Monday, June 23, 2014

Gloom, despair and agony on me

This is her sad face - she's been the cry-baby of the bunch  :-(
 That's the tune around here right now.  Not me, so much (well, maybe a little), but unhappy lambs are singing the woe-is-me tune all day long.  After taking a hard look at the ewes, I decided some of them needed to be separated last week.  Especially those girls who've been raising triplets completely on their own.  Even with heavy feed supplement and the fact that the lambs are eating creep feed now, some of the girls were looking just a little puny.  The rest of the adult ewes came out this past weekend and now they've all retired to the big pastures with the ewes I did not breed this year, who are looking plenty robust, since they didn't raise any lambs.  This is one of those red letter days on the farm calendar that marks a turning point in the year.  Lambing season is officially over!

It's hot now, close to 90 today.  Ugh!  I've been basically put under house-arrest and have orders to not stress myself and no strenuous activities, so I'm staying in the house and studio, keeping myself busy with a little sewing, reading and knitting. When Alicia Paulson first introduced us to her Miss Maggie, I was immediately smitten and ordered the kit right away.  As with everything Alicia does, the kit was beautifully put together and packaged - really, almost too pretty to open up.  I let it sit for a long time before I got the nerve to start.  I have one more boot to sew together and need to finish knitting her little capelet before I can call her complete.  I'm not happy with my blanket stitching at all, but can see that I will improve if I keep at it, which is exactly why I ordered Miss Phyllis Mouse and Miss Juniper Kitty when Alicia released the newest kits not long ago.  It's cuteness overload and I'm not even going to try rationalizing why I feel so inclined to make little stuffed animals, who wear dresses, boots, cowls and leg warmers. 

For months now, I've been immersed in reacquainting myself with all things Outlander.  I read the first book more than 20 years ago and as soon as I heard the news about that book being made into a television series (premiering August 9th!! on Starz), I immediately downloaded the audiobooks from Audible and listened to all of the books in the series, including the newest one that was released on June 10th.  It's been pretty much all Outlander all the time.  I love Audible because I can download to my iPhone, plug in and get on with what I'm doing, all the while listening.  Outlander books kept me company on the drive to New Hampshire and made the time pass quickly.  Anyway,  I needed an Outlander break for a bit and decided to actually sit and read a real, hard cover book for a change.  I read Heather Ross' memoir, "How to Catch a Frog".  Heather is a fabric designer, blogger and author and her book describes her childhood in rural Vermont.  Each chapter ends with a little project, some crafts, some activities.  My admiration for Heather has grown immensely since reading her book.  It's a testament to her resilience and creative talent that she's overcome what I see as quite a lot of disadvantage.  I'd be interested in hearing from any of you who have read the book and what your opinion might be.

What else?  I finished the handwork on my Squam Sweetest Tunic, designed by Cal Patch.  I love it and one of my most favorite parts is the lining I chose for the pockets and yoke.  The print fabric is actually a Heather Ross design.  I loved the colors, especially with the chambray I had chosen for my tunic.  I'm much too conservative to wear a whole garment made from something so boldly patterned, but love having the pattern just barely peeking out.  I can see myself making a bunch of these tunics out of denim, linen, corduroy and lining the pockets and yokes with fun patterns.  If you don't have Cal's book, "Design-It-Yourself Clothes" or taken any of her Creativebug classes, you should!  She makes sewing simple and fun.  This tunic is actually a set of rectangles, with a few simple modifications (the neck shaping on this one).  That's it - rectangles.  No pattern pieces or complicated directions.  It's genius.  Depending on your fabric choice, Cal even recommends tearing your fabric, so that you are sure to have the grain-line straight.

I've cast on two new knitting projects, which I'm very excited about, both being knit with wonderful Brooklyn Tweed.  Have I told you lately how much I love that whole company?  The colors have me completely hooked and their design aesthetic is so appealing.  I also love the fact that they used a "mature woman" to model some of the designs in the Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 7 collection. (I believe her name is Cindy Joseph - I know you would recognize her beautiful long, silver hair.)   One of those projects may make an appearance here in the not too distant future, but the other one ... let's just say, I'm hoping it will be finished in time for Rhinebeck!


  1. Hi Dianne! I love your Maggie - she looks great! You're right though, that blanket stitch takes practice. I just finished my Dandelion Doe too - I'm going to post about her tomorrow. My kids are already fretting over who will get to sleep with her on her first night out of the sewing room:) Please do take it easy in that heat. And good luck comforting the lambs and mamas. I know it's the right way but it still makes me feel sad:)

    1. Can't wait to see your Dandelion, Brienne! Your sewing is so beautifully done, I know she'll be wonderful. You've got plenty of motivation to start right in on the next kit since you've two littles waiting for bedtime buddies. Is it Mr. Basil Fox next?

  2. Oh thank you for the introduction to Brooklyn Tweed! Those look books are inspiring. I may have to knit something.

  3. I started following Jared Flood's blog when he was a graduate student because his photography and knitting were so appealing. I love the story of how Brooklyn Tweed yarn came to be and also love the idea of supporting a "homegrown" American yarn company. I'm glad you like it too!

  4. I love Alicia's projects also. Miss Maggie is still waiting for me, and I recently bought the mouse. Have to get busy. I also LOVE Brooklyn Tweed, and was so excited to see the model that you mentioned. I have been a fan of hers since I first saw her modeling in a catalog about 8 or 9 years ago. She is so attractive. Jared's designs are some of my favorites. Enjoy all your projects. Hope the lambies all survive their separation.

  5. Hi Dianne! Love your Miss Maggie and your tunic is perfect! Too cute and looks so comfy. You've been busy - accomplishing way more than me. It's barely over 50° here in the Forest after a rainy afternoon - I'll try to send those temps your way! Take care!

  6. Dianne,
    I am Outlander Obsessed, too. I finished the newest book, and now I'm listening to it. I'll probably read it once more before forcing myself to leave that world behind for a little while and read something else. (I'll probably feel like your lambs when I do.)

  7. I am not letting myself order any of the new kits (yes, they are awesome!) until I finish my Maggie Rabbit. Might be a good project for this upcoming hot week!

  8. I love Brooklyn Tweed and am glad to see you write about it! The rabbit is adorable.