Books and Reading

Disability and Sustainable Living

Small Innovations + Big Changes

Being able-bodied is a temporary state. We will all face disability at some point in our lives, either directly experiencing it, or supporting a loved one with a disability. If we want to help create sustainable homes for our families, and a more sustainable world for everyone, we’ve got to increase accessibility.

YES, we need big systemic changes, but small innovations and person-to-person communication and support can make real differences in the lives of folks with limitations big and small. I notice as I’m getting older, I struggle more and more with arthritis in my hands and it becomes harder for me to do various activities for long periods like I could in my 20s or 30s.
I recently found out about a small tool that has helped me compensate for this limitation. It has made a meaningful difference in my life and reminds me that access to small innovations and tips can actually make BIG differences in the lives of folks who have disabilities.

If you’ve found strategies or tools that have increased your access to sustainable living, I would LOVE to hear about it in the comments! You can purchase a brass Victorian Sewing Bird here (affiliate link)

Thanks to  @CrowingHen  for clueing me into the existence of this lovely little tool, and for having a lovely channel whose content I enjoy binging while sewing or knitting!

Crowing Hen YT Channel

Books on Disability

(affiliate links. I make a small commission if you click the link when purchasing):

Disability Visibility
Unruly Bodies: Life Writing by Women with Disabilities
Demystifying Disability

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Should We Rebrand “Fair Share” as “Future Care”?

The Sticky 3rd Ethic of Permaculture

Permaculture has 3 Ethics.  The first two – Earth Care, and People Care – are fairly self-explanatory and widely accepted.  The third ethic, however, can be contentious – evoking strong emotional responses.  

So do we call it “Fair Share”?  “Share the Surplus”?  Or a new phrase I’ve heard tossed around for the past few years, “Future Care”?  Why does it matter, and how does it impact our permaculture? 

Starhawk’s article introducing Future Care as a term:

Books on Social Permaculture

(affiliate links, I get a small commission if your purchase through them, but feel free to use your local library):

People and Permaculture by Looby Macnamara: 

Cultural Emergence by Looby Macnamara:

Regenerative Design for Changemakers :A Social Permaculture Guide

My Dragon Mitts Pattern

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Cassis Shawlette

dsc_0834The Cassis Shawlette is off the needles and blocked.  I made a few alterations to the pattern and am extremely pleased with the results.


The yarn is Malabrigo laceweight I purchased on clearance ages ago and can’t remember the colorway.  It knits up very nicely, and I love the fuzzy halo and loft in the finished piece.  The yarn is extremely soft and great to work with.  I used about 3/4 of one skein for the shawlette and may make some baby booties with the remnants.

dsc_0841Joining Ginny for her Yarn Along today, where we share what we’re knitting and reading.  This weekend I’ll be reffing a men’s derby tournament in Eugene, so today I’m trying to get caught up on house chores and snuggle time with the kids.  I haven’t had much time to read, except for an hour before the kids got up this morning.  I read a little further in Robert Harrison’s Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition.  

Looking forward to catching up on everyone else’s posts in the Yarn Along when I get back Sunday night.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

January Sunshine

IMG_0441[1]Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along today with some sunny yellow sock knitting.  In the short, grey days of January, I often find myself picking bright, cheery yarn with which to knit.  It adds a little sunshine to the day.

The yarn is my old standbyBrown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted mill end seconds – an 85% wool, 15% mohair yarn which is very durable and felts nicely while you wear it – making it ideal for socks and mittens and soakers.   The colorway is Prairie Goldenrod, and I bought several skeins a while back because I knew it would be good for many kinds of projects.


The kids and I have enjoyed thumbing through this book together.  We missed our annual October camping trip because I was still recovering from my broken ankle and not able to hike.  We are contemplating a spring camping/backpacking trip, so camping books keep coming home with us from the library.


IMG_0439[1]While I work on the socks (an easy pattern on size 5’s for thick, warm socks), and the kids built with Legos, we watched this documentary on caribou.  The kids and I have been on a bit of an Alaska/Yukon kick for a while, and we’d love to take a family trip there someday.  I backpacked around Alaska when I was 16, but no one else in the family has been, and I’d love to show them the Tongass rainforest, the Mendenhall Glacier and climb Mt. Marathon again.  But most of all, I’d like go birdwatching and salmon fishing with the kids.  Maybe someday, but for now we enjoy reading books and watching documentaries on the subject and are content.

More soon, including late-winter gardening (Yes, there IS gardening to be done in January!).



Winter White Knitting


As is the Wednesday ritual: linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along and the KCCO.


The past few days, I’ve been re-reading The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading, and pouring over the plans in Build Your Own Barrel Oven.

IMG_0531A barrel oven seems like a very, very cool project for an outdoor oven, but after reading the construction details and seeing how one operates, I think we will stick with our original plan to build a simple cob wood-fired bread oven next summer.


I finished a little wool soaker for a friend having a baby.  It made for a nice break from the Christmas knitting projects, and baby garments are my favorite thing to knit.

IMG_0525The winter-white wool yarn is from the thrift store, so I don’t know the brand.  I suspect it has a little mohair in it, and it is quite soft and warm.

More soon:  this afternoon the kids and I are making pfeffernusse cookies and I hope to share our recipe later in the week.



Little Tomte, Wooly Squirrel


Astrid Lindgren’s The Tomten and The Tomten and the Fox are two of our most-cherished winter-time books.  I adored them as a child, and am very glad my kids love them, too.

A few years ago, Ruth made a needle-felted fox and little Tomten, and the boys still look forward to playing with them while I read the stories.  IMG_0548

The Tomten cares for the creatures of the forest and keeps watch over the animals of the farm.  He is a gentle, quiet little gnome and these simple stories of his unseen interactions on the farm resonate with young children.

My children have enjoyed their little Tomten and Fox playset so much, we have begun a tradition of felting little Tomte as Christmas gifts for friends with young children.


I set out everything to begin making a few, when Ruth decided to put the materials to better use:  crafting another friend for her own Tomten:


IMG_0557She wants to make it clear that he isn’t completed yet, but her little squirrel is beginning to take shape.  He still needs color and detail, but when finished, he will make a nice little addition to the Tomten play set.  Perhaps we can make a few more forest friends to join him, but for now, it is back to crafting a few more Tomten men.

Joining the KCCO today.  Back tomorrow with some knitting and books.



Christmastide Yarn Along


I’ve been enjoying this book in the quiet of the early morning.  The prayers and passages are perfect for that time of day, while I knit a few rounds of a simple pattern and contemplate the season in which we are immersed.  IMG_0508[1]

The simple knitting that has kept my hands occupied while my mind is engaged with the reflections of Christmastide has been a pair of uncomplicated red mitts.  The mitts above are a pattern I have enjoyed making many times before.  These are for a gift exchange, and will get gussied up with a bit of needle-felting before they are delivered to their recipient.


Red always seems like a good color for mittens.   My favorite mittens as a kid were a pair of red wool ones my grandmother knit long before I was born.  She ran out of wool before completing the last thumb, so it is a different shade – I always loved the quirkiness of that turkey red thumb against the vermillion of the rest.


The children continue to read and re-read the large stack of library books piled up in the sunroom.  Hal, age 6, has really enjoyed An Orange for Frankie.  The pictures are lovely, and the story is one he likes to hear over and over.


We picked up two big bags of satsumas this week, and I’ve kept a bowl of them out on the table for the kids to enjoy whenever they wish – it has already been refilled a few times.

After reading And Orange for Frankie, Hal and I read up on the tradition of giving citrus at the holidays – something we have in such abundance was once a cherished luxury.  St. Nicholas brings the children each a stocking on Christmas morning, and always leaves a tangerine in the toe – in Christmases past, it would have been the most treasured part, discovered last in the end of the stocking.

We were sure to really pause and savor the satsumas we snacked on as we read An Orange for Frankie one more time.  Hal also asked if we could make candied orange peels again – something we haven’t done in a long time.  I think that sounds like a very good idea.

Joining Ginny for the weekly Yarn Along, and also Frontier Dreams’ KCCO.

Grey Stripes and Good Books



Slowly, slowly, we are beginning to decorate for Christmas.  Advent candles and readings at dinner…working with Grandpa on a new homemade Advent Spiral (because we currently use a little birthday ring from my preschool years in Germany)…Christmas toys appearing in corners of the house where the boys are sure to find and play with them.


…and Christmas knitting continues in earnest.  George is growing like a weed and needs new hats.  While watching a documentary or two late at night, I knit up a little stocking cap for him (no pattern, just wingin’ it).  It is a study in grey, using leftover Kilcarra of Donegal tweedy yarn, and Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted I’ve had in my yarn dresser for years.  George is really into wolves at the moment, and I am deliberating adding some ears to the top of the hat.


In order to get library books in time for the correct season, I place holds on them 3 or 4 weeks ahead of time. We discovered years ago that if we wait to visit the library for books right when we need them, they will all be checked out.  Ordering well in advance is very important not only for seasonal books, but also to make sure we get homeschooling resources in a timely manner – and we have a home educator’s library card so we can place a hold on 40 items at a time.

This week, more than 20 winter books came in for us, and we have been pouring through them.  Right now, most are Arctic and winter nature books,and Waldorf-y books, but a whole stack of Christmas/Nativity-themed holds should be in at the library later this week.  With the darkness descending by 4:30 in the afternoon, we have plenty of quiet time to read through every book we’ve checked out.

Joining Ginny for her Yarn Along today.

Yarn Along: Annis

IMG_0143[1]Joining Ginny’s Yarn Along this week.

Knitting: I’m finishing up the Annis Shawl in Brown Sheep Nature Spun fingering weight yarn.  The yarn was purchased several years ago on clearance, but I had never found the  right pattern for it until I recently came across “Annis” on Ravelry.

Reading: Just finished re-reading How To Make A Forest Garden by Patrick Whitefield.  Every time I thumb through it, I glean something new to apply to our landscape.

On a whim I snagged On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-Rae Lee from the library “Best Picks” shelf.  It is a Dystopian post-apocalyptic novel, and while I am only two chapters in, I must say that the writing is light years better than other novels I have read lately from the same genre.  The prose is absolutely gorgeous – rich and vivid, and yet not in any way combersome.  Not surprising, considering Lee has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.



The rain today is dreadful, so much of the day was dedicated to play and craft projects in the living room, reading and mathematics, and all the sibling squabbles that come from being confined indoors.

Wishing you a peaceful rest of the week.




Permie Book + New Socks



Taking a break from a busy day to quickly join the Yarn Along.   I have a penchant for permaculture books, and something about reading up on landscape design and permaculture theory just pairs well with knitting.  This morning I finished The Resilient Farm and Homestead while casting on a pair of socks.

The book is well-written and not-t00-technical.  It is geared toward those folks with property, and/or those new to the ideas of resilience and permaculture homesteading.    While I may not have enough land for sheep and goats and a duck pond, the book still had a lot to offer, and it was nice to day dream while reading through it.



Here is the cuff of what will be stripey socks in beige, plum and dove grey, cast-on with 5s for a quick knit.  I snagged a bag of Lamb’s Pride worsted at a garage sale last weekend.  I couldn’t resist when it was such a good deal, and folks like me (with chilly feet!) can never have enough pairs of thick wool socks in the winter.

I’ve been cooking up lots of good things in the kitchen, and will be back tomorrow with one of my favorite summer recipes.

As always, looking forward to reading up on the other knitters in the Yarn Along later tonight while kiddos are in bed (and I crank out a few more inches on these socks.)


Yarn Along – Just Barely


Life is so frantic lately, I almost didn’t make Nicole’s KCCO or  Ginny’s Yarn Along this week.  I am having trouble keeping my head above water some days.  It seems to be a constant problem – four kids, busy schedules, deadlines, nowhere to cut back and simplify.  When life gets like this, I’m going to drop a ball somewhere, I just don’t know where yet…

This week, I’m re-reading some of of my favorite permaculture books.  I am working on a research project, and while I thought most of my reading would take place late at night (thanks to chronic insomnia), the kids had other plans.

Ruth and Bea (ages 10 and 8) found the stack of 7or 8 permie books and asked if we could read through them together.  Ruth, ever the artist,  is fascinated with all the diagrams and base maps and sketches.  Bea, ever the idealist, enjoys thinking about designing for conservation of resources and regeneration of the land.  We all enjoy reading them together.

(Our favorite is Jenny Allen’s Australian book, Smart Permaculture Design.  Oh, if only we could grow mangoes and avocados!)

IMG_8096George is growing like a weed, and has outgrown some of the wool soakers I made him a while back.  Those that still fit take a while to dry on the line, so we’re a little short in the rotation.  Over the last few months, I’ve collected some cashmere and merino sweaters from the thrift store (for $1-$2/each), and today I hope to get them cut up for more longies and short soakers.   There should be enough to make four for George and two infant-sized ones for baby shower gifts.

IMG_8106In the late winter, I tend to be a little burned-out on knitting, and try to fill the void with spinning projects.  Last week some folks here and on the Facebook page commented on all the spindle spinning, and asked what I had going on the wheel.

(Apologies for the fading light – it’s so hard to photograph in Oregon in January.  The color on the bobbin below is more true than above.)  Almost three years ago, I purchased a lot of mill-end Brown Sheep roving at a ridiculously cheap price (less than $8/lb).  I have worked through most of it on drop spindles, but this full pound of  teal with blue and black streaks (85% wool 15% mohair) is on the wheel.


My beat-up Louet S10 came with only two bobbins (it was supposed to come with three…long story.  Buyer beware on Craigslist!), and both are currently holding this yarn.  Trying to fill this bobbin so I can hurry up and ply them.  My goal is to make matching vests for Harold and George (There should be ample yardage out of a full lb), which will be sized to fit them this coming fall (you have to really plan ahead when planning a project from a bag of roving!).

And now it’s back to school work with the kids:  Ruth is tackling addition and subtraction of mixed numbers with unlike denominators, and she needs me right there to work through the problems with her.  We are trying to wrap up school work early today, because Bea has an appointment to read to the therapy dog at the library this afternoon (such a great program for cautious and struggling readers!), and Ruth is desperate to pick up her book on hold (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).

I will catch up on the other Yarn-Alongers later tonight.  Happy knitting and happy reading!



Alpaca and Social Permaculture

I’m tackling spinning for the Yarn Along this week.   Little by little, I am working my way through a 4 oz bag of first-shearing unwashed alpaca fiber (isn’t the coppery color lovely?).  This buttery soft fiber was a gift from my sister some years ago.  She picked it up from Foothills Fiber in Hood River, OR.

Originally, I was going to put this on the wheel, but both sets of bobbins are already full of other fibers, so I’ve been working on a drop spindle.  (I have 6 or so spindles going at any one time, so progress on any one fiber is fairly slow.)

This week, we have been thumbing through Discover Nature in Winter, as well as the classic primitive/survival skill book Participating in Nature.  The children and I are looking for winter activities out-of-doors that extend beyond the garden.

I have also just begun  The Sweet Spot: The Natural Entrepreneur’s Guide to Responsible, Sustainable, Joyful Work.  Lately, the Buddhist ideal of “right livelihood“  has really interested me.   It is similar to concepts of social and economic permaculture, in which the ideal is to take work that benefits the renewal of the land or the care of people and eschew jobs that damage the land, overuse resources, and exploit people.

Both my husband and I feel our careers (paid and unpaid) fall within this sphere.  I don’t think either of us could embrace a career that did not, and we love what we do.  I simply thought the book might be an educational read.

Okay, back to spinning while Bea does her read-aloud this morning.  Have a wonderful second half of your week!

Yarn Along for a New Year

Glad to be joining Ginny this morning, as she restarts her Yarn Along for 2013.

Today is our first day back to homeschooling after winter break. This year, in an attempt to better meet our children’s educational and emotional needs, we’ve made some changes to the way we “do homeschool”.  From the outside, I think most observers would still label us “unschoolers”, and sometimes I would agree, but sometimes we need some more structure.  That is the beauty of educating at home – styles, focus, areas of interest, can all ebb and flow in order to best facilitate joyful and natural learning. 

A friend, who is having a similar journey with unschooling/homeschooling, connected us Melissa’s blog- Here in the Bonny Glen.  Her concept of “Tidal Homeschooling” describes where we are at, and what works for our family.

I rose early this morning, long before the three big kids.  Sitting in the front room, drinking my coffee and thumbing through books, I am trying to finish a pair of fingerless mitts for Ruth, who turns ten tomorrow.  She specially requested them (she has a raspberry colored pair she has nearly worn out).

George woke a few minutes after me, and has been reading library books along with me, and gleefully scattering his granola…

Well, off to get a pot of oatmeal going before the three other children wake, and then tend to the poultry chores in the absolutely frigid weather.  Then, after breakfast, we have a busy day of science experiments and math puzzles lined up.  Looking forward to reading the other knitter’s in the Yarn Along while Geroge naps and the big kids listen to a book on CD this afternoon.

Yarn Along with Tasha

The past few mornings, I have been reading through one of my favorite books over coffee.  Like so many, I have been fascinated with Tasha Tudor since childhood.   Something about her homespun quality – her eccentricity – is comforting and always familiar.

Continuing the theme from last week, this morning the shawlette is being blocked.  It was finished on Saturday, but I have been under the weather, and just now am pinning it out on the guest bed.

This pattern is exactly what I needed – simple, quick, well-designed and a relaxing knit (it would also make a good first shawl for a new knitter).

I am tall, with broad shoulders, so deciding to do the larger version (178 sts before beginning the lace section) was a wise choice.  The fit is perfect, and only a small ball is leftover from the two skeins of Peace Fleece worsted.

I am already a few inches into another Handspun Delight Shawlette.  Having gone through the “stash dresser” upstairs, I found three skeins of a heavenly alpaca I was sure had long been used up.  The joy of being unorganized is that when you rediscover something lost, it’s like a gift to yourself – a pleasant surprise.

This time, most KFBs in the pattern are replaced with YOs (along the spine, etc), and the lace section will be extended.  It will make a soft embrace of a shawl and a warm Christmas gift for a loved one.

And now to join up with Ginny’s Yarn Along, but first a wintry quote from Tasha:

Sometimes when I’ve been throwing hay around, it smells like summer in the barn, and the sun comes through the windows and the cracks in the boards and makes shafts of light in the dusty air.  But I never long for summer in the winter.  What is that lovely quote from Shakespeare – “At Christmas I no more desire a rose/ Than wish a snow in May’s newfangled mirth.” That’s the idea.  For everything there is a season.

Yarn Along – The Dolls’ Christmas

Taking a break from three days of sewing projects this morning.  The three younger kids were up early, so I’ve been reading to them from The Dolls’ Christmas, by Tasha Tudor, while I work on some knitting.

For the first time all year, I am not knitting from my stash.  On Saturday, a surprise package showed up on my doorstep.  A friend had sent me yarn!  What a wonderful and unexpected gift! It’s Peace Fleece, the yarn I learned to knit on way back in college.  I immediately cast on this shawlette (the extended version).

I’m almost ready to start the lace section, and hope to finish it off today or tomorrow, since we have a new stack of library Christmas books to read through today, and I knit while the kids turn the pages.

And now the children have finished breakfast, gotten dressed, and are asking me to get off the computer and finish The Dolls’ Christmas.  So, that’s what we’ll do.  Looking forward to checking out the other knitters in the Yarn Along tonight when little ones are in bed.)

The Tomten and the Fox

Needle felting is one of those crafts we feel drawn toward more in the winter months.  Both of the girls really enjoy making Christmas ornaments and decorations.  Harold is learning to use the needle tool safely, and often prefers playing with the tufts of roving and his older sisters’ finished projects.

Astrid Lindgren’s Tomten books are among my favorite winter stories from childhood.  Harold requests we read them (along with Jan Brett’s Hedgie’s Surprise) at least once every day since I added them to the book basket.

So, in honor of the the children’s fascination with the little red-hatted caretakers of the farm, we made a little needle-felted Tomten for them to play with while I read the stories aloud.

Without any assistance, Ruth also made the fox from the story.  She posed him all snuggled up, his belly fully of porridge (not hens!).

Linking up with Nicole for KCCO today.  I’ll be back tomorrow for the Yarn Along, and some thoughts on winter agriculture later in the week.

Yarn Along – Rhythm of the Home

I have a piece in the new issue of Rhythm of the Home .  It just came out today!   Hope you get a chance to read and try out the recipe – it is a family favorite.

The entire issue is packed with beautiful, thoughtful and instructive articles from such talented women.  From felted sweater garlands to meditations on homeschooling in the winter months to Waldorf doll shoe instructions..Rhythm of the Home always puts out a great edition!

Obviously, for the reading portion of Ginny’s Yarn Along, this morning I’m reading through the new issue of Rhythm of the Home.  For the “yarny” portion, and for Nicole’s KCCO, I’m starting a pair of socks (yarn on the right), out of Brown sheep sock yarn seconds I purchased several years ago (still de-stashing!).

Also in the works is wrapping up some spindle spinning.  The fiber is Brown Sheep mill end bits and pieces, 85% wool, 15% mohair.  I am doing my best to spin worsted weight singles, but I find it very difficult, since I have been spinning for a number of years, and my hands want to spin fingering weight.  I am hoping to turn the yarn into a little knitted panda toy for George, although, part of me is tempted to make another vest

We have company coming this morning, and then the kids and I are in full Christmas-crafting mode today.  We’re hoping to finish up our lessons before lunch, so we can play with some needle felting (making ornaments!) before Girl Scouts this afternoon.

Blessings on your day!

Wool Along

Joining with Nicole for KCCO and Ginny for the Yarn Along.  We’re finishing up some Thanksgiving and autumn-themed books this week before diving in to Advent books next week.  I think we’ve read and re-read Wild Child at least a dozen times in the past few days.  It’s always been a favorite in our home.

The children really enjoyed The Life and Times of the Apple. Harold is intensely interested in gardening (go figure) and he was fascinated with the section on fruit grafting.

Today there is no knitting or spinning to share, but I have been working on some wooly garments.  I have a few knitting projects going, but they were pushed to the back burner this weekend as I tried desperately to get a big stack of sewing finished. The weather has turned cold + George is growing rapidly = he is short on diaper covers.

For several months, I had been collecting wool sweaters at the thrift store and a few rummage sales, washing/fulling them, and storing them until time could be found to sew.  I managed to complete half of them while George napped, and got the other half cut and pinned.

With the leftover sleeves, I whipped up some wool longies for overnight and extra chilly days.  They look a bit wonky here, but will lay flat once blocked.  The two larger ones are for George.  The sky blue one is for a baby-shower gift – in its former life it was a velvety-soft wool and cashmere J. Crew sweater (thank you, UU church rummage sale).

Total cost for enough wool and elastic to make 6 soakers and 4 longies = $3.25

Here’s George in his new soakers after they were blocked and waterproofed.   Next week I will have a tutorial up on waterproofing wool soakers with lanolin.  I’ll walk you through the process so you, too, can have excellent results using wool covers with cloth diapers.

And now back to making pie crusts!

Yarn Along

 Anyone else starting to feel the Christmas-knitting pressure?

Finished a simple scarf (white mohair stash yarn I bought in college), and about to cast on some socks.  The yarn is a heathered grey 100% undyed Jacob sheep yarn handspun by a friend, from her own sheep.  I have knitted many projects with this yarn – it is  beautifully spun and well-balanced, and garments made from it have a fantastic drape. The socks will get some red patterning (100% wool thrifted sock yarn), as of yet to be determined, on the cuff.

We are re-reading The Hobbit aloud as a family in preparation for the movie.  It has been a year and half since we’ve read it, and we need to brush up before the film is released.  We’re also planning to have a movie marathon over Thanksgiving weekend and watch all three Lord of Rings. (I’m hoping to accomplish a significant portion of my Christmas gift-making during this time.)

Looking forward to visiting the other knitters in Ginny’s Yarn Along  during some down-time this afternoon. (I’ve promised the big kids they can take out modeling beeswax while we continue listening to The Dark is Rising sequence on book CD during George’s nap.  Hopefully that guarantees a peaceful afternoon.)

November Yarn Along

Taking a break from knitting this week to finish up some spindle spinning.  It’s a soft grey undyed wool, breed unknown, since it was purchased several years ago at an estate sale with many other bags of fiber.

My reading selection this week is a bit boring – mostly books on fruit-tree cultivation and pruning.  All of our young fruit trees are ready to have their central leaders lopped and I need to get serious about how they will be pruned and shaped, so it’s time to brush up on the subject.

The singles that resulted from spinning on this tiny burl-whorled spindle are fluffy, laceweight, and a bit overspun so that I can ply them back.  There will be enough 2-ply for some very special baby knitting (booties and a hat?  little vest?).

Many thanks to Ginny for hosting the Yarn Along and Nicole for KCCO, as well as all the other knitters  and crafters who share their projects and recommend some great reading each week.

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny and Nicole this morning.   Working through a stack of magazines and finishing up another Georgie vest with leftover Lamb’s pride and some merino spindle-spun.  I’m thinking of making an I-cord tie instead of buttons if I have enough handspun.

Today is a very busy day.  Beatrix, our vivacious second child, turns eight today.  After carving pumpkins and finishing costumes, we have a day of celebration ahead of us!

Happy Halloween and Happy Reformation Day!

On the Oregon Coast

We are home from a weekend yurt getaway to celebrate my husband and our second daughter’s birthdays.  There was a driving rain most of the time, so we skipped the frigid beach in favor of a hike through the woods.

Definitely wool skirt, wool socks, heavy shoes kind of hiking weather.

As we started out, we came across an open space full of toadstools, most toppled over by the wind (or grouchy gnomes perhaps?).

Tucked in under the thick patches of ancient evergreen huckleberries and salal, and sometimes even wandering across the path, were many Rough-skinned newts, with their vibrant orange bellies.  The kids made up names and biographies for each and every one they found.  “Shalbert”, “Mona”, “Jean Grey”, “Jimmy” and the others all were given lengthy and elaborate backstories before returning them to their homes.

After our hike, it was back to the yurt as the rains and wind really began to pound.  In fact, we couldn’t even get a fire going, and resorted to driving in to town for take-out Chinese.  Then we huddled up in our sleeping bags and quilts, listening to Casey read aloud until we drifted off (Daddy does the best voices, after all).

Back tomorrow with our Sunday cider-pressing with dear friends on the coast and some travel knitting.

Yarn Along

Many thanks to Ginny for hosting the Yarn Along every week.   Each week I find new patterns to add to my queue and new books to order from the library thanks to all the men and women who participate.

I’m just about done test-knitting the first three sizes of a baby/toddler vest pattern I am working up.  If you might be interested in test-knitting a 2T or 3T for me, please let me know and I’ll e-mail you the pattern.   I hope to have the three smaller sizes of the pattern up on Ravelry in a week, since all the kinks seemed to be worked out.

The yarn is vintage Bernat (1960s?) picked up at the thrift store for 25 cents/skein.  It is 90 percent virgin wool and 10% mohair, with a fluffy halo and plenty of loft.  Really enjoying knitting with it. (The other sizes are in Cascade 220 and Lamb’s Pride Worsted, from my stash).

Each morning and evening, little by little, I’m continuing to work through the Benedictine book, The Divine Hours.

Sowing Seeds in the Desert, by the thinker-turned-farmer, Masanobu Fukuoka, just came from the library.  I find Fukuoka’s idealism almost intoxicating – he dreams of restoration, and works for a verdant earth in which people are in perfect communion with each other and the ecosystem.  His writing is full of unquenchable hope, and it is quite uplifting.

We must realize that both in the past and today, there is only one “sustainable” course available to us.  We must find our way back to true nature.  We must set ourselves to the task of revitalizing the earth.  Regreening the earth, sowing seeds in the desert – that is the path society must follow. – Masaonobu Fukuoka

Yarn Along – Baktus

The Baktus scarf is nearing completion. It was originally going to be a gift for my mother, but I am thinking the geometric quality of the scarf and it’s very simple, clean lines, would make it a better gift for a dear friend from college.  My mom will be getting a pattern more suited to her taste (as soon as I can finish it!).

It has been a very easy knit, but I kept putting it down to pick up more interesting WIPs, or I would have had it finished ages ago.  Quite pleased with it, though, and am thinking of making one for myself in grey and cream stripes, instead of the vibrant Noro.

A few of our homeschooling books this week.  We’re reading bits out of this book each day for a portion of our nature study.  We’re also beginning to delve into Dickens again (seems we always do when the weather turns) with a few children’s books on his life, before starting Oliver Twist later this month.

Ruth is just beginning Cornelia Funke‘s new book (well, it was just translated from German, so it’s new in the US), Ghost Knight.  Fingers crossed it’s as good as some of her other books we’ve adored (… Igraine the Brave, Dragon Rider and Inkheart.) 

This book is based on the Benedictine Rule of fixed-hour prayer from the sixth century.  It has specific prayers for different times of day, and I have mostly been utilizing the evening ones after I put George down for the night, while Casey is reading bedtime stories to the big kids.  The sections are concise, meditative, and uplifting.

Once again joining with Ginny for her Yarn Along today.

Autumn Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny again this week for the Yarn Along.  I’m finally getting around to finishing a book Kortney loaned me ages ago.  It has many lessons I need to learn, and am glad to have picked it up again (and she’ll be glad to have it back soon – didn’t mean to have it so very long!).

Finishing up the Pickles Vest this morning.  Only the buttons left to sew on.  It’s made from leftover bits of Lamb’s Pride.  The pattern had been on my Ravelry queue for a very long time, and last week there were several folks in the Yarn Along working on it – seemed like a good time to make one.

It knitted up quite dense and a bit small for George, so the next try will be on 10s instead of 9s.

Also enjoying thumbing through these that just came from the library, especially this one.

Looking forward to catching up on what the other participants are knitting (which will have to happen after the kiddos are in bed).