Month: December 2015

2015: The Best of times, the worst of times


The calendar year of 2015 is coming to a close. It was a great year in many ways. I made lots of things that I love. If I had to list a top three, it would be my garter yoke sweater (I pretty much live in it!), my rayon Scout tee (I lived in it this summer, and it’s the first sewn item I’m entirely proud of. French seams!), and my Byatt shawl (so beautiful, so useful! It elevates every outfit it comes into contact with, and it keeps me warm). I learned a ton about so many things, but I’m especially elated over my book arts learning this year, and of course chuffed that my work was in a show. I had lots of pleasurable times (wild ponies!). We took in Midnight kitty, and I’m happy to report he’s doing so well and Woody cat loves him more than I ever hoped. The playing! The cuddling! The kissing!

I more or less successfully kept to my ration book — here’s the finally tally:


Clothing: 0 out of 66

Soap: 0 out of 12

Tea: 4 out of 30

I say more or less because I did use some of my tea coupons to support overages on clothing and toiletries.

I scrolled though the past year of this blog, and was pleased to see that I didn’t purchase much new clothing. I was doing great with my toiletry coupons until eczema cropped up! My tea spending is under control, but using the extras as margarine coupons was not a good feeling to tell the truth. It was handy to have them, but I want to do better next year. It’s important that I do because things are getting serious. Have probably been serious for quite awhile.

Thoughts about climate change always send me to a state nearing a panic attack, but this last week of wearing short sleeves at the end of December with my windows open, buds growing on the trees and the petunias on my porch sprouting green leaves as I hear about extreme weather event after extreme weather event around the world has me deeply, deeply troubled. Things are not changing — things have changed. You KNOW I will be rationing again next year. I am going to nix the tea coupons (don’t need to monitor these any more) and toiletry coupons (I have very little flexibility over what I can presently use on my skin) and use my 66 clothing coupons (and everything, really) very, very carefully.

I’ve reset my coupon counter for 2016. I’m taking a deep breath. I’m scared, you guys, really and truly anxious. But I’m going to try and harness it and Use it. Let it be the fuel for another year of making, conserving, stretching, learning, enjoying, loving.

Needs Must

I am taking a break from knitting long stockings, which is a lower-case-n-need (it hasn’t quite gotten freezing cold yet) to knit additional hand towels for my bathroom, which has become an Upper-Case-N-Need. It is suggested that when you have eczema, you should change your hand/face towel each day — your skin can be broken down in places and does not have the barrier intact which protects you from everyday little germs, and you could get an infection.

Problem is, I don’t have a week’s worth of hand towels!


So, I’m going to incorporate another Focused Effort into my 2016 plans — 12 blue(ish, in all lovely permutations) hand towels in my drawer by the end of the year (blue to identify them as bathroom towels, vs. the multicolored handknit kitchen towels!)

I’m already on my way!



I have a few more Focused Efforts planned for 2016 — stay tuned!

P.S. For Word Nerds — love this little history of needs must.

P.P.S. My favorite way of folding towels, which I learned from Jennifer Scott’s blog!


Pure Indulgence

…and for very near my last coupons for the year, I blissfully indulged.



I purchased Susan Branch‘s Organic Private Blend tea, with the lovely tin with her art on it.



It’s beautiful with the flower petals,


and so delicious. I’ve had three cups today.

Excellent tea, the perfect amount of Earl Grey, a distinct floral taste on the end of the sip, and organic. I drink it sans additions and it tastes wonderful this way. No milk, sugar, lemon, etc. is necessary in my opinion. You can also resteep your leaves happily.

I think I’ve found my new favorite Earl Grey!

(The tea came in a 6 oz paper bag inside the tin. 2 oz tea = 1 coupon, so this equals 3 coupons)


Clothing: 0 out of 66
Soap: 0 out of 12
Tea: 4 out of 30

Focused Effort

Awhile back, I bemoaned my lack of warm winter hats, and vowed to do something about it. That, I did! I now have a dozen handmade winter hats to keep me warm this winter:


It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I really love this one that I dyed with turmeric then knit:


But I’m also very fond of the colorwork on this one:



…and I’m a sucker for black lace!



I really do like them all very much though.


I mean who doesn’t smile upon seeing a Pom Pom!

Although it seems obvious, it’s amazing what a little focused effort can do. Twelve hats!

I’d like to take this concept into 2016 for my hand knit socks. Right now, I have eight pairs. I think with a little focused effort, I can work up to twelve pairs at this time next year! Socks take much abuse, so it is really important to have a good amount in rotation. Some of my socks are heavily mended, too, and this will allow them to streeeeeeetch their lives by not being worn so much.

Best of all, I already have the yarn to make these socks, so no coupons will be spent (I should also mention that the hats I made were all from yarn I had on hand as well!).

First focused effort of 2016 — planned!