I was listening to a recent episode of Back to Work where Dan went into great detail about his master shopping list. He got me thinking about our master shopping list we’ve been using for groceries for years. We eat differently now than we did 8 years ago. No more chicken nuggets or Goldfish crackers. And with our recent move to Austin, our grocery store is laid out differently too.
So I made it my mission to revamp the list with items we buy most frequently, and organized by our path in the store. I’ve shopped from the new list once now and can tell it’s going to make grocery shopping faster, and less annoying. No more searching for an item like tahini or back tracking because I missed something on the list.
If you’ve been looking for a way to simplify your grocery shopping, download our Master Shopping List 2013 Word doc and make it your own. We print out several copies and post them in the kitchen. As we find items we need to buy we highlight them on the list. Add other items for meals at the end of the week, and there’s your list, ready to shop from.
I finally came to the realization that my beautiful silk needle cases are not the most functional. I have a hefty collection of needles by now. And when I’m working on many new projects at the same time, the needles start to migrate throughout the room pretty quickly. I love that all of my needles fit in the silk case. But I need a system that’s quick to retrieve needles and easy to put them away too. The silk case doesn’t have a way to label the pockets and now the sizes are wearing off on most of my circular needles. Even though the tie closers were important to have on the silk case, it makes it that much more difficult to open the case quickly.
I don’t use my straight needles that much, so they are back in a vase on my desk, each pair bound together by a hair binder. I like the needle binders with zippered pockets I’ve seen. And I’ve heard good things about these Binder Bags. I have plenty of binders at home, so my mission today was to find a durable yet inexpensive zippered pouch for a three ring binder. I knew zip lock bags were not going to be sturdy enough. Staples had some nice pencil cases, but they were all too expensive since I wanted 16 pockets, one for each size. Target turned out to be my best bet with these clear zippered pencil cases at 59¢ a piece.
The zipper is a little bulky, but I could still fit all 16 of these into my binder with all of my circular needles and double points too. Each pouch is very roomy. After spending a little quality time with my label maker, I have a new system for my circular needles.
I haven’t had much time to play with it yet, but it looks like it could be a nice way to figure out what I have and to organize my current or future projects. I do wish you could add categories. But you can do searches in just the notes section. So for example you want to get a list of all of your sock yarn. All you would need to do is to write the word “socks” in the notes for each of your sock yarns. Then you’ll have an easy way to compile a list of just your sock yarn.
Don’t know if I’ll be using it though. But I could imagine I could also list my needle inventory here, and my books, and my beads, and…well there’s a lot of other craft supplies in my house too.
Some of you may know that I’m committed to not having my yarn stash creep into other parts of the house. I’m trying hard to contain it all in my sewing cabinet or in the bins above it. If I want more yarn I need to knit up some of the stuff I already have. But I know some of you may be looking for more hidden places in your house to store your stash so you don’t have to resort to the oven. Today I discovered a perfect hidden storage space for more yarn, stored luggage. Check out your large suitcases to see if you could keep some of your yarn there.
I’ve already found one summer knitting project, the Licorice Bullet Skirt. I’ve been looking for a summer skirt to make Ella, and this one will be great since you can customize it to fit any size. I’ll be using the Valley Yarns Longmeadow. But I can’t start any new knitting project until I finish River.
Which brings me to the progress of the shawl. I’m getting faster now, finding a rhythm. But oh, I got stuck on row 70. Now there’s nothing special about this row. But for some reason I was one stitch short and I would knit a row, unknit it, back and forth way too many times. Finally today I sat down with the shawl again under good lighting and found the one little dropped stitch that hadn’t gone anywhere (thank goodness). Now I’m off again, on row 77. But here’s the thing. I measured the length so far and did the math. Apparently once I finish all of the repeats the shawl will be over 10 inches too short. I’m hoping that once blocked severely, the shawl will be about the correct length, true?
With the shawl being sent to the bad corner for a few days, I actually picked up Picovoli again. I finally committed to not doing the waist shaping in the pattern and came up with my own waist shaping. Really it feels like I’m just winging it. I’ll try it on once I get a few more inches knit and see how it looks at that point.
I’m finally up-to-date with my Stitches II swatches. Here they are above my desk whispering constantly, “Block me.”
And the other day I bought some nice clothes for the kids to wear to the commitment celebration. I meant them to be saved for the event. But I guess the kids couldn’t wait to try them. They came downstairs and this is what I saw.
Don’t you think Liam makes the most lovely girl and Ella is a fine little man? Apparently they’re about the same size around. Mouseover for the “fancy pose.” Where did Ella learn to jut out her hip like that?
It’s time to do some catch up blogging. Things have been super busy lately, and that’s not going to change any time soon. So let’s get started.
My friend Amy and I are both starting Grumperina’s Picovoli’s together. Her yarn is pink in the new Valley Yarns Longmeadow and mine will be the purple Joy in Rowan Calmer.
We both struggled with the provisional cast on and the row being twisted when joining in the round. After getting the provisional cast on done correctly, I got 22 rows into mine and realized that the picot edge was really going to flare out. After ripping it all out, I did the inside edge on the picot trim two needle sizes smaller, hopefully reducing the tendency to flare out. Here’s my latest try:
I knitted a set of potholders for my sister-in-law and brother, a very belated Christmas gift. I had a bit of a problem deciding what kind of edge to use. At first I did a crochet edge (top of pict) which seemed really stiff. I was concerned that after felting the edge wouldn’t be flat, but all ruffly. So the next two potholders I used a knit edge (bottom of pict). This edge seemed much more consistent with the rest of the fabric.
I felted them yesterday at Amy’s and they’re drying right now. The crochet edge did indeed felt in a unpleasant funky way. So that makes two potholders as gifts and one in the bin of NEVER DO THIS AGAIN. And yes once again I forgot to take pre-felting measurements so I could figure out the percentage of shrinkage.
My scarf arrived from my secret International Scarf Exchange pal.
Her name is Marion Frazer from Tennessee. Marion met a German designer, Monika Haas, at Stitches East and the pattern is Monika’s design. Monika also made the yarn which is created by individual threads added together starting with the light colors and gradually going to the darker colors. Thanks so much Marion; it’s all quite beautiful.
Last week Ella came home and declared that I needed to make her a wood sprite costume for her Girl Scout play that was happening in two days. This is what I whipped up in less than an hour since that’s all the time I was willing to put into a spur-of-the-moment request. I can’t believe how much sewing I’ve been doing.
I couldn’t resist this new Lexie Barnes knitting bag. But between the Pink Picot Hat and these pink flowers, am I turning into a girly girl? I didn’t even think I liked pink, at least not since I was 14 wearing a pink suit while my brothers sported the Miami Vice look. But when I showed the bag to Liam yesterday and asked him what he thought of it, he said, “It’s handsome. The flowers are handsome. (pauses and strokes the flowers.) I lub you Mom.” Well if it’s a handsome bag, it can’t be too girly girl, right?
And the real reason that I justified buying this bag now was because I have a new part-time job at Webs! You know that I’m excited about this. I start next Thursday and I’m going to try my hardest not to spend it all on yarn. But how could I resist one celebratory knitting bag?
My husband is continually amused that I’m constantly in search of another bag. And of course my recent knitting obsession has only fueled it. But look at the bags at Offhand Designs. Now I’ll be dreaming of the Weekender knitting bag available in all of those wonderful fabrics. But I’ll only be dreaming and not purchasing since this bag definitely doesn’t fall into my budget.
(mouseover to see the inside)
Pattern: my own, I think I figured it out by the third case
Fabric: beautiful silk from Delectable Mountain Cloth
Size: about 27 inches across and 15 inches tall
My Blog Links: Count Down to Vacation, Needle Case Fabric
OK, they are finally done. My sewing machine kept trying to die on me. The thread broke a lot, and I was having a lot of problems with loose and uneven stitches. I think it’s time to have someone look at the machine.
But now that they are done, I feel so good. And I can stop focusing on all of the mistakes. Why do I keep trying to take on projects like this when I hate to sew? It’s so stressful.
Now it’s time for a big glass of wine and to think about how I’m getting the four other holiday gifts done on time.
This past week, the Gracie and Company needles I had ordered finally came in the mail. I first saw them at Pixie Sticks and couldn’t resist checking them out. I decided on the complete set (US 4â€“35) of Vineyard needles since I have a thing for purple. I haven’t had a chance to use them much yet, but I like the really pointy tips. I would like them a bit smoother though. I may rub a little fine sandpaper on a set to see the difference.
And I finally found some great ribbon to use for the silk needle cases I’ll be sewing this weekend.
I’ve found a new bag for my small projects.
I’ve decided that I always want to have a smaller project going on the needles, socks for example. Today when walking through Cedar Chest I noticed a cute little tote bag to hold a small knitting project. Maybe this is the incentive I need to really get going on my Sockapaltwoza socks.
Also, I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to do for my sister-in-laws neck gaiter. I wonder if I could make this work as a neck gaiter?