Sunday, July 22, 2012

Confessions of an Emotional Eater

When I first re-vamped my blog, I was just getting into learning about the vegan and paleo eating styles. I was having problems with my gallbladder which I now know was causing me to be in pain when I ate too much fatty/greasy foods. Because I was learning all this new information, I wanted a place where I could share without feeling ashamed of the choices I was making. The college cafeteria was not the easiest place to share interesting facts about nutrition because my friends just didn't care.

As time went on, I kept most of this interesting knowledge to myself and I didn't talk about food. The truth was that I felt like I couldn't talk about food because for the longest time food had been my crutch. For most of my life I have been overweight. My parents were farm kids and wanted to give my brother and me the best of everything they could afford. This included everything from extra yummy homemade desserts to lots of pizza and other fast food staples because we were a busy family and it was difficult to prepare a home cooked meal for us every night.

When we moved to another state and away from our personal swimming pool, a few things started happening to me. First, I was starting to hit the age where I realized that I cared what people thought of me. Second, I started to put on some weight because I liked reading more than I liked running around and playing sports. I also didn't have very many friends when I first moved because the social order in school was already established by the time I hit middle school and I had to change school districts. So, I turned to food because it made me feel good.

I didn't realize what was happening at first. All I knew is that I was gaining more weight and being picked on more at school. I was not a morning person and I regularly skipped breakfast. By the time I hit high school, I had stopped eating lunch because I didn't want to deal with the lunch line and I thought it would help me manage my weight. By the time I got home, I was starving and ate snack foods from when I got home until dinner time. If I didn't like the "healthier" dinners that my parents were having, I would either not eat dinner or fix myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

By the time I hit the end of my sophomore year of high school I was depressed and I turned to food to help cheer me up. It didn't help that I would compare myself to my younger brother who was super popular despite being disabled. The high school I was in was one of the ones that if you weren't part of the football team or the band, then you were worthless. It felt like I couldn't do anything right and the only thing that made me feel better was sweets and chocolate.

Luckily, in my junior year of high school we moved and I was put in a school where people didn't care if you were in the football team or if you were top of your grade. It was a high school with drama, but I didn't feel like I didn't belong. I made a small group of friends and really learned how to love myself for being me. When I was ready, I met a boy (my now fiancee) and he turned out to be one of the best friends I have ever had.

Slowly, I started to let go of food.  It was during my last two years of high school that I realized that I was an emotional eater. I still didn't eat lunch at school, but I started to make an effort to actually eat something that wasn't just junk food. I recognized the signs of when I was nosing around at food because I was bored and when I was actually hungry.

It wasn't until I got into college that I started to eat normally again.

I didn't feel like I could really talk about food until I confronted all of this. There are still times when I go nosing around in the fridge and the pantry because I am bored. I am now learning how to cook and a small part of me is afraid that I'm not going to resist the siren call of sweets, sugar, and unhealthy eating.

Food is a fascinating subject with tons of culture and history behind it. I can't be ruled by fear each time I enter the kitchen to cook something new. So, I'm going to start talking more about food like I intended to on this blog. Feel free to chime in. There is tons about cooking that I don't know yet. Maybe we will learn something together.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Baby Shower Stuff

 A few months ago, my fiancee's mother approached me to ask if I would consider a baby blanket commission for her daughter. I was hesitant at first because the daughter and I don't have the best relationship. She has a common name and it involved her thinking that I was talking about her with her in the room when I was really talking about my friend. But I agreed under certain conditions: that she would buy the yarn and that I would at least receive the TARDIS mug that I first saw on Round the Twist with Carin.

After I got the yarn, I started to get excited. I wanted to do something special because I am an overachiever and I had been wanting to make baby stuff because it is tiny and cute. The only reason why I wasn't was because I didn't want people to think that I was the one that was pregnant. So, knitting for this baby really unlocked my creativity.

I saw a couple of blankets that were knit in strips and I wanted to try that on a miniature scale before doing it on a larger scale. I also wanted to do several different textures because it is supposed to be good for a baby's developing brain. (at least the articles I have read for my education classes tell me so)

I did a panel of seed stitch, a panel of basket weave stitch, and then a panel of vertical garter stitch. When I got to the border I was going to do a simple i-cord border, but I decided to make a complete horizontal garter stitch border. The top and bottom came out a little bit crooked, but I think it still looks good. The only reason why it is crooked is because I attached the panel together using a single crochet stitch instead of sewing them all together by hand. I thought it would be easier, but I didn't get things lined up correctly. Short rows basically saved me because it allowed me to get the edges mostly straight. Learn how to short row and don't be afraid of it. It is a very useful technique to have up your sleeve.

I did have to double strand the yarn that my fiancee's mother got because she went for the color instead of for the weight of yarn like I suggested. But I think it made the center panel blend in even better together with the blanket because there is a strand of white and a strand of white/pink variegated yarn. I hope the sister likes it. By the time this posts I will be in the baby shower, so I will probably know if she likes it or not.

If I had to do it again, I think I would have sewn the panels together by hand. Or I might have knit the first panel and then pick up all of the stitches around the side and then knit the next panels so they would be guaranteed to be the right length.

I had some yarn left and I knew I didn't have enough time to add a small i-cord border around the blanket, so I decided to make some booties. These were made with the Eco Baby Booties pattern and they are so fast and fun. I was able to knit them in about an hour. The most complicated part was sewing the booties together and putting the little ribbons on them.

The only bad thing about knitting all of this baby stuff is that I kinda want to make another baby blanket. My mom's coworker is pregnant again and my mom usually knits something for her, but I almost want to knit the moderne baby blanket for her. Almost. We will see what happens.

Later: My future sister-in-law did like the blanket and booties. She said that she didn't know if the baby would wear the booties, but they were awfully cute.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sock Toes

I have been knitting socks for a while now and I have four pairs that I have been wearing consistently for at least a few months now. They have survived multiple washings in a college washing machine as well as taking a spin in our washer at home. They are all holding up beautifully except for the toe. There have been no holes, but they have all developed ladders on the right side of the toe.

The first thing I thought was that I might have been knitting the the feet a little bit too short for my foot. This is possible but I don't think that it would cause the socks to develop ladders like that. If anything, the pressure would cause the yarn to eventually snap or wear faster and develop a hole instead of a ladder. Then I thought of my decreases. I remembered back to some of the first socks I ever made and thought that I did a k2tog on the right side of the foot and a SSK on the left side of the foot. All of these socks have that decrease pattern on them.

I decided to double check one of my favorite sock books Sock Inspiration by Cookie A to see if I had remembered the decreasing right. According to Cookie, the sock toes should have the ssk on the right side of the foot and a k2tog on the left side of the foot.

I found this out while I was knitting my Vacation Car Socks. So I decided to run an experiment. Not only would I follow Cookie A's sock decrease instructions for the pair of socks, I would also decrease the toe down to 8 stitches on each side before kitchenering the toe together. I am hoping that this will improve the fit of my socks since the fit of my socks has been bothering me.

After I finished my first sock, I tried it on and I had so much more room at the end of my sock! I felt like my toes had more space to breathe and they did feel a little more comfortable than my older socks. I would consider the decreasing the toe down more a good thing to do from now on. I will have to wait until I finish the pair of socks to wear them around and see if the toes of this pair will develop the same ladders that my older socks did.

The heels are the next area that I will have to improve for fit.