On this day 23 years ago, we were woken by an enormous crash as our apartment building was first raised up and then slammed down into the rock below. That was immediately followed by a series of violent jolts as the Great Hanshin Earthquake started in earnest. The mountain we lived on was pushed inland by about a metre and, sadly, many homes and their occupants did not survive.
That was the start of the Year of the Pig in 1995. Renowned for its association with troublesome times, the Year of the Pig lived up to its reputation that year!
The next Year of the Pig is less than 12 months away and already there are astrological predictions of disasters and difficult times ahead.
However, there are things we can do to prepare. It is said that in the current year, the Year of the Dog, it is good to climb a mountain so you can see further ahead.
Of course, it might be good exercise to actually climb a mountain or two! However if we look at it more figuratively, it might be that when you open your door you see difficulties like an actual mountain in front of you, but if you climb it then everything becomes clear.
In other words, this is a really good year to think about what you want to do, to develop your skills and set yourself challenges that will help you in the future.
If we apply this to knitting for a moment, what would you like to be able to do by the end of the year that you don't find easy now? Would you like to try more colourful projects, or more complex stitches?
How about actually designing something for yourself? Wouldn't it be great to start with an idea, find a stitch that you fancy trying and end up with something unique!
Through the year, I am going to revisit this concept and make suggestions for patterns, stitches and ideas to move your knitting skills forward, so 2019 will see you knitting like a pro!
I can think of many challenges I would like to set for myself, too - not least of which is completing some of the unfinished items I have in an overflowing basket right next to me! But more on this next time.
Until then, Happy Knitting!
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