knitting

A few months ago, when I found out my good friend Shilpa was pregnant (okay, more than a few- last fall perhaps), I immediately began to think what could I make for her little one and I decided on a beautiful baby blanket pattern that my mom had shared with me with some delicate baby-type yarn. Last year, as a thank you and birthday gift to some friends, I went cowl crazy with my knitting from a lovely seed-stitch pattern. When my mother’s birthday came up last year, I made her a pair of ballet flat slipper shoes.

So needless to say, a lot of my knitting to this point has been trying to come up with creative gifts for friends and family. With each new pattern comes new challenges I haven’t faced before, frustrations with my own mistakes, and pride when I’ve (hopefully) figured things out and it all turns out okay. I’m also very lucky that I have my mother, my knitting guru, to give me advice and help me through trouble spots, as well as the wonderful tutorials and videos available on youtube!

After my fast and frantic knitting over the last week, and a few hours of lost sleep, I was able to finish the baby elephant for Betsy’s baby shower just in the nick of time! (Right ear looks a little wonky in this photo for some reason, but in person looked more normal. I think. Makes it unique in any case, eh?! 😉 Am very pleased with the outcome and hope her soon-to-be-little-bambino or bambina will enjoy it!

Had grand plans of bring a couple of my friend up to my house in NH after the baby shower but unfortunately landed in a bit of car trouble so ended up having to spend the weekend at my parents house while the car is in the shop. Was nice to catch up on a bit of sleep though, work out in the garden, keep the chickens company and pay a visit my friend Shilpa who was in town visiting her parents with her brand new baby girl. Cutie pie!

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wool workshop

Just returned from a weekend up at Cold Antler Farm (a popular blog written by a woman named Jenna about life on her farm in upstate New York).  I was up there for a wool workshop to learn how to spin and prepare wool from sheep to sweater.  Have dabbled a bit here and there with spinning but never actually had a clue what I was doing and was great to actually have someone who knows what they’re talking about teach you how to do it and answer any questions you might have (in my case probably thousands).

We were each given a drop spindle to practice on and I ended up enjoying it even more than I had expected!  Learned it all from washing, to carding and finally spinning.  Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect winters day- a farm tour, snow outside (finally), the woodstove blazing inside, lots of delicious food and drinks to enjoy, spinning and chatting and best of all in fantastic company.  The workshop definitely surpassed all my expectations- thanks Jenna!

where has winter gone?

A month between entries- not a great habit to get into!  But I’m new at this and it’s been a pretty hectic month here (my mother recently undergoing a pretty serious spinal operation) so I’m gonna cut myself a bit of slack.

So I’m sure you’ve been eagerly awaiting to hear what happened to the lye-heavy (I think) soap that I created last month???  Well I attempted to ‘re-batch’ it by basically goggling that phrase and seeing what I found online.  First I checked the ingredients, then added a bit more water and fats (in same ratios as original recipe) and finally I crumbled up my concoction and heated it over the stovetop.  Worried that the mixture might get too hot or burn, I then changed my mind and decided to cover the pot with some foil and placed it in the oven.  Long story short- the mixture never fully melted and I think a lot of the essential oil scent might have escaped in the process…

BUT…. it appears to be soap!  It certainly aint pretty, but after sitting for a couple weeks I tried it out and no slimy feeling (apparently slimy means that means it’s not ready / or there is still too much lye).  Have been washing myself with it for a few days now with no ill effect yet.  So success or failure?  I vote success but you can be the judge.  I figure all learning is a step in the right direction, right?

Well it’s ramping up to be an exciting few months in this neck of the woods and I’ll try to update often as I prepare for all the hope and possibility that spring brings with it.  I’ve been making plans for my 2 gardens (one at my parents house and creating plans for one at my new home!), I just began bee school last week and plan on starting my first hive this spring and finally my lovely BF got me a spot at a chicken workshop in April that might send me home with a few chicks so looks like my household will quickly be expanding.  Think this’ll be enough to keep me out of trouble for a few months!  Oh and in addition to that am busy knitting some baby blankets for two of my very best friends who are expecting their first babies!  More on all this later – life is good!