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It’s been a busy year. I think it’s safe to say that for certain, from my personal life – getting the mortgage, moving out of home into somewhere so completely new with Alex, getting engaged, being made redundant and then starting a new job – luckily without a break between them so the redundancy wasn’t exactly prolonged. I made my own Sailor Scout uniform with FalseHope, and we cosplayed Sailor Venus and  Sailor Jupiter for the May MCM Comicon in London. We went to Ireland in July, have spent a fair amount on our new flat [washing machine, oven, painting, sofa…. you get the picture]. I came to realise that I was experiencing a sort of depression that I didn’t really want to face, so did things around it to avoid going to the doctors [rejoined the gym, got a bike, got that new job]. In between everything else that’s been going on I’ve managed to get a fair bit of knitting done, and a fair bit of reading as well. Every year I say to myself that I’m not going to set myself a target for reading a particular number of books, and every year I’ve set said target to 40 since about 2012, I think. And every year I have failed. I got close to it this year, thanks to reading the Sailor Moon manga series, but didn’t quite manage to get there.

So this blog today is a quick review of the best/worst bits of reading/knitting that I’ve done. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be a huge list!

The Book List:

I think it’s safe to say that my favourite stand alone book of last year was “The Martian” by Andy Weir. I connected with it in a way that I haven’t connected with a book for a while, and loved every minute of reading it that I didn’t want it to end. When the film was released I genuinely thought that it was such an excellent adaptation of the book, again loving it.

My favourite series, and here I’m not actually counting the Sailor Moon manga – that’s my favourite series in terms of anime/manga/life obsession – is hard to decide. I started reading “The Lunar Chronicles” which has me entranced, but I haven’t finished the series yet, with “Cress” and “Winter” still to be read. But I also started reading “Pines” which was the series that “Wayward Pines” is based upon, and that was pretty cool too! It is hard to pick just one series, especially as I am looking forward to reading more from other authors as well, such as “Paradigm” author Ceri. A. Lowe – which shows a completely different take on the dystopian future by showing us how it was built, and, potentially, how it’s going to fall. I want that second book now!

There were a couple of books that weren’t so hot last year – “The 100” – Kass Morgan, for instance. I failed to connect to the characters, to care for what was happening to them, for their lives and their survival. This first book also had a rather predictable ending. The TV series certainly gripped me a lot more, and the first series was excellent. I just need to get around to watching the second! I also finished the “Discovery of Witches” trilogy last year, and found that to be on the disappointing side. It was an okay book, but one with a lot of hype and not a lot of delivery – and considering how big it was as well made it even more disappointing!

In total, I read 33/40 books last year. Not bad going, but certainly not to target! Better luck for that for next year! I’ve nearly finished “A Dance with Dragons: Blood and Gold” so at least I’ll have a head start for this years challenge!

The Knitting List:

This year in terms of knitting has been pretty good! I haven’t been too bad on the whole stash acquisition side of things, determining to knit through some of the stash instead. I did acquire a whole bunch of yarn when I got a few coupons from a certain British newspaper for Hobbycraft yarn – in fact I still have some left! But otherwise I’ve been quite good with it all!

Alex got me a yarn winder and swift for Christmas as well, which certainly will make life easier for winding yarn! I took me about 5 hours to wind all three hanks of yarn for my Doodler, possibly even longer! On Christmas Day we had a play with it, and wound a hand dyed sock yarn in about 15 minutes, and a Fyberspates lace yarn in about 30! We did keep stopping and letting the other person have a go with it as well. As Alex said, he has given me the “gift of time” when it comes to my knitting projects! I think I want to unwind every ball of yarn I have to make cakes of yarn! [I am probably going to do this… don’t judge me!].

According to Ravelry, I made 19 items last year. This includes one project that I didn’t finish – which I started at the beginning of the year and was supposed to be a Double Knit scarf – not the weight, but the technique. I wasn’t enjoying the process and the yarn for that one, so I finished the end of one chart, cast off and moved on. I made two pairs of socks, one knee high – the Nightingale Socks, and the other a pair of socks for my mum – the Water for the Elephants socks. Both have gone down a treat, although it embarrasses me to say I haven’t exactly worn my Nightingale socks. Anywhere.

I made a vest that had a pattern error, so that’s been confined to the wardrobe, awaiting a new make. I made plushy toys for my parents for Christmas, and I made one of my best friends a scarf, something that I had been saying I would do for an extremely long time. Sending it took a lot longer than it should have done as well!

This list of projects also includes my first attempt at crochet, where I made a My Little Pony. I was extremely happy with that, and plan to make another one this year. I had simply wanted to see if I could do crochet, and understand the terms. It’s one of those things that will take a small while to get used to, but there will definitely be more crochet in my future.

My most used yarn for the last year was Hobbycraft’s “The Women’s Institute” yarn, which is just lovely. It’s one of those yarns that doesn’t come across as acrylic. It’s super soft, has excellent drape, and is just so lovely to work with. 9 of my 19 projects used this yarn. Other yarns included 2 projects using King Cole Tinsel, King Cole Dazzle, some Hayfield DK, Noro Silk Garden and my favourite shawl of all time [so far, I haven’t finished that Doodler yet!] was made with CountessAblaze yarn.

So, that’s a brief round up of my year as a whole really. It’s been a busy one! Next year I have a few things that I want to do:

– Learn to dye my own yarn using acid dyes.
– Make something using my sewing machine for every day wear rather than the cosplay/ learn to use properly!
– Try and get to the miraculous 40 books figure!
– Start saving/planning my wedding.
– Blog once a week

These aren’t resolutions, or anything like that. There are things that I know I have to do in the new year like loose weight, take going to the gym more seriously, sort out my spending habits and all that. I’m making a planner rather than buying a diary so I can keep track of pretty much everything I do in that sense, I just need to sit down and work out what is going to work for me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my year, and I hope that you have a great one too! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, through the highs and the lows, through the crafting and the books. I appreciate every follow, like, and comment I get, and hope to increase my social media presence in the coming year as well!

Happy New Year folks, I hope it brings happiness and health to you,