I have given myself permission not to fret about fitting in any sketching or painting ’til November is out, so as to catch up with crocheting and sewing gifts for Christmas.

I have two crocheted cupcakes to complete (intended as play food to accompany my daughter’s tea set … I offer this as justification for what sounds on the face of it like an insanely silly undertaking, even to me, and I’m the one doing it), three pairs of fingerless mitts to get started on, another crayon wrap to sew, a sketch to frame and a number of cards still to make. Next year, by some miracle I might start planning the handmade stuff about six months earlier …

The project pictured – Danielle Kassner’s “Troubador Socks” from the Spring 2008 issue of Interweave Crochet – is my first attempt to get to grips with fair-isle crochet. I’m already doubting my choice of yarn, but after getting about seven rows into the toe and unravelling three times, I am just about at the stage of no longer feeling I’m wrestling with spaghetti, and instead, enjoying the process. These will be what they turn out to be: no expectation, no deadlines, no stress.

This isn’t, of course, one of my Christmas projects.

I’m such an idiot.