Posts from the “Knitting” Category

Holiday making

Posted on December 2, 2017

I’ve got a bunch of crafting going on here, but since most of it is for the people who read this blog, it’s going to remain a mystery. But it’s happening! I’ve picked up my needles once again and invested in some lovely yarn. Of course, a little bit of the yarn is for me. An early solstice present. Ok, it’s a lot of yarn for me. I couldn’t resist. Addie features prominently in my holiday crafting, except I haven’t started anything for her yet, hoping to knock some of the other presents off my to do list. I’m planning on a double layer hat in this red wool and whatever matching scraps I have, and then a little vest to keep her core…

Plant-dyed yarn

Posted on August 3, 2017

It started with an impulse purchase of some beautiful Cestari yarn one day at my local yarn store. I needed a few more dollars to get my total up to the minimum for a credit card purchase (oh darn, what a travesty!), and I spotted a few skeins of Cestari worsted yarn. I knew the Cestari story from some article I read months ago. Was it in Knitter's Review? Woolful? Ravelry? Well, I don't remember, but it seems that the universe was giving me a nudge. Here's this yarn you've been itching to try. Who am I to resist?

Of the three colorways the store carried, I picked the undyed cream yarn with vague thoughts of dyeing it in the future, a sort of "maybe someday I'll try dyeing with plants," dream. I think I even said that to the store clerk. I had no plans, no idea of casting on with it until I finished the two adult-sized sweaters in my queue. But all that changed when I held the yarn up to my nose, inhaled deep… and got a noseful of mildewy basement.

Something must have gone awry in the chain of processing to store, because normally a farm yarn smells pleasantly sheepy. Not these skeins. They were basement all the way, and my sensitive schnoz told me to wash wash wash before use.

And since they'd be immersed in water anyway…



…I used carrot tops to dye the yarns from cream to a buttery yellow. It's a subtle shift. Maybe they would have turned out more vibrant if I had left them in the dyebath longer than overnight, or gotten the temperature up past 190 degrees. Maybe I should have used more than a pound of tops for 7 oz. of yarn. Maybe our water has too many minerals in it. I don't know! The internet tells me that plant dyeing yarn is imprecise, so it could be my beginner's skills or it could be some factor that is beyond my control.

Even though the color isn't as vibrant as I'd hoped, you can be sure this yarn isn't going to sit around unused. It's cushy and lanolin-y and promises to knit up like a dream. I've never met a yarn that brings back so precisely those early knitting feelings of realizing that I could make beautiful things, and I haven't even gotten it on the needles yet. But I am making plans. Mittens? With a pretty stitch detail? For me? Why yes, of course!

A list of half-finished things

Posted on July 27, 2017


A sewing pattern and fabric cut and waiting.

A pot of soaked yarn to be dyed at some point.

A wooden card holder in need of finish.

Another sweater in the works.

A tiny house.

It's such a process. A messy, beautiful, ongoing process in the bits and pieces of free time we share. A few stitches here, a few boards there. Some frustration, a lot of enjoyment. And really, that list of half-finished things should include me and Seth, and the baby too. In Addie's case, her learning is exponential. Eating! Crawling (well, trying)! But Seth and I are pricking our ears forward as well, like the dog on the scent of something particularly good. Before I mix metaphors, I'll just say we've got a lot going on in our work basket. And if all my to do lists included pretty pictures, I would be a happy camper.

You can’t go wrong 

Posted on July 3, 2017

My dear Memere passed away eight years ago this January. She was a lovely soul, stubborn and pragmatic and with a sense of humor that I never expected but would catch in the twinkle of her eyes when she gave me a sidelong look. She taught me to knit and to use a sewing machine (although garment construction was beyond me and I had to wait until college to figure it out). We had many adventures together, traveling down to Virginia each summer to stay with her youngest daughter Danielle for weeks at a time.  Once per summer, Memere, Tante Danielle, and I would head to the mall for a day of unabashed retail therapy. Memere loved to dote on her family — presents,…

Making room

Posted on June 26, 2017

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this — maybe once or twice — but we live in a tiny house. Two hundred square feet. And as we navigate growing and preserving season on three farms, Mamacraft, and build projects, the house has a tendency to feel a wee bit full. So I ask you, what business do I have bringing home all these books?  But oh, I cannot resist the delicious pages of flower and bird illustrations, or the promise of these knitted garments, or even the thought of working with those Scandinavian patterns at some undetermined, unknown point in the future. Just look at them! I can’t help it. I’ve taken up rummage sale-ing for the assorted sundries we need like farm clothes…

Heat wave

Posted on June 14, 2017

What do you do when the temperatures climb near triple digits several days in a row? 

Mud bathe. Have a nap. Knit a bit in pjs. Hang out the wash. And render lard, of course. I wasn’t expecting the heat wave when I ordered the meat from the local food co-op last month, and also didn’t check the weather forecast when I put the meat in the fridge to defrost last week (are there people who do that? Surely there are). But it all worked out. The house was so hot that the stove made no difference, and I do love having this type of cooking oil in the house. Especially from local animals who have led a good life. 

After a long, rainy spring the word from the fields is that the tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants are drinking in the heat now that it’s finally here. So I guess it’s time to make like a nightshade! Wishing you much sun worship these days. 

Knitting again

Posted on June 8, 2017

High-res version

Maybe I spoke too soon about knitting seasonally a few posts ago. After a long hiatus, I picked up this sweater I began for myself before the baby was born. The yarn is nothing special, just a recycled cotton wool blend, and the finished product is destined for fall farm work (I think I can already see a few dog hairs in there). But my hands needed something to do in the precious few oddments of time I have while Addie naps when we’re out. It’s luxurious, having this small comfort of slow process that’s just for me. I can ease it out while I’m tired or preoccupied (did I mention she’s teething?) and still come up with something beautiful. 

Knitting works that way. I can put it down and pick it up with no break in the pattern, no worries that it’s ruined. Even without the funds or energy right now for finding fancy yarn, I still have time to make something stitch by stitch, minute by minute. My hands work on autopilot. My mind quiets. Come this fall, this sweater will be just what I’m looking for. 

Shilling hat

Posted on November 22, 2015

Shilling is a hat that knits up in worsted weight yarn.  It is available for both flat knitters and knitters in the round, and while a beginner could knit it, advanced knitters won’t find it boring with its cables and pattern changes. The hat is knit on US size 4 and 6 (UK size 3.5 and 4) needles, and is sized for babies through adults. I knit this hat for Seth, who picked the beautiful heathery rust color from the Cascade 220 Heathers line.  However once it was done, I decided I didn’t want to part with it!  So this hat stays with me and is  a staple of my winter wardrobe. Click here to download the pattern PDF.  Click here for the Ravelry…