Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Fibery Revelation

I apologize for neglecting the blog. I think I've found why there are so many months that the blog gets ignored. There have been months where I have no inspiration to prattle on about the latest in self-sufficiency, and these are usually the months that get no update. So I'll be widening the scope of the blog a little. As much as self-sufficiency still interests me, I can't justify making the blog about that and nothing else. So if you're one of the ones who follow by email, or you check in from time to time, you'll see a bit of a change around here. Nothing radical, just more about fiber arts. That way, there's something here to keep my interest!

So, update time...

The last time we visited, I told you about the Hudson Bay-type throw I was working on. I'm still working on it, but I've gotten a lot done!

And my eldest son's 'Kerbal Socks' got finished as well!

I've also got two other pairs of socks on the needles, I expect I'll be able to show those off next week.

I'm also looking forward to showing you my first efforts at dyeing wool with kool-ade! Perhaps then I'll show off the drop spindle I seem to have inherited, and share a bit about alpacas.

So, if you're a returning reader, thank you for sticking with me. If you're a new reader...welcome!

I'll see you next week with more fibery news and some new pictures as well!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Of Sticks And Strings

After a little time away from the blog, I decided I wanted to talk about knitting this morning. There are a few reasons for that. One of them is that if I listen too closely to the news, I get depressed, and it takes me days to snap out of it. So I try to balance that out with knitting, which is therapeutic for me. So lately I've been on the hunt for a knitting podcast I could enjoy. I have found one in 'Grocery Girls'. Sisters that are in my age range, are funny and smart and generous...and they drink tea too! So I've been bingeing their podcast lately, starting from #1. I have a year's worth of episodes to go!

As part of an effort to do something different, I started a group on Ravelry called the 'HBC Knit-along'. The basic premise is that everyone finds a Hudson-Bay-inspired project and we all knit on our chosen item at the same time, checking in for support from time to time. I chose to knit a throw for my sofa, which will look like a miniature version of an iconic Hudson Bay Blanket when it's complete. Here's how far along it was as of last week.

I've also decided to commit to making blankets for our 'local' abused women's shelter in town. Simple construction; knit a bunch of strips, sew them together and repeat until the blanket is the correct width for a single bed. Then repeat.  (I thought I had a shot of one of the strips in the computer, but it turns out I don't)

I've also recently picked up sock knitting again, thanks to the enabling-ways of the Grocery Girls! Last night I dug out my eldest son's 'Kerbal Socks', made from Loops & Threads 'Woolike'. Hopefully I'll be finished these soon and I'll be able to show you a picture of the pair being modelled!

While I don't remember the exact colourways, these socks, 'To The Journey' were made on order from the same yarn. The recipient still gushes about them!

So, short of rambling on about the cardigan I think I want to start soon, that's it for my knitting news.
So tell me, dear reader, is there a knitter in your life?

Saturday, February 04, 2017

First He Came...

I found this on the web today, and I thought it was absolutely perfect since I was seeking the original poem.
I did not write this, credit is given at the end.
Obviously, a couple of these apply to me but ignore that. The point I want to make is that we should ALL stand up for each other. Because one day, it will be YOUR rights that are taken away.
It is irrelevant which country you call home, this fight belongs to ALL of us, because what happens in the U.S.A affects us ALL. 

First Trump came for the women
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a woman.
Then Trump came for the people with disabilities
And I did not speak out
Because I did not have a disability.
Then Trump came for the African Americans
And I did not speak out
Because I was not African American.

Then Trump came for the Mexicans
And I did not speak out
Because I was not Mexican.
Then Trump came for the Muslims
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Muslim.
Then Trump came for the gay, bi, and trans people
And I did not speak out
Because I was not gay, bi or trans.
Then Trump came for the Jews
And I did not speak out 
Because I was not a Jew.

Then Trump came for the journalists

And I did not speak out
Because I was not a journalist.
Then Trump came for the judges
and I did not speak out
Because I was not a judge.
And now Trump is coming for the Constitution of the United States
And if I do not speak out, what am I?

Written by Gideon Lichfield

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Thoughtful Caring Against Chaos

One of my favourite design houses for knitting is Tin Can Knits, and this year, they’re focusing more on what they call thoughtful knitting. There must be something in the air, or maybe it’s a reaction to all the negativity and chaos around us, because they aren’t alone.

After many months, I’ve stepped away from a fun crafting competition on Ravelry called Nerdopolis.
(In a nutshell, the crafter competes in a specific set of challenges for both personal points and team points, and prizes along the way. There’s more to it, but I’ll stop there so you don’t get confused, okay?) Anyway, as much fun as I was having with that, I decided to step away from it so that I could focus on more important things than just fun. There is a local shelter for abused women and their children that I want to knit for (there’s a long story behind it), as well as knitting for family and friends. Churning out little things as much as I could every month just wasn’t allowing me to do that, so something had to give. So Nerdopolis went.

I’ve cast on a throw for my sofa, not out of a selfish need (although my living room is the coldest room in the house), but more from a desire to try out a new idea. If this one goes well, I’ll reproduce it, only in double knitting, for the shelter. The throw is modeled after the historic Hudson’s Bay Blanket, and it’s even more fitting that I knit this since Canada is 150 years old this year! That’s a butt-ton of history! As I’ve knit the first few rows tonight, I’ve been thinking about all that we’ve been through as a country, all that those women and kids in that shelter have been through, what they have yet to struggle through before they’re free to feel safe outside the shelter. It’s a lot to ponder.

To make a very long story short, I know what those folks in the shelter are facing, and I want to make it a little easier on them. They deserve to know someone, even a stranger, cares. So I’ll knit for them. I’ll knit blankets for their beds, socks to keep their feet warm, and mittens, hats and scarves to cut the cold wind, even though I can’t do anything for the coldness in their abuser’s heart.

While I knit, I’ll reflect back on their struggles, their courage and their long, long road they have yet to travel. While I knit, I’ll pray to anyone listening  that the current chaos abates and that peace and common sense prevail again.
We could all use some more peace.

Now if you excuse me, I have to ponder that while I knit a blanket for someone.

Spread peace, my friend.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How To Take Back Your Power

While the world falls to hell around us, think about this today, and ponder how you can apply this wisdom at your house.

"To let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them."
Bill Mollison

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Renewed And Urgent Need

The current state of affairs in the United States has me concerned about the potential for economic collapse, so with that in mind, I've begun to examine how that might affect those of us up here in Canada, and more specifically, my own household. Now before you think I'm being selfish, I see this as a part of being self-reliant. Examine all the potential threats to the safety of my home and family, and plan acccordingly.

Because I know that preparing for something so frightening can be overwhelming, and I'm aware I'm not alone in this endeavor, I'll be documenting my efforts here. I'll share the inexpensive, the successful, the failures and the concepts that deserve further examination.

This blog has focused on things parallel to this idea before, but I feel there is a renewed and urgent need for this kind of informaton and experience.
In the short time since the presidency has changed hands, the United States has been pulled backwards, and as been said here before, when the United States catches a cold, Canada sneezes.
It behooves us all to learn how to do more, creatively, with less.

How do you think upheaval in the States might affect your household?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Food Challenge Are You Facing?

Food instability is everywhere.
I don't know what challenges you're facing this year, but up here in the north, one of ours will be to deal with the growing cost of groceries.
Not just fresh fruit and vegetables either...all groceries. It seems that the healthier a food is, the more expensive it is! So many folks reach for items with empty calories, rather than veggies. As convenient as it is to grab a box of Kraft Dinner, how many of us have the time and budget to think about making that same dish from scratch? Sure, there's less chemicals and crap in it, but how many of us reach for a brick of cheese, a little milk and a package of elbow noodles instead? Is it worth it to buy four loaves of bread and trust that it's not mostly filler, when we can make our own?

I'm fortunate to be able to make that choice.

But what about the food items we can't make? Like peanut butter? The price on that comfort food jumped a few years ago, and of course, it's never come down. Coffee is outrageous, and to counteract how much we were spending on it, I started drinking tea.
Fresh veggies are mind-blowingly expensive. I need to get off my arse and plant lettuce and spinach again, to grow inside. No, I won't be able to grow a massive head of romaine, or a large bag of spinach, but it's better than going without because we can't afford that big bag of greens.

So, what food challenges do you have to contend with this year? Any ideas how to ease the pinch?