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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.

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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

Stuck

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.

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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!

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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

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February: Find Your Fade: Critical Sheep D10 Worsted

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March: Hemlock Ring Blanket: Cascade Eco Wool

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Shapely Boyfriend Sweater: Sheepish Yarn Co Merino Worsted

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

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May: 1999: Malabrigo Rios

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

July: Hudson Shawl: Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok

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August: Camilla Kid: Quince & Co Osprey

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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.

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Note to Self:

  1. Super Bulky sweaters do not travel well…
  2. Kittens LOOOOVE Superbulky yarn…or yarn in general…or hair… basically if it looks like string they want to play with it
  3. Kittens do not love it when you knit because it means you’re not cuddling them
  4. Knitting only happens when you actually knit on the thing… knitting fairies do not exist.
  5. Sleep is important… especially when it comes to being able to finish your knitting without mistakes.
  6. Scratch that. Sleep is very important. That is all.
  7. When a kitten starts howling in the foyer, they’re going to throw up all over your hardwood floors
  8. When a kitten throws up on the hardwood floors, it means you need to quarantine the other kitten from checking on first kitten to make sure his sister is ok
  9. Can you tell I’ve got kittens at home? Meet Neo and Trinity: We adopted them two weeks ago
  10. I went to Joann Fabrics yesterday for a yard of upholstery fabric and spent an hour waiting for it to be cut
  11. I now have to go back to Joann Fabrics to get buttons for the super bulky sweater from #1
  12. Photograph your knitting more…The below was taken before Halloween…

That’s all for now. I’m sorry it’s taken forever for this post to appear. I have been trying to do basically everything under the sun and blogging time hasn’t been in the forefront of my mind. However, a new item has made its way into my planner to post a couple times per week. Once about the knitting and once about the weight loss journey (at a plateau, thanks for asking).

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Making Changes

Hi!

I am so excited to write today’s post because it includes some more before and afters and knitting!

A year or so ago I knit a sweater called OWLS by Kate Davies. I made it out of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky in this gorgeous heathered blue and I cranked it out so quickly that I even surprised myself. I was in love with this sweater and couldn’t believe that I was so lucky to have been able to knit this thing and it fit well. I was at my heaviest at around 270 pounds. I thought it fit well and was pretty darn good looking on me with a 44″ bust. I wore it a couple more times but our winter was very mild and I didn’t wear my knit sweaters much at all during the season. They were put in the cedar chest for the summer and I only recently pulled it out to wash them up and get all my sweaters ready for the winter and fall. Perfect timing, because the last couple weeks have really started veering toward fall and I’m loving wearing the knits every day!

So. This past week I wore my OWLS for the first time all season and I enjoyed how warm I was and how drapey and luscious the fabric was. The only problem was that the buttons wouldn’t stay closed because they had no pull on them from my body being in the way. The sweater was almost sloppy how large it was compared to my new frame. I found myself falling even more in love with this sweater, especially at the prospect that it was a little too big. I spent the entire bus ride home debating if I could install a zipper instead to give myself a little more of a form-fitting sweater.

I went to Joann Fabrics and poured through their selection of zippers, matching my sweater up with a beautiful charcoal colored zipper of the perfect length. For a mere $5 I had the tools in hand to change my sweater forever.

I went home and waited for husband to come home. I spent some time ripping out the button bands and cutting the buttons off so I could continue ripping. When it was done, the edge laid so nicely and I knew this would work. I found my sewing supplies and pinned the zipper in place before hand-sewing the zipper down through the selvage edge I had created with the knitted button band. This proved to be much easier than I anticipated and, though I could have simply zipped up and down with my sewing machine, I found the gratification much higher with the hand-sewing.

Husband came home shortly after I finished the first zipper and was pinning in the other half. He said it looked really good and I got even more excited to try it on when it was done. See, I had no idea if this would work- I wasn’t sure if I’d lost enough inches for this sweater to fit properly when I was done sewing in this 28″ zipper, but I had to try something. I kept sewing and eventually finished. I took a deep breath and tried on the sweater, getting the zipper up with absolutely no trouble. I was so happy that I practically threw my phone at my husband and made him take photos in the middle of my dimly lit living room.

So here’s a before and after. I am still not quite to 50 pounds (muscle soreness from Monday night’s 9/11 hero WOD has me stuck at one pound shy of 50), but I feel amazing whenever I put this sweater on. I noticed how much lighter it was without the extra weight of the button bands, and the neckline fits like it’s supposed to.

It’s been two days since the hero workout and my hamstrings do not want to work and neither do my arms for that matter. I’m not wearing any knits today but I’m hopeful that in a couple weeks I’ll be able to wear my sweaters every day and be cozy warm all the time.