Creativity Leads to Self Sufficiency

Every article I write is aimed at this realization.

By suggesting that “traditional skills” are indeed important to cultivate in our modern day, I hope to inspire others, especially the less inclined to be creative type people, to learn a craft. If every person would just experiment and find a craft or skill that they could develop a talent for, then every person would be able to feel that they had something to offer to the world.

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The “end of the world” proclamations and jokes are ever abounding. More and more people are seeking out how to live outside of a city, how to grow gardens, how to make food from scratch, and essentially to adapt into a lifestyle of homesteading or “prepping”. None of these are unworthy goals. All are indeed wonderful and essential skills and goals to have. The threats and the “what-ifs” are always there and even seem to be increasing as time passes.

Computer Sciences are also a very real skill that is required in this modern day. It is nothing to sneeze at. But imagine, we lost the ability to use our modern technologies? Having a trade-skill in that scenario would be priceless. The great thing is that while we have it…we should use it! Learning and gaining knowledge has never been easier. The internet is a valuable tool for those that seek to be educated.

Will it ever happen? That’s in God’s hands.  If I (and suggestively “you”) don’t take the steps to cultivate some of these skills into my (our) everyday living and teach them to friends, neighbors, children, and grandchildren, then the traditional skills that our ancestors built this nation on, will die out. In the event of an “end of the world” scenario, too many will not know how to build it back up again. We have forgotten how to be creators, how to imagine something and then have the skill set to be able to build it.

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Our best friend’s recently built their own home from the ground up. It is the cutest little dry cabin in the woods ever! My husband and I helped a bit with the construction, and all of us learned what it takes to build a home as it was constructed piece by piece. We had the worst winter in years, and that little hand-built, owner engineered house withstood it all and kept a family of seven warm and cozy. I have to say we are all feeling pretty good about that, and it proved that we really can do things ourselves. 

 

Be a Butterfly.

Heidi

P.S. I was lucky enough to chat with writer and Youtube hostess Esther Emery of Fouch-O-matic Off Grid on her homestead wife channel about how yarn and fiber arts are relative to homesteading, preparedness and survival. Watch it below or go here!

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Sewing Tutorial: Pretty Little Denim Pouch

Denim is one of  my favorite fabrics to re-purpose with. It might be because we get a lot of holes in the knees of pants around here, and there is only so many times you can patch a hole. So, when the pants are beyond repair (or the mending basket is overflowing), they get tossed into the denim box to be utilized in another way.

It’s readily available, and comes in soft shades of blue-pretty much anything goes with denim. It looked great even using it for the peg-loom rug!

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To make the Pretty Little Denim Pouch, you will need:

  • any denim (preferably an old pair of jeans, any size will work)
  • a zipper that is roughly the size of the pouch you want to make
  • scissors
  • sewing machine (or super awesome hand-sewing skills-denim is tough!)

Some optional supplies:

  • scrap fabric
  • embroidery floss
  • embroidery needle
  • button or other notions

*Disclaimer: my sewing technique tends to be more towards the “just wing it” side than the “perfection is a must” side of things. My projects always tend to turn out best when I just allow for creativity. It just comes naturally.* (winky face)

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This is a pant leg to a small-humans pair of pants. I would guess about a 4T or 5T size.

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After cutting off the remnant of the knee hole at the top, it measured about 10 inches in length.

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The length is about 5 inches before cutting off the hemmed edge.

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I prefer to cut this off too, but you could potentially leave it on…your end seam would just have to be to the inside of this since it is too thick to sew through.

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After all of the trimming, it is now about 8 inches in length. I really like making pouches and bags from pant legs because you can utilize the existing side seams. Here is a full picture of what our pant leg looks like now:

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The next step is to decide on your zipper placement.

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The zipper I had to use was roughly 9 inches in length.

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The length ended up being just barely too short for the fabric. I thought it could possibly work, but it just wouldn’t grow…more on that later. (I warned you about my natural ability to “wing it”)

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Once, the zipper was in it’s happy place, the fabric needed to be cut to make a place to insert it. To do this, I just simply unzipped it and cut down the middle. After cutting, the pant leg now looks like this when opened up:

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If your pant leg or fabric was long enough to fit your zipper you can scroll down to where it says “Continue with Plan A“. Unless of course you decide you would like to have pretty fabric ends on your pouch, then just proceed as normal.

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This pretty piece of flannel was leftover from a blanket project long ago.

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The flannel was cut to the width of the soon-to-be pouch. Then it was cut in half:

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Next, I did a test layout to see how the measurements were. I never really decided how long to make the fabric accent on each end of the pouch since it only needed an extra inch or so, it wasn’t something I was concerned with. But if you lean more toward the “perfection is a must” style of sewing, you may prefer to decide this ahead of time. I found that mine were going to be too wide making the length of the finished pouch be longer than I wanted. So, I just folded one of the pieces in half and cut again:

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This gave me two pieces that would work much better. These ended up measuring around 9″ by 5″.

One more test to make sure the length is right for the zipper:

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Time to take it to the sewing machine.

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Putting right sides together, each accent end was sewn to the denim. There was not large seam allowance, I just ran it right along the foot.

(Continue with Plan A)

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Folding at the original pant leg seams, I arranged it and tested out the zipper placement one more time.

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Flipping the zipper directly over, lines it up for sewing the first side in place.

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My machine does have a zipper foot, but since this was just a quick little project I chose to not change it out. The zipper foot does allow for an easier made seam, so you may want to use it if you have one. Instead, I just put my needle in the far right position, with my fabric on the right side of the machine. If it were on the left, you would want the needle in the far left position.

Do the same thing to the other side:

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Line up the edges with right sides together, be sure to check your needle position before you begin sewing. Notice this time my fabric is on the left, so the needle is also positioned to the far left.

Turning it right side out, check to see if the zipper seams are secure.

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Once, it is sewn well the first time, sew each side again making it a double-stitched seam for durability. As mentioned above, my mending basket tends to be full, so fixing a zipper on this pouch would probably be low on the priority mending list. Making sure it won’t come apart from the pouch is important.

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Open the zipper and then turn the pouch inside out so that the end seams can now be sewn.

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I noted on mine that the “tails” of the zipper needed sewn before moving on the the end seams.

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Lining the edges up sew this edge closed. Be sure to check your needle position and other settings from sewing the zipper in. You may also need to change the foot if you had changed to use your zipper foot.

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After doing this, check the seams again. Mine had a hole.

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I ended up sewing the hole closed on sort of a diagonal.Because of the zipper the needle couldn’t reach to sew it shut doing a straight seam.

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It mostly fixed the issue. I could have messed with it some more but determined to fix it later with some hand sewing.

Ta Dah!

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Our Pretty Little Pouch is complete-minus embellishments.

Here is a photo of one without the accent fabric ends and with embellishment:

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It will work great for pencils or whatever pleases the user.

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I like them for holding crochet hooks, knitting needles, or other related tools. It would also  make a great cosmetic bag or for hair accessories.

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I love the embroidery and crochet button flower on this one. Decorate yours and share a photo!

 

Here is another type of bag that I have made with a denim pant leg:

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The hem of the pant is the top of the bag and all I did was sew the other end shut. For decoration on the front I hand-stitched a thrifted doily. And on the back, machine sewed some belt loops from the pants to hold a strap:

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The strap is a belt-like accent piece that was around the wrist of a jacket. The other one was missing so this one was taken off for repurposing. This bag is a favorite for small knitting or crochet projects. It hangs really nicely on my wrist and I can work on my project while walking or standing in line.

Let me know how you liked this little tutorial and post a picture on the Facebook page if you try it out!

Be a Butterfly!

Heidi

 

 

 

 

 

Love the Home you Live in

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Welcome in this month of love, charity, hearts, roses, glitter glue, and a few less days to get through.

Do you love your home? It may not be the castle you dreamt up when you were still missing your two front teeth, but have you taken matter into your own hands and created a space that gives you comfort and warm fuzzy feelings inside?

The only perfection happening in our home, is that it is perfectly lived in. So the best way for me to create an atmosphere that stays in harmony with my toothless-age dreams, is to make certain that what surrounds us is both useful, and makes us happy.

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I find this statement to be filled with truth. The things in our homes that don’t belong there are a “burden”, and this burden is added to :“whoever has to care for them”-that would be me, who either cares for or directs the care of the things in our home.

To make our home be in accord with the spirit of cheerfulness, it takes removing of those “superfluous articles” and replacing them with useful beautiful things.

We learn by further reading in this section of the Handbook of Domestic Science (see graphic above for full reference) that we should observe:

…those times in the world’s history when it was consciously sought to make the common things of life beautiful; when the potter, the carver, the metal worker, the weaver, the embroiderer were all artists in their way.

Interesting that May Haggenbotham should mention “the weaver”. I just so happen to be dabbling in the art of weaving-no realm in the fiber arts shall escape me! harharharhar…..

The most recent ornament I created for our home just so happens to be this cozy rug:

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It was made on a very simple loom called a “peg loom”, that we built here at home. A mix of cotton print and denim scrap fabric make up the weft. As an experiment I used some jute string for the warp. It turned out pretty good, and my husband is happy to have something warm for his feet to land on in the early morning and for his knees to have a soft place for prayer at night on his side of the bed.

What will you make to show that your home is cherished? Do you need to fill a box with “burdens” and haul it off to  your local donation center?  I find it easiest to have a box or bag handy every time I clean a room: immediate removal = instant bliss.

Love the Home you Live in. Make it full of glitter and love like your toothless-age dream castle!

Be a Butterfly!

Heidi

p.s. If the rug weaving and peg loom prick your curiosity, I strongly suggest that you follow this site by email. There will be more to come on those topics in the near future with a fabulous tutorial….and you will want that post to arrive in your inbox so it won’t be missed! Alternatively you can also follow us on FB or Twitter (@knittyheidi) to get all article updates as soon as they publish.

You might also like to read “5 little habits” and “Defining Domestic Science”

little things are sometimes Big.

 

Yesterday I did a small thing-and then realized it was a big thing—

I cleaned the laundry room.

It was in such a state that one could not get in the door let alone to the washer and dryer. This is a bad scenario when you have to do 15o loads of laundry a day-I might be exaggerating just a little, but the concept remains the same. Who wants to go into a room that you can’t see the floor of? My 3 year old son told me he heard a monster in the bathroom sink-it could easily have traveled the water pipes and be lurking in the laundry room. The last thing I need is to encounter a sink-monster when trying to find a clean shirt after being peed on. I am very happy today that the laundry room is clean and can be used in a productive manner again-whithout fear of a sink-monster attack.

This has been the theme of my thoughts of late. We are surrounded by little things that have big impact. Even Jesus taught of small things that have large importance. From the creation of the earth beginning with the basics of things such as light, water and planting the seeds. Then of course when we think “seed” our mind goes  to the parable of the mustard seed that teaches us of faith. We can see a pattern in all of the examples in the Bible that illustrate to us that it is important to have a special reverence towards the seemingly insignificant. 

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The list of things I can make that are small yet largely important in my life is so endless that I can not pick what deserves to be in this article the most. So I will just stick with the most recent discovery of a clean laundry room and leave you to ponder the little big things in your own life.

I will however, bring this topic around a corner and point it towards these little lost skills I am being directed to learn and teach. It has started with knitting, but it doesn’t end there, and each skill is as important as the other.

This description, given in “Our Vanishing Landscape” by Eric Sloane,  makes a great illustration that can be used as a comparison to those things that have been forgotten or un-taught, in that, they can be learned again and the generations after us can indeed benefit.

Imagine a farm abandoned….The summer after cultivation ceases, the plowed fields will have become overgrown with weeds. The next year you will find grass and berry seedlings that have blown in with autumn winds. At the end of five years the fields will be a complete tangle of briars with occasional clumps of birch and juniper from seeds brought in by bird droppings. In ten years these trees will be a head high above the briars and in their shade will be hundreds of tiny oak and maple seedlings. In forty years…..the fields will look like woodlands that had never seen a plow. Fire or insects and disease may decimate this second-growth forest, or winds may blow it down, but it will miraculously build itself back again….

This little thing of teaching how to use traditional skills for our benefit today-could be a big thing.

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It could mean that our children and grandchildren know how to survive.

Without (enter large chain store name here).

 
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A little skill now, could be life-altering later. 

 

Next Month…

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The topic will be “slow food”.  This differs from my original lesson plan for 2016. It was going to be the topic for November but yesterday I started a rescue mission for my sourdough start that has been neglected and so it is perfect timing. In the past, we have successfully made all the bread our family needs from scratch-with little effort. Bread isn’t all we will learn, so make sure to follow by email (click the button on the sidebar) so you can get next weeks articles! I will be sharing recipes too!

Thanks for learning with me about what we can do to give “New Life to Old Traditions” this past month!

Heidi

Connect with me on Facebook!

You might also want to take a peek at:

Beginning Knitting Lessons

Skill Development Lessons

Free Patterns!

 

Seven Pairs of Mittens

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. (Proverbs 31:21)

If you are a Christian woman, it is likely that you are familiar with the description of a virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.

I used to read that chapter of scripture and be in awe. This woman that is described was very much a fictional character in my mind. How could she do so much?

Now I know different. I no longer see unreachable goals when I read those versus. There are tangible and obtainable activities in the list of virtues. But only after my heart and mind was enlightened by the Holy Ghost. Showing me that homemaking is a high calling given to us from God.

I might see the virtues as attainable now, but that doesn’t mean I think it is an easy task or that it is simple for me to do.  I have to take baby steps.

Last winter I made some lovely little thrummed mittens for my daughter. They are knit with regular acrylic yarn, but the thrums are wool roving. I hadn’t ever really thought of knitting mittens before.

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A pattern for this and an article all about what “thrums” are will likely emerge sometime this winter. Be sure to let me know you are interested in the comments and that will give me motivation to do it!

These cozy gloves kept my little girls hands so warm! It was amazing! The kids would go outside to play and her fingers would be the only ones that the cold had not gotten to yet. And remember- they were not knit with pure wool. Lanolized wool would have been water resistant and even warmer!

This year I have a tangible goal: To knit all of my  kids a pair of mittens-and hopefully myself.

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This photo is already out-dated…how does that happen?!? The baby is now almost 2 and my oldest is 15!

There are seven children. Counting the ones I made last year (even though they don’t meet my new standards of wool they still keep fingers warm!), I have two pairs finished and one that needs pieced together still. So that is almost 3 completed pairs of mittens. I think I can do this! Then as the Proverb at the top of this article stated,  I won’t need to be afraid of the snow for my household. It also combats this virtue in the 27th verse:

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

My hand will surely be busy these next couple of months!

And like the multi-tasker that I am, this goal has had duel purpose. I get to teach a Mitten Workshop beginning next week. For this I have been working up a fabulous pattern that I will share here as soon as I finish testing it out.

Here is a sneak peek:

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Thanks for being a friend!

Heidi

Click here to sign up for the very occasional newsletter and other tidbits…

Click here to read more about the knitting workshops offered….

Click here to read more about wool and other fiber-related fun on my sister-site…

6 reasons to knit a dishcloth

 

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Almost a year ago we had a fire at our house. It’s been a rough road and the one thing that has kept me optimistic is that I finally get to remodel the kitchen!  We just barely started this work a few weeks ago and are just now beginning to fill back in the blank slate.

One of the things that I have really wanted to do is to bring the element of handmade to my kitchen space. Rugs, curtains, towels, potholders-all these things are in my project list. The first place I started…..knitting dishcloths!

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It also happens to be  where I start beginning knitters in my workshops. Here is why:

  1. simple patterns look beautiful
  2. it’s a small project that is actually useful
  3. if there are holes or misshapen, it will still wash the dishes
  4. cotton yarn is not stretchy, so beginners learn tension faster
  5. it is a great project to take on the go, it can be knit anywhere

 

#6- We shouldn’t neglect to make our kitchens pretty:

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Click here to find the beginners dishcloth pattern.

Click here to read about the fire (posted on my fiber farmstead site).

Click here to sign up for the DSW newsletter and special announcements.

Click here to learn more about the knitting workshops.

Thanks for being a friend!

Heidi

 

Defining Domestic Science

I first came across this term as I was reading No Idle Hands by Anne MacDonald. It is an amazing book taking you through a sort of “behind the scenes” look at history and cataloging the important role that knitting played. This book is definitely in my Amazon wishlist.

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As I was pondering the goal of this site many names came to mind. Of course, a lot of the ones I first came up with were taken. But I picked the brains of my friends and family, and read through my journals. In my journal is where I found the note on Domestic Science. It had captivated me that what some might think to be mundane everyday tasks or requirements, is in fact an important subject of study. It is indeed, a science.

Until 1829 42% of schools offered plain needlework-by 1840 it had been reduced to two half days in primary school and one half day in “higher female schools”. ( Anne L. MacDonald, No Idle Hands, ch.3)

What we classify now as “household skills” is much different from what it used to be. When I was first married we ate boxed meals routinely and I cleaned messes when I noticed them. If we look back to our pioneer heritage, there was a method to keeping the home and providing for ones family. It was well thought out and planned in advance, not picked up on the way home from work.

Keeping a home really is an art and having the skills of cooking, sewing, or knitting are absolutely a necessity and while they can be enjoyable they have been disguised too long as a hobby. If your favorite grocery store and shopping mall were to close its doors today, how long would you be able to get by and keep your family comfortable?

The future of our country in these rapidly changing times awaits our mark of influence. (Thomas S. Monson, Be Your Best Self)

Decide that this is important today.

Follow and share this blog. Help us to preserve these important traditional skills. Check back often to learn about the value of these lost arts, or get updates in your email by clicking the button on the side bar.

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Thanks for being a friend!
Heidi