Saturday, September 12, 2015


I have been slacking so much on my blogging. I would like to offer up some wonderful excuse but there really isn't one. I've been feeling pretty meh about a lot of things, especially my knitting. That leads me to have nothing good or interesting to say.
I signed up for another term of Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup and honestly, I was partly hoping the cool fall weather, and the required one class a month would get me motivated which would help me fall in love with my knitting projects again. The truth is that I should probably have a frogging fest because I don't love most of them. Some of them I should power through and just finish but it's time to do something new that I'm excited about. I'm not sure what that is exactly yet.
In the meantime, I can do a little planner talk. As much as I loved One Book July and made it work so well, I was feeling pretty blah about it by mid-August. I decided to try using my Filofax again. When it comes to planning, especially daily task lists and to do lists, for me, nothing beats a ring-bound planner for looking at least semi-professional and allowing me to get everything I want to on a page. I have a system, I use it and it works. 
Here is an example of a recent page. Everything I need for the day is there. I can do my daily devotions, keep my food log (which I am slacking on so badly) keep track of the schedule for myself and the husband, my home to do list, my work to do lists and anything else that comes up. Even any medication I take or anything else like that. Since I have insomnia and often find my anxiety is higher if I'm overtired, I also track my sleeping habits so I can be aware of extra wake ups or other issues before they affect me in other ways. 
Here's a day where I was running a fever. (See the little thermometer icon I drew?) I can also keep track of things like that so if I read the cold medicine bottle and it says; if you have a fever for more than 5 days, discontinue use and see your doctor, I can look back and see just how long I had that fever. All these little things help me. 
Here's a day when an Internet order I had placed arrived. When I order something I write it on a page flag and stick it on a plastic ruler near the monthly calendar. Then I know what things I'm waiting for. I move it to the daily pages when it arrives. 
These are all simple things that help me feel more in control of everything going on day-to-day. For me, it just works. I have tried multiple electronic methods for this and it will not work for me. I need the tactile writing down on paper and not having to worry if the battery will die. That has happened to me too many times! 
Do you have any little tips and tricks that you use to stay organized? Let me know! I would love to hear it. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sometimes I Really Do Knit

Oh, that's right. This is meant to be a knitting blog. Although I do like to include some of my other interests too, the main thing I usually focus on is my knitting and spinning. 
It's the Tour de Fleece and I haven't been spinning as much as I would like but it have been trying to sneak in a little spinning every day. I did manage to spin this loveliness. 
This is a skein of English Shetland in Picses from Zarzuela's fibers. Sadly she doesn't dye anymore. This is from when I was in her club a few years ago. I spun it nice and easy straight from the braid just allowing it to be whatever it wanted then chain-plied it. It came out to be a nice bulky weight and softened nicely in the wash.
I love the variety of blues and I was thinking of knitting a nice hat with this. Maybe with some hand-processed local gray Shetland. I haven't quite decided yet.
I also managed to finish these.
Aren't they amazingly bright? They're so happy! I bought this yarn from our yarn shop hop the day of the Zombie Knitpocalypse market. Wait, did I ever share my stash acquisitions from that? 
There they are. So many yummy things. I was dying to cast on the neon yarn so I knit these super simple short socks and I just adore them. I should be able to get another pair out of that skein so my plan is to knit it up then I can feel justified ordering another skein of neon yarn. It's a really fun summer knit and there was a skein of the Regia neons that did catch my eye. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Halfway Through One Book July

I intended to get a knitting or spinning post up last week but it didn't happen. Then, I intended to get a Midori Monday post up and that didn't happen so instead I'm calling it a mid month post. 
I though I would do a little check-in on how I'm doing. Yes, I'm still in the Midori. Yes, I'm still using one pen, although I did write out a partial week using Coleto pens yesterday to see if the color coding system I usually use would work in my setup and help me be more organized. It was inconclusive so I'm back to one pen, for the time being at least. 
So, what's working?
I still have my main planner/journal book and I finally covered it with scrapbook paper since it was getting so beat up!
The calendar is still fine. I haven't added much to it. I usually write our work schedules on it as well but since there aren't colors to help me distinguish one thing from another, I decided to leave that off so I could focus on other things. 
The monthly chart is slowly but surely getting filled in. As you can see, some habits still elude me. 
Here's my completed first week in the midori. I was scared to 'use up' my notes space on the right, especially since I had made a big box for my Flylady stuff which I then didn't end up using, so I barely wrote anything. I like having an overview of the week, that part is great and I need to just get over my fear of 'using up' that notes page. I can always washi tape another sheet on as a tip in to make more room.
The second week is over too. I got a bit more bold with my use of flags and stickers and wasn't afraid to write something down if it needed it, although I still left a lot of blank space. That could be decorated later I suppose. A nice place for some washi tape? 
So, the weekly spreads I had been thinking would work are just fine. I missed having my food log like I was doing in my Filofax so I added a section for that.
This is near the back of the book and as you can see, I haven't totally found my groove with that either. 
Also, journaling is going really well. 
I would like to make a little more time for this but so far, it is enough to help with my anxiety, allow me a little creative outlet and make my midori even prettier. (Is anyone else as fascinated by a peek into someone else's journal as I am?)
Here's a peek at my forward planning page too. So far, not much on there. I haven't added birthdays or anything though so maybe I will do that. 
I do love that with one pen I can just grab my midori and have everything I need (since the pen is in my home made pen loop) there is no fiddling with a pen case or looking for the pen case for that matter. If I need to write something down, I just write it!
As you can see, I'm making my midori work for me, although I'm starting to think about next month and where I will end up. I like the midori for now but I'm not sure what the future will hold yet. 

Monday, July 06, 2015

Midori Monday

"I know awhile back I mentioned that I was going to start doing Filofax Friday posts but right now I'm not using a Filofax. I'm challenging myself instead to do one book July and as a part of that I have pared down my planner system into my midori traveler's notebook.
It seems silly to post a Filofax Friday post when I'm not using a Filofax and it's Monday, I've been talking about posting information about my one book July challenge so here we go with midori Monday. 
If you're not a planner nerd and aren't very into the notebook/planner world, you may not know what a midori traveler's notebook even is. I know I'm not the best person to describe it, I don't do fancy videos and don't even take the best pictures. If you want more than the basics that I will mention, go to YouTube and search for a video. There are so many to choose from!
The very basics is that it's a leather cover with elastic bands inside that you can use to put notebooks in. You can use these notebooks however you would like, of course. Some of the most common things I see on Instagram and YouTube is planner, journal and art journal. There are plenty of faux-dori sellers out there as well, even many that do fabric or vinyl covers if you are anti-leather. 
 The way my brain works, I like to have absolutely everything in one place. I was using a personal size Filofax with everything in it. That means, planner, wallet, journal, prayer journal, work notes, anything I could think of went into it. The trouble was, I wasn't 100% satisfied with it. Something always felt lacking. Not enough space, not enough room for more notes pages, whatever it was, it wasn't quite right for me. 
So, along comes the one book July challenge. This challenge is put out by some lovely ladies over on YouTube. Rhomany of Rhomany's Realm, Carie Harling of Dispatches from the Frat house and Miss Vickybee. They all have videos about One book July but you really want the basics about what it is any why they are doing it, check out Rhomany's One book July 2015 video. 
They did have the challenge last year as well and I did participate, finding myself super content in my wee little pocket sized Filofaxes. But this year, I track more things and I'm busier than ever! That means I felt the pocket size can't be that catch-all that I want it to be. I wasn't feeling content in the personal size and the A5 size is great but drives me batty if I try to use it as a wallet and I find I have my lists and notes as needed, even if I am just running into a store if I use my planner as a wallet too. So I needed a better solution. 
I seriously considered just finding a way to make my personal Filofax work. For 85% of what I was doing, I was fine with it. But not only was I unable to find the elusive 'planner peace' we planner nerds are always going on about, but I felt like the way I was doing things, I was spending so much time maintaining my planner that I wasn't getting more organized.
 Well, some time ago I had purchased an original midori in brown used on a Facebook group. I wanted to try it out and I did. I desperately wanted to love it. I felt it could be a fantastic creative outlet (more so than my Filofax) but I struggled because I wanted to separate each section that I have in my Filofax into a notebook in my midori. With 8 sections, that gets so unwieldy for me and I don't want to carry it anymore. That made this challenge perfect for me. 
I had been needing to go through and really focus on what I needed every day outside the house. That doesn't mean I don't have an address book at home to reference but how often do I actually need my third cousin's address when I'm out at work or shopping? I also found myself using tons of stickers and sticky notes and washi Tape,which can be fun but I was feeling overwhelmed so I needed to cut it back.
So, here it is! My very own One book July and it is challenging me in all the best ways. Inside I have only 2 books and a few of the midori accessories. First up, a midori zipper pouch insert. I have a piece of scrapbook paper with a few special things inside to motivate and inspire me.
A picture of me and my husband (that's our engagement photo and is 11 years old now, eep!) a four-leaf clover I found, a picture of Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's (she's just so graceful, I aspire to be that graceful) and a picture of one of my nieces. 
On the back side of the scrapbook paper I keep some things to use in my midori. 
Then we go right into my first book. It really needs a cover but I haven't made one yet. This is a home made insert I created by cutting down a section of a miquelrius notebook I had. I just love the paper in them and I wanted to carry it with me into my midori. First up, a monthly calendar spread.
I just have July in here as of right now. Depending on how things go this month, I may keeping using this insert, I think I made it far too big for just one month anyway. That's partly me panicking because I was worried I would run out of pages.
You may also notice the calendar is just black and white. That's part of the challenge too. One pen. That was very hard for me. I have been color-coding everything for years and I've been especially loving my sharpie pens. That was another thing I had been feeling overwhelmed about though. I always had to carry a pack of them around and it was driving me crazy. So I'm trying the one pen system as well. 
The next page is a monthly chart. I use this to track my morning and before-bed routines. My morning routine is pretty set in my mind but having things to check off keeps me motivated in the morning, since I'm so not a morning person. The before-bed routine on the other hand? I can't seem to get settled into a routine with that to save my life so i keep tracking it to try to make it habit. There's even a bit of space if I find other things I need to track as well.
Next I got right into my weekly page spread. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have been using DIYFish day on 2 pages. Her system is amazing and I love it but I felt the need to pare down. I was also using washi tape to decorate each day's pages and that was part of what was taking so much time and maintenance for me, making me feel overwhelmed. So, I decided to try a simpler set up: Week on 2 pages with all the days on one side and a blank sheet on the other for notes. 
I put in all the weeks for the month then left the rest of this book blank for my journal. I do a sort of mixture of art journal and written journal. I also like to write out my Bible verses from my daily devotions so I can focus on them and I was doing that on my daily pages. There isn't enough room on the week on two pages so that moved to the journal section as well. 
As you can see, I'm having some fun using the fact that my pen is not water proof to play with some monochromatic doodling. It's important for me to journal even a bit here and there because it helps me work through things and therefore lessens my anxiety. I wasn't journaling in my Filofax because I was spending so much time maintaining other things and I could tell the difference so I wanted to make sure journaling would be a priority in my midori system.
That's about it for this book, although I do have a page in the back for future plans and shopping lists. 
Wrapped around this book is the back of the zipper pocket insert which has slip pockets. On one side I have sticky notes stuck to it and random bits and bobs inside including stamps and a few extra paper clips on the edge. 
On the back side I have a couple notes washi taped down; a prayer my mom typed up and gave me when I started driving and a Bible verse bookmark my grandma made for me. I also tuck a few watercolor paper scraps inside as well as a couple of washi tape cards with my black and white washi tape wrapped around. I'm going mostly for the monochromatic theme this month so I chose just these black and white washi tapes. I also have a few notes for work tucked in here. They're still on Filofax pages and I didn't feel like transferring them over. 
The only other book I have in my midori is next and it's my prayer journal. I have a quick index page.
Then an area to write in prayer requests as I get them. I have them divided by month (as you can see I started this insert awhile ago, then moved this to my Filofax but I didn't want to waste it so I'm using it again now since that's something I do take with me.) 
I've covered up the prayer requests for others' privacy. Then I just have pages for me to write out my prayers. It helps me to focus so I really needed it to be here in my midori.
Behind that notebook I have another zipper pocket midori insert. I have the zipper part behind and the slip pockets in front. I have coupons on the front side and receipts on the back. I also have my home made pen loop on the side holding my only pen. It's a Pilot kak√ľno fountain pen. Then I have my card insert and I have my most-used cards in there. Of course I also have to have my chuck e. Cheese card that my niece wanted me to get as well because it reminds me of her.
And finally the zipper pocket which holds my cash and sometimes a few receipts as well. 
Overall I think I've thought out my setup pretty well but time will tell how it's working. I'll try to keep up with letting you know how it's working for me.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

June Wrapup

June was a busy month, full of lots of family activities. There was some crafting but not nearly as much as it could have been. I managed to turn in one class for Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup with a handspun blanket square. This is the Mitered Crosses blanket pattern and while I don't love all the ends you have to weave in, I do love the pattern.
I really love how this one turned out with the purple at the edges. This makes the sixth total square and as always when I finish a square, it makes me want to get on the knitting and finish this, I think it will be really beautiful.
You can't really see them all here but you can check out my Ravelry project page if you want more pictures.
I also finished a lovely skein of handspun.
I really love how it turned out. A nice, squishy sport weight. I turned this in for Detention which is a project you start before the month begins. 
Hopefully these will bring some more crafting into focus for me. I'm also participating in a challenge called One Book July for my planner which will simplify my setup and hopefully allow more time for knitting and spinning during the Tour de Fleece. I'm still finalizing my goals for the tour. Next post I'll talk about the wheel spa day, which is cleaning and tuning up I do before a big spin, usually right before the Tour de Fleece, and my goals, as well as go into more information about my setup for One Book July.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Motorcycle Life Shawl

Huh, what's this? Oh, that's right! I have a blog, I should actually write to it once in awhile huh? Oops. Time sort of slipped away again.
I've actually been thinking a lot about my blog and how I want to write more but I'm finding as my interests grow and change that there's less to say about knitting and more to say about other subjects so I'm thinking of adding some new content. I'll talk more about that later but let's start with the knitting since that's why my current readers come to the blog (I think).
As I've mentioned several times, I'm in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup and I've really been enjoying it. This term is May, June, July so I started out strong in May turning in two classes and a Detention. For the uninitiated; at the beginning of the month they post prompts for different classes. You can choose to craft to fit a prompt or do your crafting and later find ways to fit it into a prompt. The Detention is a project started before the beginning of the term month that you finish during the month.
I was wanting to knit a new shawl and I had a sort of idea of how I wanted it to look so I looked for patterns a bit but I didn't find anything easily that was the shape I wanted. I wanted it to be very simple too so I didn't really want to buy a pattern. Since I had an idea of the shape I wanted and it was fairly simple, I came up with a plan to see if it would work and cast on. You could call this a swatch since I knit, following my plan for awhile to see if it worked but when I saw that it was, I just kept going. I was also dying to knit something with one of the skeins of yarn I had been getting from the Sparktickes Dyes Gilmore Girls club.

I chose a skein that was a little unusual for me and started knitting. I wanted it to be a nice, drapey gauge so I used a size 6 needle. As I said, I saw I was getting the shape I wanted so I just kept knitting.
Then, I got close to the end of the yarn (20% left by weight, which is pretty common for patterns to tell you to start the edging) and chose a very simple edge.

Just nice, neat triangles. I blocked the shawl and now it's ready to go and I'm very happy with it!

I'm not sure exactly what shape you would call it. Clearly, it's not a triangle, more of an elongated half circle. I tend to call it a swoop, because it's easier to say. Overall I'm super happy with it, although it's still not really my colors so I may have cast on a new one in colors I love so I can give this one away. I may try to gift it to a cousin this weekend at the family reunion I'm attending.
I made up this pattern as I said so there aren't a lot of details about it but I am considering writing it up so others can benefit from my experience. If you'd like to see this written into a pattern, let me know in the comments. Since I made it up and it's so simple, I've just been calling it the Motorcycle Life Shawl after the name of the yarn but if I write it up, I will have to come up with a better name.
Now, on to the not-knitting thing. One of the things that has been taking up a good bit of my time is my planner. If you know me in real life, you know that I don't go anywhere without it. Literally, it is always with me. (Although I don't usually take it to the bathroom.) As I said, it takes up some of my time and interests and I've been thinking about making some notes about planners here since I do get lots of questions about it and why I use it and what I use it for. I know some of my knitter friends won't be interested in planners so I'm thinking of making it a feature on a certain day of the week so you can skip reading that day if you aren't interested. I was thinking Filofax Fridays, although I will talk about more than the filofax brand. To keep them separate, I will probably start using labels on my posts.
I hope this will encourage me to blog more and to have more to say in general and I may even add other features over time.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Return of Spinning

Um, hello?
I swear I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. As a matter of fact, I find myself doing more with my knitting and spinning now than I was but that means even less time for things like blogging. I've also felt a little bit lost as to what to write about. Several of my projects have been big, big projects that are taking forever to finish. That means less to write about.
I have finished some things of note though.
Today I'd like to discuss some spinning although it isn't Tuesday and is therefore a little out-of-the-box for me to talk spinning. But it's Friday. The Friday before a long weekend no less so I couldn't walk away without posting something.
In December of last year my Gritty Knits Merino of the Month club arrived and I knew it was perfect. Not for me, for my knitting friend Catherine. She had knit a lovely cowl and gifted it to me since it didn't work for her. I had been searching for just the right thing to give back to her in trade. It was a little difficult since Catherine loves subtle, semi-solid colors and I tend to buy bright, multicolored things because they make me happy, even though they drive me crazy trying to find something to knit later.

I knew this was perfect though! It was subtle and green (just like something lovely I had seen her knitting so I knew the color would be right too). I didn't want to rush in without her approval so I took it to knit night and she agreed it would work and that she would love for me to spin it for her so I got it onto the bobbin.
The reason it has taken this long? It was laceweight. Four lovely ounces of laceweight and with my spinning mojo disappearing for great stretches in the winter, it was hard for me to bring myself to work on it. I tried to get a bit done here and there and it slowly started to add up. I got one bobbin finished and I moved on to the second. That of course feels like the home stretch so I worked diligently on it (although still a bit sporadically I'm sorry to say).
I finally finished the spinning, let it rest overnight like a good little spinner. That part is really hard for me. At that point I want yarn! I don't want to wait.
I finally plied. I was hoping it was going to get great yardage for her; we were aiming for somewhere between a laceweight and fingering weight finished yarn. When it took me hours and hours and hours to ply, I figured I had achieved my goal.

Finally, a finished bobbin.

The real test, using something to compare. So far, so good.
The only way to know for sure though is to measure it. So I wound it off onto the niddy noddy.

There it is, a thing of beauty! Yardage-wise, it came up to a true laceweight 830 yards. I'm calling it 800 to take into account any plumping or shrinking during washing and I carefully washed and twacked it so it's ready to go to its new home.
I hope Catherine loves it. I'm a little bit sad to be giving it away but I know she will knit it into something fantastic!