Using Up Yarn Scraps

I went to sleep after a lovely sunny day of working in the garden and pleasant outdoor time with my kids, in full expectation of doing some of the same tomorrow – but woke up to sounds of rolling thunder. This means a day of staying cozy inside, reading, many cups of tea and cocoa and, of course, crafts.

Speaking of which, pop over to read my latest Mother Earth News post, full of ideas on using up those little odds and ends of yarn that you surely have in your stash:

“If you are an avid knitter or crocheter like I am, you will inevitably at some point end up with a stash of scrap yarn, left over from various projects, which you cannot bear to throw away. Fear not, however – those little odds and ends can be used in a variety of creative ways which will leave your craft cabinet looking a lot more orderly.”

 

I’m hooked!

DSC_1074

When the weather is cold, cozy cuddly yarn projects are a wonderful way to keep busy while options for outdoor exercise are limited. I’m now working on a vest made from alpaca wool blend – I love the warm natural feel of it. I will be sure to share the final product with you when I’m done, and then I have some lovely thin mohair in my yarn stash I can’t wait to work with.

Since I’m really pleased with how I keep my hands busy at times when I would otherwise be fiddling with my phone (and I really mean fiddling – with no good purpose), and since I don’t want to go on a long crocheting break when the weather gets warmer, I’ve also ordered some lighter cotton yarn suitable for warm weather, and have some very cool ideas I’d love to try.

You know what I’d really love to do, though? Learn to spin wool. I do hope I get a chance to do that someday.

Busy as bees

DSC_1073

Lately, I challenged myself: instead of fiddling with my phone whenever I have a spare moment, what if I whip out the crochet hook and work on some little project? The result: surprisingly quickly, I completed this adorable (if I do say so myself) tiny dress for Hadassah. It’s made of yak wool blend and is very soft to the touch, cozy and warm.

I didn’t follow an exact pattern, but I can say that I started working from the waist up on the front half, then went back to work from the waist down on the skirt, and in the end stitched front and back halves together on the sides.

Also take a look at this latest little video on my YouTube channel: honeybees busy at work on the mustard flowers in our garden. With a nice sunny spell, we’ve finally been able to do some weeding (not enough) and planting (somewhat haphazardly).

 

Cold process soap: an introduction

dsc_1063

I’m on a soap-making roll! These cuties were made using a combination of wheat germ and almond oil, and enriched with rosemary and mint essential oils for a fresh, invigorating smell. They are supposed to be very gentle on the skin, and I can’t wait to try them.

For a detailed introduction to making cold process soap, read my Mother Earth News post:

“Many people approach soap-making as a creative venture or micro business of its own, and stock up on supplies specifically for this purpose. For me, it was more about using up old oils that were not much good for anything else, whether it’s non-food-grade olive oil we had tried to use for lighting but couldn’t because it smoked, coconut oil that had gotten an off taste from sitting on the shelf too long, or almond massage oil left over from my first pregnancy a decade ago. I love the satisfaction of putting something to good use rather than throwing it away!”

 

Making Coconut Oil Soap

DSC_1039.JPG

You guys know how I love to make something out of nothing – or, at any rate, something useful out of something useless, right?

I had some very old coconut oil that had clearly outlived its fitness for human consumption. This gave me the all-clear for doing something I had wanted to try for a while: making coconut oil soap. Coconut oil is pricey, so I wouldn’t use it for soap when if we can eat it.

Unlike the previous time I had tried my hand at soap-making, I now have a digital kitchen scale, which made it a lot easier to follow this simple recipe. I also added a few drops of rosemary essential oil for a refreshing scent.

I used the cute little silicone molds I also use for candles. In the photo above, you can see my freshly unmolded pure coconut oil soap bars, which are now set to cure on a rack on top of my kitchen cabinets. I can’t wait for them to get ready so I can use them.

And it rained, and rained, and rained

dsc_1009

For the past couple of days, it has been cold, dreary, windy and rainy, and we’ve been shut inside, doing our best to spend our time productively and pleasantly indoors. I started some seeds, did some baking, and went on with my crocheting projects. The little poncho/capelet is coming along nicely.

dsc_1010

I’ve also ordered some yak wool blend, and I’m excited to try it – I’ve never worked with yak wool before, but it sure feels very pleasant to the touch.

dsc_1011

A batch of super simple granola bars, thrown together in 5 minutes, out of the oven in 15 – a healthy snack to keep up our energy in the afternoon.

dsc_1008

A kitty who found the coziest spot on a cold morning. Behind, you can see our crafty center, where we keep all our art supplies, paper, glue, modeling clay, etc.

I look forward to sunny days and puttering around the garden, but in the meantime, there’s so much to be grateful for – for instance, the fact that we repaired the roof and the air conditioning before this last cold and rainy spell.

Cold weather yarn projects

DSC_0998

The drop in temperatures means it’s a perfect time to whip out the yarn and crochet hooks (or knitting needles) and get to making beautiful and useful things. Check out these cute two-color slipper socks I recently completed – perfect for pattering around the house for kids who don’t like bulky slippers. I’m really quite proud of them.

DSC_1003

And while I’m on the roll, here’s the start of another project – a circular white round poncho. I haven’t crocheted in a while, and it’s a true joy to get back to it. All I need is to get started with a project and make sure I always have it in my bag for those quiet spells I’m out and about and have a few spare minutes waiting in line or sitting on a bench in the park while my kids play.

Patterns used: Bev’s Very Easy Booties, enlarged to a size that would fit older kids.

Bea Poncho – I love lacy patterns like this, and it’s really easy and fun to work.