I set a goal of “3 Patterns” for the past 6 weeks. It was a bit vague, but I think I really meant it just to spur my creativity and branch out. It could have been read 3 Patterns, write 3 Patterns, knit 3 Patterns, crochet 3 Patterns…just do something with 3 different Patterns!
I met my goal and tried 3 knitting patterns, completed 2, 1 was a success. Smile. I am more about process than results, so I am happy that I did 3 Patterns. Never mind the results!
1. Winter Hat with variegated yarn intarsia pattern.
2. Started the Summit Shawl.
3. Made a very long boa scarf for a 5-year old princess…little girl..princess.
1. Winter Hat
This is the Neighborhood Fiber DK in Victorian Village and a variegated pink DK that I bought on Etsy from Mothy and The Squid. I also used a gold strand with the Victorian Village outside of the ribbing. What fun colors!
I really need to read other winter hat knitting patterns, because once again, the final product turned out too big…but pretty!
2. The Summit Shawl – Mandie Harrington is a genius! She created this beautiful shawl, and as I knit it, I continuously marveled at how brilliant she is to have created this pattern.
I started mine in a fingering yarn, and it was turning out nicely. However, I decided to use the yarn for something else, so frogged it. I think that I will use a DK instead of a fingering yarn when I do this pattern again.
3. Boa scarf. I was asked by this little princess to make a scarf.
I used a pink fur yarn, a variegated pink/purple fur yarn, a deep pink strand, and knit in bells at each end!
I think I loved it more than the recipient! Though she had fun with it too.
Summary: My February 2015 Reading Results were better than January’s, but not where I want to be.
Bottom line: I really need to get to the gym more often.
I station myself on a treadmill, set my kindle on the book rack, and let the book “take me away” while I walk.
Really, if I have a good book I will go to the gym more often and walk as long as possible. As long as possible = Given that my gym is at work, the more I walk the later I will end up working.
The only time this strategy did not work was when I was reading The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. I had high expectations and did not want to get caught up in the story and then have to drag myself away in the middle.
I wouldn’t say that I loved Gangsterland, but I would say that I loved certain parts of it…especially when the Rabbis were portrayed irreverently! Some of my friends say that they choose a temple based on the rabbi, but I have never liked to give the clergy that much distinction. I choose based on the community because I feel I would spend more time with the other members than with the clergy. (And between you and me, I rarely pay attention to the sermons because I often feel that they are sanctimonious, and I have no patience for that kind of attitude.)
So a story that has an American-Italian mobster impersonating a Rabbi was highly enjoyable!
I wasn’t sure if I should put Fall of Giants on the list yet. A friend has lent me the hardcover, and I also borrowed the e-edition when I went away for a weekend. But I’ve barely cracked it open, and have only read through the family listings before the story begins. BUT…I have heard rave reviews, and it is on the To Read list, so alas, it is included.
As of February reading, I was biding my time to sink my teeth into The Girl on the Train. It is now March when I’ve finished it, so I will be quite proper (Downton Abbey-speak!) and wait till next month’s post to give you my review. (Sneak Peek: if you are thinking about reading it, do so!)
Since I have so few books on my list this month, I would have to say that the one I recommend most is Gangsterland. It has interesting perspectives on modern mobsters, religion, and relationships.
Well, I made it through the Whole 30! It was easy in the beginning and then the middle dragged on, and then it was over! I know you’re wondering about the whole 30 results. I have to tell you that I am feeling way better than the numbers reflect. I’m actually a little disappointed with the numbers even though I keep telling myself that this was only 30 days!
Lost 7.6 pounds
Lost 2 inches in the bust (& in a bra hook)
Lost 1.5 inches in the waist
Lost 1.5 inches in the hips
I did not measure my thighs but my pant legs are looser too.
The Health Aspects
Sleeping better – what does this mean? I fall asleep pretty quickly but that is nothing new. I sleep through the night. That’s not really new. I sleep down and out, a good solid sleep. That’s new.
I feel the need to move around. This is very new. I have always been very happy being sedentary. Now I feel restless if I have a more stationary day. These Work From Home Snow Days have proven this, unfortunately (because of the multiple snow days) again and again.
BOREDOM. Well, this is a negative way of reflecting upon the lack of indecision or distraction. When I used to have spare time, I would get so excited and overwhelmed with the choices. Now, or in the last 30 days, I am very calm and focused. One thing at a time, all in order and still time to spare. So much time! To spare!
FOCUS. This is a partner to the above paragraph. Clear thinking. Focused. Get things done quickly. BORED. But calm.
Thirsty. I think giving up any in-between meal noshing has made me realize that I might have had a snack before instead of a drink. I am not a big water drinker, but now I actually drink seltzer or water instead of eating.
My skin is brighter. It’s hard to describe because I didn’t take notes on this facet beforehand, but I can tell you that my skin looks healthier than I think it looked before.
Energy Level. Up. (Repeat of 3rd bullet point?)
More decisive. (Repeat of 4th bullet point?) I’ve cut the cord of a certain online dating site that has not been successful, speak more of my mind (hard for some of my friends to imagine!), and don’t put up with as much BS as before.
My fingernails are stronger. (I still bite my nails, but noticed that I do it after I eat too much fruit! I always knew that I bit my nails after eating unbalanced or unhealthy food.)
My stomach is not bloated. I knew before that gluten products made me bloated, but now it appears that other foods have the same effect…foods that I cut out during this whole 30 day period.
Food is boring now. Sure, there was the exciting lemon curry cauliflower recipe (pictured below) in the beginning, and I know there are other good recipes out there, but I am bored. When I was writing this I could hardly remember what I had for dinner (grilled shrimp with mild kimchi and red peppers, with an orange and sunflower seeds for dessert, and water). Not very memorable and I like being excited about food.
I also found that I enjoyed being super picky and having food the way I wanted it in a restaurant. I’m usually resigned to having outside food served a way I don’t like or with ingredients that I avoid at home. Doing the Whole 30 allowed me to be really specific without apology. Even choosing to not have the gravy because it has flour in it made me feel good.
I hosted my Book Club and served cookies, cheesy popcorn and chocolates (Hershey’s miniatures and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) and dried apricots. I was not tempted and threw out the cookie and popcorn leftovers right away. Believe it or not, the chocolates are still sitting on my coffee table and are not even vaguely interesting.
I seem to have a reaction to too much ghee or maybe it’s just rich foods? I ended up with a stomachache after adding too much ghee to the pan to cook my eggs, or on top of some veggies. I always knew that I was somewhat lactose-intolerant, but this really surprised me because ghee doesn’t have lactose. Luckily the next step of this diet allows me to pinpoint how different foods affect me.
Now is the Reintroduction period where one slowly incorporates previously restricted foods. It’s recommended that one food group is done at a time, over a period of 3-4 days, so that any reactions can be detected and traced to the particular food.
I thought I’d start with sweets, but don’t have a plan yet. I’m going to stick to most of the Whole 30 for a little while longer. The best advice about finishing is this –
So what should you do?
Continue eating Whole30-ish every meal, every day, as long as that feels good to you. (We say “Whole30-ish” because added sugar may creep back in, like ketchup with your burger. That seems reasonable to us. If ketchup is the worst thing in your diet, you’re doing okay.)
When something comes around that is too good to pass up—too special, too sentimental, to important culturally, or simply too darn delicious—make a conscious, deliberate choice as to whether or not you are going to indulge.
If you choose to indulge, take your time. Savor it. Eat consciously. And eat only as little as you need to satisfy the situation, your experience, or your taste buds. Maybe that’s a bite, maybe it’s the whole cookie, maybe it’s 6 cookies—just make sure you don’t fall into automatic consumption.
When you’re done, move the heck on. No guilt, no shame, no remorse. You made a conscious decision to eat something you deemed worth it. Good for you. Now let’s move on back to our normally scheduled healthy meals.
You may find that you indulge once every few weeks, because nothing really amazing comes up in between. Or you may find that you indulge every day for 12 days, like on a vacation in Europe. Both are okay, as long as you are following this protocol. Conscious, deliberate decisions. Honest evaluations of “worth it.”And then a return to your normal healthy habits, no beating yourself up.
I’m late to report on my January 2015 Reading! That’s because there wasn’t much reading going on. I was trying to remember what I did instead of reading, and all I could think of was knitting the Iodine Cowl.
A friend recommended that I listen to books instead of reading, so I can knit and read at the same time, but I just really prefer to read than be read to…unless I’m in the car (driving or not!).
January 2015 Books Purchased
This would have been zero, except that a book that I back-ordered arrived this month:
Well, if I had to buy a book in January, this was a great one! Each pattern is shown in at least two color diagram choices (like cross-stitch) and then with a chart to follow. There is always a knitted sample of one of the designs at the top of the page.
I already have a project in mind that will use at least two of the designs, which I hope to share the end results with you soon…
First, I have to say that I don’t see the appeal of Mary Kay Andrews’ writing. After two chapters, I couldn’t bear to waste my time anymore and returned it to the library ASAP.
I have no idea why I wanted to read The One and Only, but it had been on my Read From The Library list for awhile. It’s about a young woman who likes sports, and her best friend’s family, where the father happens to be a college football coach. There’s obviously a lot of sports talk, which is not that enlightening to me, but the relationships are pretty believable, which is why I made it to the end of the book.
The Betrayers and Leaving Time were the selections for my two book clubs. I read through each of them, not really engaged in either. The Betrayers, at a high level, is about an Israeli political persona who basically runs away with a (younger) mistress to a Russian seaside town where he and his family visited when he was a child. After our book club discussion, I had a little more insight into what could make this book more interesting – the history of Jews in Russia, the Russian equivalent of the McArthur era, and even some insight into Israel.
Leaving Time was my first experience reading Jodi Picoult’s writing. Interestingly enough, it was about elephant relationships and human relationships, and sometimes a elephant-human relationships. I say “Interestingly enough,” because I have always been fascinated by elephants, and also have donated money to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee which was the basis for much of the book. I was not captivated while reading the book, and had to push myself through certain parts. However, by the end and when it was over, it gave enough to leaf back through it, looking for hints of what I missed to bring it to its conclusion (which I now understand is typical of her stories).
I would have to say that thanks to my book club discussion, The Betrayers was the most interesting book I read this month. I’m sure if I had been more prolific, my choice would be different.
I never really thought that Jerry Seinfeld would fall into the offensive celebrities category, but unfortunately he has now entered that world.
When a celebrity does something offensive, there is the risk of making him/her more popular by pointing a finger at it. Publicizing the work makes the view count rate go up, thus perhaps making the celebrity’s work more profitable.
However, the backlash toward Brian Williams’ helicopter confession has made me stronger to publicly take a stand.
I have enjoyed the first 2 or 3 seasons of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee web series. I recently watched the episode with Jon Stewart, and felt very uneasy about their casual conversation about concentration camps (at the 7:40 mark). The remarks and their own laughing were about the title “concentration camps” and whether or not this wording is accurate. I find this conversation and their own subsequent self-amusement to be in extremely bad taste, and I certainly would never accept the reasoning that it’s okay because they are Jewish. I would say because they are Jewish, that makes it even worse.
Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart are solid pillars of the Comedic Industry. They’ve expanded their outreach beyond my generation to my children who also enjoy their work. They are reaching a wide audience. They should know better than to joke about this. They have crossed the line, and I hope that the younger generation also feels that this is not right.
I don’t feel that I am usually a high-and-mighty or holier than thou kind of person. I prefer to think that while others may do things that I don’t agree with, as long as it’s not hurting anyone, I can just leave them alone and go my own way.
Regardless, I must stand up against this 2 minute conversation. It should have been edited out.
I ended up not purchasing a swift in the VKL Marketplace because I didn’t need nor want to spend the money for a top-of-the-line handmade maple one. A friend helped me pick one online at JoAnn’s, which also happened to be having a 40% off sale when we were looking.
Last Saturday, I focused on putting it and the ball winder together and testing it out.
This swift tightens its size by pulling in the pole rather than pushing out the stopper like an umbrella. The screw in the vise is tightened when the pole is pulled in at the right place.
Here is the yarn that I used. It may have been a mistake to use sparkly yarn in the trial run. The sparkles made the yarn stickier and was catching on itself as it was being pulled.
I had the ball winder to the right and the swift was moving counter-clockwise. It wasn’t working very well. I reversed the yarn and then also moved the ball winder to the other side of the swift.
Yes, I know. It doesn’t really make sense. I should have done one or the other, but not both. Where are those mathematically-adept people who understand angles and geometry when I need them?
Now the skein was moving clockwise but since I had moved the yarn, the loose end was no longer on the outside. I had to pull lengths of the yarn out and crank the ball winder. Then, since I was holding the yarn, it kept getting caught up either in the crank part or the yarn was coming out of the guides.
I told myself to Breathe. And Focus. And not think about how much time this was taking and is it really easier than just wrapping the yarn around one of the living room chairs?
Then. Finally! We got to the part of the skein where the loose end was on top. Let go of the lead. Crank the lever.
Established by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (of Whole9) in April 2009, the Whole30® is our original nutritional program designed to change your life in 30 days. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.
During the holiday season I introduced myself to a guy at work because he runs this very active MeetUp group for singles aged 45 and beyond. In order to avoid the “don’t I know you from somewhere” conversation, I decided to talk to him first.
Well, he found a friend in me. He set up time for us to walk together and he shared with me his varying diet plans, potions and pills. I shared the links to The Weston A. Price Foundation and Mark’s Daily Apple and lent him my Primal Blueprint book. I casually! mentioned that he might want to try the whole30 food plan AND that I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t want to give up the cream for my coffee. (I know, Flimsy Excuse, right?!)
He talked me into doing it with him. He feels like he has a partner in this mission. I don’t. We are on two separate planets. He told me that someone told him to drink tea with lemon. He reached to show me the lemon at his desk and it was the plastic ReaLemon. I do hope I didn’t roll my eyes. Forgive me, but I was expecting a lemon.
I didn’t even attempt the processed food conversation.
For 30 days, DOEat Real Food – Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed.
DO NOT Eat
Added sugar of any kind, real or artificial.
Alcohol in any form, not even for cooking.
All forms of soy
Dairy with the exception of clarified butter or ghee.
Carrageenan, MSG or sulfites
Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients.
One last and final rule: You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program.
Your only job? Eat. Good. Food.
How’s It Going?
Very well! I have received compliments that I look good. I don’t press for details. I just say Thank you!
Meals are actually pretty easy. I’m drinking tea (Double Bergamot Earl Grey) instead of coffee.
Even though I do like cream and sugar in my tea, it’s just as easy and tasty to drink it on its own.
I did have some black coffee the other day…interesting! It definitely needed at least some sugar, but I didn’t partake.
Here are some photos from my first bulk preparation. I find that it works better for me if I cook a large variety or batch of food at once, so I have it for subsequent meals and different combinations thereof. My whole30 meals are not much different from others that I’ve posted…except no honey or maple syrup, no butter, no cream, no quinoa, no gluten-free treats. LOL, well, maybe a little different!
I came up with a wonderful dessert – sliced peeled apples and chopped dates sauteed in a little ghee with a sprinkle of sea salt and a pinch of baking spice. A very filling and delicious way to end the meal!
It truly has been 8 days since I started.
My clothes are looser.
My skin is clearer.
I am sleeping really well.
My nails are stronger.
I have more energy.
I am more focused, less distracted.
I am getting up earlier.
I am having some crazy dreams, or maybe it’s just that I’m remembering more of them.
I am better physically balanced.
My hair is not coming out as much.
I am satiated throughout the day without a need to nosh (most of the time.)
I am thirsty! (A good thing as I never felt the need to drink water before.)
I recently finished the Iodine Cowl, recommended on the Neighborhood Fiber site for two of their yarns, Loft and Chromium. Neighborhood Fiber names their yarns based on Baltimore neighborhoods. In this case, the Loft is Patterson Park and the Chromium is Victorian Village.
Loft is a mohair silk blend and Chromium is a silk and stainless steel blend. They’re both lace weight, and the cowl is knit on size 7 needles.
I did have a great deal of difficulty with the Chromium constantly getting knotted. I don’t know if it would have been different if I had wound it into a skein versus a ball. The cowl took longer to complete than expected because I had to stop several times to un-knot the yarn, not an easy feat.
The cowl itself is a series of stripes alternating the yarn by first doing the two together, then one the next and so on. I haven’t blocked it yet, but still wanted to share my results!
Here you can see the different stitch structures dependent upon the yarn material. At top is the mix of the two, thicker and stronger than the other stripes, then the Chromium, which is much stiffer, then the softness of the Loft. It really is a brilliant pattern to utilize these yarns.
Here’s a full length view before I bound off. The bottom did start turning up, but I expect it to resolve itself after blocking.
Here’s how it lies when it’s worn.
It’s nice because it’s a warm yarn, but using a larger needle makes the cowl a very light wrap around my neck.
The VKL NYC Marketplace was filled with wonderful choices and never-ending ways to spend money! However, having recently organized my stash, I was well aware of the multitude of projects already awaiting my attention.
Add to that two classes that left me uninspired, I wandered around on Saturday feeling that nothing was leaping out at me.
I had also very carefully planned my purchases ahead of time. I printed out 9 patterns from Ravelry and noted the yarn needs for each. 460 yards of fingering for one, 900 yards of DK for another, etc. I was so proud of myself for creating a structure in which to shop.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Throw all that preparation and organization to the winds!
If I was tempted by something…I just had to find the right color and I was IN!
The icebreaker (my first purchase): I came upon the booth for Jill Draper Makes Stuff. I had really admired her yarns at the VKL Marketplace a couple of years ago, took her card with the intention of getting something later, and have also favorited her Etsy shop, but I have never made an actual purchase. Time to stop the procrastination! I bought this skein of Esopus (fingering weight) in the color Caribbean with the intent to use it for one of the pieces in the Curls book I recently purchased. But then in my Beading 101 class, this very yarn was mentioned as great for knitting with beads. So we shall see how it ends up…
Then I purchased 3 skeins of Rustic Fingering from Neighborhood Fiber, one of my favorite shops. The yarn names are after different neighborhoods in Baltimore: The purple-y one is called Lauraville, the brown-orange is Lincoln Park, and the green-yellow is Fells Point . I purchased these for the Color Affection shawl. I wanted colors in the same tone, but that you might not automatically think go together, which is what I think will make this shawl really pop (or go terribly wrong!).
It’s interesting to watch my own tastes in colors, fibers, and weights change over the years. When I was growing up, my absolute favorite color was yellow. Over the past decade or so, it has been gray (because gray goes with Everything!). Since DDSO passed away, I gravitated back to yellow, as it was his favorite color. Now, I find myself going more for pinks (!) (I know, what’s up with that?) and sparkly yarn. I also bought only fingering weight yarn this year, whereas before I usually liked working with DK. And prior to this year’s purchases, I would Never buy yarn with nylon or acrylic. EEK! I have let down that guard too. But I had to because that seems to be a necessary component for the sparkly yarns. It’s all about choices! (Inside joke/reference to a previous post about food.)
Next up: Sparkly fingering weight yarns. This is Holiday Yarns: Silver Sock Fingering in Muse (shades of blue) and Highlighter (great name! for this bright yellow). Each of which I thought could be used to make the Manhattan shawl.
Okay, I was done. It was Saturday, after two classes and the gala dinner was going to start in an hour. I decided that there was nothing really calling my name and that was it.
Well, wouldn’t you know. My Sunday morning class was held in a room within the Marketplace! Fate? <smile!> Sure. So during our break, I rushed over to the Woolstock booth to buy these flexible rods for blocking. Leslye Solomon’s company makes them and I have been tempted to buy them since the first class I took with her at the 2nd VKL. Not a very exciting purchase, but it should make the blocking process a whole lot easier and more effective.
When the class was over, I took a last stroll through the Marketplace. I thought about buying a swift but a handmade maple swift for $200+ was not on my list. But what was on my list was to get yarn for these socks (yes! I know! socks?! usually not my thing). But I really like the creator and her blog, and the design, Shersocks, is tempting (enough to do them!).
Here’s the yarn I got for them. It’s Simple Sock from Kismet Fiber Works in Michigan Cherry and Limoncello. I don’t think the photo gives the colors justice. I decided to do the heel in the design color (Michigan Cherry) and not purchase a 3rd color. Hopefully the colors will turn out more vibrant when I take pictures of the completed project. (This year!)
And then, on my way out, I felt I just had to stop at this one booth at the “end cap” (from my merchandising days) where the guy always said hello when I passed by. Turns out Molly Girl Yarn is from the next county over…so very happy to support them! I picked this lovely Diva Fingering yarn in the color “Alive for the First Time” to do some kind of beaded piece, having just come out of Beading 101.
Laura Nelkin, the Beading instructor, had given us coupons to buy knitting beading kits on Ravelry or her Etsy store, and I have indulged! Those are not VKL Marketplace purchases, so I’ll save them for another post.