What I did this summer

*Note: this post was mostly written at the start of September and I didn't publish at the time because, well, that's just another thing I didn't get to.

So blogging was not one of the things I did.  Another thing I did not do this summer was finish my three projects for the Summer of Basics MAL.  Going in, I had a sliver of doubt that I would make it to the finish line, but that was okay.  I just liked the idea of zeroing in on what I really wanted to add to my wardrobe and even more appealing to me was the permission I would give myself to work on these projects instead of endlessly berating myself for "wasting" time on a mere hobby when life's priorities are constantly in need of seeing to.  I thought I'd give deliberate "me-time" a spin instead of just snatching at it when I was at my rope's end.  I guess I need more practice because I ended up telling myself that I'd work on my SoB projects when I finished up my other work and now it's September and pretty much nothing is done.

*Note: actually, it's now mid-November

However, I'm not prepared to call my Summer of Basics completely unsuccessful.  I completed two of three items (albeit, after August 31st), both of which presented a challenge to my pattern writing skills, and it was a nice little confidence booster to plan and execute designs that had been bouncing around in my head for a while.  (I sometimes think I put off starting a project not for lack of time, but for lack of confidence.  I can't fail if I don't try, right?)  The other thing I did, to my surprise, was shed the extra pounds I had packed on since 2015.  So while I didn't totally succeed with the making aspect of the Summer of Basics challenge, I did have some success with the weight-loss challenge I decided to include in my version of SoB.  I managed to gain back some of my favourite wardrobe pieces, something I'm going to consider a win for my slow fashion efforts.

I'm not saying I ballooned numerous sizes in the course of the last few years, but I had put on enough weight by last April that I couldn't comfortably wear most of my clothing, including unmentionables.  I spent a few months only wearing those items in my closet with enough positive ease or spandex to accommodate my new size, most of which were still pinching and pulling in the most uncomfortable ways.  Don't worry, I'm not trying to spin this as a tale of woe, I'm just trying to explain why I was faced with making a decision to either replace nearly my entire wardrobe or go on an official diet.  I'm not really keen on the concept of dieting, I can't help viewing it as an entirely unpleasant way to go about living.  Counting calories, exercising so you can eat, and obsessively stepping on a scale sound like a fast-track to misery, if you ask me.

But then, there are many upsides to staying in shape.  The usual reasons that healthy-living types proclaim, like increased energy, improved mood, a more positive body-image, and the like are definitely all good reasons to exercise and eat a healthy diet, but in the context of slow fashion, there are a few other upsides that I hadn't considered until my weight-gain created a wardrobe crisis.  The main one is that if I can find a good lifestyle balance and maintain my weight, I'm not really forced to buy new clothes to replace clothes that haven't lived out a full and useful existence.

*Note: my idea of excess weight is based on my normal.  My "normal" has changed as I've gotten older.  (Also, my normal is not your normal which is not the next person's normal either.  Please redirect any outrage you may feel stirring in your soul, perhaps towards fructose, the real enemy.)

A healthy diet is something that I've had to radically rethink in the past few months.  After reading this book earlier this year, I was convinced I needed to try a version of the IF/LCHF diet, partly because I wanted to shed a few pounds quickly, partly because I had been recently advised of my increased risk for type II diabetes, and partly because I knew that my eating habits were probably the cause of my sudden weight gain. Also, I really liked the idea of learning to control my hunger and my dependence on sugar highs.  I was basically grazing on small amounts of sugary goods from waking to bedtime to keep my blood sugar elevated because I felt like it was the only way to maintain my energy and mental clarity.  I would feel pretty lifeless without sugar, not to mention a bit grumpy.  I was close to ordering this t-shirt but the possibility that I might be able kick the carb dependence and control my weight at the same time was too tantalizing to ignore.

Before you start to think that I'm bragging about the weight loss, let me stop you.  I lost just enough to get  closer to my normal and I'm happy about it, but what I'm actually proud of is having overhauled my eating habits.

Note: I wrote the previous sentence in September.  Full disclosure: I cheated a fair bit while I was travelling last month.  Amazingly, my trip was not as pastry-filled as it would normally have been but I ate like every meal was my last, and I still lost another two pounds, although possibly due to all the walking.  So much walking, all of it seemingly uphill.

But I'm totally digressing here. I could go on about my new diet if given half the chance, and no one wants that.  So I'll just abruptly switch back to the topic at hand: my two of three SoB FOs. The first is a linen tank top that I am calling the Ube Nut Tank in honour of the one ice cream cone I had over the summer.  If you were anywhere within a 3-block radius of iHalo Krunch this summer, you would likely have seen multiple people devouring black soft-serve ice cream in a jet-black waffle cone.  It was pretty eye catching, so I being merely human, got in line to find out what all the fuss was about.  I enjoyed the ice cream (coconut and ube flavour, hence, Ube Nut) but I had regrets about sporting black lips and tongue for the remainder of the day.  A few more details about the tank top are on my Ravelry project page and these are a few of the photos I attempted to take with only myself as both model and photographer (i.e., not an entirely successful endeavour):

My second project was not a summer item, but it was my on my list of possible SoB projects because it met the requirements and I wanted a backup knitting project to work on.  I call these my Mundy Gloves because they are not those $2 magic gloves you can buy everywhere.  (Yes, I am a fan of the Fables comic books.)  Magic gloves are small but stretch to fit any size and they can be worn under fingerless mitts/mittens/gloves for extra warmth.  The second-skin fit also means you retain some manual dexterity without being fully exposed to the cold air.  My gloves are the opposite of magic gloves in that they are not infinitely stretchy so you have to customize the fit, they are wool, not acrylic, and they were made to last.  I admit I love magic gloves but I hate that they are pretty much disposable because the fingers wear-through in one season and there is no way I'm going to mend magic gloves but I will mend handmade wool gloves.  Also, I get uncomfortable when things are ridiculously cheap.  The cost to the environment and humans tends to be high when retail prices are driven so low.  I had some multi-ply laceweight that wasn't getting used for anything so I knit myself a pair of totally mundane gloves that happen to fit pretty darn well (after much frogging and revision) and are pure wool to boot!

I wrote myself a pattern because there are surprisingly few patterns available for laceweight gloves.  Am I the only one who is surprised by this?  Maybe there aren't that many knitters with my predilection for magic gloves, or maybe there are but no pattern designers think there are?  Maybe I'll add this to my secret list of patterns I might publish in my super-secret dream of one day writing and publishing patterns?  Lucky no one reads this blog.