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Summertime

July 12, 2011

Summertime’s in full swing, and I have been everywhere else but on this blog..

Our garden’s growing:

Yes this is a wheelbarrow full of Napa Cabbage! We made saurkraut!

Spring Strawberries!

A Cool spring made for awesome pea harvest

Mini Pac choi growing up to become seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medicines are in the Making:

Fresh blossoms of St John's Wort for healing oil...

Healing herbs (St John's Wort, Calendula & Lavender, Yarrow, and Comfrey) steeping in oil in a sunny windowsill

Dye Plants are being harvested:

Dyer's Coreopsis flowers!

These wonderful flowers have self sown themselves all over my garden! Each day I go and gather the newly opened blossoms, and dry them down. By the end of their season, I hope to have enough to dye a sweater’s worth of yarn. They will dye the wool a lovely salmon orange if I mordant with alum and modify with alkali. I will post pictures of the finished yarn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knitting outside of course!  While my children swim or play or play at our various campgrounds, I have managed to get some knitting done.

Here’s my Enchanted Daybreak Shawl I finished while at our Knit Nite Girls ( Fiber Trash Girls) Summer retreat:

A Spider Web shawl for Mama Spider!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a few pair of socks I have finished, as I have been keeping up with my Year of Socks:

Sport Weight Sock for March

Handspun Socks for April

Fun Textured Socks for May

Handspun Socks for June

-Making lots of yummy treats from garden fruits!  Inspired by a page in one of our  favorite picture books, To Market to Market, the kids and I made Blueberry Turnovers.

Yummy Turnovers with extra filling on top!

 

 

-These long summer days give me lots of time to spend with my wonderful kids. When I am outside with them, I am such a better parent. We’ve been taking lots of short camping trips, and we are learning so much from the wonderful woods.

Maizie found a huge Spring King Bolete Mushroom while camping!

Yes, that is Moss and friends learning to skin a Squirrel! Taken at our Wilderness Skills Family Camp.

Moss found an old Fire Engine while camping in Forest City!

Enjoy these wonderfully long days!

February Socks and a New Club….

February 27, 2011

For a short month, naturally I knit a pair of small socks!  A cute pair of socks for my sweet 6 year old.

Yes, hard to believe she is 6.  From this tiny little bundle:

to this:  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of these socks, a new tradition in our house..a fresh pair of handknit socks for your birthday month!  Not for your birthday exactly, but sometime in the month. Moss is anxiously his birthday socks, which will be in April.  I never like to  hear him whine, but  I did smile a bit when he was pouting about wanting his handknit socks…I am cultivating a taste for fine handknits in both my children!

February is typically a slow month, so I seem to get a lot of crafting done, and inspiration for new projects.  One cool thing I did this month was join the Spunky Eclectic Weaving Club.  Amy sends you yarn and a simple draft pattern, all designed to be woven on a rigid heddle loom.  I have 2 rigid heddle looms I mainly use for weaving with handspun. I recently got the Weaver’s Idea Book, so that I could explore other techniques beyond plain weave on a rigid heddle loom.  So this club will be a great inspiration for new project on my more portable looms.

We were given a few choices when we joined the club as to our color preferences ( i.e. earth tones, blues etc)..I chose the Wild category, which means anything goes! I love wild color combinations, and a club is a great way to push the edge of your color choices. Amy ( aka Boogie on Ravelry) from Spunky  Eclectic is known for her wonderful creative and wild sense of color combining!

Want to see what we got for the first month’s club?

Two skeins of Rustic Silk Yarn, in these beautiful Gold and Purple colors.

Here’s the yarn Warped on:

 

 

The Draft we were given was a simple Houndstooth weave.

And here’s the weave in progress:

 

 

There is snow on the ground, tea in my mug, fire in the stove, and lots of yarny projects around! BLISS!

Looking forward to next month’s projects!

New Sweaters!

February 3, 2011

This new year brings two new sweaters!

The first is the Fairwind Cardigan.  Inspired by Woolydaisy, our knit night group decided to embark on a knit-along.  Each of us chose a different yarn, and we set to make this stunning sweater.

This is by far the most fancy sweater I own. I almost am scared to wear it, for fear of mussing it up with food stains, paint splatters from the little ones, or firewood snag, or dirt from the garden…I am notorious for wrecking up all my clothes with this country lifestyle.  Here’s hoping that this sweater avoids that fate, and can accompany me on some of my more refined adventures!  LoL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I knit a  sweater by the same designer, Cecily Glowik MacDonald.  Idlewood is a lovely tunic with a cozy oversized cowl neck.

Like the yarn I used?  It has a great story to it….Several years ago, my grandmother gifted me all of her knitting stash and tools shortly before her death.  In one of her bins of yarn was 1500 yds of 100% soft merino wool she had gotten on clearance from Joann’s Fabrics.  Reason why it was on clearance was that it was the most hideous shade of pastel mint green.  My sweet grandma couldn’t pass up such a deal on 100% wool yarn ( thankfully she was a yarn snob too, and turned her nose down at acrylic yarns!), so she bought it and stashed it away.  Well, of course I had to find some way to use this good yarn, so I threw it all into a dyepot with Sabraset Dye in the Mustard colorway (3 depth of shade) and voila! Soft yarn in a kettle dyed colorway I could actually wear without looking nauseated.  Thanks Grandma!

My husband Gordon took the photos at such a beautiful time in the evening with the golden glow of sunset.  I am sure he thinks I am nuts for wanting to do a photoshoot of sweaters, but he loves me and puts up with all my nutty behaviours when it comes to all things fiber related! ;-)

I have two more sweaters planned from stash yarn…next up is Sabine wrap from Cocoknits. I scored this pattern and a divine skein of yarn from my trip to Verb for Keeping Yarn Store in Oakland.

And I also have plans to knit the Tephra pullover with a lovely burnt orange yarn I scored at WEBS last year.

This sweater knitting thing is sure addictive, and a great way to plow through stash yarn.

 

January Socks

January 19, 2011

We are having a wonderful January thaw, as the temps near the 70′s and the sunshine seeps into our pores.  I’ve let the housework go to hell, as I’ve spent most hours these past few days outside.  Walking trails with the kids, hanging at the park while the kids ride bikes, basking in the sun on the deck.  Getting my vitamin D, baby.  The common thread of all the outdoor activities is: sock knitting.  Got my  trusty knitting bag clicked on my hip, with a simple pair of socks on the needles. Great on the go knitting.  I even knit on these socks in the dark as we attended some films at the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Fest in town…I did get a few odd looks, but who cares? I was enjoying the entertainment and getting something done at the same time, which was more than they were doing….

So, the fruit of my labor…a lovely honey colored pair of socks! The first pair in the dozen I have pledged to knit this year.

The yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Art Socks that Rock Heavyweight, in the Honey colorway.  The pattern is Thuja, which is imprinted in my brain after knitting it twice in a row. A great simple sock pattern.

Already thinking ahead to the next pair for Febuary….I am going to knit my daughter a pair of knee highs for her birthday ( which is in early Feb.) so I am getting a jumpstart now.

Ah, if I can keep up my sock knitting mojo, it’s gonna be a good year.

 

3,2,1, Cast On…..

January 2, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

I am bringing in the New Year, DIY style, clinking my knitting needles instead of champagne glasses….casting on for my first pair of socks of 2011.

Thuja Socks in Socks that Rock Colorway ” Honey”.  I just made a pair of these same socks using a different colorway for my husband for Christmas, and i now have the pattern committed to memory.   Boy they knit up fast on thicker than fingering weight yarn.  Getting a good start on the year’s knitting….

I think this year I have more craft related New Year’s resolutions than ever!!  I have lots to crank out this year.  I have several sweaters either on the needles, or in my queue waiting to be cast on.  This winter I am getting selfish with my knitting time, and gonna deck myself out in some warm woolens.

I have plans to finish my Fairwind Cardigan by the end of January.  Today I knit almost all day long, and managed to finish the bottom portion of the body.  I did 3 lace repeats, and the length is just right! Now onto the sleeves, which should go fast.

I also have cast on for the Idlewood tunic, a pattern by the same designer as the Fairwind, Cecily Glowik Macdonald of Winged Knits…I love so many of her patterns, and her directions are clear and easy to follow.  She uses this wonderful increase “ K1-b/r”, which creates a subtle but lovely raglan shaping.  I am knitting with yarn I inherited from my Grandma’s stash.  She had a whole shopping bag full of this soft wool yarn in that hideous mint green seen in  baby yarns.  So i just dropped all 15 skeins of it into a mustard dyebath, and voila.  Yummy hand-dyed yarn to knit away with.  You will see pictures soon….

Now that the holiday presents have been opened, I can share a few of the projects that were under top secret wraps..

A handwoven bag made for my husbands I Ching book and runes.  The cloth for this was woven on my rigid heddle Flip loom, and the band was cardwoven on my inkle loom.  It is lined with wool felt for a sturdy pouch, with a snap closure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s the sweater vest I made for my daughter Maizie:

The yarn is handspun, 2 ply from roving from BeeMiceElf in the Bougainvilla colorway.  It is superwash merino, so i can launder without worrying about felting.

I had just enough yarn to make a small matching vest for her new doll:

She was so pleased!!

And for one final Christmas craft….my own present of course!  Who knows what to get me better than myself!  I bought myself a pound of this luscious ecru BFL/silk blend from Paradise fibers, undyed.  And at our last dye day at my studio, I dyed it all up as a lot enough to spin for a vest. I was very pleased with the results, and I considered it my Christmas present to myself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s to plenty of knitting, weaving, spinning, sewing, and whatever craft is your fancy in the New Year!!!

Mini Etsy Update

December 26, 2010

Handspun yarns in the Etsy Shop!!!

Spinning fibers and felting kits to follow soon!!!

Dreaming of New projects in the New Year!!

December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays everyone!! hoping everyone is filled with abundance of family, food, and everything this holiday represents.  The light is coming back!!!

So, it has been ages since I’ve posted here.  It has been a busy fall of craft fairs and holiday crafting.

MamaSpider Studio teamed up with WoolyDaisy of Washboard Woolies, and Genevieve of Fairy Tale Felts for the holiday craft fair circuit.  It was wildly successful, and all of us spread the warm woolies to others during this Solstice season!  It was great fun sharing a booth with these two lovely and creative women!

Now that the flurry of holiday crafting is over….now is the time for MamaSpider to get creative on new fronts…

My latest inspiration for the New Year is to knit 12 socks in 12 months.  I was inspired by PrairiePoppins over at Handmade Homeschool, and also by the YarnHarlot, who embarked on her own ” self imposed Sock Club”.  great motivation to move thru yarn stash and get a pile of socks out of the deal.

So  here is my mosaic of yarns i have chosen to knit into socks this year…most likely most of my socks will be of the “plain vanilla” sort ( you know, just a whole lot of stockinette or easy rib) since I have these little critters around here I homeschool. That way i can knit during read aloud time with Maizie etc.

1. EKF BFL sock “Carmelita”, 2. EKF enchantments ” Chai”, 3. EKF enchantments “Rom”, 4. EKF BFL Sock ” Red Dirt Girl”, 5. Socks that Rock ” Rooster Rock”, 6. Socks that Rock ” Autumn on Tap”, 7.Shephard sock ( from Colrain MA), 8. Enchanted Knoll Farm “Sunflowers”, 9. Hello Yarn Fat Sock “Nostalgia”, 10. Plymouth Happy Feet, 11. mamaspider Handspun 3 ply, 12. Socks that Rock “Honey”

I am also knitting up several sweaters, and have a lot of weaving projects in mind.  I will be blogging about these fibery exploits soon!!

Happy Holidays and wishing you an abundant New Year!!!!

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