Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sock Yarn Blanket: Weeks 52 and 53

I'm sorry I haven't been posting a lot. I have been really busy with family visits. Anyway, here is the progress I made last week (11 squares!!!!)

This is how the entire blanket looks now.

Hopefully I will have a better write up next week. <3

293/776, instead of 371

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Confession of a Sock-a-holic

Hello, my name is Heather. I am a sock-a-holic. I currently have eight pairs of socks on the needles, and have been seriously considering casting on another pair for days now. I need an intervention.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday Seven: Weeks 22 and 23

Week 22
One of my best friends went through the pile of stuff I am going to donate, and pulled out the magic number of clothing items. (7 things) I don't even know where some of this clothing came from... How do I have clothing of indeterminate origin in my house?

Week 23
Here are the containers out for charity collection.

The credit for the boxes goes to my sister. She brought those books when she visited because she knew I would donate them, whereas she would just let them sit around forever. My donations are 2 large bags of clothing (some items from my sister), a small bag of clothing, and a giant teddy bear that my littles don't play with. (4 things)

Also, these things jumped into a package I sent to my sister because she and I are notorious for leaving things behind after we visit. Let m clarify: I sent her a package full of things she accidentally left behind. I added these 3 things because I thought she would like them. (2 pairs of socks, a pair of jeans. 3 things)

7+4+3=14 things
Total things: 285

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sock Yarn Blanket: Weeks 50 and 51

It is hard to believe that my blanket  project is nearing the year mark! I am still behind, but hope to get back on track. I have more than a year to catch up, but the only way to make that happen is to not fall off track again. Wish me luck!

Week 50
I finished a test knit for my friend Josh Ryks. The pattern is called Fractured, and is set for release early next month. The shawl uses 3 colors of fingering weight yarn, so when I get through the rows of yarn I brought home from Zombie Knitpocalypse 2013, I will have more yarn from my own projects laying in wait to be added.

Here are the squares I added this week...
...and the yarn I plan to use next week.

Week 51
I started a test knit with this yarn this week

Here is the blanket progress

These are the yarns for the coming week.

 I will be finishing up the 3 rows of ZK yarn and moving on to using leftovers from my projects. I still have enough ZK yarn for another stripe, but I am ready for a change of pace. Look for another ZK stripe in the near future! 

275/776, instead of 364

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Social Anxiety: Episode 3

My social anxiety is self diagnosed. I have not been to a doctor to be formally diagnosed because doctors are expensive, and I already know that social situations make me anxious. My hope is that by sharing my experiences, I can help others in similar situations feel less alone.

This is the last episode for the week, though I plan to update in the future when I have something relevant to add.

Tonight saw a little bit of success. M has been sleeping since around 4:30p. I think she will sleep until tomorrow morning, because she woke up in the middle of the night with nightmares. That means G didn't have a playmate. The first hour was fine; he played with some toys. Then the restlessness broke in. Boyfriend read a couple books with him, then I read a couple books with him. We cuddled on my bed, reading our respective books (I had been napping when the restlessness began). By 7p, he was fidgety which was making me fidgety. I decided to do something we haven't done since we moved - go for a walk.

We got our shoes on and walked out the door. I could see a group of 10ish adults clustered near the mail boxes, but luckily they were dispersing by the time we got to the end of the street. I exchanged a few words with the neighbors from two doors down, but G and I kept walking. It wasn't a long walk; I let G decide which direction we should go, and after 10 minutes he said we should go home.

On our way back to the house, we saw our next door neighbor doing upkeep on his oldest son's dirt bike. The son is 17, and races the dirt bike almost every weekend, so there is a lot of necessary maintenance to keep it in proper working order. G is obsessed with the dirt bike. The younger son (he's in 8th grade) has a dirt bike that he rides in their backyard, and one of the kids down the street brings his quad over. Gabriel stands on the fence in our back yard, watching them the entire time they ride.

At the foot of the neighbor's driveway, Gabriel asked if we could go see the bike. We did, and I ended up having a half hour conversation with my neighbor. It is the first real conversation I have had on the street. I mean, I have talked to the other moms a little bit, but not much beyond the pleasantries.

Although I didn't talk to the large group of people, I did have real conversation with one neighbor, so I will count today as a success, and do my best tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Social Anxiety: Episode 2

My social anxiety is self diagnosed. I have not been to a doctor to be formally diagnosed because doctors are expensive, and I already know that social situations make me anxious. My hope is that by sharing my experiences, I can help others in similar situations feel less alone.

I plan to focus on this issue for a few, and then to update in the future when I have something relevant to add.

My new neighborhood is a great place. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac. The road that takes you to our street is also a cul-de-sac. There is very little traffic, and all the kids, ages 2 through 17, play in the street. Everyone 4 and over knows to get out of the street when a car comes, and the tweens help corral the younger kids (i.e. my daughter). The older kids play with the younger kids (the tweens ride their bikes at a speed that my son can match with his training wheels). All the adult neighbors I have met so far are really friendly. I should have no problem taking the kids outside, and yet...

The following inner monologue occurred about a week ago.

All the neighbors are outside. I should take the littles outside, so they can play with the other kids. That would be fun for them. Maybe G could ride his bike. M can ride her train. Maybe I will take my spindle outside; the neighbor kids enjoyed playing with it last time. *I notice there is a group of 8 or so parents standing together, talking.* I wonder what they are talking about. Will they think I am being rude if I don't come over right away? Will it be awkward if I do go over, but don't have anything to say? Maybe I can just spin, and hang out with the kids instead. Will that make them think I am being anti-social? What if I just stood by them and and spun? No, that is weird. Ugh. I don't want to be weird, but I don't want to just stand there, either.


More of the same followed, until I had completely talked myself out of taking the kids outside. They were playing in the backyard, so I wasn't denying them outside time. I still feel like a fail mom, though, for not encouraging my littles to be social.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Social Anxiety: Episode 1

My social anxiety is self diagnosed. I have not been to a doctor to be formally diagnosed because doctors are expensive, and I already know that social situations make me anxious. My hope is that by sharing my experiences, I can help others in similar situations feel less alone.

I plan to focus on this issue for the next couple of days, and then to update in the future when I have something relevant to add.

The following was posted to a couple of my friends on August 9, 2013.

I was motivated. I had the kids ready, I had the return I had to make in the car, I had plans to be a grown up and get stuff done. But boyfriend left the running lights on in the SUV 2 days ago, and now the battery is dead. All motivation is depleted. My plans immediately changed to stay home and clean the house instead. Laundry needs to be done, the garage needs to be organized, and I haven't cleaned the kitchen in 2 days. Okay, I can deal with this change of plans. I don't like it, but I can deal. It will be okay.

I sent boyfriend a text saying the car battery is dead. The text he sent back seems so absurd to me. And terrifying. "See if one of the neighbors can jump it." Easy, right? Just knock on a neighbor's door, ask a question, no big deal, right? Wrong. The idea of going over to a neighbor's house to ask a favor is making me want to cry and almost throw up. Seriously. I am about to have a panic attack.

The thing is, I have only talked to each of my neighbors once - the conversations when you are both walking in from the car at the same time and go a little something like, "Hi, I'm [insert name here]. You must be our new neighbor." "Yes, I'm Heather. The kids are M and G; my boyfriend is S." A couple more sentences, maybe, then in the house. I don't know these people. I remember their names, of course (okay, so I wrote them all down so I wouldn't forget), but I have a really hard time asking for help. Especially when I don't really *need* it. I can wait for boyfriend to get home and jump the car for me.

Additionally, I don't even know how to jump a car. I know the basic premise, and why it works, but I have no idea which clamp goes where. So I would need to find someone who can bring their car over, and knows how to jump a car.

I am not emotionally prepared for this. I know this is stupid. I am a grown up, and kind of a bad ass. I have spent the past week cutting trees with bow saws, and sawing/sanding/painting lawn chairs.

But this... this I am having a really hard time with.


Even when I was in the moment, I realized that some people would find it incomprehensible. My boyfriend, for instance, has no trouble asking the neighbors things. Can he borrow a wrench to change out the battery in the SUV, for instance. I feel a little ridiculous when I start panicking over  little social interaction. What am I worried about? I don't know, I just am. 

I am painfully shy, but not socially awkward. When one person introduces me to another, I can easily make conversation. The problem arises when I have to initiate contact. I don't like to do it. Last month, my dad called me to chat and he said, "You know, you could pick up the phone to call me every once in a while." I responded that I rarely call anyone, and that is wasn't personal. Which is true. When I initiate a phone call, I do it to relay information and keep it as brief as possible. I call my best friend to tell her to wake up because I am coming over. I call my boyfriend to remind him to do something, because a text is easy to miss. The exception is my sister, who I call to vent. It just never occurs to me to call people to chat. If someone calls me to chat, though, that is fine. I hold up my end of the conversation well.

If I don't even initiate conversation with my family, consider how much more difficult it is to do so with strangers.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How to: Have a Gank Day

What is a Gank Day?
Gank Day is a great event where one gets together with his or her friends and everyone brings clothing, accessories, books, etc. that they are no longer interested in. Then people sort through the offerings, and people take what they want.

How to: Have a Gank Day

Step 1: Figure out a day
This seems pretty self explanatory, but you need to figure out when you want to have a gank day. It should be far enough away the people will have time to cull their rooms/houses, but not so far off that they will forget about it. I like to schedule them out 2-4 weeks.

Step 2: Set up a donations pick up/drop off
Chances are there will be some things that no one is interested in. Rather than forcing the person who brought it to take it back home, bag/box up the leftovers and give them to charity. In my neighborhood a charity truck comes around every 2 months. Near my hometown, there is a huge Salvation Army drop off center that accepts donations a few days a week. Figure out where the orphaned things will go before they are left behind.

Step 3: Invite some friends 
It is best if the friends have overlapping taste in clothing, books, whatever people are planning to bring. If you invite a friend who only wears pastels and another who only wears black, chances are they won't be able to use much of each other's clothing. Of course, if you are inviting 10 people with varying tastes and those two people are part of the 10, they could both find things they want in the offerings.

Step 4: Prepare the space
How you want to hold gank day is up to you. Do you want everyone to lay out their stuff in piles, and let people look at stuff at their leisure? Do you want to hold up each article one at a time and let people call out when they want things? Both options work well, depending on the number of people/things involved. Both options also take some prep work.

  • Put stuff in piles: There should be enough space so that each person's pile has some breathing room around it. People need to be able to move things around to see what is available, and they should have space to set aside what they choose without having to worry that someone else will take them. If possible, leave a corner available for people to set aside their containers/bags once their stuff is set out, and they can put their new finds into those containers. Important: For this option, you want to leave out as little extra as possible. You don't want your friends to accidentally take some of your decor because they thought it was up for grabs.
  • Auction style: People will need comfortable places to sit. For my friends, this includes the floor, so I pretty much always have enough seating. If your friends don't sit on the floor, you might need to pull furniture from other rooms to accommodate.

Step 5: Host Gank Day!
Have some snacks and drinks available. Make introductions when necessary. Rifle through things and hopefully gather a few (free!) additions to your life.

Step 6: Prepare the leftovers
Once all the guests have made their selections, leftover items should be packed up, ready for donations. You can choose to have your friends help with this part, or do it yourself. Just be sure to do it immediately; you don't want all that stuff cluttering up your space.

Step 7: Donate
I'm pretty sure this one is self explanatory.

More about Gank Day
What can people bring?
This is up to you, but some ideas that have worked in the past:
Clothing, shoes, electronics, movies, books, small appliances, food that has been in the pantry that you bought on a whim but know you won't eat (nothing expired, though), bedding, craft supplies, furniture (for large pieces, photographs will suffice), baby/pet accessories... If it goes in a person's home and is still useful though is not being used, I allow it to come to my Gank Day. What you allow is your choice.

How does it work?
People bring stuff. Other people go through it, and take what they want. It is like shopping, but free. Of course, you could choose to have people pay for things; that is on you (or your guests). Whatever works best for you. If you wanted to have a yard sale with the leftovers instead of donating them, that is perfectly acceptable. The main idea is to not throw away perfectly good things just because you don't use them anymore.

What if my friends live far away?
Have an e-party. Use skype or google hangouts to show off your items, then exchange items the next time you see each other, or be prepared to ship things. You could also use photobucket or dropbox to upload photos of your things for people to look at and decide if they want them.

What happens if more than one person wants one item?
Expect this to happen. If you are in that situation and you don't absolutely love it, let it go. If you both think you love it, try it on. Use it for its intended purpose. See if it is something you really need to have. Chances are, one person will like it more than the other.  

What is the point?
There are a lot of pros of Gank Day. You get to rid yourself of some clutter. You have the opportunity to find things that you love without having to spend money. Things have the chance to be useful, rather than sitting in the back of a closet for years. By donating, you keep those items out of a landfill. 

Have you ever had a gank day? How did it go? 
Please leave stories, comments, and questions below.

Monday, August 19, 2013

How to: make a top whorl drop spindle

Maybe you want to make a drop spindle, but you don't want to make a Turkish. If you have a knitting needle and some cardboard, you can make a spindle in about 2 minutes.

You will need:
A straight knitting needle
An empty cereal (cracker, pasta, etc) box
A scrap length of yarn (not pictured)
Some fiber so spin


Markers, crayons, paint, etc.

How to:
1. Cut out the back of the box. Cut the resulting rectangle in half to create two short, wide rectangles. Stack the rectangles.
2. Using the ruler, determine the length of the rectangle. Mark the width to be the same as the length. Cut off the excess.
3. Find the center of the resulting square. Push your knitting needle through the center point of both squares.

Ta da! You have a functional top whorl drop spindle! To use, attach yarn to the shaft below the whorl. Bring the strand over the whorl and use a half hitch to anchor it below the knob on the straight needle. Attach the yarn to the fiber and start spinning!

Optional prettiness:
4. Turn the top square so it is a diamond on top of the bottom square. Glue in place.
5. Once the glue is dry, decorate!

Wondering how well this spindle work? About this well.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Knitting with hand spun

I have been spinning for about a year now. I don't always spin everyday, or spin for long stretches of time, but I do really enjoy the process. Perhaps you remember my how to: make a turkish spindle. Spindles don't have to be particularly expensive, though they certainly can be. Fiber can be obtained for very little (or sometimes no!) cash, or you can purchase rarer, more processed, indie dyed stuff. This search on etsy can give you an idea.  

 When Tour de Fleece 2013 ended, I did a round up post. In that post, I showed a beautiful green yarn I spun. For the first time since last Tour de Fleece, I have knit something with my hand spun! 

These lovelies are made with yarn I spun using 100% BFL from Greenwood Fiberworks in the Adirondack colorway. I did a 2-ply, and got a sport weight. The mitt pattern is Reciprocation by Michelle Hunter. 

I consider these mitts my first project knit with my hand spun. The first yarn that I made was thick and thin, and I made a mug cozy. It is nice, and does keep my tea hot, but... It is garter stitch. There is nothing wrong with garter stitch, mind you, but I wanted to try something a little more complex with my hand spun. So I did cables. Yay cables!

Don't worry that this trend in spinning but not knitting with it will continue.  The spinning project I am currently working on will eventually turn into a 3-ply fingering weight that I intend to make into socks. (Working toward numbers 27 and 28 on my 101 list.) I am almost done with the singles, and can start plying soon.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday 7: Week 21

This week, there was a lot of stuff removed from my place. There were also a few things acquired, because my sister and I had a Gank Day. First, the things I got rid of:

A stack of clothing. There are 24 things in the picture, and she took at least 2 additional bathrobes. (26 things)

Arm warmers I made for her (those don't count), a kindle, and 15 books (one of the books belongs to a friend of mine, so I had to put it back on my shelf). (16 things)

In the spirit of gank day, I acquired a little bit, too. 6 articles of clothing (though I picked out 9 to try on, so I sort of kept to my 2/3 challenge...) and 3 books.

26 things + 16 things - 9 things = 33 things less in my house. 
Total things: 271

Special guest appearance: Amanda's things

This is the stack of adult clothing that Amanda brought that will be donated if none of my friends claim them.

She also brought 6 boxes/bags of books:

Total things: a couple hundred

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sock Yarn Blanket: Week 49

How has your week been? Mine is going pretty well. I got to work on my Sock yarn blanket a lot, so that is good. You know the drill, squares with stitch markers are from this week.

Here are the yarns I will be playing with in the coming week:

I finished one of the pairs of test knit socks this week:
(I am waiting on the rest of the pattern for the other one.)

I also started a test knit of a shawl made using sock yarn - ignore the black, that is not part of the shawl.

258/776, instead of 343 (I am slowly catching up!)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

5 Reasons Shopping at the Thrift Shop is AH-MAY-ZING

1. Thrift stores know people aren't going to buy junk. If you haven't been in a thrift shop in a decade or two, you might not realize that most of the racks are filled with name brand stuff in really good condition. Sometimes the clothes even have the original tacks still attached. Seriously. If the clothes are worn or stained when donated, they don't make it to the rack.

2. In many shops, clothes are sorted by article, then color, and sometimes by size, too. That means if you know you want a blue t-shirt in a women's size medium, you only have to check through that particular part of a rack to see if they have a style you like. This is nice for me, since I mostly wear black t-shirts, so I know where to start looking when I want to find something. I'd rather scope out one rack of black t-shirts to find something I like than walk an entire store, looking at t-shirts, hoping that a few of them will be black.

3. For the cost of one t-shirt at the mall, you can get at least 3 at the thrift store. Most thrift stores have weekly sales, though, so if you know what day of the week they have the "All purses and shoes half off until 3pm" sale, you can get 3 pairs of shoes, a bag, and a dress to go with them for less than you will pay for a pair of shoes at DSW.

4. Clothes are already broken in. That means I don't have to worry that my jeans are going to be too lose to wear at the end of a day (brand new jeans lie to me about end-of-day fit all the time). I know how that skirt is going to lay because it doesn't have any of the starch/sizing brand new clothes do that make them look just so on the rack. Thrift shop clothes don't lie like mall clothes do.

5. This is definitely the mom in me showing, but... They sell things other than clothes at thrift shops. Do you know how much a baby saucer costs full price? According to babies r us, about $90. Even with coupons, you can't beat the deal my best friend found - $5. For an activity saucer. That is 95% off! Both of my kids played with it, both of them thought it was awesome, and when I pulled it out of storage to give it to a friend, both kids wanted to play with it again. If you are looking to furnish your place on the cheap and don't mind giving items a little revamp, you can find great deals at a thrift shop.

Note: I know I just posted about wanting to get rid of unwanted clothing, and having less, and how ridiculous I find my closet, but... Eventually, I will need to shop for clothing again. Clothing shopping is a pretty rare thing for me - 2 tank tops at the beginning of this summer, 2 pairs of jeans over last winter, a few sun dresses at the beginning of last summer, about 5 t-shirts from the thrift store in September 2011. Those are my last 4 clothing purchases, not including bras, undies, and shoes (replaced as needed). At the rate my favorite t-shirts are starting to show wear, I will need to replace them in the next year or so. When I do, I will be heading to a thrift shop. (Or, even better, my friends and I will have a gank day - but info on that in an upcoming post.) 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday 7: Week 20

This week, we only got rid of 1 thing, but it was a big one: A large flat screen tv that was taking up space in my craft room closet. Steve sold it for $100, which is way more than it was worth sitting unused in a closet.

Total things: 228

This week is short, and I don't even have a picture. Next week should be more impressive. My sister is going to visit, and I hope she will be taking some of the clothing back with here.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sock Yarn Blanket: Week 48

Really? Two weeks since I posted about the blanket? I know I took the blanket's picture last week. I even took a picture of the yarn I was planning to use this week. Oh, well. Let me go take new pictures, then I will be back.

please enjoy this musical interlude while I get everything organized
do do do do... bum bum bum bum...

Okay, I'm back! So here is what I have accomplished since you last saw the blanket:

I have a few squares left to go this week (yarn on the left), and I picked out the yarn for this week (right). If I finish my other crafting goals for next week, I will grab another mini skein and do an 8th square for the week. It seems really likely that I will. I already grabbed an extra mini for this week.

Since I last chatted with you, I finished the Ziprelaxagon socks by Kirsten Hall. They are fantastic! That little ball under my heel is all I have left over. It will look wonderful in the blanket :)

I started two test knits for socks, too. I can't show you much, but I can let you see the pretty yarn colors.

The blanket will see you next week!

249/776, instead of 336

Thursday, August 8, 2013

101 in 1001 - 6/101 complete, 11 updated

I haven't forgotten about this list; no, I have had it in the back of my mind, and have even added to it. More than that, I have made progress on it. Since more than half a year has gone by since I started the list, lets see how I am doing so far.

101 Things in 1001 days
Start date: 24 January, 2013       End date: 22 October, 2015

1. Complete 50 pairs of socks - 17/50 pairs,  updated: 8/8/13
2. Publish 5 patterns
3. Make 10 pairs of socks for me - 5/10 pairs, updated: 8/8/13
4. Make 3 sweaters - Sweater 1 completed 2/14/13, updated: 8/8/13
5. Finish  lion brand homespun lapghan
6. Finish sock yarn blanket -32%,  updated: 8/8/13
7. Finish MSYB - 12%,  updated: 8/8/13
8. Finish all the repurposed arm warmers
9. Finish Steve's quilt
10. Finish 4 rag rugs
11. Spin or gift all the fiber from Carrie
12. Fit into my size 5 jeans
13. Type [x] story
14. Attempt to get published
15. Clean the storage room
16. Document 52 weeks of decluttering - Week 19, updated: 8/8/13
17. Learn to dye
18. Spin enough of one yarn to make a sweater
19. Make ^that sweater.
20. Record and post 100 podcasts
21. Pare down books DONE July 2013 - 3 daiper boxes, 7 large paper bags gone
22. Completely clean desk area
23. Finish watching Supernatural
24. Read WoT series
25. Make soap
26. Knit 10 Cookie A patterns 1. Kai-Meiupdated: 8/8/13
27. Spin yarn for socks - Have singles more than half spun, updated: 8/8/13
28. Knit ^those socks
29. Attend a fiber/yarn retreat DONE June 20-23, 2013 Zombie Knitpocalypse
30. Do yoga 3x a week for 3 months
31. Read LotR (audio books okay)
32. Make an entrelac project Done Aug 3, 2013 ziprelaxagon socks
33. Knit something with beads
34. Do a colorwork knitting project - started June 10, 2013, updated: 8/8/13
35. Attempt a sweet tomato heel DONE April 25, 2013 cursed cable shorties
36. Read A Song of Fire and Ice- currently listening to "A Storm of Swords" updated: 8/8/13
37. Read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books
38. Visit Rachel
39. Make bagels from scratch DONE Spring 2013 using the recipe from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter
40. Finish the blue journal and the black journal - blue journal full, updated: 8/8/13
41. Write up the Peter Pan story
42. Learn Tunisian crochet
43. Make something with a Latvian braid
44. Make baby blankets with the yarn that has been set aside
45. Make Becka's corset
46. Read all of Grimm's  fairytales
47. Finish writing the sequel to [x]'s story
48. Drive for a Michigan Trip DONE May 2013 - made the drive home from Michigan by myself
49. Make a project with corrigated ribbing
50. Drive to NJ to visit Becka's parents
51. Build a side table for my craft room
52. Plant a garden.
53. Harvest a meal from the garden.
48-53 added, 54 - 101: TBD

I'm up for suggestions to add to my list

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Saturday 7: Week 19

I told you last week that I was going through my clothing, right? Well, since Becka and I shared all of our stuff until we broke up last year, I figured I'd give her first pick on the clothing I was getting rid of. She took a little. (5 things)

Then, she happened to be sitting in my craft room as I was unpacking yarn. I came across this colorway that I am not particularly in love with, and I know she can't just buy yarn willy-nilly like I can. I asked if she liked it, and she did, so I gave the yarn to her with the stipulation that I wanted her leftovers for my sock yarn blanket. (1 thing)

The last offerings for the week came up when Becka was looking at my wall of built in book shelves. One shelf is dedicated to books that will be donated if they are not scooped up by friends. Becka saw two books on the shelf and took them: Toreador and Tzimisce, not pictured.

This week: 8 things
Total so far: 227 things

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tour de Fleece 2013 round up

Tour de Fleece ended about a week and a half ago, but I am just now getting around to talk about it. Yep, I am falling behind already. Oh, well.

I did pretty well this year, I think. I spun about 160 yards in a sport weight 2-ply of BFL (green), about 180 yards in a sport to light worsted single of peruvian wool (blue), I made an entire turtle (unknown yardage) that I hope will turn into a 3-ply fingering weight yarn of superwash merino (purple/brown), and I started playing with brown wool and colored locks which is a heavy worsted single - I will probably 2-ply it.

My spinning is definitely more consistent than it was last year during the tour. Here is my round up photo from then:

I can't wait to see what next year's round up looks like.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday 7: An additional challenge

Instead of talking about counts this week, I want to tell you a little of what has been going on here. We just moved into a new house with very little warning. I had 3 weeks to get as packed as possible while watching my littles, and then moving day happened. Maybe you are much better at culling your life than I am, but I still had a lot of stuff that didn't get thoroughly gone through before we moved. That means I moved clutter from one house to another. sigh

The easiest place to see the clutter is in clothing. We have so much clothing we don't use. I have been trying very hard to get rid of unwanted clothing the since I started this project, but... I have been holding on to a lot unnecessarily. Clothes that don't fit well, but have memories attached (note to self, I am not going to be 4 inches shorter for a looooong time...), clothing I liked when I bought it, but haven't worn in a long time. Clothing that other people could be wearing, instead of sitting neglected in the back of my closet.

I realize my relationship with clothing is not the same as others': My rule for jeans is if they don't smell and they aren't visibly dirty, they don't need to go in the laundry. I have several pairs, but I only wear one or two pairs until they fall apart, then I pull a pair out of reserve. (I have been known to mend a favorite pair of jeans until there is no possibly way to mend it again, and then I turn it into something else.) I don't sweat, so a single tank top can last me an entire weekend, and the only reason I put it in the laundry is because it is stretched out. The same goes for t-shirts and socks (aired out over night, of course). My jeans rule also applies to hoodies, sweaters and sweat shirts. The only clothes that automatically go in the laundry at the end of the day are undies.

You would think, with clothing rules like that, that I would rarely have to do laundry. Once upon a time, in college, that was true. I did one load of laundry every two weeks (and a second of bedding) and was good. Now, however, I find little hand prints on my shirts. Glasses of milk are spilled on my jeans. And, of course, I do laundry for my children and boyfriend, too. If they are being kind to laundry, I can get away with not having to do more than 2 loads of laundry a week. More often, though, I do a load (or two!) a day!!!! 

These clothes are not always dirty, though. Well, okay, they are, but sometimes they are dirtied before that have been on a body. I don't mind doing laundry, but I HATE putting it away. Right now, I am looking at a basket of laundry waiting to be folded. Likely it will wait until tomorrow, because I put away 4 full baskets this morning. If it sits there long enough, my littlest will start pulling clothes out of the basket, one article at a time, and distribute them around our home. Some articles will be fine, ending up in harmless places: on a clean floor, on a bed, on the couch. Some articles, though, will be less lucky: dropped in a toilet, put in the dogs' water bowl outside, used to wipe up a spill on the floor. 

I realized as I was folding a shirt I remembered folding a few days before, and a few days before that, but that had been worn by no one, that I was washing clothes that I shouldn't have to. Worse, it was a shirt I haven't worn in more than a year, and don't particularly want to wear now. That is when an idea happened. I put away the laundry that belonged to the rest of my family, and then I went through my closet, one section at a time, and pulled out 1/3 of it. That means if I had 9 around the house t-shirts, now I have 6. I picked 1/3 because it seemed like a big enough percent to make me really decide if I wanted to keep a shirt I haven't worn in 6 months but really love, but not a big enough number to make me have to chose between clothing I enjoy wearing frequently.

For the most part, it was pretty easy-peasy. For dressy t-shirts, it was a little more tricky, but after trying on a few of the contenders I easily decided on what could stay and what had to go. 

I haven't tackled my dresser yet, but I have been keeping strict to the 1/3 rule as I unpack more caches of clothing. The pile on my dresser for friends to look through before I donate is getting bigger. I would guess there are about 40 things up for grabs right now (typing that makes me freak out a little at the implication of how much clothing I still own...).

Here is where the challenge comes in: Pick a percentage right now. 10% is good. 33% is good. Any number that you think will push you to get rid of things you don't wear anyway but won't cause you to have a panic attack is best. Now pick a drawer, or a section of your closet, and go through it, removing the appropriate number of articles and donating them. Or trading them. I don't recommend putting them in your craft stash unless you are going to use them RIGHT NOW - that is just a way to say you are cleaning out your closet without actually cleaning it out. Now enjoy your space, and the knowledge that the next time you grab out a t-shirt/pair of jeans/dress, it will be one you will actually want to wear.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blanket Project: Week 46

I have been working away on the blanket this week. Really, it is my favorite project to work on and I have to force myself to work on other things. Ready to see how gorgeous it is? I finished the row I was working on. I can't wait to start a new row! I plan to crack open my bag of yarn from the Zombie Knitpocalyspe as soon as possible!

In other sock yarn use news, I finished up a pair of mitts.
Cursed Cable Mitts by Mel-Tran Designs
I picked up a pair of socks that has been sitting for about a month.
Ziprelaxagon Socks by Kirstin Hall
I also have a test knit I will be starting this week.

237/776, instead of 322