Kettle Creek Hat

I love this hat.  So much so, that I've made four of them since the last seasonal transition.  

The first hat was inspired by the edge of an autumn storm near Kettle Creek.  

Swirling cables, to mimic the silver gray clouds.  

Moss stitch for the radiant golden fields.  

Long sturdy lines for the standing pine.

The second hat was just because, but no one liked the pom pom, except me.  {I'm just not sure I can pull off a pom pom, so it mostly stays at the bottom of the hat basket.}

Then there was a red hat for Luke, sans pom pom.  He adores it and when we had to buy him a new winter coat, it was required to match. 

Now it's spring, and with this new change of season, it felt right to put the pattern to paper.  I started one more, as a test knit, and dyed it to be my favorite color, plum. It's so nice to have bright color this time of year.  Purple also happens to be Cole's favorite color, which he mentioned as I was knitting.  He also pointed out that since I have a cable knit hat of my own, he should get that one.  Sigh.  It's so hard to say no to someone who wants to wear your hand knits.  I think I have enough purple left to make one more, just for me.  {I mean it.}

If you'd like to make one too, or want to know more about the pattern, you can download Kettle Creek instantly through Etsy and Ravelry, or by clicking the link below.  I really hope you enjoy knitting this, as much as I do.

Kettle Creek Hat

p.s.  I've included a tutorial for the pom pom, in case you decide to go for it!

(Joining Ginny)

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From Scratch

Today, I made my first successful batch of baked beans.  I've tried cooking dried beans before, but I usually start soaking at the wrong time and then forget about them.  I'm learning that patience and organization are the keys to making food from scratch.  

I'm looking forward to trying other recipes that will be both better for our health and our budget.

What are some of your favorite from scratch recipes?

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A Spring Hat

Another perfect day for indoor handwork.  I thought it would be nice to have a new hat for spring.  I don't know about you, but we're in need of some bright color right about now.  

We woke to more snow this morning, but there's a bare patch of grass under the pine trees across the road, and with it, I'm holding onto some semblance of hope for a real spring, soon.  

I've been on a plum kick this year, so I dyed a skein to match my favorite t'shirt.  I used Quince and Co.'s Limited Edition Osprey, and when they say it knits up a little differently than Osprey, they weren't kidding.  Some skeins knit up as a bulky weight and some at a heavy worsted.  No matter, the quality is superb.  I just have to make sure and knit a gauge swatch when necessary.

I'm using this as a final test knit for a new hat pattern that I will have available on Wednesday. 

Wishing you a wonderful start to your week.

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Weekend Sewing

I half hoped we'd be able to make a trip up to the land this weekend, but spring hasn't exactly sprung yet.  It's only going to be in the 20's for the next few days, so instead we're working on some indoor projects.  

I've gotten the spring sewing bug, so I made a few new zipper pouches.  A change pouch for Luke, pencil cases for Jake and Cole, and a knitting needle case for me.  All made from hand dyed hemp and organic cotton. 

Our onion seedlings are coming along nicely.  We planted a tray of leeks earlier this week and have many more onions to get started.  Now where to put all these trays?  No flat surface is safe.  I may have to talk Mike into building a cold frame or we're going to run out of space!

Are you working on any projects this weekend?

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First Day of Spring

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Lots of making has been going on this week:

::  Hand dyeing hemp and organic cotton fabric for the annual easter basket knitting kits.  This week, I'm dyeing more yards in yellows, pinks, and oranges. 

::  I cleaned out my zipper stash, over the weekend, and am going to use them to make some zippered knitting pouches.

::  Luke is obsessed with bridges right now, so we've been reading about different structures and he's been using popsicle sticks to create and test his own designs.  We're really loving this book.  

::  Knitting has been slow this week.  I've been steadily working on my log cabin squares, but most of my time has been focused toward sewing.  I even purchased my first shirt pattern and I'm going to try sewing my own clothes for this spring and summer. 

::  I don't know if gardening counts as making, but our first seeds have sprouted!  I thought for sure they weren't going to survive.  It had been over a week and nothing was happening.  Some mold was starting to grow on a few of the pots, too.  I moved them to the kitchen table and put a space heater next to the trays to help them warm up and dry out.  It was literally minutes after I turned the heater on and we could watch with our own eyes, the little onion shoots pushing their way out of the dirt.  I guess they were just cold and damp.  Since then, the mold is gone and every morning we wake up to check and see how many sprouts have emerged.  

What have you been making this week?

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Planting Seeds

Mike, the boys and I sat around the kitchen table, listening to the melting snow pour off the roof.  It was loud, even with the windows shut.  "Just think of all the water we could be collecting," Mike and I mentioned to each other.  Most of our conversations turn this direction lately, consumed with all matters of homesteading....

Getting the seeds started is at the top of our to do list.  Firstly, because it's fun to play in the dirt when there's still three feet of snow in our front yard (six feet, if you count the end of the driveway). Secondly, our garden app is telling us it's time.  I love this tool, especially as a beginner.  It gives me visual lists and charts of everything we're going to plant and plenty of space for notes.  I can layout the garden on a grid and it tells me just exactly how much room I need for each plant, along with any companion plants I could put around it.  It's been so much more helpful than the dozens of scrap paper notes I have laying around. This is probably the first time I've ever chosen an electronic device over traditional pen and paper. (Even my blog posts are initially written by hand.)  Creating a garden to feed all five of us, for the whole year, is a huge undertaking and this makes me feel so much more focused on getting and keeping everything in order. 

This week, we're starting green, white, and yellow onions, shallots, and chives.  We managed to plant about 120 of the 650 seeds before we ran out of the organic seed starter.  Lesson learned #1:  It's going to take A LOT more seed starter that we realized, and I'm hoping to find bags in larger quantity or maybe even mix my own.  Do you mix your own and have a favorite recipe to share? 

Oh, I almost forgot.  The gadget we're using is called a soil blocker.  It was recommended by Amanda a few years ago and I have to say that so far, we're all liking it.  We can get about 40 - two inch cubes in our recycled trays.

p.s.  We aren't affiliated with any of the products listed here, we just really like them a lot and thought you might too.

p.s.s. Mike ordered our chickens, turkeys and guinea hens, to be delivered May 28th.  Eeek!
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::  Pizza, pizza and more pizza.  We all decided we could do without it for a good, long time.

::  Finished knitting a hat for Mike and worked on another log cabin square.

::  Poured through gardening books and youtube videos.  I decided to use a few select books and stick with them, otherwise, all the information just gets to be so overwhelming.  Who knew sun, soil and water could be so complicated!

::  We made a trip to our local nursery for seedling trays.  All they had were the tray kits, so I asked if they had any left over trays from the greenhouse that we could buy, he told us we'd have to dig through the snow bank, but we could help ourselves.... for FREE!

::  Fresh haircuts.  I'm getting pretty good with a clippers.

::  Long walks in the sunshine, because it's almost like spring outside.  The temps made it into the 40's this weekend and that hasn't happened since November.

Did you do something fun this weekend?
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I was cleaning out some toy buckets in the boys' room last week when I came across a pile of knit Barbie sweaters.  My grandma knit them for me when I was very little.  I remember the red jacket especially, and how smart my dolls looked in their delicate clothes.  I remember receiving them and knowing that my sweaters were something special, made just for me, with her hands {not at all like the bright neon frills that my friends' dolls were wearing}.  I remember how the tiny white pearlized buttons and the simplicity of the small stitches were intoxicating to my five year old self.  I adored every single one of them.

When my boys were very little, we discovered the trunk full of dolls and clothes in my mom's basement.  They found the little sweaters and buttons equally captivating, and that summer, Barbie and her hand knit wardrobe found their way into all kinds of sandbox stories.

It's bittersweet to find these now, because three weeks ago, my grandma died after a long struggle with Alzheimer's.  It had been a very long time since she remembered how to knit.

In the quiet moments of the early morning sun or after everyone has gone to bed, I sit with her needles and work the stitches.  To heal.  To remember.  To celebrate a life well lived.

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Log Cabin Blanket

I started this project last year when I was struggling with the winter blahs.  I pulled out my log cabin squares again this weekend, adding a few rows here and a few rows there.  I wonder how many winters it will take me to finish?

(Joining in with Ginny)
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This Week

A few random things from this week...

:: We ordered a new board game called Carcassone.  I think we've played it about 10 times already.  We really love open ended strategy games and this one has been a true gift with several days of below zero temps again.

:: I caught a glimpse of a bright red cardinal against the freshly fallen snow.

:: A large flock of robins feeding in the crabapple trees reminds me that spring will be here all too soon.

:: Mike's mom surprised us with a carton of fresh eggs.

:: We decided on fruit trees for the garden; Honeycrisp, Haralson, Froastbite, Cortland, Pears, Cherry Plums and Crabapples.

::  The house is filled with the scents of homemade soap.  Sandalwood Orange, Vanilla Oatmeal and Brown Sugar, and Wild Mint.  

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Welcome March

Dear March, come in! 

How glad I am! 

I looked for you before. 
Put down your hat— 
You must have walked— 
How out of breath you are! 
Dear March, how are you? 
And the rest? 
Did you leave Nature well? 
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me, 
I have so much to tell! 

I got your letter, and the bird’s; 
The maples never knew 
That you were coming,—I declare, 
How red their faces grew! 
But, March, forgive me— 
And all those hills 
You left for me to hue; 
There was no purple suitable, 
You took it all with you. 

Who knocks? That April! 
Lock the door! 
I will not be pursued! 
He stayed away a year, to call 
When I am occupied. 
But trifles look so trivial 
As soon as you have come, 
That blame is just as dear as praise 
And praise as mere as blame.

~Emily Dickinson

Please take a moment to visit our lovely March sponsors: Armadillo DreamsGypsy ForestMama4Earth,  Wooly Moss Roots, Acorn Hill Homestead, Vermont Branch Company

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