While many people make resolutions at the start of a new year, I prefer to focus on the new things I want to achieve over the coming month. And in particular this includes new skills. In fact, there’s two occasions during the year that I tend to take up new activities and it happens to coincide with the academic terms in September and January. Maybe that’s because it’s easier to find evening classes starting up and online courses are being promoted more at those times of year, but mostly I just think it’s down to me having a bit of time off and having the chance to reflect on what new things I want to learn.In September I started to learn Spanish but time constraints meant that I never quite got through all the practice tasks for the beginners’ Spanish lessons so I couldn’t progress at the same speed as the rest of the course. Nonetheless, I have all the documents and workshops sitting in my inbox so I can get started up again whenever I get some time. I guess I’ve just got to make time, right?!The other course I started in September was ballroom dancing. I went along to my first class on a dark Thursday evening and was immediately hooked. Well, who doesn’t want to be waltzed around a dance floor like a princess, eh? The added bonus was that latin dances were taught alongside the traditional foxtrot and quickstep ballroom dances, so I discovered that I quite liked these too. Who would’ve thought that I would enjoy dancing a rumba? I certainly didn’t see that coming! The beginners’ course has just finished and I loved getting my head around the steps. I’ll be back for more as soon as I can.So this January I want to focus on developing my crafting skills and it’s the wool-crafts that I want to focus on. Excuse the pun but knitting has always had me tied up in knots. Continue reading “Learning a new skill in 2017 – Knitting” »
It’s time to bundle up for winter but first use your head about what’s covering your head. All winter gear isn’t created equally. Here is what you need to know to help you stay snug and warm this winter. Whether you want to keep warm during casual trips to shops, while exercising outdoors, or are addressing a special need like hats for thinning hair, here is what you need to know to keep warm and cosy this winter.
Fit for winter
Headwear can make a huge difference in keeping warm during the winter. Even if you are simply dashing between your car and the store or from one heating building to another, staying warm is important. Even indoors drafts and irregular heating can make it important to keep your head warm. A large portion of your body heat can be lost through your head.
If you’ll be outside in the cold for more than a few minutes, it’s important that your headwear covers your ears. Ears are thin but have a relatively large surface area. This increases the risk of heat loss and even frostbite.
If you’ll be enjoying outdoor sports this winter, it is important to get the appropriate headwear. Hats for running, hiking, and skiing and other outdoor sports need to combine comfort, fit, warmth, and an ability to handle sweat. Choose a longer style hat that will cover your forehead and ears without riding up as you run. You want to make sure the headwear is snug enough to stay in place while you exercise without being too tight or creeping out of place. If you’ll be out in extreme conditions, consider wearing a balaclava. This style of knit cap covers most of the face and neck as well as the head. It can even be worn under a hat or beanie for added warmth.
I’ve done it! I knit a scarf! Or is it knitted a scarf? However you say it, I’ve done it! For the first time in my life I have finished an entire knitting project from start to finish and I am really chuffed.When I decided to make a scarf as a Christmas gift for my husband I was a genuine knitting novice, I didn’t even have any knitting needles in the house. I’d made a knitted bow years ago with the help of my friend guiding me through the process, but everything I’d learnt at that time must have left my brain almost instantly, as I had no clue how to cast on, knit stitches, change wool colour or cast off. Not a good start for someone who wants to complete a gift project in less than a month!
I’ve tried knitting in the past but never really progressed beyond a knitted bow that my friend Laurie taught me to make using her YouTube tutorial but this year I want to try a bigger project. Or perhaps I should say longer project. It’s not going to be a super-challenging knitting project (I’m still too novice for that!) but I want to at least knit one complete scarf.
I’m hoping this will become a Christmas gift for my husband and it will go well with the knitwear gift that I’m planning to treat him to for Christmas – there’s a new range in Debenhams by my favourite TV hero Patrick Grant. Yes, the tasty judge of The Great British Sewing Bee has created a fabulous collection of men’s knitwear, shirts and tailoring so I’m hoping to be able to snap up a festive fairisle jumper for my husband for Christmas, that’s if they don’t all sell out before then!
So although I’m not brave enough to tackle fairisle pattern just yet, I will be attempting to make an ombre scarf. I’m hoping that the pattern will be straight lines (simple enough even for me!) and the colours will do all the work – creating a gradient effect by using 3 different colours of wool. I also chose this chunky knit because it is super-soft alpaca wool and will look great knitted into a chunky, manly style. Well, that’s the theory anyway!
I’ll keep you updated with my progress via photos on my Instagram @Cassiefairy and let you know how I get on with my first big knitting project. Wish me luck!
And I should know – as recently the first frost of the year arrived; when I woke up in the morning the grass was covered in a sparkly frost. Now, there are two ways of tackling this problem: 1. (and my favourite option) Stay in bed until the sun has risen higher and has warmed up the world enough that the frost has melted. or 2. Wrap up warm and stay stylish with snuggly knits.
As staying in bed isn’t always possible, I’ll be blogging all autumn/winter about the top trends in snuggly knitwear. I wrote about knitted dresses here and funky jumpers last week. And here’s the third trend I’m definitely going to be following this winter:
Animal print knits are all over the high street – in fact, it’s pretty impossible to go into a shop and NOT find a jumper with an animal on the front. Now, you may have already got your hands on a stag or dog jumper last year, in which case you can slip it on and be bang on trend straight away. I didn’t buy one of these jumpers last year (as I’m sure I had a dog jumper when I was 10 years old and that kind of put me off) but this year I’m not going to miss out – and I’m coveting all of the jumpers from Joules (such as this fox one above for £69.99) which are so soft but a little out of my price-range. So I’ll head to New Look or ASOS for bargain copy-cat versions of the Burberry Prorsum A/W 2012 catwalk show.
Let me know what you’ll be wearing this autumn/winter! And check back soon for the next hot knitwear trend & how to get the look for a fraction of the price