Saturday, November 22, 2014

Faux Large Loom, Hand Woven Scarf, Part 1

I saw this yarn at a local yarn store and fell in love. Sometimes a yarn just stops you dead in your tracks and you have to have it! This was such a case.

The moment I saw it I knew that it needed to be woven. The yarn was bulky almost like a multi-colored roving plied with black string. It was too busy to be knitted or crocheted and I wanted the yarn to simply speak for itself.

My challenge was how to weave such a long piece without a large loom.

So I decided to cheat! I have several lap looms meant for loom knitting. This wooden one is particularly handy for this project because it unscrews and comes apart.

So I separated the two halves and clamped them to opposite sides of out coffee table with wood clamps. This way I could use the length of the table to lengthen the loom space.

If you don't have a wooden loom, two plastic lap looms would work as well.

Then I worked the yarn back and forth across the table skipping a peg between each length. In a sense, I was warping the loom. I learned at the end that it's a good thing to finish with an even number of warped yarn to make things easier when tying off the finished scarf.

Once the scarf was warped I found some Terracotta and rusty-burgundy yarn in a smaller thickness to weft the scarf.

I marked the places I wanted to weft with clothespins, leaving about an 1 1/2 inches between so that the thicker yarn would show through.

Then I pre-cut all my weft lengths alternating between each color. These ended up being about 1 1/2 ' which would give me three rows of weaving. 

Now I was ready to begin weaving. Check out Part 2 for instructions on the weaving process.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Photo Friday

It's hard to believe how quickly winter has made its presence. Last week it was in the 50's and this week we've seen some single digits and about 3-4 inches of snow! I made a promise that I wouldn't start decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but my harvest themed corn stalks and pumpkins look ridiculous under a blanket of snow!

Zach and I have been taking advantage of the early evenings and cold weather to work on some new products for the Etsy shop. I hope you enjoy this weeks photos and our new items below! You'll see from the photographs the rapid transition in weather.

New Roving blend
New bottle opener design
New Double Twist Railroad Bottle Opener
Wheat Wreath for Thanksgiving
Juniper Berries
Oliver having fun in the snow!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

KBB Post: Hives for Pollination and Conservation

Check out my latest Keeping Backyard Bees post Hives for Pollination and Conservation to learn about alternative hives you can provide to many species of pollinators. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

CC Post: The American Turkey: A Historic Timeline + A GIVEAWAY

Check out my latest Community Chickens post for a lesson on how the Turkey has made its way through American History. Plus enter to win a chicken themed tee shirt! The American Turkey: A Historic Timeline

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pork Bone Stock

Last weekend we made over 30 lbs of sausage.

For recipes visit:
Maple Breakfast Sausage
Sweet Italian Sausage

Once the meat was sliced from the bones and joints of the pork, I added them to our slow cooker with two large onions, several cloves of garlic, a few ribs of celery and some salt and pepper. I covered the bones with water 3/4 of the way and set it to low. This was Friday night.

On Saturday morning, the bones had softened away from the joints and the marrow was turning a deep golden brown...the house smelled delicious to say the least! I broke the bones apart and pressed them down into the cooking stock.

Sunday morning, the stock was ready.

I removed the large bones with tongs,

and strained the smaller bits out with this Spider Ladle.

Then we poured the stock through a mesh strainer and placed the broth in the fridge to chill.

Monday morning the stock had solidified with the fat conveniently on the top.

I spooned off as much of the fat layer as possible,

and re-heated the gelatinous bone stock. (Side note: This is absolutely delicious spread on crackers or on toast.)

Once the stock had melted again,

I poured it into a container and popped it in the freezer for storage.

I love to pull homemade pork stock out on nights when we have breaded pork chops and mashed potatoes. You can make a delicious pork gravy even though pan fried pork chops produce little-to-no juice.    

Monday, November 10, 2014

USA Afghan

I've been on a real knitting, crocheting and even weaving kick lately. Usually, my favorite way to work with fiber is to dye or spin it, but lately it's been nice just sitting in the evening with a cup of tea and clicking the needles.

This project stemmed from another (which is often how things go). I was buying yarn for an arm knitted scarf with my mom, when she saw this free afghan pattern by Lion Brand displayed on an end cap. She fell in love and hinted that she would like me to make it for her. 

If you're interested in making this afghan it's a very easy project.

The thick yarn and the large crochet hook make it go very fast. 

There's a few beginner crochet skill you need to know. You need to know how to crochet a chain, half double knit crochet,

how to tie in a new color, weave in your tails and

sew the blocks together. Pretty easy stuff.  For a link to the free pattern visit Lion Brand website.

I changed the pattern slightly by crocheting a cream border around the whole afghan.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nut Wreath

The colors in this wreath embody the month of November in my mind. The wheat colored Almonds and Walnuts contrasted with the dark mahogany of the Chestnuts and Brazil Nuts and the reddish warmth of the Hazelnuts and Acorns makes this wreath glow in a jeweled pallet of late Autumn.

What you will need to make this wreath:

  • A variety of nuts in the shell. Each wreath used about 2 lbs of nuts. Grocery stores sell them by the pounds seasonally.
         We used Walnuts, Almonds, Brazil Nuts,     Chestnuts, Hazelnuts and Pecans
  • We also collected a variety of Acorns around the yard
           Northern Red Oak Acorn, White Oak Acorn, Pin Oak Acorn and Burr Oak Acorns

  • A round or half domed Styrofoam wreath form
  • brown spray paint (optional)
  • brown Silicone in a tube (you can find this at Home Depot)
  • caulk gun
  • scissors or a razor blade
  • Acrylic Spray coating (we used Krylon UV-Resistant in Clear Gloss)
When we made these wreaths we didn't paint them, but after finishing we thought that it might be a good idea just so that the green doesn't show through from the wreath form. We made it work by using the silicone a little heavier to cover spots.

Cover your table with newspaper or an old plastic cutting boards would work great.

Lay your wreath form down and begin piping the silicone onto the wreath. Use a back and forth motion and lay it on thick. This silicone is about the consistency of frosting, you want the nuts to settle somewhat into the thickness. I worked in 5-6 inch increments. And worked as wide as I could across the top of the wreath form without the nuts wanting to slip down the sides.

You can work in what ever pattern you want. I used a loose pattern of repeating the large nuts and then worked the smaller acorns and hazelnuts in between to fill the empty spots. If you want the caps to stay on the acorns, place a small amount of the silicone in the cap and press onto the acorn. Acorns also look nice when they are polished on a soft flannel cloth to remove the dull outer coating.

Once the top of the wreath form has a layer of nuts, let it dry for at least 15 minutes. The silicone wont be set at 15 minutes, but it will be sticky enough to handle gently.

Turn the wreath on it's side and begin sticking the nuts to the outer edges of the wreath. Leave the back blank. You can work the outer top edge, and the inner bottom edge with each turn. I worked in 5-6 inch increments and let it dry for about 10 minutes before turning to the next section. If you have a table top easel to place it in you don't have to hold it in between sections. You can also lean it against something sturdy and place two objects under each side to keep it from rolling.

Before spraying with Acrylic.
Once the wreath is completely covered in nuts, let it dry overnight.

After spraying

Give it a coat of Acrylic Spray and let it dry 24 hours.

The spray really deepens the color of the nuts and makes them shine.

This wreath would look beautiful hanging with a wide sating ribbon in dark chocolate or wheat color.

I plan to display mine on our Thanksgiving table with my Amber Glass turkey and my antique Amber Glass dishes.