Friday, February 26, 2010

Work Day and A Giveaway!

I thought I'd write a little about some of the sewing going on here lately. For Sewing Hour Elisabethe and Abigail are learning their stitches beginning with the running stitch. I start the smallest beginners, they are 4 and 6, by stitching on plastic canvas using yarn and blunt tip needles. They are greatly proud of their newly learned skills, I don't have to pressure or force them at all. I think it's so sweet that they want to be like their Mama and Katie! Tabitha is still working on her tea towels, Rebekah is knitting with the loom and Katie is finishing up the trim on her new grey bodice. I have been working on a corded sunbonnet. It will have 4 sets of 6 cords each with quilting between the sets and is mostly handsewn.

A slightly better shot although you still can't make out the quilting. It's a chain design.

My February Giveaway is this sweet little coloring book. I found it today and it details the tools and lifestyle of a simpler time, though not specifically Amish.

Below is a sample page showing an iron cauldron and a James Washer on the left and an eggscale on the right. If you'd like it just leave a comment, I'll draw the winner in a week or so!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Asa's Amber Teething Necklace


I have wanted an Amber Teething necklace for a long while now, but not having a teething baby I couldn't really justify a teething necklace. Actually, *I* could have, Mr. G however...... Anyway, Asa has been teething for quite some time and having a miserable time of it. He is *such* a big baby. :-) So, I finally got to order the necklace! When I first heard about these I thought it was complete bunkum; I mean, give me a break, how can amber beads kill pain? But a gal whose Father is a pharmacist said that there is indeed science behind it, amber was commonly added to medications because it is an analgesic. Far be it from me to dispute science. I guess it's fairly commonplace to use them elsewhere in the world and they are catching on here amongst crunchy folks. I got mine from Tiny Birds Organics, a nifty, thoroughly crunchy, Texas based company who appears to be sold out of the necklaces right now. :-/
I blogged about my Robert Land boots here. They are size 7B in great shape and I'd like to sell them or barter for them. They are $140 new and I'd like $85 for mine. Hopefully I can find a new home for them since we won't reenact anymore.
Syrup season is almost upon us and we're gearing up for a (hopefully) great year!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Prepare yourself to be amazed!

Prepare yourself to be amazed, for I, yes even I, have in fact knitted something. BE IT KNOWN: that the person formerly known as Not-Quite-A-Real-Woman-Because-She-Can't-Knit (snicker, snicker) has decided that though living vicariously through the knitting genius of others did in fact afford some benefit, the loss of self respect and perpetual whining got too tiresome and has, therefore, met its Waterloo.
So, without further ado, introducing my combination dish cloth/wash cloth. :-)
You might (or then again might not) remember that I couldn't purl, so I endeavored to learn this wily stitch through a book that I've had for about a decade. I *do not* learn well through books (that is such an understatement) but I can't watch YouTube videos and none of my knitting friends would consent to fly here and tutor me so I was forced to man up (so to speak) and just learn it already!

However, *this next part is spoken in a small hushed voice*, I'm afraid that I didn't do it right. The opposite side is a mirror image of this side, can that be right? I tried to call a friend this morning to ask her, but naturally people can't be at home when I have momentous and Earth shattering questions about knitted dish cloths. What I thought I was doing was knitting 2 rows and then purling 2 rows, but the rows that look knitted on this side appear to be purled on the opposite side and the purled rows here look knitted back there, so I'm figuring my jubilation is in vain.

Any help or suggestions are appreciated. :-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Well, darn it!

When I was hanging up laundry yesterday I happened to notice the deplorable state that Mr. G had let his socks slip into. He's only had these socks a month, but they were so foreworn that I mistook them for his old pair. Since they are wool and cost $9 a pair they are prime candidates for darning. Here is a step by step tutorial for anyone who would care to add this forgotten skill to their arsenal of frugal living tips.

Step 1: Find a forlorn pair of socks in need of some TLC and a ladle. I don't have a darning egg and the suggestion of using a lightbulb seems unwise. If you happen to get a little slap happy with the darning needle you might be tempted to say something a bit more robust than "darn it".
Step 2: Place the ladle in the sock to give yourself a good surface to work on, the fabric should not be so tight that it's stretched.
Step 3: I like to begin by taking running stitches around the rent, about a half inch out from the hole, to stabilize the tear. Not everybody does this but it makes it easier for me to keep my stitches even. Leave a 4-5" tail trailing, you will weave this in later.
Step 4: Begin sewing the warp threads using a running stitch. When you come to the rent just take a long stitch over it and continue with the running stitch on the other side.
Step 5: Now you can begin to weave the weft threads over and under the warp that you've just created. Try to make your stitches lie close to the row below. I've purposely woven loosely here to give you a better picture of what you're trying to accomplish.
Step 6: Weave in your ends, tying creates uncomfortable lumps so weaving is preferred. I darned this sock in "Northern Ireland" colors so you can see better.
The completed sock with a new lease on life! :-)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What do you *need* to be content?

As so often happens, a variety of things happen or are said and the result is a blog post so that I can sum up my thoughts on the subject. I've been pondering "Godliness with contentment is great gain" and "having food and raiment let us therefore be content". That last one is pretty sticky, isn't it? :-) If you had food and clothes and shelter and nothing more, would you be content? Some of the things that sparked this line of thought.
  1. Somebody wrote a letter to the editor in a magazine I subscribe to basically saying that if you can buy superfluous items then you aren't caring enough about starving, homeless or suffering people in your community. Wow. That's a sobering thought.
  2. A neighbor that we've met a few times dropped off 7 blankets here today, that's a nice thought. We have enough blankets for our beds but no extras, everyone has 2 sets of sheets and that's it. No extras. But they had enough extra that they could afford to give away 7 like new blankets.
  3. One of the meme questions had to do with our clothes (how much is homemade and how much we have). The girls have 4 dresses each, petticoats, and a pinafore or 2, the boys have 3-4 shirts and 3-4 pairs of pants/overalls. They have a Winter coat/hat/scarf and socks and that's it. We don't have closets full of clothes that we don't wear. There are several reasons for this: since I sew the majority (not overalls, socks or underwear) of what we wear and there are 11 of us, we're never going to have "too many" clothes as I simply can't sew that fast. :-) Secondly, I truly believe that it's unnecessary and an account will have to be given of why I wanted more when I knew that others didn't even have enough. Again, that's a pretty sobering thought. Historically you'd be looking hard for any but the very wealthiest families to have any where near what most people consider necessary today, why do we need so much?
  4. And this is the biggie. We've been without a van for over 2 years, that means that we don't go places as a family etc. It's been really hard, I mean really. I had my hopes set on buying a van when we got our taxes back but circumstances conspired to make this impossible. I was so disappointed but I started to ponder whether we needed a van or not. I came to the conclusion that we don't. We aren't going to die without it, so while it's a nice luxury, it's not a need.


I may have mentioned Martha Ballard before, but it ties in so I'll bring her up again. I own and have read her diary several times and I recently learned that the diary in its entirety is searchable online. I searched for "beans" and found out what varieties of beans they planted etc. I searched on "knit" and read about what and when they knitted. If you read her diary you will quickly notice how full her days were and how industrious their family was. They worked hard to provide for their needs and I think they were better for it. I'm not sure that our glut of leisure time really benefits us, I'm afraid it only serves to further the disconnect between us and those around us. Who cares about their neighbor anymore? Do we know (or care) who raises our food or makes our clothes? I'm troubled by these thoughts. I don't expect that you will have the answers, but I just wanted to get this off my chest. :-)



The diary is available here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2 dresses, a scarf and another meme

Happy Tuesday everybody! It's rather cold and cruddy here and I'm definitely longing to be out of doors, but Spring is almost here! The days are lengthening as we notice, especially in the evening, when more chores can be done before lighting the lantern. We have been going about our days as usual with nothing very outstanding happening. This seemed like a good time to post about Rebekah's 1840's dress since I got a good picture of her in it combing out Abigail's hair today.
Abigail is wearing a dress that Katie just made her. In true 1860's fashion Katie tore apart one of her own gowns that was badly faded, turned the goods inside out and made a new, little dress for her sister. It has plenty of growing room and the colors look almost new.

As per Mrs. R's advice, I bought a knitting loom and Tabitha just finished this scarf. It's all wool and would have been longer had she not run out of yarn, but as it is she wears it as a shawl or shoulder cape. She is excessively proud of herself (Mom is too!) and her first completed article!

Tiff recently did an interesting meme which basically consists of: you get to ask me any question that you're curious about and I'll answer them. It can be about anything.... lifestyle, home schooling, gardening, sewing, you know, whatever. It's supposed to be curiousity questions, not like a 50 page missive on growing tomatoes. :-) I'd prefer if you e-mailed the questions to: yankeeingenuity1860@yahoo.com

Of course, if nobody asks me anything then I'll just make some questions up, lol.