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Handspun socks

Word Lily knitsI thought about posting my spinning from Tour de Fleece, but since there are just a couple days left and I haven’t posted any of it yet, it felt a bit odd. That’ll wait until next week.

Instead, today, for your fiber arts enjoyment, I present a pair of socks.

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These socks I knit from my own handspun yarn, a true 3-ply, spun from Spunky Eclectic club fiber, Wensleydale, Kentucky Derby colorway. I spun the yarn in … 2010, I believe.

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The Socks on a Plane pattern is simple and sweet, and it was a good fit for this yarn.

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More notes: I modified it thus: CO 20, increased to 60 around. (This yarn is a tad thicker than normal fingering.) If I was making them again I’d probably move the cable panel a stitch or two (maybe just 1, in this yarn), farther in from the side of the sock.

I had 11 grams of yarn left over when I finished (so, not much). More details on my Ravelry project page.

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I like how the cable panel runs all the way to the top of the sock, through but not disrupting the ribbing.

My only complaint isn’t really about the yarn or the pattern: I’ve got to figure out the best way to accommodate my high arches in toe-up socks. :-/

So, what have you been making lately? See what others are up to in the fiber arts world at Fiber Arts Friday.

Menu planning system that works

A few months ago or so I saw Trish of Hey Lady showing off her new menu planning system. It was similar to this one. I thought about it for a few days, and decided finally I thought it (or a version of it) would work for us.

I’ve tried lots of ways to plan meals before, but before this, nothing had lasted even a couple weeks. We’ve been using this a month or so now, with good success. Ours is pretty scrappy, not prettified like the ones I’ve seen, but it works, so hey. Maybe one day I’ll get around to beautifying it. Or not.

Here’s what mine looks like.

This box holds the strips. It sits in a cupboard.

This box holds the strips. It sits in a cupboard.

A glimpse of what kind of information they contain.

A glimpse of what kind of information they contain. And my sloppy handwriting.

When we pick what we'll cook next, we just put the strips on the fridge. Easy-peasy.

When we pick what we’ll cook next, we just put the strips on the fridge. Easy-peasy.

Here are what the various colors mean in our system. Where I originally began drafting the idea.

Here are what the various colors mean in our system. Where I originally began drafting the idea.

This differs in quite a few respects from the original from which I drew inspiration:

  1. We wrote our strips by hand. I disliked the idea of trying to get double-sided printing to work and line up perfectly, and this let us work on the meal brainstorming / strip creation in dribs and drabs over a couple weeks.
  2. Our categories are our own.
  3. We only have one box.
  4. We don’t have all the things stuck to a board, all together. There really isn’t anywhere in our kitchen to hang a decent-sized board, and we had all the things required for this version already.
  5. We just put however many we want/need/know at a time, although we do try to make it enough food to get us through a week.
  6. When we’re done cooking it, we take the strip down and store it again.

I intended to at least cover the (half-)box with paper, and to rewrite and mount the category cheat sheet to the box, but I haven’t gotten that done yet.

The strip making was pretty time consuming, yes. We did it here and there over the course of a few weeks (or maybe even a month). I like that when I find one I forgot or want to add a new recipe to the mix, it’s quite easy. Each strip has the name of the meal/main dish on one side and a list of ingredients (for grocery store list writing), and a recipe location (book, page number; or online source), if needed.

We have some leftover strips of the colored paper left (we split a 8.5 x 11 sheet of scrapbook paper down the center and then cut strips), so we can simply write the new one down. But maybe not laminate it (which isn’t exactly necessary, but does add durability to the pieces) until we know it’s a keeper. Or you could write up the ones you want to try on a separate list, or a different color, and then rewrite them into the appropriate category after you’ve tried them? The laminated and unlaminated works for us, so far at least.

I’m so glad for a place that has all of the things we make in one place! One the the best aspects of this is that, if we’re completely stuck, we can thumb through the entire stack pretty quickly.

How do you plan the meals at your house?

Random on a Monday

  1. In the past week, I preordered a book for the first time ever. Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidently Found It by Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary I’m looking forward to the e-book she’s giving to those who preorder: The Family-First Creative: 42 Tips for Following Your Dreams While Putting Family First.
  2. I think birthday party planning for the little one is coming together. Yay!
  3. I need a train engineer’s hat for said party, but I’m having trouble finding one that will last beyond the one day. Any ideas?
  4. I’m thinking about trying oil cleansing for my face. Have you tried it? With what results? Here’s a brief intro, if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
  5. I’m working on getting our meals all written on little slips of paper for this menu planning system. I think this might finally be the solution for my meal-planning woes. Thanks for sharing, Trish!
  6. How do you do birthdays and holidays in your family? Are they a big deal? I love the idea of really celebrating as a way to show what’s important to us. But I don’t love the stress of over-doing. I don’t think I’m a Pinterest Mom, but I like going big for birthdays and holidays. Where’s that balance for you?
  7. I’m paying attention to what we spend and where we spend it again. What budgeting tools have you found helpful? How do you stay motivated to work toward long-term goals?
  8. How do you keep your mind active in stages of life when it feels like you don’t have the opportunity to exercise this muscle?
  9. Some of these feel like they can or should be posts of their own, expounded upon, but hey, at least I’m posting?
  10. Oh! I got a new reading chair, since my old chair completely broke. I like it — and it’s red — but it’s not as good for sleeping in as the old one was. (I often sleep in the recliner when I’m sick and congestion keeps me from being able to breathe in a prone position (thus also preventing sleep).) The redness of the chair brings to the forefront of the mind the fact that our living room doesn’t have any kind of a plan or design to it. It’s kind of haphazard. So I’m casting about for ideas in my spare thinking time. (Ha!)
  11. While I not blogging, earlier this month, this blog turned 7 years old. Happy blogiversary to me! At least I don’t usually feel guilty for my paucity of posting these days.


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In-progress Wramblings

I’m working on a headboard for our bed! It will probably be a couple weeks before it’s finished, but I’m 30+ percent done with the crocheting and I’m excited about it. I think it will be a good place to start for redecorating (or decorating in the first place, actually; we haven’t touched our bedroom since we moved in). I’d been looking for ideas and inspiration for weeks, and I finally found it, so yay! And since the headboard idea came to me, I think I figured out a color palette. It will be bold. No specifics yet, though, just pictures in my head. Edited to add: Yes, I am crocheting a headboard. It will have non-fiber bones and hardware and it will be awesome.

I need to cast on for a plain/simple sock. So, I should go look at my yarn and pick something.

I should also look at my sock yarn for yarn for that shawl I’m going to make. I need to buy beads, but I can’t buy beads until I know what yarn I’m going to use. I wish it was in lace weight, but nope, it’s in fingering. Which will certainly work, but it makes choosing yarn a bit tougher for me.

I also can’t get Leethal’s Adventure Knit-a-long out of my head.

I plied some yarn this week and emptied some bobbins to get ready for Tour de Fleece. I’m getting so excited!

Progress on A’s Christmas stocking has stalled a bit while I’ve been focusing on the headboard, but it’s not abandoned. I’m still liking how it’s looking, so that’s good.

I feel bad that I don’t have photos for this post, but I haven’t taken them, and if I go take them (and upload, and go through them, and edit as needed …) I won’t get anything posted. So I guess I’ll be leaving you in suspense on the actual visuals for now.

Happy Wednesday! What are you working on this week?

(W)rambly Wednesday

How ’bout some random rambling this fine Wednesday?

  • I’m actually reading two books right now, one fiction and one nonfiction. This is weird for monogomous-reader me. But it’s not unheard of. And in actuality, this looks more like I’m reading the novel while the nonfiction brick waits for me to reach the novel’s end. Maybe I’ll talk about books tomorrow?
  • I ordered the linen to make this skirt. A few iterations of it, actually. I might get to the store today for the waistband fabric, too.
  • My mom attempted to teach me to sew when I was a child, just like everything else. But unlike, say, crochet, sewing didn’t stick. I felt horrible at it, and the sewing machine needle scares me. I made some gargantuan roman shades a few years ago — with tons of help — but I’m still skittish about sewing. Hopefully these skirts work out and I love them, though! I really want to.
  • I feel like just in the last … month, maybe? Or less? I’ve actually started using Pinterest the way it’s most often used. I’m pinning to a variety of boards, finding inspiration and ideas both on and off Pinterest. This seems weird. But good.
  • I cleaned out my closet this week, removing everything that doesn’t fit and/or I hate. I was left with a small fraction of the original, but we’ll see if it’s actually too few items or not. I’d feel better if the stack of stuff I removed was actually out of the bedroom, though …
  • The bulk of what I removed is too-big shirts. Maybe I need to do some t-shirt reconstruction? Any suggestions on where to start? (See related: Fear of sewing, above.)
  • A is becoming more and more of a walker. He still crawls and cruises some, but he’s just as likely to walk without holding on.
  • Teething is really awful. Why isn’t there a less painful way to get teeth?
  • I’ve actually been spinning a bit lately, which is awesome. I’m looking forward to participating in Tour de Fleece again this year.
  • I’m actually starting to feel confident in my stranded colorwork knitting abilities! I’m working on A’s Christmas stocking, and I like the way it’s looking so far.

OK, that’s probably enough for today. I could go on, but if I stop now, this will actually get published today, whereas if I continue rambling, that may not be the case.

How’s your Wednesday? What’s going on in your world?

Random Tuesday

I feel like I’m coming out of a long fog. I don’t feel like I’ve really started 2013 yet, despite the fact that not only is January long gone, so is my birthday and, heck, even President’s Day. I was sick, the LO was sick, for a very long time. It felt interminable. We’re basically well now, but I’m tired. Oh, and at the same time? The babe was also going through a massive sleep regression and a wonder week. I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel, but my back will be oh-so happy when I don’t spend an hour or more a day rocking him to try to get him to nap.

We’re expecting a snow storm late tomorrow into Thursday, and I’m excited. I’d be more excited if we were in the 16+inches band, but 12-16 inches will have to do, I guess. Maybe the little guy will get to go sledding, finally? I’m planning to start some beans today, so I can make chili.

My reading has been decent to pretty good for me so far this year, given the reality of an almost-toddler. But I need to find more reading time, stat, as INSPYs reading ramps up. I’m hoping to review at least some of the books I’ve read recently, so hopefully the blog won’t go completely dark. I have goals, plans, people!

I’m still working on that blanket, that I started forever ago, but I think the end is in sight. Maybe. If all goes as planned, I should finish the actual knitting in the next week. Then there are tons of ends to weave in and a border to add. I’m still not sure what color to make the edging, nor how wide it should be. I’m looking forward to working on a quicker project, though, once it’s done, that’s for sure!

We got a deep freeze — a small chest freezer — and I’m trying to figure out how to organize it (not the hard part) and how to determine what goes in the dinky refrigerator-freezer and what goes downstairs in the chest freezer.

That’s it for now! The sun is shining here, despite the cold today. How are you all doing on this Tuesday (random or otherwise)?

Fiber Arts FO Friday: Fedora

Fiber Arts FridayI mentioned last week that I needed to work on a hat. Well, I finished it last weekend:

Grey fedora

Crocheted of recycled (100 percent cotton) sweater yarn.

This was my second time following this pattern, and it went a lot faster than the headache-inducing first time. Still, it took *way* longer than most crocheted hats take me.

Once I got that done, I spent most of the week working away on my Motley [project link] [pattern link] — I’m almost half done! I’m quite enjoying seeing how the colors work together. Also: Entrelac is not as scary as some people make it sound.

Have you crafted a finished object this week? Check out the roundup of other people’s finished objects for the week at Tami’s Amis. See also the Fiber Arts Friday roundup at Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see what other people are crafting this week.

My best 2009 reads

I went through and sorted out which books I’ve read (so far) this year that were actually published this year (in the United States, anyway). I was surprised to find that a little over half of the books I’ve read this year were published in 2009, so I had a lot to choose from!

1. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer (nonfiction, memoir, international, cause)
2. Saints in Limbo by River Jordan (Christian fiction, magical realism?)
3. Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart (YA literary fiction)
4. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (fiction, international)
5. The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (fiction, mystery)
6. Lost Mission by Athol Dickson (Christian fiction, faith)
7. The Only True Genius in the Family by Jennie Nash (fiction)
8. Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum (nonfiction)
9. Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall (fiction, southern)
10. Faces in the Fire by T.L. Hines (Christian fiction, suspense)

Books I haven’t read yet, but think might make my list: The Help. I’m inching up the wait list at the library, but I don’t know if I’ll get it finished in this calendar year. I’m sure there are others, but this is a big one, and I’m not thinking of other titles.