Friday, October 25, 2013

Grizzly pullover, costume, my shop, study and work

 Over the spring and summer I gave up knitting and sewing for more outdoorsy pursuits.  Now I'm full speed ahead with the crafting.  Above is Franklin's newest knit pullover, which I call the Kissing Grizzlies.  I kind of copied the bear motif from a pullover we bought him, but the rest of the pattern is made up entirely by me.  This took me far too long to knit--more than a month!  But I'm so happy with it;  it's 100% wool, made with leftovers from the crocheted blanket
This is Franklin's Halloween costume, made very quickly in a few hours the day before his nursery school party.  They told us about the party two days before, so I didn't have much time--I cut down an old white shirt of mine to fit him, and made the cape from an old black shirt of Partner's and a piece of red tablecloth.  As far as I could see, Franklin was the only vampire at the party, and had the only hand made costume.  He was really excited to wear it;  he asked me before we left in the morning, "Mummy, you got my costume?"

Also making things for my etsy shop;  my goal is to make one item every week.  I make mostly cashmere baby clothing, though I make some things from wool, too.  I love cashmere;  I wear it almost exclusively in winter, and Franklin has a couple things, too:  he's got two sets of cashmere pajamas I've made, and wears a cashmere vest under his shirt every day to keep him toasty.  Lately I've made several newborn sleeping gowns out of cashmere, which have all sold quite quickly.  It's funny:  I've had my shop open for a year now, and only had three sales--until a month ago, when I suddenly had five sales within that month.  I even ran out of cashmere and had to go on a shopping spree to the local charity shops (I get my cashmere from second-hand sweaters);  I went a little overboard and spent all my profits on new materials!

I'm taking a few weeks off work now that my university classes have started up again, and I'll be going back to just two days a week instead of five.  It was really tough getting up early in the mornings to take Franklin to school, after working till 10.30pm the night before.  And my work is physical--I'm on my feet, in a kitchen;  I think those six weeks of it nearly killed me!  Now Partner's temporarily taking extra hours at his work instead of me, but at least his is a desk job.  We're trying to put aside the extra money in our savings.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Another coat! Garden recap

 I made yet another coat for Franklin.  This is the third!  First and second coats here.
 I sewed this coat from my own pattern, based loosely on a coat he already owns.  It's made of a wool/tencel blend suiting material, with a 100% cotton lining and 100% wool interlining. 
The lining and interlining are quilted together to make it a nice warm coat.  I also gave it welt pockets (I'm an expert at them now!).  It has flaws, but I'm very pleased with it;  I think it's the best coat of the three, design-wise.  I especially like the hood!
 Things are slowing down in the garden;  we've had a few sunny days and plenty of rain.  Star flowers at the moment are my blood red dahlias, above;  and my mallow, below.  This mallow is in my strawberry bed, protected from hungry chickens--they go mad for it!  It's edible to people too, but just tastes like a leaf to me.
We've finished the last of the runner beans--I managed to get one big bag in the freezer, but the way we eat veg, it'll last two meals at most!  Tomatoes are still coming, both indoors and out, but not every day.  Kale is looking and tasting fantastic, and the broccoli has put out a final effort;  there are about a dozen more turnips ready to eat, and about the same amount of leeks.

All in all, I haven't been able to produce 100% of our veg this year.  I would estimate it's been around 50%, so sadly I didn't achieve my goal yet again!  Looking back, part of it was seed failure (the carrots, beets, and onions simply failed to appear), and part of it was just bad luck:  chickens broke into newly sprouted seedbeds on more than one occasion and scratched up the lot, and quite a few of the rain-loving plants I have come to rely on struggled in the unexpectedly hot and sunny summer!  However, even though I didn't meet my goal, it's still been a successful growing year, and I've found my new methods of gardening, including polyculture and chop and drop, have paid off in both high yields and big, tasty vegetables.  It's also meant less work for me!