#Whole30, Day 4

Day Four is done, and I did not want to Kill. All. The. Things!
(The joke is that by days 4 and 5 of #Whole30, you run into a serious emotional wall and get cranky. Co-workers will testify to waves of poutiness on my part, but so far no major crank.) 

 Breakfast used up the rest of the shrimp, with a shrimp-to-egg ratio that was truly thrilling (cut back to 2 eggs). Peek-a-boo from underneath was the rest of my bag o' spinach. Suprisingly tasty, even without the Parmesan cheese I would normally have been tempted to add!

Lunch was more leftover Thai curry (think I can go without making quite so much next week). I found I actually *missed* my salad - and ended up not eating more than half of it.

The poutiness occurred after lunch (see above re: possibly not eating enough), and was prompted by the thought that I couldn't have a comforting, satisfying cuppa Builders Tea. But two cups of Rooibos later and I was on a roll with work.

Afternoon spaciness combatted by the realization that I had nuts in my desk drawer. Almonds and cashews to the rescue!

An early dinner, so I could be in the shop by 5 pm:

 I sauteed up two turkey burker patties and set aside one for breakfast for Day 5. The last 1/4 avocado, and a BIG slice of heirloom tomato as an ersatz bun made for a yummy turkey burger! Some quick romaine and more tomatoes for a speedy side salad. It was warm out again, so a little spritzer with grapefruit juice and soda water sent me out the door to go back to work to finish my second 12+ hour workday.

Biggest revelation so far: I'm not hungry in the same way I used to be! I used to get sharp, searing stomach pangs if I didn't eat every 4 hours. Now I just notice a deeper, subterranean rumbling and notice that I'm slowing down and getting a little spacey. Is this what other people are talking about when they say they forget to eat? Hmm.

Friend T had her first round of chemo on Thursday. If she has to be strong for her stuff, I can damn well do this, too.


#Whole30, Day 3

Day Three is in the can!

I'm still coasting on the grace of relatively little internal struggle with this. Fingers crossed that I stay that lucky for a little while longer!

Less of a scrambled mess for breakfast yesterday, and more of a layering exercise:

Bottom layer: fork-mashed sweet potatoes with a bit of coconut milk to make a bit of a slurry; then slices of turkey breast on top. 

Cap it off with some scrambled egg (note to self: cut down to two! this is a lot of food!) ... and then add some tomatoes for extra veggie goodness. Oh, and steamed greens, too.

Kept me going until after noon!



Lunch: yup, salad.

This one was pretty mainstream: plain sauteed chicken, tomatoes, avocado over romaine and cabbage. But I thought I'd share what I'm doing to make my salad dressing:

If, like me, you're embarrassingly new to the process of homemade dressings (despite the fact that you've been told over and over again that they're easy), here's one to try.

1 part apple cider vinegar
1 part balsamic vinegar, or to taste (if you're using a strong one, cut back maybe)
2-3 parts olive oil (depending on how oily vs. tangy you like your dressing)
1/4 part Annie's Horseradish Mustard (a revelation! Horseradish delivery system with no sugar added!)
1/2-1 part diced fresh herbs (I've been using basil, since it's fresh now) 

(If you're making some to cover several salads, try 1 part = 4 Tbsp.)

I just shake mine up in a little airtight container - the little Duralex one pictured above is nice for dosing out a single portion to pop into my glass salad container to take to work. (Why do the French make all the best glass storage? Someone tell me why!)

Quickie to finish out, since I need to get to work early this morning: Dinner was leftover Chicken Curry from Monday night. (Work night, so had to plan for something grab & go).

Kept me going until 10:30pm, and only got a growly tummy in the last half-hour. Went to bed without extra snacking, either. On a roll.

Day 3 I realized I'm not eating the sweet potatoes in the quantity I expected to - not craving that form of carbohydrate. Think I'll cut back on those for my shopping next week.


#Whole30, Day 2

Day Two is done!

I got distracted at breakfast and forgot to take a photo, for the best of reasons - Boyhood was here! But for the record, what I made for both of us was an eggy scramble with shrimp, green onions, avocado, and a peach. Super-yummy!

The Lunch Salad reigns supreme:

I let some of my sauteed ground turkey marinate in my new-favorite, house-made dressing, and topped mixed greens with that, red pepper, and the ubiquitous avocado.

For some reason, I couldn't eat may way all the way through my salad (co-worker G, my salad guru, says "It takes work to chew!"), so I left it for an afternoon snack. Never got to it, but did take advantage of the other snack I brought along: an apple and some slices of turkey (which are quickly replacing my string cheese afternoon former snack position).

At about 2pm (bang on schedule), the first real pangs arrived: there's that afternoon 'grab some sugar' monster. After kvetching in the office and receiving rousing "NO!" support from my co-workers, it was off to the aforementioned apple and protein snack - stragely well-suited to the "apple pie and an iced latte" pang I was having.

(Friend T later told me that cinnamon is a great blood-sugar regulator - this, from her naturopath!, so perhaps a little jar of cinnamon in the desk drawer for that afternoon apple is in order.)

Second (and predictable) pouty-face occurred at the end of the work day: what's going to console me this evening if I don't have a glass of wine to look forward to? (This, the most dastardly of habits!)

Again, miraculously or strangely, the things I thought would be pretty insurmountable are non-issues (at least right now). I got in, popped my prepped items out of the fridge, and prepared a fantastic-tasting stir fry with shrimp, cashews, bok choi, and cabbage in less time than it used to take me to walk to the store for frozen pizza and Cabernet! 

Began with ghee and some grated fresh ginger in the pan, then added the hard vegetables (cabbage and the bulb of the bok choi), then the broccolini and shrimp. Tender greens and cashews at the end, and then (inspired thought!), a squeeze of Annie's Horseradish Mustard on the top and stirred in.

Tasted so good, I had to eat the WHOLE PAN. (Making up for lunch... at least that's what I'm telling myself!)

Sparkling water all through the night, a good Skype chat with friend T (she of the cinnamon tip), and to bed at a reasonable hour. An excellent result for Day Two! Phew. 

#whole30, Day 1

Day One is done!

I'd like to record every day here, (dearlordI'mgoingtobecomeoneofthosepeoplewhopostpicturesoftheirfood), for the record, and in hopes it helps someone craft menus or cope with working a Whole30 into their busy work week!

I've decided to keep one thing simple that's become problematic for weekdays: Lunches. I'm lucky to work with a bunch of creative, fabulous people, and G and C, two officemates at work, have been my inspiration for healthy eating for a while now - they bring Salad. Every. Day.

Day One's salad was lovely: fresh local tomatoes, spinach and kale and chard for greens, red bell pepper, some leftover bacon from the weekend's breakfast, and 1/4 of an avocado. My first attempt at making salad dressing was a success, too (why did I wait so long to try that?).

Breakfasts are often egg-based in Whole30, because it's the cultural norm and it's an easy platform for morning protein and veg. Day One I used some of the lean ground turkey breast I'd saut´eed up the night before, plus pico de gallo, wilted spinach, and the other half of the bell pepper that went into lunch. 

 On Day One, I went to the gym in the morning before remembering that I had a Kettlebell class that night (!), so I accidentally doubled-up on my workouts. (Boy, I love to overachieve early on!) Good thing I prepared for a pre-workout snack from work: the last 1/4 of that avocado, plus a few extra pieces of turkey.

 Dinner was some Thai curry I'd prepared the night before, because I knew I'd come home from Kettlebell class late, and because Boyhood was coming down for a date night! I added some cooked sweet potatoes to the curry, and made some more sauce. It was yummy - another first: Thai Curry paste! Hot, but not forcibly so. I surprised myself by eating less than I thought I would... Left quite a bit in the bowl. Surprising, after the busy day at work and the two workouts.

Two more things I learned just in this first day: a lot of my sweets-after-lunch craving has to do with wanting to refresh he taste in my mouth! I packed along a toothbrush and toothpaste and just hit 'reset' on the tastebuds. That, and a little walk to run an errand out in the sunshine, and I was more ready to go back to my desk without a cookie in hand. Also, mid-afternoon, rather than the black tea with milk & sugar that I'm used to, we cracked a box of Steve Smith's "Fez" tea: green tea with spearmint. Refreshing, tea-like, and a little boost from the green tea. A good workaround!

Day One can be deemed a success (though I dreamed of 'accidentally' eating pastries)! More on that next post.

on becoming whole

Updates must be in the air... I'm full of a sense of renewed energy (perhaps typical for this time of year?)

The wardrobe re-vamp has been joined by an interest in clean eating, and clearing out the junky habits that have limited me over the past few years (I'm looking at you, Pinot Grigio!). I'm a big fan of Allison's blog, Wardrobe Oxygen - if she recommends something, I'm rather prone to trying it. Her post a few weeks ago, and then its follow-up, prompted me to look into Whole30, and I very much liked what I saw!

The premise is pretty simple: cut out processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and grains and dairy for 30 days. Eat vegetables with lean protein most of the time, fruit sometimes, and get good rest. This is intended to re-set your taste buds, combat the cravings for sugar that plague some of us every afternoon (ahem), and reduce inflammatory responses you might not know you have to things like wheat and dairy.

Fridge Makeover, 'after' edition

Now, I don't think I'm particularly sensitive to wheat - I likes me my toast! And dairy doesn't feel like it's ever been an issue. But a renewed commitment to healthy eating, to feeding myself like I matter, is the crux of it.

I had a rare Sunday when I'm down in my work town, at the condo, with a bit of extra time to plan and prep. My planning went like this: study the sections in the book where they outline basic meal prep; figure out what combinations of protein and veg I wanted to eat this next week, and then plot it all out in a cute day planner I started using and then abandoned. Cute toys = guaranteed success in my book!

For future reference (or in case anyone is interested in diving in and wants some ideas about how to organize grocery shopping and meal plans): I started with the protein/veg mixes that I thought sounded good... and for simplicity's sake, kept workaday lunches to salads + a protein. Figured out which evenings needed easy meals (working late, etc.), and then moved stuff around until I had a menu for the week: breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day til Friday night (on weekends I go home up to PT, and Boyhood and I can shop for the weekend's meals together up there).

Then I wrote out a grocery list, writing down each ingredient as it came up in the plan, and tallying how many servings per item: 5 halves of avocado = 3 avocados, ground turkey used 4x... and that made my list.

Armed with my list (and packing my planner, for reference when my brain fell out in the store, as it always does), went grocery shopping! Veg veg veg and more veg, plus hunting for exotic new-to-me ingredients like Thai Curry Paste and ghee. Total damage, for the record: $135. A minor ouch, but considering it's sparing me the $40 margarita-and-quesadilla post-work meltdown, it's worth it. Plus, no alcohol in that ticket - that's been pushing up the grocery bills for the past few years, alas...

Sunday night meal prep: Thai Chicken Curry!

So here we go! My intention is to check in here every day, post my progress and revelations, kvetches and successes. Plus, daily menus in case that helps someone out there start their Whole30 with success!



minimal is a verb

The rampage of minimalization continues!

Because I work away from home, my wardrobe is naturally divided by geography: off-day, weekend clothes in PT, workaday clothes in BI. And while I had gone through a major wardrobe re-vamp just prior to taking my full-time job (hello, day dresses! hello, button-downs!), that was 15 pounds ago. And increasingly, over the last few months, I've been frustrated getting dressed for work.

And it wasn't until I went through this wardrobe purge and re-set last night that I realized how fatiguing and saddening it is to flip through your hangers in your closet and reject stuff - it's basically an exercise in saying "No. ... No. No. No. Maybe, but doesn't fit. ... Nope. Nope." How many times should you say 'no' before 8 in the morning?

I've been inspired by a few blogs lately: Into Mind and Un-Fancy to name just two. And the "Project 333" exercise in living with 33 items in your wardrobe for 3 months has excited the innner minimalist in me.

So last night, I took EVERYTHING out of the closet (not hand-knits - that will have to wait for another time), and sorted it into piles:
• LOVE, but it's too small.
• LOVE, but it's more suited to the closet at home for weekend wear.
• LOVE, but it's not right for this season.
• NO.

They warn you when you go through an exercise like this not to get nauseated by the sheer volume of stuff you've managed to collect in a wardrobe, and not to be daunted by the size of the NO pile, but ugh. Do I ever feel like a First-World Diva. I'm looking forward to taking the NO pile over to the Childrens' Hospital thrift store here on the island, where they can do some good. (Ya don't just dump Kate Spade handbags at the Goodwill, especially if a childrens' charity can benefit!)

The weekend clothes are boxed up, ready to take to the car; the 'too small' clothes are in one underbed bag (hope springs eternal, and they are fantastic pieces, built to last, so when I lose this extra weight thanks to "Younger This Year," I'll bring them back out with joy); and the off-season clothes are in two other underbed bags. The space beneath the bed has been vacuumed (yay! side benefit), and it's amazing how this feels. I had no idea how much taking off-season clothes out of a closet could help me feel more relaxed about getting dressed! A total eye-opener.

I kind of want to just stand in front of the closet and stare. (Boyhood and I call this "watching the baby sleep" - you just love to soak in the impact of what you've accomplished with a big project like this.

Three hours later, and I have a functioning wardrobe with room to breathe, and any number of great outfits to plan with pieces that fit, are easy to wear, and don't make me feel like I'm fat or too hot all the time.

Phew! As Boyhood said this morning when I told him what I did after he went to sleep last night: "Honey, you're on a roll!"

always more tiny

Our move two years ago into this mildly smaller house (1200 sq.ft. down from 1400) was a great exercise in refining our lives and the things we lived with. When Boyhood and I were moving our possessions, we took advantage of the fact that it was a 5-block move to "high-grade" our stuff. We took the things we truly loved, and had a lull of a few weeks to consider everything we'd left behind in the old house. Did we miss it? Was it really great? If not, it's gotten purged.

Fast-forward a few years (has it really been almost 2 years since we moved into the Red Cottage?), and the steady creep of 'stuff accumulation' has led to fewer hangers in the (already tiny!) closet, a dresser drawer filled with socks, underwear, loungewear I can't identify....

And then once I watched "Tiny" on Netflix, it was settled. A purge was in order.

I've also been following Project 333, and while as a clothing maker I have a profound wariness of getting my wardrobe down to 33 items (all the sweaters! all the scarves! would I have to stop knitting?), I'm longing for a simpler wardrobe - especially as I move from space to space for work and weekends.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you: half my wardrobe. (The half that's at home - there's another load just like this in my work-week living space).

I'm about to pull out the things I know I love to wear, the things that are easy and a good expression of myself in the world. The things that fit, that fit with one another, and are fun to wear.

In another pile will go the obvious donation items: things I'll never wear again, things that really don't fit, or things I've just gotten over or worn out enough to let another person have a crack at them.

In another pile will go my off-season items (right now, that's winter) - we have a separate space upstairs where I can store these until they come into rotation.

And a third 'oh god, I can't decide!' pile will get boxed up, put under the eaves upstairs in deep storage, and if I don't miss it in a few months' time, it'll get donated too.

Will I get down to 33 items? Maybe for here, for my weekends/off time at home... Then I'll winnow the work clothes down to a similar number, and start sewing my ideal wardrobe to streamline even more!

Stay tuned. Excited to be documenting the process. (And glad to be back in the blogosphere!)

suddenly, fall

and - we're back!

I don't think I'm alone in feeling like Fall is the true beginning of the year. It may seem perverse on the surface to mark new beginnings as the trees lose their leaves and the garden beats a full retreat, but the general drawing-in after a busy summer feels right (especially after the spectacularly sunny summer we enjoyed up here in the NW corner!).

So I'm feeling a bit more bloggish these days - there are some neat new developments around here, like our little guest house next door and its big space for sewing and blocking, my renewed interest in gardening and cooking, and an emerging resolve to learn two new skills: guitar and sewing. These would all be fun to document and share... can you teach a 45-year-old knitting dog new tricks?

Stay tuned.

an FO-Filled Weekend

What a weekend! Boyhood and I did some chores, and some more last moving-out of bits from the house... and I finished not one, but TWO sweaters!

I finished my second Bailey, out of Rowan Lima, and wore it all day yesterday, and didn't get too hot at the office!

I also got around to weaving in the dozens of ends (from all those stripes!) on my Maine-Cruise Tempest Cardi!

That got worn to the shop today - and good thing, too, because both of the dear friends I went on the cruise with were there for my knitting circle. They were just as as excited as I was to see this one done!

Of course, all this finishing left me feeling so virtuous that I was hell-bent to start something new (ahem), but the yarn gods decided to reinforce my better leanings and ensured that the ONE color I wanted in the new yarn was out of stock at the shop. So it's back to the rosy glow of virtue for me -- I've resumed my Tilda, and with just the fronts to do, I should be nearly done with that in a week or two!


The year is starting off well!

I have TWO FOs to report:

1. A linen-stitch scarf (loosely based on Jo Sharp's "Umbra Scarf" [of sainted memory]):

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, in 3 colors
Needles: Um... US 11? (been knitted for so long, I can't remember!)

This one was knitted, and then stalled at the fringing stage... perhaps because I'm not at heart a fringe-y person, and I dislike untidy edges.

I resisted finishing up the fringe, and it got stuffed in a bag for the last 4 years or so.

When I pulled it out the day before yesterday, all I had to do was tidy up some existing knots, cut a few new lengths of fringe to supplement its natural complement, and give the fringe a haircut!

Ta-da: a great cozy scarf, suitable for gifting this year (that is, if Boyhood doesn't snag it first). 

2) A snuggly alpaca cowl!: 

Yarn: Cascade Eco Duo (1 skein)
Needles: US9, I think

This was the silliest little non-pattern: provisional cast-on X sts (enough to make it wide enough for a cozy cowl); work in garter stitch for 28", or until it's long enough to wrap well around the neck and make a good cowl; graft the live sts to the loops from the provisional cast-on with Kitchener stitch to make a loop. Done. The End.

Which doesn't explain why that last bit took me a year to get around to!

•  •  •  •  •

The cowl was my first official FO at a 'UFO party' my friend Renae threw for The Knitting Ladies of Bainbridge last week. Here's the basic recipe:

1 excellent hostess and 1 fantastic home;
Add 10 or so dedicated knitters;
Marinate for a few hours in a delirious mixture of spinach dip, bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, lemon bars, brownies, and champagne;
Roll in yarn and needles and chat and laughter.

Later, bake in a lasagna pan with two kinds of lasagna and finish off with some lovely salad.

But be aware: this recipe does require a little clean-up!


poof! a new design

I'm happy to report that a sweet little design I did last year for Tina over at Blue Moon is now live!

"Sea of Tranquility," a scarf done in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Worthy - a yarn deserving of that name, if ever there was one.

I was playing with the different stitch and row tensions of 1x1 ribbing and garter stitch - I love how the columns of the different textures cause the little undulations at the ends of the scarf:

And the eyelet details stagger like wee footsteps, tracking up towards your neck.

In a sweet ironic moment, I named the scarf after one of the features of the moon … and then as I was finishing the knitting, the news came through that Neil Armstrong had passed.

So this one's for all the crazy dreams we have, all the things we think might not be possible - until we actually try.

Rogues' Gallery #3 and 3

Now, where were we?

Ah yes - Sweater #3. 
This one is a Habu kit from the last time Takako came to Churchmouse...
Kit #119? 135? oh dear.
Anyway, it's a luscious combination of mohair, merino, and silk! 

This is probably the one garment I am DYING to finish. I remember putting on the piece from the trunk show, and just walking around in a little cloud.

And while we're on the topic of mohair, here's a Crocheted Moebius Loop, in a luscious orange shade of Shibui Silk Cloud! 

[now, where the heck is that photo?]


It's just too bad that Pantone has shifted the Color of the Year from Tangerine to Emerald.
I'm a little bit in mourning. Just sayin'. 

January UFOs: Bailey & Bedsocks

Now that I've achieved some symmetry with the UFOs (I may have ripped one or two to get things down to 12+12), it's time to introduce you all to the Rogue's Gallery that are my unfinished objects: 12 sweaters and 12 smaller projects.

First up: Bailey!

I began Bailey last fall, with a color of Rowan "Lima" that was being discontinued (sad, since it's the perfect shade of '70's appliance Harvest Gold). "Bailey" is a cardigan pattern from my girlcrush Amy Christoffers -- one that I love so much, I'm knitting it twice! I wear my first Bailey (made from Berroco Ultra Alpaca) every other day, so I couldn't wait for one in another cozy yarn.

You may recall that this Bailey was destined for great things, and Fall wearings, until I put it on Louise, the mannequin, and realized that I'd incorporated a bad dye lot into the upper body. ... Which meant ripping the back and both fronts down to below the underarms. Sigh. [The one downside to all-in-one construction.]

I've ripped, and been re-knitting the upper bodice, so the evidence of that little blunder is now successfully buried in the past. And just in time for the January 1 Savory Knitting KAL over at the "We Love Amy!" Ravelry group (it's not called that, but it could be), I've got it going again, and am whizzing up the second sleeve. This one could be in the bag (or on the bod) in a matter of a week or so!

And the January Wee-UFO: at least one pair of Turkish Bedsocks.

I have a raft of these wee sockies that have no mate. So before Valentine's Day rolls around, I figure it's time to get them united with their solemates (ouch. sorry. couldn't resist).
These are the socks I wear most often during the week, and even though they might not be worked up with yarn we carry in the shop, I feel okay about wearing them to work - I'm still representing and walking the walk with them on. It's a great pattern, my go-to for travel knitting. They're so fun and interesting and portable! I can finish one, if not a pair, on a longer/international flight.

Those are going in my Three Bags Full project bags this month. Can't wait to get 'em DONE!

Rogues' Gallery, #2 and 2

Next up in my unfinished business is Tempest, that beautiful stripey cardigan made with two colors of handpainted yarn hand-picked in Bar Harbor, Maine on the knitting cruise up the East Coast last fall.

Knitting? Done. Seams? Done. Sigh.
This one's all down to the edging – was I just made tired by the thought of applied I-cord? That's never stopped me before...!?!


And then, in the small project department, I really, really, really HAVE to get this scrumptious Bias Before & After Scarf off the needles, because it's done in strands of Habu Linen & Stainless held with Habu Cashmere. In turquoise.

I mean, really.

ufo project #1: i hate nupps

I have twelve sweaters in the pile of UFOs, and before the official beginning of 2013, I'm pulling a little switcheroo.

I'm officially frogging (hint: rip-it; rip-it!) Sullivan from Brooklyn Tweed, a UFO from November 2011.

I cast this on during the Fort Worden Retreat (always the first weekend in November), and instantly discovered that my hatred of nupps was a) justified; and b) entrenched. This sweater is worked from the bottom up in one piece, which means casting on for the total stitches around the body: and there is a round of NOTHING BUT NUPPS all around above the hem.

Once I'd survived that little nightmare (hint: never do the YOs in the first nupping row too tightly! You have been warned.), it was more or less smooth sailing up to the yoke. Except for the life wrinkle of my dad's passing, and the complete and total wipeout of my brain cells in the first six months of grief fog. Top that with a few too many glasses of coping fluid as I tried to join the yoke, and it hit a screeching halt when I realized that my numbers were fatally off.

Hence the stall and stuffing into a bag for a wee 'time out.'

Fast-forward thirteen months, and the newly-minted resolve to deal with all UFOs collides nicely with the the latest in a hot, fast string of Brooklyn Tweed pattern launches: Wool People 4. Featuring this little number:

"Tilda," image courtesy Brooklyn Tweed"Tilda" by Yoko Hatta

Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, in color "Fossil" (with a little edging, which I will probably do as shown in "Sweatshirt")










 The coincidence of color is probably what clinched it. So before 2013 officially begins, I'm swapping out one UFO for another. Cheating? Perhaps. But since it's *far* more likely that I'll finish Hilda than Sullivan, I think it's a fair swap.

Now pardon me: I have a date with a ball winder.


2013, here i come!

Goodness, I've been away for a while. Sorry about that!

But once again, I am full of the vim and vigor that comes with A Grand Plan. I've been looking at my bad habits lately, thinking about what keeps me from really living *well*. And I've discovered that they share a common thread.

It's too easy to go shopping online when I'm bored or tired or sad, and then I end up with more stuff in my house than I can really interact with and appreciate.

It's too easy to skip going to the gym or going for a run, and instead end up on the couch knitting and eating and drinking things that have calories I can't burn off.

It's too easy to get excited about a new project, cast on, and then realize down the road that I've added to my list of WIPs in a way that's not helping me get through my UFOs.

Which got me to thinking again about Ernest Callenbach's "Green Triangle" and the notion that any improvement you make to try to live better/greener/more sustainably in one area -- whether it be for the environment, for your health, or to save money -- invariably helps in the other two areas as well. [Think: riding a bicycle rather than driving cuts down pollution (environment), gives you a healthy outlet for exercise, and saves you on gas money.

So why can't that be true for the money-health-knitting triangle as well? (Shall we call that the Dye Triangle?) The discipline I develop in one area (buying yarn for new projects) could splash over into my health, in helping me feel less stressed and overwhelmed with all I have to do and thus keeping me more relaxed and less likely to reach for coping fluid.



Enter The Grand Plan:
2013 is hereby declared The Year of the UFO!
By the end of next year, I will have either frogged or finished all of my UFOs.

That may not sound all that grand until you know what I'm up against:

I'll introduce you to all of them in upcoming posts, and with some I'll need your votes on frog or finish.
But I'm excited! To be focusing some effort next year on clearing up the backlog, and thereby gaining some fresh clean mental space for new things, or just some breathing room.

I'm cleaning house -- wanna come along? 

'High-Grade' Your Life

We interrupt our regularly-scheduled Ravellenic post forecast for a bit of real-life application.

The subtitle of this blog is 'Better Living Through Knitting,' in large part because I feel that the habits we get into as knitters really can be extrapolated into the rest of our lives, with great effect.

Witness the process of WIP Wrestling: whilst I'm in the midst of digging out UFOs and finishing up lingering projects, Life is handing me another lesson on a parallel track. Boyhood and I are preparing to move house!

We're moving into the dear, wee cottage that Boyhood was building for Dad to move into (sniff), and while it's a lateral move both geographically (it's only 5 blocks away) and spatially (it's nearly the same size as our current house), we're seeing it as an opportunity to 'high-grade' our lives – to take only what we truly love, and give away or sell the rest. It's a fabulous exercise, one I heartily recommend for everyone at least every ten years (the better to avoid ending up on an episode of "Hoarders: Buried Alive"!).

Take, for example, my "Candleholders and Vases" cupboard, the contents of which I disgorged onto the dining table Saturday morning:

What was now a full lower cupboard off of our kitchen has turned into a discreet collection: perhaps 3 vases of different sizes, and 4 or 5 candleholder options.

Photo of the new cupboard, with its few tenants, to come, as soon as we move it in!


London Olympics, Day 3


First small project complete – a pair of Turkish Bed Socks in Spud & Chloe Fine, colorway "Goldfish" (hee):

Though this one felt like medaling by default because the Ukranian team got stuck in traffic around Trafalgar Square. Honestly - the second sock just needed toe grafting. Five minutes yesterday morning, and *whammo!* Medal.


London Olympics, Day 2

Neckline on the Koigu Featherweight is complete and blocking!

I stayed with the gauge needle size, and picked up 3 sts for every 4 rows, then worked tweed stitch to desired depth. One garter ridge and and a fastidious bind-off later, and she's ready for sleeves!

This WIP Wrestling is fun! (Who knew?)

Meanwhile, for my schlep-to-work project, I'm tackling the Small Project Event with some Turkish Bed Socks. Should have more to show for my efforts tonight.


London Olympics, Day 1


The Koigu Featherweight has its bottom edge complete (with my signature 'Purl Darts'), and I've picked up for the neckband, which I've decided to do in tweed stitch, just for fun and a little textural interest.

And I have to say it's only once every two years that I ever wish to have network TV. Isn't it amazing how tight the commercial interests have sewn up the streaming of the Games? The "free NBC Olympics app" requires that you have a cable account somewhere. Even my treasured Beeb has no streaming on this side of the Pond.

I just wish that they might release some of the footage of the events a day or two later, for free streaming on the web. I'd be happy to sit through a periodic commercial, or put up with a sidebar ad, for the luxury of seeing some of the competition online.

Harangue over, climbing down off the soapbox. Time to go paint some trim at the cottage so I can sit down after lunch and work on this neckline some more and watch the final episode of Season 3 of Torchwood!