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. I watch my friend knitting away in the pub, barely taking notice of what the needles are doing, and still she products the most intricate knits and glorious patterns. I want to be able to do that, but it seems SO far away from the single line of knitting that I can just about manage at the moment. I need to remind myself that everyone who can knit perfectly had to start somewhere and I guess it’s time for me to pick up the needles and give it a go.The reason I’m so interested in knitting is because I gave it a go a couple of years ago and produced (rather surprisingly) a half-decent scarf. I picked out a chunky wool for the project, so it came together really quickly and made me feel like I was achieving a lot in a relatively short space of time. I loved the sense of satisfaction when I got to the end of the project and tied off the last knot. I want to do that again, but I want to learn more than one stitch this time! I’ve found plenty of videos on YouTube to show me the basics (and remind me of everything I’ve forgotten from last time!) and lots of free patterns for beginners at Deramores.com. Some are easier than others so I’ll start with those, and all those crochet patterns are just teasing me (that’s another skill that I had when I was a child but have no idea where to start with crochet now!). In all honestly, I think that the best way for me to learn a new skill is to actually see someone doing it and for them to show me how it’s done. I’m no good at reading instructions – as a writer I tend to skim-read and there’s no chance that I’m going to learn how to knit by skimming over the information.
Let me know what skills you’d like to work on during 2017 and how you’re going to go about learning them this year by leaving me a comment below. And watch this space for all my knitting projects and progress – I’m sure it’ll all come together soon enough, haha!