Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wool and Honey

I started a new sweater this month. I've wanted to knit Wool and Honey since it came out. It's a very clever design and I think that the cropped length and geometric cable pattern would suit me well. When dreareneeknits had a sale in January, I purchased it. I've been trying not to mindlessly buy patterns just because they're on sale, so I pledged to myself that I would cast-on for the sweater once I finished my Sizzle Pop shawl.

I am using Knit Picks Stroll that's been in my stash for ages. I don't think this yarn is ideal for the pattern as it's thinner than BT Loft, but it's working out ok. Using up stash is more important to me at the moment than finding the exact perfect yarn. I absolutely love this shade of emerald green.

Like I mentioned, I do think that the design is very elegant, but I'm finding the actual knitting a bit of a slog. I put this down for about a week because I just didn't feel like working on it. I picked it back up a couple of days ago and I'm going to try my best to finish it by mid-March. Because I can basically never follow a pattern as written I was thinking about switching to stockinette stitch after the yoke because I think garter in the round is a big reason why I'm not enjoying this knit. But I'll figure that out later. For now I'm just concentrating on making it through the yoke.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Winter Handmade Capsule Week 5 and Wrap-up

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So this is it! I'm quitting early and it feels fantastic. Lumberjack me up there is thrilled.

I have not been enjoying the capsule this time around so I decided to cut my losses and just end it after today. I touched on the reasons I wasn't liking it last week and to that I'll add a few more thoughts.

When I started trying capsules a couple of years ago it was because I had a clothes shopping problem. I kept buying more clothes and feeling like I had nothing to wear. Doing a capsule for a month or ten days or whatever helped me to get ideas on how to get more out of the clothing I already own. I combined pieces in different ways and the act of limiting my wardrobe helped me to recognize that nobody besides me notices or cares what I wear and that I'm not getting judged if I wear the same pair of pants two weeks (or even two days) in a row.

But this time around I had figured all of that out already. And in 2019 so far I haven't purchased a single item of RTW clothing and have added only a handful of me-mades. I feel like my closet is in a pretty good place and I'm still regularly purging pieces that don't make sense anymore. The value this time around was supposed to come from trying out an all-handmade wardrobe. I guess I was trying to judge if I could be that person who only wears me-mades.

And the answer is, of course I could if that is what I had available. If I had a cohesive me-made wardrobe where everything went together, it wouldn't be any different from a regular capsule. But I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. My pieces didn't all flow together easily and I was trying to make them work when they really didn't. and so I hated getting dressed in the morning. I could always think of better outfits than the one I was currently wearing if I allowed myself to incorporate my other clothes.

That's why I've decided to quit after a month. I feel like I really gave it a chance and it's time to stop when I'm not having fun and there's nothing more I can learn. This isn't the only reason but I also think that I stopped sewing partly because this challenge was a real drag and made me not want to make new things when I couldn't wear them for awhile.

At this point I don't think I will be doing any more capsule challenges. Unless I feel myself sliding back into old habits and acquiring too much stuff I don't think it's necessary. I feel very free at the prospect of waking up tomorrow and being able to wear whatever I want. I can store my capsule items away for a little while until I feel like wearing them again. Like I've said in the past I don't regret doing the challenge because I did learn something new this time: that I don't need to do capsules anymore. It sounds a little silly, but hey--that's valuable information too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Carnival

Carnival 2ply

I've been sticking to #spin15aday and by that I mean I only spin 15 minutes a day. I listen to a podcast or audiobook and set a timer and when my phone stops, I stop spinning. So my progress is steady but not fast. I finished my second braid of the year in early February.

Carnival 2ply

This was my very last braid of Fatcatknits. Ginny was one of my favorite dyers and I'm sad she's no longer in business. The fiber is 80% superwash merino/20% nylon sparkle in the colorway Boogaloo. I spun it as a fractal 2ply and it's a light sport weight, 340yds/116g. The colors stayed bright and true and the sparkle is quite prominent. I renamed the skein "Carnival" because the riot of color with black reminded me of a carnival at night. It's lovely but I'm trying not to hoard yarn this year so I listed it in the shop.

Carnival 2ply

This skein is already gone but I marked down all my handspun in the hopes of trying to make more room. There's still lots of lovely skeins left in the shop. I also have a few more skeins from last year that I never re-skeined and listed so those will probably be up shortly.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Winter Handmade Capsule Observations Week 4

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This week's favorite outfit is comfy weekend wear. Maybe not the most stylish, but warm.

This week I've finally worn everything in my wardrobe. The last holdout was the black sweater blazer that collects pet hair like nobody's business. At the end of the challenge I will probably just purge that one from my wardrobe and plan to sew another in a different fabric someday.

I'm beginning to seriously debate ending the challenge early. I'm just not feeling very inspired this time around and trying to find an outfit is a struggle every day. I even have started to question whether doing all handmade is actually limiting my creativity because I can think of several pieces that I haven't worn much because they don't fit in my capsule very well but would actually be worn more frequently with other options.

To go into a bit more detail: my general outfit formula is to wear one more fitted item and one looser one, so high-waisted skinny jeans with a boxy cropped tee or wide leg pants with a fitted tee and tailored jacket, etc. But most of my capsule consists of looser-fitting and boxy items, and my options are even limited with leggings because I don't want to wear cropped shirts with them. I think this is why I've felt so frumpy over the course of the month. I really haven't had that many standout outfits where I felt good about my appearance so at some point I have to ask myself why I'm doing this. I think I will try to make it through one more week, as I will have completed an entire month by that point. Then I can start wearing whatever the fuck I want.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

January 2019 wrap-up and goals

I'm trying to be better about doing a monthly check-in with my goals rather than just leaving it to the end of the year. We'll see how long I can keep it up--if the past is any indication it'll be crickets by March. Onwards!

Stash Check

  • Yarn Used: 1839 yds / 538 g
    Yarn Added: -135 yds / -116 g
    Difference: +1704 yds / 422 g
  • Fiber Used: 4 oz
    Fiber Added: 0 oz
    Difference: +4 oz
  • Fabric Used: 6 yds
    Fabric Added: 0 yds
    Difference: +6 yds

FOs

The takeaway? I need to blog more frequently. I didn't cover any of my finished knits this month.

WIPs

  • Superhero Cross Stitch Sampler
  • Sock Yarn Blanket
  • Fatcatknits SW Merino/Sparkle Boogaloo
  • Wool and Honey Swatch
  • February Socks

Goals

2019 goals

  1. Keep yarn/fiber/fabric additions to a minimum: I haven't bought any non-planner crafty stash this year.
  2. Knit from previously purchased pattern: Sizzle Pop shawl = check!
  3. Knit what I feel like: I didn't feel stressed about any of my projects this month.
  4. Spin 15 minutes a day: I started doing this one January 2, but have otherwise kept up
  5. Knit more handspun: Handspun convertible mitts out of just finished yarn = check!
  6. Follow #sewmystyle: Yep. I made a pair of leggings.
  7. Complete my Make Nine: I've sewn 7 out of 9 so far, and all of them were actually done in 2018. But whatever. It was better that I sewed while I was inspired to do so rather than waiting until now when I don't feel like sewing at all. I still want to finish the last 2 things, just not right now.
  8. Sewing a season ahead: So I did that with my floral wrap skirt, but I learned that I hate doing it. I'll probably remove this goal for future months.
  9. Take my time with sewing: Sure. A lot of that is because I'm fatigued with sewing but you can't say I haven't taken my time.
  10. Finish Superhero Sampler: working on it
  11. Taking care of my health: I'm definitely making positive strides.
  12. Shop less: Eh, not really. I haven't bought any RTW clothing so there's that. I did spend a shit-ton of money on planning stuff but that's what happens when you start a new hobby. At least, that's what happens when I start a new hobby. YMMV.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

because I needed another hobby, obviously

I've waited to post about this topic on the blog because I wasn't sure initially that I would stick with it. But since it's been about a month it's time to share: I have fallen in love with a new hobby, decorative planning. I first heard about it on youtube--sadly I've forgotten exactly who it was, but I stumbled on a video of someone showing their Happy Planner setup for their craft projects and I was intrigued.

Backing up a bit I would say that generally I'm a fairly disorganized person. I've tried many different systems through the years including using various apps on my computer and phone but I've just never been able to stick to anything. And as I've aged I'm finding it more difficult to remember all of the things I need to keep in my brain, not because I think I'm losing it or anything but simply because there are more things than ever to try to keep track of. And specifically I really wanted a way to be able to take notes on my projects so that I could remember the details later. I can't say how many times I've given up on trying to blog a project because I finished it a few weeks ago and now can't remember most of the specifics. Again, I tried using google docs and other things but sometimes it's just easier to write it down on paper, ya know?

I remember right after I graduated from college and got a job I bought a Hello Kitty planner. I used it for a few months because I thought it was cute, but it wasn't really set up the way I would have wanted to use it, so I gave up after awhile. I haven't used any kind of paper planning system since. And honestly decorative planning did sound kind of lame to me at first. Like Type-A adults playing with stickers like they are little kids. Or that scary single woman who has a giant wedding scrapbook that she started as a teenager.

But I was very wrong. I realized that taking a mostly blank layout and finding ways to make it aesthetically pleasing while still being useful is pretty much what I do in my day job (I'm a webmaster). Making my planner spreads pretty and fun is a way to keep me engaged and actually using the planner. And as I've gone along I've found all sorts of useful things to keep track of, like marking down the last time we gave our dogs a bath, or when I last oiled my sewing machines/spinning wheels. Or tracking my discretionary spending habits so that I can see it laid out in front of me that I tend to buy things on days when I'm bored. I'm even making a concerted effort to work on my atrocious handwriting.

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I went to Joanns and bought a classic happy planner and a few sticker books. There are things I don't love about it. Mostly I'm not a fan of the canned sentiments sprinkled throughout the planner itself and all the sticker books. I find quotes a lazy substitute for actual thought and upbeat faux-inspirational quips are pretty irritating to me. But the good thing about the system is that it's completely customizable. So I've been either ignoring the quote stickers or cutting/covering them up if the stickers are pretty but the words are annoying. I'm also pretty sure you can cover your dashboards with stickers or other paper though I haven't gotten around to it yet. I ended up buying a second planner and doing a semi-transformer planner. I found that I had too much stuff to write in just one, so I have one designated planner for tracking my craft projects and another for everyday life. I keep the full year of the main planner with me at all times with just 3 months of the craft planner in the back since I'm not generally planning that far ahead with my projects, and it seems to be working for me so far.

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The main thing is that I have found cute indie planning stickers. How on earth did I live before I knew these existed? I won't lie--I went a little crazy in January soaking up all the cute things. But seriously, Harry Potter washi exists--like a lot of it from many different companies. I've put the restraints on and am doing a spending freeze for February, but after this month I think I will put in the practice of ordering from one new-to-me shop a month.

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I also subscribed to 2 different monthly kits, Simply Gilded and Happie Scrappie. I've only received SG so far. As a newbie I don't quite know what to do with everything yet but I am having fun figuring it out. This is not sponsored content, btw--I just started planning so I am nobody special. In fact, I'm still in the process of figuring out my decorating style and how exactly I want to use the various spreads. I'm not going to be all planning content all the time or anything but I will probably share a few things here and there whenever I think they are particularly noteworthy.

I think my previous prejudice was due to believing that I only engage in "useful" hobbies--the kind where you end up with something you can use in the end, like clothes, or blankets, or bags, or yarn. But decorative planning has been very useful to me so far in helping me to stay organized and it's also therapeutic. So yay for decorative planning!

Friday, February 01, 2019

Winter Handmade Capsule Observations Week 3

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So real talk: I'm already getting bored with this challenge. I knew that it would happen eventually, and evidently Week 3 is eventually. A large factor is that it's just been so cold. I wish that I had a down-filled jumpsuit because I would wear it every day and just embrace my inner Michelin Man but sadly I do not have one so I'm doing the best I can. I've also technically been "cheating" on my capsule because when I get home I immediately change into a comfy sweatshirt and joggers. I knew I should have put a pair of joggers in my wardrobe so that was an oversight on my part, and although I do have the Brunswick pullover, I really needed a non-cropped sweatshirt as well that is warmer. So those are a few lessons I've learned.

I also just miss wearing my dark wash skinny jeans. It made no sense to make a pair for the challenge because I own probably 4-5 pairs of RTW that are in good shape but it is a closet staple that I wish I had access to. I also wish I had more fitted woven jackets but I pretty much knew that was going to happen as well. At this point I plan to keep powering through with the challenge because although I always complain about it for the duration (sorry about that, dear readers) at the end I am generally glad I did it because I do learn from it.

My favorite outfit this week includes my wool mini again. I don't wear a lot of skirts or dresses generally but this one just really fits my style. It's comfortable and simple, yet polished enough for my work environment. Plus it fits really well. That is one of the rewarding aspects of handmade. I have a terrible time finding RTW skirts because generally they're way too long but this one is just right.

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