Monthly Archives: October 2015

Merry Samhain and Happy Halloween

We had fun going out and running errands this Halloween morning. Pip wore her princess dress, we went to the YMCA’s 100th anniversary celebration and Pip got to jump in the bounce house, paint a pumpkin, eat a cup cake and run amuk.

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After that I went to pick up our laundry and the laundromat employee was waiting in this fun costume to scare unsuspecting customers (of which I was one).

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Zach found a cute little hat at Reny’s for Peep to wear.

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And the baby bunnies are 2 weeks old now! Aren’t they so cute? My Halle Berry is due to kindle in 2 weeks with angora/silver fox crosses. They should be just as adorable as the silver fox kits.

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Finally, I’ve got all but 10 of my dreadlocks combed out finally. My hair is significantly longer than it used to be, but the ends are pretty damaged so I’m going to have to trim about 1-2 inches off once it’s all done.

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Finally finally, here’s a picture of Pip sewing.

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Last but not least, my baby Peep is the sweetest baby ever.

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Quiet Days Are Here Again

It’s the time of year when my days are getting more and more quiet. I still have chores to do: feed and water the animals, clean the house, etc. But I spend a lot more of time in my head beginning in the fall, even more than normal for an empathic, highly sensitive introvert who is also an INFJ.

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That being said, I don’t have much to talk about today that’s interesting.

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Here’s a picture of Peep asleep in my lap. She’s started sleeping this way during the day.

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I also decided to comb out my dread locs. I’m about halfway done since I started two days ago. They have been in for 8.5 months, so it’s a slow, painful process. I love the way they look, but I’m really missing brushing my hair. I’m hoping to have it all done in two more days. The key is to use a lot of coconut oil and take your time.

I live to take a walk down our driveway each day so Pip has a chance to run and we all get fresh air. The dog really loves it too. Pip is forever making mud pies. “Does mud melt, mama?”

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Migraine

I woke up with a migraine today, so my expectations for what I wanted to accomplish went right out the door.

Movies, cutting up old catalogs and coloring on herself for Pip. Got my glasses out of storage, they always help on migraine days. We are eating PB&J sandwiches and top ramen and yogurt with granola today.

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I have no idea what my triggers are. Could be seasonal changes, the full moon, heavy work load, who knows? We pushed pretty hard last weekend with the birthday party and working on the winter barn, and the weekend before that we were sick. I haven’t really had a chance to recover from any of that. So…whatever. I’ll work on darning a sweater today when the girls go down for their naps, and I’ll just try to be gentle with myself today.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll have something slightly more interesting to blog about.

Winter Barn

Now that Pip’s birthday is over, Zachary and I are working full steam ahead on our winter barn for the goats, pigs and rabbits. We got the rest of the posts pounded in this morning, peeled some cedar logs for the doorway, got those set into the ground, and now we are attaching the fencing panels.

My husband is a man with a vision, I can’t wait to see it come to life.

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The Party is Over

Yesterday we held the first birthday party Pip has ever had. We had her friends over, I made her a black forest cherry cake from scratch that all the adults enjoyed, Zachary made pizza for everyone. There was hot apple cider ob the woodstove. We showed off all the work we have done on the land this year while lamenting that we didn’t get enough done. (Farms – there is always more to do than there is time and money for).

The girls liked the piglets and the bunny babies, a couple of them couldn’t keep their hands away from the goats.

It rained all morning long but the weather even cooperated for the party.

All in all, it was a great success. I enjoyed having the rare treat of visitors, and the even more rare treat of my husband cleaning the house.

Finishing Cashmere Sweater Repair

In my previous post, I explained how to pick up stitches and knit a patch to cover a hole in a machine knit cashmere sweater.

Now that you have picked up your skitches for the flap and knit it, you need to join the other three sides. The easiest way to do this is to pick up the corresponding stitches on the other side of the hole, in alignment with the stitches at the bottom of the hole.

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You will pick up the right leg of each stitch, exactly the same way you picked up the previous stitches, and kitchener stitch them together. Make sure you have a very long tail, because you are going to go all the way around the patch.

If you don’t know how to kitchener stitch, there are plenty of great photo tutorials online, like this one at Knitty.com

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When you get to the end of your kitchener stitches, use one needle to pick up 3 of every 4 stitches on the edge of the patch, and on the actual sweater directly underneath where the patch will end up. Both knitting needles need to have the same number of stitches on them. You want to pick up the “purl bumps” that are the bars between the knit stitches.

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Using your ball point darning needle and the same piece of thread, ladder stitch/seam these two edges together. Pull firmly on the thread, but not so tight that you bunch up the fabric.

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When you get to the end, duplicate stitch your way across the bottom,  and ladder stitch your way up the right side. Duplicate stitch your way across the top for 3 or 4 stitches, weave in your end and snip it.

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The last thing I like to do is press the patch a little with a dp washcloth and brush it lightly with a clean toothbrush to give the patch a little but of a fuzzy halo toatch the fuzziness of the original garment.

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A patch is always going to look like a patch. It is not an invisible fix, but well done, it can extend the life of your well-loved garment.

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Cashmere Sweater Repair

I have a small side business repairing sweaters for local people.

Today I am going to walk you through my method for repairing a hole in the elbow of a machine knit cashmere sweater.

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First you need a knitting needle that is the appropriate size to make a patch that looks similar to the original knitted fabric. Most cashmere sweaters are knit on a US size 1 or 0 needle. Here I am using Hiya Hiya needles in 2.0mm size. I could have used a smaller needle if I had them. I prefer these steel needles for delicate repair work because the yarn slides nice and smoothly across the needle.

You will also need a thread to produce the color patch that suits your interest best. Regia makes a woolen/nylon thread in a wide range of colors. Usually I can find a color similar enough for the project I’m working on.

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So the first step is to determine the true size of the repair needed. It’s easy to underestimate the actual damage. Don’t be tempted to make a repair too small or it won’t last very long. 

Most holes are actually twice as big as they look if you take into account the area outside of the hole where the thread or yarn has worn thin. This will soon unravel if you attach your repair to this area. So go beyond that to where the yarn is strong, healthy and the original thickness.

Starting at the bottom of the hole, in the healthy fabric, pick up the right leg of each knitted stitch to accommodate a wide enough patch, plus 2 more stitches (I’ll explain why the plus 2 in a moment.) In this case I have picked up 24 stitches.  This actual patch needs to be 22 stitches, plus 2.

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Now, counting up from the row you picked up, count how many rows you need so you don’t lose track of how big of a patch to make. This particular sweater needs 26 rows to get to the healthy fabric on the other side of the hole.

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Next, you just knit and purl your way through the rows until you have a little flap of fabric attached at the end you started on.

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In my next post I’ll show you how to attach the repair flap on the other 3 sides making a nearly invisible repair.

A birthday and a Walk in the Woods

Pip turned 4 years old today!

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For breakfast I made her rainbow sprinkle pancakes with marshmallows on top and she got a new princess dress.

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Later in the day we went for a walk in the woods for her to make leaf angels (and check the mail for birthday presents).

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After that both girls took a nap while I worked on Peep’s Treeline Cardigan and got caught up on Outlander. I couldn’t resist snapping this photo of Fern snuggled up with Peep.

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Finished Diaper Soaker Covers

I couldn’t wait to finish Peep’s new pants/diaper covers, so I broke out my borrowed sewing machine today and got them sewed up in about 2 hours.

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They aren’t the most beautiful things I’ve ever sewn, but the sewing machine was acting a little wonky, and all I had was black thread. And I rushed to get them done. They are rugged enough,  just kind of…ugly. lol, who cares? They will keep her legs warm and her bottom dry so I’m happy.

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I have a regular long pants pattern, but they use such fabric, and don’t keep runny baby poos contained as well as the soakers, which aren’t warm enough for winter use. They are so bulky I don’t like putting pants over the diaper covers either. So I used the sleeves for the long pants and attached them to the covers with an elasticized inner piece. It was an experiment with the elastic, so I only did it to one pair to see how the baby cares for it.

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The blue and brown pairs are merino, the white cabled pair is just plain felted wool. The short ones with the high waist are 90% merino/10% angora, and I made them extra thick to be worn overnight.

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So now they are sitting in half gallon mason jars soaking in soapy lanolin water until tomorrow. Then I’ll drain them, wring them out and hang them up to dry by the woodstove. Once they are dry, they’ll be ready to use. Yippee!

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Re-Purposing is Vital to the Homestead

We use, reuse and re-reuse things around here a lot. We buy our clothes used at goodwill (except for underwear and socks.) Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) I’m a sucker for a good wool sweater. I always look in the next size up for sweaters that got washed and shrunk. To me, felted just makes it better. Pre-felted sweaters aren’t going to accidentally shrink in the wash, they are more impervious to wind, rain and hay, and they are great for making diaper covers out of.

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This week I’m Re-Purposing four of my old wool sweaters (that I can’t nurse Peep in) into new long pants diaper covers for Peep, and leg warmers for Pip.

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Another old thing I’m giving new life to this week is our old dog exercise pen. Thanks to our prolific bunnies, we have 19 baby bunnies that are going to need somewhere to live in 8 weeks. We used to let them grow out to butchering age (16 weeks) in their mom’s cages, but it just gets too crowded and too messy. And that was when the rabbits were having smaller litters.

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So I took the exercise pen, a baggie of hog rings and some old fine mesh fencing we had laying around from an old project and started making a bunny pen out of it. Right now I’ve only managed to reinforce the sides, as I ran out of patience for ripping my skin up on the fencing and ran out of hog rings.  The new pen still needs a floor and a lid of some sort. I still have a few weeks to get it done, but I made a good start on it yesterday at least.

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You can turn all sorts of things into rabbit cages though. Just check out pinterest if you ever need inspiration.

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