgh suggested that they might open on the 1st. New year has always historically been a bigger thing around here than Christmas - my dad tells me he can remember working part of Christmas day when he started working in a wire factory in the early 1960's whereas they always had New years day off.

And so another year is over. This year promises some excitement - my sister's wedding and now my cousin has announced her wedding too. I'm not sure where my cousin's wedding will be - she lives in Leeds just now but her parents are near Southport and her fiance's father can't travel too far so the wedding might be near them in Kent. Its apparently going to be in June also so June is looking busy with the big GTG that I'm attending with a load of UK based stitchers.

At the start of 2006, I said that my main aim for 2006 was reduce my WIPs. I started 2006 with 29 WIPs plus 1 round robin. During 2006, I started 68 projects and finished 61. I also gave up on 2 projects which were never going to get done. I'm no maths genius but I don't think thats gone in the right direction as I ended up with 34 WIPs lol. I did get the count down to 27 in April but from July onwards, the only way was up. Part of the problem is that I didn't stitch as much in 2006 as I did in 2005, which is due to the knitting bug biting hard. I need to balance it out a bit better this year.

My aims for 2007 are
1. To take part in the Bloggers Christmas ornament SAL each month. In the past, I haven't been that good at keeping up with SALs but this year I hope will be different
2. To take part in the pair of Socks a month KAL on a knitting forum I visit. I need to be careful with this one as I've been having an occasional bit of wrist pain after knitting and I really don't want to make them worse and end up not being able to knit at all.
3. Start Noah's sub and make some progress on it (another SAL)
4. Get at least one Chatelaine WIP finished.
5. Reduce my stash - I have lots of lovely things in my stash waiting to be stitched and its a waste for them to sit there gathering dust. I'm not going completely on the wagon as each time I say that I'm going to do that, I end up buying even more.
6. Most all, I want to enjoy all the crafts that I do, especially cross stitch, which is still my favourite.

I will be interested to see how I get along with these.