Saturday, July 30, 2011

finding balance, seeking joy

Today was our long-awaited, first time ever picking blueberries.  The blueberry farm was gorgeous, nestled in the hills.  The blueberries were delectable, sun-warmed and juicy.  It was also very hot and Sylvia got stung on the wrist by a bee.  Camille felt light-headed and the bushes were a bit picked over.  So we quit early and bought some comb honey to indulge in since we had only picked about $3 worth of blueberries (that actually made it into the buckets).  

One of the serious blueberry pickers called me a brave woman for bringing out my three girls, and I told him that if I follow their lead, it all works out, and it did in its own way.  Everyone ate their fill straight off of the bushes.

Later at home, we planted 15 golden raspberry canes, and we have been feasting on watermelon, peaches, and all manner of garden / CSA veggies.  Summer abundance is upon us.  So what did we have for dinner? Pizza, at a restaurant...with air-conditioning.  We are not purists, but joy-seekers.

all done planting
Now at the end of the day, there is (8yo) chattering, giggling, TV-watching, (4 yo) Papa-snuggling, (1 yo) milky-breath, nursing to sleep in Mama's arms while she blogs :)  Life is good...sometimes sweaty, bee-stung, and tired, but full-of-goodness nonetheless.

...and after each falling asleep in a parent's arms, there is this...

My first knitting pattern and a giveaway

In honor of my first written knitting pattern, I would like to offer a giveaway.  I would love to send the winner two knit jar cozies and the jars and lids to go with them.  Anyone is welcome to enter!  You can enter up to 3 times:
1.  Check out the jar cozy pattern here and return here to leave a comment (if you let me know which variation is your favorite, I'll be sure to include it if you win).
2.  Follow this blog and let me know in a comment.
3.  Share this giveaway or the pattern with your friends (via your blog, facebook, etc.) and let me know.

Thanks to all who entered, shared, and visited here!  The giveaway is now closed.  And the winner is...
Jen Yates
(and thanks to Camille, who wrote out each individual entry and drew the winner.  She has experience from her own tribble giveaway back in March :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

hemp jar cozy knitting pattern (for a pint~16 oz mason jar)

I like to use glass canning jars to carry water (or coffee, tea, etc) when we are on the go.  I decided to knit up a jar cozy in hemp twine for the pint size mason jars that my kids like to drink out of.  I also wanted it to have a  strap or handle for easy carrying.  I ended up making up a pattern (with 3 variations) and I thought I would share it here in case anyone else is interested.  This is my first written pattern so if you give it a try, please let me know how it works out, or feel free to ask questions if anything is unclear.
(These also fit peanut butter jars nicely.)

For my jar cozy giveaway, please enter here!!!

All abbreviations are standard.

Variation 1 uses hemp twine on size 5 (US) needles and includes a strap that buttons onto a 1/2" or 3/4" button.

Variation 2 is exactly the same as 1, except knit with DK weight wool yarn (I expect fingering or sock yarn would also work and have a lacier appearance) on size 9 (US) needles and omitting the strap.

Variation 3 is the simplest and is knit with worsted weight wool yarn on size 7 (US) needles.  This variation leaves out the decorative pattern with straight knitting from round 12 up to the decrease round where the jar slightly narrows at the top (quick, easy to knit, and uses up odd scraps of yarn perfectly).

To begin, cast on 8 stitches, join in the round using circular needles and the 'magic loop' method or double-pointed needles.
round 1:  *k1, kfb*, repeat from * to * 3 more times (12 st)
round 2 (and all even rounds):  knit
round 3:  *k2, kfb*, repeat 3 times (16 st)
round 5:  *k3, kfb*, repeat 3 times (20 st)
round 7:  *k4, kfb*, repeat 3 times (24 st)
round 9:  *k5, kfb*, repeat 3 times (28 st)
round 11:  purl
round 12-14:  knit
rounds 15-20:  follow decorative pattern below (unless following variation 3)
rounds 21+:  Knit until your cozy measures 2 1/12"  past the purl row (this was 9 rows of straight knitting for me with both the hemp twine and the DK weight yarn).
Repeat decorative pattern.
Knit 2 more rounds, followed by a decrease round.
decrease round:  *knit 5, k2tog*, repeat 3 times
Then purl one round before binding off.
Bind off VERY loosely (this is important or you won't be able to stretch it over the bottom of the jar).
~if adding a strap (as in variation 1) only bind off 22 stitches and follow directions for strap
Weave in ends.

decorative pattern:
round 1:  *k6, p1*, repeat 3 more times
round 2:  p1, *yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, p3*, repeat from * to * 3 more times but ending with p2
round 3:  p2, *k2, p5*, repeat from * to * 3 times but ending with p3
round 4:  *p6, k1*, repeat 3 times
round 5:  *k2tog, yo, p3, yo, ssk*, repeat 3 times
round 6:  k3, *p1, k6*, repeat from * to * 3 times but ending with p3

for the strap:
After binding off 22 stitches, knit to the end of the bind off row. You should have 6 stitches on your needle.  Knit 5 stitches and slip the last stitch (knit-wise) with yarn in front.  Repeat this until desired length and finish up with a buttonhole.
buttonhole row:  k1, k2tog, yo, k2, slip last stitch with yarn in front
Knit 2 more rows with slipping the last stitch and then bind off.
Sew button onto the main body of the cozy across from the strap.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

photos from Amish country

Every Thursday we drive through Amish country to get our CSA farm share veggies.  This week Camille and I busted out the camera and pulled over about 20 times to try to capture some of the picturesque beauty on our little point-and-shoot.  You can click on any picture to enlarge it.



Camille captured not one, but two nursing foals here :)  *




*photos followed by an asterisk were taken by Camille

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

down time

After a weekend-long celebration and three days in a row of hot weather and swimming, we postponed our plans (blueberry picking) and stayed home today.  We needed it, especially after a spontaneous adventure yesterday to a new state park to check out the beach at Castle Rock Lake. Somehow I neglected to put sunscreen on myself.  
I love days of grand adventures (minus the sunburn), but the need for downtime is equally important.  Time to process, recover, follow a moment's whim, and create.  We were feeling artsy.  There was T-shirt decorating (Camille)

sticker and beeswax crayon creations (Sylvia)

painting rock pets (Camille)

photography (Sylvia)

and I put the finishing touches on a knitting pattern that I've been writing up for a pint-size mason jar cozy (with three variations even!).  After I finish photographing all three cozies, I'll share the pattern here.  (Here's a peek of the first one for now :)
 Tomorrow may be lively and sparkly, and full of outdoorsy-goodness, but for today, I am loving the little moments that make up a mellow relaxing day.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

a two-day shindig

We invited many of our good friends, new and old, to our home as a "come check out our new place / celebrate Camille's 8th birthday" party.  Friday evening we were joined by good friends for music, fire, laughter, and a campout, and Saturday was a full-on, birthday-style, kiddo-mayhem frolic. Along with guitar-playing, summertime-food eatin', and hugs all around.



even Ayla wanted to get in on some guitar pickin'

And moments after the last car drove away...
a rainbow....end to end, a perfect arch.    

(more photos are here)