Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Destash/knitting frenzy

I haven't posted a blog in a while but I've been doing a lot of planning for knitting projects and thought I would get back to blogging as a way to keep track of what I'd like to get done as regards knitting. So basically it comes down to the fact that during the process of moving from Indiana back to Chicago I realized that I have an obscene amount of yarn and I tend to buy at faster rates than I can get it knit up. The goal here is to destash so that I can once again justify buying yarn but there is a huge roadblock in that I am totally unwilling to part with the majority of my yarn, much of which is hand-dyed by small dyers and so relatively unique. The only solution I can then come up with is to knit the yarn. This should be a wonderful conclusion since the original goal was to knit the yarn, right? Well, it turns out that between working full time and having a child and a husband along with a house that needs occasional upkeep, I really don't have much time to knit these days! But I'm making an effort!

To start, I'm going to keep my progress bars from Ravelry on my page to remind my self to finish things!!! Also, I'm going to make a list of all the projects I have in mind and dedicate yarn to them. Then I am going to set deadlines (reasonable ones) for completing projects and aside from purchases already in progress (as in ordered but not received) I am going to limit myself to buying only yarn necessary for completing projects primarily composed of stash yarn or to that which will be cast on within 24 hours. We'll see how that goes!

The list will be compiled shortly and posted but project #1 is already started. I am making my adorable daughter a sweet pink cardigan with some Cestari Fine Merino in Peony Pink that I have had in my possession for well over a year. It was originally intended for longies (knit pants) for her but I never got around to making them and we are nearing potty training so she's getting a cardigan.
This is a really adorable pattern from Lion Brand and so far, it is very quick knitting. I've done the back panel and will start the front panels tonight! Pictures of the progress will also be forthcoming.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Being Green one diaper change at a time

I haven't posted in a while as I'm working on my thesis and all of my brain power is sequestered into that project but I can across another blog post that inspired me to do a little writing. Okay, well, the contest really inspired it but that's okay because it gives me an excuse to write about cloth diapering which I'm pretty passionate about. The Simple Mom is writing all week about cloth diapering and has some really great info. Today, she did a great post reviewing several different cloth diapers (both different brands and styles). It was by no means comprehensive...if you are not up on cloth diapering, there are 100's of different brands out there and a person could write for days...that's why we have that has product reviews on pretty much every product out there. The only downside is that like any customer review collection site, I think there tend to be more negatives because people are more passionate about leaving feedback if they are unhappy (most of the time) than if they are happy.

But anyways, about our cloth diapering experience: we started out with a diaper service. That's right, they still exist. It was great. They'd drop off clean diapers and pick up dirty diapers once a week. It was pretty affordable and ultra easy. After a couple of months though, the cost started to add up and I realized that for the price of about 2 months of service, I could buy all the cloth diapers I would ever need. By using the service for the first 4 or 5 months, I had bypassed the need for buying newborn size diapers (since she was born at 6 pounds, and was a teeny little thing, we definitely would have needed them). So now, I do my own diaper laundry. It is really and truly not a big deal. My husband's main objection to cd'ing was "having poop in the clothes washer". Well, while there maybe residue left after we dump the majority of the solid stuff in the toilet, with all the rinsing, I can guarantee that there is no poopy residue in our clothes washer. And I'm happy to report that he is no longer worried about his clothes being poopy :) So all in all, its a great experience. Just for a quick summary, my main reasons and "pros" for cloth diapering: more green (not adding human waste to landfills and not using oil to produce the diapers), not putting lots of chemicals and synthetics up against my daughter's body, cheaper (in the long run), and, very superficially, cuter. The downsides: more laundry to do (although its only about an extra two loads a week and diapers are much easier to fold than clothes); makes her tush a bit bulky which can make fitting clothes tougher (onsies don't always work). I think that's it.

Now to my dilemma...we are going on vacation next week to St. John, USVI. I can't decide if we should bring disposables or cloth (and yes, we'd bring disposables because everything on the island is at least 30% more expensive). Why is this a dilemma? We'll have laundry facilities at the house we are renting but water resources on the island are extremely limited and I'd feel a little guilty doing the extra rinsing that is involved in getting diapers clean. On the other hand, land resources are extremely valuable and limited and the idea of dumping a weeks worth of disposable diapers and adding to the trash that the island has to deal with makes me feel icky. Also, due to the lovely fees the airlines have instilled for checking luggage, suitcase space is precious and having a bunch of cloth diapers in there makes it all the more difficult to pack sparingly. Also, since we'll definitely buy stuff while we're there, bringing disposables is like forced planning to leave room for bringing home souvenirs. However, I actually hate putting disposables on that sweet little tush. She's so used to nice soft fabric against her bum that the idea of putting plastic there is icky to me. Plus, with it being all hot and humid down there, I worry that she'll get heat rash in disposables (which has happened before and is not a problem with cloth since its more breathable). Hmmm...well, what to do?

UPDATE: I guess it is the day of contests...there is another one at Cloth Diaper Blog


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Hole Ordeal

Well, its happened. I didn't think it would happen this soon. My first reaction was to cry. Then I realized, that won't make it better or make it go away. I realized I have two choices: get rid of them or fix the problem. That's right. I got holes in my favorite pair of handknit socks. Bad ones. Like huge, horrible, ragged-edged holes in the heels. Clearly, my habit of slipping into and out of shoes without untying them is not a great idea when I'm wearing handknit socks. Okay, so a little about these socks...the yarn is this absolutely lovely blue, purple and green hand-dyed BFL (for non-yarny's, this is like the softest wool I've ever felt...its called "poorman's cashmere") and aside from it being the most expensive single ball of yarn (which translates into the most expensive pair of socks I've ever owned), being handdyed by a so-called indie dyer from Canada its not easily replaced. The pattern is the Monkey pattern from Cookie A (the single most brilliant sock pattern designer). In other words, these are a precious thing to me. I needed to fix them. I had no idea people still darned socks. But actually there are some really awesome tutorials online (this is the one I used). And luckily, I had some of this oh-so-precious yarn leftover (lesson: always, always save leftover sock yarn!). They actually make a tool for darning called a sock mushroom! Well, I didn't have one of those but I used a lightbulb and it worked great.

Here are my poor hole-y socks with the first step for darning completed. It took me ages to do both since they were such huge holes but I finally did finish and since, I'm not taking any chances with these wonderful socks, I went back and duplicate stitched over the majority of the heels to reinforce them. Its barely noticeable now! I also pledge to be more gentle with shoe removal and to diligently inspect these each time I am done wearing them.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Yay Yarn!!

I got some new yarn in the mail today! It was handdyed by Selah Yarns in the At the Ball colorway...this is the picture from their gallery, not of what I actually received, although it is super duper close! I can't wait to decide what to do with this beautiful yarn!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Knitting update

I finished two knitting projects this weekend!! One was a baby cardigan for my friend who is pregnant. I started a blanket for her shower as well. The other project I finished is the first pair of socks I've made for my husband. He's very picky about his socks so I hope he really likes them and isn't just saying that. More importantly, I dyed some yarn this weekend. Its so much fun that with a bit of yarn, some koolaid and some vinegar, you can take boring natural colored yarn and make something beautiful!! I've got some more yarn to dye but I've got to decide on some colors and then go find the koolaid to make them! Can't wait!!

So here's the finished product:

Before rehanking....

And after...I think it looks so pretty! I can't wait to see how it knits up.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A new frontier

Well, I've toyed with the idea of starting a blog but I'm torn between wanting to share my random thoughts and strange feelings with the world and being a pretty private person. So I'm guessing this will start out being about rather mundane things and I may occasionally venture into deeper territory. While I would not say I'm a good writer, I can usually form coherent thoughts and get them onto paper, er, computer. Also, I should be writing my PhD thesis, so anything that distracts from that is useful.

So on to a new frontier of personal expression. We'll see how it goes...