Tuesday, March 29

zero waste

For years I've been interested in going zero waste. I've made changes here and there that have lasted and others that haven't. I'm tempted at times to throw in the towel completely. I'm waiting for a home, so I can grow things and compost and have room to make and do whatever. I'm waiting for a laundry machine so I can use cloth diapers (I tried by hand but took it took up all my daylight hours washing and wringing.) Many things haven't happened the way I envisioned them to be. But it's all been lessons for my husband and I. Lessons in patience, perseverance, contentedness, acceptance, priorities... On and on... Anyways, this spark has flamed into flame and I'm trying again. This time with a gentler approach. We'll make changes one at a time when the time is ripe for it and not focus too much on what has to wait. I'll write about it here, even though I'm not sure I'll have anything new to say, I want to.

Thursday, March 24

socks for everyone (a simple, customizable sock pattern)


This week is my final knitting class. None of my students have finished their final projects, but they know how to knit so I'd say it was a success. Keeping in tune with sharing the knowledge of hand knitting, I'd thought I'd share this sock pattern I worked on over the winter with you. I made it for easy, mindless knitting that be could pick up and put down throughout the day but it would be very good for beginner knitters as well. Best of all it can be customized for any foot, yarn and needle. These socks are knit with an after-thought heel. That means that you knit a tube and then add the heel later. No short rows or picking up stitches are necessary. The outcome looks just as good as a sock made the traditional way. I might even like it better.
 
Bear in mind, I only tested this pattern once. Let me know if you run into trouble!

Socks for Everyone

You Will Need:
Sock yarn (I used Tosh sock in Cosmic Wonder)
U.S. 2 double pointed needles
Tapestry needle
Scrap yarn
Measuring tape
Stitch marker, if you are so inclined
Row counter (pencil and paper also work or a discerning eye)

Necessary Skills:
Cable cast on
Knit stitch
Purl stitch
Knitting in the round using DPN's.
SSK (slip slip knit)
K2TOG (Knit 2 together)
Kitchener stitch (instructions here.)

As I mentioned, you may choose to use other size yarn and needle. I will use the numbers I got using the listed yarn and needle for baby size 6 months and women U. S. 7 or 9 inches (in parentheses.)

To begin, measure the circumference of the ankle (I measured a couple inches up from the ankle bone.) Determine how many stitches you'll need to get the circumference of the ankle by casting on 10 stitches using the needle and yarn you'll be using and knitting several rows of stockinette. Measure it across and see how many stitches per inch you knit (gauge). For example: 6 stitches per inch X 5.5 inch ankle = 33 stitches. Add or subtract stitches to make your number divisible by 4. I chose to add and got 36 stitches. 

Cast on 36(56) st. using the cable cast on method. Divide stitches so that half of the total amount are on 1st needle (18[28]), 1/4 of total on 2nd and 3rd needle (9[14]) 

First row: *k2, p2* until desired cuff length is reached (9[18] rounds)

After cuff is finished begin next round: *k3,p1* until leg is desired length (2[5] inches.)

Next round: cut yarn and knit across first needle using scrap yarn. Cut scrap yarn when you get to the end of first needle and pick up main yarn to finish the round. 

knitting in the scrap yarn for where the heel will be

Continue knitting in established rib pattern until sock measures from scrap yarn line to needles your desired foot length from heel to first toe knuckles(3[6] inches.)

Begin toe shaping:
First round, 1st needle: K1, ssk, knit to last 2 st, k2tog. 2nd needle: k1, ssk, knit rest of needle. 3rd needle: knit until 2 sts remain, k2tog.
Second round: knit across every needle.

Continue repeating these two rounds until about 1/3 of stitches remain. Combine stitches from 2nd and 3rd needle onto one. 

Use Kitchener stitch to stitch closed. Cut yarn.

Note: I knit inside out. I recently learned that not everyone knits this way. I don't think it will effect the pattern at all except for at this stage. To use Kitchener stitch your sock must be right side facing!

stitches for heel divided

Heel: carefully pick out scrap yarn and catch stitches on two needles (top and bottom.) You should have the same # of stitches you began with, half on top needle and half on bottom. 

Divide bottom needle onto two needles (it will be the same set up as the body of the sock.)

Begin knitting just as you knit for the toe decreases. Repeating both rounds until about 1/3 of stitches remain and stitching closed with Kitchener stitch.


finished size 7 sock

Weave in ends.

Wednesday, March 16

frayed curtain



An accident while dusting lead to a homemade frayed linen curtain and matching reversible cover for the old towel we've been using as our bathmat (no store bought mat will do in the strange shaped space.) Over a year in and it's just now starting to feel like home. Maybe I'll go now and "wash" the other blinds.

Monday, March 14

inconsequential days




Twice this week I was handed car keys and an hour to do as I might while a grandmother watched N. Both times my attempts went unfulfilled in that what I really wanted to do I wasn't able for one reason or another beyond my control. At the end of my outings I was mildly refreshed but mostly feeling frazzled and like I had missed out on spending time with those grandmother's and my little N (who I never really want to leave anyways.) One vehicle and two adults can really put a damper on things. I'm excited for the day when we can get another car but for now the light has been dawning on what I've been given through the absence. Noah and I are able to lead peaceful and rhythmic days without the option to go here and there. People know we're home and are more likely to stop by just to say hello which is always a treat. It's true that within boundaries there is freedom. The haven of our home life is being established as well as perfected because of all this time I can devote to it. Our outings have more intention behind them. It's really a blessing and I know one day when I have a car in the driveway, a list of errands and a handful of more children running about I'll remember these days that felt so inconsequential, so tucked away, and see how they formed us.

Also, my second outing wasn't so bad as I found ahi tuna and sushi rice in bulk to make E and I celebratory end of the week sushi bowls. 

Friday, March 4


The floors are being kept extra clean, the last few items deemed dangerous have been moved to higher grounds and we are officially baby proofed. Besides the fact that every piece of furniture we own has about 112 sharp corners, I feel pretty good about it all. All this new physical order has opened my senses to the invisible busyness that's been lurking in my mind. Having the world wide web at your fingertips 24/7 while sometimes seems like some kind of savior, has been showing itself to me as something much more akin to a burden. The constant information overload is making reading even 3 pages of a novel a battle. I've read essays about this stuff, nodded my head in agreement and now I'm seeing it rear its ugly head in my own life. I've begun to gently break the cycle and relearn to rely on the know-how that is already present, the stuff that's just innately there and my first love, books, when needed. As usual Laura Ingalls Wilder has some frank advice and encouragement to lend (sidenote: I read this in the actual book):

We are coming, I think, to depend
too much on being told and shown
 and taught instead of using our
 own eyes and brains and inventive
 faculties, which are likely to be just as
 good as any other person's.
 
-Little House In the Ozarks


Wednesday, January 27

welcome, wool


 Just as I was biting my lip in the effort of finding a warm, quiet, natural fiber blanket that did not cost the same amount as a month of rent, we were given this precious late marriage gift. Now we're so very cozy but still waiting for a certain someone to learn to sleep for longer than an hour at a time. One thing at a time, I suppose. 


Tuesday, January 5

Currently coming into this new year,
I am a wife, mother and volunteer knitting teacher.

To think that less than two years ago,
I was just me working at the library down the road. 

2015 was filled with newness, change, challenge, decisions and busy-ness. I am hoping for a much quieter 2016 filled with enjoyment, reading and vegetables.

But who knows what will happen?

Wednesday, June 13

pelican island



It was spitting rain, windy and cold all day. But we insisted on staying a whole 7 hours. Faith fell asleep on the sleeping bag. I ate popcorn and watched the moody Atlantic.

Thursday, May 31

hardened earth



Many hours by the creek, gathering ourselves, feeding on silence. This trampled earth has to break before the seedling can sprout.