Every year when the cyclists are spinning for the Tour de France, the fiber artists are spinning yarn on their spinning wheels. This world wide social media connected event has grown into a crafting extravaganza of many different types of crafts. While I was traveling in the beginning of the tour, I did some knitting and crochet, but switched over to spinning when I returned home. Please enjoy part 1 of my tour de fleece video journey!
It’s a few days before the 2023 Kentucky State Fair! Last year was my first year volunteering through my quilting guild, the Louisville Nimble Thimbles, and my first year entering the fair as an adult. I entered a bunch of crafts in the textile department, and won seven ribbons. I was at the fair quite a bit over the 10 days it went on. Not only is there almost too much at the fair to see and do in one day , but there are a bunch of different events and special things going on on different days. It was also fun to explore the fair with different friends and family on different days. There are so many things to do—animals to see, vegetables, tobacco, honey and all the bee displays. There are agricultural booths with farmers and farm representatives, backing their products, giving out samples, telling the cultural importance of their work. There are performances, games, giveaways. The pride of the counties. There’s no more fish tank displays, but it’s hardly noticiable because the fair is still so so full of things.
Every year the new premium book (the book of entry categories) comes out in April or may, and entries close in early July. It’s so fun to read that book and dream about allllll the things you could enter. You could enter a pie, you could enter a handmade sweater, you could enter a home brew beer—there are so many options. In a move to encourage more entries, the fair opted to make it a single $15 entry fee for everything—you could enter however many categories you want to enter all for $15 total. Naturally, I entered 77.
8 baked goods, 17 veggies, and 52 crafts.
Now, I wasn’t expecting to turn in all 77 entries. Sometimes all your pumpkins get eaten. Sometimes you burn your pie. Sometimes you don’t have time to make that quilt. Anyhow, there’s no shame in not making it to the drop off with every single thing.
Now, a day before turn-in day, I have 39 crafts done. I feel like that’s a pretty good turnout. The veggies may be a wash, but I’m sitting here gathering my energy to go bake things. Tomorrow I’m working at the turn in desk from 10-6, and Sunday (on the second drop off day) I’ll drop off my crafts and baked goods. And then I can rest before the fair starts next Thursday. So close. So so close!! It feels like Christmas and I’m thrilled. Ready for all the festivities, ready for the people watching, ready for the celebration of Kentucky!
February and March were very busy months for me, I worked on a lot of different projects, some of which were completed, and I’ll go over in my Finished Object Roundup. But first I’ll give the update on the Yo-Yo Quilt—still working on the top with only 8 tiles to go!
The first thing I made in February was this delicate beaded yarn, which I wrote about and actually made a video about too, so I won’t go on about it.
I continued my natural dyeing explorations with cherry, onion, red cabbage, pomegranate, and spinach on cotton fabric. I also branched out into dyeing wool roving (with red cabbage). I pre mordanted the wool in tannins and mordanted in alum, the same as I do with my cotton fabric, however, the color did not saturate very heavy on the wool. I’m interested in trying roving again with a different dye material, but I’m also interested in using acid dyes. I have used those before with yarn, but I’d like to see how it works with roving.
Before I dyed my wool roving, I had to premordant and mordant it. For the mordant, (second,) I did my usual alum soak, and for my premordant, (first,) I did my usual tannin soak (which is a many step process). First step, gather materials with tannins. Sometimes I do pine needles. However, when I tried them this time, I remembered there are actually better sources of tannin in my daylily spent leaves. So I added in some of them, and some spent Iris leaves too (for good measure). Second step, take this time as an opportunity to do some basketry (Possum, my cat, helped). Third, when done basketing, remove the rest of the material to dry, and go ahead and soak your material to be dyed. I let it soak for 24 hours, then let it dry thoroughly before going ahead and mordanting, then after 24 hours, again let it dry completely before the dye process.
In getting ready for selling at farmers markets, I did dye up some yarn with acid dye, in turquoise (and overdyed with Copenhagen blue), in a dark green and turquoise (overdyed In purple), and in magenta and violet (overdyed in purple).
I got to some knitting, finishing my very own Hermione’s Everyday Socks in Jems Luxe Fiber’s Texas Wildflowers, accented with what is seeming to be my favorite, Malabrigo Washted Fortaleza. I liked the cast on number that I went with (56), and think after wearing them for a bit, I could go even smaller. I have a whole lot of fun knitting on double pointed needles, and honestly can’t wait to do more socks.
After my socks, I focused on a new hat for myself, I did both as birthday presents to myself, and was really happy that I did. It’s nice to treat yourself for your birthday, and why not have a dual purpose gift? The feeling of accomplishment as well as the item. I did another Hat For Joy hat pattern—this time one section smaller (on accident) but it just fits different. My first hat is pretty big and slouchy, and this one ended up a close fitting beanie. I think I could go even fluffier on my yarn poms. This time around, the pattern was much more in my mind, and it took less brain power (and since it was smaller, less time!) I loved the colors I went with; a cobalt, Ziggy Stardust from Miss Babs, and Malabrigo Fortaleza again, and for the body, Miss Babs Smurf and Turf in their sparkle base, Estrelita.
I explored a little more into my pagan craft (I am exploring pagan practices through my January’s book club book, Sacred Actions: Sustainability through the Wheel of the Year. A common Imbolc or Candlemas ritual is making candles. Two of the common candles made are a blue or black weather candle (to be lit during storms) and a red woman’s candle, for fertility. I decided to make these two (though, I haven’t lit the weather one yet, and don’t expect to light my woman’s candle for some time ahead. They are both sitting on my Matriarch’s Altar.)
For my Ostara, or Spring Equinox celebrations, I did a little more candle making with sun eggshell candles. I made a little hole in two eggs blew out the contents of them, and set them where they stood straight up. For some reason I had a cutting board out, and the handle was absolutely perfect for this. So I got out another cutting board that had the same style of handle, and my eggs were perfectly held up. I melted some beeswax in a plastic cup in my dye pot—still planning on getting a pot from goodwill for beeswax use only. The plastic cup was 1000 times better than cans, because I could hold it with my fingers rather than pliers. I added turmeric and calendula petals, which were really on theme and gave a much more natural look than crayons. I’ve come to the conclusion that beeswax pellets are probably the better option for melting, rather than a brick (which I smashed apart with a hammer on my garage floor.) After a really long time melting, I placed a wick in each egg, and carefully poured in the wax. Lessons learned, don’t poke a hole in the bottom of the egg as well as the top. The wax will pour right out that hole until it hardens. (I did that with the first egg, but not the second, which worked much better.) Let harden, and gently break the eggshell off, trim wicks and they’re ready to go! Now, my eggs had a bit of membrane that left the bottom of the candle flat. If yours come out rounded at the bottom, melt the bottom a little in your beeswax pot.
Also for the pagan holiday Ostara, I did a little magic weaving with some foraged willow, I made a hoop and warped around it in preparation for some circular weaving. I spun a little thick-and-thin, spring green yarn on my louet drop spindle, and wound it onto a knitting needle to use as a weaving bobbin. I’m not completely done with the weaving, but I’m kind of extending my Ostara celebration until May, when we hit Beltane.
And finally, I started making prototypes of little quilted bags to sell at the markets. The end goal is to use hand dyed fabric, but while I’m figuring it all out, I’m using some fabric I bought—chicken fabric! I did my best to match the pattern so the chickens look good on the actual bag. The whole thing was really a learning process, and there were several key takeaways. Make the snap button bigger, make the flap longer, make the seam allowances bigger, match the pattern more closely on the width panel.
That’s all for now! Let me know what you’re working on, any type of craft, or recipe, or whatever you’re proud of. I’d love to hear! Blessings, blessings, AugustLee
Homemade vanilla is so easy! My Aunt Terry made some for our family a few Christmases ago, and ever since then, I have felt so spoiled with my “real vanilla” at hand. And the upkeep is simple too! Anytime I wanted a refill, all it took was to refill with plain vodka, shake, and wait a few days to a few weeks for it to reach the strength I like.
The way vanilla is started is simply by splitting a vanilla bean or two open and putting it in a bottle with plain vodka.
Anytime it starts to get weak, I just swap out and add a new vanilla bean, and it has lasted years.
It is price effective for the amount of time making your own vanilla will last, and I have found that making things myself gives me a really special feeling and a healthy pride in the work and artistry I put into my kitchen. Magic!
A food roundup from February and March
As a quick roundup of February and March, I thought I would talk about the new recipes I tried. Cooking has been a big activity of mine so far this year. In a move to be healthier by eating less fast food, but also less processed foods from frozen meals all the way to little things, like crackers and chips. Not only are these not the healthiest in general—fried food, things with a lot of sugar, but they also have a host of preservatives that I would never use in my food, and I bet you wouldn’t reach for those ingredients either. So, it just makes a lot of sense to make my own food.
One recipe that is less new (I found it in September 2022) but I haven’t talked about yet, is Cider Brined Pork Chops. I’ve tinkered with the recipe a bunch and tried some different techniques, but every time it turns out amazing. It is relatively easy, although it does take a little bit of planning, as it is best to marinate or brine the chops for 24 hours before pan searing. With my latest addition to the recipe, adding oranges to the cider brine, the flavor is intense and complex and mouth watering. Highly recommend.
Another recipe I tried, as mentioned previously was a cracker recipe, or rather two different ones.
With my first go at it, I was aiming to make a cheese-it type cracker, and started by attempting to dehydrate some cheese. That, however, was a big mess, and was hard to clean, and did not produce the desired effect at all. The cheese was melted from the heat, and oily all over, but it did cut. From there I both sprinkled it on top of crackers (I had premade the dough, rolled it out on a floured surface, and cut it out with cookie cutters) and also mixed some in with the second half of the dough. The cheese mixed into the dough ended up better, because with the cheese-topped crackers, the cheese crumbled everywhere.
I liked the second cracker recipe better, as the crackers puffed up. With one batch I mixed in rosemary, and with the second I mixed in shredded cheese. Again, rolled out thin on a floured surface—the key was to flour often, at least once each section of dough. The dough batch made a lot, so I only rolled out a little at a time. On the parchment paper, I spritzed the cut outs with water and sprinkled salt on top. After a day of work, I had a box full, and they were delicious. However, I don’t know if it was the cracker recipe, or the storage method, but the crackers became stale within four days.
I also enjoyed my crackers with homemade edamame hummus.
In my quest to use what I have already in my freezer, I thawed out a mystery roast, which I think in the end was a pork loin, rubbed it in fajita seasoning I had in the pantry that needed to be used, covered it in lime slices, laid it over a bed of cherry tomatoes and onions, and roasted it.
I love getting packs of frozen berries and using them for smoothies with other frozen things, juices, and yoghurt. For this one, I utilized the berries and a superfood pack with açaí berry mix, aloe Vera slices, strawberry kefir, and cranberry juice. Tart and delicious.
I tried two different bread recipes; one from King Arthur flour for yeast bread, and the other a no-knead bread from Melissa K Norris. While the King Arthur recipe was easier to work, the Melissa K Norris recipe was not only more flavorful, but also more beautiful—albeit harder to handle.
I only made the Melissa K Norris dough once, as it makes three loaves’ worth, and thus let the dough rest for two days, and seven days respectively. By the seventh day, the dough I baked made the most flavorful and delicious loaf—almost sourdough flavor—we ate it immediately.
Something Momma and I tried over the holidays was Shaker Lemon Pie. We had it first at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, and then I tried my own hand at making it the week of Christmas 2022. When I made it, the lemon peels ended up quite chewy. I had marinated the peels in sugar for 8 hours, but it wasn’t enough. In addition, I learned not to put too much filling in the pie crust, as it will spill over. So, I learned some things. I gave it another go this month, and marinated the lemons for a full 24 hours, and was much happier with the results. Additionally, I split the filling into two crusts, and had two very nice pies. Perfect for sharing. Right now, as I write, I have a special shaker lemon pie filling going In the fridge—30 hours now, to be baked at 48 hours, with a homemade crust.
I have been perfecting my mashed potatoes recipe for the last few months, and tried this time with purple potatoes, which made the most gorgeous lavender colored mash. I always leave the skin on, as it contains wonderful vitamins and nutrients. I’ll have to share my recipe!
The latest roast chicken!
We had been hankering for some deserts, so I pulled up a random chocolate chip cookie recipe. Usually I’m not too picky about recipes, I always end up altering them anyways. With this recipe, I decided to sift the dry ingredients, cream the butter and sugar longer than usual, and to let the dough rest after it had been incorporated, as I had with the cracker dough and my bread doughs. It made the fluffiest, softest cookies I had ever had, changing forever my views on the dough making process. Definitely skills to reuse.
I took those skills and put them into making a pumpkin bread, which turned out spongy and soft and velvety, the best yet, proving my point.
At the end of the month, we had a lot of blooms in our community including Japanese maples, dandelions, and violets. I made a collection of different foraged treats—pickled magnolia buds, magnolia syrup, dandelion jelly, and violet syrup. A lot of the online sources seem to say it is hard to get the violet color with the syrup, but I found it very simple. I just made a tea with the petals, and let it sit for 30 hours before making the syrup. The color was rich.
With both the violets and the dandelions, the prep took a very long time and was extremely tedious. It took me trial and error to find the best way to pick out the dandelion petals, (scooping them out of the center of the flower, outward) and the violets made so little progress with each flower although it was less difficult than the dandelion.
More recipes will be coming soon as I actually write down what I do, stay tuned, and blessings!
Cream together for 5 minutes:
Add to creamed butter and sugar:
Add dry ingredients to creamed, spoonful by spoonful until totally incorporated.
At this time you can add 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I like the Enjoy Life mini chips), or craisins (or both).
Let batter rest 40 minutes
Preheat Dutch oven at 325 F
Grease and flour Dutch oven (I like the combination with the product “Bakers’ Joy”)
Add batter, and sprinkle with
Bake 1 hour, or until toothpick comes out clean crumb and not gooey. Let sit 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy with yoghurt and maple syrup for a hearty meal.
I thought I’d do a roundup of the food I made in January! Please enjoy this exploration of one of my passions! I tried some new recipes, and enjoyed some favorites too!
For our new years feast, we usually do black eyed peas for health humility and luck, collards for wealth, cornbread for joy. This year we added some roast veggies for wisdom!
I have done kombucha and sourdough in the past, and im really enchanted by fermentation. However, im still a beginner at making it work, and it always seems to mold on me. However, I have it a go again, rescuing an old mini mother from my fridge. Kombucha, a living, fermented, probiotic tea, has what’s called a “mother”, a probiotic “pancake” that starts the fermentation, much like a sourdough starter. You need one to start off the kombucha (or some strong starter liquid.) so I had one, which had formed in an old bottle of kombucha, and it looked beautiful and promising, and I chose to use that.
I also started a sourdough with some dehydrated starter flakes from my friend Lizzie Gorbandt, at Pickle Creek Farm.
Unfortunately, something happened and they all molded, all three ferments (two kombuchas and the sourdough) so now I’ll have to regroup and try again this month. Oh well! (I’m going to make a separate post on each ferment in detail later!)
I love making stir fry’s, and do them usually with just whatever I have on hand. This time I sautéed some onions and mushrooms in sesame oil, salt and pepper, and as they get going, add a little rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. After they’re looking browned I throw in the other veggies. For this meal I did snap peas, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach. I threw in some chicken I had pan seared, served it all over a bed of Somen noodles, and drizzled some hoisin sauce on top. I think next time, for an extra special finish, I’d sprinkle some sesame seeds and chives, and maybe start with some garlic in the onions and mushrooms. Very hearty, very fresh!
I tried another Asian-inspired dish, shrimp wraps, inspired by summer rolls, which I tried a few versions of. They are made by wetting a rice paper and rolling it burrito style around a mixture of fillings. For the first ones, I used somen noodles, shrimp, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, and the star of the show, fresh basil. The next ones, I added mango, and in others I also added blood orange. Note, even if you only add a little of each ingredient, it makes a fat wrap, and on mine, several were so big they tore open and went everywhere. They were messy. Messy but delicious. I ended up using lots of hoisin for dipping, ha ha, but they were so good, and relatively healthy. The noodles were relatively a lot of points on WW if you count those, but come on, it’s a little big of rice. The hoisin is probably most of the other calories.
We tried another WW recipe, and with the way I do that, I often use WW for inspiration, and go find recipes elsewhere. Anyhow, this recipe, Jerk Chicken with star fruit, called for jerk seasoning, and I made my own rather than buying it. I had all the ingredients in my spice cabinet and counter stash, so it was convenient for me (granted, I have an extensive spice collection). I used this recipe:
Homemade Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Blend | The Modern Proper
It made a really good marinade for my chicken, and was definitely a repeat. My WW recipe only called for a little of what all I made from the seasoning in the marinade, so I saved it in a little jar for future uses. I didn’t like the starfruit, and am hoping I just cooked it wrong. How do you like starfruit?
(Making jerk marinade with jerk seasoning)
I made a “healthy” chex mix with a bunch of last year’s roasted squash seeds and things I had in the pantry.
Corn Chex, wheat Chex, pretzels, cashews, sunflower seeds, hulled pumpkin seeds, hulled butternut squash seeds, and pecan bits. Just done with butter and Chex mix powder. Last time, I didn’t dry it, and we ate wet Chex mix (which, it’s frickin Chex mix, it was good anyway) but yeah, it’s better dried and that only took like an hour so, remember to dry your Chex mix…
I finally got my courage pulled together and said, Aug, you can handle handling a raw whole chicken on your own. I had done a turkey two christmases ago—wait, three??? Oh my… but that wasn’t terrible, so a whole young chicken couldn’t be too bad? Yep! It went well! Just making sure the sink was empty of dirty dishes, and rinsed clean; sacrifice the scissors to the dirty dish pile for opening; and have everything ready and waiting and in place, with the roasting pan of dish ready by the sink to minimize raw meat drippage. I also have all my roasting veggies cut and in the bed of my Dutch oven, and their ends in the stock pot. That way I can go ahead and throw the giblets right in the stock pot when I open the bird. I have my twine on hand for tying the drumsticks together, pre cut! It’s all in the prep. I’ll also slice up a stick of butter put pats under the skin, under the drumsticks and wings, and in the cavity. Maybe in the roasting pan too. Put a little white wine in the pan, and season the bird with salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, and thyme, and my favorite, cumin! If I had lemons, I’d slice those up and throw them in too, oh dang! I should’ve just used lemon juice! I’ll remember next time ha ha ha. Bake for around an hour at 420 F to reach 165 F internal temperature. I hadn’t used a thermometer like that but once for the turkey, but it was easy, just make sure yours works! The first one I pulled out, maybe a 30 year old one, said it was 150 F in the house. Uh huh… broken! Second said it was 60F, which is still not right, but okay fine.
The chicken came out amazing and it wasn’t too hard to carve, granted, I didn’t look it up and just kind of did what I thought might be right, and after last night doing it for the third time, I feel like I’ve made significant progress, so I think I started out pretty bad. But I got most of the meat off, and with all the rest, I made stock!
For the stock, I added everything I didn’t save from carving. The whole carcass, the giblets, the juices, and the veggies. Throw it in the pot! Bad ends of veggies? Throw em in! Peels? Throw em in! Tho I keep my onion peels for dyeing! Fill up to the brim with water and set to boil for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and simmer for up to 4 more. When it gets the flavor you like (have a bit every now and again, dip some bread, try it out!) strain it, let it cool, and pack it away! Or can it, you know, what ya feel! The fats rise to the top and solidify with chilling. Easy to scoop off and dispose of if you don’t want them. Bone broth!
I used it almost immediately in this great northern bean, collards, and pancetta soup I love. I start with pancetta, sizzling in its own fat in a pan, seasoned. I adapted this recipe for a white chili from a wonderful magazine I got—it called for white beans, kale, and bacon. I think a goal for this year will be to grow some beans for this recipe myself. I’ll have to look at the varieties I have and see what sounds good, and really make that a focus. Maybe try a few??? That could be fun, see what I like best. Will it even be better than great northern beans? I don’t have any collards, but by fall when the beans are ready, we’ll have to see if I get some collards seeds. After the pancetta gets oily and darker pink, throw in onions and celery, and bunches of collards. Cook it down, and mix in flower to thicken, after, thin slowly with alternating soaked and rinsed beans and chicken stock. After that’s combined, swirl in the heavy cream and take pretty pictures as you do. Season, and taste often. Feast when it’s ready! Maybe I’ll add a recipe section to my site!
I made some cakes this month, a dessert cake and a breakfast cake. The first was a recipe for a walnut olive oil cinnamon cardamom cake. I sprinkled cocoa powder on the top and soaked it in a drunken cherry sorghum syrup of my own recipe.
But I didn’t get a picture!
I did get a picture of the green tea banana cake, with a toasted coconut and pecan base, and topped with coconut chips, pepitas, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and chocolate chips. The green tea I used in the batter was infused with turmeric, which added an interesting flavor, I just ripped open the tea bags and threw in the contents to my cake batter.
I also made a comfort recipe, just ground bison, mushrooms and onions with red wine and Worcestershire sauce. Yum! I had to use up this big value pack of mushrooms I had gotten earlier. I didn’t use too many and the pack was big, and they were starting to look slimy, so I chopped them up and dehydrated them to use later.
With my second roast chicken and the stock it made, I made a WW salsa verde chicken soup served with cotija cheese!
I also made a chocolate mousse pie for a cousin, and tried a new recipe. I have tried a ton of mousse recipes, and this one ended up lumpy. However, it was still very good, and everything is better with homemade whipped cream with homemade vanilla. Not a good picture, but still!
And finally, I tried my hand at two beer breads this month! I used two hearted ale, an IPA, in this recipe, which, if you get the 2 for $5 at Kroger, you can make 3 loaves ha ha ha. Or use one for each of two loaves and drink the rest! Anyhow, I loved this recipe, ending up using 6 tbsp of butter. The first loaf I sprinkled with chives. The second loaf I threw in a bag of shredded cheese and a cup of caramel used onions, topped with rosemary.
Howdy, folks! I thought today I’c give a little roundup of my January 2023 crafting projects—finished objects (FO’s) and works in progress (WIP’s).
My crafting is a big part of my life, and I am very enchanted by traditional women’s crafts in my expression of feminist creation. Fiber arts has my heart, and I am quite drawn to spinning yarn and knitting (especially with this handspun yarn.) I like to experiment with different areas of fiber arts too, though— sewing, quilting, weaving, natural dying and acid dying, felting, basketry, wool shearing and processing fiber for spinning, and growing, foraging, harvesting, and using natural craft materials. I have even dabbled in constructing Fiber arts tools.
As an Imbolc exercise, I was thinking about what all I want to learn this year, and specifically in the realm of crafting. I was interested in learning nålbinding (an ancient, one-needle type of “knitting” or rather a technique using needle(s) to make fancy knots, creating fabric), needle felting (using a barbed needle to shape fiber ((like pottery with wool)) into any 2D or 3D felt creation), and Sashiko stitching (a Japanese embroidery technique, reminiscent of “zen doodles”). Oh I’ll throw in a witchy one for the witchy holiday—not that the others aren’t witchy—broom making 😍
On to what I finished this past month.
For gifts for people, I often do little fingerless gloves. They reach from the cuff on the wrist or forearm and go right up to the starts of the fingers, which I sometimes give a half-finger with the last two knuckles open, and always do a half-finger for the thumb. I did two pairs for some of my flamenco family, which started as a new year’s present, but ended up being a Lunar New Year’s present. I used the Mitt Envy pattern, which I had just completed an other pair with that same pattern, so I was pretty familiar with it. The construction didn’t trouble me too much, and I didn’t do any color changes, so it was very straightforward. More color changes, more ends to weave in—boooooo. I used a really nice color, Daguerrotype in the base Estrellita from my favorite bigger hand dyed yarn maker, Miss Babs, and it didn’t use maybe even half the skein. For the second pair, I used my favorite pattern for glovies, which I’ve made so many times, Pioneer Gloves, and Obsidian Miss Babs on the base 2-ply Toes. I followed the pattern (except for the cuff) pretty exactly (sometimes I alter it to match sizing for gauge) and it ended up looking really small. I think this is just because this pattern creates ribs, so it scrunches down when it’s not on the wearer. Both patterns can be accessed free on the Ravelry pattern search library.
I then knitted a replacement glovie in the Pioneer Gloves pattern for a pink one I had lost. I think the yarn was Spring Flowers from Miss Babs, but I’m not sure of the base. Done in a day! It’s taking around 5 consecutive hours to do one now.
I experimented with this Chinese watercolor set my mentor gave me, and picked the Shrimp exercise, creating “Uhhh, Srimps” in honor of my Nana, who loved “Srimp fried rice” 💕 sitting on our Matriarch altar in our home, The Cozy Cottage.
I completed a lot of natural dye—that kind of ended up being my main focus for January. Artichoke, avocado, turmeric, red cabbage, and a mix of orange, blood orange, mango, and cherries. Some, I changed the PH with baking soda, which made the colors more rich, even sickly rich. It turned the avocado from pink to deep rose, the turmeric from gold to dark orange, and the red cabbage from light purple to light green. I put in a lot, so that may also have an impact. I tried setting the colours in the dryer, which worked well, however, ugh. Rinse your turmeric well before throwing it in the dryer. I had to meticulously clean my dryer after realizing it left residue when my light purple red cabbage came out of the dryer with green sunbursts. Now, I liked the color I ended with from that red cabbage test, but I also wish I had an example to show of JUST RED CABBAGE. *rolls eyes. I used all of my fabric that was pre mordanted and mordanted, and had a lot of fun—it was a tragedy that I had no more fabric to dye… I ended the month by scouring and pre-mordanting some more white cotton from Joann’s craft store. I was able to use day lily, Iris, and pine needle spent leaves from my yard to create a tea for a tannin bath (which seems to have worked well with the previous fabric.) After the leaves had soaked and were supple again, I made some cordage and did a bit of basketry. Why not? On to more experiments!
I tested out my quilting skills by making another “Ravioli bag”, a design of my own creation, inspired by Vera Bradley quilted bags. My sewing machine only does straight lines, so I put on the fanciest stitch setting, which is a type of fancy zig zags, and make diagonal, inter-crossing lines, which end up looking like ravioli pasta. I used a batik fabric—my favorite type of cotton fabric— cotton quilt batting, and some satin blanket binding (for the straps). Very happy with it, however, my next bag will be smaller, cause I feel like I’m carrying a duffle bag. It’s nice for packing things, but I was wanting a purse. Maybe I’ll trace the shapes of a bag the size I want. Anyhow, I have ideas for different shapes in the future too. Learning, learning, learning with each project I do.
And the works in progress, I got some good work on the ribbed rim of my sister’s valentines present (it didn’t get finished or even started as a Christmas present), a “Hat for Joy” pattern hat. I did the test knit for myself, complete with mistakes galore and dropped stitches, and it took 60 hours and Possum, my cat, chewed up the circular needles and it just caused a lot of strife. It’s still my favorite thing I’ve made… so soon we’ll be matching—if I can get it done eventually!
I also started my own pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks (the first sock pattern I tried) with Jems Luxe fibers Texas Wildflower yarn on I believe their Luxe Sock base. Or light fingering? Not sure… I also used some Malabrigo Fortaleza on their Washted base for the cuff, heel, and toe. No picture yet, still casting on ha ha ha.
Finally, I also got work done on my Yo-Yo quilt (titled Royal Ladybird). Started in 2018, and still plugging along.
This completes my January work, just over here, getting things done. Let me know what you’re working on if you feel, I’d love to hear! Keep creating! Blessings blessings, August Lee
This Imbolc ritual of going through seeds and getting them ready for spring is an exploration into my seed collection! What seeds are your favorites and what are you trying that’s new this year? Blessings blessings, August Lee
Disco Chicken of Love
sTate fair ready!
seed starting 2019
ky state fair quilt
A sustainability major at U of L, beginning farmer, crafter, and writer.