Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A satisfying knit

I will never tire of knitting self-patterning yarn. That compulsion to keep going to see what comes next never fails. My April socks are Regia Arne & Carlos yarn in the colorway Fall Night. I have worked with several of the Arne & Carlos colorways, but I had been hoarding this one since 2015 as it's probably my favorite. I'm knitting socks for my Dad. I'm hoping the colors won't be too crazy for him. To be honest I'll be a little bit sad when they're done as I think this was the last Arne & Carlos in my stash but it's not like I don't have multitudes of other yarns that give me the feels as well.

Friday, April 05, 2019

March 2019 Wrap-up and Goals

The first quarter of the year is over! Let's see what I accomplished in March. (Spoiler Alert: not a lot!)

Stash Check

  • Yarn Used: 717 yds / 166 g
    Yarn Added: 0 yds / 0 g
    Difference: +717 yds / 166 g
  • Fiber Used: 0 oz
    Fiber Added: 0 oz
    Difference: -
  • Fabric Used: 0 yds
    Fabric Added: 0 yds
    Difference: -

FOs

This is 2 months in a row with barely anything finished. I think I'm officially in a slump.

WIPs

  • Superhero Cross Stitch Sampler
  • Sock Yarn Blanket
  • Moonrover Minis
  • Wool and Honey Sweater
  • Crochet Granny Hexagon

Goals

2019 goals

  1. Keep yarn/fiber/fabric additions to a minimum: I made it through Q1 without buying any stash.
  2. Knit from previously purchased pattern: My March socks were from a pattern I had purchased a couple of years ago.
  3. Knit what I feel like: I did force myself to work on Wool and Honey for a few weeks when I really didn't want to. However, I abandoned it in April for something more exciting so there's that.
  4. Spin 15 minutes a day: Thumbs down. I spun maybe half the month or a little less.
  5. Knit more handspun: nope.
  6. Follow #sewmystyle: I'm going to remove this one from the list. I don't know when I'll feel like sewing garments again but I think it will be awhile.
  7. Complete my Make Nine/Take my time with sewing: Ditto with these goals. I'll resurrect them if they become applicable.
  8. Finish Superhero Sampler: I made good progress in March and am on track to finish before the end of 2019. For that reason I'm taking a break from it in April.
  9. Taking care of my health: Generally speaking, things are going well.
  10. Shop less: I feel like I've cut down on some of my more mindless purchases. I did buy one pair of jeans on a bit of an impulse but otherwise the month went ok.

For Q2 I'm actually adding a couple of new goals. First, I'd like to work on my brush lettering for about 15 minutes a day. I would also like to doodle on weekdays to try to improve my atrocious drawing skills.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Will I ever find planner peace?

So I knew when I started decorative planning that it might take me awhile to figure out what system works for me. After all, when you pick up needles and yarn to learn to knit you probably won't end up using those exact same materials for the duration of your knitting life. But I seem to be having a particularly hard time picking a planner and sticking with it.

Here's what I have learned:

  1. I like to use 2 planners.
  2. The first has minimal decoration, is small/light and easy to carry in my purse. I use this everyday carry (EDC) to write down all the things that are going on during the week. I also need space for a food log and tracking other health-related things. I've started doodling and practicing hand-lettering more, and I like to have some blank paper that I can use for this purpose as well as random list-making. It's likely that I will throw this planner out at the end of the year.
  3. My second is a larger more purely decorative planner. I like to post-plan my week in this one as more of a memory-type planner, where I sum up the noteworthy things that happened during the week and also record things I might need to reference later.

I still intend to stick it out in the Classic Happy Planner for my larger planner through the end of 2019 and then switch to a bullet journal. I was using a Hobonichi Mega Weeks for my EDC but I got fed up with it primarily because of the paper. I may be alone in this but I hate the Tomoe River Paper. Sure, it's nice that it's so thin and light but I don't like the cream color and I can't stand how long it takes to dry. I have tried so many different pens but no matter what I use I always smear the ink. I also don't really like the layout and how small it is. My handwriting is fairly small but I always felt cramped trying to squeeze everything in, no matter how I divided the page.

So kind of on a whim I went to Joann's last Saturday morning and bought 2 mini Happy Planners. I like that the paper is thicker and white instead of cream and I can customize it to work for me. I got a horizontal weekly planner and an undated fitness planner. I am only carrying one month of the fitness planner with me at a time because I don't need to bring an entire year with me on the go. I also bought some dot grid paper for my doodling and stuck it in the back. I weighed my old Hobonichi setup with cover, etc. and the new Mini and they are about the same. I think the Mini will still fit in a smaller purse though I haven't tried it yet. I just have to remind myself not to decorate it too much so that I'll have enough space to write. It is helpful to have all the health-related stuff on a different spread and I am thinking about buying the mini budget extension pack as well but haven't done it yet.

I don't yet if this new setup is "the one" but I'm hopeful. Every time I get the desire to switch I tell myself that it's ok to use 2019 as an experiment to figure out what works for me. There's no sense in sticking to a planner all year if I'm not happy with it. I don't regret buying the Hobonichi because I still plan to use the Weeks for lettering practice. The grid paper works well for lettering and since it's just practice I don't care if the ink smears.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

scrappy squares

I can't believe the first quarter of 2019 is almost over. So far I've knit at least 1 block a day on my sock yarn blanket. It takes me about 25 minutes to knit a square and weave in the ends so it's not a big commitment. Usually my trend in past years is to put my blankets away when it gets hot out, so I might have another month or so left before I run into fatigue.

I have to keep telling myself that it's ok to grow and evolve with my crafts. I've been much more excited about the newness of the planning side and less into the yarny side this year. A weird part of me thinks that I'm disappointing my "audience" (ok, like all 5 of you) but I have to get over that and just do me. I may cut back to blogging only once a week because right now I'm struggling to find enough content to post. And that's ok too.

Friday, March 22, 2019

a $5 experiment

So I'm still trying to find what the kids are calling "planner peace." I've changed my mind several times on what system I should use next year. I was at Michael's last weekend and decided to pick up this $5 Artist's Loft bullet journal. I figured at that price point I might as well, and if I like it I can get a nicer bullet journal for 2020.

I did not originally think I would like a bujo because I can't draw for shit and most of what is shared on youtube and instagram is way outside my abilities. However, the more that I've progressed with my planning the more that I've realized a standard weekly layout where all of the boxes are the same size just doesn't work for me because I usually have way less going on during the week and more that I want to record on weekends. A bullet journal (or any type of blank layout) is best because I can make the layout fit what's going on in my life instead of trying to do the reverse.

I bought the bujo specifically so that I could experiment with different types of layouts before using them in my classic Happy Planner. I also bought a journaling notebook from Joanns that comes with several blank dot grid sheets that I can insert in my HP. I'm actually planning to use the covers and dividers in that notebook for something else, but that's a post for another day. This first spread was created because I wanted to start simple but I don't really like how it turned out. I think my mind works better with vertical rather than horizontal layouts.

This one was much better. I liked that I was able to make Monday-Thursday smaller and the weekend larger without it looking awkward. I have a feeling that I'm constantly going to be trying different layouts. It's just in my nature to keep learning and experimenting with new things. I've knit probably 200-ish pairs of socks over 15+ years but I'm still open to learning new construction techniques, and I see this going the same way.

I think my method for the bujo is going to be to create a layout and jot down the major things going on during the week using just pens and markers, then to recreate it in my HP using stickers/washi/etc at the end of the week. I'm still trying to stick out 2019 in the happy planner and then start fresh next year with a bullet journal, in the hopes that i'll know what works by then and can use only one planner. At least for now that's the idea.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

rainbows, chevrons, and a crochet distraction

March socks are coming along rather slowly. I just haven't felt as inspired to knit lately. The yarn is Must Stash Yarn Perfect Sock in the colorway Martian Rainbow. My skein was a slight variation of the original colorway as it's a bit more pastel, but I prefer this version. I'm knitting the Partying It UP and Getting DOWN Socks by Megan Williams, which btw I find an impossible name to remember. People keep asking me on Instagram what the pattern is and I have to look it up every time. anyway. For each of these socks I started out making rapid progress but as I get to about the halfway point, boredom sets in. I am doing a cut-in afterthought heel so I still need to add both heels. I'm not sure whether I want to keep these or give them to my niece, so I may actually wait to knit the heels until closer to the end of the year.

Since the socks weren't exciting me and I swear I knit and knit on Wool and Honey but it never gets any longer, I was looking for another project to work on over the weekend as a palette cleanser. I got out the granny hexagon blanket I started back in 2015. I believe I started this and a mitered square blanket around the same time. The mitered square blanket has been finished for awhile now but I quickly gave up on this one and set it aside.

There are more efficient ways to do this, but my method is to crochet motifs for one row then join as you go using knit picks stroll tweed. Then I crochet motifs for one column and attach with JAYGO. This keeps the blanket growing in both width and length at a similar rate. I believe if you joined an entire round at a time it would be a better use of the joining yarn but I find that I get bored of crocheting motifs and weaving in all those ends if I make more than a handful at a time. Picking up this project again reminded me of why I put it down in the first place. I don't know why but I just don't find it fun to work on. I do think it's very pretty though. I haven't touched it since the weekend but I'm hoping to add a row/column here or there. The problem with having started several scrap blankets a few years back is that I don't really need all these blankets but at least it uses up leftover yarns. Plus I suppose I can give them away if I ever finish one.

Friday, March 15, 2019

spinning in spurts

I mentioned in my February round-up that I had increased my spinning time to 20 minutes a day about halfway through the month. I did not think that 5 extra minutes would drag on me in the grand scheme of things but I was wrong. I've been very inconsistent this month with my spinning. I know it is psychological but for some reason, making myself sit down to spin for 20 minutes just "takes too much time" whereas with 15 it was easier to convince myself that it wasn't that big of a commitment and I should just do it. Or perhaps I would've experienced fatigue after 2+ months of consistent spinning regardless of what blocks of time I chose. At any rate, I've missed several days but I am still trying to make sure that I spin at least 3-4 days a week so that I don't give it up entirely for the remainder of the year.

Right now I'm working on some Moonrover Fiber that is truly gorgeous, so the fiber is not at fault for my slump. I decided to break the colors and spin 2ply miniskeins. When I'm done I want to do a stripey shawl of some kind, probably combining the minis with a solid skein. I do not need another striped shawl but the colors are just so pretty and I'm itching to knit with handspun again.

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