Thursday, December 29, 2016

Planning and Knitting

I recently fell down the wonderful rabbit hole of the Erin Condren Life Planner and, after using it for a few months now, thought I would share my experiences with you, particularly as they relate to planning my crafting.

I am not using the ECLP as a traditional planner as I use my Outlook calendar at work for everything that needs a set appointment (which has a lot of advantages as my team shares calendars and no one will put a meeting during my dedicated gym time!).  Instead, it is more about journaling, tracking habits, and keeping personal projects on my radar, including:

  • Inspirational quotes;
  • Fun things like date nights, day trips, vacation, Netflix binges, etc;
  • Blocking time for knitting, sewing and stitching;
  • Timelines for gift-crafting;
  • Gratitude list;
  • Tracking exercise, self-care, spending and moods.

It has helped me with mindfulness so I spend less, cultivate positivity, remember the good stuff and focus less on the bad stuff, and actually get to my craft projects so they don't languish.  Ravelry is still great for managing stash, my queue and as a database for projects.  But what I really needed was inspiration to spend time on my projects during busy times, during crafting slumps and generally keeping projects on my radar.

As a result, I have done way more knitting since I started using my planner in September than I had the rest of the year.  Among other things, I picked up the Christmas knitting I didn't finish last year.  I finished all of those UFOs and was able to give handknits this year.

I will have general tips, including how to get started with the ECLP, in my next post!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Single Skein September Kicks Off!

It was 9/1 by the calendar, but for me the day does not officially begin before I have had my coffee. Even so, I cast on my first project for Single Skein September on my morning commute. It is a gift, so no details or photos here. Fellow Ravelers can check it out on my project page. If all goes well, I will have all of my holiday gift-knitting done by the end of the month, all with yarn from deep stash.

And here is a recent FO, this is Gudrun Johnston's Simmer Dim, which I finished last week. I did it in one skein of Schaefer Yarn Company's Heather, in the Ingrid Bergman colorway. I love how it turned out, and I have already worn it several times (including today!). I thought I might run out of yarn, but there was enough to set aside for my Babette Blanket remnant stash. Additional details on myproject page.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bag Review: Namaste Cali Laguna

Laguna bag in action on Caltrain.

NB: This review is completely independent; I have no affiliation with Namaste. This review is unsolicited and I did not receive any consideration for it. I just love the bag. A lot.

I own several knitting bags; they hold yarn beautifully in my home, but seldom get taken out on the town. It is the usual Goldilocksian list of reasons: too big, too small, handles are too short or too long, it has too many pockets or too few pockets. Though they are all attractive and useful in their ways, none of them were work appropriate, or able to hold both commute stuff and knitting. In the end, if I wanted to take knitting with me, I put it into my GoKnit Pouch or a plastic bag, and put it in my commute bag, with the result that I either had knitting with me and didn't knit, or when I needed desperately to knit, I hadn't put any in my commute bag.

This might be a good time to confess that I am, in fact, a bag ho, and not just knitting ones; bike bags and regular purses of every description feature in my collection. Both my general obsession and my hyper-specific commute needs led to the purchase of my Laguna.

I bike to work. Anything heavy, big, oddly sized can go in my panniers. My bag of choice needed to be able to accommodate the usual purse stuff, ipod, book, plus 1-2 small knitting projects, a KnitKit, my Plymouth interchangeable needle set, and occasional other bits and bobs. Coffee and lunch go into the panniers regardless, as they do not play nice with knitting. Because of the bike thing, it also needed to be worn cross-body for the ride, and I wanted to have handles for toting it around the town.

As if all of that wasn't specific enough, I wanted a bag that was stylish/nice enough for a professional office environment (especially workday to networking mixers and the like), not too heavy, and easy to rootle around in. My regular handbag was a cross-body with handle, but heavy and honestly way too nice and spendy to be slung around by a cyclist on the go. It also wasn't particularly conducive to knitting due to a zipper and the shape of the bag.

My Laguna (in the Eggplant color) arrived last week, and I have taken it on my commute for several days. It has performed beautifully: it holds all I need it to hold, and is much lighter than my regular handbag -- even with extra stuff in it. I can carry it cross-body without a problem, and the handles are comfortable. My only note on the handles is, they don't work well for sliding on to the forearm (which I have a habit of doing); you will want to hold these in the hands.

Aesthetically, the bag is very attractive and well made. It is just slouchy enough for my more casual style, but still polished for work. The Laguna transitions easily from bike, to office, lunch, shopping/errands, and after-work activities. It worked great for me at the weekend as well; I took it to a meeting (where I did not knit -- but it doubled as a briefcase for the agendas and whatnot) and then light shopping and lunch after.

A note on the pockets: I have not found knitting bags with loads of pockets that helpful, especially those with pockets/sleeves for straight needles, as I tend to knit with circulars. For me, the Laguna has the perfect pocket system -- the outside ones are great for the phone, clipper card, keys and anything I need to get to right away. There is one interior pocket that the KnitKit fits into perfectly (I don't carry any other tools besides this and my Plymouth interchangeable needles; hence no need for a multitude of tiny and/or specialized pockets); the inside zip pockets (one big one divides the bag in half; the other is on a side) hold general purse stuff. By the way, dividing the bag in half is a great feature -- I keep all the knitting stuff on one side, and my wallet, sunglasses, etc. on the other.

In sum, this was a smart purchase for me, and I plan to carry the Laguna most days.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

FO: Laura

Pattern: Laura, by Joan McGowan Michael/White Lies Designs
Yarns: Kit purchased from White Lies Designs; but substituted the MC for Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Superwash; added another silk-mohair blend from stash to carry along with the silk-mohair provided in the kit.
Needles: US 7 & 8, Knitpicks' Harmony interchangeable circulars
Notes and additional photos are available on my Ravelry projects page.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FO: Rasta Cowl

Pattern: Rasta Cowl by Nell Ziroli for Knitch
Yarn: Malabrigo Rasta in Arco Iris (1 skein)
Needles: US15 Denise Circulars

Road tested, literally, this baby this morning. I bike to work and it is very very cold in San Francisco now. I, however, was super-warm from about the collarbone on up. Easy pattern, lightning-quick knit. Perfect for winter-gifting, or for yourself.

Monday, November 08, 2010

FO: Artfibers Lengthwise Scarf

Kit from Artfibers includes a sampling of several yarns and instructions for knit or crochet versions of the scarf. It was a great buy at $25 and I was able to revisit favorite yarns and try ones that were new to me.

I ordinarily go for pinks and purples, for which there were several kits available. For some reason, the way these yarns sat next to each other in their little bag really appealed to me, so I ended up with some non-me colors, and I love the result. It is good to knit outside the box sometimes.

This was a fun and very fast knit. I got'er done in two days. If you still have a gift to do for the holidays....

Modifications: I used a long-tail cast-on with two of the yarns provided (as in Cheryl Oberle's Knitted Ruana, if you happen to have a copy of Folk Shawls). If you tend to bind off tightly, I would use a much stretchier bind-off. Even using much larger needles, my bind off was too tight. But as I loathe unpicking bind-offs, I have decided that the swirly effect is very arty.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010