The Zinnia Skirt (And a Modified Wiksten Tank)



I actually finished my Zinnia skirt from Colette Patterns a couple of weeks ago, but I had to wait until my husband returned from Bolivia to take pictures.  This is absolutely the best sewing project I've ever completed.  It fits perfectly, and it has buttons and pockets!  Both are real, and not just cosmetic embellishments. 

I purchased the fabric a couple of years ago from Denver fabric.  Even though the fabric was labeled "chambray," I wouldn't quite classify it with that term.  It's somewhat like chambray in color, but it feels more silky.  It has a bit of a slip to it when sewn, and I don't think it's 100% cotton.  Still, I'm very pleased with the way it looks in its final form. 




I also sewed this shirt from the Wiksten tank pattern.   It almost didn't happen, because I cut out the back from the back of my Tova shirt pattern.  Oops...  I thought it was completely a loss, until I realized that I could just modify the front to fit the back, and then adjust the curve.  It made for a more fitted version of the tank, which actually went well with the skirt.  The fabric is from the Cotton and Steel line - Mesa Lawn/ Indigo Metallic. 

I've noticed a few bloggers talking about sewing for their every day life.  This skirt (and the shirt) definitely fit that category for me.  I wear skirts almost exclusively during the summer, and this skirt's neutral color means that it could be worn on the daily. I also like that it can be worn year round.  I only have about three months of school where I might where warm weather clothing, and the rest of the year I'm clothed in many layers.  (Like tights, and wool socks, and a wool sweater, and then a scarf - it was a long winter.)

Each time I sew a new project, I get even more excited for the next project.  I only need to find the time. 

Suprise Parsnips


I was finally able to get into the garden again yesterday, after several days of cold weather, rain, and windy conditions.  My first task involved cleaning out the beds of random debris and leaves.  We were really busy in the fall, and the many of the fall crops were left in the beds before it snowed.  Although most of the left over brassicas were eaten by the deer, the parsnips were left safe in the ground, snuggled in the bed for the winter. 

It was pure luck that the deer didn't discover the parsnips.  They were really desperate this winter with all the snow, and in other portions of the garden, they actually dug down to eat anything they could find that was edible.  (They also treated the garden as an outhouse.  I've cleaned up a ridiculous amount of deer poop this year.  I've developed a very specific technique involving a square pot and a tiny rake.)

I had completed forgotten about the parsnips myself.  When I was cleaning out the beds yesterday, I came across them, and immediately dug them up.  They smell so sweet and fresh - the smell was intoxicating. Some were given to my parents, and the rest will be roasted with some carrots today.  I'll eat them throughout the week.


A few of them were of a pretty substantial size.  I have to be more careful to thin them out this year.

I'm so glad the weather is finally reaching spring.  Soon there will be rhubarb, and asparagus and spring onions.  Oh, thank goodness.


A Simple Cowl


My second shipment from yarn box included some variegated yarn from Feederbook Farms.  When I first received the yarn in the mail, I was very unsure about the color way (my color way was the special "yarnbox" color way).  It just seemed like that they had included too many colors in the dying pot, and some of those colors had blended in odd combinations.  As the cowl knit up, the colors began to grow on me.  It's as though they need to be viewed all together at once to be pleasing to the eye. 


I decided to make the Duotone Cowl.  The pattern worked well, as it interwove the two color ways.  I liked this perspective much better than I would have if I had decided to just knit each skein separately.  It's a great pattern in that I could knit it again with two other skeins, and it would look completely different.  


Ultimately, I decided to give this cowl to my Mom as a birthday present.  I was pretty sure that she would appreciate the colors more than myself, and I was correct.  As soon as I showed her the cowl, her first comment was on the color.  She might even be able to wear it for a few days before the weather turns warm.    

(By the way, are we friends on ravelry?  I love looking at other folk's projects and inspiration.  Add me!) 

The Jetty Sweater


I've been meaning to share my new knitted sweater with you for weeks!  I knitted this short sleeve Jetty with some stash yarn.   It's Bercoco vintage, and while it's probably not a yarn I would buy now, it is admittedly soft and warm.  I restarted at least once or twice.  While the pattern was not difficult, I was often distracted when knitting, and that always leads to mistakes.  I've been better at keeping track of my patterns.  In teacher style, they're now all in a binder, and I'm able to check off the pattern as I go. 

I love finishing knits, but taking the pictures always presents a conundrum.  Even though my husband is a photographer, I am not a natural model.  For every photo that I'll begrudgingly accept, there are probably 30 to 40 that I reject due to awkwardness.  As my students will attest, I have a very expressive face, and I make many random faces when my photo is taken.  These represent the best of the bunch.  The "face" photos came out too dark, so it's just headless shots today. 

The pattern for this sweater repeats on the back.  While I could have omitted that portion to make it easier, I'm really glad I didn't.


I actually added this sweater to my ravelry page. (There are many recent projects that I haven't added, my internet presence has been rather lazy lately.) 

Shiny Penny Cowl - Knitting with Yarnbox


I recently finished my shiny penny cowl.  This yarn was from my first shipment from yarnbox.  My Mom gave me a six month gift subscription for Christmas.  Although I'm rather picky about yarn, I really wanted to give a subscription service a try.  I have a tendency to gravitate towards the same color palette (blues, greens, purples and neutrals), without even thinking.  I thought yarnbox might send me yarns that I wouldn't ever purchase, but that I might actually like.  Of course, my first shipment ended up being blue!  Still, it was new kind of yarn (Titus- Ba Ram Ewe), and the amount of yarn forced me to knit something besides a sweater. 


I've knit several items these past few months that never made it to the blog.  The sweater I'm wearing is also one of my knits.  It's been my "go to" slouchy sweater this winter.  As my husband might attest, I wear it practically every evening. 

One of my goals for 2015 has been to become a more patient and thoughtful knitter.  I knit well, but I've never been a very good swatcher, and as I've worn my home knitted items, I've noticed that they will stretch gradually.  The fit may be perfect initially, but the shape will stretch with use.  Obviously, I need to swatch the yarn, and then block it and measure that swatch from that point.  I've been purposely making a move towards a handmade wardrobe (especially after listening to woolful), and I must focus on fit if I ever want to make that goal my reality. 

Strawberries - A Lesson in Perseverance

Strawberries - 1 (52 of 1)

Strawberries - 2 (52 of 1)

Strawberries - 3 (52 of 1)

When we purchased our house, it was winter.  Snow covered the ground, and we had no idea what was underneath.  The previous owners told us there was a small garden, but we knew nothing of the size or shape, or if there were any perennials.

When the snow melted, we found a rather large plot of strawberries.  The garden that was in existence sloped slightly, and the strawberries had been planted on the lower end, in an almost ditch. 

As first time home owners, we were delighted to have a little strawberry plot of our own during our first season of gardening at the homestead.  We picked every morning and dutifully made jams, syrups, and jellies.  

The second year, the patch wasn't as pretty.  At the end of the first strawberry season, I just let weeds fill in the plot.  There were far fewer strawberries to collect the second year and we ended up purchasing the season's strawberries at a "u-pick" farm.  

The third year, I was determined to resolve the situation.  I, Tim, and Tim's parents fully weeded the plot, and mulch was added among the plants.  I even planted a few additional starts, with the idea that I was going to make hilled rows.  It didn't work.  The weeds grew among the mulch, the strawberries were few and far between, and by the end of the season, the patch was a sad, weedy mess, and the strawberry plants were barely visible.  

Finally, this past year, I was fed up with the strawberry situation. I also knew that strawberry plants need to be replanted every three years, so it was high time that the strawberry plant disaster in the garden was resolved.  I had Tim build a few raised boxes, and most all the strawberry plants were transplanted into the new raised beds. 

At long last, we have enjoyed a bountiful season of strawberries.  We picked a bowl like the size below every day for the past three weeks.  We have a bunch frozen for winter, I made strawberry rhubarb jam, and pints were given away to family and friends.  

It took me five years to grow a proper strawberry plot.  There is no instant gratification with gardening.  

Strawberries - 4 (52 of 1)

The June Garden

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June Garden (52 of 1)
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June Garden (52 of 1)-7

I thought I'd share a few tidbits from the garden in early June with you all.  

The garden has a little bit of a late start this year, as the weather stayed colder than usual in April and May in upstate NY.  Within the past few weeks however, its growth rate has picked up speed, and it's almost back to "normal."  

We picked the first strawberries on Sunday.  I always like to get them out of the garden quickly, before the birds give them a nibble.  The rat's tail radishes are just beginning to flower, the walking onions are just starting their walk, and as of right now, the tomato plants look really happy.  I don't know if they'll feel the same way at the end of June, so I'm documenting their happiness right now.  I also discovered some native columbine in the front garden beds.  I think it's been there all along, but it only flowered this year.  

Peas are almost ready for picking, and we had a simple kohlrabi salad last night (thinly shaved kohlrabi with olive oil, salt and pepper).  We've been eating something from the garden every night for a month or so, and the productivity should surge within the coming weeks.  

Are you eating from your garden?  What's producing in your climate zone? 

Loving Lately

DSC_5938(My almost finished shawl - very difficult to photograph while it's still on the needles.)

Tim found this book, Recipes from the Root Cellar hiding in our guest bedroom.  Apparently, he had purchased it for me last summer for my birthday, and had forgotten the purchase.  Since we'll have nothing green from the garden for at least a month (maybe more), we've been heavily relying on the stores from our pantry and freezer.  I've always been a "recipe" person, and these recipes are fantastic!  Seriously, if you've always been wondering how to cook those winter root vegetables, check out this book.  This far, we've been able to stick to our 200 dollars a month food budget and still eat healthy.  

In leisure reading, I finished the book Gone Girl within a few days.  I was probably the last person in America to read this novel, and I can see why.  I didn't learn anything from this story, and I certainly don't feel smarter, but it was still quite engrossing.  Even though all of the characters ultimately annoyed me, I just had to find out what had happened. I've now just started Mary Coin.  


Spring is kind of making an approach.  The sun is warmer, and even the wind feels different.  Still, today will only be in the 20's.  The early days of spring are my favorite time of year to go on long, leisurely walks with my dog.  If it was up to her, we would walk 20 miles a day.  I like to stick to three or four, and just wander around the country roads that surround my house.  I've also taken up the habit of collecting the garbage that just piles up along the roadside.  I can't even understand some of it.  This past week, I found the pull tab from a frozen pizza box. Who the heck is microwaving in their car?!  If I can remove even some of the trash, and send it off to it's proper home, it makes me feel a little better.  I know there will be much more when the snow is gone.  


Orphan Black is now on Amazon Prime.  I now have some knitting tv until the snow melts and the ground thaws.  Score.  

On Vacation

Florida (1 of 1)

Florida (1 of 1)-2

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Florida (1 of 1)-5
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Florida (1 of 1)-6
After two posts about attempting to be more frugal, Tim and I jetted off to Florida for a winter vacation.  It certainly wasn't an excercise in frugality, but the tickets had been purchased for a while now, and the vacation was deeply appreciated.  (We did stay with Tim's parents, so our only real expense was the flight.)

The vacation from work offered me the opportunity to think more seriously about my life, the direction in which we're headed, and how I spend my time.  Though I didn't come to any serious conclusions, the opportunity to reflect for a more extended period of time allowed for some  refocusing.  

With several months of surviving a rather harsh winter, we soaked in the sun's rays with some level of seriousness.  The weather here is just as horrible as it was when we left, so I'll have to survive on the sunlight until spring.  

(NOTE:  I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, and if anything, the weather has just gotten worse.  I'm surviving on seedlings and chorizo.  Spring better make an appearance soon.)