Getting back in the swing

Hi everyone. Wow, was that an unintentional blogging break. Where on earth as April, May, June and half of July gone?!!

I feel like I have a black hole of lost time. What have I been doing? Mostly trying to get well. I’m unsure as to how much I have touched on my mental health in this blog, but it got really bad a few months ago. So much so I had to go on medication. But this blog isn’t strictly about my health so I’ll leave it by saying that I’m feeling much better and am coming back with renewed energy. πŸ™‚

IΒ thought I’d mention, I have posted two new pages to this blog. One is about my Etsy store and why I started it (including added info regarding my mental health if you’re interested) and the other is some pictures and short notes about my spinning wheels.

Anyway, onto today’s post.


Recently my husband and I set about rearranging our study (and my sewing room) so that it would be easier for me to get some sewing done. Here’s the before:

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Yup. I was trying to sew in that. Yeah, it wasn’t happening. I had to move a ton of stuff just to fold out my sewing table. This of course wasn’t helping with stocking my Etsy store with new items or even helping my handmade wardrobe.

After a day of rearranging, and a few weeks of tidying up errant pieces of paper and shredding old personal documents, we now have this:

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There, that’s much better. I have clear floor for cutting out fabric, only have to move one box to fold out my sewing table, and space to store my two vintage spinning wheels. I’m feeling much happier and freer in this cleared out space and raring to start sewing again.

You see that basket (aka that pile of ‘clothes’ to the left)? This one (see there’s a basket under there):

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Well, these are UFO’s and mending/alterations. I want to work away at getting this basket emptied. THEN I’m gonna sew a lining for the basket. This is a pretty good place to start I think. Watch this space! πŸ™‚

 

#anneofjuliescrapdown

Hello friends! I am embarking on an endeavour that will help to clear my yarn stash. Read on!

I have realised that a large proportion of my documented yarn stash on Ravelry is partial skeins. The leftovers may be big or small but they are all now orphans as the original project they were for has been completed. As one of my goals this year (most of which I’ve failed miserably at fulfilling!) was to have a simplified, decluttered home I thought it was about time to get these yarns out of my stash.

Now this makes things tricky. Especially the smaller quantities. I don’t like to waste yarn. Often the amounts I have are not quiteΒ a newborn baby hat, but they are far more than throwaway quantities. I have a Memory Blanket going for both fingering and worsted weight, and I’ve started knitting hexipuffs for a Bee Keepers quilt, but what to do with the rest? Thank goodness for the Ravelry pattern search function!

I’ve decided the way I will go about using up scraps and getting them out of my stash is to have a ‘scrap down’. I will systematically go through my stash alphabetically, and find something to make from my scraps. πŸ™‚ And I’ve already ridded myself of two entries from my Ravelry yarn stash! I am using the tag ‘anneofjuliescrapdown’ on my projects on Ravelry and also on Instagram if you want to keep up with my progress!

The first project in my scrap down is this Be Loving beanie (free pattern), using some 8 ply/DK wool.

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As I didn’t have enough yarn to make a whole hat, I striped two coordinating colours and I love the result! My project page here.

As I didn’t quite use up all that was left, I crocheted up some little cuties called Dream DropsΒ (free pattern)! How cute are these?!! Squee!!!

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After that, my yarn was all gone! And I got to move two stash entries to “All used up”! πŸ˜€ My project page here.

My next project is some mis-matched socks using up some acrylic fingering weight leftovers. I don’t have enough of either yarn to make an entire pair of socks, but should have enough to knit two socks total so I thought I’d swap out the ribbing, heel and toe to be the other colour and have some same but different socks. I’ve had this idea cooking for ages and now that I’m focused on scrap-downing (totally a word) I’ve cast them on! I only started today so here’s my progress:

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I love how the flecks of grey in the variegated yarn match the grey of the cuff. I’m gonna love these! I’m going to be doing my first afterthought heels on these socks. I found a pattern on Ravelry by Laura Linneman of the KnitGirlls podcast. I don’t actually watch the podcast but this was a free pattern and I’m only really using it to guide me on the afterthought heel, the rest of the sock will by my usual vanilla style. I shall keep you posted with how I go! My project page here.

I’m thinking that a lot of these scrap projects can go in a box and I can use them as gifts throughout the year. My tastes and colour preferences have changed since I purchased a lot of this yarn so I thought it would be a good option to have a gift box of hand knitted/crocheted items to give away. πŸ™‚

So, what do we think? Do you need to have a scrap down?

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Motivation

Motivation. It’s a slippery little sucker. One minute it’s there and you’re bouncing through the world on a mission, the next it’s gone and you’re slumped on the couch stuffing your face with dark chocolate, unable to even pick up your knitting needles.

This is pretty much i.e. an accurate description of, what my life has been like lately. I have barely the energy to get myself out of bed, let alone jump into all those goals I set myself at the start of the year.

My eating has gone down the tubes despite my taking the plunge and signing up for a 6-month contract with Weight Watchers. I now weigh more now than my weigh-in at my first meeting.

My knit from stash and not purchase new yarn goal has gone by the wayside also, although not to the same extent as my poor eating habits.

I have not done any gardening since my last post on it. I have not planted any food even though I have some seeds waiting and some potting mix that has not even been put into the planter boxes.

My house is a pig-sty. With probably more stuff in it than when I wrote the post on a simplified household.

Cross stitch? Sewing? What even are these?

I have decided though, that despite all the above negatives I will be positive. Instead of focusing on what I have not done, I am looking towards what I want to achieve and how I can get there. Here’s to future posts about my accomplishments rather than my failures.

How do you keep motivation flowing?

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. πŸ˜‰

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)! πŸ™‚

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?

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?