Thursday, July 23, 2009

How-To Make Your Own Seed Packets

Now that summer is in full swing, if you have a garden you are or soon will be enjoying the fruits of your harvest. When preparing vegetables from your garden, set aside the seeds whenever possible. Wash them in a colander and lay them out onto paper towel to dry. Once dry store them in Seed Packets you make yourself!

I have included a link to the Seed Packet Template here

and a link to the Fancy Seed Packet Labels here

For my own hand made seed packets, I have printed the labels out on regular printer paper and traced the seed packet template onto a paper grocery sack. I like the look of the brown paper sack and it is a great way to RECYCLE and REUSE. If you want to go even one step further, print the labels on the back of already used pieces of printer paper or junk mail and reduce your paper waste even more.

This is a great way to have seeds on hand for planting year after year and you can even give filled seed packets to friends and family who enjoy gardening as well.

Happy Harvesting:-)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

COMING SOON - Audio and Video Podcast!!

Recently I have been thinking that it is time for me to take the leap into the world of PODCASTING! I plan to introduce my very first Audio Podcast sometime this week, with a video podcast to follow shortly thereafter.

I have been listening to several knitting podcasts this weekend and I have decided that it would be nice to get a peek at some of the projects and techniques that many of the podcasters discuss during their segments. So when I start my own podcast, I am going to include a video segment later in the same week which will show details of the projects, tips, techniques, and other things of interest that were discussed in that week's Audio segment.

I am very excited about this idea, and I hope to be able to include my Cousin Holly as a special guest in several of my Audio and Video Podcasts as well, as she is a superior knitter and I have learned much from her and her mother, my Aunt Mary over the past year.

Topics will include Knitting, Spinning, Fiber, and for those of you in my local area, a glimpse into the fiber related activities and events coming up or currently going on in the community.

So STAY TUNED........for now I will leave you with my latest Youtube Video

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Rarely in my blogging do I ever really give any insight into "who I am". It is more of a " what I do" or "what I have done" sort of sharing. I guess from the beginning I thought of my blog as a way to escape from the everyday things that troubled me, focusing instead on the activities that filled my life and not the reality of daily living. But this morning I have been thinking, and I am realizing, maybe for the first time, that all of the so called "activities" of late are moving me towards a common purpose....... self sufficiency. It is something I could never accomplish working in a mainstream position. I worked from dusk til dawn, on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and in the end I was never ahead financially, I was just barely scraping by and spending a lot of time away from my child. Certainly, as a single mother of 1, my working outside the home was necessary to provide for my family. But I can honestly tell you that when I lost my job, 2 years ago, I wasn't gripped with fear over how I would survive or provide for my family, I was overcome with relief as if this huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I had been given a second chance to start again. And now, 2 years later, I know that I am right where I should be, even though I am still lacking a steady income, I am no longer lacking in purpose. The needs of my family are being provided for through faith, and the path that I follow is being laid out before me through prayer. So this morning, as I sit in the quiet of the early hours, I am thankful for all that the Lord has provided, and pray that I will continue to seek Him first in all things.

Proverbs 3:5,6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Friday, July 10, 2009

How-to Wash a Raw Fleece

Since my comb and hackle set is almost completed, I thought it was time to wash the raw fleece I bought at my local fiber fest.

Since I didn't have the slightest clue where or how to start, I did a little research on Ravelry, and joined a new group here and they had alot of info on washing fleece including this link with step by step HOW-TO directions.

I printed out the directions and followed them exactly. Here is how I washed my fleece.

This is the fleece before washing...............dirty and with a strong farm smell that no one else can stand. I don't mind it at all. This is 1 pound of raw fleece.I started by filling a super large stainless steel pot with cold water

Then I submerged the raw wool in the water, gently pushing it under until it was all covered. The water became cloudy and dingy almost immediately. I let the fleece soak for 15-20 minutes before removing it from the bath and placing it in the colander.

This is the dirty water left in the cold bath after I removed the fleece.

Even after just 1 soak in the cold bath the raw fleece is distinctly lighter.

I rinsed the pot and added 1/2 scoop of powdered laundry detergent. I used Gain.

Then I filled the pot with scalding HOT HOT HOT water!

Then I added the raw fleece and used a long handled wooden spoon to gently push the fleece under the water until it was completely covered.

Then I placed the lid on the pot and let the fleece soak in the HOT soapy water for 15-20 minutes. I repeated this process with the soap once more and then I repeated it without the soap until the water remained clean when the fleece was added to the pot. After that the fleece still smelled very farmy and so I soaked it for 15 minutes in another hot bath, but this time I added shavings of lavender soap my mother had made for me. It eliminated the farmy odor and left the fleece smelling great. After that I soaked the fleece in a final HOT water bath to remove any leftover soap residue
This is my 1 pound of raw fleece all washed, bright, clean, and drying outside.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How-to Make your own Wool Combs

Not long ago I was browsing on YouTube and came across the following videos showing the proper way to use wool combs.....and the wool combs themselves were quite nice.

I especially liked these English Combs ( and the 4 part video series is quite informative)

And this comb and Hackle set

So with a little more research I also found a HOW-TO blog post here that was very informative.

Well I took a little bit of direction from the blog post and some ideas on style from the videos and sketched up my own little comb and hackle pattern.I took a trip to Home Depot to pick up a 2 ft piece of 1x6 Oak ( and my dad had a nice oak dowel to use for a handle. I did the cutting, Dad did the sanding, assembled the comb, and drilled the holes for me after I marked them out. He even stained it for me. I put the wax on this morning, and just finished gluing in the 4 rows of nails with 2 part epoxy.

I still have to make the hackle, it is all drawn out and ready for cutting when my dad gets home from work today. But for now I am quite pleased with the finished comb.Dad had the great idea to wood burn the word PROTO and the date on the back of the comb to record that it is the PROTO-type and when we made it.

I have enough wood left over to make a set for my mother too.

By the weekend I should be able to wash and comb this lovely 1lb batch of raw wool I bought at a recent fiber fest.I am so excited.....I can't wait to show you the finished set...not to mention the final roving I will make with this wool. Maybe I will even try my hand at dyeing it too.

Once the hackle is complete I will write up step by step instructions for you to make your own, and I will include a PDF link with a template for both the comb and hackle design. So stay tuned. I should have the hackle finished and ready to use by Saturday.

Monday, July 6, 2009

In Vogue - Elizabeth Zimmerman Snail Hat!

Some things never go out of style. I was browsing some of my favorite blogs the other day and read about the EZ Snail hat on Cosymakes blog. I thought to myself......that hat looks familiar, so emboldened by curiosity I clicked a few links and wound up on the Snail Hat Pattern Page on Ravelry where I was given the option to buy the pattern or, I was told, I could find it in the Winter 09 Edition of Vogue Knitting. Wouldn't you know, I happen to have that very copy of Vogue Knitting, hence why the hat looked so familiar. I had dog eared the page to knit later. Well I decided I would knit now instead.......added bonus Cosymakes is offering a handspun giveaway!I had just visited a local fiberfest and had 2.5 ounces of pink Angora/Merino/Silk/Angelina blend that I had spun up into a light worsted/sport weight yarn at 12wpi. Even though the pattern called for a bulky with a gauge of 2 1/2 sts per inch, I wanted to see how this would knit in the angora blend and figured I could hold on to it for a Christmas gift later. The finished hat is perfect size for a child of preteen age, say 8-12.I used a US 10 16-inch circular for the main portion of the hat, and switched to (4) US 9 DPNs to finish it off once I finished the round at (p1,p2tog,p2tog,k10,m1). From there I continued to decrease until I was left with a total of 15sts total, I decreased 2 more rounds as stated in the pattern and pulled the working yarn through the final 9 sts and finished off the hat. Using the tail of the cast on edge I seamed up the 2 edges of the garter stitch band at the bottom and weaved in all ends.I am very pleased with the results and can't wait to make another one of these luxurious hats. Imagine my joy at seeing how the wonderful Halo on this fiber appears in the final photos.