Just thought I might

I feel like I should talk about all the things that have happened between the last time I wrote and now. But that's just not possible. And I'm so out of practice at writing, it's not at all funny. Or maybe it is. Lots and lots of things have happened between then and now, as they do. I'm sure you'd say the same. But I've been thinking about how I would like a record of things, with photos. And to get out my camera again. I'm not sure people read blogs anymore, unless they're recipe blogs or a how to make a thing blog. This won't be that. It'll just be a record of things, however often I feel like it. With photos.

Seen in Raleigh, NC

Last day in Raleigh, Thanksgiving 2019

I have a camera now—not my old D80, which died a very quick death—but a Nikon D7000, which I really don't like at all. The focus so soft. I've had it a few years. And of course I have a phone, but it's not super new and flashy. One of my 2020 goals is save up for a new camera. Might take me 2 years. It's an expensive camera. So until that happens, I'll do my best with what I have, which is what I do anyway.

Miss V is so grown! She's 14. Holden is 7. I started this blog not long after V turned 2. I'm not sure where the time went. It flew by while I was looking at other things.

Raleigh, NC

Miss V. Remember when she was little? Me too! And Baby Holden? Well, his eyes are definitely brown, while his sclera is blue. But that's a story for another day.

So here's to 2020. I don't know what will happen next year, but I plan to make it a good one no matter what.

Ah, today

Today I faced the fact that if I didn't reopen my pendant shop, I wouldn't have a lot of Christmas money.

Not that Christmas is all about money. It's not. But some is good.

My mom has been my childcare and she broke a bone in her knee. And tore a ligament. And needs surgery next week. So I haven't wanted to make lots of pendants around a 3-year-old who loves all my findings so very much! He has to have them! It's not that can't do it, I just haven't wanted to.

I've been enjoying getting things done around the house. But, alas, I have reopened French Honey. I'll keep it open until the Christmas shipping deadlines and then I'll close it for the rest of the year so I can enjoy the holidays with my family.

So I'm putting those 600 new designs on the back burner. I had wanted to work on that like crazy to try to get some momentum going during the holiday season. But I think I burned through all that adrenaline and now I just want to do what I know will work. I've had 2-3 Etsy shops for a couple of years now and I think I'm burned out on that. I just want one (successful) thing to do. That makes sense, right?

Today I found a bunch of cool looking sciencey books and put them in my Amazon cart. There are a lot more for Holden than for V, but I think she would enjoy them too.

Two blog posts in two days. Woot! Now I just need to take some pictures and maybe I'll start to figure out what I really have to say these days.

Catching up

It's kind of funny to me how I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. How can I be a reasonable version of an adult when I have no clue? Everyone else seems to have a clue. Maybe I can buy one?

I have a vision in my head of how everything should look, and I tell myself I should start there and work backwards to where I am now and then I'll have a plan. Brilliant idea. Won't that be great! Except the sheet I use to make my plan looks like chaos and then I just end up throwing it away and thinking I'll start over soon and really get things straight next time.

I think there's a certain amount of acceptance I have to have that this is what my life looks like. I am living it now. Not later. Not in a year when I "get things under control" or when we have more time/money/whatever. I ignore the chaos and just try to focus on the important thing, which is my family and all their various working parts. And all that stuff is going pretty well. Miss V is 10 now. Can you believe that?! She just had her birthday last month. We're still homeschooling. She had to take an achievement test at the end of the last school year, per state requirements. She scored 99th percentile nationally in everything. I can't even, as the youngsters say today. For math we use Life of Fred. Love it (and more importantly - she loves it. She reads it for fun, even while telling you that she doesn't like math). I also like to buy "mathy" books for her, but we're not doing anything above and beyond that and Fred. I want to write about what we're doing for language arts this year, but I'll do that later. It's not a set curriculum; I'm basing it on a book I read for college in my education classes. I love it and can't wait to get more into it. I have a hard time finding science things for her. She's read a lot already and anything I've found that goes farther is too "old" for her. But I'm always on the look out. (know any good ones??)

Holden is good. He's 3.5. Soon he needs to see the orthopedic surgeon. I'm afraid he will need surgery on his foot. He has a really, really tight tendon on the bottom. I'm not sure what they can do about that. Something, I hope. He needs to see the hand surgeon. I can't tell if he needs surgery on his left wrist or not. I've been putting off finding out for a year, and it's time to go see what the doctor thinks. That could go either way. He needs to get back into PT/OT, ASAP. And he needs to see the allergist for blood tests, probably food challenges eventually, and we need to treat some environmental allergies (Dogs. They give him hives if they lick him. He wants a dog so badly.). But he himself is wonderful. He's bright and funny and we all just love him to pieces. He seems more drawn to numbers than words. He likes to read, but not in the way that V did. By this age, she was on the brink of reading. He's not. But that's cool. He loves dragons, dinosaurs, and pumpkin-headed skull men (?!).

R just got promoted at work. I'm so happy for and proud of him! It's pretty much his perfect job (as much as these things can be). He's just left the band he was in to write fiction. Sci-fi, actually. He's got some awesome ideas. He's writing the books and I'm doing all the other stuff like designing book covers, formatting the books, uploading them, editing them, marketing them, etc. This is the first thing we've really worked on together like this and it's bright and shiny and new. We've really just started, nothing published yet. It feels good already, though. Like we were meant to do this. I'm hoping that eventually this will be my only "extra" job. About the band - they're really good. You should check them out. Then you should read this review by some guy named Jeff Clark. Dude clearly needs to chill out. I read this review and just laughed because it sounds like he has it in for them. It's just a CD - no need to smash it up into tiny bits!

As for me, I have Pretty+Paper to work on. Part of the reason for Pretty+Paper is because I don't have to make and ship things, I make it on the front end by designing the printables. That works for me because, between homeschooling, regular home stuff, and a 3yo, there's not a lot of time for making and shipping. The only problem is, the shop isn't doing as well as I would like (if you like it, share it! Please? That would help me so much!). There are different ways to "get found" when you have a shop on Etsy - my particular business model is to have as many listings as possible. That worked for me with my art pendant shop, French Honey (which is on vacation at the moment). And I want to repeat that with Pretty+Paper. Only thing is that I haven't been so successful with getting tons of listings up. I need at least 800-1,000. Seriously. That sounds insane, doesn't it? But that's what I need. So, I'm going to work on it. I need 600 or so new listings ASAP. How am I going to do that? Batch processing. Sound like fun?!!! Well, I am developing a plan. And my piece of paper looks like chaos. So we'll see what happens next.

Tellus More

Today we went to our local science museum, Tellus. It was really windy outside, but we went and looked at the giant dumptrucks they have there.

Big Truck at Tellus

We saw a lot of dinosaur bones, which Holden loved.

Dinosaur at Tellus

Holden makes me laugh. When he sees a man that he doesn't know, he calls him "Guy" or "Man." There was a security guard there. Holden went up to him and said, "Hello, Guy. Sabertooth Tiger, Guy." It was cute.

And he touched poop.

Holden in B&W at Tellus

We saw giant coral, which was beautiful.

Coral at Tellus

We panned for gems, dug for dinosaur bones (V found an awesome big tooth!), and I bought some rocks at the museum to use as photo props.

Then V climbed on the big rock outside before we left.

Violet at Tellus

Holden wanted in on that.

Holden at Tellus

This picture doesn't really look like him, but I really like it.

Right now Holden and I are playing a game I call "Mama Pick Me Up." He says, "Mama pick me up," and I do, but then I start naming body parts. I say, "Neck pick me up!" and "Riblets pick me up," tickling as we go. We laugh and laugh. He's a sweetie.

Milk, shellfish, and all the nuts

Food allergies. I have so much to learn. I mentioned it on Twitter. I guess that was stupid because I'm never on Twitter anymore, but someone who follows me told me that peanut allergy moms need to get off their high horses. And I thought that anyone who would say that is actually saying it from her own mighty tall horse. But it is a thing, these nut allergies. Because people die. Kids, adults. It is weird though when the allergist acts like it's no big deal and just sends you home with a bunch of handouts that purport to tell you how to avoid the allergen.

So whatever. We will find a new allergist, one who specializes in food allergies. Because I've been reading.

First off, the deal: Holden is allergic to cats, dogs, & dustmites (not life threatening). He didn't test allergic to trees and grasses, but the allergist said those are to come. Later he can take shots, etc. No fun, but not a big deal really. But then he's also allergic to milk (I believe the cause of his eczema, which these days is more of a rash that pops up just as soon as he eats anything that has milk in it. Milk is in a lot of things you wouldn't realize. Latest culprit - spaghetti sauce). Also shellfish, peanuts, and 7 of the 9 tree nuts they tested for. Which may as well be all tree nuts because being negative on the scratch test doesn't necessarily mean he's not allergic to them.

Secondly, things I'm considering/doing: Probiotics, getting as many fruits and vegetables into him as possible (this means lots of smoothies and homemade juices right now because he is a picky eater), raising money somehow for a Peanut Dog, and oral immunotherapy (OIT). He's just 2 years old. Maybe with probiotics and fruits/veggies, he can grow out of it. It's not likely, but it's not impossible. And if he doesn't, then we'll look more into the dog and the OIT. 

People who know me tell me that I take things too seriously. I guess the idea is that somehow I should lighten up or become more positive or perhaps become a different person. I should drink more because that would loosen me up. I don't really see that happening. What makes me feel best is researching the issue until I'm satisfied. Serious things have happened over the last 10 years of my life and I'm not sure how to outrun them so I can start feeling like myself again. And I'm not really sure what I used to feel like anymore. 

What I'd like to do is go to the beach. Sit on the sand with R, watching the kids play, and just not worrying about anything. That'd be good. Then I'd like about 3 weeks where I didn't have to work on anything but my life. I'd like to super clean and completely minimalize my house, make a 4-6 week menu with shopping lists, and write up a daily schedule. I realize I can do all these things, but I never seem to get them finished. I get them half done and then some other fire needs to be put out. Having two shops is a lot, but I'm committed to doing that at least until after Christmas, and probably longer. It just has to be right now. But I need to do all those things, so they're on the list.

Holden is the cutest thing. He's so funny! And sweet. He's 2 and a half now, as of yesterday. Hard to believe. He's asking for a nap, so here I go...

Per V's request

V requested that I not write about jewelry, that I write more often, and that I talk about the things we are doing as a family.

I agreed.

So I'll have a new blog for the business junk, as she calls it.

This week, she started third grade in our homeschool, which we have named Flying Cat Academy. I'll have to share a picture of the kids wearing their shirts when they come out of the wash. They're too cute. Week one went pretty well, I think. We read a lot. History and math, with some grammar thrown in. Plus the regular assortment of books she reads. Lately she's been reading Jean Craighead George's My Side of the Mountain trilogy. I just ordered the third book for her. As she finished the second one, she said it was too short. That usually means that she really enjoyed it.

Tomorrow, I'll be looking for vintage books at the antique shop to use as photo props. V is probably thinking she'll get another ceramic cat to add to her collection. Holden doesn't know what to think yet, as he's never been.

This is a short post because they're waiting for me to come play in the living room. And because I keep meaning to write but keep thinking that I will once I take some good pictures. Then I don't take any pictures. So I figure I just need to jump back into writing and the rest will follow. Or not. Either way, it's cool.

Happy weekend!

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Things are moving slowly. Well, time moves quickly. Weeks pass me like I'm standing still, though I rarely stand still. Up in the morning, run around all day, fall into bed at night. And I didn't even go anywhere today.

V's art teacher has accepted a job as Director of Education for a local museum. We're so very happy for her and she's going to do great at the job, but we're sad for us. We're going to miss seeing her and her sweet dog too.

I need to find another activity for V. She wants to do gymnastics. Sweet girl can't skip rope. Or do jumping jacks. I want her to try a Crossfit class. I think she'd really like it. I don't know that she's the competitive sport type. But she can check both out and see what works for her.

Every spare moment I work on the new shop, even if it's just in my head. I can tell this is going to take me forever. I'm so impatient. I can't even think of a name. I'm telling myself that it will come to me, that I'll pluck it right out of the blue sky. But I'm not so sure. It's making my head hurt.

But I did set this stone and it was so thrilling to me, I can't tell you. I haven't taken it off since.

I've been wearing it with my rose gold stacking ring like a wedding set. I love it.

Yesterday, I started making fresh juices for Holden. There's too much for just him, so V and I have been having some as well. It's ... interesting. This week we have apples, kale, red cabbage, sage, tomato, red pepper, and I added an orange but it didn't seem to make it sweeter. It tastes grassy. I have to drink it quickly. But Holden drank most of his and I'm happy with that. Someone in a Facebook group I'm in told me that their son was cured of severe eczema by eating plant-based whole foods and that it took 6 months. I'm not sure H's is severe (though it's pretty bad), so hopefully it'll take less time. It's so sad to see him scratch and cry, "Itchy!"

Eczema baby

So H has eczema. All over his little legs. So mama's about to get tough.

First off, we need to see an allergist, though we can't do that until June or July. Because he doesn't just have eczema, though that's bad enough. He is also allergic to peanuts. Can I tell you how much fear that puts in my heart?

So, from what I've read in Disease-Proof Your Child, H needs more fruits and vegetables (and zero processed foods), and that changing his diet can cure his eczema within a couple of months. Change your diet and find out within 3 months if it's working? Count me in!

I'm also reading The Peanut Allergy Answer Book. I haven't had a lot of time to read that one because I have orders to make for Mother's Day, but I will get back to it by week's end. But he seems to be saying (so far) that we're (as a first world country) too clean, and that's why our babies are getting more allergies. And that since they told everyone to keep their kids away from peanuts from 0-3 years old, peanut allergies have increased dramatically. Go science!

Well, I did not stay away from peanuts while I was pregnant and early breastfeeding. I didn't eat them daily or anything, but I probably ate the amount that any person would eat, mainly in the form of peanut butter on my apple (or chocolate). I also ate a ton of raw cashews. He's definitely allergic to peanuts.

Then the other day I read that babies with eczema are also more likely to have peanut allergies. So, wonderful. Why didn't anyone tell me?

So here's my plan. For now, I'm ever-increasing his diet to a plant-based diet with no gluten, no nuts, no dairy (including eggs), and no processed food. We're more than halfway there. I will get him into see an allergist as soon as possible so we can find out what he's really allergic to (he'd previously eaten baked foods made with almond milk and eaten sweet potato casserole with pecans with zero reaction, and grabbed and crammed a chocolate covered cashew into his mouth). I'm also going to start making him green juices, at least once a day. Because he's going to eat the amount of food that his body tells him to eat. I can't force him to eat more. And I can't force him to eat things like celery and cucumber and kale that he doesn't like. But I can give him more antioxidants through juicing. He drinks 1-2 cups of regular apple juice a day, so I can replace those with fresh green juice. Thankfully, my MIL gave me her juicer a few years ago. I've only used it twice, but it's coming back out this weekend.

My secret hope is that he's young enough to heal, both the eczema and the peanut allergy (I've read 20% of kids can outgrow a peanut allergy by age 6). That may be too much to hope for, but I'm going to continue researching and doing all that I can. I haven't found any studies or anything saying that increasing fruits and vegetables can reverse a peanut allergy, but I've read that doing so can lessen or reverse other types of allergies, so we may as well try. Can't hurt.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

To do list

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

You know this song? I've had it running through my head all day. It does that, this song. I've never been a fan of Janis', but she's been growing on me lately.

I want to start a new jewelry shop, the final jewelry shop. The best little jewelry shop I can make. So I have a to do list.

I need:

Design ideas: have several written down already
Tools: assorted pliers, hammers, stamps, metal, metal wire, a bench block, chain to make necklaces, and more, I'm sure.
A shop name: something not already taken either on Etsy or on the internet.
Packaging materials: I have ideas, but haven't sourced anything yet.
Business cards/branding (assuming Etsy isn't going to take our banners away. Been kind of waiting to find out about that): Wanting a real logo for this shop, as in something I didn't make myself. And there's a reason for that, which I'll explain in a future post. It might have to wait a little while, though.
Photos: I really want a dedicated place to take photos, but I'm not sure that's possible, given the light in my house. But I need to get all my photo props together and decide if I need to add to them right away or not. There's a particular mood I want to create, but I know virtually nothing about photographing jewelry. So I'll be learning about that too.

My plan is to start with the basics, and use really nice materials. I've always loved semi-precious stones. And I adore the current trend of raw stones. That can last forever as far as I'm concerned. I'll start with wire wrapping and making "charm necklaces," as I call them. And there are at least two types of bracelets I want to make. Eventually I'd like to get into either precious metal clays or I might just skip that and go straight to soldering and fabricating my own ideas. I hesitate to call them designs or to call myself a designer. I'm a long, long way from there. And I'd need to take classes, which really isn't feasible right now. But there's plenty for me to do and learn on my own in the meantime.

I have started collecting some beads. I got these gorgeous ceramic beads the other day. I've also got some pyrite, labradorite, moonstone. Love to look at them. Can't wait to get started. But first I need some tools - and I really need to clear out the "fiber room" so it can morph into the "jewelry studio."

Tap, tap ... Is this thing on?


I missed blogging. I'm not even sure I remember how to do it, but I missed it so here I am.

So let's catch up ...

V is 8.5. Sweet and crazy as ever. Still cat obsessed, but now also obsessed with making things. Hand sewing (need to get my machine out and get her started). She wants to learn to make realistic stuffed cats and dogs.

H is 2 just this month. His eyes are brown. His disposition is generally sunny but, you know, he's 2 now ... A more bonny boy, one could not ask for.

R is good. We put the screenprinting ideas on hold for now. It turns out that it's quite costly to start up that kind of business. I don't think we've completely given up on the idea yet. I need to talk to him about that.

Me? I've had a hell of a year and a half. But better days are here, methinks. I've barely taken out my camera in 2 years. I haven't knit anything since 2012 (I have half a sock to go but I can't remember where I am in the pattern exactly). I just bought some lovely Finn wool to spin from on the round, but I haven't spun it yet. I'm not dyeing. My life is too busy and I don't like that. But I always have ideas. Most I never get to, but others catch hold and won't let me go until I'm acting on them. Right now that's jewelry.

I want to learn to make jewelry. Like real jewelry, with lovely metals and stones and such. Starting with the basics and going as far as it will take me.
What are you up to these days?

The boy of indeterminate eye color

Baby H was born with blue eyes, as was his sister. But it's obvious they aren't going to stay blue like hers. They're in the process of changing to whatever color they plan to be. I don't know their plan, but I wanted to try to capture them in photos in the middle of their magical change. Depending on what he's wearing, they look blue, dark brown, hazel, or Army green. I've been calling him The Boy of Indeterminate Eye Color.

The boy of indeterminate eye color 001

The Boy of Indeterminate Eye Color is teething.

The boy of indeterminate eye color collage

I'm knitting a hat for R. He has 2 hats I've knit him already. I only have one hat, but that's because I like to knit them a lot more than I like to wear them. It's from before I started dyeing yarn, so I might have to make myself one more hat because sometimes you need one, even if you don't like to wear them. V has more hats than I can shake a stick at.

Antler Hat WIP

This is the Antler Hat (Rav link) from Tin Can Knits. I am LOVING IT. The cables are fun and it's nice and manly, especially in this color. I'm using a skein of my Philomath Worsted in Cattail. I've got my fingers crossed that there will be enough left over to make Holden a matching hat, since this is the only skein I have. It came with a big knot in it, so I used it as a test skein when I was working on the Cattail colorway and I have been saving it for just the right pattern.

If you've been hankering for some hand-dyed worsted weight to make your own hats or scarves, I'll have some in my next update, to be announced...


Photo heavy

Today I took V to her art class and dropped her off. 

Dixie No 5

Then I drove Holden around while he slept. 

Born Again Thrift

We drove to Dallas, Georgia, where I promptly got lost for about 5 adventure-filled minutes.

Blue Chicken Auction

There's a fantastic mix of beautiful houses and other things that I find beautiful in their own way.


It was right around this point that I got lost and I needed to be back to pick V up in about 15 minutes.

Now Open

I remembered the road being a 2-way, but when I turned around to head back there was a point where the road separated and I had to pick one.

Pretty House

I picked one and then changed my mind. Turned around, picked the other. Decided that really wasn't right and went with my original choice. 

For Sale was a corner grocery

I was very happy to see things I recognized. I don't have GPS or anything, so really being lost would've been interesting.


This rose is in V's art teacher's yard. It was the last one. 

The Last Rose

And when V came out, she had made this wonderful self-portrait while I was away, using glue to make a relief.

V's self portrait

I need to have more adventures, even if they only last 45 minutes.

Absolutely perfect

Do you know what I love most about my camera lens? I love that it makes all the toys and things in the background of my photos just look so pretty instead of so messy.

Holden in Handknits 002

Do you know what else I love? Or who, rather. Meghan. She's a sweetheart. She so thoughtfully knitted this for baby Holden a while back with a skein of my Philomath Worsted, in my favorite color (Silver Screen). Is that too sweet or what?

She's a fantastic designer and has even more patterns on Ravelry, which you should check out. Especially if you love shawls.

Holden in Handknits 001

I love the xoxo motif on the sides of this little vest. And I absolutely love that she made it big enough so that it's just a tiny bit too big for him now that he's right at 6 months old. That means it'll be absolutely perfect for him for our Georgia fall and winter and he'll probably be able to wear it straight through to spring. And then I'm going to put it away and keep it until maybe one day when Holden's son will get to wear it.

Holden in Handknits 006

Knitters are wonderful and generous folks, I've learned.

Which reminds me, if you're a yarn dyer or any sort of maker whatsoever, and you feel you could use a pick-me-up, just give something away on a blog. Right now I'm giving away some yarn over on the Knitty Blog and the comments I'm reading are making me smile!

You can also check out the Small Things blog this weekend, where I'll be giving away a skein of Muscadine Sock for your autumn knitting pleasure.

In pattern news, there's a new crochet shawl pattern that was designed with 2 skeins of my Eulela DK. Shibaguyz used my Olivine colorway for Tiamat - very dramatic!

And last, but most definitely not least, one of my customers (hi K!) used some of my yarn for a test knit she was doing for Yarn Madness' brand new Dyning pattern. I was thrilled to see my yarn as one of the suggested yarns when the pattern was released! Madeleine is a new-to-me designer but I've already bought two of her patterns and I'm planning to knit them ASAP. Vinkel is a really cute sweater with an interesting design that I think will work great here in Georgia, where it's not always so cold, even in winter. And of course I had to get Dyning, which I'm thinking of knitting long enough for it to be a dress for Miss V, but we'll see when I get there.

In the meantime, I'm working on a hat for R and still trying to overcome my second sock syndrome on a pair of Nutkins! But what about you? Are you knitting anything fun this fall? Any new-to-you designers I should know about? Do tell!

Chicken Pot POW!!!

I've discovered there are many things I can do with a baby strapped to my chest. I can mail packages of yarn (as long as it's just one or two), put away laundry (if I must), type a blog post (Holden says to tell you gaga goo goo!) as long as there's music playing (Fleetwood Mac's Rumours is his current favorite), put skeins of yarn into water to soak (this is getting trickier), and cook some things, though I don't like to chop veggies with him on me. Knife + baby = nervous mama.

But one thing I absolutely can't do with H in the Baby Bjorn is make a pretty chicken pot pie.

In the Baby Bjorn

In recent episode of Wordgirl, The Butcher yells, "Chicken Pot POW!!!" while he hurls the pies at our heroes. That was a seed that grew in my family's mind, a desire for our own little chicken pot pow. When I found the recipe I wanted to use, all the reviews said to double the filling so it wouldn't be dry. So I did.

What I ended up with was enough for 2 pies because I had to use the deep dish frozen crusts since the store was out of the kind in a box that you roll out, which is what I had planned to use. The first pie was a wreck because I needed to get it in the oven during a time when my boy is really active and didn't want to be without me. I poured the filling in the pie pan and then flipped the other pie crust on top as best I could with a grabby baby wondering just what kind of interesting, good-smelling stuff this was!

I wanted to freeze the leftover filling for another time, but since there were potatoes in it, I was afraid they'd get yucky. So I made a second pie the next day. This time I had R here to hang out with Holden. I know I used to have a set of pretty leaf cookie cutters and have made at least one pie with a beautiful leaf-shaped crust. But they've been lost in one of our moves, so here's what I came up with.

Chicken Pot Clifford

Happy October! It's the first - so that means there are 15 days until the November Yarn Club closes. So check it out if you want in!

& the winners are...

The winner of the Henri pattern is Laura, who said:

Gorgeous! I would love to win :) .

The winner of the yarn is Kelly, who said:

I really like this pattern and it was nice to see a smaller version in the video although I do love your colourway in the larger version!!

Congrats, you two! And thanks to everyone who entered.

I like things 001

News flash: I just updated the shop with 10 colorways, so check it out!

There are some things I'm loving right now, so I thought I'd share.

Blissful Baby Balm from Wooly Moss Roots on Etsy. You can use it for diaper rash but I haven't had to do that. I have had to use it on little dry patches on Holden's arms and legs. A little baby eczema, I guess. Clears it right up!

I cast on for Tin Can Knits' Antler Hat this last weekend. I'm using a skein of my Philomath Worsted and I'm loving it. I've been working with sock yarn for a while, so the quickness of the worsted is fantastic fun. I've got my eye on a few more of their patterns too, especially Gramps!

Katharine Watson. Oh wow! She's good! She makes her own linoleum blocks and then prints cards and things from them. I love her bold, India-inspired designs. I really, really want her letterpress calendar for 2013. When I found her, I started at the beginning and read her entire blog over about a week. I love that she shares bits of her inspirations and process.

It looks like the Tooth Fairy will be able to visit our house any day now, so I got this wonderful, custom made cat tooth pillow for V from Hannalah Designs on Etsy. Kristy made it to look like our Russian Blue cat, Zasha, including a mixture of white and black whiskers just like our kitty! Kristy was super quick and really wonderful to work with as well.

Cat tooth pillow Cat tooth pillow back

And naptime! Can't buy that one on Etsy! Holden is the same as V - he'll only take really short naps unless I'm right there with him. Kind of works for me. Even though I'm sure I should be cooking or cleaning or dyeing; I get to have a little bit of quiet to think, bookended with baby snuggles. What could be better than that?

And you? What are you loving?

Holla Knits! y'all! ~ a pattern & yarn giveaway!

Welcome to the Springtree Road portion of the Holla Knits! blog tour!

Have you checked out the Fall/Winter 2012 collection from Holla Knits! yet? So many fun patterns here. Like Jilted. Love this one.

Jilted Knitting Pattern Jennifer Dassau Holla Knits Roman Hills Gissing8

And Sexxxy Librarian. I am all about the cables.

Sexxxy Librarian Knitting Pattern Lilith Ubbelohde Dirty Water Dyeworks Edna5

And then there's Henri, which was knit with my Praline DK. I'll let Allyson from Holla Knits! tell you more about it.

Henri by Ann Leachman from Patrick Tracy on Vimeo.

I love that each pattern page has its own video and that Allyson gives you different ideas on how you can knit it up to make it uniquely yours. What a great idea!

Through the end of September, I have a special dye-to-order listing in my shop so you can order your own sweater set of Praline DK like the indie sample was knit with.

But you can also win 2 skeins of Praline DK in the colorway Idyl, the same gorgeous green that Henri was knit with. A second winner will win the Henri pattern.

Henri Knitting Pattern Ann Leachman Holla Knits Springtree Road Praline DK11

To win, just leave a comment on this blog post by Thursday, September 27th, and I will pick a winner at random on Friday, the 28th. International entries are welcome.

Good luck!

The rest of the blog tour is as follows:

Sept 10th: The Sweatshop of Love
Sept 11th: I Knit 2 Purl 2
Sept 12th: Wooly Wonka Fiber
Sept 13th: Stash, the Knit Picks Blog
Sept 14th: Knits in Class
Sept 17th: The Owl and the Bee
Sept 18th: Periwinkle Sheep
Sept 19th: Knitting Vortex
Sept 20th: Roman Hills
Sept 21st: Under the Red Umbrella
Sept 24th: Springtree Road
Sept 25th: Magical Grammar
Sept 26th: Dirty Water Dyeworks

Holla Knits!

There's a new knitting mag in town - Holla Knits! They just released the Fall Collection today and I'm so happy to be a part of it.

Henri Knitting Pattern Ann Leachman Holla Knits Springtree Road Praline DK3

Meet Henri, by Ann Leachman, not just your favorite cat, but now also your new favorite sweater! The green one is knit in my Praline DK, in the colorway Idyl. Gorgeous, right? I love cables!

If you love them too, you can order a sweater's quantity of yarn for this pattern in my shop right now.

Henri Knitting Pattern Ann Leachman Holla Knits Springtree Road Praline DK11

Holla Knits! is also having a blog tour this month - with prizes! Here's the schedule:

Sept 10th: The Sweatshop of Love - entire collection & New Girl pattern giveaway
Sept 11th: I Knit 2 Purl 2 - Devon Cardigan pattern giveaway, and subscriber exclusive yarn giveaway
Sept 12th: Wooly Wonka Fiber - Devon Cardigan pattern giveaway, free shipping when you order a sweaters worth of yarn
Sept 13th: Stash, the Knit Picks Blog
Sept 14th: Knits in Class - Bombshell Shorts pattern giveaway, subscriber exclusive discount and yarn giveaway
Sept 17th: The Owl and the Bee - Sexxxy Librarian pattern giveaway, and subscriber exclusive yarn giveaway
Sept 18th: Periwinkle Sheep - New Girl pattern giveaway, subscriber exclusive yarn giveaway
Sept 19th: Knitting Vortex - Jilted pattern giveaway, subscriber exclusive yarn giveaway
Sept 20th: Roman Hills - Jilted pattern giveaway, subscriber exclusive discount
Sept 21st: Under the Red Umbrella - Bombshell Shorts pattern giveaway
Sept 24th: Springtree Road - Henri pattern giveaway, 2 skeins Praline DK giveaway
Sept 25th: Magical Grammar - Henri pattern giveaway, subscriber exclusive yarn giveaway
Sept 26th: Dirty Water Dyeworks - Sexxxy Librarian pattern giveaway, free shipping on all orders with coupon code ‘Holla Knits’

My blog post will be on September 24th and I'll be giving away the pattern my yarn is knitted with, plus 2 skeins of Idyl on Praline DK. So please come back then for a chance to win. In the meantime, check out the entire collection on the Holla Knits! blog (plus videos for each pattern!) and let me know what you think!

31,000 yards of yarn

I'm having a big shop update on Saturday, September 1st at 10am Eastern with oodles and oodles of yarn - 31,614 yards of it!

This was me playing around with a dish that was my grandmother's and some Eulela DK. I can't believe how long it's been since I had Eulela in the shop! It's one of my favorites. I love the DK weight - so refined. And the Merino and silk take color beautifully.

Shale SScreen Eulela 001

But that's not really new, is it? Let's talk new yarn by way of Oglethorpe County, Georgia.

This used to be the chimney of a store in Oglethorpe County when my grandfather was a child. It was his parents' store. 


The location is a farm now, right down the road from the subdivision that used to be his family's land. If you look at the Pleasant Hill District (top left) of this map from 1894, you can find Big Clouds Creek and "JD Coil," which marks the location (and misspells the family name, Coile). I love old maps. 

I like to name my yarn bases after places and things that mean something to me, so that's why I'm calling these two new yarns Clouds Creek DK and Clouds Creek Sock.

This is the DK in Winter Thistle, a brand new colorway. It's 100% superwash BFL, 240 yards per skein, and it's really nice. I'm going to grab one for me and make a hat for this winter.

Winter Thistle purple grayish pink bfl dk weight bluefaced leicester knitting crochet hat springtree road 001

Clouds Creek Sock is also 100% superwash BFL, but it's one fat skein - 150 grams and 650 yards - so perfect for shawls! Or a matching set of mama/baby or daddy/baby socks! This is Cinnabar.

Cinnabar brick red BFL sock yarn 003

I've also got a yarn club in the works. An easy peasy club where you don't have to go all in to enjoy it, though you can if you like! Details will be in the shop on Saturday morning.

It's the Summer of New!

Hello! I've got a new shop update coming this Thursday at 3pm Eastern! I'll have a few skeins of Muscadine Sock, but it's also the Summer of New!, which means 2 new yarn bases in this update.

I've got some gorgeous Julep Twist Sock, which is an MCN like Julep Sock, except in a 2-ply with a tight twist. It's squishy and wonderful!

Next shop update
I've also got some gorgeous camel and silk heavy laceweight I'm calling Jessamine Lace. It's supersoft and a beautiful natural tan color that dyes up deliciously.

I hope you'll join me!

Invisible kid's car

V has her own car now! Actually, she's had it for a while. It's an invisible kid's car. She keeps it on top of my car and when she wants to go out and do stuff, she just takes it down and takes off in it.

kids car

I have two pretty new fibers to play with. This one I'm calling Julep Twist Sock. It's MCN, like my Julep Sock, but with 2 sweet plies with lots of twist that plump up against each other when I dye them. 

julep twist

This one is the height of luxury. It's baby camel and silk. Not sure what to call it yet. It's a heavy laceweight, comes in this natural brown color, is so very soft, and is so rich when dyed. I can't wait for you to see them!

baby camel silk

My new hobby is doodling. I needed something fast and fun for the oh-so-brief moments of quiet I find these days.


What are you up to this summer? Anything fun? 

Rolling over

In the last week and a half, H has mastered rolling from back to stomach. At first, he would kick his leg out straight and arch his body, using his foot to pivot over. But then I got a handout on teaching baby to roll over. It says to bring their knees up, roll them to one side, and the top half of his body should follow.

Rolling over 001

Ever since I tried that with him, that's how he's been doing it. He loves tummy time and will roll onto his stomach every time I help him back onto his back.

Rolling over 002

What he doesn't like is that he can't roll from his stomach to his back. I've read that this is more of a 6-month-old baby move and H is just past 3 months. But don't tell him that - he gets really agitated that he can't do it himself. It's that shoulder. It's just too big to roll the rest of him over and he isn't strong enough to tuck it under.

This may be my favorite picture V has drawn yet. It's me and Holden.

Mom and Holden

I hope you have a happy Sunday - thanks for stopping by!

It's going to be awesome

This morning, V stamped 10 paper bags that we will use as packaging for her new Etsy shop. We got the best custom made stamp from Village Impressions. Anna-Mae was a pleasure to work with and I recommend her highly, should you need a stamp made.

Awesome Packaging

We still have much to do! The concept for the shop was all her idea, though I'm helping her refine things just a bit. She's been talking about having her own Etsy shop for 2 years now.

V starts first grade this year and we are homeschooling. This shop should be fun, definitely just a hobby for her, but also a learning experience. She won't do absolutely everything by herself, but I will help guide her until the day that she can.

More details to come!

Shop update on Tuesday

It's been a busy three months - H is 3 months old today! Time is flying!

I'm trying to get more on a schedule so that I can have more regular shop updates, about twice a month. The next one is tomorrow.

Next shop update
There will be some Muscadine, Julep, & Emeline Sock. I love these four colors together. Yum!

I've also been thinking about new yarn bases. I'll be getting four new bases tomorrow and dyeing them up through the rest of July and into August - I'm calling it the Summer of New! More on that later.

There's no fussy in handknits

Today I put Baby H in his bouncy seat, which he usually loves, but ... um ... not so much today!

Fussy baby

I said, "Oh no! Fussy baby! There's no crying in handknits!"

What this is handknit

He said, "What?! This was hand knit? Just for me?" 

I said it surely is, by Auntie Claire, and sent all the way from Germany.

Youre right

Baby H said, "Oh well, then. Why didn't you say so? No fussing today!"

Knit by Claire


Yesterday I contemplated this yarn. I have 4 skeins of it and I was knitting a cardigan with it, but I've pretty much come to realize that it's not going to happen. Right now I just need simpler projects.

Tanis on Aran

Looks like a lot of people could get a lot of teal blue hats and/or scarves for Christimas this year, if I get on that soon.

I also contemplated this yarn, which is my favorite BFL and my favorite purple. I knitted one fingerless mitt with it but it's way too small for me. Laughably small. At the time I thought I'd just finish up and give them to my sister, who has much smaller hands than I. But I don't really want to knit the second one. So I will continue contemplating this yarn. Maybe some socks.

Purple yes it is

Then I contemplated this right mess. The one on the left is new, a one of a kind color that I did not measure or write down. Don't ask me why I do that sometimes. There's no reasonable answer. The one on the right is this yarn. I knew when I dyed it that it would take a while to sell because orange almost always does. But I can't help but dye orange; I love it so. It's passionate and unafraid to be exactly what it is. Sometimes I go in to where I keep the yarn and squeeze all my orange yarns.

But don't tell anybody.

Red Orange

I took action on these yarns - I tamed them with my handy skein winder. 


Same with these. They looked even worse than the ones above. But now, they look sleek and lovely.

Moss and TBD

They'll be in my next update, which I'm planning for sometime in the next week or two.

Trying to get on a more regular schedule now. It's hard when there are baby toes in the house to nibble...

It's Tuesday & there's nowhere I have to be

Today I'm taking the day off from most of what I have to do. I'm making a plan of what to dye next, which technically work but does not involve heating up an already hot kitchen with dyepots. And we just made our own play dough for the first time in forever.

Making play dough :)

We left one of them its natural color, so that V can mold it into cats.

She has already drawn a picture this morning that I hope will work as a rubber stamp so I can stamp the packaging for her entreprenuerial project. We've been dyeing bits of wool here and there for it. I can't wait to share it with you! I think it's going to be fun.

Today is R's birthday. There will be cake. I wish it were homemade, but I am sure that it will be tasty. There will also be strawberries. And ice cream.

Baby H will have a bath. V and I will choose a new chapter book to read. There will be Annie's Mac & Cheese for (her) lunch. I may work on a tiny bit of knitting I'm doing. I have a certain yarn and I want to see if I can do a certain thing with it. I just don't want to tell anyone what that is yet.

And that will be our day. 

Feels perfect to me.

And the baby awakes! Better go see what we can get up to...