natural dyeing + a little family etsy shop

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Like most of you, I’ll be busy this week prepping to host Thanksgiving at our home + birthday celebrations (on the same day) for Philippa.  Last night I wove in the ends and sewed on the buttons for her birthday sweater.  Brandon and I spent some time on Saturday shopping for her other gifts as well.  I think we are mostly prepared!  I am so happy with the way her sweater turned out.  Of course, it’s a lovely and classic pattern but it was really special to have dyed the yarn myself and see the sweater come together from start to finish.  I have a couple skeins of avocado dyed yarn that I didn’t need and I plan to include them in my first small etsy shop update.  I don’t know when I will actually get that little shop open but I do think I’ll be ready soon.  I hope that some of you find that exciting because I’m doing this not only to help provide for my family, but also to share some knitted goodness with those of you who have shown interest, as well as some other hand made things from our home.  Anyway, more about that soon, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

I never thought I’d be into dyeing yarn and I was so surprised with how much I enjoyed the whole process, particularly using things from our home like leftover avocado pits + skins, and marigolds from our garden.  I hope to get to do it again someday!

In other news, Wren has taken to crawling and is so very proud of herself.  Last week she realized she could get around from room to room, and the exploring and getting into everything has commenced.

yarn along

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Amid all of the baby and birthday/gift knitting I’ve been doing lately, there are some longer-term “selfish” projects on my needles, and my marley shawl is one of these.  I’m new to brioche, in fact this is my first brioche project and I really enjoy it.  I do have to work on it when I can do the eight-row repeat without interruption so that I don’t lose my spot.  Well, truthfully at this point I feel like I’ve got it under my belt and it’s easier to figure out where I’ve left off, but it’s still not a project I like to pick up and work on unless I have a longer bit of time to focus on it.  So I’m sure it’ll languish on the needles a bit and I hope to have it done sometime this winter season because I can’t wait to wear it/use it (as in, now!).  I counted rows last night and realized I’m about half way through, so that was exciting and surprising!  The yarn is so enjoyable and brioche is beautiful and squishy.    One of my knitting goals for the year was to learn brioche and it’s surprisingly much easier than I expected.  My other knitting goal was to try color work, and I have a project planned for that which I hope to start SOON!  I’m about to finish a few projects which feels good.

I’ve been realizing lately that in all our busyness, reading time is getting cropped out of the day (as in, chapter book read-aloud time).  Brandon began reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle (affiliate link) to the kids in the evenings, and I began reading this book to the kids during our school morning which I was given as a child, Treasure in the Big Woods.  I must have won it in Sunday School as a child for a bible drill or something (it isn’t listed on amazon).  Both have been enjoyable for all of us!  I’m still reading Liturgy of the Ordinary  (affiliate link) as well.

What are you reading or making lately?

Joining with Ginny’s yarn along and Nicole’s Crafting On.

 

yarn along

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I finished the body and am onto the first sleeve of Philippa’s birthday sweater, which I’m knitting with yarn I dyed myself.  I’m really happy with it!  It’s probably time to hunt for buttons.  The weather has turned colder here and I always feel a bit caught by surprise when I start digging through bins of children’s winter clothes and layers and discover what we are short on.  It seems wren needs a few more warm layers, and I’m wanting to cast on all the things.

I didn’t finish Home Education Vol. 1 (affiliate link) but it was due back at the library.  I made it about half way and I would recommend it and probably should buy it for myself.  The Liturgy of the Ordinary (affiliate link) is a book Brandon gave me for my birthday back in June and I’ve been forcing myself to wait to read it.  If you’ve been around my blog for any time at all, you know that this theme of the sacred found in the ordinary is the theme I seem to orbit around the most and find the most fascinating.  I’m planning on going on a little solo retreat early November and was hoping to read it then but I couldn’t wait, so I started it the other evening.  I love it already.

What are you reading and making lately?

Joining Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.  Feel free to join in, too!

yarn along

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What a week it was last week!  This week is busy as well, and knitting truly helps keep my sane in the midst of it all.  I’m almost done with the first sleeve of my Tegna and can hardly believe I might be able to block it and have it ready to wear this week!  Woohoo!!! In the meantime, I cast on for Philippas birthday sweater, another Sunday sweater (pattern by Ginny) with my hand dyed yarn (dyed with avocados).  I will share more about this yarn soon, if and when I get a chance to shoot out another post.  In the meantime, it is the squidgiest wool and I had no idea how much satisfaction and joy it would bring me to knit with yarn I’ve dyed myself!  It makes me even more excited to see the finished product.  I plan to knit all of the girls a “sunday sweater,” having already finished wren’s (except for buttons! gah!).  Philippa and Phoebe will both get one as their birthday sweater with the yarn I’ve dyed myself.  I’ve also ordered yarn for Noah’s birthday sweater and now I have more knitting ahead than I can probably finish in time, but I will try.  Kid sweaters sometimes go really quickly for me and I’m hoping I’ve started early enough to accomplish them.

ALSO… sorry for the different format of the photo.  Tragically, I dropped my DSLR camera last week while on a hike and I believe it is toast.  I am hoping to drop it off at a repair shop soon to find out details because I won’t be able to do much of my usual blogging, family pictures, and also the (very) part time work I do taking photos for my husband/dad’s work website. 😦 😦 😦  Very sad.

I’m still reading Home Education (affiliate link).  Enjoying it but needing a fiction book soon methinks.

Joining Nicole’s weekly crafting on.

 

yarn along

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I’m working on the front shoulders of my tegna sweater and I’m really excited to have this piece done to wear this fall.  The weather here hasn’t really cooled yet so it should be done just in time.

I’m also almost half way through (affiliate link) Home Education and am really enjoying it.

What are you reading and making?

Joining with Ginny’s Yarn Along and Nicole’s Crafting On.

 

 

 

 

yarn along

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When the yarn arrived for my tegna sweater I couldn’t help casting on as soon as possible.  I labored a bit over sizing because this top is supposed to be oversized and boxy, and I really want it to fit just as the designer models it.  I did a swatch but didn’t want to take the time to block it, so I’m hoping that mine turns out as I want it to!  I’d like to have this top to wear this fall, possibly to the big fiber festival that happens in our area the last weekend of October, so other projects are being neglected a bit as I work on this. Also, I am loving ever single second working on it.  My first time with mohair, it is lovely!

I’m still reading the last couple of books I’ve shared over the last few weeks but also picked (affiliate link) The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook up from the library.  I feel like I’m falling more deeply into this craft and loving it so, and am fascinated by understanding different fibers and how they behave.  It has been fun to peruse this book and it’s one I would like to eventually add to our library.

What are you reading and making lately?
Joining with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.

making progress

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I mentioned a couple of posts back that we’ve been doing some work on our little “school room” which is a room right off of our kitchen, where my laundry room and also our little sunroom adjoin.  Since moving into our home over a year ago it was my plan to make some changes in this area of the home and make it more suited to study.  I think creating an environment that is beautiful, simple, clean and inspiring is important to foster learning.  Last year we mostly did schoolwork in the living room, but it became a difficulty for phoebe to focus, and for me always lugging all of our supplies and books from the school room over to the living room.  Thus far, keeping our schoolwork in the school and sun room area has really made a difference in helping us all to focus and I love having all of our supplies within reach.  It was essential to me to make a “bigger kid” space for Phoebe that was clean, minimal and well-lighted.  Brandon does such a great job taking my ideas and making them happen.  He built for me a simple floating desk in a little nook that was in the school room, and I think it’s been fun for Phoebe to have a more grown-up feeling area to work.  He also finished the chalkboard I dreamed up and I love everything about it.  I was just telling him last night what a huge difference it makes in our school room and in our teaching/learning to be able to write things out and keep work up on it that we aren’t finished with yet.  There is still, of course, a lot I would like to do in this space, but as with most projects we take on in this season of life we have to take small steps at a time because of both time and cost.  Instead of feeling like I want it all to be perfectly “done” all at once, I’m happy to make it a goal to improve, add to, and tweak it every new school year.  It grows as our little home school grows.  Anyway, I promised to share finished photos with you, so here they are, messy desk area and all.  I think a nice big rug would make this space a bit more cozy, a really great overhead light to replace that old fan (because this room is the least well-lit room in our home, unfortunately), and I will probably work on replacing chairs in this room as well.  We may add some book shelves in somewhere (the wall where the map is now?) because our school book collection is growing steadily.  Brandon would love to vault the ceilings in this room and create a nook up in the attic area above it, but those are lofty dreams.

I feel like I have a lot of creative projects on the go and in my mind.  I would really like to (and sort of need to) update and overhaul this blog space.  I mentioned that I have a few homemade items that we would like to sell in a little family etsy shop space.  I need to get that up and running, hopefully in October!  I have a litany of knitting projects and of course, Christmas and birthdays are approaching and I have a few birthday sweater ideas for the kids.  So there is a lot to work on and really so little time in the nooks and crannies that are leftover in a day.

I spent most of a recent Saturday working in the garden, pulling out the zucchini and squash and peas that were dead (everything got powdery mildew a few weeks ago) and tying up the tomatoes, tilling the soil to prep for planting a fall garden.  It felt so very good to get in there and clean everything up after some weeks of neglect.  Our tomatoes, green peppers, herbs, asparagus, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, and zinnias are still going strong, although with hurricane florence expected to arrive here Thursday evening, I wonder if we will have much that survives.  Maybe it’s good I haven’t planted any fall things yet?  I’ve never done a fall garden and don’t really know if I’m too late anyway, so if you have any tips on that, do comment below and share your wisdom!  I was hoping to do a lot of greens like spinach, arugula, kale, and try again at beets (the groundhog destroyed what I had planted earlier in the summer).  Is it too late to plant some butternut squash?

Our marigolds are abundant, and although I’ve sworn up and down to Brandon that I’d never have an interest in dyeing yarn, something has suddenly switched and I’m curious to use some of the plants we have in abundance on our little property to try a little natural dyeing.  (Because I really need to add another project to my plate!)  I’m really only planning to try dying a few skeins for sweaters for my girls, but we’ll see.  Both girls wandered into the garden with me to harvest the marigold blooms and all of the children want to help me dye.  I think it could be a fun little science-y experiment for us all.  You see your whole yard and surroundings differently when you know how many plants give such vibrant color!

Also, about the hurricane.  We are in the western part of NC in the mountains, but are still slated to see quite a bit of wind and rain.  Typically with any big storm our neighborhood looses power and has some flooding (our unfinished basement almost always floods), so that’s probably the worst that we will see.  Maybe some downed trees.  We do have some family on the coast who stand to suffer quite a bit more, so our thoughts and prayers are with them and with everyone bracing for a fairly big hurricane.  If things are quiet here on the blog it may be because we are out of power.  I went through the garden yesterday gathering as much as I could, and then made the most simple and amazing roasted tomato soup with all of our big heirloom tomatoes.  Hoping everyone stays safe, warm, and cozy this week/weekend.