Plan, organise and knit

23 January 2017
We slow down and relax during December and January. The garden produces a few herbs and fruit so it only needs watering, Hanno mows the lawn on his ride-on mower and apart from excursions to the backyard in the early morning and evening, we spend time inside, out of the heat. I use the time to plan for the year ahead, clean and organise cupboards and drawers, and I knit. Every couple of years I knit a 10 - 12 dishcloths for our use here and I might do a few more fancier ones for gifts. I use the end pieces of knitting cotton I've used during the year on other projects. It provides me with dishcloths for the kitchen and it uses cotton that might otherwise be wasted. This year I'm also making a shawl for myself. I have two others. I love knitting them because they're so easy and they keep me cosy and warm during the winter. In our climate, we rarely have special clothes for winter. A cardigan or jumper with a shawl is all I need for even the coldest day here.

I'm very fortunate to have been sponsored by Ecoyarns for several years now so I have a good supply of high quality, environmentally sound and ethically produced cotton and wool. Many years ago I used to knit with the cheapest wool and cotton I could buy but now I know that it's worth the extra money to buy the best I can afford. The amount of time given to homemade knits means I want them to last and look good for years. I have full confidence in the cotton and wool I use from Ecoyarns and I'm happy to knit for my grandchildren and have those garments on their young skin. I think we can be exposed to a lot of elements in our daily lives that may not be good for us. Sometimes it's the air we breathe, sometimes it's something we eat or wear or use on our skin. I try to not add to that by using yarns I'm not sure of. At the moment I'm using Eco-Organic Cotton Clouds in the Virga Blue colour for my shawl. I'm knitting on circular bamboo needles in the simplest pattern possible.  The project after this will be for my granddaughter and I think it will be this little dress.

I'm pleased to tell you that Ecoyarns is expanding its focus to provide a wider range of products. They are a socially responsible company and will choose their products by taking into account manufacturing processes, environmental impact, animal welfare, women's welfare, impacts on the local community and Fair Trade. Salihan and her husband Richard plan to offer us more information on their website so we can make informed choices and be certain of what we buy. We'll see more signs of that as the year progresses.  If you've not shopped online before, I recommend Ecoyarns to you as a trustworthy business. Salihan goes beyond the necessary and normal and provides exceptional service and very beautiful ethically produced yarns. Ecoyarns' details are always in my right side column.

When I'm not knitting, one of the important things we do at this time of year is plan and organise so we go into the new year prepared and with a general idea of what's going to happen. Organising menu plans, revising routines, cleaning cupboards and drawers, mending, knitting, filling in a diary and calendar now, all help me later in the year when it's much busier.  Of course, the unexpected will also happen but when it does, it's easier to cope with if we are organised. When all the work of the year is done and the coming year is planned as much as it can be, I plant myself in a comfy chair, pick up my needles and knit. Sitting back with my soft cottons, knitting row upon row allows me to think about life and what I want from it as the weeks go by. Knitting is like meditation with its repetition and it helps the mind reach a relaxed focus.
Oh yes, here she is again watching as I wind cotton on my swift. She was mesmerised by it and sat there staring for quite some time.

Knitting isn't a seasonal activity for me, I do it year-round. I generally knit with wool in winter and cotton in summer but I mix it around too. There are no rules, I do what I feel like and that makes it all the more relaxing. I like to knit simple patterns that I don't have to think about too much. What are your favourite knits? What's that? You don't knit!  Well, get yourself some knitting cotton, cast on 30 stitches and keep knitting row upon row of whatever stitch is easiest for you.  Knit a square and when it's as big as you want it, cast off. That's your first dishcloth. When you finish, I'd love you to tell me about it.