Episode 2 – Electric Boogaloop

 

Segments:

On the rack

Finished Object

Works in Progress

Stash Stories

Yes or No?

  • The proposal
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The Podcast – Episode 1

Stash and Notions Podcast Episode 1

Segments:

Welcome and Introduction – includes a little bit of my background and knitting journey
WIPS:

  • Waiting for Rain, using Gin and Tonic yarn
  • Hitchhiker, using Wollmeise
  • Spinning project, using Yarn vs Zombies fibre

Acquisitions

  • Stitch Markers
  • Yarn – an unveiling

Close

Please feel free to give me (constructive) feedback and we all love the compliment of liking and sharing😉

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Spendigo 2016 Haul

 

My first ever vlog! I thought I’d do one to share my shopping from this year’s trip to Bendi.

Let me know what you think – I’ve never made a video before.

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Time to pick up the needles, Bronwyn Bishop?

Dear Ms Bishop,

I would like to extend to you commiserations regarding your recent loss in the preselection for the seat of Mackellar. I except that it is highly unlikely that you will contest the seat as an independent, given your long standing association with the liberal party.

Given your impending retirement, I’d like to suggest that you consider taking up knitting. With the hefty pension coming your way as a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, you’ll be able to indulge in the finer yarns available, cashmere perhaps or even some wonderfully soft angora?

Here are five reasons why knitting could be a good option for you in retirement:
  1. Maintain your cognitive function – there are plenty of studies about that indicate a very strong link between knitting and keeping a healthy mind in the sunset years.  The mayo clinic found that seniors who knit (or participate in other crafts) are less likely to suffer from ‘mild cognitive impairment’. Perhaps you won’t forget to repay any inappropriate expenses that are claimed during your retirement.
  2. Help deal with any retirement related depression. It’s quite possible that your retirement may trigger a depressive episode. As outlined in my previous post, knitting can help to alleviate depression, another reason to pick up the needles.
  3. Maintain social connections. Loneliness is a common source of depression for older people, and I expect that you won’t be invited to quite as many soirées now that you appear to be on the outer with the Liberal Party. Perhaps you could consider joining a local knitting group as a way of maintaining social connections.
  4. Knitting is portable – you can take your knitting wherever you go. Should you find yourself on a helicopter flight to another fundraising function, you can take your knitting with you.
  5. Knitting for reflection – once you become a proficient knitter, you can multitask, knit and think at the same time.  You can mull over the decisions you’ve made during your time in parliament, and decide once and for all if the choices you made were indeed the best choices for the people of Australia.
Take up knitting, Ms Bishop. I believe that it will bring many benefits to your life once you end your parliamentary career.
Photo of Bronwyn Bishop, wearing a red satin jacket, white pearls and sea shell earrings.

Bronwyn Bishop during happier times. Credit: Eva Rinaldi [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Kind regards,
Miss Redpen.

This post is part three of a series on knitting as therapy

 

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Knitting for wellbeing

This post forms part two of a series about knitting as therapy.

Knitting is becoming ever increasingly Part 2popular as a hobby as people realise that not only is it fun, it’s good for you too.

There is a small, but growing, body of evidence that supports the notion that the gentle art of knitting is in fact good for mental health. The findings of the biggest study into the benefits of knitting were published in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy in 2013 (article paywalled). The study found that knitting can help create feelings of calmness and assists with stress relief.  The research also indicated that people who knit regularly (more than three times per week) are happier than those who don’t knit as regularly.

“Once you start doing it, it’s so rhythmic that it becomes a meditative thing.” – Athena Wallis

You can lose yourself in the moment. This experience has been called flow – those few moments when you’re completely absorbed by an activity that nothing else seems to matter. It’s a state in which time seems to stop and moving loops of yarn from one needle to the other is the only thing that exists. Knitting has been referred to as ‘the new yoga’ because of this zen-like trance you can slip into.

For those of us who are prone to visits from the black dog or his buddy anxiety bunny, knitting can help in many ways to improve your mood , as it helps the body to release dopamine (the pleasure chemical) and can lower heart rate and blood pressure. Other ways knitting can help manage depression are through: setting  realistic goals (eg by the end of the month, I want to be half way through my scarf) and measures of achievement (hey look, I’ve knitted a hat). It also creates a sense of productivity while relaxing, for example it removes the feeling of wasting time while watching TV.

“I keep photos of my singular accomplishments on my cellphone to boost my spirits when needed” – Jane E. Brody

Knitting also reduces experiences of isolation through making friends and social connections. There is always a way to bond with other knitters – talking about projects, favourite yarn and yarn shops and supporting each other through knitalongs. Going to a local ‘Stitch n Bitch’ group can improve wellbeing through the sense of belonging to a community.

Does knitting help you to keep your equilibrium? Or, are you inspired to give it a try to help manage your stress? Let me know in the comments below.

As always, Happy knitting.

 

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Knitting as therapy – Intro.

Image shows part of a ball of yarn in a peach colour, knitting on double pointed needles and a needle case. It has the text 'Knitting as Therapy' in the top right hand corner and copyright stash and notions 2016  

I’ve been on the downward spiral of my mental illness (depression and anxiety). It’s quite possibly one of the worst episodes I’ve endured since I was first diagnosed at the end of 2010. I’ll get through it, but for now it’s probably going to tinge my writing with a touch of grey, instead of the vibrant, positive writing I try to push to this blog.

It’s hard to explain how it effects me. Everything feels overwhelming – my work, my study, diet, exercise, maintaining friendships, housekeeping. I don’t know where to begin – I’ve had writer’s block. I’ve struggled to keep laundry up to date. I have lapses of memory if I don’t write things down. It’s difficult to escape the physical manifestations of anxiety and the ongoing chatter of my mind telling me constantly that I’m a failure and a screw-up. 

It feels like knitting is my main lifeline. 

I knit for many reasons. It makes me feel like I’m not wasting time when I’m watching TV or on the long commute between home and work. I love the feel of luxury yarns and the quest to find the perfect pattern for a special skein. I appreciate the social connectedness of knitting groups, both online and face-to-face, and knowing that there is always another knitter not that far away. After a particularly stressful day, knitting calms me. Big projects, where there are hundreds of stitches on the needles almost put me in a meditative state as the yarn becomes a series of interlocking loops, which in turn become a shawl or a cardigan. 

There’s also a sense of accomplishment that I can cling to in the dark times – those quick projects where after a few short hours a stretch of chunky yarn is turned into a pair of gloves or a funky hat. When I’m feeling like I can’t do anything right, it’s solid evidence that my depression is lying and I have something I can cling to. It’s proof I can learn new skills – five yeas ago I had no idea how to knit more than a basic scarf – increases and decreases were beyond me. Now, I have plans to knit a large complex lace shawl for my future wedding – whenever we decide to actually do it. 

It gives me something to look forward to when I feel like there’s nothing else. 

Do you find knitting therapeutic? How does it help you? 

Happy knitting. 

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A rose by another name

Last year, as readers of previous blog posts would know, I put myself on a yarn diet. I had about 44 kms 12 months ago, and that has now blown out to 53.

Oops.

So this year, I’ve put my hand up for a ‘cold sheep’ challenge. What’s a Cold Sheep, I hear you say? It’s basically just another name for a yarn diet. Knit from what you’ve got, avoid making impulse purchases (planned shopping at major events such as Bendigo is ok), avoid buying other people’s destashes etc. There are other names as well, but this year I’m trying cold sheep.

There’s a thread for it in one of the groups I’ve joined on Ravelry. they’ve set challenges to help motivate and inspire everyone to succeed in knitting from stash and the one I picked for January was to properly catalogue my stash. It’s done – all of my yarn stash is now photographed and listed in Ravelry which is helping me to feel super organised (in one part of my life at least!)

After taking stock of everything I acquired last year, I can happily confirm that everything is fabulous. Further, each and every skein in my stash makes me happy. There’s nothing I can bring myself to part with, except for what’s already been listed as ‘will trade or sell’ on Ravelry. It’s just making the time to work through things.

Here are four of my favourite purchases from the year, clockwise from top left:

  • Stansborough Yarn – Bofur Scarf knit kit. I picked this baby up when I went to the Weta Cave and Weta Workshop when I was in Wellington. I’m a little bit of a Tolkien nut, so it was a must have purchase. I’m thinking about knitting this one up for the husbot-to-be (although I may just keep it for myself – selfish knitter that I am!)
  • Dyed by Hand Camel Train Lace. It’s got camel fibre in it and it is gloriously soft and shiny. I also love how the base colour of the camel fibre has muted the tone to create an almost dirty-mint shade.
  • Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Solid – the final installment from the Cookie A Sock Club. I think signing up to that club was due to a touch of FOMO (fear of missing out) because I haven’t finished a single pair of socks from that club. but I will. Eventually. I put this in because it was my favourite colorway of the club.
  • Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace. Bought in Wellington, going to become a shawl for my wedding and it’s also shiny and soft and lovely. I think I have a bit of a thing for shiny yarn.

Do you have any favourite purchases – yarn or otherwise – from 2015? Tell me about them in the comments. (If you’re on Rav, leave your username if we’re not already friends so I can stalk your stash)

til next time, happy knitting.

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A charitable start

I fell off the blogging wagon pretty hard last year – in fact I lost my knitting mojo for a while. I didn’t knit nearly as frequently as I had intended. I was pretty stressed and looking back, kind of overwhelmed with all of the changes that 2015 threw at me. I couldn’t bring myself to blog, or knit and everything just ended up in a big old heap.

Ironically, facing my fears and picking up a new project and finding that lost mojo helped me to lose some of the stress and find my inner peace.

The yarn diet I went on last year – like most diets, I fell off the wagon in a big way and ended up with a larger stash than I started the year with. i kind of ignored all of that too, so I now need to do a stocktake, update my stash in Ravelry and figure out my plan for 2016.

But first, let me show you my first completed project for the year – a wee joey pouch to send  to Wildlife Victoria. Yesterday I saw a media release, which put the call out for joey pouches (link to pattern) among other items and I was compelled to cast on one immediately.

Here is the completed object, modelled by a Windrider Cub*

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I changed the pattern considerably, knit it in the round to avoid seaming. if anyone would like to use my method – let me know and I’ll put up the pattern in a later post. This was knit in some 8ply wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills and the best thing, gauge isn’t really a concern, because they need pouches of all sizes for all different kinds of animals.

Happy knitting!

 

 

*For those who don’t know, a Windrider is a mount from the World of Warcraft computer game.

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The Inaugural Aussie Cardi KAL

Have you ever heard of NaKniSweMo? National knit a sweater month. It’s held in November, just in time for a Northern Hemisphere winter. 

How about the Knitmore Girls’ Summer of Lace and Beads – held over July, August, September?

So I got to thinking – it is high time we in the Southern Hemisphere had our own season-appropriate knit along. After running it by a few friends, the Aussie Cardi KAL was born.  

The inaugural KAL will run from 1 May to 30 June 2015. For this year, there is one rule – start knitting on & finish a cardigan between the dates. If you’ve got a UFO that you need a little moivation to get finished, here’s your opportunity to get it done. No minimum amount of stitches, no patter or yarn rules and no theme. 

All I ask is if you participate let me know. 

Use the #auCardiKAL tag on Twitter and Instagram, auCardiKAL tag on Ravelry. Feel free to start threads in your groups.

Will you be joining in the CardiKAL? what do you think of the idea?

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The great Knit Picks incident of 2015

So, remember my great yarn diet? Ha. Ha hahahaha. It was stash enhancement week here at Stash and Notions and the binge has been glorious

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Knit Picks, a ‘workhorse’ yarn from America, recently announced that they have started shipping to Australia, with an added bonus – free shipping on orders over $60.00. At first I wasn’t tempted because I’m on a diet.

Then I learned they a superwash merino in the hard-to-find 10 ply. There’s a commission project that has been in my queue for the last three + months that I had been waiting for yarn to come along. The total came to about $15. Now, I just had to get myself over the sixty dollar mark I said to myself, otherwise it just wouldn’t be economical.

In went a few more yarns. Basket total went up to about $150. Some tough decisions made and I got the basket down to exactly $75.00. Here is my haul:

0172a346eca27fb2d534b8c98036e804012ff40770Number One: Wool of the Andes’ Superwash merino – it’s a 10ply yarn, 2 balls of each, one in a dark pink (rouge colorway) and 2 balls in white. I’ve already cast on the project (details in a future post)

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Next in the basket – stroll, hand painted sock yarn. I had to have this delicious variegated yarn. It’s a sock yarn of utter gorgeousness. Purples, greens, blues and teal. I think I might have a project in mind for this, but I’m not sure. 2x100g balls added 900 odd meters to the to the stash.

01a368ea3a7557708a15be93f827e9a4a770eedba1Then came Gloss Fingering – a four-ply of merino and silk. Not sure I love this colorway in real life as much as I did on screen – it’s purple, but it has a kind of grey-brown undertone that I’m not loving so much. Maybe I’ll have to trick my eye by knitting with with some colours that enhance the purple tones because the texture is divine. So soft and squishy and lofty.

Finally, two 50g balls of a teal (surprised? no) merino/cashmere/nylon sock lend called capretta. It’s squishy and I think these two balls may just be my first two-at-a-time sock project.

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In addition, one of the lovely ladies from my Monday night knitting group, Richmond Knitters, destashed a ton of yarn – gifted it, mind you. This super-bulky colours of the sea AslanTrends Superwash blend called to me. Three skeins accidentally found their way into my bag.

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The end result, in the past week, my stash increased by about 1900 meters. In addition, it turned out I miscalculated my initial stash acquisition of the year. I told you all I’d purchased about 1.25 kms, and it was closer to 1.75 – 7 x 250g, not 5 times. Oops.

I’ve been knitting fairly steadily each day, but my productivity has decreased. I’m pretty tired as a result of work, and probably not eating as well as I could be. Also, study has been getting in the way! Study uurgh. This blog post may be procrastination from an assignment that is due in about 10 hours from now.

However, I have made some progress, but I think it’s fair to say that this diet is going the way of all other diets I’ve done. Fallen off the wagon and gained, rather than lost.

Stash Diet Summary – as at 29 March 2015

  • Meters knit from 1 January 2015 to date: 2048
  • Meters acquired since 1 January 2015: 3996
  • Position: Increased by 1956 meters 
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