Monday, August 20, 2012

fiber festival

I wait all year for the day that I can go to the Michigan Fiber Festival.  It's so fun -- there are tons of vendors both local and non-local, lots of amazing fiber animals, and tons of like-minded craft folk. Whether you're a spinner, weaver, knitter, crocheter, or just a fiber arts enthusiast, there is definitely something for you at MFF!

Since my craft closet is still overflowing with last years' fiber festival purchases, I went a little lighter this year, since I've begun to realize that there is just no way that I can spin and knit through all of the fiber I get in one years' time. It's sort of like going to a restaurant when you're hungry -- your eyes are bigger than your stomach.

With that in mind, I snagged some awesome wool! Last year I was really into very soft fiber like alpaca, merino, cormo, etc.  This year, however, I thought I'd try some coarser wools.

From L to R:  Jacobs sheep, Coopworth, Mohair skein, Cormo (from my friend Anne's sheep), CVM/Alpaca, unmarked wool, unmarked wool, raw Romney fleece

Between all of this fleece, plus last years' fleece, plus the wool that our angora bunnies give, I will be very busy! 

Happy spinning and knitting, craftfolk! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

a discovery

There are many things that I have not seen in my yard since moving into town. I haven't seen toads, frogs, snakes, praying mantises, or other fun creatures.

I finally get to check one thing off of my list of "things I haven't seen", though.

I was absolutely delighted to find this in the garden today:

camouflaged in the wormwood

Monday, August 13, 2012

it was sunny yesterday

Today has been rainy and comfortably cool, which is lucky for my thirsty plants.  I planned on harvesting some more skullcap for tincturing and cutting down more comfrey for infused oil, but it began raining and it is definitely better for the plants to be dry when preparing them.

Although these pictures were taken yesterday, they bring a nice bit of color to my day to sort of counteract the gloom that the rain has brought.

white horehound

the underside of the horehound's leaves are so woolly!

chamomile, calendula, and hyssop

Saturday, August 11, 2012

it feels like autumn

The weather has drastically changed here in west Michigan, and it is very, very nice. Though we will definitely have more hot weather, the cool and rain has been a welcome change of pace.  The plants aren't wilted anymore, and the rabbits aren't panting under their thick, woolly coats.

The laundry is swinging on the line, the dog is happily watching shadows, and there is a magnificent little male American Goldfinch singing his heart out as he enjoys the ripening seeds on the sunflowers.

It's a good day.

the poke berries are ripening

tiny flowers


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

bleeding beauty

There is just far too much waste in this world and I cannot bear to contribute when I know that there are alternatives.  That's where this little guy came along.

Here is the tutorial for this menstrual pad.  It's a quick and easy project, and as it happens, is 100% useful! The only thing that I did differently was use cotton batting instead of terry cloth, and I only used two layers of the batting instead of the four layers.  Oh, and I also put a layer of waterproof nylon on the bottom of the two layers of batting for extra protection.

Weird enough as it is to say this, I look forward to the full moon next month so I can use my new pads! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

fixing the hole

I found this amazing, 100% cashmere sweatercoat a couple of years ago at a thrift store and have loved it for it's warmth and softness on nearly every cool day since then.  Last autumn though, unfortunately, I snagged the back of it and ripped a pretty noticeable hole into the back of it.  It is knit, and the yarn had been cut in several places, so I wasn't really sure what to do with it except suture it up with some similarly colored yarn (as it happened, the only similar color I had was a cotton).  The sutures were sturdy but they were not the most beautiful thing to see on this sweater, so I set it aside and hoped for a better, more nice looking fix. Today then, I came across this tutorial and boy, am I happy!

Though the roving I used isn't a perfect color match, it looks a lot better than the cotton sutures did.


plus this

equals this!

What a fun way to fix a sweater! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

around the garden

It rained again this morning, which was just perfect because I am sure there will be more hot weather to come. Not only that, but plants are very, very beautiful with raindrops on them. I did a little garden tour this morning and gathered jalapeno and cayenne peppers, cucumbers, green beans, and a crown of heirloom Italian broccoli.  It is beyond satisfying to grow your own food.  If you haven't done it, I highly recommend it!

Here are a few photos of my rainy morning excursion:
tanacetum vulgare

calendula officinalis

artemisia absinthium

mentha piperita (yes, it has recovered!)

nearly ripe brandywine tomatoes


butternut squash hiding in the weeds

common blue damselfly

honeybee doing some self-grooming

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

tomatoes and knits

We finally got our first "real" harvest of tomatoes.  I've been picking tomatoes here and there for the past couple of weeks, but we haven't had a decent amount to have a filling snack with or anything like that. Well today was my lucky day because I collected all of these!
We've also gotten a lot of rain this past week, therefore I've had time to do a little knitting.  I'm already working on holiday gifts as well, but unfortunately I won't be able to post photos of them until winter, lest a future recipient see them.

With projects and veggies abound, I have got my work cut out for me! My brandywine tomatoes are turning pink too, which only means that I better get my canner out!