Aug 182016
  • Braid Hills zum zweiten: fehlen nur noch die Knöpfe
  • Vanilla Burgundy Socken: fertig
  • Ribbed Burgundy Socken: stricke beim ersten gerade den Fuß
  • Seidensocken: gerade den Schaft angefangen
  • Spinach gone crazy: stricke gerade Maschenproben
  • Lintilla: fertig, noch nicht gespannt
Gehäkelt habe ich:
  • Walden aus handgesponnenem Baby-Alpaka: fertig
  • Bolt: die Hälfte der Fäden muss noch vernäht werden
  • Häkeldecke aus geschenkter Wolle

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • grüne Merino/Seide auf der Bosworth Featherweight weiter gesponnen, das vierte Achtel weiter
  • selbst gefärbte weinrote Merino auf der Bosworth Mini: ca. 150 Gramm gesponnen
Genäht habe ich:
  • Alabama Studio-Top: es fehlen noch die Blenden am Ausschnitt
Erwähnt wurde:
Jun 202016

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Ringelsocken aus handgesponnenem Shetland: fertig
  • Hausschuhe aus handgesponnenem Corriedale: fertig
  • Braid Hills zum zweiten: fehlen nur noch die Knopfleisten
Gehäkelt habe ich:
  • Walden aus handgesponnenem Baby-Alpaka: etwa zwei Drittel fertig

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • grüne Merino/Seide auf der Bosworth Mini weiter gesponnen, das vierte Achtel weiter
  • rot-schwarzes BFL/Seide weiter kardiert und die erste Hälfte fertig gesponnen
  • grünes BFL mit Glitzer fertig gesponnen und gezwirnt
Genäht habe ich:
  • Swing-Kleid: ein zweites fertig
  • orange-rot geringelte und lila Leggings fertig
  • Martha-Kleid: das erste ist fertig
  • Alabama Studio-Top: es fehlt noch die Stickerei auf der zweiten Seitennaht und die Blenden am Ausschnitt
Gestickt habe ich:
  • schon vor der letzten Folge fertig geworden: Dropcloth Sampler „Knotted Stitches“
  • angefangen: Dropcloth Sampler „Filling Stitches
Erwähnt wurde:
Jun 152016

Now I’m not quite sure how helpful my rules might be for anybody else. We’re all different, and a person who is not tempted to drink beer doesn’t need a rule concerning beer. Still.

When I started I had just read “Thinner this Year” and so the first thing I decided to do was to try and eat only 2/3 3/4 of what I’d usually eat. The easiest meal to do that for me was dinner because I usually eat sandwiches for dinner, and I knew that I usually would eat three slices of bread with cheese or salami or whatever, and so I decided to only eat two and then stop.

One of the very first things I realized was that if I wanted to lose weight I would need to eat less and that that would mean staying a little hungry every day, or even several times a day.

I know there are all kinds of diets out there telling you you will never have to be hungry at all and lose weight anyway but that’s something I never managed. I have practiced for years to become an intuitive eater which means someone who knows when they need food, or need something else, and when they’ve had enough to eat but I still was someone who would then think, “I’m full and don’t need something to eat but I’ll eat that anyway.” Which is how one gets fat. So if I ate enough to never be hungry I would not lose any weight.

The question was if being a little hungry was really so bad. Now back in the day when I ate way more sugar than I eat now I would be really, really hungry every two hours. Like “If I don’t eat right now I’m going to starve and also faint”-hungry. Funny enough once I stopped eating too much fructose I got less hungry. And these days when I have that feeling of “I really, really want something to eat now.” I know I can still go for another one or two hours without eating and will still not feel faint or have a headache. In fact I will usually exercise while I’m that hungry.

So the second rule was “no snacks”. This is not a hard and fast one, though. If I’m really, really hungry, or feel like I can’t go without something to eat I may have 6-12 almonds or a tablespoon full of peanuts. I decide that snacks are a) not to be eaten every day, and b) not there to make me completely satisfied but only to tie me over until the next meal. I’m eating three times a day anyway. You can’t really starve if you eat and hour or two later.

The next rule (or maybe an addition to the first one) was: “No Seconds”. We eat our biggest meal for lunch and I would usually eat a huge heap of whatever we’d have (my husband puts our food on the plates and when I started losing weight he was still eating huge portions), and then I’d have another plate full because it tasted so good. When I started losing weight I would put my own food on my plate (or tell my husband that no, I did not want that much pasta, please put some of it back) or leave food on my plate after eating. He has become much better at gauging how much I need to eat even though he still feels that my portions are way too small. The thing is that a 65 kilo woman needs way less food than a 80 kilo man especially when he never sits still and she basically does nothing else but sit in front of a computer all day. (On a side note our son started out being overweight as well, and when I looked up how much he needs to eat I was shocked to see that a 13yo. needs even less than me. (Also my husband did loose weight as well and now eats much smaller portions himself. Because a 67 kilo man needs less food than an 80 kilo one.))

Again I planned for exceptions, if I’m extremely hungry after my first plate of lunch I can have a bit extra. But most of the time I would tell myself it’s alright, even if I’m still a little bit hungry because if I cant stand it I can always have a snack later. Then I’d want a snack really bad at five in the afternoon and then I’d tell myself not snack because dinner would be at 6.30.

That’s a rule I use with my son and that I installed for myself as well. If you’re hungry about an hour before a meal just wait until mealtime. Nobody drops dead because they went hungry for an hour.

My nemesis when it comes to controling my eating are beer, potato chips, and sweets. I had already established a rule that I could have no beer on weekdays. I tried not drinking any when going out but never managed to follow that one so these days I’m allowed one (1) beer per day on weekends, and two (2) pieces of chocolate. The end.

As for potato chips I started out with “only one bag per week”, then upped it to „only one bag per month“, and am doing very well with that rule. Some months I decide that I like losing weight more than potato chips and declare a chips-free month. Since I can’t et my favorite potato chips in town any longer I often buy two bags and tell myself that those are reserved. Like I bought two bags at the beginning of May and declared them to be for June and for my birthday at the end of July. And surprisingly I don’t have a problem having the chips sitting in the basement. Every time I think of them I tell myself I can have them later, no problem.

Staying within my self-imposed limits regarding chocolate has been exceptionally hard in the past few weeks. It all started with my son asking for milk chocolate. We never have any sweets in the house apart from very dark chocolate these days because I tend to demolish them instantly. Also the boy needed to lose a bit of weight as well, and he was onboard with limiting sweets. (He also has a doting grandmother who gives him strawberry shakes and icecream and sweets any time he wants.)

Since I had been doing so well with my eating rules I thought I could handle having a bit of chocolate in the house easy. Yeah. turned out no, I can’t. I bought milk chocolate and within 48 hours it was all gone. Even before my son even knew we had it. I tried again, and again, and I became better but not good enough. Also my son was eating chocolate like crazy. And even when I wasn’t eating the milk chocolate I was eating way more dark chocolate than I intended to.

So now we have gone back to having only dark chocolate in the house. My son had to admit that he is as helpless facing sugar as I am. And since I got used to eating all.the.chocolate again I took it and put it away in a cupboard in a part of the house we don’t use often. Interestingly it does make a difference if the chocolate is sitting right there in the same room or not. Also I decided to not eat chocolate during the week anymore, only on weekends.

It always feels a bit strange telling anybody about these arbitrary rules I’m making for myself. Reading about my rules won’t really help you lose weight either. I guess everybody needs different rules because everybody struggles with different things. For me banning something completely doesn’t really work because then I tend to binge-eat it. Telling myself that I can have it, of course, no problem, only not just this moment works much better.

I trick myself a lot. I used to think that I needed to be strong and disciplined, and that if I couldn’t sit there looking at a piece of cake and resist it was all worthless. These days I’m all about making things easier for myself. That way I can use my mental energy and willpower for more important things than thinking about whether I want to eat this thing or not.

And funny enough that has made me better at resisting the piece of cake as well. Not that I think cake is bad, only with my fructose-intolerance eating too much sugar results in big sugar-cravings, and then into feeling sick for days. Not a good thing.


May 302016

The short answer is of course that I ate less.

But that doesn't really help, does it? Because the interesting part would be why I managed to eat less than I need for 1 1/2 years straight, losing 35 kilos in the process when I never managed to do that before.

Most people assume that I must have changed my diet in a big way, or that I must have suddenly found a massive cache of self-discipline that I could never access before. But that's not it.

From the inside it feels as if something clicked, as if that particular moment, the one I decided to lose weight after all was different than all the others before but I can't say how or why, really.

I'm also feeling like a fraud at the moment because I am currently trying to lose the same kilo for the third time in a row, this past month is the first one I haven't lost any weight ever since September 2014, and suddenly everything has become really hard. I still want to lose the next two kilos, though. And I know if I just eat less than I need I will get there eventually.

So. The moment I decided to lose weight this time. I think I already told you.

I had been working out a lot for about half a year, and when we went to do our usual hike from Herrsching to the Andechs monastery I thought that this time would be much easier than the time before. The year before I had barely managed to get up the hill, and when we reached the point where there are stairs because it's so steep I thought I would die before reaching the top.

Now I had run and done strength training five to six times a week for months at that point, and I'm happy to say that the hike actually did go better than the time before. Not well but better.

Until we reached the stairs.

Climbing the stairs was like torture yet again, and I didn't feel much better than the year before. Despite being in much better shape. Our son who had been huffing and puffing behind me for most of the way overtook me, and both he and my husband glided up the stairs as if it was nothing.

Me I felt like keeling over, and like giving up yet again. I was really angry that climbing up those stairs was so hard, and at some point between the bottom of the stairs and the top I decided that that was it, I would lose weight to make this easier.

At that point I was totally into the mindset that dieting is useless and makes us sick, that even if I managed to lose the weight chances were that I would gain it all back eventually, and that it would all be for nothing, and still I decided to try.

A 5% chance of success is not the same as a guarantee to fail. And I would have been content to just do more hill training if my weight would have stayed the same at any point but the truth was that I was almost 100 kilos and there was no end to weight gain in sight. The past few years I had gained between five and eight kilos per year. Every year.

Just before I had read “Thinner this Year” because I had liked the “Younger next Year” books so much but I still thought that it wasn't possible to permanently lose weight.

I did start the Monday after, though. I decided that this was it, the last time ever I would try to lose weight. If this time I didn't succeed I'd just stay fat for the rest of my life.

In order to help me with that I made myself some rules which is what I always do when I try to change my habits.

And since this is already pretty long I will tell you about those rules in the next blog post.


May 042016

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Tintenfisch aus Acryl, fertig
  • Stinos für meinen Mann aus geschenkter Wolle, zweites Paar fertig
  • Miss Marple Jacke: fertig
  • Dove Socks aus handgesponnener Wolle
  • Red Ocean Toes aus handgesponnener Wolle
  • Ringelsocken aus handgesponnenem Shetland
  • Braid Hills zum zweiten: Maschenprobe aus ungewaschener geribbelter Wolle gestrickt

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • grüne Merino/Seide auf der Bosworth Mini weiter gesponnen, das vierte Achtel ist angefangen
  • braune Ashford Merino: 200 Gramm gesponnen und gezwirnt
  • rot-schwarzes BFL/Seide weiter kardiert
Genäht habe ich:
  • Swing-Kleid: ein zweites fertig
  • weinrote Leggings fertig
  • Martha-Kleid: das erste ist fast fertig, es fehlen noch die Bündchen und das Annähen der Kapuze
Erwähnt wurde:
Mar 272016

It just occurred to me that somehow I hadn’t posted here for quite some time. I gues I was meaning to write about my weight loss but then didn’t really want to. For one because I still want to lose more weight, and also because in the past two weeks I have actually been gaining a bit of weight instead of losing it. Which happens.

Also I started writing more here when I didn’t work on the current novel in progress but then I decided to revise the second novel before writing the first draft of the third one, and apparently I don’t write anything when I try revising, not even blog posts.

Also I try to stay a bit more offline. And I have more students which translates into less time between students to sit at the computer.

But. Today is Easter Sunday, and there was Hefezopf but I didn’t take a picture, and we had lunch with my mother-in-law, and otherwise we are treating this as just a regular Sunday.

It’s Easter break which seems to result in my usual “slothing around feeling like I should get more done“-mode. So far I’ve put „finish sewing leggings“ on my to do list every single day, and they still aren’t finished. Which is why I didn’t put them on the list today. Because today I’m taking a day off.

Our son has grown too old for the annual Easter egg hunt, or so I declared, so this year we just gave him a chocolate bunny and a new book and called it good. I did take a picture for the grandparent’s calendar, though, only he is standin inside on this one.

My husband will be going to Italy tomorrow with a friend. I am looking forward to a few days alone here with only the boy for company. I really hope, though, that I won’t spend all of those days sitting around waiting for him to come back home.

Yep, I do much better with routine. But then we have all known this for ages now. I still like having time off from teaching, I only don’t always use it wisely. And no, I don’t feel like I should be all productive all the time, it’s only when I sit around doing nothing for too long I get cranky and depressed.

So I am planning to go to Munich on Wednesday to see an exhibition about 30s dresses (the boy didn’t want to come and will spend time with his grandmother), and maybe the two of us will hike from Herrsching to the Andechs monastery. I’m also planning to sew something between two and five dresses, and 1 1/2 pairs of leggings. Right now I’m starting by writing a blog post so that I don’t have to sew or to glue together the pattern pieces for one of the dresses. (Oh, I’m planning that many dresses because I want to make a muslin and an actual dress for two of them, and the third one – the one that I plan on drafting myself – I will just make the dress. I’m sure that will go perfectly well. With no glitches whatsoever. (At least there will be stories to tell for the podcast.))

So I wish you happy Easter, or a happy spring day, whichever you like, and hope to see you soon.

Feb 212016

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Deflect Socks: fertigimage
  • Autumn Leaves fertigimage
  • Tintenfisch aus Acryl, beim ersten Handschuh fehlen noch zehn Reihen oder so und der Daumenimage
  • Stinos für meinen Mann aus geschenkter Wolle, erstes Paar fertig, zweites Paar angefangen

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • grüne Merino/Seide auf der Bosworth Mini weiter gesponnen, das zweite Sechstel ist so gut wie fertig (außerdem sind das wohl keine Sechstel, sondern Viertel, ich wollte ja Cablé-Garn machen
  • grünes BFL mit Glitzer, ein ganzes Stück weiter gesponnen, die dritte Spule ist voll
  • braune Ashford Merino: Probestrang auf dem Little Gem gesponnen, aber noch nicht gezwirnt
Genäht habe ich:
  • Swing-Kleid: ein zweites fast fertig, es fehlen noch die Säume

Erwähnt wurde:

Feb 202016

Today my post about not having asthma any more appeared on the Fettlogik überwinden-Blog which makes me rather happy. And then I realized two things: 1. I think I will need to write about that weight loss journey a bit but not today because I am extremely busy today even for me, and 2. I never posted the obligatory before and after pictures. Well, really they are before and during pictures because I plan to lose five more kilos (11lbs.). And no, that won’t make me too thin, that will bring me down to the weight I have always felt best at, and down to a healthy, normal-weight BMI in the low range of normal.


Behold before September 2013 at about 98 kilos:


And this was taken last week at 68.5 kilos :



And yes, I know that fat Susanne on these pictures looks much happier than thin Susanne but you’ll just have to believe me that this is just because the first picture was taken on a really fun day hiking with my family, and the second one is a rather hurried picture taken to document a finished new sweater.

I have been trying to not talk too much about the whole weight loss thing because I was a bit afraid of comments, and I felt a bit vain, and I thought I was doing something unhealthy, and was afraid of how the whole thing would turn out because everybody knows that diets are bound to fail anyway, and all that but I think it’s time to talk about it anyways.

But I promise I won’t make anyone lose weight against their will.


Feb 112016

This year marks ten years since I started blogging. I’m not quite sure if that’s a really long time or not. Ten years on the internet is rather long, isn’t it?

And when I think about how I started this when my son was three and now he is a full-blown teenager – yes, ten years is quite some time.

It is rather nice to have a place on the web that is mine, one where I can make the rules and do what I please. Of course that leads to a somewhat weird mixture of topics and also to a place where you can find an English-speaking blog and a German-speaking podcast.

Ten years ago there was almost no knitting and certainly no spinning, weaving or sewing in my life. Since beginning this blog I have gotten back to playing guitar, I have begun playing ukulele, and I’m still singing and playing the piano. The thing with the writing started the same year I started this blog. I know that because 2006 was the first time I did NaNoWriMo, my first very bad attempt at writing a novel.

I am certainly busy as ever with all the things I want to do in my life, and also all the things I need to do. But busy is good.

I’m sitting here in that quiet space between me getting up and the rest of the family rolling out of bed. It is carnival break, so I’m the only one who got up at seven. I think that might be my very favorite time of day, when I have had breakfast, and am now enjoying that bit of time and space to myself.

Getting the writing done first thing in the morning (after breakfast) is very important because it is pretty hard to fit it in elsewhere. For writing – even if it is a blog post – you need to hear yourself think, and that’s not all that easy in the hustle of everyday life.

Of course there are people who write in the evenings, and sometimes I like doing that as well, but it’s much better to do it right away in the morning. Because no matter what happens the rest of the day there’s one thing I’ve already done.

So today I will go to Munich and meet a friend whom I haven’t seen in months, and I’m really looking forward to it.

But before I go I wanted to say hello, and say thank you that you are reading here, and occasionally leave a comment, and give me the feeling I’m not all alone with the things that go round in my head.

So I’m pretty curious to see where the blog will go in the future, for now I raise my tea mug to ten years and still going strong.

Feb 042016

As I told you before the concept of mini-habits has really helped me in the past months. They always seem rather ridiculous and small but they’re easier to stick to. And then I have this neat little app where I track my progress with them, and it’s really nice to see the long chain of uninterrupted habit execution.

So the things I try to teach myself consistently at the moment (apart from the things I’ve been working to do every day for months or weeks now like exercise and going to bed on time) are:

  1. Clear to neutral.
  2. Do the dishes after every meal if possible.
  3. Every day after breakfast I take all the recycling (that is collected in a bin in the hallway) down to the basement, sort it and fetch any beverages we’ll want with lunch or dinner and put those in the fridge.

“Clear to neutral” is something I picked up from the Asian Efficiency Blog via Unclutterer. Every time you do something you only considered it finished when everything is back where it belongs. Like doing the dishes becomes part of the meal routine, like every time I fold laundry I then put it back where it belongs, every time I use the scissors I put them back in the drawer.

I’ve been doing something like this for years now but I started slacking off. And at the moment I pay more attention to it, and also try to not leave the empty hamper in the hallway when I have put the clean laundry away but take the 30 seconds to actually go downstairs into the basement and put it next to the washing machine. This has the added bonus of making me move more.

“Clear to neutral” in my life usually means small steps. Putting the knitting back in the bag even if I think I’ll knit some more in the next hour or two. Putting the spinning wheel back in its bag and into my studio even though I know I will be spinning again the next day. Having everything where it belongs, and having the feeling of a tidy space totally makes up for the few minutes a day I put everything back.

You can see in our son’s room how things change when you do not clear to neutral. There are dozens of used tissues, candy wrappers, and miscellaneous papers on the floor and on his desk. There are piles and piles of books and all kind of things, and when he wants to cut his fingernails he has to borrow my nailclippers because he can’t find his. He did find the pouch for his nail things but not one single tool was in it.

“Do the dishes after every meal.” For quite some time now I’ve been trying very hard to do the dishes some time after breakfast so that my husband has a clean kitchen for cooking lunch, and I’ve making it a firm rule never to go to bed without doing the dishes first but I was pretty convinced that it didn’t make much of a difference if I did dishes after lunch, and also I thought I didn’t have the time.

Then some weeks ago I tried to squeeze sewing time out of every day in addition to what I was doing every day anyway, and in order to find 30 to 60 minutes of uninterrupted time in the evening for making a dress I decided to do the lunch dishes right before teaching instead of sitting down surfing the web at that time.

Turns out those dishes only take about ten minutes, and also doing that has the added bonus of getting me to bed on time at night.

Why’s that?

Well, if there was a lot of washing up to do in the evening I’d often sit in the kitchen reading or playing computer games instead of tackling the dirty dishes. Because the task seemed so overwhelming. Because of the strict rule to do the dishes before going to bed I’d sometimes sit there procrastinating for an hour or two before tackling the huge pile of dirty pots.

But if I do the lunch dishes right after lunch the dinner dishes seem much less intimidating. And I am making it a habit to not start reading or playing games after dinner. Instead I get up right away, wash three dishes and a bit of cutlery, and then I’m done for the day. Much better.

This practice also has the added bonus that my husband often helps me and dries everything which means it goes even faster. Sometimes I can even get out son to wield a dishtowel.

The habit of taking all the recycling stuff to the basement once a day, and using that trip to the basement to fetch anything I want nice and cold to drink for lunch is rather self-explanatory. The hallway is the first thing visitors see when they enter our house. Having a very overflowing recycling bin spewing its contents over half the floor and all the shoes is not a nice thing to see.

And as with other things it only takes a minute or two to do it every day, and is way less dreadful than sorting recycling for ten minutes in a row on Friday.

I am always amazed at what difference it makes to change small things but by now I really shouldn’t be. I’ve seen it over and over.

I’m really excited where all this changing things around will lead me. Right now life seems full of possibilities.