Monday, June 24, 2013

June Loveliness

"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June."
-L.M. Montgomery









Monday, June 10, 2013

Baby Vest - In Threes

Summer is definitely here.
I can tell because my mind is starting to race with summer ideas.
I always start the summer with really big plans.
It goes something like this:
Re-organize my house.
Get it perfectly clean.
School the kids in grammar, spelling, reading, and math.
Grow an amazing garden.
Put up a bunch of fruit.
Make my kids into Olympic champion swimmers.
Travel somewhere amazing.
Entertain a million people.
Paint and Redecorate.
And what really ends up happening?
We do work hard, but with everyone home and making messes, we about break even.
I won't have one clean room for more than just a few seconds.
I end up chasing my toddler out of stuff, creatively keeping my boys busy so that I don't kill them, and driving my teenager to a million places.
Most of that stuff, that I 'plan' doesn't happen.
But we do play.
A lot.
And it's not perfect, but it is still
The kids will sleep outside.
Drink lemonade.
Count the stars.
Climb trees.
Ride bikes.
Play in the creek.
And eat lots of popsicles.
They start out so grateful to be home.  Then after some weeks decide that they can't stand the sight of each other. And they'll get into a billion fights. There will be lots of screaming and whining.  Then after a few more weeks they'll really bond,
usually just in time to go back to school. 
This Wednesday is our last day of school.
And here I am full of excitement for it all to begin.
And making plans.
Here comes Summer. 
As for my knitting,
I finally got around to knitting the popular pattern In Threes.
This is such a well-designed pattern.
This is a baby cardigan designed to be worn from 0-6 months and beyond.  It is knitted from the top down, with no seams to sew up when you are finished. 
This yarn was dreamy.  Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage.  In this crazy kettle-dyed or hand-dyed purple-pink color with the natural dye variations.

I added some of the tree-branch buttons that we made before. 

Though it looks pretty in the garden, it will still look even prettier on a lovely little girl.  

As an aside, this week I must return some library books that I have been treasuring.  I've maxed out the renewals on these books, and I have been deeply pouring into their contents.  It has helped to improve my spinning so much.


 I also just dived in to my first Baby Surprise Jacket.  I can't wait to show you when I get it sewn up, and photographed.  Happy Knitting.

Sharing today with:

Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On
Ginny's Yarn Along
Tami Ami's Finished Object Friday
Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday   and
Wisdom Begins in Wonder's Fiber Arts Friday

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Make an Easy Drop Spindle for $1.75


Once our gang started spinning, it became apparent that we were gonna need more drop spindles.  I've fallen in love with my Ashford drop spindle, but it cost almost 20 dollars.  With all of us spinning, three spindles were not enough, and then when we all started plying from those spindles onto another spindle...

Well, we needed more.

I thought about buying them.  But at the price of my Ashford I might as well go out and buy a spinning wheel - which is already on the wish list. 

I went looking for bargain spindles at the Spring Fair.  There were some cheap drop spindles for sale.  $7 wasn't too bad, but the quality was pretty poor.  And well, they looked pretty easy to make.

After consulting several sources, and realizing what simple tools these are, I found exactly the supplies I needed to make them.  I know, sometimes it's not worth the fuss to make it, especially if you are busy.  But in this case it was totally worth it.

We were able to find what we needed at Hobby Lobby.  The dowels were even precut, making this about the easiest project ever. 

You will need only three things:

1.  Toy wooden wheels.

2.  Dowels to fit inside.  (check the diameter on the package)

3.  Small cuphooks.

That's it.

All you do is:

1.  Drill a small hole in the end of your dowel for the cuphook.

2.  Notch out the bottom of the wheel however you like.  (Do this before you put it all together)

3.  Push the wheel onto the dowel, about an inch or less from the top.

Usually the fit is tight enough you don't even have to glue it!

4.  Screw the cup hook into your drilled hole at the top.

 And Voila!  You have a drop spindle. Or many of them.  It's that easy.

Did I mention that the cost per spindle is $1.75 or less? 

We now have a bunch of them.

Enough for every kid at our house to have their own. 

Enough for plying. 

Enough to personalize!  My kids can't wait to paint theirs this week.

As a side note, I spun my first alpaca yarn.  It is scrumptious.  This was not from commercially prepared roving.  This was the free stuff from the farm up the road.  Not the easiest stuff to learn on, and it's been a lot of trial and error, and accidental felting.  But I now have ONE precious skein of the stuff.  It's drying............

If you are interested, see our family's experience with drop spindles,
And my first project made with hand-spun from start to finish.
And stay-tuned for upcoming tutorials on skirting and washing wool for spinning.

Who knew baby gates were so versatile?

Sharing with:

Tami Ami's Work in Progress Wednesday
Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On
Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday