Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WIP/Yarn along

I decided to participate in the Yarn Along I've read about on several blogs. You can be a part, too. Stop by Small Things to read about it. (Though she's not posting it this week - I just couldn't resist.)

Those two balls of yarn? I dyed those over the weekend. They didn't end up the same shade. And I'm okay with that. Turns out that my dye jar just isn't big enough for two skeins of bare Wool of the Andes. Oh well. Lesson learned. My step-mother wound them on her ball winder. I love the way they look. If I had the contraptions necessary, you can be sure all my balls of yarn would be neat and stackable like these!

Right now I'm knitting some more longies. I'm using the Kanoko Pants pattern on Ravelry again. With luck these will fit the Beast. They look tiny, so I expect they will. I'm using Wool of the Andes in Cobblestone Heather. As though I'm a Knit Picks ad, I'm also using the Harmony wood interchangeable needles that my step-mother gave me for Christmas.

And of course I'm reading another book in the Pink Carnation series - The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig.

Friday, December 24, 2010

{this moment} - Solstice

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Infant arm warmers!

Well, I finished the arm warmers/fingerless gloves for the Beast. He's been sleeping a lot today so I had a very short time in which to coerce some modeling. I thought I'd be pushing my luck with his happiness factor if I tried to change his shirt first. So he's wearing the knitted sleeves *over* regular sleeves.

Here's how I "designed" them:

Roughly measure upper arm. My yarn/needle combination gets me five stitches per inch. The Beast's upper arm was something like seven inches. So 35 stitches, except that I needed a multiple of four to get the 2x2 ribbing. Knowing that wool stretches, I went with 32 stitches. In the round I knit seven rows of ribbing (basically, until it looked good enough). THen I knit in stockinette until it was long enough to reach his thumb (something like 41 rows, I think). Then I stopped knitting in the round (though still using circulars) and knit back and forth in ribbing for about four rows (until the hole looks big enough for a baby thumb). Joining back into the round, I knit about four more rows of ribbing and then voila! You're done!

I've never written out directions for knittine before, so I apologize if that was gibberish. (:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yarn Along and Solstice Gifts.

I decided to participate in the Yarn Along I've read about on several blogs. You can be a part, too. Stop by Small Things to read about it.

I'm knitting wool arm warmer/fingerless gloves for the Beast. Basically, arm warmers with a thumb hole. The idea was that he loves to chew on his sleeves. Well, once the sleeves are soaked I have to change his shirt because it's much too chilly for him to be soggy. Only, I keep running out of long sleeve shirts. So, I figure I can knit several of these and just swap them out as they get wet. Not sure how well it'll work out, but that's okay.

I'm on the fifth book of the Pink Carnation series. It's called The Temptation of the Night Jasmine. I've been looking forward to this one. The most recent book in the series was sort of a Christmas special and it takes place in this book. There were bits that I didn't remember clearly, so it'll be fun to see where the "special" fits in.

Also, we celebrated Solstice yesterday. This year we bought family toys instead of toys for each specific child. I'm *so* glad we decided to do it that way. I'd posted months ago with questions about what I should buy. Well, here's the bulk of what I ended up with.

The barn is by Finns and Flowers, the sheep (with removeable "jacket") is by Green Mountain Wee Woolies, and the rest of the animals (including a goat that was hiding behind the playroom door, apparently) are by Dad's Wooden Toys.

The boys were so excited when they "opened" (read: took the silks off) them. I sanded the edges of the animals with a dremel because they were a little sharp - nothing bad, I just know my clumsy kids.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Cowl!

It's done! Three skeins of yarn later and it's done! Woohoo!

I took pictures of me wearing it. But they looked bad - and not just because I hate pictures of myself. I apparently need longer arms to do that whole self-portrait thing.

Besides, the Elf is way cuter.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yarn Along and Swaps!

I decided to participate in the Yarn Along I've read about on several blogs. You can be a part, too. Stop by Small Things to read about it.

I'm still working away on that cowl. It's nearly done but will likely be late for Solstice. Ah well. I'm now reading the fourth book in the Pink Carnation series. It's called The Seduction of the Crimson Rose. It isn't my favorite - probably because Mary Alsworthy (one of the main characters) annoys me greatly and because I remember this book quite clearly - more so than the others.

I participated in a Waldorf Yahoo group swap. My package came the other day. This (horrid) photograph was all I could manage before my kids ran off with various pieces.

The Imp took to the lavender scented bean bags and the play silk. The Elf mooned over the bracelet, the acorncap baby, the horse reins, and the bag. The Beast hasn't yet been overly interested in the snuggle doll, but it's there for him. I've ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the gorgeous needlefelted creations. All in all, a spectacular swap!

I also participated in a swap held by Jen of Sewn Natural and MommaRae. This is what i got from my partner (it also included a bookmark that the Elf ran off with and a long description of the basket's contents).

The short story is that it's meant to represent the forest floor where she lives. Oh, and the creator of said amazing basket is Gloria of Lolailo.

And now the babies are all awake and I must run.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Giveaway winner!

The Elf (in the midst of his finger knitting) picked a name out of a hat for me. And the winner is.. Wabi-Sabi Wanderings! Congratulations and thank you everyone for entering!

I have two more tins (roughly 4 ounces each) of butter/salve/whatever that I'd be happy to swap with anyone interested. I'm also always happy to knit up some mushrooms or dye some yarn (I just got my Knit Picks order! Whee!) - the sky's the limit and all that.

Anyway. Happy weekend, all!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blurry moments in the kitchen.

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yarn Along!

I decided to participate in the Yarn Along I've read about on several blogs. You can be a part, too. Stop by Small Things to read about it.

I'm knitting a cowl for a friend in Michigan. It's based on a pattern that called for a bulky yarn - which I don't have. So I'm following the stitch pattern but winging the size.

The book I'm reading is the second in a series. I lovelovelovelovelove this series. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. Any book that I can still laugh out loud with after reading it several times is a keeper. Besides who can say no to dashing English spies during the Napoleonic wars? Sappy love, swashbuckling adventure. Perfection. The name of the book is The Masque of the Black Tulip and it is by Lauren Willig. The first book in the series is called The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Giveaway time!

I spent this weekend working on yarn for a giveaway. I am by no means a master at the art of dyeing wool yarn, so it isn't perfect. It was lots of fun, though - even if my red turned out rather pink.

So here it is, a giveaway to say thank you to the universe and to all of the lovely bloggers out there. Everyone is welcome to leave a comment to be entered. I'll pick a random winner on the 11th.

Here are the goodies:

Two attempts to photograph the one skein of yarn. It's just a hank of Lion Brand Alpine Wool that I dyed - it's what I had on hand. It is considered (according to the label) to be a bulky yarn made of 100% wool and is about 93 yards. I dyed it using food coloring and drink mixes. The idea was to have it fade from yellow to orange to red (rather than have smaller variations). But my red turned out pink. Oh well.

Calendula cream. Butter. Salve. Whatever. I've never understood what distinguishes those terms. It's a mix of calendula infused grapeseed oil, beeswax, vitamin e oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil. I've been making variations of this to soothe the Beast's eczema and my callused feet and psoriasis.

So there you go. Enter if the mood takes you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WIP Wednesday.. sort of...

I took this picture this morning. I've been working on these longies for a little while now - to make up for the pair that was way too big for the baby. I didn't use a pattern but I think I'll take a look at some to find a better way to do the cuffs.

I was lucky today. The poor wee teething babe slept while his older brother napped. Two decent naps in one day? Before 5pm? Excellent! Of course, I didn't finish binding off until just before dinner. But one whole leg in one day?! Woohoo!

I had to resort to using the flash, so the picture isn't great. The next pair of longies I make for the Beast will be slightly wider and longer. These fit him perfectly right now. So I expect they won't last long. I've also decided to try a different way of sewing the waist so that it'll stretch better.

So yes, I'm learning.

Next up is a swatch for a birthday/Solstice gift.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

One hour + large branches + a borrowed bow saw + tree stump + eight year old child as counter weight + aching muscles = 80 tree blocks.

Of course, I still need to sand them all. But I only bashed my finger once. And felt like I was going to pass out while my ears rang from bending over too much.

Whee! The kids couldn't wait, though.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I've gotten things done! It's amazing!

First up are the tree stumps for the "Waldorf stocking stuffer" swap through a Yahoo group. I was going to head to the post office today but it just never happened.

I've had moments of self doubt - thinking that they aren't good enough. That people won't like them. That I should have done something different, something more. Oh well.

Next is a swap organized by Jen of Sewn Natural and MommaRae. I wanted to find something that represented North Florida in fall and winter. The trouble is that aside from slightly cooler weather (sometimes) and less mosquitoes (if we're lucky), there isn't a lot to distinguish them from spring and summer.

First I wanted to knit little butterflies that would look vaguely like Monarchs since they migrate through here. But that seemed to flop. My next thought was of all the faerie rings of mushrooms that pop up in the fall. So I whipped up a knitted and felted mushroom. I have a deep desire to make a whole forest of these now.

My third idea was a tin of calendula salve. As the weather cools my skin dries out and I practically (okay, not really) bathe in this stuff. I'm embarrassingly proud of how the labeling turned out.

Aside from those, I've worked on the longies a bit and finally found the bottom of the hamper. Whee!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Treading water.

I have been so short on sleep these past few weeks. It feels like life has frozen in time. Of course, it also feels like things are just whizzing past me. I'm so behind on thing - emails to respond to, posts to write, photos to take, thank you notes to write. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. And yet, were there any more I'm not sure I could make it through a week intact.

Both of the babies (yes, the Imp insists that he is still a baby) are teething. At least, we think they are. The Imp has molars coming in - I've seen them. Both are cranky in ways that they aren't usually. Neither seems able to sleep properly at night or for naps. Hence my sleep deprivation.

I'm still getting things done. It just feels like they take lifetimes to complete. Over the weekend I made six pizzas worth of dough (and froze four), two bagettes worth of dough (and froze one in two smaller bits), four honey wheat sandwich bread loaves worth of dough (and froze two), and butternut squash soup. I was supposed to make hummus and flatbread. But that never happened.

I tested out a knitting pattern for someone - pictures to be posted once the pattern is for sale. I've been stabbing away at the needle felted tree stumps (the new star needles I bought are helping my sanity here). Another swap is almost done. I just need to add the small bits - labels, sewing pieces together, writing a note. Why do the small bits always take the longest? The longies I started for the Beast are not much closer to being done. I suppose it's a good thing that it's gotten so freakishly warm around here (80 degrees at the end of November? Are you kidding me?) - at least I don't have to feel guilty that he's lacking warm clothes.

Basically, I'm still here. I'm still crafting when I can and digging myself out of a mountain of laundry (this is what I get for living with four boys) the rest of the time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WIP Wednesday

Hey look! I managed to do this on the "proper" day! Here are some of my many works in progress - I won't even mention the ones that are still brewing in my head!

It's supposed to be a butterfly (I'm using the pattern here). The idea was to make it look like a Monarch. I don't think I've succeded very well. It's still a WIP because I'm thinking about felting it. It's for a seasonal swap I'm working on. The next few are going to be less Monarch-y, but hopefully more butterfly-like. I'd originally planned on needlefelting a butterfly but it was beginning to look like the work of a kindergartener so I've switched tactics.

These are longies for the Beast. They look way too small - which probably means they'll fit (because apparently I'm crazy). I lovelovelovelove the colors - even if it is just store-bought yarn. The stitch markers are to help my addled brain keep track of the ribbing.

These are the needlefelted tree stumps I'm making for a "Waldorf stocking stuffer" swap. While this is helping me refine my tree root making technique, I am perishing tired of making these.

What are you working on?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

They're done!

I finished the longies yesterday! Finally! They are, indeed, much too large for the Beast. The Imp can wear them and has plenty of room to grow. You live, you learn - right?

The colors in the first photograph aren't great - the light was fading but I felt compelled to take a picture anyway. The rest are from today. The older boys are outside with B (who has likely taken much better pictures with his phone than I did with my camera).

So now that they're done, I need your help - how best should I take care of them? I'm fairly certain that the reason our previous longies (that I bought on Etsy) didn't work out so well is because I used too much lanolin. Here in the land of Are-You-Crazy?!-It's-Too-Hot-And-We-Don't-Wear-Wool I've had very little luck with getting reasonable answers. I was once told to use some combination of baby soap, lukewarm water, and a tube of lanolin. I can't find any wool wash locally and am totally lost. Help!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Belated WIP Wednesday

This week has been a whirlwind. So much so that I can't even pinpoint exactly why.

Currently I'm working on the Dreaded Longies, ten tree stumps, and a butterfly (yes, it currently looks like an orange heart). I started and frogged a coffee sleeve this week as well. That's what I get for starting a new knitting project in the car, in the dark, and without a pattern. Yes. I ask for chaos.

While I was taking these pictures two of my other works in progress decided to join me. One of them is currently less work than the other. Both are completely adorable, though.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oh, the week I've seen.

B took last week off of work. It wasn't as restful and relaxing as we'd hoped. We didn't complete everything on our lists. But oh! I do love having that man home all day! Today is his first day back to work since October and it's rough getting back into our groove without him around.

Last week I baked bread. Real bread. Sliceable sandwich bread! I used the recipe here - except that I used coconut oil instead of shortening and cut the entire recipe in half. Aside from my huge slices (this is what happens without a real bread knife), it was very yummy though a bit crumby. Yesterday I made two more loaves - using butter this time. They look *scrumptious* and will be sliced up (with my new knife!) for lunch today. I also made hummus and flat bread. It was a busy week.

I finally finished the first leg on the longies I'm knitting. They look really nice. Here's the thing.. they're nearly as big as the baby is. Oops. They'll probably fit the Imp, though they may be a bit big on him as well.

We've had our first fires of the season. They boys are hooked - and we're out of wood. Isn't that always the way?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WIP et al.

A couple of weekends ago my step-sister got married in Ohio. My father and my sister's family attended the wedding. We didn't make it for a great many reasons. After the wedding they drove to Pennsylvania to visit my aunt and uncle and my many cousins. My uncle is awesome. He's always built amazing things, cooks like nobody's business, and is one of the sweetest men I've ever met. He sent some wooden cars and two push toys (which I've failed to photograph) home with my family to give to my boys. How amazing is that? The Imp went crazy for the push toys - a dinosaur and a frog. They're long sticks with the animals on they end and their feet are wheels. Does that make sense? The Elf fell in love with the cars and I can't wait to get some beeswax polish on them.

I ordered some amber beads from Amber4You on Etsy. They arrived the other day and I've already thrown them together for the Beast. Can you believe that no one local sells amber teething jewelry? And they're so very expensive online. I understand why, though. Stringing those things was tough and I gave up on putting knots between each bead. Regardless, I'm pretty pleased with it.

I mailed my packages for the Artful Stone Swap hosted by GardenMama. I went back and forth with myself about posting pictures before my swaps were received. In the end I decided that if I didn't post it now, I'd forget and never post it. So here it is.

I couldn't resist these little guys peeking out of their pods.

And the longies are still in progress. With luck I'll finish them before he's out of diapers.

I've been working on this post since last night! Whew. Today I went to another breastfeeding support meeting and a class about starting solids. Now I need to catch up on comments, bake some bread, whip up some hummus, and get to knitting!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


The longies are (very slowly) coming along. They don't look like much right now, though.

I've also been working on my Artful Stone Swap. I have to save them for when the Imp isn't around, though. He loves rocks. He also loves throwing. This is a bad combination.

As if that weren't enough, I've joined a "Waldorf Stocking Stuffer" swap through a Yahoo group. I'm making ten wee felted tree stumps. They need to have been received by the host by December 1st. I'm not feeling rushed... yet. It'll come.

Any sane person would stop there. Me? I'm wondering how I can find some more wonderfully crafty people to swap with.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This weekend has been.. rough.

I officially give up on attempting knitting patterns where a rectangle is supposed to magically transform into a cute, little animal. They don't work for me. I simply can't make them correctly. This duck that I've been working on.. it's sad. Very sad. So sad that I'm not going to take a picture of it. I'm not even sure I'll ever get around to adding a beak because it's just so not worth it at this point.

And the longies. Oy, the longies. Let me say this right now: I hate knitting swatches. Period. Ugh. I have so little time in which to knit that it seems like an enormous waste of time. Especially when I end up with the exact gauge that the label said I would. Don't get me wrong, I see the merit and value in knitting swatches. I just don't have the patience for it. So. Swatch completed I was faced with changing needle size and knitting another swatch or line-by-line calculations. Math is right up there with swatches for me. But in this case, math won. With the patient help of TheSittingTree, my step-mother, and my husband I managed to figure this out. I think. We'll see.

Right. So knitting did not agree with me this weekend. Here's hoping this week is better.

Friday, October 22, 2010

{this moment} - painting

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Swap and a finished project!

I received a lovely, lovely swap package from TwoLittleSeeds this week.

In it were three packages - each labeled for one of my kids. And a yummy smelling tea bag for me!

The Elf:

The Beast:

The Imp:

The Imp didn't want to wear his the day it came. So the Beast wore it. But today, fresh from the laundry basket the Imp requested the "buttons!" and so I was able to photograph him.

The Elf has been watching me knit and craft things for other people. One day he inquired why I hadn't made something for him yet (let's ignore for a moment that I haven't made anything for myself, either). So I had him look through some books of patterns that I'd gotten from the library. He chose a caterpillar finger puppet from this book. Being the kid that he is, I suggested things we could do to make it more to his taste. We settled on an alien puppet. He requested three red eyes and two antennae. I think the middle eye looks more like a nose, but he's pretty happy with it. Also, it's more of a several-finger puppet. Oops.

And now to go work on my other two in-progress knitting projects!