Moving forward...

As my family and I have moved through the last few weeks, of the darkest days of the year, we've taken a lot of time for self reflection about our journey together on this earth.  Deciding what is important and  meaningful for each of us and how we can move forward into the new year, more in tune with each other and our natural world.

More family time together was the first unanimous decision!  For this reason, the biggest change is that I will not be taking any more custom knitting orders until Spring 2011 and then only on a very limited basis. Most hand knit longies take over twenty hours to knit, not including time for hand dying the yarn, photographing, listing, etc.  I've been spending an obscene amount of time knitting customs, and not enough time tending to my own family's needs.

Another reason for this decision is a need for creativity!  Knitting the same thing over and over again is very draining on the creative soul.  I think in the last year I've knit about two dozen pairs of birchbark longies and I just need to do something that makes me passionate again!!

The second change we are moving towards is being more aware of recycling, reusing, repairing and repurposing.  In the last year, all of our shopping has been done at local thrift stores or Goodwill.  However this year, we're hoping to eliminate as many shopping trips as possible by repairing the worn out pair of jeans or using them to create something completely new!  Did you know that each household throws away 68 pounds of textiles every year??  You can count tons of unique upcycled sweater items through out the year!

Other things we've put on the table to accomplish this year are:
*New knitting patterns and hand dyed yarns in a variety of weights and fibers (can you say merino and silk!  ~It's absolutely amazing~)

*My husband Mike has proven to be an oil blending genius and will be mixing up some amazing batches of hand~made soap along with our much loved laundry soap!

*Mike is also designing some recycled waldorf style dolls, with a not so waldorf spin, geared at older kids and teens ~hmmmm, I'm really excited to see what he comes up with~

*Eco~Wrap Cloth gift bags in a variety of sizes made from hand dyed hemp/cotton fabric!  We made some this year for the first time with all of the extra fabric and ribbon around the house and even our die hard paper lovers have been converted!
*Eco~friendly shipping.  I've stock piled our shipping shelves with biodegradable mailers from EcoEnclose!  They're very affordable, extremely durable, and best of all they completely break down in up to 60 months, even in a landfill!

Whew, it's going to be a busy year, but we're so exciting to finally be creating and collaborating together as a family. We can't thank you enough for following us on this journey over the last year, and look forward to discovering what the new year brings for us all~

What changes are you making in your life this year?
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12 Days of Solstice: Day 12

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12 Days of Solstice: Day 11

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12 Days of Solstice: Days 8, 9, & 10

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12 Days of Solstice: Day 7

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Handmade for the Holidays: Last Minute Gift Guide

~ Handmade for the Holidays: Last Minute Gift Guide ~
Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased handmade holiday gifts this season! 
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12 Days of Solstice: Day 5

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12 Days of Solstice: Day 4

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The 12 Days of Solstice: Day 3

~ Victorian parlor games, board games, card games, & chess ~
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12 Days of Solstice: Day 2

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12 Days of Solstice...

It seems like every year we've naturally evolved farther and farther away from the traditional christmas rites and closer and closer to a celebration that is more about our relationship with the earth.  This year, we've decided to celebrate the season with 12 days of family activities, loosely based around John Matthew's The Winter Solstice:  The Sacred Traditions of Christmas.  For the next 12 days, I'll be posting a daily photo of our journey out of the darkness and back into the light...

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A few new hand painted yarn techniques, led to a series of small serendipities...

I will definitely be doing more of these after the holiday rush, but for now, these unexpected treasures will be ready in my shop tomorrow afternoon~

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Tutorial: How to make your own custom clothing tags

While creating my annual order of upcycled wine bags for our local liquor store, I realized that I didn't have enough of my regular clothing tags for the enormous pile of wool tubes.  

With no time to order more, I searched around the house for an alternative and found the $.49 package of iron on transfer paper I bought at Goodwill last summer.  (I really had no plan when I bought it, but who can pass up craft supplies for $.49!)  With a little bit of scrap cotton muslin, I created my own custom clothing tags!  

Here's how I did it~

Step 1:  Using your favorite return address label program, print right onto the transfer paper and cut them out!  Note: When printing make sure to check the "mirror" option so that your logo prints backwards.  They will then be facing the right way when you transfer your image to the fabric!   

Step 2:  Cut out fabric 2.5" wide x 2" high

Step 3: Iron fabric in half.

Step 4: Center logo and iron onto fabric according to the directions.

Step 5: Open the fabric and press in the ends for a nice neat edge.

Step 6: Peel off the transfer backing and fold the tag in half again. Iron once more for a sharp clean finish.  Note: Do not directly iron on the transfer or it will melt!!  

Voila!  Custom clothing tags that are eco friendly & cost me about one cent per sheet!

Enjoy, and please let me know if you have any questions~
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Handmade for the Holidays: Gift Guide Video Series

*Handmade for the Holidays:  Gift Guide Video Series*
~A fun little video for your handmade shopping this weekend~

Search "sparkle and snowflakes" on Etsy to find more magical shops like these:

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Handmade for the Holidays: Gift Guide ~Video Style~

I'll be away for the weekend (hopefully, if the weather holds out) so I won't be hosting a giveaway.  However, I will be featuring handmade artists, video style!
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Monday musings

Mondays, especially cloudy ones, are only good for one thing... Knitting brilliant shades of reds for a custom mitten and hat set. Teeny tiny two year old mittens are the sweetest things to knit, wouldn't you agree!

~Have a wonderful week~

We've consulted the Random generator and the winner of this weekend's giveaway is.... 
Brady Desimone!  Please contact me at to claim your prize.
Thank you so much to Jaime at The Backporch Boutique and to all who participated!

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Handmade for the Holidays: Gift Guide

*Handmade for the Holidays: Gift Guide*
~Search hemp on Etsy to find a wide variety of gifts for the whole family~

~Happy Shopping~
And don't forget to stop over to the Handmade for the Holidays: Giveaway
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Handmade for the Holidays: Giveaway

*Handmade for the Holidays: Giveaway*

For this week's giveaway, I'm honored and grateful to introduce to you, The Backporch Boutique

In Jaime's own words, My main focus is Eco Friendly, sustainable clothing. My focus on Mother Earth does not stop at The BackPorch Boutique, we are a very environmentally conscious family and  BELIEVE in Mother Earth and all she has to offer.  We do our part to take care/give back to the earth, and not take it for granted. I love that I can spread the word, and help people BE GREEN just by buying a piece of eco friendly Hemp clothing from my business!

The Backporch Boutique is graciously offering readers her Lil' Pumpkin Hemp Bloomers 
(size 2t/3t depending if you want them to be pants or capri's.)

You can enter to win by leaving a comment below.  Gain additional entries in the following ways, but remember to leave an additional comment for each entry.
* Head over to The Backporch Boutique and let me know your favorite item
* Add The Sitting Tree to your blog roll, if you haven't already
* Become a fan on Facebook
* Mention the giveaway on your blog or Facebook

Comments will be closed Sunday night at 10pm, and the winner will be announced Monday.  Please stop back to claim your prize!

~Thank you so much for supporting independent artists this holiday season ~ Good Luck!
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Work basket...

WOW, that weekend turned into a whole week!  It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're not tied to a computer all the time...

Like this magical christmas stocking~

And this toasty hood idea my oldest son designed to combat cold wind and snow down the neck~

Small, soft, sweet, and just the right amount of holiday cheer~

And these, my most favorite of all, upcycled adult patchwork pants made from 100% wool sweaters!  They are amazingly soft and comfy, just as you can imagine.  The temps were 10 below zero when we took this picture and my hubby said his legs were perfectly comfortable~

I'll be listing these in my shop all weekend, along with a few other goodies.  What have you been working on this week?

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Takin' off...

I'm taking the weekend off, just because I can...  See you back here on Monday!  
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Free Knitting or Crochet Pattern Tutorial: Coffee Cozy

Every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings, my girlfriends and I gather together at the coffee shop and knit, and talk, and laugh, and cry, and knit some more.  Some of us are happy just to watch, while some of us knit row after row of perfectly executed garter stitch, and some of us are just a wee bit obsessed.
The magic of our needles and camaraderie brings an ever changing blend of men, women, grandparents and  children to the large round table; watching in awe or sharing stories.  I have come to appreciate each and every person who has passed through our group, and have come to depend on this profound connection we've created with each other.

Today, the tone at the table grew to sheer panic!  We were all completely shocked and surprised about how there's only a month until Christmas and no one has started their handmade gifts. (Yes, we do this panic thing every year.  You'd think we'd get a clue.) 

I also know that we are not the only ones panicking, so I have a gift for you...  a really easy, quick gift to make; Coffee Cozies.  They are so fast and easy, fit just about any size cup, and I bet you could make enough for all your family & friends in one weekend!  Better yet, grab a bunch of your favorite knitting (or crocheting) friends and spend the afternoon together cranking them out!

*KNIT Version*
Materials: 40g of worsted weight or chunky wool yarn, Size 8 needles, 2 buttons, needle for darning in ends.
Finished Measurements: 4" wide X 10" long

With two strands of worsted weight yarn or one strand of chunky weight yarn, CO 18 and knit in garter stitch for 9"
K2, BO 3, K7, BO 3, K1
K2, CO 3, K7, CO 3, K2
Knit 4 more rows of garter stitch and BO loosely
Darn in ends, sew on your buttons and you're ready for a refill~

*CROCHET Version*
Materials:  30g. of worsted weight or chunky wool yarn, Size I crochet hook, 2 buttons, needle for darning in ends
Size I crochet hook
Finished Measurements: 4" wide x 10" long
With two strands of worsted weight yarn or one strand of chunky weight yarn, chain 15 and turn.
Single crochet in second chain from hook.  *Single crochet across. Chain 1. Turn.  Repeat from * for 9"
On last row, single crochet 3.  Chain 5. Single crochet to last 4 stitches.  Chain 5.  Single crochet to end.  Turn.
To finish it off, single crochet in each stitch and bind off. (I skipped the stitch before and after each chain so that it doesn't bulge)
Darn in ends, sew on your buttons, and get yourself a cup of tea~

~ I'd love to see pics of your coffee house cozy adventures ~

*Please forgive me if I've made any mistakes in the patterns.  I wrote them up at 3:30 in the morning a few nights ago;)

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