Knitting, Sewing, and Handwork


It wasn’t really planned, but apparently I took a bit of a break from blogging. 😉

Things have been just a wee bit wild around here lately.  We’ve been blessed by joining a local co-op and that has taken our Wednesdays.   It seems that we have steadfastly avoided that steady rhythmic pattern fall schooltime eventually hits.  Sigh.  But we simply could not force ourselves into a real schedule, but I promise I have a decent excuse… If you’ve ever lived in the Pacific Northwest, then you know – TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE GOOD WEATHER!  And Fall here in Oregon this year?  GASP!  Beautiful!  Crisp, lovely, and best of all – sunny.

It’s been raining for a week now and we’re only preparing to start week FOUR of school.  Nope, not kidding.  And I’m not remorseful.

But, I’ve had my hands full with a couple of other projects.

This is an incredibly poor picture of the carrier, but after adoring our spring market carrier, I was feeling a little itchy.  That lovely half buckle made it’s way to a new mama and I was feeling a little orangey. 🙂

 

 

 

Do notice La La’s pants please in the second photo.   🙂  Possibly my most favorite upcycle EVA’, they were a wool scarf from Goodwill.  The most gorgeous, stripiest, most delightful pants in the world with a little icord at the waist.  I’m seriously thinking about looking for another on Ebay as I’d bedeck myself in those stripes! 😛  Ooh!  I do need to add – the appliqued straps were a breeze!  After years of considering applique torture, I ran across a blog some months back that suggested two things – Steam a  Seam Lite and Sewer’s Aid needle oil.  I’m so grateful!

Other than that I’ve been just a wee bit lazy if truth were told.

Let’s see… What have we made this season?  A carrier, a couple somethings for a sweet friend I’m finishing up today, wool pants, a pair of woolly leggings…  I know I’m forgetting something.  OH YES!  Now I remember!  A new baby! 😉

Our tenth beloved addition should be joining us sometime this next year about mid-summer if we’re any judge at all.  Considering the chaos of the previous pregnancy, prayers are deeply coveted.  I’m not terribly excited to have to go searching for a new obstetrician when I have one I love back home, but these things are relatively minor considering I’m being blessed with a whole new human being.  Praise God!

~Have a wonderful day!~

 

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Recently we were driving down the road when we saw a zippy little car next to us.  It was a car for a housecleaning service and it had the motto printed all over the car…  “Because you have better things to do.”

Really this post is the culmination of a lot of irritants and realizations in my life.  Because we have better things to do with our time… Hmmm…

We, as a people, have so much STUFF.  We have stuff so we buy stuff to organize our stuff.  We “outgrow” our homes because we have more stuff than we have space.  Listen to me now:  Stuff, all stuff, takes maintenance.  That isn’t necessarily bad.  Some stuff is WORTH maintaining.  And I don’t mean cost effective.  I mean that it has value (remarkably different than cost) in our lives to such a point that it is worth the time & effort to maintain it.  If it has no value or worth to your daily life WHY ARE YOU WASTING TIME & ENERGY MAINTAINING IT?

Seriously.

Let me provide you with a few examples.  If you have more than one set of sheets for each bed, or if you are insane, like most of my immediate family and require 3-5 sets of sheets per bed, this is crazy.  Take them off, wash them, put them on.  This whole maintenance thing of take off the sheets, go through the laundry closet, get out the new set, do the laundry, fold up the other set, organize them in the closet is NUTS!  Wash ’em, put them back on the bed.

We have recently had the remarkable experience of moving from a glorified 2 bedroom home to a much larger home.  The old farmhouse we were in had one bathroom, one bathtub, one toilet, and two upstairs bedrooms.  Okay, one bedroom upstairs and a moderately sized, square hall a.k.a the boys’ room.  We had a little office off the living room for our room.  When I say little I mean little… We had a bed, an upright dresser, and enough room to walk around the end of the bed if we walked sideways.   Frankly, I thought it was cozy.  Honestly?  I really liked it.  Because the bedrooms were small we weren’t tempted to “store” things in them i.e., use them as storage facilities to maintain things of no value.  There was only one bathroom.  Sure, that meant sometimes you waited in line.  It also meant there was ONE bathroom to clean.  We are currently renting a home that has three bathrooms.  I would NOT have been so excited if someone had explained to me I was going to need to clean all three of them.

I am *not* complaining.  I like this house.  Maybe not the house exactly, but certainly the acreage and the space and the trees.  I love the neighbors and the community.  But, I’m telling you folks, we have not set up our LIVES to accomplish our goals.

The old farmhouse was built quite a while ago.  It had a very small living room and a huge eat in kitchen.  It was a “cooking” kitchen – meant to prepare meals in with everyone lending a hand.   This current, modern kitchen is cute.  It’s definitely large and bright and I like that.   But it’s certainly set up more for entertaining with separate areas off of the kitchen.   It’s not meant for family togetherness.  There is so much space that everyone spreads out, goes their own way.

We re-evaluated a couple of things this weekend, rearranged some areas.  Our television has made its’ way up to our bedroom.  And as I rearranged the family room I realized we had set up the entire room to focus around the television.  For a family that insisted we continuously TRY to cut down “screen” time, we had certainly set ourselves up for failure.  What do you want to do?  Oh, I don’t know…  And the television beckons from EVERY angle of the room.  Interesting.

Time.  None of us ever has enough, do we?  We spend time maintaining things that have no value.  It could be actual things… It could be doing laundry when we could simply cut down on our clothes.  It amazes me how I complain about not having enough time, but yet I don’t want to do anything difficult or uncomfortable like give up internet or things of that nature.

Earlier this week a friend sent me a letter.  I didn’t find the TIME to write her back.
Last month Abigail took a scissors to my comforter.  I couldn’t find the TIME to repair it.
Elizabeth has given me two shirts and a skirt to repair – I hadn’t found the TIME to sew them.
The garden has run to weeds…  I haven’t made the TIME to keep it up.

Look at those four things.  They’re relatively important.  And yet they’ve shifted down my list of priorities below “entertainment” certainly as blogging, Facebook, and screen time has misplaced them.   I can’t say I spend a crazy amount of time on the internet, but certainly more than absolutely necessary.

Recently I gave up the internet for a short while.  We had it put on vacation… It was a bet with my sister, I lost.  During that period, I became acutely aware how dependent I am on immediate gratification.  And how impatient it makes me.

Letter writing?  No time – send an email.   Can’t keep a garden – not enough time?  Pick up veggies at the market.  Stitching a shirt?  Bah, she has more in the closet.    Ripped comforter?  No time!

Tonight I sat and stitched the two shirts, the skirt, and the comforter by hand.  It took a good deal of time, about two hours.   For two hours I was still, moved slowly, was quiet, and just concentrated on my task at hand.  There was much peace and a good deal of satisfaction to be gained from that.  The same is true with a letter written to a friend or a loved one, vegetables grown by your own hand, a new skirt given to a daughter, or something gifted made by hand.   These things take time.  They develop patience, sweetness, perseverance.

How we complain that the world moves too quickly, that there are not enough hours in the day, that children grow up too quickly….  And yet we constantly set ourselves up for failure.  *WE* are the ones tearing down our own homes, brick by brick, rather than building them up.

I humbly pray that we not live our lives in THEORY, sitting idly by the internet as real life takes place around us, without us truly PRESENT.

Go.  Be PRESENT.   Interact.  Do not numb yourselves with a screen or a book today.  Do hard things.  Do things that take TIME.  Be still.   And be grateful.

I promise,  I’ve not just been lazy!  I’ve been feeling a bit guilty lately about not posting since (gulp) May.  But I promise I haven’t been lazy.  Something about being in this house makes me feel a bit crafty and as we’ve had school on hold for a bit, I’ve been trying to make myself useful.

So, this will just be a sharing post!

The first attempt at a carrier… I got to learn all about bottom weights, canvas, twill, duck cloth, heavyweight thread, x-box stitching, triple bars, and more.  Hurah.  Well, it might not have been fun research, but wow did I learn a lot about how much effort those great carrier making WAHMama’s put into the carriers!  If you ever wondered if a great carrier from a trusted WAHMama is worth the price tag… Oh. My.  Yes, it is.  They’ve not only created their pattern, poured their effort  into it, chosen fabrics for safety and durability and the ever important cute factor, but truly they’ve invested time into creating their individual carriers.  Ladies, you have my respect.

So the above carrier was inspired by Still Learning Life’s Blog.  Brooke has very generously supplied a GREAT pictorial to teach others how to put together a beautiful mei tai.  And, I’d like to add, she makes beautiful ones herself.  I’d add that while I really want to encourage other mamas to sew and create, if you’re going to be selling mei tais or any other carrier, please respect the WAHMamas who have created their own patterns!  Definitely create something of your own that you can sell with pride!

My second mei tai carrier, my pattern.  This one was a bit of an evolution – added pixie hood, curved body, seat darts…    Eventually I hacked it and turned it into a 1/2 buckle.  Love it now.  It’s very me!

Action Pic:

For a beloved friend – carrier #3.  This was my pattern, but now we shortened the body, extended the width as well.  I added a detachable hood, padded leg areas and it also has seat darts.

Action pic with the ever-loveable Ella Pie

There is a full buckle coming.  It’s for my wonderful DH and his sweetie, Sarah.  She’s SUCH a Daddy’s girl these days and frankly, she loves to go “piggy back” – her term for being in a carrier.  Too cute!

I had posted that I had finally gotten the Boaz colorway from A Time to Dye?  I had time a bit ago to knit up longies for Ella Pie.  I was very happy with her workMOMship.

Again, I want to add these aren’t my pattern.  My knitting, but the Sheepy Pants pattern.

We managed to make a little something for Ella Pie’s birthday as well…

And a backpack from a pattern off of Ravelry.

I promise it has NOT been all work & no play.  We took some time off to enjoy the scenery…

And go fishing!

We’ve been enjoying the farmer’s market…


(Ignore the date… This is what will happen when you let the batteries go dead!)

And the tulips!

And we even had a week of Grandma & Grandpa & a cousin visit!

And now I’m beginning to officially look for ways to procrastinate organizing my school year… Hence the new post on the blog!

Not as busy as I *should* be, lol, but still….

Picture heavy post this morning just because I feel like it.

First and foremost, Happy Easter.  Er, um, a little late…

We’re rolling with school and it feels good getting settled in!  Everything, with the exception of my canning jars are unpacked!  Hurrah!  We’re getting used to Oregon and the natural beauty this state has to offer truly is breathtaking.  I wish it was a wee bit closer to Iowa, but still love it, love it.

So, one of Becca’s new little friends had a birthday the other day.  Yes, I *totally* did use it as an excuse to make something.    We dyed the yarn with kool-aid and found this cute little dice bag on Ravelry… Of course the two purled lines actually started as a mistake – I’m not terrible good at the whole knitting thing yet, lol, but I think it adds texture and character.  (Or maybe not and it’s still just a mistake.)

Ignore the dates on the picture.   Obviously these were taken after my batteries went dead.   The doll is an upcycle project, btw.  The dress is from scrap fabric from a bathroom project in February.  The skin for the doll is actually a t-shirt from Goodwill and the 80% cotton velour is taken from lounge pants, also from Goodwill.  We cut off the legs to make “capris” out of them for oldest dd.  And we used those scraps for the hat.  I was pretty tickled by how it turned out, though I still despise sewing on knits.  I’m sure I’ll improve.  Not too bad for my first doll since 2001.  And let me just add that THAT doll didn’t go well either.  We still have her but she’s missing many of her parts. 😛  (I’m not good at hand sewing either.  I think it’s a general lack of patience.)

I have about a dozen current projects in the works and they are NOT going fast.

I pulled together a lot of ideas from various tutorials and didn’t have a pattern for it.  I’m going to do a link post here, hopefully tomorrow of skirt and dress tutorials.  I’m loving not needing a pattern and I think it helps me be a little more creative.  Creativity is NOT my strong point and I have a tendency to only be able to view something one way.

I need to get to it and do it, but oh the commitment of projects…  And I get so sidetracked.  The most vital is Ella Pie’s cocoon.  I need to finish it up and get pictures of her before she’s too BIG!  That’s right, I said it!  TOO BIG!  So, the Iowa City doctor called me last week.  It turns out that they are changing their “norms” on those tests that she was positive on…..  So that a child like Daniella would not have been labeled as having MMA.  I’m grateful.  Maybe it will spare someone else a lot of heartache from a false diagnosis.   I’m just flat out grateful.  But there are children out there with metabolic disease.  And just think, I never thought about it.  Not once, not ever.  Until I thought it had happened to me.  There but by the grace of God………

At any rate,  we visited our pediatrician here last week and she is officially ON the charts at the fifth percentile.  She is now officially four months old and she weighs in at a whopping TEN pounds and two ounces, lol!  She has outgrown her newborn clothes! Finally!  She actually looks downright CHUBBY!

And, yes, those ARE upcycled longies from a Goodwill sweater! 😉

What’s on the list of projects?  Well, first and foremost I seriously need to sit down and look through my spelling curriculum and get Christian started on it.  He’s not a natural speller and we desperately need to make some headway in that general direction.  Ana has picked out fabric for a new skirt and I have a tutorial in mind for it. 😉  I have some applique work I did two weeks ago I’d love for you to see, but unfortunately NO pictures of it.  Applique has ALWAYS been hard for me.  I read a few tricks, got some needle oil to make it slide easier and the “lite” version of Steam a Seam.  Oh the lovely difference it made – zero frustration.  But in the meantime I did finish Abigail’s dress.  (And I’m a little horrified to admit out of fabric that I had bought for Sarah’s first birthday.  She turns two in May.  Oh the shame of it all!)

So the project list:  I need, desperately, to make some more diapers and I have the most adorable fabric for wipes.  I might be enlisting Ana’s sewing skills or maybe even teaching Lizzie.  She’s remarkably crafty for being eight.  We taught her to knit (on needles) a couple months ago.  Last week we taught Rebecca to finger knit.  How fun!

To continue on the list – a carrier.  I have the fabric, the tutorial (which I’ll be sharing), and the desperate need.   And I simply MUST finish my Boaz longies from A Time to Dye.  The colorway has been very enjoyable and they are so close to finished!  Only one leg left!  I did manage to get our play stands sanded yesterday and need to apply the oil to be done.   They were pretty marked up from the last couple years of use and needed some touching up.   Oh the list….  But, I’m not getting ANYTHING done here, so off I go.  Hopefully the pressure of this post will motivate.  It’s wrong to use you all to further my project list, but it needs to be done.  Peer pressure – a beautiful thing.

I woke up this morning feelin’ a little crafty.   No, not sneaky!  CRAFTY!

I don’t get that tickle often.  I haven’t since we moved here.  It was the absolute CHAOS of this last season and I just couldn’t handle the idea of creating.  Something about being overwhelmed makes just the idea of getting out supplies overwhelming.

I felt the push to create in December, to prepare for that pretty little baby.  And then in January when my husband was in California, and me?  Oh, yes, *I* was in Iowa in January. 🙂  With him gone and with us facing horrid, wretched, awful news about Daniella, I couldn’t do anything but keep my head above water.

I was stressin’ the other day about getting kids ready for a homeschool play date… You know, the usual.  Find the shoes, matching socks, get out the door on time.  And it occurred to me I was behaving a bit more frantic than I did at any moment in the month of January when I SINCERELY had things to stress about.  Isn’t that odd to you?    Adrift in an ocean, you can scarcely keep your head above the waves, you don’t worry about the mundane.  Your only goal is to keep your head up high enough to prevent yourself and those around you from drowning.  You can’t think about what you’re doing or analyze the best way to do it…..

Sometimes we worry about this or that… We let little things bother us.    And what a blessing that is.  Essentially it means that the big things aren’t dragging you under the water.   I’m grateful for little problems.

On a lovely note, Ella Pie is doing well.  She’s growing.  Today she is almost three months old.  She will be twelve weeks on Wednesday.  She is in a newborn sleeper right now and I think this will be the last time she wears it! 🙂  It’s getting a bit too snug and small.  Bring on the 0-3 month clothing!  She has a few newborn ‘sposies left.   We’ll need to use those in a hurry, she’s getting too big.  Her fingers are starting to fill out.  Her little elbows aren’t quite so sharp.  Her legs are still a little scrawny.

And as far as metabolics, the last tests came normal.  What in the world?  It can’t be normal to have a 12 week old that is less than nine pounds when she was practically seven at birth.   Who knows?  If it isn’t a miracle I’m still willing to let God have credit and if it is then I’ll take it and be grateful.

She seems to be hitting milestones too.  Last night she was in her swing while we ate dinner and celebrated Christian’s birthday.  And her head was turned towards our voices.  That’s new.  She smiles now.  Not just randomly, but in response to seeing her favorite Mama… Er, oops, I mean people. 😛  She isn’t coo-ing yet, but she really wants to!  I can see it on her face, lol.

It’s easy to forget what a gift average is… What everyday boring is…  It’s a gift.  On a day when the sun shines and nothing better (or worse) than that happens?  It’s a gift.  I’d even take rain. 🙂

So, finally, with so much chaos behind us and normalcy appearing to settle in, I’m finally feeling the itch to create again!  I saw cold process soap yesterday… I’m almost out of mine and thought about BUYING (GASP!) a bar of soap… But DH has promised to make me a new mold so I can make something yummy for the family.  I think I’m going to do something wild,  for the sheer joy of being able to!

I’m trying to finagle DD into doing some dying for me.  Ella is outgrowing the newborn longies I made and I want something fun and easter egg colored!  I got in on a Mosaic Moon co-op last week.   A custom colorway in Seaglass and one skein of October Morning.  I managed to NOT order the Dandelion but I think it took every last ounce of strength.

We’ll see if I can manage to get anything done today…. It’s Monday.  School, more school, a lovely salt dough map is on my list for the afternoon.  But I have several lovely diapers to finish up for Ella.  Perhaps even some pictures tomorrow?  We’ll see.

No, the sweet baby hasn’t arrived yet!  We’re anxiously awaiting the delivery of baby #9.  The obstetrician cut the cerclage on Thursday and we eagerly anticipated her arrival.  The plan was (considering the last two births) to do an augmentation.  I *always* dilate to at least 4-5 cm. when the stitch is cut, then we’d just head over to the hospital.  Obviously God had different plans.  We dilated to 2.  This hasn’t ever happened to me before so we were a bit surprised.  We walked and walked (and nearly finished our Christmas shopping) but no cervical change.  We went home, expecting a baby very shortly.  Lo & behold it’s now Monday and no baby. 🙂  It’s okay though!  Anticipation is part of the fun I suppose.

But, no, that isn’t our big news.  Earlier in the year, we expected so much medical intervention with this pregnancy we were planning a move closer to the University hospitals.  Once they were able to place the cerclage, we didn’t need to make that move.  However, in the meantime, plenty has happened and my sweet husband is being transferred to… (drum roll, please) Oregon.

Yup, that’s right ~ Iowa to Oregon with one newborn, seven other children, and one 100+ lb. German Shepherd.  Can’t wait for that road trip!  I’d be lying if I said we weren’t secretly VERY excited.    We’re also more than a little nervous.

Plenty to do today… I still have three pairs of little girl flannel nightgowns to sew before Christmas and if time allows matching dolly pajamas!  I DID indeed “master” knitting and we made a pair of longies with matching hat for the new little one.  She does finally have a name and we expect Daniella Hope soon.  Now if only I can get these booties completed as well.  Unfortunately they take a backseat to the nightgowns.

Daniella's First Longies dyed by JuliBeans

I hope you’re all having a very merry and lovely Christmas season!

Okay.  So, like everything else, I’ve been researching this to death.

Originally I thought to myself, I am going to only use natural colorants, natural colorant snob that I am….  But then I spent WAY too much time poking through the colorways at Mosaic Moon, Selah, and Three Irish Girls.  And moseying over to Hyena, one can’t help but mention Laines Magnifique and from my own Congo I found both Huckleberry Knits *and* BugSnugger.  (Insert DEEP sigh.) Her Florence is so lovely.

And THEN to make it worse, I found this little project over at Ravelry.  This has all added up to a very serious yearning for wool.  Now, this is a strange feeling for me.  After all, let’s be honest, I can barely knit.

Beyond that I’ve been using wool for YEARS.  I made my first homemade soaker out of a salvaged Goodwill sweater for Christian (CHRISTIAN!) in 2000.  When I was running True Vine I found soap to be a very lucrative venture for trading for knitted longies.  I pulled out my wool collection, longies, shorties, a darling pair of capris, and soakers last night.  I touched all of them, removed pilling, and looked through with my fingers.  And gasp!  Wouldn’t you know it? They’re DIFFERENT!

I know ya’all who knit, you’re laughing right now.  You’re thinking, “Wow, she’s a bit slower than we realized.”  Yes, it’s true.  I never really THOUGHT about wool beyond, “Ooh.  That’s pretty.”

I need to put blame squarely where it lies.  On the FedEx man.  I won’t say this to him when he comes today but this is ENTIRELY his fault.  If he had come oh, say, last week, I’d be working on learning Magic Loop.  I’d be knitting with some inexpensive plain peony pink yarn, contentedly making uni-color legwarmies.  I’d be so busy I wouldn’t have time to be ogling projects on Ravelry.   Nor would I have had the time to poke through all of those colorways 384 times.

And most of all, and this is important… I would NOT have had time to watch dyeing tutorials.  Or find dyeing links.

But he didn’t come now, did he?  No, he failed me.  And so I HAVE looked through them all.

And it all adds up to trouble.  Big trouble.  Because I also found that my local (semi-local) yarn shop carries undyed, natural wool.  And that it is REALLY inexpensive.  And that Cascade 220, while CERTAINLY not BFL Aran weight, is still great for learning to dye.  It also washes up nicely time and time again and so will work fine for someone who just wants to “not ruin” some wool for longies.   I will move onto this: Baby Burgh but as I want to dye THIS WEEKEND I am settling for good ‘ole Cascade 220.  As a side reference, turns out she carries NUMEROUS brands of undyed.  Color me a happy girl.

So, after being certain I wanted the baby’s coming home outfit to be in colors ranging from light pink to deep rose with browns and creams, last night Abigail was wearing this smock top:

And the lavender and dark purple, white and aqua said, “No Kelly THIS is what you want!”   Which wouldn’t be such a serious issue, except I can’t find a good lavender in Wilton food dyes.  Laugh at me.  I’m okay with that.

Now, for those less uppity parties, read on.

Tutorial here: Knitty and I’ve pretty much decided to paint on the dye.  Now if only I can find out a general tip on how to do the repeats so I don’t get massive pooling in the longies I’ll be happy.  Of course if it was that easy then no one in the world would ever have the problem of pooling now would they?  From what I understand (oh so limited) the best way to prevent pooling is to alternate skeins, but when we’re talking about dying, the shorter the repeated lengths, the better.  Of course, that’s more difficult now isn’t it?

For color charts, we have the Wilton color chart or the Kool Aid color chart, depending on your preference.  There’s also a great Kool-Aid how to here along with a color chart that is fantastic.

And, now, herein lies the problem… Purple is one of the hardest colors to get true and get to stick.  I’d be very content if my purples came out all dark with cranberry like this other WordPress blogger.

And, finally, bless the woman who did this.  Oh my.  What a lot of work and she’s wonderful for documenting it all for ME.  Okay, well maybe not for me, but I’m grateful nonetheless.  What an amazing little experiment she has going on there.

So, now all *I* have to do is get Delphinium Blue and Violet to actually make violet, oh and I’d like that to variegate between dark and light shades of purple, add in a little strip of Blue Moon Berry Kool-Aid in one area for my aqua and then of course decide between using white yarn and natural colored yarn which is a doozy considering I’d like a cream colored sweater but I think the dyed longies would look nicer with white.

And this is why the internet should be banned from people who over-research.  In the good ‘ole days they didn’t have options.  They could do walnut brown, onion skin yellow, berry tans, nettle green, things like this.  THAT is why they called them the good ‘ole days.  No options, no discontentment.  Sigh.

Right now this is what I’m thinking:

Dark, deep purple – Grape KoolAid
Dark, brighter purple – sky blue Wilton mixed with violet Wilton  Delph. Blue also works.
Lighter shades of purple- Violet Wilton
White – leave alone
Aqua – Blue Moon Berry

Doing far fewer of the white and aqua sections, a moderate number of Violet Wilton dye and then the most of the Grape KoolAid and the Darker, Brighter purples.  I really want a variegated purple with stand-out white and aqua.  Hm… Best laid plans and all that.

Just wait for the pictures.  That’s all I’ll say.

Countdown: Four Days.

And just WHERE is that FedEx man?!

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