knitting friday

I said I would post my knitting once a week. This way I can show you if you’re interested. If you’re not, you only have to endure it once a week, and not EVERY DAY!

Here is some of my pre-Christmas knitting:

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1. baby booties!

2. girl version baby blanket (still need to finish my boy blanket)

3. leaf garland headband that I improvised (my husband is a good sport)

4. a mounted deer head given to one of my nephews

5. a commissioned hat I knit for a friend to give her husband for Christmas (my first paid work!)

I had put down my needles pretty much from Christmas till this week. It has been rough because I had volunteered for a test knit (so sorry Justyna!), have a a baby hat swap hat to make and mail out by the end of the month, 2 items still to knit for my niece and nephews (Andi, the gifts will arrive, I promise) and send, and a KAL (knit-a-long) project to finish by the end of the month. Phew! I feel like I have more knitting to do this month than I did for Christmas!

Not to mention that I have yet to take our New Years Photos and have those mailed out (so sorry family). 3 weeks of either being off your feet or taking care of others really puts you majorly behind!

Well I picked them up again this week, and knit a couple of things to get myself motivated to to fulfill my knitting obligations . I felt absolutely overwhelmed by the things that are left to do, and yes, I am going to try to get them all done in less than 2 weeks (I’m insane). Each project I tried to get back to, I had zero motivation. No inspiration for what patterns to pick for a special niece and nephew, no desire to pick up any already-started project (or WIP as we say in the knitting community). I needed to get my head in the game.

This usually means a bit of quick baby knitting. It did just the trick to get me back in the knitting groove.

IMG_1370My little Knit-a-Long group is hosting a mitten pattern donation KAL right now (Click here for details, there’s still time to join!), and I had started the project. So I picked up my half finished mitten and figured I’d better at least finish one of them!

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1. Camilla Babe Sweater

2. Dew Drops Mitts

That’s all till next week where I plan to have ALL of my required knitting DONE!!

a few of my favorite things

Thought I would post some things that make me happy currently 🙂

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  • my grandfather has an identical one i have been coveting since my childhood. found one at a yard sale, 25 cents – ding!
  • saw this one on Etsy in the vintage housewares section, but could never justify buying it. found this one while going through stuff my mom was going to sell in a yard sale. free – ding!
  • found this (and 5 that match) while shopping thrift stores for place setting for my wedding. can’t remember how much I paid, but it’s vintage pyrex so…ding!

Thrifted buttons sorted and pinned together so I don’t have to rummage for matches.

Tiny hats for a tiny head. I’ve been seeing so many photographers spotlighting babies wearing knitted hats and soakers, and wrapped in knitted blankets. I’m considering making a shop for my knits.

and another tiny cardigan for a  little one who’s gender is unknown.

drinking the knitter’s kool-aid

My mom knitted when I was little. She would knit hats and gloves for my siblings and me as children. I remember loathing those handmade items; itchy, hot, uncomfortable things. I realize in hindsight that she wasn’t exactly a knitting diva and couldn’t afford (or just didn’t know of) anything other than cheap acrylic yarn from a craft store or maybe she just used some rough itchy wool that was handed down to her. I also had an aversion to sweaters as a child. Cotton sweatshirts for me, please!

As a result of my childhood aversion to all things knit, I had absolutely no desire to learn to knit for myself. Why would I? Sweaters and knit caps would never become fashionable…

How wrong was I?!

In my 20’s I started wearing sweaters and hats and fingerless gloves – all bought at retail clothing stores.

Halfway through my 20’s I met the man who is now my husband. When we were dating, he was knitting himself a scarf, and then he began to teach me to knit.

About the same time I met Joe I started reading Soulemama‘s blog and through these posts I found out about a social community called Ravelry. At the time, Ravelry was by invitation only and I had to wait months to get mine! Oh the frustration! Now it seems like anyone who knits is on Ravelry, which I think is fantastic!

I took to knitting like a fish to water. My first project was the pixie hat like Soulemama’s and then I knit a WWII style hat for Joe (at the time he was just leaving reenacting).

Through Ravelry I have come to the knowledge that there is a whole knitting language and possibly subculture. Not just knit 1, purl 2. But I had never heard of blocking, and once I did find out what it was, I had no idea it was necessary (unless you knit with acrylic)! Blocking is the act of soaking your finished project in water, squeezing (not wringing) it out, laying it out flat (all the better if you have blocking matts) and pinning it into the proper shape/dimensions.

I am still (and may always be) intimidated by the ladies who work (live?) at lys-es (local yarn stores) and have their little knitting cliques at the tables in the back and who always have the perfect gauge, best blocking techniques, and design their own flawless patterns. They actually expect me to know what weight yarn and/or brand I’m looking for when I go in there. They don’t sell (or even talk about) anything by Red Heart, Lion, Bernat or Caron – heavens no! Is it my imagination or does this 4’11” woman looking down her nose at me? But I always walk out with the most beautiful yarn, a smaller bank account, and cold sweats! I think I should start shopping with a support group.

Anyway, I knit now and I absolutely love it.

Like my other hobbies, it comes and goes in phases. But once I start up it’s just so hard to stop. With baby #2 on the way, all these tiny little items are finished so quickly, and the back and forth rhythm of yarn over needles make every project both therapeutic and satisfying.

over the weekend

Over the weekend //

~ we watched as Belle’s due date came and went and we still are baby goat-less.

~ I cut out the pieces for my new spring top.

~ we threw my sister-in-law a baby shower and I got to give her my tiny knits.

~ Joe and my dad built a milking stand (which is making me stress just a little less).

~ I made the most amazing pizza I ever had.

~ Joe got the opportunity to hang out with “the guys.”

~ Posted on Broken Record Confessions.

Did you do anything fun or interesting over the weekend?

self-sustainability for everyone #7

I bet you all thought I was done with my self-sustainability posts.

False.

I still plan to do them sporadically.

natural home and body cleaners / /

This post goes out to Melissa of Inspired. She has been posting a lot about switching her family from store bought chemical and synthetic cleaning and body products to more green and natural homemade products. What a perfect name for her blog because I find myself constantly inspired by her posts. Go on over and leave her a comment if you like what you read.

I have a confession: I backslid on my baking soda/acv hair washing last weekend. My sister was having her bridal shower and I felt like my hair was so “icky.” I thought, I’ll just shampoo my hair this once and cross my fingers that it doesn’t mess up all of my progress (since I’m still going through my greasy transition period).

What a let down! My hair did look clean but it was completely flat and I still felt icky. So I went back to the baking soda/acv and my hair feels clean again.

Last summer Joe switched from toothpaste to a baking soda tooth scrub. We got the recipe from the book Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World. I just recently made the switch myself. Let me tell you that this scrub is better than toothpaste. Every time I brush, I feel almost as if I’ve been to a cleaning at the dentist. That’s how smooth and clean my teeth feel. This book also has other natural tricks for cleaning and flossing teeth. Incredible.

Homemade Tooth Powder / /

found on p. 14

You’ll Need:

  • baby food jar (or lidded jar similar in size)
  • baking soda (approx. ¼ cup)
  • peppermint (or anise) essential oil

Fill jar with baking soda and add essential oils for flavor. Shake well.

The book recommend you let your nose be your guide for the amount of drops needed. But it also says 10 drops. Do as you like.

I love this book because it is close to being the bible of self-sustained tricks. It has everything from the baking soda/acv wash and the tooth powder, to home grown medicines, DIY olive oil lamps, beekeeping, slaughtering chickens, and making mead.

But there are all sorts of resources you can find without buying books. Check out your library or Pinterest. It’s amazing how much info there is out there, and this stuff is so simple and so cheap to do. Well…maybe not the chicken slaughtering 😉

photos lately

Sorry for my absence yesterday. It was a gloomy day and I just didn’t have any motivation to blog. Plain and simple. Today isn’t much different, but I shall anyway. Sometimes I need to force myself to blog, but quite honestly, blogging is the one place where I feel like I get some “me time” so I really need to try to stay on top of it.

Piper has tried some new whole foods lately (as in: not mashed)

photo 1: pickle
photo 2: carrot
photo 3: Cheerios

I’ve been trying to work on some projects.

photo 6: Zac’s scarf (ugh!)
photo 7: shirt turned skirt/dress for P
(i am saving the buttons for future knitting/sewing. they are fantastic!)

I am so excited that spring has officially sprung!

photo 8: leaves are popping out on the trees

Over the weekend I failed to photograph:

pictures of my baby sister’s bridal shower
pictures of friends coming to visit

Tuesday is usually the day that mama and Piper go out together and have a girls morning out. We normally go to the library and have play group/nursery time. However, today Joe has painting work (yay!) and actually has it for the rest of the week and maybe into next week (*fingers crossed*). So P and I don’t mind giving up a week or two of play dates in order to let Papa provide for us. Thank the Lord for His provision!

I really think that the weather the past 2 days has put me in an off mood. Not a bad mood. Just blah. Thankfully today looks like it will be bright and cool. Plus I think sister and I are going out shopping and I haven’t been doing that in a very long time!

Happy Tuesday!

soap fiasco

Our pine tar soap was running out and rather than spend top $ on soap at the store or on the internet, I figured it was high time I made my own.

I decided to make a batch yesterday, and had my mom help since she’s been making soap on and off for years.

She led me to a pretty cool device called a lye calculator, found here. It lets you punch in your ingredients in whatever amounts you are using and then tells you how much lye and distilled water you should use. Very handy.

While soap making is fairly simple in theory, yesterday I failed to add one of my main ingredients and it suponified too quickly so I’m not really sure how well the lye or pine tar were mixed in or how the soap will turn out. I tried another batch this morning, but again, it suponified too quickly and I’m not real sure how well my lye got mixed in. Time will tell.

I guess if at first you don’t succeed, try try again…right?