Author Archives: pinssneedles

Five Frugal (No)things

In The Tightwad Gazette, Amy Dacyczyn expressed her annoyance with film crews who want to film her “doing something,” so she ended up with a lot of footage hanging clothes on her attic clothesline. She points out that most of frugal living is, in fact, doing nothing.

Spencer and I have been enjoying a whole lot of nothing. A few of the things we’re not doing include

  1. Not eating out from laziness or boredom. We’re not willing to give up restaurant meals entirely, but we want to make the choice to go out and really enjoy them, not just default to them.
  2. Not buying new* craft supplies this yearI know I have enough to keep me entertained for more than a year. Really, my favorite thing to work with is crappy scrap acrylic in mixed bags from thrift shops and garage sales. I need to quit berating myself for it and buying sock yarn so I can be a “real knitter.”
  3. Not buying new clothes this year. I’m already almost talking myself out of this one, especially when thinking ahead to things I’ll “need” for my trips this summer. I solved this by setting up Ebay searches for exactly what I need (hiking pants, hiking sandals) and I will get an email when an auction comes up. I’ll keep an eye out at thrift shops but if I find nothing by April I will purchase via Ebay.
  4. Not buying a new car. My beloved Sonata is a teenager this year and has passed 200,000 miles. Three years ago it was totaled out due to hail damage and we continued to drive it. Spencer’s confident he can make it last to 300,000, but we’re ready to replace it just in case. When we do, we will not be buying new and will look for another single owner, low mileage, easy-to-work-on-yourself, ~3 year old car.
  5. Not paying off our debt. We have 18 months left on our 0% interest Prius loan and our house is at 3.5%. Even though it would be psychologically rewarding to be really debt free, the math says to continue making only minimums. We’re prioritizing saving for a new (to us) car and getting me through grad school, both which commonly come with debt and much higher interest rates.

What are your favorite frugal things not to do?

**New= Anything not from the secondhand market.

Three Kittycat Hats

If I were to march in the Women’s March later this month, my sign would be this:

Although I agree with much of the platform, I have no desire to go hang out with crowds. I was waffling whether or not to go and was really grateful when I remembered a catering project that I can’t get out of, making the decision for me.

Then I felt really guilty for feeling relieved to not go.

But anyway. I’m not going. But I knit up a few hats to send with my friends who will be marching in Des Moines.

These three hats are based on the design from The Pussyhat Project. The Pussyhat Project is:

“…a social movement focused on raising awareness about women’s issues and advancing human rights by promoting dialogue and innovation through the arts, education and intellectual discourse.”

When worn, the corners of the hats make ears to look like a cat.

“We love the clever wordplay of “pussyhat” and “pussycat,” buy yes, “pussy” is also a derogatory term for female genitalia. We chose this loaded word for our project because we want to reclaim the term as a means of empowerment.”

I’m a goody-goody and am not up on the reclamation for empowerment thing. I would like to go about my gosh-darn life not caring about, thinking about, or insulting people’s anatomy. I think my repulsion by the term is all the more reason to contribute to the project.

Also, I’m calling them Kittycat Hats.

The project has links to knit, crochet, loom, and sew patterns. I followed the instructions for knitting, except I am lazy and will seam NOTHING.

Here’s how I handled it…

Size 7 needles. ~100 yards pink worsted weight yarn.

Cast on 96. Work in the round.

Knit two purl two rib for 4 1/2 inches.

Knit for 4 inches.

Flip inside out and seam with three-needle bind off.

There you have it!

Because this is the year of no new craft supplies, I had some fun working out which yarns to use.

For my first hat I used a variegated yarn. I worried that it was too purple so I every-other-rowed it with a solid pink.

I had enough raspberry for a solid hat.pussyhat project knit hat beanie knitting

Omigoodness do I ever have enough yarn for a solid pastel pink hat. (So. Much. Pastel. Pink.) But I do NOT like pastel pink and used a coral every third row for an iridescent unicorn look. I’m pleased with the finished product.

WIWO Update

My main focus is my niece’s baptism layette. I struggled with finding the right pattern. All of my cute vintage patterns call for 7 or 8 st/inch, and all I have in white is sport weight, which I don’t want to go less than 6 st/inch. Because I am buying neither yarn nor patterns, I settled on this free Feather and Fan Cardigan pattern from Lion Brand. I’m making a lot of changes but am pleased so far.