Finishing 2019 strong · Knitables

Don’t Call it a Resolution

2019 is going to be different.

I’m not going to let my mojo die for 8 months again. I’m not going to let my yarn stash continue to bloom out of control. I’m not going to let projects languish in the back bedroom where it’s hidden from the kittens and out of my own sight.

This year, I’m going to knit from my stash and knit my UFOs. And that’s how I’ll get my mojo back.

You would not believe how many UFOs I have around the house, hiding in corners; in bins; in the basement, in the back bedroom, in my bedroom, in the closets, in both cars, etc. and it’s just out of control.

I finished a total of 8 projects last year and they all happened in the beginning of the year. I didn’t knit from June until December, or if I did knit, I didn’t get any real progress done on anything I worked on. I ripped a lot of projects back, wound up the yarn and put it into a bag never to think about it again. I would start a big project, make major progress on it, and then stall out, throw it into a bag and forget about it while something new and shiny came along.

Then came my commission.

I received a commission in January 2018 from a friend I knew from the yarn store I worked at. I told her I could have it done in a few weeks because my mojo was rad at that very moment. I quickly took to starting the project but hit roadblocks as soon as the sleeves were just getting started. I ripped it out 4 times in the following months, then it languished while I lost all desire to knit. This is the first time this has ever happened to me in nearly 2 decades of knitting. I focused on work and I was wrapped up in trying to fix my health. In June I told her I wasn’t even going to charge her for it anymore. The bag with all the yarn, the pieces already knit and the needles sat on my dresser just staring at me in the hopes that one day I would want to knit again.

I met with my doctor in August and told her of my frustrations with my weight loss goals. I had stalled my weight for about 10 months, so she proceeded to change my diet to a low-carb diet and to give that a shot until December with the hopes that it would provide changes for my year-long plateau.

Over the coming months, I didn’t knit any more than the two or three hours I spent at knitting. I finally gave up on the sleeves of the commission sweater. I sent a message to my friend and asked if I could change the pattern altogether to be something that wouldn’t look like crap. The ribbing pulled in very tight on the arm, the elbow was gargantuan. It just didn’t work well. She agreed to a simple sleeve with a beautiful antler cable flowing up the front of the sweater. I combined the Georgetown sleeve with this 16-stitch antler cable and raced up the first sleeve in the weekend of Thanksgiving. I thought my mojo was coming back. But then it came to a screeching halt again.

I slowly kept working on the sleeve- trudging along with the cables and, when I found the length was just right, I started the second right away so I wouldn’t lose further steam. I kept knitting- slowly but surely, but didn’t feel that normal pull that I used to have to knit all the time. My hands didn’t need to be busy anymore it seemed. But I still knit while watching TV, while alone at home, or while at knitting.

December was extremely stressful- I had about a million deadlines at work, we had no less than four Christmas get-togethers, and the Husband quit his job and changed careers at the end of the year. I came down with a nasty sinus infection, and on Christmas I got food poisoning. My body took a lot of abuse this month- I didn’t go to the gym or the yoga studio and I didn’t even care. I maintained my weight, blissfully, but spent a lot of time drinking nothing but water with electrolyte tabs and eating gluten free bread with butter. With all this, I let Critical Sheep fall by the wayside and didn’t do much in the way of advertising or selling. I needed to focus on my health and everything else took a backseat.

By the end of 2018, I met the deadline, the get-togethers were fun and sans-knitting and Hubs’ career change is on the right path, but I don’t think I knit a single stitch during all of December. I astonishingly didn’t miss it, though I felt massive amounts of guilt about not completing the sleeves for the commission.

2019 doesn’t yet feel like 2019. There’s no snow on the ground outside, I’m still working a lot, our schedules are disasters right now while we find common times to see one another and I’m still trying to take control of my diet and health.

But I know what I want to do with the rest of the year on my needles. I want to knit the things I’ve already started and finish this year off with a fresh perspective, a full bag of needle options, and a lot of inspiration for the coming year. I want to start 2020 with a bevvy of new knits to wear, give away or gift, and I want to work from my stash because I’ve got some seriously pretty knits with which to work. Finally, I want to continue blogging. I write for a living, so sometimes writing can feel a little burdensome, but I plan to change my mindset with the writing of the blog.

I’m working up an inventory of all my projects and will have them ready to work up soon. I can’t wait to share this adventure!

Weight Loss

A Continuation of the Food Obsession

If you know anything about me, you know I’m highly analytical and I look for multiple options most times to find the best option. Thus came the Macros counting adventure that ended last night with a final decision. I worked with three different organizations to get numbers as well as speaking to my naturopath who specializes in Dietetics and using food as medicine.

I’ve been plateaued in my weight loss and have even gained a smidge of weight since November 2017. I spent six months losing weight after switching to the Candida diet, a specific diet used to kill off candida antibodies in the system (if you’ve ever had oral thrush, you have high candida antibodies!) and it worked great…until November when it came to a grinding halt. I tried a few other things like fasting and changing up the diet and being super restrictive, but as soon as I stopped a few days later I had absolutely no change.

So in comes Macros. I’ve heard a lot of about it in the past and hadn’t really thought much about it but, upon doing more research, realized that maybe I should start tracking my food more often and weighing can make all the difference from overeating. I reached out to my gym because I knew a lot of people were tracking macros and seeing a lot of results- they overwhelmingly suggested I speak to a member of the gym who started a business helping people with their macros. I figured why not? so I purchased an introductory meeting and consultation in which he could give me my macros. I explained all my health issues, and got numbers back that were much higher than I thought they’d be. I spoke to another company, Macros, Inc., where I went through a calculator and then had the numbers tweaked based on PCOS and insulin resistance and the numbers seemed more manageable, if still a bit high.

Big things to realize is that I have PCOS with insulin resistance so I have to be on a low carb diet naturally in order to avoid blood sugar spikes. I’ve not done extensive research into how carbs ACTUALLY affect my body, but I have done enough research into my own blood sugar and how it reacts when I’ve had too many carbs.

My entire conversation with the man from the gym was via email and it felt like he wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying and he wasn’t acknowledging my health concerns; rather I felt like he was trying to push me into a specific plan that worked for him, which would have only given me more poundage to deal with. I told him that, with insulin resistance, carbohydrates do not process properly for me and instead they spike my blood sugar and make weight stick. Unfortunately the numbers didn’t change. I am not a CrossFit Athlete– I CrossFit for two hours per week and then go to hot yoga 2-3 times per week. I do not compete in competitions; I have a desk job and I work out an hour a day… This shouldn’t warrant 236 grams of carbs it was recommended I consume.

I next went to If It Fits Your Macros and their PCOS-specific calculator and I filled out the information. I got my macros via email, and the numbers were still decently high, but they were pretty darn close to what Macros, Inc. gave me. I decided to stick with the Macros, Inc. number.

Macros, Inc. is a wonderful organization that gave me the more reasonable numbers and I joined their facebook community to learn, experience and involve myself in the whole process. Everyone is like-minded and super helpful. I felt better about doing 140 grams of carbs, though the scale still wasn’t budging after about two weeks. I legit vacillated one pound back and forth every single day. I’m going to continue with this group and going to continue learning, just with a different set of numbers.

Last night I had a bi-annual meeting with my naturopath. I dreaded seeing her because I knew I hadn’t lost any weight, despite the other great things that have happened: My oral thrush is lower, my hormones are balancing out, and my stress levels are lower.

My adrenal gland is back in fatigue mode- I’m so asleep at 6 a.m. after 8 hours of sleep that I’m drooling on my pillows and I’m dreaming through my alarm, though the sound of my alarm is in my dream. She changed up my adrenal supplement plan and it should last longer than six months. No biggie there.

Now…onto the food stuffs. We talked about how my body has become used to the Candida Diet and is happy on the diet but I’m not done losing weight- I don’t FEEL done. She understood completely. I then told her about the macros train I’d been riding on. I told her the lowest carb numbers, given to me by Macros Inc. 140g.

“That’s way too high.”

So she gave me new numbers and a new low-carb diet plan. This is the most restrictive diet I’ve ever been on. My spreadsheet came to an end with one last set of macros.


This new diet is super low carb and paying attention to the NET carbs; if I had something with lots of fiber, it’s essentially a free item because the fiber will cancel out the carbs.

I just bought a ton of sweet potato chips, sweet potatoes, squash and quinoa for lunches and snacks throughout the week. So those need to go bye-bye. I am finishing up the veggie noodles in the freezer because they’re made out of lentils, which were good before, but not for now.

We are taking the weekend to burn through all the food in the house that doesn’t meet the new requirements of the diet and we’ll be starting the new plan on Monday. I’m spending the next few days coming up with meal plans, we’ve purchased bento boxes from Amazon and I am going to the Farmers Market in Waukesha to do some purchases as well.

In an effort to avoid insanity, we are still planning on some cheat-ish meals; but they’ll be built into the macros for the day. Restrictive carbs means I’m going to have to get very creative with my food options every day, especially since I’m getting pretty bored with chicken. I’ll be doing my best to incorporate more grass fed beef and pork products and I’ll bring in as many vegetables as I can without getting super sick of them. I also picked up some dressings that are very low in carbohydrates, and I can have cheeses and dairy products to my hearts content because they’re going to be big in protein and fat for me. I’m feeling slightly more optimistic as I think it through; and I think about the foods we’ve created in the past and how easy they were to put together.

This is not forever- I just have to keep reminding myself of this. My initial goal is to get back into the 100s, because then changes are happening inside and outside of my body. So that means I have 26 or so pounds to go to get to that goal.


Evolution of a Sweater

I’m determined to believe that sometimes a yarn is simply cursed… it either works really well for you or it decides that it wasn’t to be a raging pain in the ass and wants to ruin your life and make you rethink whether you’re a good knitter or not.

Thus was the case with the Quince & Co Osprey Sabine colorway I purchased many moons, and three sweaters, ago.

I bought the yarn after seeing the Easy Bulky One by Joji Locatelli way back in February and I wanted to knit it badly. I bought six skeins and started working on it. Easily, I knit the body and made up the sleeves. I finished it one evening, immediately threw it in the water with a Twig & Horn soap bar and even took it to work the next day to dry under a fan so I could wear the thing immediately. I put it on and thought it looked good, but it pulled at the neck and made my head hurt, It was uncomfortable on the arms and it didn’t lay very nicely on the body in general- despite being super long it rode up and didn’t fit quite right on the hips. I ripped it out pretty quickly after seeing a coworker knitting up a Carbeth by Kate Davies. I loved it out of the Osprey and started working on it after ripping out the Easy Bulky One.

Carbeth became a labor of love and it took me almost a month to knit. When I finally finished, having made a sweater that was only sized up by 2 inches, it was a GARBAGE BAG on me. I installed a 30″ zipper (holy crap… I only made the body 18 inches) and it was awful. Despite having knit this yarn once before and it didn’t grow, it grew significantly during this second iteration. I ripped it out after only having it for a week and wearing it once. It was down to my knees after all- there was no reason to have a sweater that freaking long. I kept the sleeves though, knowing I’d likely be able to use them in another sweater one day.

The yarn sat in the bedroom behind my sock box and I tried hard to forget about it for a while. It was in time out for all intents and purposes.

Then I needed another quick and simple project to work on outside the Lottie sweater I was working on out of my own handdyed yarn. I remembered loving the OWLS sweater when I knit it before and wanted to knit another one some day…and I already had the sleeves done, which is the worst part of a sweater, so I decided to give it a shot.

It took about a week to knit up the OWLS and arguably, I am smitten with the thing. I haven’t yet blocked it, but that’s part of the plan for this weekend. It fits- the sweater is actually a little on the tight side, but I’m hoping the magic of the sweater will allow the yarn to fit nicely and properly.

The weather is still warm and sultry out, but I’m hopeful that fall is on its way soon.


Kicking the Dust Off

Well it looks like I decided to take a six-month sabbatical from writing on the blog! So many thing have changed since March so I’m excited to get back into the swing of writing again. So what’s happened?

April: Found out that my contract at my job would be ending and not getting extended further. I didn’t really get a specific reason that was valid, but I immediately jumped into my job search. I started knitting a few things, didn’t really have much dedication toward it, and bought more base for Critical Sheep to get things rolling for Stitches Midwest and the KnitCrate. I stockpiled dye. I made food. The usual.

May: The contract was coming to an end and my recruiters were not getting back to me. I interviewed a few times, but nothing came out of it. I had random calls with hiring managers who never got back to me about the job until it was too late. I kept slogging through. I didn’t knit much, but played with Neo and Trinity, kept working on random projects and tried cleaning the house.

During May, I also discovered that I would be leaving the yarn shop I’d called home for the last six years and June would be a 100% fresh start for me. I will not go into the details surrounding my leaving the yarn store, because airing that kind of dirty laundry is not a cool thing to do, but I was not happy with the decision that was made. I wish them the best. It’s the only nice thing I can do.

June: The contract ended at the end of May, and June was spent on my computer and on the phone trying to find work. I landed a job at the same company I just left but on another team on the other side of the company, which


was awesome. They didn’t need/want me to start until the end of the month sadly. I spent the time dyeing up all the yarn for Stitches and KnitCrate and made a pretty significant dent in the work. I started knitting a test knit for Brandy Velten and nearly finished it by the time I started work again. I attempted to organize, but it definitely wasn’t a priority. Have I mentioned lately that I’m a terrible housewife?

During the month of June, I accepted an offer with a local business to start selling my work on a commission-basis. I enjoyed knowing that my stuff was in another store and I advertised it all the time. It was fun! I made my fees back within a week and had turned a pretty profit for my first month, which was wonderful.

July: I was deep into work and kept going with the KnitCrate. By the end of the month, I was within 100 skeins from completing the entire 500 skein commission. I knit up an OWLS sweater in about a week because the sleeves were done from the Carbeth I ripped out. I kept working on other random projects. I worked a lot: the largest event in the company happened in this month and we worked a lot of extra hours to make sure that everything went off without a hitch, which it did! I tried knitting the sleeves for the Lottie but ultimately petered out with one full sleeve left… One day I’ll get back to it.

August: STITCHES and The Crossfit Games happened during the same weekend at the beginning of the month. Hubs and I bought tickets to the Games before we even accepted the request to work with Operation Chemo Comfort and sell Warrior at the event. Luckily, Kelsey, one of the founders of OCC is an amazing angel fairy who took on the responsibility of selling the Warrior three out of the four days there and I showed up on Saturday with more yarn and colors. The Games were fantastic and Stitches was a great learning experience. I’m looking forward to the next fundraising event we do with OCC and can’t wait to have fun with them while also supporting this awesome community of knitters. I worked on a shawl of pure stockinette with increases every right-side row, and got to about the halfway mark by the end of the weekend. I haven’t worked on it since, and really miss knitting so far this week!

On Friday night of last weekend, Hubs and I decided to pull our inventory from the store in Waukesha. After what amounted to a terrible communication and veiled threats of additional commissions on my sales that were not outlined in the contract, we decided to remove our inventory and sever ties with this shop. As much as we wanted to keep yarn in a store locally, it doesn’t make logical sense to support a shop whose owner is unable to stick to the contract she put together, and that’s all I’ll say on it. We will be working on getting into another shop and I’m really looking forward to that day happening.

I also discovered that the Knitcrate was due to the warehouse by the 20th, not shipped by the 20th, so all this week I’ve been crazy dyeing yarn every night upon coming home. It makes for super long nights, but it worked out to the point where the dyeing will be done tonight and it should be dry by the weekend so all I have to do is tag it all up and get it shipped out on Monday.

So that catches me up on everything but food and working out! I started taking Hot Yoga classes in March or April and have been consistently going 2-3 times per week except for the last two weeks. This coming week I’ll hopefully be able to get back into it. I’m also still trying to go to CrossFit twice per week, but lately I’ve been cherry picking the workouts in favor of hoping the next day won’t kill me. Again, this week I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back into the groove of going on Mondays and Fridays, with Yoga on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday.

On the food front, Hubs and I have been awfully boring: Chicken and veggies pretty much every single day. I’ve been trying to stick to Candida as much as possible but this stupid plateau is still alive and kicking. I’m starting to wonder if I’m even eating enough food, and have started tracking my macros over the last couple days. I experienced a gluten reaction a couple weeks ago due to some cross-contamination in the work cafeteria, which sucked, but it’s forced me to rethink the foods that I go for in the cafeteria. So far so good.

I think that’s about it! I’m hoping to be able to have something worth writing about at least once per week and will attempt to knit more often and definitely take more pictures.

Until next time!

Weight Loss


I had a meltdown last night. I have been stuck with my weight loss since November. 220 sits on the stupid scale almost like it’s broken. I have been trying to eat enough, drink enough water, make sure I stick to the plan, only to be foiled by the idiot scale.

My meltdown wasn’t totally about my weight; I feel listless in almost every aspect of my life. My knitting has stalled, I don’t feel like I complete anything at work due to lengthy projects or just simply not having any resources, and overall I just feel useless most days.

Husband assured me he loved me, and then asked me “Do you love you?” to which I immediately responded “No…” and then bawled so hard I got a migraine.

I don’t love myself right now. And that breaks my heart.

I can love myself on the outside, because my before and after photos are astonishing to me, but I don’t love that I’m failing at meeting my goals. I don’t love that I still am taking upwards of 20 pills per day. I don’t love that I have come to rely so heavily on feeling validated by other people expressing need for me, that I can’t rely on myself for that sustenance.

So instead I eat a lot of bad things for me. I eat too many cookies. I ate two pieces of pie last night for PI day. And I just can’t figure out how to make myself stop doing these self-sabotaging things. I don’t go to the gym enough. I don’t drink enough water. I work so much and I don’t take time to make myself feel good. I don’t know how to self-love so I just don’t.

I don’t want to hear ‘it’s not about the number on the scale’ because ya know what, it fucking is about the number on the scale. Every pound above 200 I sit brings me one step closer to diabetes, heart disease, poor hormonal balance, continued damage to my body overall and generally just feeling awful. I can appear skinny and ‘great-looking’, but if I’m not at a number on the scale where a doctor isn’t going to yell at me and tell me to lose more weight, I am not going to be done with this struggle.

This is a very long road, and I’m getting really sick of travelling down this road. I’m turning 30 in four days. I wish I could say that I’ve got it figured out by now, but I still feel completely lost.

So, let’s end it on a positive note. I took this photo the other day at work when I wore a size Medium sweater. I wore a very similar sweater in a size XL last year after having lost about 20 pounds. Big differences, even though I wish the differences were more.

Weight Loss

A Little Challenge

Last weekend I spent 66 hours not eating.

You heard right! I did a handful of research and determined that it was best to just try to test myself for a weekend and find the mental fortitude to do what was going to be best for me: not eat for a while. Reset my body and get my insulin levels to an optimal rate and let ketosis take over.

So Thursday I ate a lot. Natch. I finished lunch at about 11:45 and then rolled to my desk where I wasn’t hungry again until Friday morning when I woke up in a total fog. My head hurt, I drank a lot of coffee and helped hubs shovel our way out of the driveway. I stayed home thanks to the snow and worked from the couch. I kept finding myself walking into the kitchen looking for food, realizing what I was doing and sitting back down. I texted hubs all the time telling him about the food I wanted to eat. Everything I looked at had the appearance of a big greasy cheeseburger or a slice of pizza or a pint of ice cream. I couldn’t stop hearing my stomach growl- so it was really difficult to get through the day. I stepped on the scale and had lost a half a pound (down to 217.5), so of course I couldn’t eat when I had already had success. Hubs kept me honest and I made it through the night. I went to bed hungry but knew that things could only go up from here. I kept knitting.

I woke up the next morning and stepped on the scale. 214.5. I lost three pounds overnight. What? Well ok then! I drank no coffee, but started knitting. I needed to weave in the ends on a baby blanket for my sister-in-law on Saturday before I started working on my Easy One Bulky Sweater. I printed a card and got the whole present finished just in time to put a 10 pound pork butt in two slow cookers. I doused the whole thing in Arizona Dreaming and set the slow cookers on low. Let the torture begin.

Around 2 p.m. I got in the shower and my stomach growled for the entire shower. I left home around 3 to go meet my besties for coffee before a movie and my stomach was still growling. A headache had settled its way into my brain as well. I ordered some coffee and brought my knitting with me. So much progress was made that afternoon, the coffee killed my headache and my stomach stopped growling. We saw Star Wars and I drank water whenever I wanted to eat popcorn. I made it home and the smell of delicious pork hit my face like a sledgehammer. I had to pull the pork.

Hubs was trying to be helpful and I love him for it but I wanted to punch him in the throat as I took two forks and started pulling the pork. The stuff smelled amazing and I hadn’t eaten in over 48 hours. I pushed through and drank more water. I knit some more, then went to bed after a castor oil pack and woke up looking forward to breakfast the next morning.

Sunday I woke up and got on the scale: 213. Great! Another pound! Done! We went to breakfast. I got fruit, yogurt, bacon, a gluten free English muffin and some peanut butter. It was so amazing and I didn’t have any bad stomach issues. I took the pulled pork to the baby shower and enjoyed a couple tacos.


I came home and had some nachos. I was very happy with my fast. Overall I crushed my plateau since November and I discovered some really awesome facts.

  • 63 pounds gone means I look pretty great.
  • I am now fitting into much smaller clothes than I was last year.
  • I’m excited to knit clothing for myself now.
  • I know I have the mental fortitude to make it 60+ hours without eating and it has great affects on my body.

Before any of you start telling me what I did was bad for me, I have been fasting for months now, just for 16 hours at a time; and there is NO documented proof that the human body must have food every six hours to exist. I did a lot of research behind fasting and its benefits and, while I didn’t get clearance of my doctor to do this, I checked my blood sugar throughout the entire weekend (69-80 in case anyone cares) and I made sure that I was hydrated and I even drank extra sport tea because it has electrolytes in it.

And just for kicks, today I did a before and after- it’s been a while since I did one and I wanted to see what differences have happened regardless of not losing much weight. I went from an XL perfect T to a XS perfect T! My wedding ring is too big and is to the point where it almost falls off my fingers whenever I am cold. My jeans are too big, my shoes are too big, my knits are fitting better. It’s all great! 30some pounds to go!


Bye Bye 2017!

I’ve written this post in my head about 6 times before finally sitting down and working on it.

2017 was fantastic: I started a new job, we bought a house, we adopted kittens and I got lots of knitting done! Let’s talk about the knitting, because this is after all the knitting blog.

Stats: I finished 17 projects in 2017. Seems fitting. I knit about 8,870 yards of yarn for those projects. So let’s talk monthly. It seems to work best since I blogged like three times this year.

January:  Lush: Madelinetosh Sport


February: Find Your Fade: Critical Sheep D10 Worsted


March: Hemlock Ring Blanket: Cascade Eco Wool


Shapely Boyfriend Sweater: Sheepish Yarn Co Merino Worsted


April: Garter Ear Flap Hat: Kenneth: Big Bad Wool Weepaca


May: 1999: Malabrigo Rios


June: NOTHING. I think I was just working on too many large things.

July: Hudson Shawl: Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok


August: Camilla Kid: Quince & Co Osprey


Garter Ear Flap Hat: Hannah: Critical Sheep D10 Worsted

September: Biased Blanket: Big Bad Wool Yeti

World’s Simplest Mittens: Manos del Uruguay Maxima

October: Mom’s Socks: Lorna’s Laces Sport

Dovetail Shawl: Critical Sheep D4 Fingering


November: Sampleri

December: Super Bulky Grandpa Sweater: Malabrigo Rasta

Birkilauf: Istex LettLopi

No Mess Beanie: Madelinetosh Twist Light (It’s done, I just haven’t taken ANY pictures of it since finishing it. And I’ve worn it literally every day since I finished it.


It’s been a great start to the beginning of the year- I’m getting back on track with my diet, and I’m looking forward to finishing all the beautiful projects I have on the needles. I cast on a hat on Christmas eve and I’ve been working on a Rosemont sweater out of Lopi since just before the end of the year. It’s stunning and I love it so much right now. I can’t wait to share the progress photos and talk about my first Hannah Fettig sweater out of three currently on the needles that I hope to finish this year.