B’s 2020 Birthday Socks

These socks in this form weren’t on my original gift list for this year. I was planning on making B socks or something for her birthday but with different yarn. Unfortunately that yarn is packed away so when I saw some yarn at Lincraft I went and purchased a ball.

I didn’t actually know Lincraft sold a sock yarn until I saw it advertised. It is 75/25 wool/nylon mix. It isn’t as soft as some sock yarns. To me it feels very similar to Regia sock yarn. It is a sock yarn that I would only use for socks and not hats. If you were a bit yarn sensitive I wouldn’t suggest this yarn. If you don’t have any issues with yarn I think it is a good little yarn.

These socks have a story behind them in the making. When I first started these socks I forgot the cuff was 1×1 rib and I did 2×2 rib. I magic loop my socks, if you are not familiar with the term it where you use one circular needle instead of using double pointed needles. I use 60 stitches for these and I couldn’t work out why my 2×2 rib wasn’t working out even when I finished my first needle. I cast these on twice after my 1st attempt was wrong with my stitch count so I thought. On my 2nd attempt I was still off so I just adjusted one needle with the extra 2 stitches so it worked out even in the end. It was only once I finished the cuff I discovered the pattern is 1×1 rib. No drama I just put it in my notes in Ravelry so I would make the 2nd sock the same. My next debacle was the heal flap. On the purl side I did the wrong pattern so I was slipping every 2nd stitch and wasn’t meant to, once again I put it in my notes to do the same 2nd sock. It was interesting to do that error as I discovered it meant the flap was very tight when I slipped every 2nd stitch. After I started the gusset I discovered I dropped a stitch. I pulled the sock off my needles and started again.

On my 2nd attempt at these socks I did go up a needle size to 2.75mm. I am a tight knitter and they just felt too tight using 2.5mm needles. I followed the 1×1 rib pattern on the cuff and had no issues with these. These flew off my needles once I got going. The pattern I use is a very basic sock pattern. It is easy to follow and I just noticed on the Ravelry notes it gives stitch counts for different sizes so you can adapt it to anyone really.

Between socks I forget how addictive sock knitting is, after I finish a pair of socks I start to get withdrawals. Sock knitting isn’t hard to do. Using a really mindless pattern means you can just knit away and relax. You do have to remember a few techniques but once you learn them and refer to your pattern to ensure you are doing the correct one it is simple.

Cassiy

 

The Final Countdown

Things are getting serious. Settlement for our unit should be just after Easter and with any luck we will be moved into the new place by the end of April. I don’t have a moving date yet. To stop everyone moving into the new building at once we have to reserve a time window for the lifts. I have to find a moving company first and speak to them before I can book the time slot. I’m going to wait until settlement but in the mean time it is pack and toss like crazy. I have 2 free council clean ups booked for this month as I refuse to be the neighbour who moves out and fills everyone bins with rubbish. If you have ever lived in a situation with multiple units or apartments you’ve had neighbours that have done that.

I have box stacks in the study and the spare room. Soon I will take over the loungeroom too. Anything lite enough for me to place on upper shelves I am. I’m in the process of thinking where to stack empty bookcases so I can use the floor space for more box stacks. I refuse to have moving boxes in the bedroom until just before the move as I need one room in the house that I can go into and not be reminded of moving.

I’m getting creative with fabric to wrap some items that can’t be put in boxes. My simplicity cutting board is one item that has been fabric wrapped with safety pins to secure it. All my rolls of interfacing and pdf patterns are in giant fabric parcels.

I’m in the process of writing a heap of blog posts ready to go so I can schedule them for the various Tuesdays. In the coming weeks you will see projects that I have finished just recently or perhaps earlier this year that. I’m in the process of finishing a crocheted poncho and I have 1 knitting project on my needles. Most of my craft items are now packed away. It is a bit sad as when I’m down to packing my sewing machines and knitting needles means we are moving soon. I’m excited about the new place but sad to leave our current place. In near 11 years of living here I have lots of memories both good and bad.

Yesterday I got to see the new place for the first time. It is a bit smaller than I thought but I am used to living in huge 3 bedroom unit. I already have plans for one area. This girl needs a fabric vault!

Cassiy

 

Digital Declutter Challenge – Part 3

In Parts 1 and 2 I talked about my 31 Digital Declutter challenge setting out my rules and discussing how I found things through it. In this post I’m going to personally evaluate myself on how it went and changes I have decided.

I loved the month’s break away from different digital media platforms. It helped my mental state by not being part of them so much. I urge anyone to give it a try even for just a couple of days.

It has been 4 days. I’m going to be honest I was disappointed 1st April when my mind said ” I can go on social media again!” I was hoping to have moved on from that type of thinking. I have only posted on Facebook twice aside the Spoolettes page. On April 1st telling friends and family I was ok and today in my knitting group after I finished my shawl which I spent a lot of time in March and enjoying it. I have done 3 posts on Instagram which were the finished shawl, some books that arrived yesterday and a month marker photo which if you are familiar with Instagram is something people do to track when they took different photos. On Facebook and Instagram I haven’t gone through and seen what others have been up to. Part of me is worried once I start I’m not going to be able to stop again. Do I avoid them until that fear passes or do I go I bite the bullet and see how much self control I have? It sounds silly talking about social media like this but I found it an addictive medium. I know I couldn’t stop at one cigarette if given the chance.

Looking at the different types of social media

Facebook / Instagram
I didn’t miss Facebook or Instagram. I think they both have a part in society and are useful particularly in the current situation where people have to be kept distant from each other. They are a useful way to connect people but I don’t need to be part of them all the time. As useful as they are I think they can also tilt the other way and become to overwhelming. I’m still going to use them but in different ways. Previously I would look at them both several times a day. I’m not going to do that anymore. I might look at them once a day. I’m not going to be more selective as to what I post on them and how often. I’m still going to show the good and the bad but just not so much of it. Instagram is a useful tool for me to use to learn exercises and fitness techniques.

YouTube
I’m not a person to really watch mindless stuff on YouTube. You can use it just as a listening tool. I enjoy listening to podcasts and interviews on YouTube whilst working. It is a great way for me to play music if I don’t have other ways to play it. I love my music and I’m more calm doing other tasks if I have my music playing. At work you will find me chair dancing, playing air drums and singing all whilst working staring at my computer screens working away. YouTube is an incredible learning platform. During my challenge I used it to learn how to correct a knitting mistake. I was able to finish off my large shawl (pictured above) thanks to my newly learnt skill. I’m going to keep using YouTube as an educational tool and I guess you could call it an audio streaming service.

Ravelry
I like using this to keep track of projects as you can easily add important details such as needle/hook sizes and yarn type plus you can add notes so you remember how you did things. After the move when I unpack I might use it more to stocktake my stash as I have only got a portion of my stash on it at present. It is useful for me to be able to match patterns with yarns in my stash which is why I need my entire stash loaded there. I’m only going to go on Ravelry when I have a purpose. Documenting a project, looking for a new project. I’m not going to go it for mindless scrolling through patterns.

Trello / Pinterest

I haven’t been on Trello since last year. Once we move and I unpack my fabric I’m going try to log into my account again and use it. Pinterest again is something I haven’t been on in a long time. You have to be really disciplined with your time to use it. I’m going to only use it when I am looking for something in particular and not go on there when I have nothing to do. I got a new phone in February and haven’t downloaded either app yet.

Twitter
I haven’t been on Twitter since early February. I only joined in 2019. I’m going to delete my account. I found the people I followed would often post the same content on both Twitter and Instagram so it was just a repeat. I didn’t use it a lot myself

Tv Watching
This wasn’t part of my challenge but it was something I noticed when given the chance I would not have the tv on. I was happy to sit and craft in silence. Sometimes I would have music on but I didn’t need to have the tv on as background noise. Could I live without a tv? If I was in that situation and I was on my own then yes I could. We haven’t had a dvd player for a few months since I packed it and I haven’t missed that. Mr StitchNSew has some mobility issues so tv watching is an activity we can do together which doesn’t cause him too much pain. During the day he is on his own so we need a tv for him. We record things on our set top box to watch at a more convenient time but we currently don’t stream anything like Netflix. Tv watching is something I can reduce even more in the future if at times I am the only person up.

Mobile Off Silent
Something as simple as having my phone off silent meant I didn’t touch it as much. This is something I am going to continue. I learnt to ignore certain notifications but I could hear the ones I needed to. I wasn’t handling my phone during the day as much to check if I had missed something.

I can be pretty determined when I put my mind to something. I stopped eating chocolate over 4 years ago so if I can do that I can pretty much do anything. For my own mental state I know too much social media isn’t good for me. Like anything in life it is all about balance. There is a role for it in my life but I am also happy doing things which don’t involve it. Spending less time on social media allowed me to focus my crafting projects and enjoy the process more. I want to use social media in a productive way and not a mindless way. This is just my own feelings. I am not being judgmental to anyone who uses social media. If you are happy using it the way you are then by all means keep doing what you are doing. For me it was wasting my time and making me feel bad using the way I was. I’m never going to get through my “To Knit/Sew” lists if I spend all my time looking at what others are doing.

Cassiy

 

Digital Declutter Challenge – Part 2

This is part 2 of my 3 part series on my Digital Declutter challenge. You can read part 1 here.

One of the biggest problems faced during the challenge is what to do with the extra time you now have that would normally spending using the digital mediums. One of the reasons we use so much digital mediums is to fill in time. The author Cal suggests before the challenge think ahead and plan out what you would like to do. The book has lots of examples of activities others who have done the challenge took part in during their challenge. I’m a crafter so finding things to do wasn’t such a big deal but I did think about things and decided I would like to

  • Sew gifts or items for around the house
  • Knit and gifts and things for me
  • Spend time blogging and preparing for the blog
  • Exercise more

The Challenge Begins

The night before the challenge begun from the home screen on my phone I removed Instagram and YouTube so I wouldn’t be tempted to look at them. I couldn’t find a way to turn off notifications easily for each one so throughout the month I did get notifications for them but I just ignored them. Mid January I gave up smoking cold turkey. Day 1 of the challenge felt like giving up smoking. I was constantly thinking about the online world. It was like having withdrawals. The home internet went down and I went into a panic even though I didn’t actually need it. I was trying to keep myself occupied but I was surprised at the similarities to giving up smoking.

For the first 10 days or so I was keeping like a diary of activities I did, conversations I had or things I noticed. I’m not a diary person so that novelty factor soon passed and it wasn’t something that I had set out to do for the month so I stopped. As the days passed less time online became my new norm and it didn’t feel like such a big deal anymore. I wasn’t feeling withdrawals, I was getting used to ignoring daily notifications from Facebook or Instagram. My routine changed. I stopped going for my phone if I was out and had time to fill. I started people watching again which is something I had stopped doing. It is interesting just stopping and observing others around you. I would leave the house and not switch the internet on through my phone as I didn’t need it. If anyone really needed to contact me they could send me a text which I could hear without needing to check my phone as it was off silent.

The way I did my craft changed. I was focused more on the gift I was making and the process of it. I actually enjoyed my sewing as I was focused on that and not photographing the steps of it to post on Instagram. I must admit it did feel weird to finish a project and not post a photo of it to Instagram. When I faced challenges in my crafting such as holes in B’s sock normally I would take a photo posting it to Instagram. People really don’t need to see every craft mishap I have. I believe you should post the good and the bad on Instagram as no one is perfect but you don’t need to post everything. I was pleased and proud of the stuff I created, I didn’t need to show others to feel that way.

Looking back at my rules for the month I did adjust things a little. This wasn’t too cheat this was due to things that happened and I needed to be a little more flexible. The biggest was using Messenger to contact B more frequently. We both had personal things happen and Covid hit Australia which impacted both of us so I needed to have more contact with her just to keep us both going. I had 2 friends contact me through instant messaging platforms so I had to briefly use those just to let them know I was ok. I didn’t use the services for anything else other than those, including accepting a friend request from a relative. During my testing lockdown I did order a couple of books online which I wasn’t really supposed to do. Not using this as an excuse but the books were on topics that would help me become more frugal and save money. They weren’t frivolous reads. At times I also googled a few items to learn things so once again it wasn’t frivolous or meaningless internet time. I used YouTube to learn a knitting technique but using that new skill I was able to salvage my knitting project which was a big shawl after I made an error.

Full confession we actually had a disrupted internet connection for most of March. We actually lost our strong wifi connection mid February and full connection wasn’t due to come back until the end of March. Did reduced internet mean that I was cheating? The times I was home and would normally use it we seemed to have wifi so I don’t think so. The times when I was out of the house and would normally scroll through my phone I wasn’t. When I did have access to the internet at home or work I wasn’t rushing to use it. For about 10 days I had to use the internet from my mobile phone at home and I was having to hotspot Mr StitchNSew so he could use it. I did go out and buy a wifi dongle to give us wifi at home only cause it was costing too much as I have very little data included in my mobile plan. It was interesting when I was forced to pay for my internet connection money talked and it made me think double about my internet usage. I never looked at blog posts the week I was using my phone data as it wasn’t a necessity. I think you get into the habit of taking wifi for granted, it is a first world problem.

The most embarrassing observation I discovered was I had forgotten what I routinely buy from the supermarket. For over 5 years I have been doing a weekly grocery shop online which would be delivered. One of the features is that you can see all the items you have purchased before and reorder them. On autopilot I just click away doing my grocery shop in about 10 mins adding the odd thing differently each week as we need it or it becomes on special. Due to Covid I wasn’t able to get deliveries anymore so had to go instore each week to do my shop. I had to look up online what I would normally buy to ensure I didn’t miss anything.

Do I really need an App?

It was interesting to see how much you were encouraged to use the digital world in areas that in previous times you wouldn’t. Just prior to Covid causing the lockout laws for gyms I started at a new gym. The staff kept encouraging me to download their free app and use it around the gym. The gym is my one time a week where I focus just on me. It is my break from the world. Due to work in times past I would need to have my phone near me as I was on call but in recent times I wasn’t and I could leave my phone in my locker. This was before I started the challenge and it was good to be away from it for that short period. I asked my trainer if I really needed the gym app. It was mostly if you wanted to keep track of your progress or review back your performances. I’m not interested in that. My OCD would lead me to become obsessive if I started looking at that. I just want to use the gym equipment and train hard which you can still do without the app. Now due to the lockout laws I might reconsider the app as there are some workouts available through it to do at home but there are also other resources available to get information like this such as Instagram or YouTube and of course my trainer himself as we can still train outside.

In part 3 I will evaluate how I went and discuss changes I am going to make with entering the digital world again

Cassiy

 

 

Digital Declutter Challenge – Part 1

I decided to do one of the exercises in Digital Minimalism which was a Digital Declutter challenge. Originally I was just going to write one post about but it would have been a huge post so I decided to do a 3 part series. I hope after reading it you decide to do your own challenge as I have found it very interesting.

What is a Digital Declutter Challenge?
It is up to each person to decide how long they wish to set the challenge for and what they would like to include in the challenge. Essentially you are taking a break from whatever digital platform or modifying how you use it for the duration of your challenge. It might be particular social media sites, streaming services, some people have even included regular tv watching. Whatever you use in the digital world that you feel perhaps you are using too much of unnecessarily and it is eating away at your time without you even realising it. It is something we are all guilty of. If you read the book you will see more examples from others who have done the challenge.

To be successful in the challenge the author Cal suggests

  1. Setting clear rules and boundaries prior to starting the challenge
  2. Have activities to occupy yourself planned ahead of time and complete the challenge
  3. At the end evaluate how you found the challenge and ease back into the digital world

My 3 part series is based on each of these points.

I decided to do the challenge for the entire month of March so 31 days. I set the following rules

  • No Instagram
  • No Ravelry to look up new patterns for personal use – Gift making patterns acceptable
  • Grocery shopping only on phone
  • Messenger at night only (except Mr StitchNSew)
  • Mobile to be off silent during the day to hear calls and texts
  • Facebook – Only do Spoolette’s page nothing else
  • YouTube – At home only whilst sewing or on p.c unless it was a learning tutorial
  • Blog reading once a week

Some social media was easy for me to give up completely. I didn’t even bother listing some social media sites as I had recently stopped using them. Facebook was a little tricker. I’m an Admin in the Sydney Spoolette’s group which means I have responsibilities as part of that. I would only respond to notifications from that group all other Facebook was out. The phone off silent was a big one as it was to reduce how often I touched my phone during the day to check the screen. At night my phone is on silent to help me sleep. The alarms on your phone still work even if your phone is on silent.

I wrote the rules out so I could refer back to them but to be honest I knew what they were in my head so I didn’t need to look back. It was good to see them clearly before I started. I actually add a couple more bits of detail after I took this pic. I’m a visual person so I need to see things written.

31 day actually seams like a long time ago. When I first contemplated doing this at the back end of February Australia had just recovered from the bushfires and Covid 19 was talked about overseas but not locally. In just a matter of weeks it has changed our country. As I will talk about in part 2 it did change some of my rules a bit.

Cassiy

All Clear

Just a quick post to say my test came back negative as expected and I am back at work tomorrow. Once again I urge you if you can stay at home please do. As one community we can work together and fight this. Your individual actions of avoiding unnecessary contact can stop the spread and help save lives.

Take care xx
Cassiy 

Charity Melds 2020

In my Muted Meld post I mentioned I had knitted 3 for charity and here they are. To be honest the way I have numbered them is the not the order I knitted them in but that isn’t important. All the yarn used is Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton Crush colours which they originally did a number of years ago. As with my Muted Meld I haven’t blocked these I just stretched them out on the ground to photograph.

Meld Charity 1
Shawl 1
I’m calling this Pine Lime as the colours in it were pineapple and lime but to me the green is more a muted green then what I would call a lime. I was worried that the colours might look too much like the Australia colours green and gold as the pineapple colour is more a gold colour but mixed with the white it doesn’t look too bad I think

Meld Charity 2
Shawl 2
I’m calling this one Coconut Ice as it reminds me of the sweet coconut ice. Perhaps it was a bad colour to photograph it on but I really like the pink and purple combination here. I just want to eat this shawl as the colours look delicious. I have never wanted to eat knitwear before but there is something about this one!

Meld Charity 3
Shawl 3
This is Sunny meld. I shouldn’t play favourites but this was this first of the 3 charity ones I knitted and is my favourite of all. The burnt orange and the gold together just make me think sunshine. It is bright and cheery. I wasn’t sure how the white would look as the 3rd colour but after adding it I thought it gave it like a nice border so that is why I then used it as the 3rd colour in my other shawls. It was also using up a white yarn in my stash that I am unlikely to use for knitwear for myself as I am not really a white person.

To recap the pattern I used was Meld by Lisa Mutch. It is a really simple pattern to do but I must warn if just like with doing any pattern on repeat if you knit a total of 4 in a short period of time you will eventually get sick of it. Perhaps I should’ve spread knitting these out over the months but because the yarn was there, the pattern was fresh in my head and my needles were out I just did one after the other. By the last one I was a little bit over the pattern but again that was only from repetitiveness. These will go in this year’s Share The Dignity charity bags with some matching knitted bangles which I haven’t done yet. I might use this pattern again next year to make more.

Cassiy