Monthly Archives: July 2012

What I Did

Last Friday, Ellie’s little school had a 50s day. So I made this:

kitty skirt

A kitty skirt. That’s better than a poodle skirt because of the kitty.

That skirt part was easy because of this tutorial. The hard part was that my sewing machine is at the beach with Mom. So I had to use this one:

folded up

Wait for it…

I mean this one:



That’s my Granny Nix’s Kenmore from 1968. It weighs at least one thousand pounds. It was only manufactured for two years. I have no manual. It took Google and me three hours to figure out how to oil the thing, thread the machine, wind the bobbin*, get the bobbin back where it goes and put a new needle in the right way**.

It’s not like I brokered world peace, taught Congress some ethics or revolutionized health care in America, but I’m still pretty proud of myself. More skirt pictures on the Flickr.

*Tip 1: This model has a plate on the end of the wheel that advances the needle. That plate comes loose to disengage the machine so you can wind the bobbin.
**Tip 2: There is a groove along one side of a sewing machine needle. The grove should face the bobbin. You may have to thread the needle from left to right instead of front to back depending on where the bobbin is on your machine.

Mindful Fiber July: The envelope, please?

My Random Number Generators (one is more random than the other) have chosen 14 and 23 as the numbers this month! Counting down and skipping my own comment, our winners are

Susan and Lesley



Your Quince&Co. Sparrow will be in flight this week! Thanks so much to everyone for making this so much fun for me, and many thanks to Quince&Co. for putting such thought into their yarns.

We’ve got one more month of summer and one more warm-weather yarn! Stick around for August and more Mindful Fiber!

G is for Girl

Got the Girl ready to go!

here she is!

You can find her on Ravelry and in my Etsy shop. Early Adopters, I suggest Ravelry since it is easier to get updates to you. It’s a 12 page pattern. There are bound to be updates.

If anybody decides to design additional clothes for this little lady and decides to share the patterns, please please let me know! I’ll add links and credits and praise to the pattern listings.

Mindful Fiber Winners will be announced later today!

PS I know the site looks rather awkward. The theme is undergoing an update (it’s possible that’s how the spammers were exploiting Yarn Miracle) and some things have gone wacky. Like centering, captions and footnotes. It’s a process.


electra and trailer

How we like to travel.

To school, to the grocery store, to the library, to Bell’s for coffee, to the Mexican restaurant, to the vet (but only without cats).


There’s lots of room for friends.

12 Months of Mindful Fiber: July with Linen from Quince & Co.

It’s July. It’s hot. It’s time for linen.

Linen is one of the greenest fabrics in the world. Flax, the plant that linen comes from, grows well with just naturally occurring precipitation and requires minimal pesticides and chemical fertilizers even when not categorized as ‘organic’. Flax has been cultivated for fiber since at least 3,000 B.C. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in it, folks in the Middle East have worn it for centuries, it’s mentioned several times in the Bible and was valued as a commodity by the Greeks and Romans. All that before being introduced to Europe and then to the Americas.

Linen takes a while to process. The seeds have to be removed (rippling). The entire plant must be soaked in water, acid or chemicals to decompose the bark and pectin so the fiber can be removed as long strands (retting). Strands are dried, combed and spun into a thread or yarn. All of this makes for a product that is more expensive, but it is also a higher quality product. Linen yarn is absorbent, moisture-wicking and softens beautifully with washing, age and use.

not flax

Where the spare DPNs live.

Knitting with linen is like knitting with anything else: you have to Know Your Fiber. Linen is slippery, so choose wooden or bamboo needles – they have a little grip to them that you will appreciate! If you’ve chosen a yarn with a loose twist, choose needles with a rounded point to prevent split stitches. Linen is not at all elastic, which means that it will not snap back into shape like wool does. It will relax, it will drape, it will soften with age. Great qualities for shawls, but your gauge should be TIGHT for other garments so that your finished product keeps it’s shape. If you opt to substitute linen for another fiber: swatch swatch SWATCH. And WASH your swatch! Linen changes dramatically with washing – it blooms and softens so be sure to check your gauge after washing, not before.

**This giveaway is closed! Join us in August for more Mindful Fiber!**

Want to give it a try? The pattern this month is exactly right for a linen “taste test.”

To make this little bag with its long shoulder strap, you’ll need two skeins of Sparrow, an organic linen grown in Belgium, from Quince & Co..

Blue Spruce and NannyBerry (picked for the name AND the color)

Quince & Co. was founded by two knitware designers and the owner of an historic spinning mill. Together, they have created “a line of thoughtfully conceived yarns spun from American wool or sourced from overseas suppliers who grow plants, raise animals, or manufacture a yarn in as earth- and labor-friendly a way as possible. We think we can have our yarn and knit it, too.”

Quince & Co. sells their yarns directly from their website, and I encourage you to run over and take a look at the other yarn lines, you’ll find something special. Rest assured that the something special is available in an absolutely splendid color.

**This giveaway is closed! Join us in August for more Mindful Fiber!**

I’ve got enough linen for two July winners, PDF patterns will be delivered by email (thank you for your versatility, Ravelry). To win this month’s Mindful Fiber, just leave a comment before July 24, 2012!

Carrie Hoge holds the copyright on the le petit sac photograph. it is used with permission.

Tomato Tomahto

How about some fresh marinara?

out of the yard

Too many for sandwiches, too few to can.


1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 T. minced garlic
2 T. tomato paste (you might could get away without it)
2 c. diced tomatoes
1 c. water
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
grind in some fresh pepper
1 t. dried basil OR 2 T. fresh basil chopped

Heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic until the onion is soft.
Add the tomato paste and heat through.
Add the rest of the ingredients (except the fresh basil), cover the pot loosely and cook about 20 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Add the fresh basil.
Leave it alone if you like a chunky sauce. I prefer to puree it with immersion blender for a smoother texture. Makes maybe 4 servings.

House Guest

We’ve got a couple of house guests for July. One is tiny.


Dad found this baby out at the Farm no mom or siblings anywhere in sight (he watched for a while). So here she is. Five weeks old is just so tiny. She is negative for all the cat viruses, can have shots in three weeks, and I think she can be spayed when she weighs 4 pounds (I’ll check that our vet will do that). After that, she’ll be looking for a home if anyone is looking for a kitten.

Our other house guest is Great Gran’s cat, Dinah. I’ve opted to put her upstairs this year instead of in the office with Michael. She seems much more relaxed (even with Betty sticking her paws under the door). Dinah hates Michael with flaming passion.