Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Resolution False Start

So one of my resolutions was to lose 5 lbs a month every month this year & January didn't really go so well... I'm just going to call it a false start because between having a monster flu for a week and a half and transitioning between working two part time jobs to working a normal full time schedule it just never happened.

However, I'm not going to let a false start get in the way of a perfectly good weight loss goal. When I stepped on the scale this morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that my starting weight is 227 lbs. Last I weighed myself (probably pre-holidays) I was floating around the 230's so I suppose in a way I did hit my first month goal as far as I know! I know the secret to success for me is making sure I work out. The nature of my desk job forces me to lead a pretty sedentary lifestyle during the week and the times I was skinniest were when I was swimming or doing color guard competitively regardless of what I ate.

So what's the plan?

I know better than to jump into this too hard & fast and discourage myself right off the bat with burn out. Week one is all about trying out the yoga classes at my gym. I love me some yoga, and at my current fitness level it's a pretty legit workout. Not only is a decent work out for me, but there's less judgement in a yoga class than almost anywhere else in a gym so when I know I have to do a modified plank I'm not stressed about people thinking less of me.

I know I shouldn't stress anyway, but lets be honest, in a gym you feel like you're on display all the time. Especially if you're a bigger girl.

So I'm going to try at least out two different yoga classes this week, and try to hit up a Friday night Zumba class. I also want to get myself back into hiking, and I think husband misses his Sunday mornings to himself, so Sunday mornings might be devoted to hitting some trails. I'm surrounded by the Appalachian trail and nature walks and it's a great natural work out so I'll probably hit up a couple of the gentle nature trails this month and start on real trails next month.

I'll be giving once a week updates on my progress and share anything I learn along the way. Do you have any favorite healthy recipes or workout rituals? I always love a good tip!

January 31 Weight: 227.0


Friday, January 20, 2012

FO : Gap-tastic Cowl #5

It's sort of like Mambo Number 5, but with a heck of a lot more seed stitch

Lots of red seed stitch and some very cute glasses

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad to see this stupid cowl gone, but I already kinda miss it. The co-worker that got it was so excited to see it on her desk when she came in & wore it to her meeting that night so in the end it's all well worth it.

I still think I'll probably make one or two or a dozen in every color of the rainbow for myself, but not for a hot minute. I need to stop hating this fantastic pattern first. Tomorrow I hope to finish the neck shaping and seam up my very first sweater! Super huge accomplishment!

What have you finished recently? What are you excited about tackling next?


Monday, January 16, 2012

WIP - I will finish these gifts!

So now that I'm feeling a little better and I finally have a bit of a day off (though I will still go to the office today because I am drowning in work from being sick) I can finally show you the two WIP I currently have on the needles.

First of all I have the ultra scary first sweater...

And yes, it's a Weasley Sweater from Charmed Knits! Geek kinda runs in my family, and though it took me years and years I finally got my mom to read the Harry Potter series, and now she's hooked on the books & movies. Last year she got me Charmed Knits for Christmas and very subtly hinted that she really wanted her own Weasley Sweater. Since I had never made a sweater before I kinda dreaded making it, but it's basically been two big rectangles with two trapezoids attached to it, not too complicated except that I had to figure out how to chart that R myself since the pattern only comes with an intarsia H. It came out well in the main except for the loopy bit that looks a little wonky, but just about any curve looks like odd in knit. (or that's what I'll keep telling myself.

 Stupid tiny yarn...

This sweater has been a bit of the bane of my existance for about 3 months now. I'm not afraid to admit that I'm not speed knitter. I am by no means super slow, but these size 8 needles and Knit Picks City Tweed are making me feel like a n0ob. I love the way its turning out, and my mom loves what she's seen of it so far so I'm just gonna keep telling myself it's worth it and keep on plugging on.

And speaking of things that might be the bane of my existence, we have another Gap-Tastic Cowl. When I made one for my office White Elephant exchange, it was an unspoken agreement that it was made for a specific person however, as is custom for this kind of gift exchange, it got stolen from its intended recipient. She was pretty crushed so I caved and agreed to make her one in whatever color she wanted, she requested red (this yarn is much less orange than the picture shows) and I'm about halfway done with it now.

After getting some work done in the office, I think I'm going to come home & put season one of Portlandia on (it's on Netflix now so I can FINALLY watch it) and knit my fingers off to try and knock both of these out as soon as possible. Those who follow me on twitter may have noticed that I have a bit of designing fever, but I'm holding off until I get both of these off the needles.

What do you have on the needles? Anyone else still working on some holiday knits? Anyone? Okay it's just me...


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Quick Updates from the Sickbed

Welcome new followers! I promise the content here won't typically be so lacking, but I seem to have contracted a mild form of the plague and since I work in accounting, the very beginning of the year isn't really the time to be sick so all my energy reserves get used up before I get home.

I managed to finish the first sleeve of my Weasley Sweater two nights ago and (rather poorly) picked up the stitches for sleeve number two last night. Ran out of steam before I could take pictures, but with how fried my brain is right now, I would shudder to think what they would look like.

There's been a lot of great inspiration floating around and I'm finally thinking of dipping my toes in the ocean of creating my own designs. Hopefully I can hold on to all this inspiration after I feel better so I can get my butt in gear and put all these dreams into action.

For now I'm getting back into bed until absolutely necessary.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Love List - Selfish Knitting

Until recently, I have almost never found patterns that I would want to make for myself to wear. I always find things that I would love to make for others, and maybe the odd home goods item or cozy that I thought I could use, but never something I'd wear around and say "Yeah, I knit that!" That is, until I started discovering amazing designers like Allyson from The Sweatshop of Love and Lee from Do Stuff! who make beautiful, complex knits for 20-somethings.

Digging deeper into Ravelry I discovered a treasure trove of things I would love to knit from independent designers that I might never have found just by buying books. And at the end of a particularly jam-packed holiday season, all I want are some selfish knits, and these are at the top of my list...

Coming soon to my needles will have to be these fantastic Lady Finkaas slippers. Made with Lion Brand's Fisherman's wool they'll be super inexpensive and a fabulous instant gratification knit, not to mention I need something to wear around the office when I have to wear snow boots to get to my car.

This! I have had the yarn for the fabulous Aidez ever since Allyson hosted her Winter Knit-a-Long way back when, but the whole working two jobs and feeling buried under holiday knits thing finally caught up with me. So the beautiful Cadet Blue knit picks yarn has been patiently waiting for me in my car because I don't trust myself to open the box and not start on it. The instant I finish my yet-unfinished holiday sweater this goes on the needles and I'll probably give a bunch of updates on this since it's such a beautifully complex pattern.

I've been super inspired by Leethal's Remixed line and Wild is the Wind is my absolute favorite. Her patterns are almost always designed to be knit in any gauge and heavily feature unexpected details and buttons (who doesn't love buttons?).

And speaking of buttons, just like everyone else in the world I'm totally in love with Owls by Kate Davies. I would probably edit the pattern a bit to make it a 3/4 sleeve (or maybe a little shorter) but otherwise I think this is beyond cute.

Heroine has been in my favorites for over a year now & maybe this will be the year to make it. I think it's the disenfranchised 90's grunge kid in me that love this coat so much.

What selfish knits can you not wait to get on those needles? Or maybe are lucky enough to already have started? (in which case I am 110% jealous)

Anything you'd like to see featured as a theme for a love list? Just let me know!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Holiday Knitting Wrap Up

So when I decide to do a large quantity of knitted gifts I like to choose one pattern that is equal parts versatile and easy to personalize. This year I chose the amazingly simple and beautiful Gap-Tastic Cowl by the super cute Jen Geigley! We've all seen this cowl before and who doesn't love a wrap-able cowl in a super chunky squishy yarn?

Beauty & simplicity

So I knit four of them this winter, all in the fantastic super bulky from Michael's Loops & Threads line appropriately called Charisma. I made one in Fuschia for my gay best friend who can rock pink like no man I know.

 If you don't have a gay best friend, you should find one, they're amazing.

Green for my best girlfriend who as she puts it is "spending a year blowing her money in Ireland and oh yeah, getting a masters degree". This girl is all about bright color and I just couldn't resist giving her green in the year of her Ireland adventure.
 Upon receiving it she instantly put it on her head like a turban and wore it like that the rest of the night. This is why she's my bestie.

I remotely participated in The Sweatshop of Love's Secret Santa exchange and since neither she nor I knew anything about the lovely lady I was knitting for I went with a great grey neutral. 

I was hoping for a lighter grey like in the now iconic default picture for the pattern, but alas there was none to be found.

Then finally for my office White Elephant gift exchange (if you've never been to one of these, it's pretty epic and you need to plan one for your office/favorite group of friends) I was requested to knit something once the knitting cat was out of the bag. Since at the time I was already 2 projects deep into Christmas knits and naturally way behind my initial thoughts were ()#$#^@#@#!!! but then I heard the words "Yeah! Not a problem!" come out of my mouth. So I went back to the store, grabbed 3 skeins of navy blue and finished it literally the morning of the party. I love bringing handmade into everyone's life a little more and it warmed my heart that my scarf actually got stolen in the middle of the game.

I've now been commissioned to knit at least 2 more, but at least it's super quick to make. I did tell them they're going to wait until at least Feb. to get them because I'm sick of these damn cowls. 

I did have one last handmade gift, but as it's not finished yet, it will be featured in a WIP post coming soon!

What did y'all make for the holidays? Did you get any handmade gifts yourself?


Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions


I love the fresh start of the new year, and in the early hours before I go to work I want to jot down my resolutions somewhere everyone can see them so I can hold myself accountable. I plan on trying to spend this year updating on these resolutions, as many of them have to do with the idea of living a healthier, more handmade life.

1) Lose around 5 pounds a month - I make a weight loss resolution almost every year, but now I live with someone who is also committed to this. Seeing recent pictures of myself helps secure me in this goal because I've let the stress of my life get to me this year and it's showing on my waistline far more than I'd like it to. I want to do this with a combination of eating whole foods & getting good exercise, not any asinine fad diet.

2) Set up a canning plan and following it - I had planned on doing this last year, but since we had only just moved into the house and were still trying to get used to adult life, needless to say it didn't happen. I'd like to make some strawberry jam, husband's signature vodka tomato sauce, and apple sauce. If other whims catch me I'll probably follow them because that's just the kind of person I am, but those three seasonal staples are a great place to start.

3) Work towards an income based partially on making - I have a few ideas of what kind of Etsy shop I'd like to have, but I need to make a real decision and go boldly in that direction. More on this later, I promise.

What are your new year's resolutions? Share them here, big or small! The first step to completing them is to tell someone & have them hold you accountable. It's usually scary, and sometimes sucks, but you can't say it doesn't work!