Monthly Archives: January 2010

Yarn Rant

I feel I have reached a turning point in my knitting career.  Up to this point I have been basically using craft store quality yarn.  There are several reasons for this.

1. I’ve considered myself to be a beginner and don’t feel like investing in luxurious yarns if I’m just going to screw the project up.

2. I’m insanely frugal and can’t bring myself to spent a lot of money on anything for myself.  I can’t pass up a good bargain either.

I found some clearanced yarn at Hobby Lobby about 4 years ago.  I bought so many spools of this fingering weight crochet thread and haven’t found a use for it yet.  Itty Bitty toys has a wonderful section on sock-yarn toys and I was excited to finally use some of this huge stash.  I started making the Hippo, but I ran out of the yarn.  The reason it was on clearance is because it’s discontinued!!!  My poor Hippo had a body, head, 2 arms, no legs, no ears and no tail.  I had made some serious mistakes on it too, so I ended up just chucking the whole project.  The yarn sucked and the project was a flop because of it.

After using 100% merino wool for making the soakers, I fell in love with knitting with natural fibers.  I can’t hardly stand to use acrylic yarn anymore.  The majority of my stash is Vanna’s Choice which is nice for acrylic yarn.  I look at it and I get frustrated because I don’t want to use it for anything! 

I’ve been to the local yarn store (LYS) a few times, but I get frustrated because the yarn is so much more expensive than the same yarn anywhere else.  Unfortunately it’s the only LYS in a few hundred mile radius.  I always end up leaving empty handed.

I went to the LYS a few months ago and bought some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino to make a tam for my Mom’s birthday.  This is by far the most visually and texturally appealing project I have made.  The yarn was such a pleasure to work with.  It was more expensive but it really was worth it.

Lace Tam

 There’s no reason for me to be frugal anymore so today I decided to go to the LYS and just buy whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted.  I had every intention of buying several hundred dollars worth of yarn.  

With several projects in mind, I walked into the shop.  My mind totally went blank. I couldn’t remember a single project!  After scanning the yarn for a minute they started coming back to me.  OK, I want to make the Giraffe from Itty Bitty Toys.  Can’t find the right colors.  Ok, how about the cotton Bunny and Pig?  Can’t find the right yarn.  Star Crossed Beret?  Ugh!   Again, no yarn!   I kept going back to the sock yarn and ended up buying a few balls that really spoke to me.  They are all self-striping and all the socks in my queue are either lacy or cabled and would look better with solid colors.

Anyway, I came home and added the yarn to my stash on Ravelry only to find out the yarn I loved so much wasn’t even fingering weight!  This yarn was in the wrong section at the shop and the owner told me it was sock yarn.  This is the second time this has happened to me at this LYS.  Another skein has no tag, I don’t know the weight or yardage, how did I even end up with it?  This LYS is so messy and unorganized and the shop owner is a huge yarn snob, making me feel inferior for buying yarn anywhere else.   The selection is very poor and also quite weird. 

I want to buy nice yarn.  I long to have Rowan, Blue Sky Alpacas, Cascade 220 and other designer yarns in my stash, but this LYS doesn’t have it.  I’m moving very soon anyway so hopefully the LYS in Fort Walton Beach will have a good selection.

I know the answer for me is to order from KnitPicks.com.  I love online shopping anyway and this way no one will look down on me for having a baby strapped to me and both being covered in spit up.  I love that Knit Picks is straight forward with the weight and yardage of their yarns.  The yarns aren’t designer or name brand but because of that it is so much less expensive.  I can’t wait to get down to Florida and make my order with them and start making some higher quality projects.  Until then I will be making a few pair of socks with the yarn I actually did buy.

4 Comments

Filed under knitting

Cloth Wipes

I’m a day late with this because yesterday I was having one of those days.  You know the kind; screaming baby, housework piled up, dogs begging to go outside, ect. ect.  Anyway, here’s my Fluff Talk Thursday post for this week.

I’ve been excited for this topic because cloth wipes are my favorite part of cloth diapering.  It sounds silly, but it really is my favorite.  While doing research about cloth diapering, I didn’t give much thought to how I was going to wipe the bum.  I guess I just figured I would use disposable wipes and didn’t realize that you could use cloth.  After a Fluff Talk Thursday topic Happily Domestic posted about the wipes, I started my research about them.

I can’t recall how I came up with my wipes, probably a mixture of ideas I had read.  I decided to make my own.  They are 6″ X 6″ square.  One side is flannel and the other side is terry.  I stitched and turned the fabric, the top stitched and stitched an X through the top so it would all stay together.  I used lots of leftover flannel that I had.  The patterns are so cute I really think it adds to my love of the wipes.

I love cloth wipes for many reasons.  First of all, the solution smells fabulous.  Second, they really get all the poop off but gently.  Disposable wipes don’t at all.  I have to use several to get everything off.  With the cloth, I wet a corner on the terry side, get the bum wet, then flip it over and pat the bum dry with the flannel side. 

I have tried many wipe solutions and found a wonderful website that has loads of recipes for different solutions.  The site is called Zany Zebra Designs.  Not only does the website have wipe solution recipes, but it has wonderful information about cloth diapers in general.

The wipe solution I choose to use most of the time is great because I already have the supplies.

Lotion Potion

1 cup warm water

1 Tbsp baby oil

1 Tbsp liquid baby soap

1 Tbsp baby lotion

3 drops lavender essential oil

I added the essential oil to the recipe because lavender is my favorite scent.  It’s so calming.  I think I would like to use lavender scented baby products for this sometime, but maybe it would be overkill on the scent.  I’ll have to try and see.

Another thing I like about the cloth wipes is that they make wonderful doulbers for inside the prefold diaper.  My baby is a heavy wetter and the urine soaks through without an insert.  When he gets bigger I will have to make new inserts but they work perfectly for now.

My cloth wipes

3 Comments

Filed under Cloth Diapering

Monkey Mahem

I bought Susan B. Anderson’s newest knitting book at the end of October while waiting for the baby to be born.  I have had so many other projects going on I didn’t have a chance to make anything out of it.  After months of lusting after all the projects, my fingers itching to make another knit toy, I finally finished my first project from the book last night.  I decided to start with “A New Sock Monkey” because I have a special place in my heart for monkeys.   He was named by my husband, every time I would talk about the monkey, he would say “Monkey Mahem” in one of many of his silly voices. 

Monkey Mahem

I want to make every single toy in the book.  I have made a goal to use up all of my yarn stash before buying any more yarn and I think toys would be perfect for using the last of the skeins.

 
In other knitting news, I had to throw out my really cute knitting bag.  Someone (me) put an apple in there months ago and it went bad.  There was no way to clean it up.  I was so sad, I hope my cute knitting bag rests in peace.  I have learned my lesson about leaving fruit places and forgetting about it.

2 Comments

Filed under knitting

Different Types of Diapers

I thought today I could write about different types of diapers there are to use. 

To use cloth diapers full time you will need 16-36 diapers. If you were to have 16 you would have to do laundry everyday and if you had up to 36 you could do laundry every other day or every 2 days.  A diapering system could consist of one type of diaper or a combination of several types.

To some people the convenience of a disposable diaper is hard to beat.  If you are looking for conveniece in diaper changes, look no further than the All In One or AIO.  This type of cloth diaper has everything you need, the absorbent soaker attached to the waterproof outer shell.  They usually have hook and loop or snap fasteners.  When putting the diaper on, it’s a one step process, no folding or stuffing.  When taking the soiled diaper off, it’s also a one step process, just toss it in the pail, no separating or removing of an insert.  Now most AIO’s have a pocket so you can stuff a doubler in for a heavy wetter.  These are the most expensive of the cloth diapering systems, running anywhere from $17-$35 per diaper.  A few drawbacks to AIO’s is that 1) they don’t come out as clean and 2) they take more than one cycle to dry in the dryer and 3) the waterproof outer layer can break down with repeated washings in the washing machine.

A pocket diaper is slightly less convenient.  They are very similar to an AIO except you have to stuff the outer waterproof shell with an absorbent insert.  Really it only adds another few seconds to the diaper change and you can do this as you are putting the laundry away.  A huge advantage to pockets is that they come a lot cleaner and they dry in one cycle.  We use about 4 pockets in our diaper system for times when we need a convenient quick change.  I.e. anytime we leave the house.  Pockets are similarly priced to the AIO.

Another type of system is one that uses a waterproof outer layer that is completely seperate from the absorbent layer.  How this works is you put the actual diaper on the baby, then another layer is put on top to keep messes and wetness contained.  This can be a waterproof PUL cover or a wool soaker.  A waterproof outer layer runs about $10-30.  For full time cloth diapering with these 4 would be sufficient.  A wool soaker runs $30-$60 or more.  Or you can knit your own for a couple bucks a pair.

For diapers the easiest to use is a fitted diaper.  This looks similar to a disposable in shape.  The legs are elasticized and there is very little to no folding.  A downside to this is you have to buy several different sizes during a child’s diapering lifetime.  The elastics can get worn out and they also are harder to get completely clean.  These run from $7-$20.

Another option for using this type of system is the prefold diaper.  This is the least convenient of all the different types of diapers.  It’s a flat piece of fabric divided into thirds.  The middle of the diaper is thick and absorbent.  I say it’s inconvenient because you have to learn to fold the diaper around the baby and secure it either with a snappy, pins or a waterproof cover.  It’s not difficult by any means, but there is a learning curve with it.  The advantages are very wonderful in my opinion.  1) these come the cleanest by far.  Stains are removed easily.  2) They are also by far the least expensive.  The costliest of all the prefolds out there will run about $5 at the most.  Mine cost $2 for one infant and $3 for a standard sized.  I bought diaper service quality.  I have 3 dozen prefolds, 3 PUL covers, and 5 wool soakers.  I have come to realize this is quite excessive, but it’s better to have too much than not enough.

I have a lot more information that I would like to share, but this post is long enough as it is.  At least now you know the basics of the types of diapers  you can buy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cloth Diapering

Fry Bread

Fry Bread

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds blended with 2 tablespoons water (equivalent of 1 egg)
1 tablespoon of yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance, vegan margarine, or vegetable shortening
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

Put flax seeds and 2 tablespoons of water in a blender and whip until they are the consistency of an egg.

Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.

Combine sugar, salt and Earth Balance in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup warm water to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add the flax seed mixture and mix. Add yeast and flour, knead and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Beat down, cut into 8 even pieces and press into 6 inch circles. Deep fry until golden brown.

Leave a comment

Filed under Meatless Monday, Uncategorized

Corn Bread

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds with 1/4 cup water (equivalent of 2 eggs)
1 cup nondairy milk

1. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
2. In a large bowl, mix vegetable oil with sugar. Add ground flax seeds and water. Add dry ingredients alternately with the nondairy milk.
3. Put batter in a 9 by 9 inch pan sprayed or brushed with olive oil. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

1 Comment

Filed under Meatless Monday

Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, earth balance, or vegan margarine
1 cup well chilled butter milk, or 1 cup nondairy milk mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

1. Preheat the oven to 425. To make buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to 1 cup of nondairy milk. Whisk and set aside.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in butter or earth balance using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Add buttermilk (nondairy mixture) and mix until a sticky dough has formed.
3. Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few strokes just until dough is evenly mixed. Kneading too much will make the biscuits tough.
4. Press dough out until it is 1 inch thick and cut out biscuits. Re knead and repress the dough until all the dough has been shaped into biscuits.
5. Bake until biscuits are firm to the touch and the bottoms and tops are lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes. Serve hot.

Leave a comment

Filed under Meatless Monday