Showing posts from 2016


This was approximately my eighth long day in this old, southern city that had been devastated by the tornado. It was approximately my tenth visit to a family that had experienced fatalities as a result of the disaster. Up until now, my work had been concentrated inside the clean and sterile hospital where surviving family members clung to their own lives, with bandaged heads and broken bones, and legal drugs to ease their pain. But as we wrapped up with the infirm, we moved into the community and found a vastly different experience.
We traveled by car, where the roads would allow. The destruction from the tornado seemed unreal to me, looking more like photos from a blasted war-zone than any disaster I’d personally seen before. Buildings were in splinters, fallen trees speared through buildings like arrows in a target, and vehicles stacked in precarious positions, crushed and crumbled. As we left the hospital from our morning visit, we marveled at the luck (divine intervention, some sai…

30 suddenly feels very old

I've always heard phrases like "time passes so quickly," or "time is slipping by," and I didn't think much of it because I was too busy doing awesome things and having fun. 

Tonight though, rather suddenly, I realized that I understand those phrases-- the past 3 years have rushed by in a way I've never experienced before. The reason, I think, is my mundane existence in the career I'm building that has somehow sucked energy for my vital creative interests and the people I love. What good is life if we spend all of our energy and days working, or thinking about work, with no time for our personal interests?
I'd rather be pulling weeds, growing food, riding bicycles, cuddling babes, laughing, cooking, sewing, and enjoying life than spending 8 hours a day in front of a computer, plus an hour of shit lunch from the cafeteria of my office (a great design if you want people to spend even more time at the computer), plus 3 more hours sitting in a van comm…

Vintage sewing for kids: Butterick 2725 #2

I made the kid a second dress out of denim with a woven stripe pattern, seen the same day as that first one. She likes it! I originally sewed it as a basic A-line dress without any details. 

I used red buttons from one my vintage tins, since I felt like it needed *something* but it still seemed pretty MEHHH to me. 
The kid agreed that she'd still wear it with pockets, so I added them + red piping. 

Vintage sewing for kids: Butterick 2725

Earlier this year my friend loaned me this fabulous pattern from her stash-- isn't it grand? 

 I intended to sew a version with the fish pocket for my step-daughter (henceforth called the kid) but she wasn't keen on that design. Instead, she chose a great blue/white check fabric from my stash and we started with something very basic. 
Following version B, I bound the neckline and hems with commercial bias tape, which made finishing quite easy EXCEPT (there's always an except with me) that I skipped some steps and had to bind the shoulder seam. This meant I had to miter all the corners, which was super annoying. 

I've been having some trouble with the tension on my Bernina 1008, likely because I've been using poor-ish quality white thread that I got in bulk at the closing sale of a sewing store here in Portland. I'll take the machine in for a tune-up shortly, as I'm only one spool shy of finishing off the entire lot. Anyway, that contributed to wonky buttonhole…

Roasted Tomato Passata

Oh summer-- your bounty of tomatoes has required an exhausting amount of energy from my past week, which I've considered an investment to warm me in the darkest, dreary winter days ahead. The air turned cooler this week, a welcome break after a heat wave with multiple days over 100 farenheit, and suddenly it felt a bit like fall.
Back in 2011, I wrote about my first round of canning tomato passata from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook. That time, due to what we had on hand, the batch included onions instead of shallots and dried herbs instead of fresh. 
The recipe can be found on page 165 in the American edition of the book, but in summary:

Tomatoes (so many) Shallots (peeling FOREVER) Garlic Basil (fresh, from our garden) Salt Sugar Oil

After roasting everything together until soft, I passed all of it through the food mill. Because of my limited availability after work (my new commute is 3 hours round trip per day), I spread the roasting and milling out over 3 days and froze the purée …

The Milky Way

This afternoon I read an article posted by PBS, stating that entire generations of urban and suburban dwellers have never seen the Milky Way due to light pollution. 
I am incredibly saddened by the loss of our connection the natural state and wonders of our world. 
I grew up in a place where we often slept outside under the stars for fun, pointing out constellations and following the Milky Way's run across the night sky. On dark summer nights as children, we'd stay up late counting the shooting stars until our heavy eyelids coaxed us into sleep. We would wake up after sunrise, slightly damp from the early morning dew, to the sounds of people moving about their day to begin farm chores-- like grandpa whistling when he came by to pick up one of the kids to go feed cattle with him.
I miss that life. I miss the stars.

Handspun: Jacob sheep, bi-color, drop spindle.

In approximately 2011, I was gifted some beautiful sheeps wool already prepared into this pretty roving, stranded bi-color black and white, and I feel nearly certain that this is Jacob sheeps wool but I can't be certain since the gifter bought it from a farmside table. Endearing, right?

This yarn was spun very early in my spinning career, shortly after I had taken a spinning class and was only using a drop spindle for production. I had relocated from Utah to Washington, and took the wool with me.

The yarn itself was spun into single and then 2 plied against itself, resulting in a very homespun-feeling yarn. I've never used it for knitting, but believe it's still tucked away in my handspun stash somewhere amongst lavender sachets and the wooden hand cards that I hated using.

Sewing the Moneta Dress (x 3)

When the Moneta Dress was published in partnership with Colette Patterns and Alyson Clair, I pretty much had a sewing love affair which has continued intermittently because it's now my TNT knitwear dress pattern. It's not new to the sewing scene anymore, but I love it as much now as I did in the very beginning -- it's flattering, easy to alter/swap the skirt, easy to grade between sizes, and a great showcase for fun knit fabric. In this post, you'll see my first three that I sewed right away and I still love these three because of my fabric choices, all of which were found at the thrift store. The paisley dress fabric cost $2 total, and both the sailboats fabric and veggies fabric cost $1 each. In total, the cost of the dress is roughly $5 each, though with each Moneta I sew the "cost" of the pattern is distributed even further amongst all the dresses. I think I've sewn 10+ adult Moneta Dresses, including hacks in which I used Moneta as the base. I'v…

Yarn Haul, 2016


This weekend was a fabulous yarn event in Portland called the Rose City Yarn Crawl, where all these awesome local yarn stores have promotions and sales and special patterns and cookies and drinks and PARTIEEEESS! I've loved knitting for about 8 year, with varying amounts of gusto depending on how much time I have, season, whether I have a knitting group, etc.
Note: nothing can ever replace my Seattle knitting group, but I've finally found a group in Portland that is near my home and full of awesome people. Yay!
Anyway, it was a good weekend in this city for yarn and I decided to do what I do instead-- ignore commercial retail establishments and head for dingy, dark basements with track lighting, collections of mason jars, and the occasional 1970's nudey magazine: ESTATE SALE HEAVEN.
I love good yarn, I really do. I love new, modern brands with ethically sourced wool, naturally dyed or not dyed at all, from rare breeds of sheep in conservation status. But do you know wh…

What's stitchin in 2016.

This blog has all but expired, sitting here collecting dust in the corners of the Internet while I plug away at real life. It's interesting to see the ebb and flow of the blog, and how much more creative/willing I feel to engage in pleasure-writing when I'm not stuck in front of the computer 8 hours a day. I digress, apologetically. 
My point here is to say that for the few followers that may still exist, I do too! And I picked up my knitting needles after months away due to a really dumb story:
In an effort to be more stitchy, I started carrying a knitting project with me for waiting periods throughout my day-- before classes (I'm back in college to finish my undergrad degree), on break at work (still doing social services), and on the bus. 
Like the fart that I am, I LOST, straight up LOST, my exchangeable Addi Lace set-- the entire case of them. I put up lost ads, cried for a minute, and nearly clicked the purchase button online TWICE, but felt shitty for losing another im…