Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spining and dyeing

For the knitters on my list we dyed yarn using egg dye.  The girls are making a pink and purple yarn we gave to two aunts.

Butterfly Dyeing the yarn Pink.  Everything is pink to her.

My Mom stayed with us for a few days and took this picture of Badger, me and the purple dye.

I promise it looked pretty when it was done. Much more pink than purple, but I have now pictures. We also made two skeins of green and yellow, one for Great grandma and one for my mother.  She was very surprised to open it!

Most of the yarn we dyed was store bought.  But not this skein.  My sister received homespun & home dyed. Beaver helped dye this one, but as it was dry on Christmas day I did not get a picture.  I am hoping to con my sister into taking a picture of the yarn and of whatever she makes and will post it if she does.  

Same yarn soaking in vinegar bath.  We dyed this Blue-green. In the upper left corner is the shawl I made for my Mother in Law, which I also forgot to take a picture of.  
My husband figured out what was wrong with my wheel and I no longer need a second person to hand spin the wheel.  Now I just need to convince my body to move three limbs independently of each other. Sigh.  I'll figure it out.  My Mother & Sister in law went to a spinning store hours from here and got me wool and dye and books on spinning and dyeing.  My nieces got to play with the sheep and alpacas. I am very excited to get started spinning like crazy - I just have to find my studio, I think it is under the Christmas madness.

Yarn along - bored hands.

Okay I fell into a giant hole titled crazy crafting Christmas despite my intentions not too.  I enjoyed knitting like a manic and read blog posts while doing it.  I got most everything done on time and had the sense to cut items and give up when it was time.  This did not stop me from knitting a scarf for my dad while at my in laws get together or knitting one for my sister's husband while hanging out with them yesterday.  Then, hours before I planned to go home.... I was finished. He liked the scarf and joked about me making his present while talking to him. 

He a Jess are only home for a few days but while he was home he found out that he got a job in his field. He has been cutting produce for like a year now just to have a job and while thankful to have employment was really down about spending all that time and money on college so he could chop cauliflower all day.  So Congratulations and we believe in you, Jake!

Back to my empty hands.  I sat for a while. I fidgeted, then I begged Mom for a ball of yarn.  Any yarn, whatever she didn't have a plan for and could toss at me. She laughed and then as I got closer to her stash looked vaguely worried.  She handed me a skein of I Love This Yarn in a bright red, but kept the band so she could get another, so I am not sure what the color is called. I am becoming a yarn snob, but my hands needed to knit...

I cast on from both ends of the skein (without doing anything but grabbing the ends) as many stitches as I could fit on the circular 17's I had with me.  Happy hands.  This morning, I have:

I must admit the yarn is well named. I have not hit a snag (knocks on wood) it is much softer than a cheap acrylic has any right to be and is very very nice. I am knitting a shawl (largest side to smallest) and doubt it will be complete on one skein.

I have baby showers for two cousins coming up so the rainbow shimmer blanket will be back in my hands later in the week.

I am reading Kim Harrison's A Fist Full of Charms, but mostly trying to clean up and catch up on things from Christmas.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

what I have done and ready.

A shawl for my Niece with a apple wood button my Dad made.

Scarf for my Cousin in green Peruvian wool.

Cowl for Jim's cousin.

Flourish-y scarf for my sister, got her some sipping chocolate to go with it.

Scarf for my cousin's daughter.

hats for the kids like the ones I made for japan.

Shawl for my other Niece, another of Dad's cool buttons.

Cowl (neckwarmer) for my cousin's son, with Dad's buttons.

Crayon case for Mouse, so he can take art everywhere.

I have another cowl, like the three button one down that escaped being pictured and am working on one in blues.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yarn along - fingers on a fingerless glove.

Hello everyone, it's Wednesday and I am mostly with it and that means - yarn along at Small Things with Ginny and the rest of the yarn and book loving blog-community.

  Look, look it has fingers!!!  One more and tucking a few tales and the first glove is done.  Actually, it knits fast but requires (or perhaps I require) all my attention on all the little dpns.  Hoping to not get the second sock syndrome on these gloves.

I am reading, How to Knit a Love Story by Rachael Herron.  It was sent to me by Emily from Today I am... It is traveling around the blog world enjoying visits in peoples homes.   

Looking forward to seeing what you are all working on.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Julia and the dress of doom....

So this dress is what I was aiming for and after sewing, frogging, and re-sewing 9 times.... I got it.  Here are some pictures along the way, my husband estimates my time into the dress around 80 hours.  I think that is high but not terribly high this was a lot of work.  Come to find out none of them have made the dress, I am writing up notes so the next person has an easier time. 

Muslin work up first run, this clearly doesn't fit or line up.  In full panic mode I posted for help and several dear friends offered advice.  including your building a dress that was worn over a corset - you need to wear one to fit it.  So I ordered on from  and it arrived early and was wonderful, strong and pretty, even comfortable (unless you try to bend at the waist.)

7 re-sewings later.  The pattern is a bit out of order and assumes you will do things that are the opposite of how you would do it in a modern pattern.  The arms are too long.

This is the first day of the event.  I borrowed the apron, day cap and petticoats from the museum to finish off the look of the dress (which is about 1 1/2 inches too long) We demonstrated hearth side cooking and the different tools that would have been used. In the tin reflector oven is a roasted whole chicken, then a loaf of bread baked in the bee hive oven, red cabbage in a dutch oven, bread pudding in a dual heat dutch oven, clockwork spit is also in the picture.  We also made ginger bread cookies, schrewsbury cakes (rosewater flavored cookies,) Kentucky fried apples in spider pans, corn bread and rib eye & pork chop combo on the bedside/room spit.

My bread from the bee hive oven, gingerbread cookies and the chicken from the second day. I also got to feed the animals on the farm and make vats of 'tea' for the event.  So far I am enjoying my internship.  I will be making some costuming for the men, they have lots of stuff they made back when they would get Americorps volunteers, but it is sized to fit a young college kid.  This will also allow me to earn some of my internship hours while at home as the museum is about 2 1/2  hours from my house.

I hope you find as I did a revitalized commitment to something you care about, a new view and appreciation of a person you had discounted and the determination to keep going no matter how many times you have to frog it.  ~ Julia

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Garfield Project

At least the current one.  As part of my internship, I will be helping at there Candlelight event, doing hearth cooking demonstrations.  I need to be in costume for the period of the museum's interpretation 1841 to 1853.  I have a dress sample from them to work from and a pattern, they also gave me material to work with.  The material is in no way what they were telling me it needed to be and does not correspond to my own research.  The pattern is period correct, but very much an old fashioned pattern and written from studying a dress.  The dress sample has a lot of alterations from the pattern that remove the authenticity, but do help to aide in understanding the construction.    After I finish the one with their material, I plan to make a corset and a second dress.  I also want to help them but writing the directions out and marking the pattern out for people sized people. 

Monday musings...

Joining Nadja at Patch o Dirt Farm this morning...

Right Now... it's 9:57.  The boys are at school.  Mouse is 7 today!  The girls are still asleep - we had a big weekend but this is weird.  the dishes are going.  Jim is working after taking vacation last week.  The house is quiet.

This Weekend... was crazy busy.  Friday, Beaver had two friends over to celebrate, belatedly, his birthday.  I had a ton of work for my class.  Normally the readings take a few hours and the work takes between 1-3, this week I read for 4 days straight.  Knit like crazy while reading too. 

Saturday morning was the parents meeting for the US Junior Scale Modeling Team.  We met at a authentic french cafe about 30 minutes from my house.  I suspect being so frazzled by finding a place to park that you order anything is authentic all busy cities.  I should have taken a picture of the pastry case.  I had a Praline Dacquosie and it was good, however, as I make all the parts that go into it at home, I should have ordered something I did not know how to make.  The upside is I am making it right at home.   The meeting went well, Nathaniel is not doing well enough at school to meet the team requirements, but they believe in him and have offered to help as needed.  Just have to pull his grades up and restore his self confidence.

Saturday afternoon, I had crafting circle at my house.  Two dear old friend's and their kids came.  We had a lovely visit, which is good as one really needs her life back (leaving an abusive relationship) Then we had game night (everyone plays board games) and two more friends came, these guys we used to see all the time and I have missed dearly.  Hopefully we will see more on them in the future. 

Sunday I skipped church as I still had so much work to do.  Felt bad but Mouse's birthday started at 3 and my homework was due at 5.  I finished, cake, party prep, and homework at 3:45.  He had a great time. 

I got all but 4 things I set out to do this weekend done.  One I finished after everyone left for the night.

Some plans for the week...  Try to clean out one kitchen drawer, at least one, if I get crazy one a day.  Mid-term I missed while out west for the funeral.  Christmas crafting, lots of Christmas crafting.  Talk to adviser about next semester. Costuming project for Garfield Farm Museum.

If I find some time for myself, I would like to...  figure out the project Gutenberg thing for my nook so I can read more cheaply.

I am grateful for... my seven year old.  My husband.  Sleepy cuddles. 

Some prayerful intentions this week... several friends need some prayers.  I want to focus on being in the moment more, living this time not what happened a year ago or is going to happen next, and not being so focused on getting this thing done, then the next thing done.  More on being. 

Some things that make me smile...  Sleeping children with their heads under the blanket but their toes sticking out, just begging to be tickled.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yarn Along - Beaver's gloves take two.

Joining Ginny at Small Things in the yarn along again today.  I am looking forward to seeing what everyone is working on and reading.

Could not decide which photo worked best so here are all three.  I finished a scarf in Peruvian wool that I bought nearly 12 years ago - before I could knit.  I never made anything with it, so this year I decided to make up a scarf and it would be a nice Christmas present.  Well it will make at least two.  This one is for my cousin Jessica.  I took this project west with me and the night of Grandma's wake, Jess wanted to open the bottle of wine she brought with her while we played cards.  No corkscrew.  Hotel couldn't help.  Mom suggested pounding a key into the cork with a shoe, which we tried.  Then she said "if you had a knitting needle...."  if I have a knitting needle????  I grab mine, which was a circular size 10 with this scarf on it.  I jammed it in and said "Nonnie (pet name for grandma) we need the wine!"  Pop, wine spurting everywhere, cork inside the bottle, house keys still looped on my sister's hands, knitting needle and scarf in mine.  We had a good time hanging out and I thought Jessica would love to have the scarf.  As I have enough for a second one cousin Sean who was also in on this will get one, and I will have to come up with a small something out of the leftovers for my sister and me.

I re-cast on the gloves which are very late for Beaver's birthday.  They are going well, and the right size this time.  Should have done a gauge the first time.  I did ignore the pattern a bit as the cuff was suppose to be garter stitch and I didn't like it so stockinette it was.  He seems to like them and I think I will have enough to do up a matching hat or scarf, for Christmas.

I am between books right now.  The plaid case is the cover I made for my nook.  Really enjoying much more than I expected.  I have read The Evil Inside by Heather Graham, Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil Moneil so far.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keeping it real...

That's a box of un-matched socks, the counter and table are dirty too.

actually these look better than the floor did.
Reading Tricia at Crunchy Catholic Momma  has me thinking about priorities.  I have prioritized craft projects and having fun with the kids, and posting here (and quite a few other things) over cleaning.  I do clean quite often but it is more important to me to have fun with the kids, cuddle, sew, knit, read, are you getting the idea.  I get a lot done but don't ever want anyone to think they can't do something because they are comparing themselves to me and imagining that my life or house is perfect.  So here it is keeping it real Tuesdays, were we take a picture of something in our house that  needs attention, if you were coming to my house right now, I'd be madly scrambling to clean this quick before you arrived.  Oh and while writing this as fast as I can so can can sneak in a shower I really need, I am making bread for dinner and pizza for lunch.  I will be later than I wanted for visiting with a friend and have people coming tonight.  (I did sweep after taking this shot, but didn't get to mopping it.  I prioritized smelling good over unsticky floor.)

a long while in pictures.

My mother drive us nuts picking up pamphlets and brochures and never reading them much less tossing them after.  We had to take this picture for her.

The girls made me a tea party before I went out west.
My mother riding the luggage cart back to her room after grandma's wake. 

My cousin dressing her daughter in the costume we all helped at making the night before the wake.  Lollipop did not want to wear this beautiful red riding hood cape, until her mom said but it's your coat.  On it went. 

This was supposed to be last weeks yarn along photo.  My mother in law got me a nook for my birthday.  I love it.

tiny little tree up north.  Dad & I took some nature shots before my aunt got there.

I really like the picture of person taking a picture shots.  I doubt he knows I took this.

Middle of Wisconsin driving by.  right after I put the camera away we drove past a field with at least 50 cranes, couldn't tell if they were sand hill or blue herons.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Musings....

Back to routine if I can find some.

Right now... I am drinking cold tea, smelling dinner - roast chicken and veggies - and getting hungrier by the minute.  Badger is crashed out on the couch so I will not be sleeping tonight.  The other are playing legos nicely. 

This weekend... I went up north to the house up there with my dad, 6 hour drive, we stayed in a tiny little motel that is run by a very nice older gentleman.  We had a nice drive, dinner at Chili's and breakfast at the little cafe in St. Germain that has a wolf theme and awesome food.  Then we drove to the house, two large trees are blocking the drive.  My aunt and uncle met us there.  The house is worse, but given that it was poorly built, maintained worse and no one has lived in it or done anything to it in 7 years that is not surprising.  A Realtor looked at it in case they decide to sell - and stated firmly that the house is a lost the value is in the property - which my aunt needed to hear.  Dad is still hoping a miracle will solve his problems and he will be able to buy my aunt out without having to do any thing for achieve that.  We went through everything taking most of the items that would be ruined by staying or that people wanted and could get into their car.  Several steps forward and all civilly!  I did not get home until 11 but it was worth it to be productive. Sunday, I cuddled my family then went to the Garfield Farm Museum Volunteer dinner.  great time.  I got situated with my next two (or more) projects.  Will post about that later in detail.

Some plans for the week...  Visiting a dear friend at the woman's shelter she is living at.  I am so proud of her for leaving her abusive husband.  She did it months ago but only told me today.  She's offering me some advice on my newest sewing project for the museum.  I also need to do some basic housecleaning and finish up Mouse's birthday presents - I want to make him a sewing kit - his party is Sunday.  Because of the timing of my grandma's death Beaver is having a few friends to sleep over this Friday so hounding him to clean his room is also on the agenda.

If I find some time for myself, I'd like to... sleep as that is all the time I expect to find in the next few weeks.

I am grateful for... My husband, who sometimes manages to tell me what I need to hear even when I don't want too and who will never try to hurt me.  My kids for throwing themselves at cuddling mommie time.  My Dad, even when I am mad at him, he is a good man.  My friends for taking frantic venting phone calls from me.  My cousins for being there when I needed them most, even if there was on the phone. 

Some special prayerful intentions this week...  In addition to praying for friends and family, I am going to pray for calm and peace, for everyone to try to understand their feelings before speaking and before judging.

Something that makes me smile... Being home, just that.

Thanks Nadja at Patch of Dirt Farm for hosting the musings.

Friday, November 11, 2011

a world without

Have not written in a while, too heartbroken and angry.  I did not want to write in anger.  I did not know what to write. 

Grandma has been gone since the 25th.  Day before my birthday.  I took Mom out west for the hardest and worst trip of my life.  I got the chance to spend a lot of time getting to know my cousins better.  Nothing like being in a house filled with anger and stress to help you bond. 

I am now praying for my aunt, that she get the help she needs, counseling, medicine, clergy all three. 
I am praying for my Uncle to survive this mess as the strong gentle man I know he is. 
I am praying for their marriage. 
I am praying for my cousin who because he lives there has been my aunt's confidant in too much. 
I am praying my mother learns to take responsibility for her health care and gets organized. 

I am praying for myself to learn that the most important familial obligations are the ones who live under my roof and to learn to say no and mean it when my parents want me to do something or put me into a situation where they want everything but are unwilling to do even the most basic things to help themselves.  I love all of them, but they are grown ups and I have other people to care for and worry about that are not. I want to help my family, but they need so much and it is always so stressful and anger filled and never enough. Last time I went out west my Uncle made an offhand comment about how I am an obedient daughter.  I told him I was not, but I think he is right, I am the dutiful daughter and I realize that the stress is breaking me.  I am really having a hard time with all of this and I can feel myself slowly slide into depression.  I can not do that again.  I will not allow myself to get back to a place where I really could not see the light.  I owe my children a good and happy life.  My husband deserves my hand in his, my efforts working to our goals and family.

This time while awful has brought a lot of introspection. My children are coloring pictures to sent to my grandpa. 

I am glad I went, Grandma was sent off with a prayer shawl, the rug I knit her, a sweater in yellow she knit, a ball of whit yarn with a project on the needles, and an extra ball of soft red and needles, at the last minute grandpa slipped in her favorite sandals (grandma was always worried about getting to heaven barefoot). We included a postcard of her hometown that shows the building the entire extended family went to after her mother's and sisters' funerals. 

Now I just have to figure out how to live in a world without her. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Phone calls

I didn't want to receive.  My aunt called last night, she could not get a hold of my parents.  The hospice my Grandma is in called and told them to come - they live in Colorado Springs,CO &  Grandma is in Cheyenne, WY - Grandma's condition had worsened.  They had just left on Sunday.  Grandma is so much worse and so we are waiting for the next call, too late to fly out for another goodbye, we wait to fly out for the final one.  I finally got a hold of my parents to find the reason the were unreachable is they were stuck in ER determining if the hospital was going to keep Mom again.  My Mom's health has been like this since I was 12, it is awful, but you learn to accept awful as normal.  Dad decided not to tell my mother as the Doctor decided to keep her at least overnight, what would be the point? Her doctor knows what is going on and is hoping to release her today.  I called my sister and told her about both.

Nothing has changed this morning, so I am cleaning house and folding laundry, packing my bags, and tucking my projects away or finishing them quickly.  Hoping to make parent teacher conferences tonight. Wishing it wasn't like this. 

Grandma was always they healthiest and strongest of all of us.  She told Mom a month or so ago, that she always hoped to go by getting really sick so she knew it was coming but having enough time to say goodbye to everyone.  Really she has gotten, that wish, in July they told us it would be days... I just want more, I always would have. We lived with her for a while when my father was in the Navy and in a lot of ways she raised my sister and me, hopefully I can be half the woman she is. 

I have decided to take the rug I was working on for her before she got sick and bind it off there and send it with her.  I am too superstitious to bind it off before she is gone, and could not work on it again without her and even if I did what would I do with it.  

The picture is the grave site of the professor Indiana Jones is supposed to be based on.  I don't seem to have Grandma's picture on my computer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In the kitchen...

 Thai chillies from the farmer's market ready to be dried, two trays plus a few more in the fridge for fresh use.  So pretty.
Candied lemon peel a bonus from the preserved lemons I am making, the ones in the bowl were meant to be chopped up to toss in hoska and other such breads in a few months, but is mostly being eaten instead. 

Yarn along - the start of Beaver's gloves

Having a great love of knitting and reading what could be better than a yarn along with wonderful artisans from all over the world. Nothing.  So head on over to Small Things and check out what Ginny and everyone are working on.

 There they are the much awaited double pointed needles from my local yarn shop - Beading Heart Studios - just when I was about to give up and find any needles from anywhere, they arrived.  I am hoping I will be able to get the fingerless gloves Beaver wants for this birthday (Nov. 1st) done in time but he has been warned it may only be one on-time.  I have never done gloves or worked on dpn for any length of time, a few rows here and there but knitting while holding a porcupine is something I have avoided.  I took these pictures last night then knit for an hour on the gloves - less than an inch - and 3 while gaming, talking and eating on the scarf (below) so it is almost done.

I am reading The Natural Knitter, it is interesting with some information on fibers, history, farming mixed in among the patterns.  I finished American Terrior this week and read Green Knitting which was very interesting with about 6 patterns I wanted to make in it.  When I have time....

 Quickie knit scarf for my cousin's nearly 3 year old daughter for Christmas.  Left over yarn from Cowl below.  This is on 17's and mostly done this morning.
Cowl for Jim's cousin for Christmas, she is 13 and I plan on making one for each of her sisters (different colors) and tucking a matching nail polish in the package.  This was done on the loom and finished in like 4 hours total, it still needs some blocking and tail tucking.