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.

making by hand

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Last week we were having our AC unit replaced and while the guys were here working on it for the morning, I took the kids out for a bike/walk around the neighborhood.  I quickly realized something was going on as cars were buzzing in and out of our usually quiet streets, lining the roads all around our home.  People were walking to their cars carrying boxes, armfuls of wood, all manner of odds and ends.  I asked one guy what was going on and he said an estate sale was happening around the corner.  We decided to stop in the sale since it was on our usual walk route.  How strange to go inside a home that we have walked by hundreds of times, one of our neighbors that I don’t think we’ve ever met.  Strange, to wonder what has happened to them, to see everything in their home with a price tag on it, people hustling in and out of rooms hawking items.  All their precious things, their life held in the chipped and peeling walls.  How much you can uncover about a person by just entering their home, seeing what they’ve held onto, what mattered to them.  Walls and walls of old books, probably a treasure trove though I didn’t have time to hunt through them.  She had a craft room–bags of yarn, half-finished projects, piles of crocheted afghans.  Old dolls, an ancient sewing machine on a wooden table with patterns for dolls clothes and such stored in a tupperware nearby.  Shelves of crafting books.

All these things, her treasures, now priced and sorted through by strangers.  How odd really, that things come to us, we hold them, transform them maybe and then they slip through our fingers and go to someone else.

She was a maker and I wondered at how many other women in my little neighborhood spend their evenings like I do, with needles in hand or some other handmade project.  I don’t know why it struck me as profound, but it did.  All this work of our hands, and why does it matter?

I think because of my love for knitting, my children are “catching” the value of handmade things + craft.  At least, I hope they do.  I think the mindfulness and intentionality of it, the sense of accomplishment in finishing a project, the stimulus of creativity–all is good.  I recently ordered some little cotton muslin bags and a couple of pounds of dried organic lavender flowers to make my own little satchels for our closets.  On a rainy afternoon, it was a perfect activity.  Noah and Philippa filled up all the little bags with scoops between sips of warm tea, and then helped place the little bags in our closets and around my (small) yarn stash.  Lavender is a beneficial in so many ways, as most of us well know, in relaxation and helping to aid sleep.  It is also a pest/bug deterrent and helps keep woolens smelling good and unappealing to moths.  Every time I open our closets now, it makes me smile, the rush of the scent of lavender fields.

Phoebe also requested some new loops for her weaving loom, and she has been busy making beautiful, colorful little squares.

All these things, into our fingers, slipping through.

littlest sunsuit

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I finished Philippa’s sunsuit last week and was able to snap a few photos of her in it this morning.  She seemed thrilled to put it on, this thing she’s seen mommy working on, and she danced around and cried, “ditty!” which is how she says “pretty.”  I’m really proud of it, even if I made a few mistakes and learned some things along the way.  Can’t wait to make more knits for my babies!  The pattern for this sunsuit is here and the yarn I used was some leftover skein from Michaels, I believe the lion brand 100% wool but can’t remember the color way.

yarn along

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I’ve finished all the kids socks (pictures below) and am working on Brandon’s now.  But I seem to need a couple projects going at once, so when my wooden circular needles came in the mail (late christmas gift from brandon) I got to work on a hat.  I’m just making up a pattern as I go, and have never worked decreases on a hat before or knitted a hat in the round, so I’m hoping it turns out okay!  I’m just about to start the decreases.

Also, I seem to keep multiple books going at once, too.  I picked up  I Capture the Castle from my shelves this week, just in need of some fiction lately.  I remember enjoying it years ago and can’t quite remember much about it, so it’s been interesting to get back into it.  I’m about a third of the way through.  I think my perspective as a single girl reading it (before) is quite different now, almost 10 years of marriage and three children later.  Love stories just read differently when your love story has mostly been written rather than being a blank page of wonderment before you, if that makes sense?

Anyway, it’s a nice diversion.  As promised last week, here are some pictures of Philippa’s finished socks and the three kiddos all together.  I see lots of mistakes in these socks, but I learned a TON and really had fun making them, and I prefer character over perfection anyway.

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What are you knitting or reading?  (Joining up with Ginny today.  Go check out what lovely things others are making/reading for some inspiration!)

yarn along

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I haven’t been getting much reading done lately, with all the birthday and Christmas and family celebrations.  I’m still working through Parables and The Things of Earth.  I’m itching for a good fiction, though.  I have a list waiting, just need to force myself to finish up what I’m reading before I move onto something else.  James Herriot’s Treasury for Children was one of the kids’ Christmas gifts and we started on it today.  They seemed to really love it, as I figured they would.  They love anything having to do with animals + farm life, and so do I, really.

Noah’s first sock is done and I’m part way through the gusset of sock 2.  I hope to have it done by tomorrow.  He seems more excited about these than Phoebe did, so I’m hoping he likes them!  She told me after I gave her hers for Christmas that she wanted red, not pink, and that they were too hot and poke-y.  Ahh!  But when I told her I’d just hand them down to her sister, she seemed suddenly quite attached to them.

Either way, I enjoyed making them. 🙂

(Joining up with Ginny Sheller’s weekly Yarn Along today)

 

yarn along

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So I’ve begun on Noah’s first Christmas sock, most likely won’t be done by Christmas but still plugging away at it.  I also burned the midnight oil last night trying furiously to finish these two knitted projects for Phoebe’s birthday (today), a scarf with this super soft purple yarn that she picked out and a knitted bonnet hat to match her sister’s.  She was SO excited and happy when she opened it and told me it was “just what she wanted,” which can only make every moment of sleep-deprivation worth while for this momma.  I just made up the pattern for the scarf, stockinette stitch with a seed stitch border and tassels.  It still rolls on the sides, but oh well.  She likes it! 🙂

I’m reading this new release by John MacArthur, Parables, and absolutely loving it.  I’ve been studying the Gospels all year long and so I was immediately drawn to this as I have been loving meditating on the parables of Jesus in the Gospels.  It is fascinating so far!

Here is the birthday scarf + hat:

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Can I just say, I love knitting?!

(joining up with Ginny Sheller’s yarn along today.)

yarn along

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So I FINISHED my very first sock!  I’m super proud and stoked.  I have learned a lot of new things while working on this one, and I’m pretty hooked on knitting.  I started the matching sock for it last night.  I am pretty eager and ancy to get these done before Christmas and I’m feeling like at this rate I will most certainly not get everyone’s finished!  😦  Phoebe has seen me working on these, she sort of thinks they are for her but I haven’t said anything directly.  Even this morning, Noah saw me taking these pictures and he was excited to see the finished sock.  He asked, “Is that Phoebe’s?”  And I said yes and he was so enthusiastic.  I have been sort of thinking they won’t be that excited about these, but both seem super interested and excited that mommy is maybe making them something.

Also, I’m still reading a couple of Advent books, and working through The Things of Earth but this book has been a favorite of mine with to read with the kids this year.  A library find, but I will probably have to buy it.  It is set in the mountains where we live, such a sweet story of a humble family and hope, and the little girl is named “Ruthie” just like our little Ruthie (Philippa Ruth).  I have added a list of some of our other favorite + treasured Christmas children’s books in my little book store (on the slide-out sidebar under “Recommended Reads”).

Joining up with Ginny Sheller’s weekly yarn along today.