Crafts & DIY

Transitioning to Tiny

Matt started construction on our tiny house conversion on Christmas Eve 2017. He had originally estimated needing 3 weeks once our tax return came in to fuel the project. Now, mid April we are still finishing painting, laying tile, and installing shelves.

These four walls became our home early March as soon as there was a floor and the door locked. We think we are about 85-90% finished with the *initial* build. We joke that we have to live here for “x” years in order to break even on our investment of time, energy, and funds. Every day we seem to come up with new projects and fixes. We are in it for the long haul.

Big Changes for a Tiny Life

It has been an adjustment to basically halve our living space and confront all my baggage (literally, like 90% of everything we own is mine and 90% of that came with me from high school). It has been easier than I thought to purge 26 years of junk. Most of my stuff has been hidden in closets, under beds, or under piles of clothes for years, so I didn’t miss it.

Some items have been more difficult to part with. Often, it’s a feeling of guilt that makes me question whether or not something should be tossed. I feel guilty for not using the item, guilty that someone gave it to me and now I am getting rid of it, guilty that I’ve neglected it, just guilty.

I read a great quote on Pinterest about sentimental clutter: no one wants the stuff they give you to cause you stress. If my feelings attached to items are negative, why do I want them? My mom didn’t give me this yoga mat so that I could look at it, remember that I don’t work out, feel guilty, and stress about whether or not she’ll know I haven’t used it. An item that was intended to help me relax is now a source of stress. Am I just hanging on to it so I can suffer for her sake? Like I’m justifying its presence and therefore clutter as penance? Suddenly organizing had become extremely introspective.

So far so good

This first month of tiny life has been extremely encouraging, though not easy. The studio-ish nature of our tiny house is not too much different than us sharing a one bedroom apartment. Even sharing a room in our old house, Autumn had a bed but always wanted to sleep in ours. Autumn again has her own bed and a “room” carved out in our tinyness. While her little nook is cozy and on its way to being princessified, Autumn still wants to sleep with Daddy, on the couch, or anywhere but her Big Girl Bed some nights. Not much has changed there.

Some positive changes have come from our new smaller lifestyle. Now, we can’t “send” Autumn anywhere but outside if she is too wound up, which is probably a good thing. Similarly, we can’t “take a break” or “get some space” anywhere but the bathroom or outside. Though it rarely happens, no one is able to storm off and pout. We are forced to communicate more effectively.

Autumn is never physically excluded completely. Her desire to be involved in everything gets met most of the time since she can see what is happening all through the house. Since Autumn can see everything from her bed, we can’t put her to bed and then stay up to watch TV. If we want Autumn to go to sleep, and believe me we do, we also have to turn in at the same time- for a while at least.

Going to bed at 8:30 when Autumn and Porter are sleeping has been wonderful for me! No, I don’t get anything done around the house in the quiet time after they are asleep. I am able, however, to muster more energy and patience during the day to accomplish the tasks I would have slogged through into the night. I don’t need to sleep when the baby sleeps anymore to be able to function throughout the day.

While I am eager to get more shelves and storage established, our first month of Tiny Life has reassured me that I CAN survive in a space without stuff. This transition period has been a great opportunity to purge our belongings as well as identify areas where we can streamline our lives. Even though our living space has been minimized, we are able to enjoy our time together as a family to the maximum!

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Crafts & DIY

Knitty Gritty: Cable Knitting Demystified + Pattern

I LOVE to knit! I have been in a good groove where I finish projects instead of starting them and abandoning them after a few days. I have been on a cable knit kick lately. Cable knitting looks impressive and complicated, but it’s really not hard at all!

This technique is a great way to kick your knitting up a notch from basic purl and knit patterns. Cable knitting has many applications from apparel, blankets, and even Christmas ornaments. Cables can be knit flat or in the round (which is ultra convenient because you never work wrong side rows!) making them a go-to for adding texture and flair to socks, which is my personal addiction.

It surprises me how many people are put off or intimidated by cable patterns. Maybe it’s the charts or the addition of a cable needle that seems overwhelming. Reading cable charts is easy once you get a feel for common cable stitches and common symbols used in charts. Additionally, cable patterns can be written out in word form for those of us that prefer text to charts.

My Favorite Cable Knitting Pattern

Let’s check out my favorite beginner’s cable pattern. This pattern is adapted from this blog with corrections made to get the cables right. This pattern is a great starter cable project because it has mirrored cables and repeats throughout. Once you knit the 2 cables a couple of times, you won’t even need to look at the pattern.

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Cable Headband Action Shot

While this pattern is made for a headband/ear warmer, it can easily be made into a scarf or even a band for a hat. (My hair is up in a bun or pony tail 99% of the time, so I like the headband style best.) This is a one skein pattern that isn’t yarn or needle specific. Use what you’ve got on hand.

cable headband chart

Revisions

There are some errors in the chart that are fixed in the following written pattern:
Following the chart as written will probably give you a seed stich border, which is cool if you like that look
The cables are actually 6 stitches, not 5

*I end every row in a K stitch and slip the first stitch of every row to get smooth edges.*

CO 29 st

Row 1: S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, K3, C6L (3 st onto cable needle hold front, K3, K3 off cable needle), C6R (3st onto cable needle hold back, K3, K3 off cable needle), P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Row 2 & 4 (back side): S1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K2, P15, K2, P1, K1, P1, K1, K1.
Row 3 (front side): S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, K15, P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Row 5: S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, C6R (3st onto cable needle hold back, K3, K3 off cable needle), C6L (3 st onto cable needle hold front, K3, K3 off cable needle), K3, P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Rows 6-8: repeat rows 2-4

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Up Close Look at the Cable Pattern

Repeat rows 1-8 until desired length. Seam edges together in preferred method. I pick up the CO row and kitchener stich the seam if I’m feeling fancy. Otherwise, I join the edges in whatever method feels easy.

Helpful Tip

For all cables using a cable needle, a left leaning cable brings the stitches to the front of the work. Right leaning cables bring the stitches to the back of the work. Knowing this little tidbit, you’ll be able to replicate cable patterns you like without needing a pattern and you’ll be able to make your oown cable patterns.

Have you tried cable knitting? Do you prefer charts or written patterns? Share any tidbits of wisdom you’ve acquired in the comments!