Tutorial ~ How to make a niddy noddy

First off, I'd like to say THANK YOU to all the mamas who bought my newly released, Luna Sweater knitting pattern this morning!

I've also posted a video about how to make your own niddy noddy out of recycled pvc pipe. (This is my first video ever, so please excuse my amateur film skills!)

With a 14" spindle, you will achieve about a 70" wrap.  For 100 yd skein, you'll need to wrap the yarn approximately 52 times.

I've also made a little progress on the custom baby sweater...

Happy knitting and have a great weekend~

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Wow, it seems like it's been forever since I posted last, as all three kids have been fighting the flu for the last few days.  No one has come in or out of the house, the windows have been drawn and locked up tight and my children turned into pale, thin, unrecognizable creatures.  Finally, this morning,  it was like they had all gone through a metamorphosis over night.  Each of them woke with vitality and a renewed strength, begging to be let free.  We opened up the house and headed out into the woods for an easy hike, snacking on dandelions and rinsing the germs away under a warm shower of rain.

Feeling renewed myself, I decided to dye some wool and thought you might like to see it's transformation from a single skein of yarn to a completed project.

First, I wrap all the yarn into a skein on my homemade niddy noddy.

Next, I remove it from the niddy noddy and soak it in room temperature water for about an hour.

Mix all the dyes and add yarn to the dye pot.

With low impact dyes you just let the wool simmer until all the dye has absorbed.   Only one rinse is needed, no chemicals go down the drain, no toxic mordants needed to set the color (only vinegar), and the water can be recycled for the next batch!

I wash it with a bit of my home made organic castile soap and rinse.  Squeeze all the water out with a towel and hang to dry.

When it's dry, wind it into a ball and knit!  This yarn is for a custom one~year~old hooded sweater that I'm starting tomorrow.  I'll post pics of the progress throughout the week.

Hope your family is having a happy and healthy week~
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Not So Blind Knitting Patterns

I've never been one to follow blindly, so it comes to no surprise that I would fail to ever use a pattern in knitting.  All my designs are made on a whim and I shape each piece as I go to the specified measurements.  However, many of you have asked countless times if I would please write up the patterns to sell and well, I've done it!   After I've finished with the last of my custom orders, I'm going to take a few weeks and write up some of the designs I've been wanting to create for years!  I'll add each pattern as I've finished it and then I hope to work on some new custom order designs for next fall, too!!

I'm also thinking of adding some kits to the mix.  Maybe my hand dyed yarn to go along with the pattern?!
Let me know what you think.
Happy Knitting~
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All Things Are Connected

 "All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth.
Befalls the sons of the earth
Man did not weave the web of life. 
He is merely a strand it. 
Whatever he does to the web.
He does to himself." 

Chief Seattle 1854

Our children have always grown up knowing that every insect, pine needle, rock, and droplet of rain are a part of who we are and that what we do on this earth not only effects us, but every thing in it.  While collecting rocks and seeds in the woods recently, Cole decided that our sacred treasures should be paid more respect than just shoving them into a pocket.  We came up with some beautiful drawstring bags that have been much loved.

Here's another version that I think you and your family will love to take on your next adventure...

Happy Hunting!

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Moments to Savor

Just a few moments from yesterday's Earth Day celebration that I want to savor forever.

Not so wholesome food...

Natural art...

Beautiful music...

Good company...

Have a wonderful weekend!
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Season of Growing

Feeling the sunset sneak up behind me on this cool, clear April night, I longed for another hour of light to finish planting some spinach seeds in the garden.  After the sun finally set and it was too dark to see anything, I sat under the stars, in the dirt, thinking about how quickly things grow and change so much in my life.  The seasons, my sweet babies, my many knitting adventures...

I secretly wish sometimes that I could keep things forever as they are right now; the dissipating lethargy of winter, tiny (and not so tiny) little toes, and a plethora of creativity.

However, it's also a privilege to be on this journey with my friends and family, to watch in awe as life unfolds in it's beautiful rhythm and balance of the earth.

A late night snow storm and early morning fog, in February, caused ice crystals to form on the trees and shrubs.  

When I stepped out the front door,  it was as if a party had been thrown in my honor. 

The branches bowed down to greet me, and every inch of life had been covered in a pristine coat of glittering white confetti.

It's hard to believe that these photos were taken only two months ago.  With our unseasonably warm spring here in Wisconsin, winter seems but a mere memory. 

 The fog crystals have grown into fragrant fruit blossoms,

and last years berries have made way for new life.

I'm still secretly wishing for our daily rhythms to stay as it is right now, but I'm also allowing myself to enjoy every little moment of sweet bliss as it rises and falls through out my days.

Happy Earth Day!  I hope you are reminded of a little bliss on this day that we celebrate the Earth.

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Knitting and the Beach

Looks as though this is going to be a weekly ritual. (or likely daily ritual, but I won't bore you with every sand castle picture!)

Kids playing in the sand,

hubby taking a nap,

and me knitting on the beach, at our favorite local state park.

Hope you spent some time in the woods this weekend, dancing with the butterflies, singing with the birds and talking to the trees~
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Tutorial: Make Your Own Game Board

Not so long ago, before Jake grew taller than me, he and I played board games ALL the time.  Long Wisconsin winters beg for games like Monopoly, CandyLand, Sorry, and Labyrinth.  After the third round of CandyLand one afternoon, Jake proposed it was time for something new.  Lacking money and transportation, I  suggested we invent our own.  We set our criteria and sat down with a cup of hot cocoa to brainstorm some ideas. 

Here's what we ended up with:

It's compact, durable, and best of all, universal!  Just about any game you imagine can be played on this board.  For example: name that tune, match the animal with habitat, adding, subtracting, multiplication, division, identify the plant, id a country on the map.  The list goes on and on....  

Jake created a simple set of instructions that applies to every game.  Make playing cards to match your topic.  Pick a card and if you get the answer right, then roll the dice and move the amount shown.  The first person to reach the finish line wins!

Don't forget to blow on the dice for good luck!

For a long time, Jake's game board remained forgotten in a pile of boxes on the shelf, until the other day when Cole found it and brought it out on the table to play.

Jake proudly retold the story of how we made it, and has taken a renewed interest in some of his old favorites.  The games have evolved to include Cole and Luke's new rules and ideas for play, which Jake happily complies.

Who knew a file folder, a ruler and some crayons would make something that has become a treasured family heirloom.

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Beautiful Blogger Award

I'm always a little leary of external rewards that try to motivate me into performing (aside from chocolate and an exceptional cup of Jasmine tea, of course), but since it seems the Beautiful Blogger Award is done out of pure kindness,  I willingly comply.  

A beautiful mama, Saskia over at Sugar Magnolia nominated me for this award and has lovingly coerced me into seven thoughts of introspection.  Here goes...

1.  I'm a recovering Mt. Dew addict.  
2.  During my seven years in college, to my father's dismay, I declared 4 majors; Accounting, Social work, Speech Therapy, & Finance.  I ended up graduating with a BS in Finance, but what I really wanted to be was a marine biologist with an art minor.  I'm only 31, so there's LOTS of time!
3.  I'm a Scorpio.  Nuff said.
4.  I'm deaf in my left ear, caused by a high fever I had as a young child.
5.  I'm slightly obsessive compulsive.  I have to push a certain sequence of buttons on the stereo remote before I can turn it on! (I'm not crazy, really.  I'm thinking it was all that high-fructose corn syrup!)
6.  I'm passionate about stopping hunger across the globe, and believe that NO ONE should be denied the right for basic human needs.

Did you know that 1 in 6 Americans go hungry every day. Take a good look around your neighborhood, because hunger doesn't only affect people in poverty. Over 50% of the families using local food shelves are full time, working families who have to choose between rent and food. 

Mothers, you know how hard it is to nurture your family when you don't take care of yourself.  Imagine what we could do as a country, if we collectively nurtured one another.   A country who respects and takes care of its people first inward, are better able to radiate that love and extend a hand to fight hunger in the rest of the world.

Please, next time you're at the market, put something in the food shelf bin.  Even if it's just one $.99 can of veggies.  If you don't have a bin at your market, ask about setting one up for your local food center.

You can start helping right now by coming over to my shop TheSittingTree.  I'm selling hand dyed t's to raise money for our local food and clothing center.  ~Hunger Knows no Season~

7. I play the viola, a little piano, and recently took up the harmonica.

Sweet, now I get to pass on some adoration to 15 other bloggers!  Post a link and I'll come take a look:)

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find the GNOME and win

In honor of Earth Day, NaturalKids is having a huge celebration!! Visit our shop and look for a little hand drawn gnome picture, hidden amongst our listings. Find the gnome, contact the shop seller, and you'll win a FREE, idea packed e~BOOK about connecting kids to nature and making simple toys and crafts.  


For more info, visit us at NaturalKids

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