The Shameful Shame, part 3

My closet is pretty and functional again. I am very happy with the results and wanted to share the last of the process here. The sources are listed at the end of this post. I tried to repurpose items I already had to minimize waste, but did need a few things.

Taking everything out was the easy part.

Putting things back in an organized way and being honest about items that needed to be purged or put away somewhere else or in storage was what took the longest time.

Also, I couldn’t put anything back on the center counter area until I got the wall decals I had ordered. Originally I wanted a dark floral wallpaper, but then I decided it would make the closet feel like a cave, so I switched to a light floral design, and since I only wanted the center area covered, I decided on these beautiful decals, which I could position however I wanted.

They were so easy to put up – I cut them out first and mapped out how I wanted them with poster putty, and then I peeled them off the backing and stuck them to the wall.

I had these pretty trays that I decided to use for my nail polish and perfumes. I used to have so much nail polish in every color of the rainbow but I hadn’t used them in years, so I only kept the nudes and top coats. Manicures that I do myself don’t last a day, and I hate having chipped polish, so clear polish or colors super closed to my nail color are all I use now. My lifestyle is becoming more pared down and if I want colorful nails, I have no shame in using the press-on kind. They have come a long way from the crap I used to wear (for ten minutes) in the 80s.

My perfume collection is courtesy of my beloved husband except for the two perfumes I got in Italy a couple of years ago. I am not a “signature scent” kind of girl but I do prefer the Warm/Spicy type. Much to my personal shame I do remember stealing my mom’s Giorgio back in the 80s, anyone remember that scent? Oh my dog, it was as strong and bold as the yellow-striped box it came in.

That necklace is one I made for my wedding day. I have only worn it one other time to another wedding, but I love seeing it every day.

Makeup is not a particular fascination of mine, to be honest I just do the basics to look polished. I do like to be able to close my closet door and be able to put my makeup on so I don’t wake up my husband since he leaves for work after I do (he also gets home considerably later than I do). This mirror lights up in three different settings and is great for what I need.

The moment I saw these jewelry trays, I knew I wanted them. I originally wanted to buy just one but I do have a few special pieces of jewelry and I didn’t want to cram everything I am keeping onto one of these. They look kind of steampunky and I really like them.

All the jewelry pieces shown here were bought locally – I believe in supporting local businesses, small businesses, BIPOC-owned businesses. I am also working on switching all my makeup, skincare, and scents to cruelty-free and I love recommendations, so please send those my way.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing this project, I am certainly very happy with the results. And now it’s on to . . . the medicine cabinet!

Sources:

Peony wall decals from Simple Shapes

Vanity mirror from Amazon

Peru watercolor map from Poppy & Pinecones

Paris photographs from Georgianna Lane

Gold tray (perfume) and mirrored tray (nail polish) from Michaels

Terrace tray jewelry organizers from The Container Store

Rolling stool from Amazon

Naked manicure set from Zoya

The Shameful Shame, part 2

I like to plan long before I actually tackle a project. I make lists, visual boards, measure twice, draw sketches, etc. The sketches won’t be posted because my drawing talent ends at stick figures, but I can share a little collage that is my inspiration for my closet refresh.

The top picture is this fascinating piece of jewelry storage I found at The Container Store – it looks vintage and modern at the same time and I just loved the look of it. I have ordered two, and my goal is to pare down my jewelry so that everything fits into these two pieces comfortably. I could probably have aimed to pare down to enough for one, but I don’t want to regret my decisions, so I am giving myself enough space (literally) to keep what I want.

The bottom left picture is what currently is my top choice in wallpaper. I found it on Etsy and I think it’s beautiful. I do have some concerns about the black background because a) I don’t want the whole closet covered in wallpaper and I think it might be odd to have one wall dark and the others white, but b) if I do all the walls in the wallpaper it will be this dark space and I don’t want that, either.

Bottom right is my all time favorite painting. It is called The Birth of Venus by Alexandre Cabanel. I fell in love with it the first time I went to the Musee d’Orsay, and when we went back to Paris in 2014, much to my chagrin, the painting was on loan to a museum in Japan. The color palette calls back to the pale pinks and pale blues in the wallpaper and I love the idea of having it in the closet. I think I know where it will go, but I am not 100% on that yet.

In the meantime, I am working through clearing out my closet in the evenings. Our weekends are usually busy so I don’t have a full day to dedicate to it but it gives me time to consider what remains and what goes with calm. Like I said, I don’t want any regrets, so taking my time is best.

Here is an in-progress shot of my work.

Not much, I know, but deciding where things should go, and then putting them away, is a process unto itself. I love these maps but they will need to go live somewhere else. Since I have no idea where, I need to roll them up and store them safely until I figure that out. Those pink and beige bins will probably go in my yarn storage.

I have so much shit in this closet. And my youngest’s birthday is at the end of July so items are starting to come in and I am fighting the urge to throw them all in here.

Next, shoes and clothing. This should be fun.

The Shameful Shame

When we moved to Wisconsin five years ago, I was thrilled to have my own small walk-in closet. As someone who had spent her while life content with having part of a regular mirrored-door closet and a dresser, this was a major upgrade.

Unfortunately . . .

this is the current state of my closet.

AND! This is AFTER I removed most of the yarn and work-in-progress bags.

#theshamefulshame

Recently, I have been wanting to pare down. Don’t get me wrong, the pictures of gorgeous closets with luxe finishes, endless rows of handbags, walls filled with expensive shoes and rack after rack of shirts, jeans, dresses, etc. are beautiful to look at.

But they are not me.

I don’t know if it is being older, because it’s definitely not being wiser, I am not sure when (if?) that will ever happen, but I am wanting to pare down. I like having a “uniform” which for me it’s soft pants or jeans, light top, and a cardigan. I usually carry one handbag for months/years, and since I received my dream bag last Christmas, I have no plans of switching. I don’t faff around with lots of jewelry – usually earrings, especially since I cut my hair. I do have some pieces for special occasions but my everyday outfits are predictable and comfortable.

I have big plans for my closet, including some accent wallpaper. Which might run into issues with the center shelf bracket.

My husband said it would be no problem and he could install the wallpaper.

I need to be more respectful of this space. Every December I start throwing boxes and bags everywhere I can stash them because I hide everyone’s presents here. That needs to stop. No more throwing yarn here instead of putting it – oh I don’t know – in the storage space I have in the basement?

No more of that. Respect for this space will beget less stress for me because right now, just walking in makes me nervous.

Looking forward to sharing the process, and hopefully, the progress with this space.

Soundtrack time!

I actually mean Marie Greene‘s new sweater pattern Soundtrack, which will release as a Knit Along (KAL) on July 1.

Isn’t this the most joyous photo?! (Photo : Marie Greene)

I had the pleasure of meeting Marie at an event she did with Cream City Yarn, my local yarn shop (or LYS – aren’t you learning all sorts of acronyms today?) so she and her patterns have a special place in my heart. She is knowledgeable, eloquent, and super nice!

I managed to cover most of my top, which is made from one of Marie’s patterns!

I will be using this utterly delicious and lush Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in Cobbler for the main color:

Photo : Brooklyn Tweed

And for the accent, I will use this beautiful Cast & Dye yarn held double.

Photo : Cast & Dye

This will be the SIXTH sweater I have on my needles right now, but it will also be a chance to share some of my favorite movie soundtracks and why they remain some of my go-to music. I’ll be updating my progress on Instagram where I post my knitting pics during the week.

I might end up making another inspiration board because honestly there are too many soundtracks I absolutely love.

What are some of your favorite soundtracks?

The Lunenburg Pullover

I have made a few top-down pullovers. Most of them involve some kind of short-row sequence at the beginning, so that the back of the neckline is higher than the front. When I read the description on this pattern by Amy Christoffers and it mentioned short rows beneath the colorwork yoke section instead, I knew I had to try it.

Amy’s patterns are published in various magazines, yarn company websites, and also under her own brand, Savory Knitting. She has many designs that are favorites in the knitting community, such as the Felix pullover.

I had originally purchased the colors for the fair isle section for a different project that never came to be. In fact, it was one of the first purchases I ever made at my local yarn shop. Once I decided to make this sweater, I thought the gold/green palette would be perfect.

I decided to made the cuffs and hem ribbing in the dark brown color, and probably didn’t follow the chart as precisely as I should have, but I do really like the short row shaping method.

The main yarn for this pullover is from Abundant Earth Fiber – it is a beautiful neutral and knit up like a dream. The colorwork yarn is from Elemental Affects, and it is very sheepy and rustic. I have very sensitive skin so I wear a thin layer underneath.

I am very happy with this project, the fit is comfortable but not super oversized, and I love wearing this sweater with jeans. You can find more details on my Lunenburg sweater, or as I named it, my Golden Fairyland sweater, on my Ravelry project page.

A Momoa-sized challenge

Steve has received from me a handknit sweater each of the past three years. Every time it’s the same, “oh, whatever you think best” back and forth until I pretty much just close my eyes and point to a cabled sweater pattern and call it a day.

This year, though, he has a pretty specific sweater in mind.

Found on Pinterest

For those of you able to get past the sight of Mr. Momoa looking like a fine feast, he is wearing a heavily cabled sweater with a shawl collar in this publicity pic from the movie Justice League. I’ve made cabled sweaters for Steve before, of course, since that is his preference. The challenge, however is to find a starting point – I’ve never knit a shawl collar before – and then customize it to look as much as possible as this sweater.

I happen to have Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook, which is, in fact, a guide on incorporating a variety of cables onto whatever you choose to design. The plan is to make a chart including all the cables seen on the front, figure out how many stitches for each cable and in between cables, total them up, and adjust depending on how many stitches the front of my starting point pattern has. I have a few ideas for the base pattern, thanks to my lovely yarnie friends C and L, so I will decide that in the next few days.

As far as yarn color goes, I’m going to make Steve’s sweater in a shade of blue. If I’m going to make all those cables, which are not difficult but are time consuming, I want them to be easily visible, so a medium blue-gray is the goal, and will also go well with Steve’s fair coloring.

Added to the mix is the fact that Steve has wanted me to knit him a hoodie as well, so do we make this a hoodie or stick with a shawl collar. No, I am not making a shawl collar hoodie, dogdamnit.

Also Pinterest, showing the sleeve cabling.

I usually start Steve’s sweaters around September, so that I can present it at Christmas. This past year a friend was having a bebe so Steve graciously let me make a bajillion baby knits and his sweater was ready in February. Considering how this year has gone so far, though, I am probably going to start early, take a lot of notes on what I’m doing, and light a few candles.

Maybe one of these.

If you want to follow my daily knitting adventures, follow me on Instagram.

As Anne Boleyn said to Henry VIII . . .

“we’re one third of the way through!”

No, she never said that, but we are one third done with this insane year and I figured a recap of my knit achievements would be a good thing to document.

Here are some highlights of this year’s knitting:

Eleven Twelve sweater / Blackwood hat / Wash’s Sweater / Tender hat & Cozy Classic Raglan / Becoming test knit / Zweig pullover ( all details on Ravelry)

It seems that a) this year is going to be mostly garments, and b) while it may not be clear in this grid above, this will be the year of pink. Much to my own surprise and that of everyone who has known me for more than three days, I am in the middle of a complete pink-fest. I have bought more pink yarn in the last two months than I have in the past forty-eight years. Before February, I had no pink yarn other than yarn I’d bought for baby knits.

What’s next on the needles? Another pink top, a couple of colorwork projects, and uh, another pink top. No, really. I’ve been a burgundy-and-black girl for decades so this pink addiction is very much a reality I am still getting used to.

I am super thrilled with what I have made so far, and I am making my peace with the fact that, maybe due to my arthritis, or maybe due to age, my gauge has changed. I am knitting way looser than I have ever knitted. Not a problem, I just make a smaller size. I am not willing to fight the new way I’m knitting because that will just end up hurting my hands. Accepting and moving forward.

And now murder hornets – excellent.

What fresh hell is this?

Ah, Dorothy Parker, if only you were around now.

My Easter was spent in a delightful quarant-storm of Schitt’s Creek, knitting, and Dungeons & Dragons. I bought a Schitt-load of candy despite the fact that the Easter Bunny (and Santa, and the Tooth Fairy) stop bringing presents and/or money when kids turn 13.

My husband and I decided on that a long time ago, about the time we bought 20 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper so we could wrap “Santa’s gifts” in the same paper every year for thirteen years.

Remember the old days, when we could make plans for years in the future?

I have, rather surprisingly, been at my full-time job for ten months now, and since we deal with people’s money, I am going to work as usual.

I’ve also been on a major reading kick, with Fantasy YA fiction (what?) my favorite genre, and historical fiction a close second.

But the knitting, oh the knitting. It continues, undeterred, from my early-stage arthritic hands, my feverish, Ravelry-addicted brain, and any well-meaning intentions of curbing my stash or paring down my queue just don’t stand a chance.

My choices have mostly been work-appropriate tops like the recently-finished Zweig I wore today.

Here I graciously combine my two favorite hobbies – knitting and Dungeons and Dragons!

My next FO (finished object for the uninitiated) is a deliciously warm sweater and since I live in Wisconsin, that means I still have some time to wear it. Here it is before I finished the first sleeve.

For some reason, this is the year of pink for my knitting. I am obsessing over every pink yarn I see – not too blue, though – and I want to make all the pink and rose tops. My 90s self is probably cringing right now.

HLH product review

I had the pleasure to be chosen as one of HLH Designs’ product reviewers. Hanna Lisa Haferkamp prides herself in producing sustainable, ethically produced project bags that supports her local economy. As someone who likes to support my local businesses, reviewing her products was something that appealed to me.

I received my parcel a couple of days ago and was happy to see that all the packaging was recyclable.

When I opened it, I found a medium-sized project bag and a small pair of scissors in its case. Hanna Lisa offered me the option of having the contents be a surprise, and I loved the idea. The project bag is the most vibrant shade of yellow gold, which is one of my favorite colors.

The entire process and materials source is detailed on the HLH designs website, so you are able to track exactly where every part of your product comes from.

As someone who is not the gentlest with her belongings, I was happy to see the fabrics are all very sturdy, the bag very well constructed, and the materials all of quality.

The project bag I received can fit a couple of skeins and the work-in-progress, like a hat, scarf, socks, or mittens. Something I really liked was the carabiner included to thread the yarn through, which comes in handy either with a single color project, or if you wish to do colorwork and keep your yarns from tangling.

There are two notions pockets as well, roomy enough for the pair of scissors as well as stitch markers, progress keepers, a measuring tape, or anything else you might need to take your project with you.

This is the first time I’ve used a project bag with a zipper and I was initially concerned that it would snag the yarn if I kept the bag up on my couch or at the table, but there was no problem. I’ve run sock yarn, pure wool, and heavier wool blends through with no snags.

This project bag is already in my rotation, roomy enough to carry my project but also small enough that I can toss in my tote bag to bring with me. The scissors are super sharp and keeping them in their case in the bag ensures I can dig around for them without fear of a sudden stab. I love the idea of the carabiner as I have, more than once, had to deal with tangled yarn while on the go.

I appreciate the thoughtfulness that has gone into the process of making these project bags, and the high quality of all the materials.

DISCLAIMER: I received these products for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced by the company providing the product.

January 2019 – round up

January is my selfish month – I’ve usually been knitting and making for others during the traditional holiday months, so on January 1 I usually cast on something for myself, and take the month to indulge in casting on various items on my list.

The first item I cast on was the Cabled Leaf Pullover by Alana Dakos. I meant to cast this on last year but I never got around to it, and I’ve had the yarn for it for a while.

The pattern is lovely and the yarn is in my color crush for the year – burgundy. I have finished the front and am halfway done with the back, but as usual, I cannot have just one project of my needles, which brings me to my second cast-on of the year, and my first finished object.

The Exploration Station shawl by Stephen West is one of the most well known shawl patterns on Ravelry. I named it Parisian Exploration – I lived in Paris for a while after Uni, and have visited several times since, and the colors were my interpretation of a delicious chocolat chaud from Angelina enjoyed during a Parisian morning.

This is another indulgence I am enjoying this year – I am naming my projects after whatever inspired me to make them, not just after the pattern name itself.

My LYS is hosting designer Marie Greene in March, and I decided to make one of her pieces to wear to the event. I had been eyeing the color Eel from Hedgehog Fibres for a long time and it was perfect for the accent color of Marie’s Brunswick Tee.

As I type this, I have just begun the bottom colorwork section using the Eel color, and I absolutely love it. I will have a lot of leftover from this color and I am thinking of how I can best use it. Maybe a cowl to wear with the Tee?

I discovered a very talented dyer, Onyx Fiber Arts, and I saw a sock weight skein she had in the most stunning shade of burgundy. I was looking to make a DK weight top, though, and she was kind enough to make a custom sweater-quantity in that same burgundy color, in the DK weight.

With January almost over, I am hoping to finish these projects in the next few weeks, and I will also begin working on a blanket that a friend asked me to finish for her.

I am sure I will be casting on a bunch more projects in February. I can’t help it, it makes me happy to start new pieces and it makes me just as happy to work on them and finish them. I wear what I make all the time, I love wearing my sweaters and my hats and mittens, and I am so lucky to work in a yarn shop with amazing coworkers who are so incredibly talented and generous in sharing their knowledge.

See you at the end of February!