When I started knitting again one of the first bits of kit I started looking for was a good squared note book. In the end I got a 5mm squared moleskine. It isn't perfect - 3mm squares are a better size, but annoyingly hard to find.
What moleskine does provide is a hard cover, and the useful back pockets for loose pages of pattern. It's also become a really useful yarn diary over the last few years. I had a dim idea that keeping a note of the yarns I bought would be a good thing, so now it's a post Shetland ritual to sit down and catalogue everything I've bought.
I don't really buy yarn anywhere else - because I've already got so much of it, but the walls of colour in both Jamieson's and Jamieson and Smith's are irrisistable to anyone with magpie instincts. I don't try and resist at all, which was why when I spread out all the yarn last night even I was surprised by how much there was.
The first year I went on a yarn mission I had no real idea about what a ball of wool would look like when knitted up, so everything came more or less in singles, and was just colours I liked. What that shows me know is how much the colour range changes with both companies - these are not static ranges at all.
The year after that I was more interested in the different weights of yarns, and the Jamieson and Smith Heritage ranges. Then in buying a more restricted palate but in sufficient quantities to knit larger things. What I really notice about last year's colours are how they reflect the landscape immediately around my father's house. This was inadvertent at the time but makes me really happy now.
This year I wanted to fill gaps - I realised when I wanted some greens earlier in the year that I really hadn't got many. The same for vibrant raspberry pinks. I also made myself buy colours I wouldn't normally look at in an effort to learn more about putting them together in fair isle patterns.
I also bought a couple of cones of yarn - at 500g they're the equivalent of 20 balls - and if they seem like a sizable initial investment they work out at less than half the price of buying individual balls. These are from the Jamieson and Smith Heritage range. They're natural shades and lovely to knit with so I was really pleased to get them. Maybe they will become the jumpers I keep thinking about starting...