Friday, 19 December 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} - Inspired by Amanda Soule at SouleMama
"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments."


Connecting With Nature: Winter Solstice

This time of year in our society many people (ok, most) are focussed on the holiday season of peace, joy and gift giving. It is not a time when people look to spend time outdoors. In the northern hemisphere it is either too cold, too wet or too dark to do much at all outdoors.

But it is important to remain connected to the cycles of the Earth and seasons year round. As the season darkens and the natural world goes to sleep, we, too, turn inward and slow down.

The solstice, the longest night of the year, and a turning point for the return of the sun, is a time of inner reflection, but should also be a time to connect with the natural world.

Many of our seasonal traditions and images stem from natural winter elements, such as holly, pine boughs, pinecones, mistletoe and evergreen trees.


Here are some suggestions for connecting with nature in the darkest days of winter:



Friday, 12 December 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} - Inspired by Amanda Soule at SouleMama
"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments."

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Beginnner's Guide to Knitting Socks

My first successful pair of socks.
I am a knit nerd, and especially a sock knit nerd.

I love spending time alone in a yarn shop feeling the fibres and browsing the patterns. I am willing to spend a ridiculous amount of money on beautiful needles.

After several failed starts and knitting yoga socks (no heels, no toes), I decided that this was the year I was going to learn how to knit socks.

For some reason turning the heel and picking up stitches for the gusset intimidated me.

When I found the book How To Knit Socks: Three Methods Made Easy, by Edie Eckman, I finally found my key to successfully tackling my own socks. It gives very clearly explained step-by-step procedures for socks, along with photos to show what each stage should look like.


Youtube has been a wonderful self-teaching tool for crafters, and I have used video tutorials to see the process for a few stages of knitting socks.
Yoga socks

I discovered that turning the heel (knitting short rows) was not difficult for me, but picking up the gusset stitches after knitting the heel just didn't feel or look right the way I was doing it. This youtube video is excellent and I love the nice braided edge it gives my socks.

Ankle socks

Then once I had knit a few pairs I purchased the basic sock pattern from Churchmouse Yarns, which expanded my repertoire and gave me another way to knit a sturdy heel that I now use for all my socks.

I love ribbing all the way down
for a snug fit.
I started learning socks using four or five double pointed needles (the yoga socks were made with two small circular needles), but several knitters I follow on Instagram raved about the magic loop method using one 32" circular needle so I knew I would have to give it a go. The Edie Eckman book teaches this method so I was set, and I can now say that I, too, prefer magic loop for socks.

I have tried several different patterns for my socks and I love seeing the different textures as they develop.




There are several things I love about knitting socks:


Grain stitch socks
  • they are easy to transport and I often have my project bag in my purse, ready to work on if I have a few spare moments
  • it is easy to adapt patterns and customize them once you understand the basic anatomy of a sock
  • they are relatively quick to knit; I can knit a pair in approximately 6 days with dedicated knitting time
  • they make great presents that everyone is happy to receive
  • homemade socks feel so cozy and warm and it is satisfying wearing something homemade

My next challenge is to learn a different heel method, the fish lips kiss heel.

Harris tweed rib stitch
But currently I am knitting socks like crazy for Christmas presents for all the men in my life.




Here are some tutorial videos that have helped me on my sock knitting journey:




* I used my own money to purchase How To Knit Socks: Three Methods Made Easy and I have linked to it because I think it is an excellent beginner's sock knitting book.







Friday, 5 December 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} - Inspired by Amanda Soule at SouleMama
"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments."






Last Minute Present: Plastic Free Food Wraps




I believe in the personal touch for the holidays and I always try to make at least some of my gifts. Sure it takes more effort, and at this busy time of year homemade gifts may be the first thing to go when schedules fill up. But I believe that I have the perfect last minute homemade gift: plastic-free food wraps.

There are commercially produced beeswax food wraps if DIY really isn't your thing, and I do love supporting companies who make environmentally friendly and ethical products. Abeego is one such company, and I am proud that it started as a home-based business in my province. They have many options for food storage including large bowl covers as well as handy snack and sandwich pockets.

In keeping with my DIY spirit, last year I decided to try making some of my own, and they were a hit with everyone. I made a dozen or so in one afternoon, with minimal prep and clean up.

Because the wraps are made from beeswax they must be washed in cold water and a little bit of dish soap if required. Obviously warm or hot water will melt the wax, make a mess in your sink and ruin the food wraps. I have had no difficulty caring for my wraps in this way, and after a year they are still in very good condition.

Here's how to make your own reusable food wraps:

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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Planting Garlic

Before we had our first frost at the beginning of the month I managed to get all my garlic planted. After separating the cloves and sorting the intact ones from the ones with broken skins, I got outside in between rain showers. This year some is grown by me, some by the Sharing Farm, and some by Westcoast Seeds.

Last year I grew enough in one raised bed to hopefully last until late spring. This year I increased the amount I planted, hoping it will take me through until the next backyard harvest.

For a full description of how I plant garlic, click here.