2017: A Moody Year

After 48 weeks of knitting…I completed the final square of my Moody Blanket last Sunday!

A huge well done to everyone who stuck with it throughout the year – even if you just kept up with the colouring in. It’s been a long project and I hope you’ve found it as beneficial as I have.

The idea behind the Moody Blanket is to give yourself a bit of time to reflect each day on how you’ve felt, put your moods into the knitting and create a lovely cosy visual diary of your feelings. But it’s been so much more than that for me, and my blanket has inspired some big life changes.

Early on in the Moody Blanket knitting process I needed to add in a couple of moods to my list…and both were related to being busy. The first was “productive” which I added to the content/calm/satisfied list for those days when I’d been super busy but felt good because I’d achieved a lot.

The second mood was less positive – “overwhelmed” got added to my meh list for those days where I just couldn’t see the wood for the trees. The majority of my “meh” days were the result of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I also felt this way on many of my “fine” days – but managed to lift it to fine by reflecting on the day, putting things in perspective and eating lots of chocolate. Below is an overview of my year of moody knitting…

The number of days I felt overwhelmed was significantly higher during busy periods. 18% of my days in January through to April were teal and 21% in September through to December – compared to just 8% from May to August. I also had 24% happy days in May to August compared to 14% in January through to April and just 8% from September to December.

Weeks 1 to 16 (2nd January to 23rd April)

Weeks 17 to 32 (24th April to 13th Aug)

Weeks 33 to 48 (14th Aug to 3rd Dec)

I love stats!

Reflecting on your mood everyday for a year means you really get to know what affects your mood and you can take action to improve it. Between May and August I had a holiday and my workload lessened, giving me free weekends. It’s really noticeable when looking at my planner that I have a brighter band of colour running through the middle for this period of time and I knew I needed to make some changes in my life to be less busy and create more yellow days.

I read something this week over on The Minimalists website about scaling back and the fact that when you say yes to something you’re inadvertently saying no to something else. I’ve always found it difficult to say no to things and I’ve had so many fantastic opportunities over the last couple of years that I’m glad I’ve said yes to everything!

But however much I love everything I do – saying yes to every single work opportunity that comes my way means that I’m saying no to free time at weekends, no to seeing my friends and family, no to going for hikes in the country, no to lazy Sundays on the sofa and no to looking after myself. Eventually being too busy takes it’s toll.

So I’ve already started making some changes and have said “not now” to a few opportunities that have popped up (I still want to do everything…just not all at the same time!).

The biggest change that I have made is the decision to step down from my day-job with Rowan. I love working for Rowan – I love the yarns, the patterns, the lovely independent retailers I work with and my Rowan family, but I know this decision will give me the freedom to focus on my freelance work and free up my time outside of work.

I’m so excited about 2018! I’m not going to rush into things – I’m going to take the time to plan and make sure I don’t over-commit so that I can really enjoy exhibiting at yarn shows, teaching workshops and designing new patterns. It’s going to be great!

If you’ve been taking part in the Moody Blanket Knit-along I would love to see pics of your planners and of your finished blankets when they’re sewn up. I will be sharing a pattern for a knitted border early next year – or you could pick up and crochet or edge it with ribbon or fabric… I’d love to see what you do!

And just in case you missed the important news re the yarn:

*UPDATE* Rooster have now discontinued Almerino DK (November 2017) and the top-up packs are available while stocks last – so please ensure you have enough yarn to complete your blanket.

MOODY BLANKET TOP-UP PACK (5 BALLS): £30 – SHOP NOW

MOODY BLANKET TOP-UP PACK (10 BALLS): £59 – SHOP NOW

If you would like to knit yourself a Moody Blanket in 2018 – you can buy the pattern & planner and use a DK weight yarn of your choice.

MOODY BLANKET – PATTERN & PLANNER: £4 – BUY NOW

Happy knitting everyone x

Moody Blanket – the final countdown!

At the beginning of this year some of us embarked on a year long project – knitting the Moody Blanket.

I’ve had such a great response to the knit-along and have had lots of messages from people saying that taking that little bit of time out each day to reflect on their mood has had a positive effect on their well-being.

The large Moody Blanket is knitted across 48 weeks. So anyone who joined in on January 2nd will be finishing the knitting (or colouring in) on Sunday 3rd December – giving you a few weeks to get it sewn up before the end of the year. It’s so exciting piecing it together and seeing patterns emerging…it’s going to be so lovely and cosy!

I know that a lot of you have found the planner really helpful and are just taking your time with the knitting part. Taking on a 48 week project is huge so I’m really proud of all of us who have kept it up! Even if you’ve just kept up with the mood planner and the knitting is work in progress – well done 🙂

I’m looking forward to finishing and have decided to do a simple knitted border. I will share the pattern for the border with everyone who’s bought the pattern at the beginning of next year so look out for that!

If you didn’t join in with the Moody Blanket knit-along this year – it’s the perfect time to start thinking about it for next year! You can start whenever really – but I think it’s a nice project to start in January to beat the post-Christmas blues and look after yourself with some me-time.

Top-up packs of the yarn will be available for a while longer for those already working on the blanket.

Moody Blanket Top-up Pack (5 balls): £30 – shop now

Moody Blanket Top-up Pack (10 balls): £59 – shop now

When these run out – I will share a link to another stockist of the Almerino DK on my Moody Blanket page so that anyone who joined later or wants to start next year can get their yarn fix!

You can buy a downloadble PDF version of the pattern and planner individually by clicking the link below.

Moody Blanket Pattern & Planner: £4 – Buy now

Happy Knitting x

Team Moody – part one

I’m so happy with the response I’ve had to the Moody Blanket Knit-along! Lots of you bought starter packs at the end of last year and I’ve received lots of orders for top-up packs with messages saying you’re enjoying the project – and so am I!

I’m personally finding the self reflection at the end of each day really beneficial and even though I’ve had some tough weeks – it’s really soothing to reflect on my mood of the day, allocate a colour and knit.

I asked a few fellow Moody Blanket knitters how they’re feeling about the project and this is what they said…


What appealed to you about the project?

Lesley: “As a relatively new knitter I wanted to do something beautiful but simple. I liked the idea of a mood stripe per day.”

Toni: “I think the first thing to appeal to me about the project was the fact that it’s a Jem Weston project. I’ve always loved not only Jem’s patterns in the past, but also the choice of colour combinations and yarn, so all of this amalgamated into a knit along was a very attractive idea to me. I’d never done a knit along before and the sense of community and longevity it promised fascinated me.”

Claire: “I liked the idea of the project as I live with a long term mental health condition and am interested in ways of managing my condition differently.”

Lesley’s Moody Blanket

What are you enjoying about knitting your Moody Blanket?

Lesley: “I like sitting after work and relaxing whilst knitting my stripe for the day, it’s very therapeutic!”

Toni: “I am really enjoying seeing each week knit up and become something completely unique.  And perhaps more than that I really love seeing everyone else’s squares and the way everyone sends kind wishes when a fellow participator has had a difficult time. Or how everyone celebrates a happy day!

Setting time aside each evening to reflect on my mood and do a bit of simple knitting has really improved my mental health. I know that a lot of people find such reflection difficult, I’ve even had a friend tell me they couldn’t see themselves enjoying it at all, but the way I see it: if you’ve had a terrible day, I mean a really rotten day, the day will have been that bad whether or not you think about it. Only this way you might be able to find some little pockets of happiness, or even okay-ness, that’s gotten lost in the storm of the day. And create something beautiful from it at that!”

Claire: “I am most enjoying being able to have a positive way to look at my feelings, rather than reverting to other coping mechanisms. So even though I’ve had a tough day, there is a positive way of communicating that, through craft.

Toni’s Moody Blanket – 48 week layout.

Is there anything you’re finding challenging?

Lesley: “When I’ve been busy during the week I’ve had to leave catching up to the weekend and sometimes it’s hard to get up to date before the next week begins.”

Toni: “I am finding some of the lower mood days to be challenging to knit. I’m always glad when I’ve done it in the end, but gosh it feels like a real slog.”

Claire: “I sometimes find time constraints difficult, but then I find the sheet where I can colour in my days helps to be able to recall my feelings on a particular day.

Lesley’s Moody Blanket & planner

Is it becoming easier to reflect on your mood/choose your colour…or more difficult?

Lesley: “It is getting easier as I can compare to previous days and make a judgement about what colour a day should be.”

Toni: “Overall I think I’m finding it much easier to reflect on my mood and choose a colour. For example, I find I’m much more accepting of making a day yellow now. For some reason at the beginning of the project I felt I could only pick yellow if that day had been oh-so-amazingly-wow from the word go. I may have had a very black or white approach to moods… but now I’m much more appreciative of the little joys throughout a day whilst being able to accept, or even put a positive spin on, the disasters.”

Claire: “Over the last week particularly, due to lots of change,I have found it difficult to choose just one colour, but I tend to go with the predominant emotion of the day.

Toni’s Moody Blanket – 24 week layout

It’s brilliant seeing the blankets starting to come together and the patterns forming as everyone starts to sew up their squares!

Thank you so much to the Moody knitters above for sharing. If you’re taking part in the KAL and want to share your thoughts and images here on my blog, please feel free to contact me – I’d love to hear how your getting on.

The Moody Blanket pattern has options for a large blanket knitted over 48 weeks or a small blanket knitted over 24 weeks – so if you’re thinking about joining the KAL part way through, you could knit the small blanket and still be finished this year. Starter packs including one ball each of your chosen colourway, the pattern and planner (for colouring in) are still available here or you can buy the pattern & planner individually here.

Happy knitting and Happy Easter everyone!

Choosing Moods

Now that we’re a few weeks into the Moody Blanket Knit-along, you might be finding that some days it’s easy to choose your colour, and other days it’s a bit trickier.

I find the most difficult choice comes when I’ve had very mixed feelings throughout the day. Perhaps I’ve spent some of the day feeling irritable and frustrated but also had moments of feeling very happy and upbeat. So at the end of the day I ask myself – what was the overwhelming feeling? Was I more irritable than happy? More happy than irritable? Or did it all balance out somewhere in the middle as ‘fine’?

When I’ve had a mixed day – I’m finding it helpful to sit and read the mood list to try and pinpoint the overall mood of the day. And if you have a mood that isn’t on the list…just add it! I had a day where I felt utterly overwhelmed by the volume of work I had to do. I also had happy moments – but the overall mood of the day was definitely ‘overwhelmed’ and I have now added that to my teal moods. So if you have a day where you’re struggling to settle on a colour – just think about how you would describe your mood of the day and then decide where that would sit on the scale…feel free to add as many new moods as you need to the lists and make it your own!

I also find it hard to settle on my colour for the day when I feel like I ‘should’ feel a certain way. ‘Should’ing is horrible but we all do it! I had a Saturday where I had a nice lie-in, did a little bit of work, went out for lunch, had a lovely walk in the sunshine, bought some plants and then watched a good film and did some knitting in the evening. Sounds like a pretty perfect Saturday to me so surely I ‘should’ be yellow?! But I was teal. I couldn’t switch off from work mode which left me feeling generally unsettled and unable to relax all day.

So when choosing my colour – I’m trying to think about how I have actually felt rather than whether it’s been a good/bad day where good/bad things happened. Of course external factors effect our mood, but it’s perfectly possible to have bad things happen and still be happy or to be in a paradise location and feel miserable. Sometimes it’s easier said than done to separate the external factors from the internal mood…but I think I’m feeling the benefit of taking the time to reflect.

Hop over to my Ravelry group if you fancy more Moody chat! And thank you for sharing over on Instagram using #moodykal. I’m loving seeing everyone’s squares and hope you’re enjoying knitting along! X

Moody Blanket Knit-along…getting started!

kal-squares

Thank you to everyone who ordered their Moody Blanket starter pack – I enjoyed seeing them pop-up on Instagram as you received them! The Knit-along starts tomorrow on 2nd January 2017…needles ready!

You can now purchase top-up packs from my shop and choose which colours you need more of. If your mood is consistent and you’re using a lot of one colour you may need to top-up quite quickly! But if you don’t order in time before running out – just make sure you keep a log of your mood/colour for the day on your planner.

Small Top-up Pack (5 balls): £28 – shop now
Large Top-up Pack (10 balls): £55 – shop now

If you would like to join in the knit-along using your own yarn – you can now buy the pattern as a pdf download via my Ravelry store.

Moody Blanket pattern & planner: £4 – buy now

I’ve made a couple of video’s to help you along the way! The following video will guide you through the simple techniques used in the squares…

You can use your prefered method for blocking and sewing up your squares – but I made this vlog to show you how I’m planning to do mine!

And a few other tips and reminders before you get started…

  • Choose your mood for the day in the evening so that you can pick an overall mood of the day.
  • Don’t break off the yarn at the end of each day – you might be in the same mood the next day and don’t want to create unnecessary ends for sewing in! So wait to check whether you’ll be using the same colour the following day before picking up the scissors.
  • Don’t forget to use your planner to keep track if you don’t have time to knit every evening. This will also help when it comes to sewing up as you’ll be able to easily see which square is which week.
  • use #moodykal when sharing on Instagram and Twitter so that we can follow each others progress.
  • Join me for Moody Blanket chat over on my Ravelry group. I’m planning to pop in on Sundays to share my progress and would love to see yours!

And finally…don’t worry if you’re late to the party and are reading this after 2nd January 2017. The knit-along will run throughout 2017 – but the pattern will remain available in my Ravelry store indefinitely and if you start your Moody Blanket later you can simply finish later!

Happy Knitting everyone! x

Moody Blanket Plan

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Thank you to everyone who has bought their Starter Pack for the Moody Blanket Knit-along! I’m really looking forward to getting started.

As I mentioned in my blog last weekend – 2016 has been somewhat draining due to a lack of ‘me-time’. One of the reasons I’m really looking forward to 2017 is that I know working on my Moody Blanket throughout the year will give me a reason to stop, think and look after myself each day. However… I’m sure there will be days where I simply don’t have time to do the knitting – so I thought I would get prepared in advance for those days!

I have made a ‘Moody Blanket Plan’ which I will keep next to my bed so that I can decide on my mood for the day and colour it in accordingly. This way – even if I don’t have time for the knitting, I can take a little time to think about my mood and keep track of it on the plan. Then I can catch up on knitting my square the next night… or at the weekend if it’s a particularly busy week!

If you have ordered a starter pack you will receive a printed copy of the plan with your pattern and yarn soon! As well as a good way of keeping track when you’re busy, The plan will also help you to see patterns starting to emerge and how your finished blanket will look.

If you haven’t ordered your Moody Blanket starter pack yet you can find out more here. Happy Knitting!

Moody Blanket Knit-Along

kal-squares

I’m very excited to be announcing the details of my new KAL for 2017!

The Moody Blanket will be a super cosy blanket and at the same time – a unique visual diary of your moods. Each square will represent a week and you will choose your colour for each day based on your mood. So some squares might be stripey and some plain – depending on how consistent your mood is throughout the week!

There are two lovely colourways to choose from – Moody Blues or Purple Haze. Each of the five colours has a little list of moods allocated to it and you can add to the lists if you’re in a mood that doesn’t fit. We will be using the beautiful Almerino DK by Rooster yarns which is a super soft and warm blend of Alpaca and Merino.

moody-blues

Starter packs are now available for pre-order over on my shop for £30. These will include the Moody Blanket pattern and one ball of each of the yummy shades to get you started. How much of each shade you use will depend on your moods so you will be able to purchase ‘top up’ packs with the shades you need throughout the year.

Starter packs will be posted out in December and the knit-along will begin on Monday 2nd January

You can choose to knit-along for six months and make a small Moody Blanket (approx 80cm x 120cm, using approx 22 x 50g balls), which would make a lovely sofa blanket. Or you can knit for a full year to make the large Moody Blanket (approx 120cm x 160cm, using approx 44 x 50g balls) which would sit nicely across a double bed to keep your toes toasty!

I will be knitting along with you throughout the year and you can chat with other Moody Blanket knitters and ask me questions over on my Ravelry group. I will also talk you through how to block, position and sew up your squares to create the finished blanket.

purplehaze

I can’t wait to see how everyone’s blankets look! Whatever mood we’re in – knitting is always comforting. I hope our Moody Blankets will help us spend more time thinking about how we feel and making sure we look after ourselves.

If you sign up for a Moody Blanket starter pack at Yarndale, you will receive free postage to the UK!

Mood Scarf- the story so far

We’re now four months into making mood scarves and I feel it’s time to stand back and take a look!

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I took mine to the pub the other night and my friends were marvelling at all the yellow (happy days). There has been a distinct lack of teal (sad days), since I gave up the day job! This is great – and certainly makes me feel that I’ve made the right decision in taking the leap. Although a few grey days (okay days) have started to creep in.

When I first started my mood scarf, I loved the way it forced me to stop,  assess the day and really think about how I feel. The longer I do it for, the quicker I get with making my colour choices. Unfortunately this isn’t because I’m becoming more aware of how I feel, but because I’m just not taking the time.

It shouldn’t be a chore to take a few minutes at the end of the day to think about how I feel. But sometimes it is! It requires a lot of dedication to do something every day and I guess this is why I forget to floss!

I know that grey days are creeping into my scarf because I’ve made a huge life changing decision and whether it’s good or bad it’s bound to be scary and unsettling. I’m also doing what I promised myself I wouldn’t do and I’m putting far too much pressure on myself. There are so many things I want to do and I want to do them all NOW!

My mood scarf has made me think about this and my mission is to relax a bit more and really take the time to think about my mood of the day rather than making a snap decision on the colour.

I know that a few people have stopped their mood scarves for various reasons. Maybe because of the time it takes, because they weren’t happy with their colour choices or perhaps because they’re having a truly rubbish time and don’t want to dwell on how they’re feeling. I completely understand this. If everyday is a sad colour then the mood scarf might make it difficult to focus on the positive things.

I won’t lie -it’s a challange! But I’m really glad I’ve kept it up and want to offer some encouragement and advice to those who’ve put the needles down:

  • Some of my friends have been listing their colours for each day and then catching up on the knitting when they get a chance. This is a great way to do it if you don’t have much free time!
  • If you started a scarf but have stopped for whatever reason – you don’t need to feel bad about missing a bit. Just pick it up again! We don’t all have to be at the same point so just do whatever suits you. You could do a random colour stripe to represent the patch where you stopped and then carry on from now.
  • If things are really rubbish and you can’t face thinking about your mood, then maybe you could start a positivity scarf instead? You could have a bad colour for days when you’ve done nothing positive, a colour for when you have and then your favourite colour which you can knit when you’ve done more than one positive thing. This might encourage you to do lots of positive things! Lynsey inspired me to think about this with her lovely new positive blog!
  • If you just stopped because you weren’t happy with the colours or pattern you chose then simply start again! (an excuse to buy more yarn I think?)

There are no rules and I can see from how different all the scarves are that they’re very personal to each of us. So if you haven’t joined in already -get started! And if you’re wavering – get stuck in again or start something new! It really is rewarding. I’m really loving seeing other people’s mood scarves so please keep sharing your pics with me.

Happy mood scarf knitting everyone x

Mood Scarf-along kick-off!

Today is the first day of British summer time, and therefore the first day of the mood scarf-along!

Thank you so much for sending me pics of your colours- as you can see from the selection above, we’re all going to have quite different mood scarves! Colour is such a personal thing, and I really agonised over my choices. The most difficult part was choosing the colour for my negative moods. I found it difficult to associate a colour I like with sadness or negativity, but I didn’t want to use a colour I don’t like in my scarf! As I said in my original mood scarf blog–  lovely Eleanor from Knit Nottingham pointed out that knitting a colour I love will be a comfort on my sad days!

So here is a quick re-cap of the 3 colours I have chosen for my mood scarf and what they mean for me.

Yellow (Rowan Pure Wool DK– Gold)= Happy, excited, positive.
Greyish (Rowan Felted Tweed– Clay)= Calm, content, okay.
Teal (Rowan Wool Cotton– Ship Shape)= Sad, angry, upset, worried.

I wanted to use three colours as I’m planning to carry the yarn up the side and any more than three would be too bulky. But I’m loving the fact that a lot of you have made your own plans! You’re more than welcome to follow the pattern I will be working to, but if like Eleanor, you don’t think you’d wear a scarf and prefer shawls, or maybe like Rebecka you prefer to crochet- then just do your own thing! I’m really looking forward to doing a show and tell on my facebook page every couple of weeks so we can see how different they all look!

Here are a few blogs people have written about their plans for the mood scarf-along-

Steph at Nettynot.

Eleanor of Knit Nottingham fame.

Lynsey’s Diary of the novice crafter.

Liv from knit group @livjaa.

And here’s my plan! I am making a fairly wide asymetric garter st scarf, so the width will be the diagonal width. I will be working two rows per day- as per the pattern below. Today I will count my cast on row as row 1 and then work row 2. My yarns are DK and I will cast on 85 sts on 3.5mm needles (shiny new needles!)

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: K1, M1, K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1.

If you’re feeling inspired to join in, but haven’t bought your yarn, raided your stash or made up your rules yet- it’s not too late! You can join in the fun whenever. It’s all very relaxed!

So, away we go! I’m going to keep my mood scarf by my bed and do it at the end of each day. I hope you all have happy days! And if not- I hope that knitting your mood scarf brings you a bit of calm at the end of the day.

Happy mood scarf knitting! x