Friday, July 16, 2021

Aunt Purl

3) Susan Miller at astrologyzone is never really all that positive about Cancers, but this months forecast was especially brutal. It made me terrified for the month to come. Usually she says the same stuff over and over for Cancer: you have one nice day and then the rest of the time you have a money problem or family problem blah blah blah pluto up uranus. But she was off the charts for March — apparently I will be homeless, jobless, friendless and bereft by months end. Look, I realize that horoscopes are meant to be entertainment. I know that this isnt hard science. But how entertaining is it to read that no matter what you do, your entire month will be fraught with peril and there is nothing you can prevent OR fix OR anticipate? There should be a rule for non-scientific entertainment: it should not make you want to hide under your bed for a month. In conclusion, I am never reading that stupid astrologyzone again.

Beginning knitters often feel wary of the hat– the circular needles, the double-pointed bit at the end (or beginning, though I always knit my hats bottom up.) But basic hats are ridiculously easy and so fast you can make one a day.

My current Noro fave: Noro Iro from my home yarn emporium (stash room).

A little diatribe ondecreasing stitches

This was The Winter Of Many Hats. In Los Angeles, winter is more symbolic than actual. Its a time of the year when other people have harsh weather and we pay tribute to them by wearing an indoor scarf and buying a new pair of Uggs.

Theeasy roll-brim hat pattern, the basis of all my hat recipes

My February goals are to continue January goals minus one that was unnecessary plus one task a day. At the beginning of the year I made a list of all lingering, current and upcoming life to-do items. It was a really long list. If this novel doesnt work out I could stick a dedication page on the list and call it my War & Peace.

In conclusion, once again Bloomingdales is my mothership.

So I have been thinking about how and why the 20 minute thing worked for me when all the flylady and tackle one drawer a day stuff never clicked. How long have I been telling you about my cleaning marathons and the deep desire I have to declutter so I can clean less? I was able to clean obsessively while I was at home hermiting but now Im in the studio all day. I work 10, sometimes 12 hours a day on a project that I love, LOVE. But it leaves little time to do anything else perfectly (or at all, in some cases). I dont have time, energy or desire to waste a precious free day getting it all exquisitely clean.

Roll-brim, hipster slouchies, 1×1 brim and beanies oh my!

1) It is already April. How this happened I do not know. I will probably say this again on May 2nd as well.

This is how I am approaching all of 2013. If I have a roadblock or issue or hissyfit, I immediately stop pushing so hard on the problem and look for a new angle. Work the problem from a whole nother place.

Gold star for Bob — Cat Who Keeps Laundry Warm!

Also based on what I learned in January, I can take a large task and break it out over several days and thats fine, too. Though I would prefer to just get them done one per day.

Ken has really inspired me and encouraged me to put fitness back into my life and I thought this would be a nice way to show him I appreciate it.

Hello, shortest, weirdest month of the year. How YOU doin?

2) You can knit a simple hat from ANY yarn.

Feel free to download my monthly goal-tracker and use one yourself:

Boots that dont fit over my cheerleader calves

Are you doing goals this month? If so, whats on your list?

3) I bought all the cupcakes at Ralphs! ALL THE CUPCAKES. I bought all the cupcakes to give out to my beloved coworkers for Valentines Day. But if you were to posit if some blonde in Los Angeles sat in her car last night while parked in her garage and looked in the grocery bag for the fanciest of the fancy cupcakes and pulled it out of the container and ate said fancy chocolate cupcake for dinner while sitting in her car in her parking spot without even taking off her seatbelt all I am saying here is that you would not be terribly mistaken.

You are AWESOME! Sure, you feel a little overwhelmed at times, but that is because you are not a sociopath. This month you will experience at least one incredibly delicious meal. It may be what you least expected — think beer and nachos made out of kettle-baked potato chips slathered in cheese. By mid-month you will feel the urge to make something new, like origami from post-it notes or cookies in the shape of a spaceship (hint: round). Cancers are sensitive souls and not everyone understands how attuned you are, so have patience with others as they may not have been on the distribution list for the memo of your emotions. Theyll come around, and you can reward them with a UFO cookie or a post-it crane. March is also a wonderful month for buying new sandals — you will find the perfect pair!

Luckily my family is filled with brothers and uncles and cousins and nephews who live in far-flung places and love to wear my hand-knitted hats. I favor beanies and the standard 1×1 ribbed-brim cap in solids and dark washable yarns, but sometimes I go off the reservation and make wacky caps in stripy yarns.

So Ken participated in a transformation challenge and if he gets enough votes he could win a big prize!

I like big hats and I cannot lie, you other brothers cant deny …

So, Happy March since it is indeed March even though I am still in a February state of mind.

Life is short, but we all have 20 minutes for something.

The resurgence of the puffy vest

When in doubt, always cast on less stitches than more stitches.

I picked this goal for February since its the shortest month. Obvs.

Fresh pack of multicolored sharpies

5) I love Valentines Day. There, I said it. It is an entire day devoted to pink and chocolate and getting lucky AND/OR complaining about not getting lucky, all things which I appreciate. Plus I ate a cupcake for dinner in my car under the guise of office altruism.

The list itself feels like accomplishment. If I dont write tasks down I carry them in my head and create anxiety and forget my zipcode. But when the list is together I wonder how on earth will I ever get it all done!

OK, one more complaint about it being April — that is all 🙂

Hats are the best. I think Ive gotten the hardcore hat phase out of my system (for now) and Im onto wristies, so be sure to look forward to my scathing expose on the thumb gusset. Film footage at eleven!

Shaping a hat shape is so easy — just decrease stitches evenly across the final rounds. I wrote a wholemanifestoon it. But dont take decreasing too seriously. Heres the best trick I know: Once youve figured out where and when to decrease, place a marker after every decrease. Now you know that you dont have to count stitches or look for the telltale hump of a knit-two-together stitch. Just knit and when you see a marker, work the decrease on the two stitches in front of it.

3) I had a fun trip to Washington, D.C. to see my folks. Thank you to all my new Instagram friends for enduring eleventy thousand pictures of sightseeing. If were not friends yet on Instagram you can find me here: You may have noticed I now stalk all of you obsessively through your photos. It is so much better than online shopping and costs less.

The very best part of the holiday was getting all the family text messages with selfies of the recipients wearing my hand-knitted hats:

4) Speaking of DC and funny shopping things … about one hour into my trip, I lost my credit card. I think I left it at the bar at LAX. I didnt realize this until I arrived in DC and the hotel needed a card for room incidentals and I opened my wallet and OH NO. Well, I didnt want to give them my debit mastercard because I think that sounds risky (and based on my track record that day, I decided less risk is best.) So I looked through my wallet at my options and finally decided to secure my room bill with my Bloomingdales card. Which happens to be an Amex.

People who hide behind cynicism instead of showing emotion

My love for hat knitting hasnt waned a bit. Is there anything finer than a winters evening spent settling in with a glass of wine, a delicious yarn and a Tivo full of Scandal episodes? I think not. When Olivia Pope is on the move my attention is glued to the screen (her opera-length white gloves!!!) (which she wears to the hospital!) and even after years of knitting I cant concentrate on a complicated knit pattern and watch TV at the same time. The simplicity of the knitted hat is just perfect.

2) I already failed at my only new goal for March — to stop saying the word awesome. I failed awesomely and it was awesome!

February (Triumph over Task List) (Completion) (Follow Through)

3. Scroll down and click on the Vote button.

While I am dismayed that They (The U.S. Department of They) were right about time flying by as you get older, I am happy that January was a month where each day was not completely lost in a blur and I have a sheet of star stickers to remind myself of that.

Not everything about perfectionism is bad. The desire to be more, do more, do it right, get it donejust somotivates some of us in a way no exterior incentive can. But oftentimes perfectionism stands in the way of accomplishment. It tells us we cant start a project until we have enough time to devote to it to get it done RIGHT. It keeps us from making little efforts, little changes, little dents here and there. It may keep some of us from having company because there is simply not enough time to repaint the whole house.

Almonds covered in dark chocolate

I LOVE the 16 Harmony wood circulars from Knitpicks. The needle portion is shorter than other brands, which works really well for hat knitting. Just find something that works for you. A good rule of thumb for a worsted weight hat is a size 7 16 circular plus a set of size 7 dpns.

Here is the story: he was working at a job he did not like and gained a lot of weight (who can relate to this? The me of 2010, that is who.) He left the bad job and now we work in the same office and WOW. He has changed his entire life through just diet and exercise. He even got a little email thing started here at work so that some of us who need motivation to exercise will get off our booties and move. Hes amazing. Plus, he is the nicest guy you will ever meet. Were working on a project together and he never looses his cool or cries into his elbow like me.

a. If not already logged into Facebook, login and re-click the above link

Measure your head or recipients head and subtract 1 inch or 1.5 inches — thats about the perfect size for a hat. Example: Your head is 23.5 inches around the noggin, ergo you should make a hat thats about 22 around. It isnt a party at my house until someone is measuring their cranium.

Living in LA where its not weird to say you talked to an astrologer, psychic or similar and took his/her life advice

Adorable Andrew and super-handsome Brett

2. Click the Like button in the upper-right-corner

A few weeks ago we had a bitter cold snap — one day it was an inhospitable 59! And then the city immediately experienced a mini-summer, which is also part of winter, with afternoon highs in the 80s. The mini-summer which happens every January is our native cue for mass exfoliation and a reminder that bathing suit season is two weeks away.

1) There are people now much younger than me who do not have a context for which VD means venereal disease and believe instead that it means Vampire Diaries.

1) My February ended up being like most peoples January. Oh well! Now its a new month and a new list.

Germs and the handshakes that spread them

Hello. This photo has nothing to do with the words! Im on instagram pretty much all day every day and I love seeing your pictures too … you can find me at: if you have the app let me know so I can follow you, too. I love to see your cats, dogs, kids, knitting, food and manicures! Some of you are amazing photographers. I mostly post cat pictures. SURPRISING, I KNOW.

The overall goal is to enter into March and springtime with less junk on my to-do list and with more sense of accomplishment and butt-kicking in my own life.

Monthly goal tracker PDF(letter size)

Based on my revelation from January — massive accomplishment can come from devoting a small chunk of time daily to a project — I decided to make myself accountable for knocking off one item off each day in February. Some tasks are short but annoying (making an appointment, going to an appointment, getting the car serviced). Some are more involved (taxes, database management, unclusterfucking the website and email issues). The bigger tasks got highlighted in pink so I know to schedule those on a weekend or a day when Im off work. There are eight weekend days in February and one holiday, so that gives me room for nine large tasks and 19 small or medium tasks.

If youve seen a few episodes of Hoarders you already know that some of the poor souls on the program suffer from a very extreme form of perfectionism.I cant walk through my house but I cant get rid of anything because I just need the time to organize it PERFECTLY. Maybe I should buy another bookcase?

2) Apropos of nothing … thinking of botox.

I tend to cast on hats using 88, 77, or 66 inches (depending on the yarn.) I like a 1×1 rib on the brim and I really love the easy decrease math of these numbers. If for some reason my hat needs different math, I will often decrease subtly to the nearest easy number (say, knitting down from 79 stitches to 77) and then place my markers and start my hats descent into smallness.Dont be afraid to try new things on hats — theyre small and easy projects to experiment with.

The 20-minutes-a-day thing is working because it comes at the issue from a whole new angle. Instead of being perfect at cleaning, Im focusing my perfectionism on keeping up my 20-minutes a day commitment. Its taking something that appears to be a fault (crazypantsedness) and turning into an asset (striving toward a goal).

And here are some things you may find useful when knitting a hat:

Here are my recommendations for knitting a great hat:

Im not even going to talk about how it got to be this day so soon when I am still thinking about Christmas knitting.

People who smile and say good morning on early runs/walks

Great for chunky yarns:The Brangelina hat

2) I havent been writing here. I enjoy stating the obvious. Sorry.

Myregular ribbed-brim hatrecipe

Monthly goal tracker PDF(legal size)

4) Here is my alternate (and equally scientific) horoscope for all Cancerians in March:

For Christmas I made a pile of cozy hats:

Once you know how many inches to knit, you can use any yarn. Knit up a quick swatch of your chosen yarn on any size needle you like, measure the gauge. Multiple stitches per inch by the noggin measurement — thats your cast on number. Example: If you get 4 stitches per inch and you want a 22 hat, cast on 88 stitches.

5) Hey — will you vote for my friend Ken? (Keep scrolling for details how.) I dont ask this stuff often because I am sensitive to both how annoying it can be to you and also how it opens a floodgate of people asking me to promote their stuff, which meh, but Ken has totally been my health inspiration lately.

That is all. Go forth and VD the hell out of this day.

Its the mornings that catch you off guard in this city. At night the temperature drops and by early morning its just above freezing. When I went for a walk this morning I wore my hand-knitted beanie in the arctic 42 morning air. So you can see that everyone needs a knitted hat, even in Los Angeles.

Perfectionism stirs up a lot of Why bother? Ill never be perfect at this. Why even try?

Cannot resist the urge to say HAPPY VD because I am both old and immature

5) Find a formula that works for you.

January is over? Really? (monthly wrap-up)

Not all perfectionists end up hoarders. Some of us end up re-grouting the tub every time we have company coming to stay. My brain tells me that I have company coming and I should vacuum, do a load of towels … and then maybe repaint the kitchen, install a chandelier and create a concept wall. SO IT IS PERFECT.

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