Saving the planet …

… my way.

This is going to be about the things we do to live a bit more eco-friendly. Note: I strongly believe that everyone should try to find what works best for them. Our way might not be suitable for everybody else, and also we’re still improving.

Now that is out of the way, let’s dive in.

1. Consumption

In recent years I found that I dislike the clothes of H&M and the likes. This developed into me getting curious about slow fashion and fair fashion. I also did several small purges and got rid of unloved stuff (which was donated). Currently I am on a „buy one, get rid of one“ shopping motto. When I bought a new jacket last weekend, an old one that looked a bit shabby and was more than 5 years old got donated.

Apropos: I wear my clothes as long as possible. I fix them when they get small holes or I replace buttons. If they aren’t appropriate for work anymore, they become either sleep wear or I wear them at home on weekends. And then they either get tossed or turned to rags. I still wear items that are easily older than 5 years. And I won’t need to look long for things that I got when I moved out of my parent’s in 2008.

We also try to not buy unnecessary things or only replace broken stuff. My cell phone is a bit over 2 years old now, but even though I could’ve replaced it with a newer one when my contract was up, I didn’t. It still works, and after buying a new battery and downloading a cleaning app it’s as good as new.

If we need some special stuff, we try to got for quality. I needed hiking boots, and I got good ones that will last longer than cheap ones. I am really grateful that with a bit of saving, if needed, I can afford good quality now. I know not everyone can manage that.

In terms of fair fashion, I also switched to buying from ethical brands. I cannot fulfill all my needs from these brands, but I try to use them as much as possible. Again, they are more pricey but I hope they will last longer.

Also with me knitting I have a different perspective on how long it takes to make clothing. I also want to get a sewing machine and start making my own clothes. It will also help with fixing / altering clothes.

Final fun fact: Today I over dyed an old faded skirt. Good as new, yay!

2. Waste

Food waste is something I still think we need to improve on. We are pretty good with leftovers from the weekend – in fact, every weekend lunch leftover is my Monday lunch. Yet we still toss too much. I’m not easily squished out by things past their expiration dates, if it looks okay I’ll eat it, but sometimes we just toss cold cuts because no one ate them in 3 days. That’s bad. Also we need to rethink buying apples – we buy them with good intentions but neither of us eats them.

Since Germans are masters of recycling, that really works. Nothing to improve. We also reuse things, see rags, but also boxes or similar things.

In terms of tossing things in general – I talked about it above. The rule mentioned there also applies to electronics and any goods an average household needs.

We also do not shy away from used things. If there was a good thrift store anywhere close, I’d be there. When my in-laws heard our new flat had a balcony, they gave us their old set of table and chairs. When they got a new kitchen table, we got the old one. After his Grandparents died, we kinda inherited the kitchen furniture. It was partially due to us being broke students, but also because it would be a shame to toss a still good wooden table.

I also have dug through the public clothes exchange in my work town and got many a book from bulk trash in the streets.

Friends gave me unloved clothes and even shoes (thank you, M.!)

Our new car already was a year old and used when we bought it. Yes, it was cheaper, but also it was already driven in and every possible „teen sickness“ found out.

3. Commute

Since I already wrote in length about my commute, you know that I take the trains to work. Better than a car. We also walk a lot (the joys of small town life) if the weather isn’t horrible.

4. Miscellaneous

Not yet a vegetarian, but I only eat meat on the weekend and sometimes on my sandwich. If there was lab grown meat already, I’d totally switch to that.

I am trying to use less and less plastic. That’s a hard one.

We switched to drinking tap water only half a year ago. Each one of us has a reusable metal bottle. I take mine everywhere. I also only drink tap water at work. Or tea. Or coffee.

If I need a coffee to go, I have it poured into my personal fake-porcelain to-go mug. No paper cups for me!

Our balcony will be a mini garden! Additionally to having flowers, we will be growing herbs, tomatoes, peas, salad, garlic and strawberries. It’s amazing to see what can be possible on few square metres!

Fun fact: My wedding dress was on clearance and the last dress the bridal store sold. It closed for good after we walked out. Still the greatest dress possible!

 

That’s it. This is only a snapshot. We try to improve and there is so much more to do as one household.

Let me know what you do personally to be eco-friendly and a bit more easy on the planet?

5 weeks after

It’s been almost 5 weeks since we moved. Time to step back and see what’s different, what’s better and what’s worse.

  1. Routine. We both now have a completely new routine. I get up almost an hour earlier than I used to. My commute is now by train and not by foot/tram/bike, which also means I’m home much later. Recently it means leaving in the dark and arriving in the dark, but that will change after midwinter.
  2. More time. I can use my commute for knitting, listening to podcasts or reading. I got so much done in terms of knitting progress and I burn through 2-3 episodes one way, it’s insane. It’s also great to snooze about in the mornings and take my time to get properly awake, and after a stressful day it’s nice to unwind and calm down. The landscape is nice to watch, and I’ve seen a few roes already!
  3. Dependency on public transport. If the train fails, I’m screwed. If it’s during break, I can take our car, but if it’s on regular school days, well, as I said. Screwed.
  4. Evenings with Mr Charming. This is the biggest pro and just so great. After being in a long-distance-relationship for a looooooong time (7+ years), spending the evening together is da bomb. I enjoy talking about how our days went and the cuddling is hard to beat 😉 Though I kinda miss my alone evenings with Netflix and knitting – some shows I watch just aren’t his pair of shoes, but that’s okay. There will be enough nights when he’s holed up in his room grading tests.
  5. So much stuff. Combining two households creates so many duplicates. I keep telling myself I have to go on a big purge in the holiday break. Maybe I’ll do it.
  6. More space! Yay! We now have a two-bedroom apartment (three-room-flat for the Germans reading this) and it feels great. Though as mentioned in 4., we have lots of stuff, so it’s not that any room is empty …
  7. Smaller kitchen. Oh yeah, that took us some time to get used to. Our old kitchen was really spacious compared to the new one. But the lack of counter space leads to less clutter on them, so it’s blessing in disguise?
  8. Having upstairs neighbors. We used to live right below the attic (which only we used for drying our laundry), so there was no sound from above ever. But now a family lives upstairs, and I chuckle at 9 p.m. when I hear the kid running around, trying to invade bedtime!
  9. A balcony! This was an absolute must on our shopping list, and very nice to have. I can’t wait for the first breakfast in the sun – it even faces east, perfect!

Yeah, that’s it so far. What about you? Any novelty in your life that changed your habits? Got a puppy? Tell me!

Lost & found and NaKniSweMo

In the first week of October, we moved to another town. Before the move, with all the organisation and box-packing going on, I completely lost my knitting mojo. I either was too tired or simply not in the right mindset to pick up my needles. It felt kinda weird, because on the one hand it was unusual to not knit while watching tv or Netflix, but on the other hand it was … interesting to see how I dealt with not knitting. It didn’t feel good per se, but it was like I needed a break from it. Does that make sense?
But my knitting mojo is slowly coming back – yesterday I even started my first colourwork project. I know it’s going to look terrible, but practise makes perfect, right?
Since I now have a commute, I can also use it and knit on the train. The only downside is that I don’t have space for more complex patterns that require a print-out. But that’s not a big problem. I just need to take projects that are small and have an easy to memorize pattern, and I’m set!

Remember this sweater? According to Ravelry, I started it in … February. Holy moly. Did not expect it to be this early. Anyway, as you may know, November is the National Knit a Sweater Month in which a lot of knitters produce a garment within a month.
For me and the upcoming November, I’ve decided I want to finish my Lipstick Cardigan.
It’s intended to be worn in my office, which can get quite chilly (one wall is an outside wall and that cools the whole room down). So in order to get to wear the cardigan at least a few times before spring, I want to finish the majority in November.
That means I want to finish knitting what is left of the body (two rows plus cast-off), the arms and the buttonband. Sewing in ends and blocking can happen in December, that’s okay. But 90% should be done within the month.
It’s also allowed to knit other stuff, which is a no-brainer because I can’t take it on my commute. So I need at least one other project for my commute and my lunch break.
We’ll see how it pans out. I’m fairly hopeful it’ll work.

And now you: Do you have plans for NaKniSweMo? If so, what plans?

What I learned from working out

For about three years (or maybe two and a half) I more of less regulary go the gym. Once a week, that’s the goal. Most weeks, I manage that.

It’s not the typical gym you might picture, with lots of workout machinery, it only has spinning bikes and those gymnastic balls and the small accessories. The gym is women-only, and focuses on courses rather than machines. The family-like vibe is something I liked instantly.

When I went to the first few lessons, I was really aware of how little I knew about the routines and things to do. Sports were never my strongest subject in school, and I still throw balls like the typical girl.

But slowly I found that I go better. More and more, the transitions in the step aerobic classes went smooth, the number of repeats I could do increased, and I started to feel better in my body. It’s the little things you notice: stamina, a flexed arm, enjoying some stretching after a long walk.

I also realised that nobody cared how much I sweat or if my head gets all red when doing push-ups. We are too busy getting those remaining 8 repeats done while continuing to breathe to care. It’s freeing.

The group of ladies there is really nice. They mostly are a bit older than I, but they are funny and helpful. And interesting, too! Really diverse backgrounds, and some go to the gym since it opened 15 years or so ago.

The owners helped me with my recovery during some back problems (the joy of sitting in an office all day).

Since we will move soon and I’ll need to find a new gym, I want to say thank you for making sports fun for me. Never forgetting that.

So yeah, I’m a bit sad about leaving this place. What about you? What have you learned recently through something unexpected?

Podcasts Or How I Get Stuff Done

Woohoo, second post in a month or so!

On topic, girl, on topic.

A few years ago, this post wouldn’t have been written. I did not know that podcasts were A Thing, much less that I would listen to them. Before, I didn’t like listening to audio books. Audio drama was okay, but there only was one drama I followed, mainly because a friend introduced me to it and wanted to stick to it. There were huge gaps between me and the next bunch of episodes.

The one podcast that started my love is Welcome to Night Vale. It made its round on Facebook and Ravelry, and after I heard only praise, I gave it a try. Calling it an epiphany would be too much, but it did change my mind. I remember listening to it in bed, being truly comforted by Cecils (to those unfamiliar: he is the host of the fictional radio show about the town called Night Vale) voive, and not a bit spooked by the things he described.

After I ran out of back episodes, I started checking for other shows. The rest is history.

I do follow some knitting podcasts, but those either stopped updating (Brenda, oh Brenda), or update rather rarely, so these don’t count here.

My current selection of podcasts in my podcast app is quite diverse:

said Welcome to Night Vale

Serial: The first season followed a criminal case in which it isn’t sure whether the right person was convicted or not. I was obsessed, and so were a lot of people.The second seasons takes a different turn.

Criminal: This show talks about something crime-related in every episode, like K9 officer training or divers who get bodies out of water or curious crimes.

No Such Thing As A Fish: A spinoff of the tv show QI, four people talk about their favourite facts of the week and related stuff, loving insults and general awesomeness ensues. Oh, and it’s British 🙂

And, lastly, Futility Closet: This relates to NSTAAF, with something interesting to learn about in each episode, plus lateral thinking puzzles which are great brain food.

***

And then, there is housework. You know, doing laundry, ironing, folding clothes, hanging it up, putting it down, doing dishes, all the things I don’t particularly enjoy.

Cue podcasts. They make this boring work easier. I have fond memories of putting down laundry in the attic while hearing about a girl who saved several people from drowing, sqeeing over Cecil and Carlos while ironing or walking home from work and giggling over one of the NSTAAF hosts forgetting the name of one of the others while introducing him.

I also remember crying when Brenda from Cast On announced she would stop podcasting (she started again since then), I was washing dishes and had to stop for a moment.

But they are also good for knitting. I love listening and knitting.

Do you listen to podcasts? Tell me, I’d love to hear about them!

Springtime knitting OR plans and distractions

February was so short; I didn’t even bother posting my goals for it. 🙂

I participated in the February challenge in LSG in Ravelry, but I somehow managed to not post in here. Shame on me. Though it doesn’t matter actually, because I didn’t manage to reach my goals anyway 😛

The biggest distraction was reading. I bought 6 books and got 3 from the library, and that fuelled my reading kick. I burned through 4 of them in all February. The last library book is currently being read. If you like space operas, go and give a try, it is one book of the Revelation Space series by Alastair Reynolds.

I stumbled upon this series by sheer serendipity, and I love them. They are set somewhat in the future, but not too distant (a few hundred years), and have a very realistic feel to them. The stories are connected, but you can read them as stand-alone novels, too. It’s nicer to recognize certain events and places, but there are explanations so you don’t feel lost. All the developments that humankind has made according to Reynolds are plausible to me. I like the characters – there is no black and white, but many shades of grey. (Not fifty. I counted.) So, if you happen to find a book by Alastair Reynolds, go for it.

Yeah, reading. There were other books, too – Stoner by John Williams was probably the best I’ve read for a long time – and that kept me from knitting a bit.

But no too much, thank Bob. I knit a vest for my Co-worker’s new-born son. That was a really fast knit. It took me only one week! Now I’m waiting for her to send me pics. I will share them here if I get her permission to do so.

The Boxy got a few more rounds added, too. This is an endless project. Knitting lace weight held double on 2.75 mm needles takes for-freaking-ever. I’m mostly working on it while watching tv or listening to podcasts, because otherwise I’d fall asleep while knitting.

My cowl produced a bit of a drama. I finished 2/3 of it when it crossed my mind to check the length, because it looked a bit small. Turns out with my smaller gauge I can essentially knit the whole thing again to reach the length given.

Yesterday I sucked it up and started part 2. It went very well, thanks to the griping story my audio play told me. (If you can understand German and like horror/mystery audio plays, check out Gabriel Burns [Link in German]. It’s awesome.)

Here’s how I plan to add length to the cowl.

The main pattern goes like this:

  • Large lace panel,
  • stockinette/garter section,
  • medium lace panel,
  • stockinette/garter section,
  • small lace panel,
  • stockinette/garter section.

The s/g section is the same throughout. I already added another repeat of the medium lace panel yesterday. When I’m done with the following s/g section, I’ll measure again and either add the small of the big section. I’m a sucker for geometry, so the best would be the large panel, if it were a scarf; but then I’d have to graft two large sections together, which is unfavourable to me.

If the small section is sufficient, it’d be not geometric. AAAAAH! Decisions, decisions. And I shall not forget that the darn thing has to fit around my neck!

The last WiP are my socks. I want to reach the heel as soon as possible. If I am past the heel, I could take them to the Book Fair mid-March and knit on them in my short 5-minute-breaks. Which probably won’t happen. But I have an alternative in store for those small breaks: Spinning.

In December I purchased a set of samples of different breeds of sheep. I wanted to get familiar with them. On Thursday I started the merino sample. Wow. I spun very thin (thanks to the staple length of the fibre, I suppose) and it was fast.

So I’ll take my spindle with me, because I can spin in short intervals and be right back in under 1 minute.

And last but not least, here are my knitting goals for March. Essentially, I want to knit as much as possible. Maybe finish the cowl. That’d be great. Or I finish spinning the merino sample. That’d be great, too.

I hope I find time to share my progress, just like I did in January.

Stay tuned!

Going Cold Sheep

Another goal for the first half of the year is going „cold sheep“. This means I won’t buy any new yarn until my wedding anniversary. At the Wollefest in March I’ll only buy spinning stuff and other knitting related things (like a new project bag), but no yarn.

It I manage to knit up all sweater quantities, however, then I am allowed to get new yarn. But that highly unlikely 🙂

Not buying yarn is actually quite hard. And it’s not even about getting *new* yarn. I’m following several destashing threads on Ravelry, and oh boy some people sell lovely, *lovely* stuff. Often I fell like „OMG I HAVE TO BUY IT GIVE IT TO MEEEEE“ – but then I remember I’m on a yarn diet and stop myself from buying it.

I know that compared to others, my stast is relatively small (currently 52 items, 14 of them partially used). But still I feel a bit overwhelmed. It also seems that if I wouldn’t stop myself from doing so, I’d hoard sock yarn – I already have enough for several pairs (including scrap socks). According to the Rules of Stash Acquisition, sock yarn doesn’t count as stash, but still. I have enough. I also want to *use* the lovely stuff I purchased and not have it sitting around for ages, because I keep forgetting about it.

I’ll try and keep you updated on my not-buying yarn. I hope I’ll be able to manage it!