Friday, February 3, 2017

My non-nibbling sofa strategy



'Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without'

'Make do and mend'

I did something that is a first this week.  I unravelled a wrap top I’d knitted about ten (or even more) years ago and now I am knitting something else with it.  The image above is the original garment – this photo was taken in May 2006 (the boot cut jeans may have been a giveaway).

In remaking my garment into a different style, I feel a connection with those thrifty ladies of the past, in times of rationing when they had to remake clothing to have new things.

It’s not because I’m broke though, but there are a few difference reasons why I would choose to do this and not just donate the wrap top and buy some new wool.  Unravelling and re-knitting the wool into a difference pattern brings me feelings of:
  • Being a good steward of the world’s resources
  • Not being wasteful
  • I really love the colour and was reluctant to give it up (but I wanted a different shaped garment)
  • It’s good-quality pure New Zealand wool and in perfect condition
  • It’s far less effort to unravel and re-knit than donate the top and find new wool somewhere
  • It’s free of cost
  • I feel crafty and thrifty
  • It’s a fun challenge
  • I’ve lost nothing if it doesn’t turn out well
I wore my wrap top quite a lot but just had become a bit tired of it, plus it had stretched out just a tiny bit.


The original top which is now a pile of round balls of wool (above, in the cat-proof box I have to lock it in, not kidding, there is a latch on this box which is necessary) actually has a really cool story.  In 2005 my husband and I went on a trip down to Marlborough wine country and did the rounds of the wineries.

We were at the Cloudy Bay Winery (famous world-wide for their Sauvignon Blanc) doing some tastings and I admired the wrap top the lady who was serving us was wearing.  Being a knitter, I always notice if something looks like it is a hand-knit.  She told me she had knitted it herself.  I gushed over it a bit more and she offered to loan me the pattern.  I said I didn’t live there, was just on holiday and she then said she would post it to me!

Sure enough, a couple of weeks later the pattern arrived in the post.  Knitters are such nice people.  So I knitted it and wore it quite a bit.

But it’s time for a change and I fancied a poncho to keep me snug on wintry days, so I went looking around for a pattern and found the lovely and simple one below which is free to download on the lovely lady's website).  It is simple enough even if you are a beginner.



Happily this pattern calls for the same weight of wool that I have and roughly the same amount needed so I cast on a couple of nights ago and I now have another tv project on the go.  I might even finish it before winter begins here in the southern hemisphere!

One thing that stops me nibbling on the sofa is having a project.  Whether I am watching a bit of a movie in the afternoon or a tv programme at night, if I’m knitting, I am happy.  It can’t be too complicated though because I don’t want to spend all my time looking down at the needles.

If I don’t have a project to work on, I have to file my nails.  I can’t do nothing.  Hmm, maybe I should consider learning meditation.  But actually, knitting feels like meditation to me.  It’s soothing.

Are you a knitter?  Crochet?  I’d love to crochet but I get tangled up and don’t know which loop to use.  I get lost after ‘Chain 20’ once the instructions ask me to make a treble crochet.  Into what???  I thought it was just me that was crochet-intolerant but my 86-year-old great aunt told me that she never got the hang of it either, and that was with a real live person trying to teach her.

Are you a crafter?  Sofa-nibbler?  What are your strategies for being able to stave off snacks on the sofa?  Sharing is caring :)

fiona
 

PS.  I was excited to be contacted by a reader on Instagram, to say that her book club was reading 'Financially Chic' together and loving it.  I was so happy!  As a writer, it makes my day to hear comments like this.

If you would like to change your relationship with money from fraught, stressed and resistant to fun, happy and excitable, I would love for you to read 'Financially Chic'.  In this book I go through all the different ways I deal with our finances, plus my mindset around money; which has allowed his to pay our house off early - within five years of buying it in fact.  We had a reasonable deposit (which we had saved) and no outside help or windfalls etc.  It was all down to our daily actions and how we handled our money (plus we had fun at the same time).  It can be done!

'Financially Chic: Live a luxurious life on a budget, learn to love managing money, and grow your wealth' is available on Amazon Kindle and in paperback here.  Your local library might also carry it.  Our library here in Auckland does.

38 comments:

  1. I'm a knitter (and I sew and embroider and can crochet but generally don't). Knitting is my favourite because it's far more portable than sewing. Like you I find it rather meditative and relaxing. I'll knit near the fire, or with an audiobook or a TV show that I don't need to pay a lot of attention to. It's a great way to unwind. Your unraveling project is a great frugal way to knit something new given the cost of good wool these days.

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    1. Hi Cindy, fellow tv crafter :) Audio books are a great idea. I even thought of reading my Kindle while knitting because it rests on my leg and I can tap the screen every so often.

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  2. Thank you so much. As in Cindy's case you have combined two of my passions-knitting and finding ways to recycle/upcycle. I have followed your blog for a long time--it's one of the best I've come across.
    Carol (from Canada)

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  3. Hi Fiona, as you already know, I can't sew, knit and crochet to save my life, that's why I think you, my mum and those ladies who can, so beautifully are so capable and smart. I am so impressed!
    I am a regular nail filer too on the sofa......and I will admit, (this may not sound chic) that I like to have meals in front of the tv too.... :-)

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    1. We dine in front of the tv too, Karen!

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  4. Your original vest is super cute as I'm sure your poncho will be. Love the jeans too. They have that '70s flair that I love. I do my mending on the sofa, sewing a seam on a favorite t-shirt, patching threadbare flannel nightgown with pieces of satin leftover from wedding gown...
    http://storiesfromtheoldneighborhood.blogspot.com/2013/06/dispatches-from-land-of-repurposing.html

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  5. I am so impressed! It seems like magic to turn one top into another. Your poncho will be useful--I have one and it's just the thing to throw on top when I'm chilled.
    As for nibbling in front of the TV, I solved it by not watching TV (now I read books). I try to enforce a food-at-the-table-only rule in the house, for me and also our kid (though husband does as he pleases, but he isn't really into snacks. French!). There was a time when I did sit-ups while watching TV. But whatever you do, whether knitting or nails, it's better than sitting and doing nothing. So good for you!

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    1. If only I grew up in France and did not snack... I will not give up training myself though! 'Food only at the table' is a good habit to get into. I don't eat at my computer, so that's a start.

      That was my thought for the poncho too, when I'm at home and it's chilly I can throw it on. Like a blanket you can wear :)

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  6. I like to keep hand weights in the living room and use them while watching TV. I'm not much of a snacker-type person but I will have a cup of tea while watching TV.

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    1. BTW...I really like your hair color in that photo. It really suits you!

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    2. Hand weights is an excellent idea, Carla! My hair colour there was probably natural, now it is a bit more silvery so I have started having blonde highlights again to blend it all together.

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  7. Hi Fiona, Typically when I'm on the couch watching t.v. I've got a dog in my lap :)

    I love the idea that you can disassemble a sweater to reinvent it. It's fantastic in so many ways!

    D.

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    1. I do love a pet on the lap. I'll often have a cat, and she is as heavy as a dog...

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  8. I do love a poncho! What a great idea to re-use the yarn. My sofa is white and that fact alone keeps me from eating while on the sofa.

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  9. I can't knit, sew, crochet, embroider ... you name it and I can't do it! I can't swim properly, nor ride a bicycle, nor ride a horse. I am totally useless (apart from being able to cook, of course!) so I admire you pulling back the garment and knitting something else. However, does it look OK when finished? I remember my late mother-in-law was a great puller-back of wool, and then she would make up something and it would look frightful! So I hope you have better luck with the wool, even though it's a good quality wood and all those kinks in it don't show in the 'new' garment. This pulling-back, I'm sure is what most knitters did in days gone by, a means of saving money and materials, especially during the war.
    While watching TV I generally have a cup of tea or a glass of water, that keeps me from nibbling too much but I do have a biscuit, too, or some pieces of fruit (mainly fruit.)
    Margaret P
    www.margaretpowling.com

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    1. Well, if it doesn't look good I've lost nothing, Margaret. I plan to soak/block it once finished like proper knitters do (and I have just started doing). Hopefully that will relax the fibres. We will see!

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    2. Soaking and blocking sounds like methods of torture! But I'm sure it will look great, Fiona! I just have memories of something my dear old mother in law pulled back and knitted for our young son, a sort of sleep soon in the most awful maroon scratchy wool, and I had to put him in it just once to show her how much it was appreciated. She was a dear lady, but had no idea that babies in the 1960s wore Babygro!
      Margaret P

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  10. Your blog posts and videos are so inspiring Fiona.
    Love the knitted poncho and I may knit one too...I will print out that Twig pattern from Leslie's website...thank you for sharing it.

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    1. Thank you Leslie. I love the yarn other Leslie has used too - it has a satiny silky sheen to it.

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  11. Very impressed with what you did - unraveling and re-using the yarn. I have recently started knitting and I believe I may find it similar to how you find crochet! I have crocheted since I was a preteen and I am now almost 60. To me, crocheting is so much easier than knitting. I finally decided at this "advanced" age that I was going to tackle knitting and work until I got it. It's been somewhat of a struggle, but I persevere. I am anxious to see the new project that you make out of the old yarn. Yay for you!

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    1. Good for you persevering with knitting, Jeannine. My next project after this poncho will be a crochet project, inspired by you :)

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  12. Hi Fiona,

    I'm also in the process of unraveling a pair of gloves and plan on knitting the yarn into something else. I just love that sense of creativity and resourcefulness when I reuse or repurpose something I don't want or find valuable anymore into something useful. Money can't buy that. Nowadays, people simply throw money at their woes when most of what they need (and want) are already inside their homes.

    In fact, this ties beautifully with your book, "Financially Chic" and what it espouses. I particularly enjoyed chapter 3; it is as much about one's attitude as it is of one's bank account balance.

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    1. Fellow unraveller! You described beautifully how I feel about this project, Natalie.

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  13. Here's another fun thing you can do while watching tv: facial massage. Here's a great Lisa Eldridge video:

    http://www.lisaeldridge.com/video/26559/my-facial-massage-routine/#.WJPgHlUrJpg

    Cheers,
    Marsi

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  14. Another wonderful post. Being resourceful is a great skill.

    I went through a phase of knitting about ten years ago as a way of stopping endless nibbling on the couch in the evenings (Arnotts chocolate tiny teddies biscuits were my downfall). It worked a treat. Funny thing was that one of my two cats would try to bite the needles every time I started but once she got it out of her system she would settle down. I would knit multicoloured scarves with two elderly cats by my side. We kept each other very warm and cosy that winter :)

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    1. That's funny Lara, and one of my cats bites the needles too - Naughty Nina. I don't mind the teeth marks so much, but it worries me that the end might come off and she could choke on it. I wonder if there have been any emergency vet dashes or Heimlich manoeuvres required from knitting?

      What a lovely winter scene you paint :)

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  15. That poncho is gorgeous!
    And ... I'm intent on bringing boot cut jeans back. I just started wearing them again this fall. : )

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    1. Thanks Kristi, I can't wait for it to be finished. I don't have any bootcut jeans at the moment, but I know they are flattering for an hourglass figure, which I am. Go you, bringing them back!

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  16. Hi Fiona, I was an voracious knitter and sewer from about 10. I had to knit when watching telly, only then could I focus on the telly. Or I used to cut up paper when viewing, no idea why. At that time, my dad said was incapable of relaxing without scissors in my hand.
    Wool was expensive but I had to knit, so I unravelled a lot of old garments. Washing the finished garment got rid of the unevenness that you get with re-knitted wool.
    The poncho will be lovely on you.

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    1. That's funny about the paper! I'm the same, incapable of watching tv without doing something.

      Thanks for your confirmation that my poncho will not turn out kinky :)

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  17. I love your resourcefulness, making something old into something new again! Wonderful.

    I'm the opposite of you -- knitting intolerant, though I can crochet. I've tried knitting a couple of different times and just can't get the hang of it. Maybe because I'm left handed? It took me a while to catch on to crochet as well, but maybe because I was only 11 I had more dexterity, and my right handed grandmother was able to figure out a way to teach me to do it left handed. I love knitted things, though. Oh well. I'll enjoy other people's knitted creations.

    I'm bad about snacking in front of the television. I'm going to try substituting a cup of tea as some of the ladies suggested. I read somewhere that the way to tell you are truly hungry (instead of just wanting a snack just because you want the sweets or whatever, no hunger involved) is to decide whether eating an apple would satisfy you. If not, then it is not true hunger you're dealing with, and you shouldn't eat. So I'm going to try that the next time the munchies hit -- will an apple suffice? If not, I must just be firm with myself and not eat anything!

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    1. Karen, I've heard that too, and whenever I ask myself that question, the answer is never genuine hunger!

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  18. I love to knit! I taught myself from a children's book on knitting (as the adult ones felt a bit daunting to me) and though I've not progressed beyond scarves and a basic (very, very basic) baby blanket I really enjoy the rhythm and feel of making something with my hands. It also keeps me from snacking in front of the television! My husband is always astounded that I can knit without looking at my hands...perhaps a reason I've not progressed! Haha!

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    1. Mrs Bruce, a children's book is an excellent idea. I might just hunt down a children's learn to crochet book. Thank you!

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Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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