Rules for Feeding the Stash

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Growing Sweater

I hope you all had a good weekend! I was home with strep, which sucked, but it gave me an excuse to stay in bed all weekend and read and watch Hulu. I didn't get very much knitting done, but I've been carrying my Chaverim sample around as lunch knitting and I'm five or six inches past the underarms now.

I've joined the second ball of yarn, and everything's still going pretty smoothly. Sadly, there's not too much that's interesting about a fingering weight stockinette sweater body. I probably knit a couple thousand stitches on this over the weekend, and it doesn't really look much different than it did on Friday. C'est la vie. I'm hoping that by tracking my progress here, I'll be more motivated to make substantial progress so I don't have a ton of posts that say "I know it looks just like it did last week, but I promise there are 3,000 more stitches on there!"

Once I get through the body there's some fun stuff  that I'm really looking forward to, but I'm not going to spill too many details yet. As much as I might want to complain about knitting a mile of fingering weight stockinette, it's going to be so worth it, and I can't wait for the finished project. I've got just under four weeks left before my self-imposed deadline, and I bet I can still make it!

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, February 24, 2017

Two More Finished Projects

Happy Friday! I have TWO finished objects to share with you today! The first is my Wainthropp from the SSKAL, and I am completely in love. I managed to bind off a couple days before the deadline, and since then it's been blocked and worn to work. I'm super pleased with it, and I'm sure it's going to go in regular rotation.

I had originally planned to try to lengthen the body a little bit, but I ended up knitting the body exactly as written. I did shorten the sleeves- I usually push my sleeves up anyway, and this makes it more of a three-season sweater. I also wasn't quite paying attention when I did my buttonholes, so I have an extra one up at the top. I decided to use a contrasting button in the top spot, and I think it looks perfectly fine.

Ravelry Page: Wainthropp
Pattern: Wainthropp by Andi Satterlund
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed "25453 Prussian Heather"

Up next is my Cairn hat. I've been wanting to knit this hat since Cory's F/W 2015 collection came out, and I found this yarn in one of my favorite thrift stores sometime last year and knew that it was meant to be. And it's been sitting at the top of my to-knit pile for approximately forever until I finally decided to just knit it this month.

This was such an enjoyable knit. I love the little textured stacks and the eyelet cables. It's just as charming as I hoped it'd be, and it's definitely going to get a lot of wear. I have the yarn to knit Wayward from this collection as well, and while it's been sitting in my to-knit pile for ages as well, I'm definitely going to have to cast on for it soon. Cairn was just so engaging and enjoyable (and I know I say that about all of Cory's patterns, but by golly it's true).

Ravelry Page: Cairn
Pattern: Cairn by Cory Ellen Boberg

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

FO: Amazing Technicolor Dream CYOA

Hello friends! Turns out a long weekend was just what I needed, and I did finally get caught up on FO pictures! Today is all about my Amazing Technicolor Dream CYOA/CYOA of Many Colors. Last fall I came across an old knit that just wasn't working for me. I originally planned trying to make it a more wearable cardigan, but you guys helped me come to the conclusion that this yarn really needed to be a pullover. And boy, were we all right.

Look at this. It's perfect. It's a focal piece, it's not overwhelming. It fits so well, nothing about it says "I have no clue what I'm doing." The sleeves are perfect.  The length is perfect. The neckline is perfect. I can wear it with jeans, leggings, or skirts, tucked or untucked. It is exactly the crazy multi-colored top that I needed in my wardrobe.

I'm so glad I finally found this yarn's true purpose. I actually knit my first sweater ever with this yarn, and two frogging's later I finally have just what I want. The silk content in the yarn makes this just a little nicer than my average cotton top, and I love how the colors all play together.

This time around I did alternate skeins every two rounds to help avoid pooling, and I'm so glad I did. I knit a smaller size of this tee than I did for my silver cropped version, because I wanted a more tailored look, and it's spot on. I'm really so thrilled with this, and I'm so glad I finally managed to overcome all my challenges and hesitations with this yarn to make something I really love!

Pattern: Choose Your Own Adventure Tee by Allyson Dykhuizen 
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Pima Cotton & Silk Hand Paint "Elements"

Linking up with Yarn Along

Friday, February 17, 2017

WIP: Father Cables

I haven't been working on my Father Cables much since I cast on Chaverim, but I pulled it out last night after I got (almost) caught up on cleaning (haha nope) as a little palate cleanser, and I'm almost ready to swap the circular out for DPNs.

I really love how this is working up so much, and the cables are a blast. This should just need another hour or so (or less) and a blocking before it's done. I'm hoping to finally catch up on FO pictures this weekend-apparently I have two sweaters, a hat, and the nearly-finished Father Cables to be photographed. So, sorry for not ever showing you guys any actual finished projects, Imma get right on that. Hopefully.

In other news, I think I'm getting sick. I'm pretty sure it's just a cold (dear god, I really hope it's just a cold), but I've had this gross cough all week and it's not going away, so I might just be staying in this weekend (barring a quick trip to the yard to take FO pictures). Clearly a few days of playing with yarn and reading and streaming old seasons of ANTM is just what I need right now.

Linking up with KCCO

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Invisible Knitting

I made some more progress on my new sweater (it's going to be called Chaverim, which is way shorter than "my new sweater," so I'm probably gonna refer to it by it's name from here on out).

"But Kat," I can hear you say, "isn't that much smaller than it was on Monday?"

Yes, friends, it is. I made it through most of the upper back before deciding that I wanted something a little different, and I ripped out and started again. It's a fact of life. I frog so you don't have to.

It's not a big change or anything, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I really wanted this to feel like it did in my head, and that meant ripping out and starting over. I'm much happier with my new plan, and I'm looking forward to working on this throughout show choir season.

Otherwise there's not too much going on here. Yesterday morning I was home with some blood sugar issues, so I got to spend half of my Valentine's Day cuddled with the dogs, which is probably the best possible way to spend Valentine's Day. (Seriously though, dogs are the best valentines. They love cuddling and you don't have to share your chocolate with them.)

Linking up with KCCO and Yarn Along

Monday, February 13, 2017

Another Sweater Hits the Needles

This weekend I finished up my Wainthropp, and it is blocking as we speak, so I cast on for a new sweater design. I had originally planned this for last year, but then Finn took forever and I got sick and it just ended up being not the right time for it after all.

This is going to be a summer sweater (which means nothing to me, since I get so hot and never wear sweaters in the summer unless I'm in my freezing cold office) and it's inspired by my years at summer camp. I loved camp so much, even though I was one of those shitty campers who whined and complained during the whole four-hour hike, but I really loved arts and crafts (surprise!), and that's kind of where this sweater stems from. But more on that later.

I'm a little more than halfway done with the upper back now. Most of this is going to be straightforward stockinette, which is perfect for this time of year because it's show choir season! I need something simple to carry around and work on in the car and in dark auditoriums, and it's gotta be something I can shove in my purse halfway through a row, and this sweater ticks all those boxes.

I'm back to working on my 10-stitch blanket in the evening, which means this sweater is lunch and purse knitting, and I'm hoping to get it finished before the end of March. I'm going up to the cities to see my best friends at the end of March, and I'd love to have this done before I go and not have to come home to an almost-finished sweater!

Friday, February 10, 2017

On Bodies, Part the Third

Apparently I talk a lot about bodies now. But I've been thinking about bodies again this week, and I realized I had more to say, so here goes.

I'm sure many of you saw Lady Gaga's incredible halftime show at Superbowl LI. It was a phenomenal performance, by one of the most talented and hardworking performers of our time, and for part of the performance Lady Gaga's un-photoshopped belly was on display. And there were some reactions to that online, and there were people saying that her belly didn't look so great, that she looked "flabby." Lady Gaga's own response to these comments is beautiful, but these comments reached farther than one person, and many people were left wondering, "If Lady Gaga is fat/flabby, what does that make me?"

I'm a member of a fitness group on Facebook, and several members started an #allbelliesarebeautiful hashtag in the group. Since I didn't see many larger bellies shared, I decided to share my belly and I was blown away with the response-my belly picture had the second-most reactions and responses out of any picture in our group. One thing that multiple people commented on was how happy and joyful I looked-I think for most people, this is one of the first times they've seen someone their size or shape post a picture of their stomachs and be openly thrilled with their appearance.

I've been open before about how I used to not love my body, and that for years I actively fought against the idea that my body was beautiful. What I haven't explicitly shared was that I struggled with disordered eating for over half my life. Starting somewhere between fourth and sixth grades, my relationship with food and my body became very damaged and unhealthy, and I let it continue that way for years. When I was diagnosed with diabetes at 18, I allowed that to justify my eating disorder, and when I was diagnosed with coeliac disease at 20 I used that as another excuse for my problems with eating.

I'm not going to go into too many details, because that's not the point of  this post, but it was only around age 23 or 24 that I was able to openly admit how bad my eating disorder was and how much anxiety I actually had around food.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to consider myself "cured" of my eating disorder. The most I can say now is that I'm in recovery. I targeted the mental aspect with a counselor and I have a great nutritionist who knows my history and works with me to understand my concerns and goals. I'm better than I was, but every day it's tempting to fall back into old habits. When I'm tired and stressed it's easy to forget that my body can only do the things it can when I take the best care of it possible. It's easy to push food to the side as distractions from whatever else I'm doing.

What I see time and time again is that people desperately want to love their bodies and they fall into the trap of thinking "I could love myself if I lost 5 pounds," or "I'd be beautiful if I was just one inch smaller." But what I hear from the responses to my belly picture and to all the belly pictures people shared is "I want to feel as beautiful and love myself as much as that person does."

What I've experienced in my life is that goals like those above keep moving just out of reach-I have a better relationship with my body and I am happier with how I look now than when I was 50 pounds lighter. And I'll reiterate that what I find the most helpful is looking at what your body can do, and how its size and shape impact that. My body knows what balance it wants to maintain to be its healthiest, strongest self, and it'll keep on just fine as long as I take good care of it-exercise when I feel sedentary, stretch when I feel tight, eat when I feel hungry, sleep when I feel tired.

Every time I get ready to hit "publish" on another bodies post, I ask myself why I do this. Bodies and body image are hard things to talk about. And as much as I feel comfortable about having a larger body and how I learned to love it, I can't speak to much thinner people. Certain things remain the same-that you should trust your body to know what's best for it, and give your body what it needs when it needs it, but I've never had people wonder if I was unhealthily skinny, and I've never dealt with some of the medical problems that plague my thin friends.

Ultimately I really do believe in body positivity and self-love. And I think most people can benefit from seeing as many people as possible say things like "I learned to love my body without changing my size at all," and "I got a new piercing/tattoo and it helped me feel ownership over my body." And I think that we in the crafting community have to be so aware of our bodies, especially when making garments, that it can exacerbate negative feelings. So, here's a friendly reminder that it's possible and okay to love your body exactly as it is, that your body is an amazing thing and does so much for you, and you deserve to feel beautiful and strong and you deserve to love yourself.

**I feel it's important to note that I am not anti-weight loss. There are dozens of reasons why people pursue weight loss, either through diet or exercise or surgery, and that is a conversation for you and your doctor only. But I do strongly feel that your own feelings of self-love and self-worth should never be dependent on your body weight/shape/size, and that is what I'm trying to combat here.**

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Selfish Sweatering Update

Happy Wednesday! Yesterday I was greeted at home by a Knit Picks box, and I'm back to work on my Wainthropp. I've finished the first sleeve and both button bands, and I've started picking up for the collar. Then it's just second sleeve island until I'm done!

I'm feeling pretty good about just squeezing this in by the KAL deadline. My knitting group is getting together Friday to try a new pub in town, and I should be able to bang out quite a bit of sleeve there. I already have my buttons picked out and set aside, so with any luck this sweater will be mostly done this weekend!

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, February 6, 2017

Hat Break

I hope you all had a good weekend! In the midst of all my sweater and blanket knitting, I was having a real hankering for a small quick project. I've had two hats in my queue for ages-Cairn and Father Cables. Over the weekend I knit up Cairn, which was just as delightful as I expected, and when that didn't quite satisfy my quick-knit-itch, I cast on for Father Cables.

I got this yarn last fall at NCFF-it's from my friend Daria of Cloud 9 Fiberworks, and it's a one-off colorway called "She's a Firecracker." I loved the bright oranges and pinks, and when I got it I knew it needed to be something textured and cabley. What I didn't realize until I started winding it up is that this skein is a whopping 145g, which means I should have enough left over for some kind of fingerless mitts too. I love the colors in this yarn so much, I definitely want as many ways to wear it as possible.

I'm still waiting for the rest of the yarn for my Wainthropp to arrive-hopefully it'll be here Wednesday or Thursday, which is still cutting it a bit too close to the KAL deadline. I'm starting to come to terms with missing that deadline in favor of having a sweater I'll love, and I'm okay with that!

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Sweater, Some Books, and a Weekend of Plans

I've been working on my Wainthropp again this week. I've ordered two more balls of yarn, and they shipped on Wednesday, so hopefully they'll arrive here and I'll be able to finish this before the KAL ends on the 14th. If not, I'll be okay, I just need to keep the momentum going through that second sleeve and the rest of the button bands.

I've also been reading a lot this week. I just finished When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain, which was a fun quick read, and now I'm working through The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America. This one's a bit heavier, but it's really interesting. I've always been interested in end of life care and how we approach death, and so far this book is a really good, thoughtful exploration of that.

I've got a couple of fun things this weekend-tonight I'm grabbing dinner with some work friends, tomorrow I'll finally be able to make it to knit group (I only manage to go every few meetings, but I'm really looking forward to it this week), and tomorrow night is my town's annual Dolly Disco, which is a Dolly Parton-themed roller disco to benefit the Imagination Library. Y'all, my town is actually the coolest. I'm also hoping to catch up on some design work-I've let myself really get out of the swing of that, and I have a couple of patterns to write up.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

An Art Break

Yesterday I had to go to the city for an appointment, and I decided to go look at the art galleries in one of the cultural centers. I feel that it's important to take breaks to notice and appreciate beautiful and thought-provoking things, and yesterday I desperately needed a break from some of the things going on in my country and the world.

The biggest show that was currently on display was Gone West by T.L. Solien. I hadn't been familiar with Solien's work before, but this show was gorgeous-I want to go back and look at some of these again! Two of my favorites (although it's hard to pick favorites) were "Composition in Black and White" and "Water Lilies."

There were a few other smaller galleries open, and it felt wonderful to just be around art for a while. It felt like a breath of fresh air, and I know it was good for me to step away for a little bit. Because I spent the whole day in the city, I didn't get much knitting done yesterday, but I did get the rest of the yarn for my 10-stitch blanket and buttons for my Wainthropp, and hopefully today I'll get some good progress made on both of those.