english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England

A Malachi Vest & an Early New Year’s Resolution


Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

Hoorah, I finally made it back to my blog. A little more on that below, but first a finished knitted garment; the Malachi Vest from Purl Alpaca Designs.

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

I bought the yarn and pattern for this vest as a kit from Purl Alpaca Designs at Yarnporium over a year ago. This make was a case of falling in love with the product photo. I still want to recreate the whole look, as the model looks sooo good. I used the recommended yarn, Purl Alpaca’s 100% pure alpaca medium yarn in colours Alpaca Earth and Champagne.

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

In typical fashion I started knitting this last January, but didn’t finish it until April when it was too warm to wear. I was very happy to pack this vest for a recent trip to Rome and Paris, where I finally got chance to wear it, and where these photos were taken. I’m still figuring out what to wear it with, and (thanks to the product photo) I think I need a white shirt – something my wardrobe is currently missing, ever since I threw out the last RTW one I owned.

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

Knitting, along with sewing, blogging, and all of my other hobbies, had fallen by the wayside this year.

A little over six months ago I was asked to ‘act up’ at work and take on a raft of new responsibilities. Although ostensibly a change of role, in reality these responsibilities were on top of my existing job, since the existing work still needed to be delivered. In fact, over that six-month period the workload only continued to expand, and, as that happened, I made the decision to keep on top of the workload by increasingly extending my working days and retaining less and less time for my hobbies.

As an indication, I’ve published 1-2 blog posts per week for the last five years (an average of 64 –  86 per year), with 2017 the first year I didn’t manage that frequency of posts (or anything like it) since 2011.

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

Reducing time for my hobbies seemed a sensible decision; the best way to avoid them feeling like an additional task to tick off a to-do list. However, it also meant that I didn’t participate in things I’ve previously enjoyed (like pattern testing or community challenges) this year, and when the lure of a community challenge (like the Refashioners) or pattern test proved too great to resist, I invariably failed to complete by the deadline.

Those hobby-related activities which did have deadlines, like the Sewing Weekender or SewBrum, were less fun this year than previously. As organiser, half the fun of an event is in the preparation (as the event itself always whizzes by so fast), and if you have very little time for that preparation, and not enough to do as good a job as you would like, it takes away some of the enjoyment – and leads you to rely heavily on others (apologies to Kate, Rachel & Lauren!).

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

Even trips like the holiday where these photos were taken became less appealing in advance, because when you’re working pretty much every evening you don’t have time to prepare yourself to go away, and are really keen to spend as much time as possible at home.

I was willing to commit time to work over my hobbies for one reason only – I have the best colleagues, who are some of my absolute favourite people, and I assumed by working hard I could make some positive changes which would benefit all of us.

In the last couple of weeks, my role at work changed in a way which meant that the workload (at least in the short-term) would continue, and likely increase, but my ability to actually make improvements to support my friends was further decreased. At the same time my body decided enough hours was enough and required a few days at home, resting and stocking up on vitamins.

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

As is often the case, a little distance helped me to see sense. If the one reason I was willing to take on a difficult role was removed, why was I continuing? I’ve returned to my previous role at work and I’ve committed to a New Year’s Resolution starting right away, in advance of the New Year. I’ll no longer be working excessive hours; I’m going to do as good a job as possible during my working hours, and then I’m going to head home and spend my time on my hobbies.

Expect to see a lot more of me in 2018.

Charlotte x

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest

Purl Alpaca Designs Malachi Vest


Author: Charlotte

Sewist, crafter & blogger, based in Birmingham, England. I'm spending the year growing and gathering to create natural dyes and enhance my sewing projects. Find me at www.englishgirlathome.com

17 thoughts on “A Malachi Vest & an Early New Year’s Resolution

  1. A Tank Top!

  2. Good for you Charlotte, trying to get the work and home life balance is important, best wishes for your new year to come filled with enjoyment from doing the things you want to do, time to put yourself first for a change🤔

  3. Thanks for sharing that work story. I, too, took on longer work hours a couple months ago and am having trouble managing my blog “business” and hobby. It makes me sad and stressed out and I’m trying to figure out a solution. But I think it starts with knowing when to say no and nevermind.

    • Sorry for being slow to reply and thanks so much for your comment. I hope you’ve been able to find a better balance over Christmas and into 2018, and aren’t being left feeling stressed and exhausted. I think I’ve always thought of myself as someone who is ‘hardworking’ and ‘strong’ – and it made me slow to realise the impact work was having on me. P.S. your blog photography is gorgeous x

  4. Good for you. Getting balance is not easy nor is acknowledging that things are unbalanced. An we your blogging audience will benefit from your decision!

  5. Good for you in sorting out what was important to you. Work/life balance is so import. Love the vest, it’s something I’ve been wanting to make for ages.

  6. I applaud your decision to return to a more balanced life. I was also put under an incredible workload for three years and, as a result, I collapsed at work and suffered post concussion syndrome as well as a host of other ailments, many of them chronic. That incident took away my ability to earn a living and I was classified as ‘disabled.’ It took ten years to return to my sewing and I lost my confidence and many skills during the time it took to recuperate. So, do take care of yourself and continue to develop your rich creative skills.

    • Apologies for not replying sooner, and thank you so much for your comment. I’m so glad to hear that you were finally able to return to sewing and hopefully other hobbies too. I definitely think getting sick when I did was ultimately good for me, as it was an early wake up call. I’m making much better use of my evenings and weekends lately – plenty of sewing, and other nice things too. x

  7. I hope you stick to your resolution. Life is about balance and you do not get the time back. I loved my job ( now inearly retirement) however jobs / companies will squeeze every last drop from you and extra work does not equal extra personal rewards. As you get older you realise how important the balance is for your own health and sanity. Take time to enjoy your hobbies.
    I was at the Sewing Weekender and it was very well organised. I hope you find the energy and enthusiasm to do it again and get more enjoyment from it I will certainly be there if I can get a ticket

  8. Glad you are being sensible. I have missed your blog and your presence at Guild.

  9. Firstly love the knit. Great pattern, fit and colour and I’m envious. Sounds like a very hard year, and I’m even more grateful for the wonderful time I had at SewBrum and the sewing weekender. I’m writing this on the morning of my second day of interviews for Principal so I don’t think I’ve ever got it right!

  10. Good for you! It can be hard to say no, but it definitely sounds like the right decision for your life. Wishing you (and everyone) a wonderful start to 2018!

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