Jan 31, 2011

Simple Knits: Walk In The Park Hat

Walk in the park I love a good slouchy hat! More importantly, I love a good slouchy hat that has an easy-to-memorize pattern that can work for men or women, and that can easily be sized to be as slouchy (or not!) as you please!

Walk In The Park Hat from Pickles is just such a hat! For the One Hundred Hats project I knit it up in turquoise {pictured at left} and made it a bit less slouchy - perfect on me, but it looked equally as good on my brother, who tried it on this past summer.

I've also knit the hat up a lot slouchier and gifted it to friends who have been seeen rocking them around town. Knit up in wool or acrylics this hat withstands just about anything you can throw at it.

Perfect for someone who's just starting to dabble in hat knitting, the beauty of this free pattern is in it's three-row repeat - you only have three rows to remember and then you start over!

Jan 28, 2011

February Knit-Along: Hats For Babies!

{note: there used to be a photo here, but now there's not. trying to go back through my archives to find it and share it again, though!}

I've always loved knit-alongs - the challenge to whip through as many items as you can manage in a set amount of time, the prizes and excitement, everyone cheering each other on towards the goal! It's actually on my Life List to host an online knit-along, and after the fun of the 24-hour hat challenge, I knew February was the month!  

So welcome all to the Feburary Knit-Along For Charity, Baby Edition! The challenge is simple - knit or crochet as many baby hats as you can during the month, and then give them away to charity! My favorite way to do this? Swing into your local hospital and ask for directions to the NICU, and then just say "Hey, I've got some baby hats to donate!" They love it!

How It Will Work:

Beginning February 1st {that's next Tuesday!}, start knitting and/or crocheting baby hats! I've included a list below of some of my faovrite free baby hat patterns - most of which are super easy to work up - in case you need suggestions! Each Friday in February, I'll share a photo of the hats I've finished. In the comments of that post, share a link to your finished hats - it can be a photo posted to your blog, a link to a Ravelry page, or a shot from your Flickr account. On March 1 {also a Tuesday!} I'll post a shot of all the hats I've made during the month. In that post, share a link to a photo of all your finished hats for the month - in other words, don't give them away until March 1st! I'll select a winner from the list of comments that has a valid link to a photo of finished hats, and they'll win a prize!  

What's The Prize?! 


For simplicity sake, the prize will be a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com! This is enough to help you purchase a new knitting book, some yarn {yes, you can purchase yarn from Amazon!} or anything else your little heart desires. The prize will be awarded randomly rather than being based on production - any hat knitted or crocheted for charity should count equally, don't you think?!

Patterns I Love!

This is the fun stuff - a selection of knit and crochet patterns you can use! In truth, you can use whatever pattern you'd like. These are just a few I've used time and again, and love to work with! Knitting Patterns:
 
 
 
 
Crochet Patterns:
 
 

The Fine Print

Each knitter or crocheter will only be allowed one submission, in the form of a comment to the March 1st post. Each qualifying comment must include a link to a photo showing all knitted/crocheted hats in one group, no matter how big or small that group is. Double entries will be deleted, so you can't get a leg up by sharing your work twice. Only comments to the March 1st post will be counted. Comments must be submitted by March 5th, before commenting is shut down on the March 1st post, in order to be counted. The winner will be announced Tuesday March 8th.

February Knit-Along: Hats For Babies!

All hats

I've always loved knit-alongs - the challenge to whip through as many items as you can manage in a set amount of time, the prizes and excitement, everyone cheering each other on towards the goal! It's actually on my Life List to host an online knit-along, and after the fun of the 24-hour hat challenge, I knew February was the month!

So welcome all to the Feburary Knit-Along For Charity, Baby Edition!

The challenge is simple - knit or crochet as many baby hats as you can during the month, and then give them away to charity! My favorite way to do this? Swing into your local hospital and ask for directions to the NICU, and then just say "Hey, I've got some baby hats to donate!" They love it!

How It Will Work:

Beginning February 1st {that's next Tuesday!}, start knitting and/or crocheting baby hats! I've included a list below of some of  my faovrite free baby hat patterns - most of which are super easy to work up - in case you need suggestions!

Each Friday in February, I'll share a photo of the hats I've finished. In the comments of that post, share a link to your finished hats - it can be a photo posted to your blog, a link to a Ravelry page, or a shot from your Flickr account.

On March 1 {also a Tuesday!} I'll post a shot of all the hats I've made during the month. In that post, share a link to a photo of all your finished hats for the month - in other words, don't give them away until March 1st! I'll select a winner from the list of comments that has a valid link to a photo of finished hats, and they'll win a prize!

What's The Prize?!

For simplicity sake, the prize will be a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com! This is enough to help you purchase a new knitting book, some yarn {yes, you can purchase yarn from Amazon!} or anything else your little heart desires.

The prize will be awarded randomly rather than being based on production - any hat knitted or crocheted for charity should count equally, don't you think?!

Patterns I Love!

This is the fun stuff - a selection of knit and crochet patterns you can use! In truth, you can use whatever pattern you'd like. These are just a few I've used time and again, and love to work with!

Knitting Patterns:
Crochet Patterns:

The Fine Print

Each knitter or crocheter will only be allowed one submission, in the form of a comment to the March 1st post. Each qualifying comment must include a link to a photo showing all knitted/crocheted hats in one group, no matter how big or small that group is.

Double entries will be deleted, so you can't get a leg up by sharing your work twice.

Only comments to the March 1st post will be counted.

Comments must be submitted by March 5th, before commenting is shut down on the March 1st post, in order to be counted. The winner will be announced Tuesday March 8th.

Jan 26, 2011

Life Of Adventure - Strenghten Your Strengths

Today I'm super excited to bring you a guest post from Sam Spurlin, who blogs at The Simpler Life.


Piano playing

Mozart wasn't an architect that became a badass composer in his free time. His strength was musical and he worked tirelessly at developing that into something remarkable. Living a life of adventure can be as simple as figuring out what you're already good at and practicing it until you have developed a world class talent.

I'm a firm believer that the best use of your time is making your strengths stronger, rather than elevating your weaknesses into mediocrity. In fact, it has become another tenant of my Life of Daily Adventure. I've already written about learning something new everyday, doing interesting things with food, and expanding your musical horizons can add a small dose of adventure that a simple life thrives on. Now, you get to focus on making yourself even better.

Life of Adventure #4: Strengthen Your Strengths

A life of adventure is one filled with passion, excitement, and new experiences. That's why a large portion of my writing on this topic is centered on the idea of learning and doing new things. However, I think there is a ton of value to be gained from figuring out what you're good at and practicing it over and over and over until your talent really stands alone.

First, What Are You Good At?

Before you can work on your strengths, you have to figure out what it is that you're good at. Lots of people already know where their strengths are. Some of us have a natural affinity for art, writing, interpersonal relationships, programming, or managing people. However, don't confuse "natural affinity" with "I just wasn't born that way". Sure, lots of people seem to be naturally gifted, but behind that veneer of effortless talent is often hours upon hours of deliberate practice.

If you don't know what your strength is, let me suggest a couple resources. First, the book Now Discover Your Strengths is one of the best "strengths finder" books I've ever read. It will help you figure out where your natural talents may be so you can focus your development efforts more effectively. There are lots of other personality tests tests available online that have varying degrees of relevance to this exercise. I wouldn't put too much stock into any one type, though. Instead, try 3 or 4 and see if any recurring patterns or themes show up in the results.

You Know Your Strength, Now What?

Once you've figured out what you may be particularly good at, it's time to get down to business. Set aside a few minutes (or longer) everyday for deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is not just "noodling around" or mindlessly going through the motions. Deliberate practice is what world class talent is built on. It has a goal, it's difficult, and mentally draining.

One of the best books I've read about developing talent is The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. He writes about the various talent hotbeds across the country and the characteristics they all share. One of the most obvious similarities is the culture of deliberate practice that they all encourage.

Let me use myself as an example, I believe my strengths to be communicating in writing, in conversation, and in making complex ideas easy to understand. When I sit down to "practice" writing, it usually ends up being a blog article. Sometimes, though, I'll spend time writing in a completely different genre just to stretch my abilities. I'll spend lots of time by myself jotting down ideas, taking complex ideas and reducing them to their simplest components and then rejoining those components into something easy to understand. I do that every time I write a lesson plan, create a digital product or write a blog post.

Working on your strengths is the surest way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Any "master" that you admire in a given field of work has reached that status through deliberate practice and commitment. Living a life of adventure is built on the idea of being proud of who you are, challenging yourself, and becoming a better person. There's no reason that becoming better at what you care about has to be an expensive affair.

In fact, I've been doing it for the past 45 minutes and all it cost me was a small coffee and the electricity to run my computer.

Is your life of adventure supporting your strengths?

Sam Sam Spurlin helps people live more consciously through his writing at The Simpler Life. He writes e-books, articles, and connects with his readers via any means possible. He believes that any positive change in the world starts with people living as consciously as possible.

Jan 25, 2011

How To Knit 30 Charity Hats In Less Than 24 Hours

Over the weekend I participated in a 24-hour hat knitting/crochet challenge through a Ravelry group I'm part of. Four teams of eight each competed to see which team could knit and/or crochet the most hats.

Hats1

While I may be a fast knitter, I also know it takes me several hours to knit a hat - even a baby-sized hat. However, I also know that for some reason, I can crochet up a simple baby hat in almost no time at all. With that knowledge, I volunteered to be part of my group's team.

Hats2

Saturday morning saw me up early, checking the boards and beginning my first hat. I was dismayed to discover people already showing off hats #4-10, and felt I would of course let my team down. But I carried on, heading to my MIL's house where she has a regular Saturday craft time, bringing my yarn with me.

Hats3

Surrounded by other crafters of many varieties, I found my groove, and began to crochet little baby hats like the wind! I chose not only pink and blue colors, but also some browns and marigolds, hoping some of the NICU babies wouldn't mind non-gendered hats!

Hats4

I used a basic crochet preemie/baby hat pattern found on Bev's Country Cottage site - using the larger of the two sizes, I whipped through a pattern that quickly became engrained in my memory. And as I crocheted, my fingers began to remember all the other hats I've made over the years for the NICU.

Hats5

Breaking only for lunch and dinner {and to head back home as the snow started to fall}, I managed to whip through thirty little baby hats by the time I could no longer keep my eyes open. I didn't believe it until the next day, when I snapped this photo ...

All hats

These thirty little baby hats will be added to over the next few days and weeks - I seem to have rekindled my love of baby hat making, and have pulled out even more acrylic from my stash for the job! - and will then be taken to the local hospital's NICU for the little babes to keep warm in.

What I Loved About This Project:

  • I used only stash yarn - no new yarn needed

  • I managed to crochet through over 1,000 yards of yarn!

  • I only needed the bare minimum of tools - a size H hook, my scissors, a darning needle for weaving in ends, and the yarn!

  • By using a variety of yarns, I managed to make a variety of hat sizes, to fit a variety of baby heads.

In fact, I loved this project so much, I'm going to be hosting a similar project throughout the month of Feburary, here on the blog! Stay tuned for more details, and get your stash yarn, knitting needles, and crochet hooks ready to go!

How To Knit 30 Charity Hats In Less Than 24 Hours

Over the weekend I participated in a 24-hour hat knitting/crochet challenge through a Ravelry group I'm part of. Four teams of eight each competed to see which team could knit and/or crochet the most hats.

While I may be a fast knitter, I also know it takes me several hours to knit a hat - even a baby-sized hat. However, I also know that for some reason, I can crochet up a simple baby hat in almost no time at all. With that knowledge, I volunteered to be part of my group's team.

Saturday morning saw me up early, checking the boards and beginning my first hat. I was dismayed to discover people already showing off hats #4-10, and felt I would of course let my team down. But I carried on, heading to my MIL's house where she has a regular Saturday craft time, bringing my yarn with me.

Surrounded by other crafters of many varieties, I found my groove, and began to crochet little baby hats like the wind! I chose not only pink and blue colors, but also some browns and marigolds, hoping some of the NICU babies wouldn't mind non-gendered hats!

I used a basic crochet preemie/baby hat pattern found on Bev's Country Cottage site - using the larger of the two sizes, I whipped through a pattern that quickly became engrained in my memory. And as I crocheted, my fingers began to remember all the other hats I've made over the years for the NICU.

Breaking only for lunch and dinner {and to head back home as the snow started to fall}, I managed to whip through thirty little baby hats by the time I could no longer keep my eyes open. I didn't believe it until the next day, when I snapped this photo ...

These thirty little baby hats will be added to over the next few days and weeks - I seem to have rekindled my love of baby hat making, and have pulled out even more acrylic from my stash for the job! - and will then be taken to the local hospital's NICU for the little babes to keep warm in.

What I Loved About This Project:

  • I used only stash yarn - no new yarn needed
  • I managed to crochet through over 1,000 yards of yarn!
  • I only needed the bare minimum of tools - a size H hook, my scissors, a darning needle for weaving in ends, and the yarn!
  • By using a variety of yarns, I managed to make a variety of hat sizes, to fit a variety of baby heads.
In fact, I loved this project so much, I'm going to be hosting a similar project throughout the month of Feburary, here on the blog! Stay tuned for more details, and get your stash yarn, knitting needles, and crochet hooks ready to go!

Jan 24, 2011

Simple Knits: Jane Hat

Jane hat Of all Jane Richmond's hat patterns, without fail I always turn to Jane when I want to knit a hat as a gift for a friend.  Just the right amount of slouch, a great pattern that can be worked up even by beginner knitters, Jane keeps a person surprisingly warm despite the tiny holes the patterning creates across the entirety of the hat.

Thanks to the doubled-over construction of the brim, your ears are kept nice and warm in this gorgeous number. I've worked the hat up in both wools and acrylics in the past, with no noticeable difference in wear for either fiber type.

My favorite part about this hat? You can knit it up for just about everyone on your gift list and/or for charity donations and rest assured it will be loved by anyone at any age. Give it a bit of slouch or knit in a unique color for someone a bit more whimsical, work it up in a neutral color or with less slouch for someone a bit more traditional.

While this is not a free pattern, the pattern pays for itself after just a few uses - at $4.50 it's well worth the purchase.

Jan 21, 2011

winter lunch date

Lunch date

It has been far too cold the last few days to think about anything - writing, knitting, traveling outside the home.

Today however, the husband and I decided to head to lunch together, swinging into a favorite Omaha restaurant - Crescent Moon - for their signature ruebens and soup.

I've been thinking how little I actually take photos. I have a tremendous camera given to me as an early Christmas present, and then I also have a tremendous camera on my phone, and yet I rarely take photos other than "inside the house knitting shots".

It's embarassment, really. I wonder what people will think of me as I snap photos of this and that. But the time for feeling embarassed about such silly little things has surely passed me by now that I'm well into 33, so I'm trying to take more photos in 2011.

Like this one, of hand knits. The irony. At least they're "hand knits in the wild"!

Have a good weekend all. I will try to be less quiet next week!

Jan 17, 2011

Simple Knits: Two Great Slippers Patterns

This week we're taking a bit of a departure from our Essential Knits schedule, and we're dipping into a new type of pattern - slippers!
A few months ago, Adam Baker of Man Vs. Debt started hinting that he, his wife Courtney, and their daughter Millie were about to head out on another adventure. Being super nosy, I e-mailed asking what the adventure was, and if I could knit them something for the trip!

After a few e-mails back and forth about their cross-country RV adventure, I was all set to knit a pair of slippers each for Courtney and Millie. As they were hitting the road on January 1st, I had about a week to whip these up, and thankfully I had everything I needed in my Essential Patterns binder!

Slippers

Pattern One: Nola's Slippers for Courtney

I knew I wanted to test out Nola's Slipper pattern {Ravelry link} after seeing it used on Spider Woman Knits' blog. They look like the comfiest pair of slippers ever, and as soon as I saw them I felt compelled to cast them on. The pattern is written in one size {approximately a size 7 women's}, but the garter stitch patterning meant the slippers stretch to just about any size - perfect, as Courtney requested a slightly larger size!

I whipped them up in two days just before Christmas - mostly because of a long break I took while knitting, and know I could finish a pair in a day if needed. {see my Ravelry page}

Pattern Two: Stripey Slippers for Millie

Because Nola's Slippers pattern came in only an adult size, I knew I needed to find a pattern that would work for smaller toes. Luckily, I found the Stripey Slippers pattern from Little Turtle Knits, which is similar to Nola's - except with more sizing options! I hesitated to purchase the pattern - it cost $8 after all! - but I'm glad I did, as it has been added to my Essential Patterns binder already!

I knit Millie's slippers in their size 4, which is around a size 9-10 kid shoe. A bit big for her feet, I know how fast little kid toes grow, and I wanted to be sure she'd be able to wear them for their entire trip. {see my Ravelry page}



I already have future plans for both patterns. First up, a few more pairs of slippers from the Nola's Slippers pattern for myself, a few friends, and for charity. Then, as summer hits, I'll start whipping through a few kid-sized versions of the Stripey Slippers pattern to donate in the fall.

With both of these patterns, by following them exactly you'll end up with the perfect little slippers! I loved using the Woolease on them as well - the warmth of wool with the washability of acrylic.

Here's hoping these two pair will keep toes toasty throughout 2011!



For more info on Adam, his family, and their trip, check out his Man Vs. Debt blog. He recently shared a full list of everything they brought in their RV! Because their family lives with as few posessions as possible, and had limited space in the RV for belongings, I'm super excited to see what made the cut!

Simple Knits: Two Great Slippers Patterns

This week we're taking a bit of a departure from our Essential Knits schedule, and we're dipping into a new type of pattern - slippers!
A few months ago, Adam Baker of Man Vs. Debt started hinting that he, his wife Courtney, and their daughter Millie were about to head out on another adventure. Being super nosy, I e-mailed asking what the adventure was, and if I could knit them something for the trip!

After a few e-mails back and forth about their cross-country RV adventure, I was all set to knit a pair of slippers each for Courtney and Millie. As they were hitting the road on January 1st, I had about a week to whip these up, and thankfully I had everything I needed in my Essential Patterns binder!

Slippers

Pattern One: Nola's Slippers for Courtney

I knew I wanted to test out Nola's Slipper pattern {Ravelry link} after seeing it used on Spider Woman Knits' blog. They look like the comfiest pair of slippers ever, and as soon as I saw them I felt compelled to cast them on. The pattern is written in one size {approximately a size 7 women's}, but the garter stitch patterning meant the slippers stretch to just about any size - perfect, as Courtney requested a slightly larger size!

I whipped them up in two days just before Christmas - mostly because of a long break I took while knitting, and know I could finish a pair in a day if needed. {see my Ravelry page}

Pattern Two: Stripey Slippers for Millie

Because Nola's Slippers pattern came in only an adult size, I knew I needed to find a pattern that would work for smaller toes. Luckily, I found the Stripey Slippers pattern from Little Turtle Knits, which is similar to Nola's - except with more sizing options! I hesitated to purchase the pattern - it cost $8 after all! - but I'm glad I did, as it has been added to my Essential Patterns binder already!

I knit Millie's slippers in their size 4, which is around a size 9-10 kid shoe. A bit big for her feet, I know how fast little kid toes grow, and I wanted to be sure she'd be able to wear them for their entire trip. {see my Ravelry page}



I already have future plans for both patterns. First up, a few more pairs of slippers from the Nola's Slippers pattern for myself, a few friends, and for charity. Then, as summer hits, I'll start whipping through a few kid-sized versions of the Stripey Slippers pattern to donate in the fall.

With both of these patterns, by following them exactly you'll end up with the perfect little slippers! I loved using the Woolease on them as well - the warmth of wool with the washability of acrylic.

Here's hoping these two pair will keep toes toasty throughout 2011!



For more info on Adam, his family, and their trip, check out his Man Vs. Debt blog. He recently shared a full list of everything they brought in their RV! Because their family lives with as few posessions as possible, and had limited space in the RV for belongings, I'm super excited to see what made the cut!

Jan 14, 2011

loving right now

Snowstorm1
 
1. The way our city looks three days after a foot of snow. The roads are all plowed {finally}, there's piles of snow 8 feet tall in some places, and things are a bit muddy and grey, but it still looks like a winter wonderland if you squint your eyes.

2. The new rain/snow boots I picked up for a song. They're knock-off Wellies, and I've loved wearing them in this snowstorm. Can't wait to wear them in the spring rains, either.

3. Sleep. Lately I've needed a lot more sleep than usual, but it's so lovely to curl up on the couch in a handmade blanket, or snuggle up in bed with the mister and the kitties. For the first time ever, I don't feel guilty about sleeping the evening away - bliss!

4. Re-working my goals for 2011. It's going to be a big year, packed full of a few huge things, and I can't wait to kick them off! However, writing your 2011 goals when 2010 is still happening didn't work out quite like I'd planned. I'm re-tooling my dreams and goals, and loving the process.

5. Re-reading the Harry Potter series. While I wish desperately J.K. Rowhling would allow her books to be purchases on the Kindle, I've been busting out my hard-cover copies and re-reading the stories. I'm up to book 5 now, and loving all the bits I'd forgotten about, or that weren't included in the movies.

6. Getting excited about taking more photos. I find myself ignoring my camera more often than I'd care to admit - she's so shiny and new, and yet I hardly bring her out to play! So I've decided it's high time I snap more photos of my everday life - still figuring out the best way to share these photos, but I think I'm almost there.

7. My hair right now. It's almost shoulder-length {growing it out is taking far less patience than it did last time}, my bangs are almost able to be tucked behind my ear, and it's feeling thicker by the minute. Can't wait for it to all be able to pull back in a hair band!

8. Blog planning! I know it's just the beginning of the year, I've recently introduced one new series {Essential Patterns}, and have hinted at another {Knitting 101}, but the past week I've been plotting a few small changes for this space. I'll share as I figure it all out - for now, things will keep on keeping as they have been as I plot a bit longer.

9. Giving up caffeine. With the new year, I'm giving up the caffeine monster - more specifically, I'm letting go of soda. Our house has been tethered to it for far too long, and while I can't control what the mister does with his habits, I sure can control mine! I already feel healthier, and it's only been a few days!

10. Hula Seventy's 52 lists. I love how she's documenting her life in this way - maybe I'll snag her idea?

Jan 12, 2011

My Minimalist Wardrobe

Minimalist wardrobe

Thanks to Project 333, I managed to figure out a minimalist wardrobe that works well for me. Through three months of wearing 33 items or less, I realized I truly do have a uniform of sorts I wear on a daily basis – a dress, tights, and boots during the day, sweatpants and a tee in the evening/for sleeping, and jeans/a Husker tee on game day.

Now that it’s January, I’ve taken some time to really clean out the rest of my clothes, donate the bulk of what I owned, and only allow myself to keep those items I know I’ll wear. While I was donating, I kept in mind that I live where there are a full four seasons – meaning, I didn’t get rid of my bathing suit OR my winter coat.

This then is my list of basics. Notice that it’s not a list of every individual item of clothing I own - I may have more than one of each line item, and while I’ve noted this, I’m still only listing each type of item once. This is because I wear these every day, and so need multiple pairs of things like tights and tank tops – as much as I’m an aspiring minimalist, I also don’t want to do laundry more than once a week if I can avoid it!

The staples:
  1. Tank tops. I layer them under EVERYTHING for approximately 9 months out of the year, as they’re long enough to cover any extra skin that may peek out!

  2. Black footless tights/leggings. Footless so I can wear short or long socks, or go sock-less if I need to. I hate sweaty feet, so this way I can change my socks as often as I need!

  3. Cardigan. I’ve got one I picked up at big box stores this season. They’re the perfect thing to layer over my dresses when it’s a bit chilly, so I plan to knit myself one or two more out of washable wool in the coming months.

  4. Four sweaters. Three are turtleneck sweaters picked up last year, and one is green and a v-neck. While I’m not the biggest fan of the turtleneck ones, they keep me warm so I keep wearing them, with my skirts or my jeans.

  5. Black knee-high boots. I have one pair that’s suede {purchased from Target}, which you would think would look like crap due to the snow and the rain, but they’re holding up surprisingly well. When these finally kick it, I’ll probably pick up a good pair of leather motorcycle boots.

  6. Black skirt. Jersey fabric, elastic waist band. American Apparel. I love this so much I wish I owned three!

  7. Skinny Jeans. They've become the only pair of jeans I'll wear, are my go-to casual day wear, and I even rocked them with a long sweater to a NYE party!  

  8. Husker shirt. I currently have one long one that I’ll wear. I’ve tended to buy ones that are made sort of crappily, so I’m hoping this one is more well-made and can last a few more seasons.

  9. The Dresses. I have under a dozen dresses, and most are short-sleeve so they can do double duty – I can wear them as-is when it’s warm out, or I can layer my cardigan over top during cold months. Almost all have some sort of empire waistline to them – the style is best for my shape, and they hid the “occasional” food baby I rock after eating too much pizza!

  10. Sweatpants and grubby tees. I have a few of each, which I wear to bed, for lounging around the house, and when I don't feel good.

What I Don’t Count:

There are a few things I don’t count. Either they are seasonal items or they are every-day sorts of items like my two pair of earrings, my wedding ring, or my glasses.
  • bathing suit

  • Winter coat

  • Hats

  • Scarf

  • Hair bands to pull hair back

  • Bobby pins for bangs

  • Wedding ring

  • Glasses

  • Three pair earrings.

This list may change slightly over the course of the year, but it’s a pretty comprehensive look at what I will be wearing for the next 365. I hope to not need more than 5-10 new things this year, and plan to not purchase anything until at least April!

For those of you that participated, or are participating in Project 333, how have you noticed your wardrobe choices change for the long haul? Do you find your shopping habits changing immediately, or are you more slowly moving towards wanting and needing less options for your clothes?

My Minimalist Wardrobe

Minimalist wardrobe

Thanks to Project 333, I managed to figure out a minimalist wardrobe that works well for me. Through three months of wearing 33 items or less, I realized I truly do have a uniform of sorts I wear on a daily basis – a dress, tights, and boots during the day, sweatpants and a tee in the evening/for sleeping, and jeans/a Husker tee on game day.

Now that it’s January, I’ve taken some time to really clean out the rest of my clothes, donate the bulk of what I owned, and only allow myself to keep those items I know I’ll wear. While I was donating, I kept in mind that I live where there are a full four seasons – meaning, I didn’t get rid of my bathing suit OR my winter coat.

This then is my list of basics. Notice that it’s not a list of every individual item of clothing I own - I may have more than one of each line item, and while I’ve noted this, I’m still only listing each type of item once. This is because I wear these every day, and so need multiple pairs of things like tights and tank tops – as much as I’m an aspiring minimalist, I also don’t want to do laundry more than once a week if I can avoid it!

The staples:
  1. Tank tops. I layer them under EVERYTHING for approximately 9 months out of the year, as they’re long enough to cover any extra skin that may peek out!

  2. Black footless tights/leggings. Footless so I can wear short or long socks, or go sock-less if I need to. I hate sweaty feet, so this way I can change my socks as often as I need!

  3. Cardigan. I’ve got one I picked up at big box stores this season. They’re the perfect thing to layer over my dresses when it’s a bit chilly, so I plan to knit myself one or two more out of washable wool in the coming months.

  4. Four sweaters. Three are turtleneck sweaters picked up last year, and one is green and a v-neck. While I’m not the biggest fan of the turtleneck ones, they keep me warm so I keep wearing them, with my skirts or my jeans.

  5. Black knee-high boots. I have one pair that’s suede {purchased from Target}, which you would think would look like crap due to the snow and the rain, but they’re holding up surprisingly well. When these finally kick it, I’ll probably pick up a good pair of leather motorcycle boots.

  6. Black skirt. Jersey fabric, elastic waist band. American Apparel. I love this so much I wish I owned three!

  7. Skinny Jeans. They've become the only pair of jeans I'll wear, are my go-to casual day wear, and I even rocked them with a long sweater to a NYE party!  

  8. Husker shirt. I currently have one long one that I’ll wear. I’ve tended to buy ones that are made sort of crappily, so I’m hoping this one is more well-made and can last a few more seasons.

  9. The Dresses. I have under a dozen dresses, and most are short-sleeve so they can do double duty – I can wear them as-is when it’s warm out, or I can layer my cardigan over top during cold months. Almost all have some sort of empire waistline to them – the style is best for my shape, and they hid the “occasional” food baby I rock after eating too much pizza!

  10. Sweatpants and grubby tees. I have a few of each, which I wear to bed, for lounging around the house, and when I don't feel good.

What I Don’t Count:

There are a few things I don’t count. Either they are seasonal items or they are every-day sorts of items like my two pair of earrings, my wedding ring, or my glasses.
  • bathing suit

  • Winter coat

  • Hats

  • Scarf

  • Hair bands to pull hair back

  • Bobby pins for bangs

  • Wedding ring

  • Glasses

  • Three pair earrings.

This list may change slightly over the course of the year, but it’s a pretty comprehensive look at what I will be wearing for the next 365. I hope to not need more than 5-10 new things this year, and plan to not purchase anything until at least April!

For those of you that participated, or are participating in Project 333, how have you noticed your wardrobe choices change for the long haul? Do you find your shopping habits changing immediately, or are you more slowly moving towards wanting and needing less options for your clothes?

Jan 10, 2011

Simple Knits: Vancouver Hat

One of my favorite things to knit, you can whip up a hat in an evening or two using just one skein of yarn. Each of the hat patterns I'll be sharing with you are malleable, and can be changed up to make hats in different sizes, with stripes, or even longer if you'd like a slouchier version!
Vancouver 
The first of our four hats is my free Vancouver Hat pattern. Created during my One Hundred Hats project and the Winter 2010 Olympics, this hat reminds me of the hats worn by the American commentators, and I quickly figured out how to knit a super simple version.

This hat can be customized any number of ways - you can wear it with either the front or the back of the stockinette stitching facing out, you can rock it slouchier thanks to the long ribbing, and it can be sized to fit anyone from a smaller child to a large adult!

Did I mention this hat pattern is offered for free? That's right, you can download a free copy of it using this link. I've also got the directions written out on my Vancouver Hat pattern page, so if you'd prefer to read the directions that way you can!

Jan 3, 2011

Simple Knits: Spring Shirt

Spring shirt
To kick the new year off right, I've decided to share the first of our four 2011 Vest Patterns with you - the Cap-Sleeved Spring Shirt. With the high of the holidays being transformed into the let-down of two more months of snow and cold, I needed a pattern that could be worked up without much thought, and would work both as a warm layer over long-sleeves during cold winter months, but also as a shirt in it's own right during the warmer spring and summer months.

I've knit this pattern in the past and donated the results - it looks gorgeous using any type of yarn, and the pattern is simple enough that even a super new knitter could work through one or two of these shirts! You simply need to know how to cast on, knit, purl, bind off, and knit in the round - all lessons that can be learned in a few hours' time!

In the coming weeks I'll share the Spring Shirts I'll have worked up {you can also find them in my 2011 Knits photo album}, ways to customize this pattern using variegated yarn, adding striping and even cabling, along with some tips and tricks for making these Spring Shirts even easier to knit than they already are! For now, grab your own copy of the pattern and start knitting!

Simple Knits: Spring Shirt

Spring shirt
To kick the new year off right, I've decided to share the first of our four 2011 Vest Patterns with you - the Cap-Sleeved Spring Shirt. With the high of the holidays being transformed into the let-down of two more months of snow and cold, I needed a pattern that could be worked up without much thought, and would work both as a warm layer over long-sleeves during cold winter months, but also as a shirt in it's own right during the warmer spring and summer months.

I've knit this pattern in the past and donated the results - it looks gorgeous using any type of yarn, and the pattern is simple enough that even a super new knitter could work through one or two of these shirts! You simply need to know how to cast on, knit, purl, bind off, and knit in the round - all lessons that can be learned in a few hours' time!

In the coming weeks I'll share the Spring Shirts I'll have worked up {you can also find them in my 2011 Knits photo album}, ways to customize this pattern using variegated yarn, adding striping and even cabling, along with some tips and tricks for making these Spring Shirts even easier to knit than they already are! For now, grab your own copy of the pattern and start knitting!