FO: The Lush Cardigan

Wow, has this one been on the needles for a while! The Lush Cardigan by tincanknits.

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While I love the finished item, this thing was an absolute bitch to knit, quite frankly. And it wasn’t even that the pattern was hard. I think that really, it just didn’t want to be knit. But, as you can see, I beat it into submission. ;)

I have knit the body of this cardigan three times. Count it with me – 1, 2, 3 times. :( It went kinda something like this:

  1. Knit the lace yoke, all good. Pick up the neck and collar stitches and complete including short rows, just fine. Pick up and knit the body, separate the armholes, knit down to the bottom ribbing including waist shaping, start bottom ribbing, realise you’ve used the smaller ribbing needle size for the whole body. F**KING WHAT?!! ARGGGGGGGGHHHHH!!! You know what comes next: RIIIIIIIP!
  2. After ripping out the WHOLE BODY up to the underarm, the stitches were picked up again along the lace yoke with the RIGHT NEEDLE (I was sure to get it right this time!), knit, knit, knit, complete waist shaping, getting close to the bottom ribbing, realised one of the edge stitches had fallen off the needle about 8″ down. YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME?!! Searched about online to find a tutorial to help with picking up edge stitches. Attempted to unravel a few side stitches and pick up with a crochet hook but the edge ended up VERY tight. As I still needed to pick up button bands I knew the tight, curving edge would not do, so 8″ of knitting got ripped out. :'(
  3. This time I got it right :D

The only thing I did realise is that the top of the sleeve is still knit in the smaller needle due to the construction of the cardigan and the fact I only ripped up to the underarm. After what this cardigan had already put me through,  I let it slide.

I knit this one out of Cascade 220 Superwash in the Jet colourway which is a heathered black. The pattern was very easy to follow and mostly well explained. I did have one criticism of the way the lace yoke is written however. Instead of saying knit x number of repeats of the chart the instructions say to knit (for my size) 152 rows! You know how hard it is to keep track of 152 rows? I spent ages trying to calculate the number of chart repeats 152 rows was. Didn’t help that I kept forgetting that the even numbered rows weren’t charted… >.<

I chose to do wrist length sleeves (vs 3/4 sleeves as per pattern) on my cardigan as I had the extra yarn (still have some left!) and I prefer longer sleeves. I made them just hit my wrist bone so I can comfortably put on some fingerless mitts with my cardigan. :) My project page can be found on Ravelry here.

yarma_medium2So in the end, I got a great cardigan that I love despite all the near-tears.  My sister tried to get me to give it to her last night when I took it to show it off. So I guess that’s a good sign too. It’s now been added to her list of things she wants me to knit for her! ;) Just have to get the one I have going for her already finished first…

What have you been knitting lately? :)

Goal Progress

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I thought I’d take today to have a bit of a think about how things are going with the goals I set for myself at the start of the year.

Knitting Goals

So far so good. For some of it. ;)

I have failed in my “do not buy yarn unless I am ready to cast on straight away” goal. On my most recent podcast (here), I discussed another little exception to my knit from stash goals. And this was that if I can get it, I’m allowed to purchase the limited edition Madelinetosh colourways from Eat.Sleep.Knit (ESK). These colourways are available for the first week of the month only and are inspired by places around Georgia, which is where ESK is located. They disappear pretty quickly as there is only 10-20 skeins of the colourway on about six yarn bases.

I have also failed on my “only two WIPs” at a time goal. I have had a bit of cast-on-itis lately and have started a couple of Memory Blankets. These are mitred square blankets where each square is knit onto the last. However, this does help with the stash down as it is getting rid of little odds and ends of yarn that have been hanging around for a while. I’ve started one in sock yarn (4 ply) and another in worsted/aran (10 ply) yarn. I have been putting in a lot of work to finish my WIPs so I’m still moving forward in respect to this goal. I have knit 1356 yards for my Clean Slate Challenge so I nearly have an entry into the prize draw (at 1500 yards)! :)

Sewing Goals

I have yet to sew anything but I have it on my agenda for this week. I have joined a beta test of a new productivity website for craft businesses and I am using it to organise my time so that I can work on the MyMuddlings brand and also schedule some personal sewing in. If you’re interested to see the new products I am working on, head over to my Facebook page.

I have yet to set up my husband’s old desk for my cutting table, we’ll need to get rid of some stuff to make room first. I have begun working on the Wardrobe Architect exercises and I’m intending to write about my progress later in the week.

Cross Stitch

Again, no progress here as yet.

Healthy Lifestyle Goals.

Hmmm… this has been a bit so-so. I still have the good intention but I have been lacking the motivation and energy as I have been struggling with a set back to my mental health progress. Sometimes it’s all just too hard to make a juice or a salad or carrot and celery sticks when you’re feeling down. It’s easier to reach for the processed carbs to give yourself a sugar boost. It’s a pity because I know I will feel better if I eat the veggies. Most days I’ve at least had my green juice so that’s positive.

I haven’t been exercising and that includes the yoga. Although, now I have scheduled dog walking into my agenda with the productivity website I mentioned above. I also need to carve out a time and create a ritual to begin my meditation… Some more research is required here.

Simplified Home Goals

At this point, we have no progress to report other than my knitting down scraps from my stash. Again, with the way my mental state has been of late, it’s just all too hard. :(

So that’s where I am one month into the new year. How are your 2015 goals working out?

FO: Mystery Machine Socks

I have a finished object for you today! These are the Mystery Machine Socks by Ariel Altaras. The pattern is a US$5.00 download and can be found on Ravelry here.

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These are a fingering (4 ply) weight sock with ribbing, lace and cables. I love them! My Ravelry notes are here.

I knit them from some hand-dyed sparkle Blue Faced Leicester wool. It was lovely to work with even though I don’t really like orange or sparkly yarn! ;) BFL wool is one of my favourites that I’ve tried so far to work with.

I was a little irked by a purl line that is on one sock not the other but it’s not a big deal overall. The pattern was great, mostly very well written. The charts were in an odd position and I had to keep flipping back an forth over a few pages between the instructions and the chart but I suppose that can’t be helped. There were a couple of points when the charts transitioned from the full diamond lace pattern to the decreases to add in the ribbing again that I found a bit mystifying but I muddled through and I’m really pleased with the result. :)

Thanks for reading!

I think somewhere inside is a gardener…

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My backyard after doing the mowing today. Photobomb courtesy of Granger. ;)

So, since I have been working my healthier, plant-based diet, I seem to have been infected by something… The desire to GARDEN. Yes, you read right. I want to work in my garden…

Previously to this, as I have probably told this blog before, I have been a lazy person by nature. I would prefer to curl up on the couch with a knitting project and a podcast or show on the telly. Not anymore it seems. I have mown my back lawn TWICE in the last two weekends because a) it needed it and b) I like the way it looks when it’s nice and short and flat and neat. Today I even hand cut the lawn edges out the front and mowed the front lawn, ripped out weeds and previously poisoned dead grass along the cracks between my house and the path around it (front and back!) and even SWEPT up after myself.  WHAT?!!

I now want to work my way around the back yard picking up all the dead stuff (from the above mentioned previous poisoning), clear out underneath and prune all the fruit trees in the yard, rake up all the old pits from the two peach trees we have and clear off the large paved area (what it’s there for I’ll never know, top left in my pic above) of all the dead leaves and dropped and dried olives from last season. We have some lovely looking peaches on our trees at the moment so I’ll need to head out and harvest some before the birds get them or they fall off the tree too.

Now, all of this is in direct opposition to my lack of desire to be in the sun (tanning and wrinkles, ugh) and my usual desire to do sweet F-A with my spare time, well except for knitting, TV watching and eating. ;) You know what else? I have even RESEARCHED how to grow a lisianthus that I was given as a gift (thanks mum! All the flowers have died by the way :( ) and how to make my own compost and raise seedlings. Again, WHAT?!!

I have asked my husband if we can go to Bunnings (an Australian gardening and hardware store) this weekend so I can get some proper lawn edging shears (I was using secateurs!) and some plants and seeds so I can start my edible garden.

I really don’t know what’s going on. Must be all the greens I’ve been consuming. But my garden is more tidy because of it and will hopefully be more beautiful and bountiful in the coming months.

Do you enjoy gardening? I’d love to hear about it!

Simplified Home Goals

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Picture taken from http://www.thehomealarms.com

My husband and I have a lot of stuff. A LOT of stuff. Picture a three bedroom home full of stuff, plus a 20×40 foot garage full of stuff. Yeah, I did say a lot. So, my goal for this year is:

  1. DECLUTTER – Get rid of stuff. Donate it, sell it, whatever, I don’t want it around anymore. Most of the stuff in the garage we don’t even know what’s there nor has it seen the light of day since we moved in February 2014. My husband is a complete pack-rat so I’m going to have to step delicately in a few areas. We rent so we never know when our lease is not going to be renewed (we’ve had two rentals sold out from under us in the last four years!) and if we have to move again, I don’t want to have to take all that we currently own with us. I want our home to be neat, easy to clean and a joyful, peaceful place to be. Not surrounded by stuff that feels like it’s closing in on you and makes it difficult to clean as you have to move everything just to clean it.

Is decluttering on your list of things to do this year?

Healthy Lifestyle Goals

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 1.37.14 pmThis is where most of my ‘change’ energy will be spent in 2015.

  1. SWITCH TO A PRIMARILY PLANT-BASED DIET – As it has been proven time and time again, human beings were made to be vegetarians. Our bodies can immediately recognise and use whole, plant-based foods. It dramatically reduces your chance of heart disease and cancer to eat a plant-based diet. And this is what I’m going to do.
  2. EXERCISE FOR AT LEAST 20 MINUTES, 5 DAYS A WEEK – And preferably longer sessions. As a mostly sedentary person, I figure 20 minutes is a good start and I’d like to build up to 30-45 minute sessions. I’m trying to make it a habit so I think 5 days a week is a manageable goal to aim for.
  3. LOSE AT LEAST 20KG (44lbs) IN WEIGHT – The above two goals should get me there. I technically have more like 35kg (77lbs) to be even close to my healthy weight range but I’m being realistic here. If I lose more than my initial 20kg, then I’ll be thrilled but I’m not going to beat myself up if I cannot lose 35kg.
  4. SPEND TIME MEDITATING – I have a natural tendency to depression and anxiety and just a few minutes of meditation a day does wonders to centre yourself and bring your focus back to the current moment.
  5. DO MORE YOGA – A lovely, stretched out, well oxygenated body makes you feel great, not to mention letting your body release built up toxins and your mind to focus on the moment. I’m aiming for at least one workout a week to start.

Do you have any health goals for 2015?