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Category Archives: Molly Makes

Molly Makes {A Deal Part II}

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A few months ago I came across a Test and Sample Knitters group on Ravelry.  I’ve had sample/test knitting in mind for a while as a make-do sort of way to fuel the crafting bug.  When in Oregon I would take on work – knitting things for others with a few caveats 1) they purchased all needed supplies except needles, etc. 2) I got to keep the pattern and any leftovers and 3) I got to make it on my time.  I made a few things this way and have kept it in mind as I moved, yet again, across the country.

It wasn’t long before the perfect test knitting opportunity came up.  A fellow ravel-er wanted people to test knit vintage patterns that she was selling, offered with free pattern was free recycled yarn and as an added bonus, in exchanged for nice pictures and words on a blog I got to keep my finished pattern.  I got a 2 month from receipt due date and have knitting consistently in all my (copious) downtown time since mid-june.

I’m pleased to say so far  I’ve completed the two fronts and back.  The arms are started and on their way.  With a little elbow grease and a late night or two I think I should be able to get this finished by my August date.

So far it’s a great little pattern.  I chose it because I wanted a nice fall weight and style sweater, perfect for throwing on for chores or quick trips to the store.  As a vintage pattern it’s not geared toward the real beginner, you need to know your increases and decreases as the pattern on tells you to do so, but is lack on what type to use.  You also need to be able juxtapose instructions as complete instructions are only given for one side and then with the instruction to reverse for the other – with plenty of “work as for back” thrown in there for good measure.

The yarn she chose for me was fantastic too, I was given an unraveled XL sweater and she even thought to include the tag for care instructions.  Now, recycled yarn (as seen here) does not look like yarn from a fresh skein of yarn, however it’s a great way to make-do with what you have and I haven’t found that it takes any different type of work to use.

As a test knitter I will be making this sweater exactly to the specifications of the instructions – no changing gauge, # of stitches or details so I’m preparing myself for the reality that when it’s done it may or may not be perfect for me, but so far I love the pattern and can see myself knitting it again with little bother.  Just remember when using a vintage pattern that they are written with the aesthetic and average body shape and size of the time in mind.

I’m excited to share this and other opportunities as they arise in the hopes that others can see that there are ways to fuel our creative interests without breaking the bank.  Combining your crafting pursuits with charities, the holidays or doing things just for others who can’t (or don’t want to) are all fantastic ways to keep your fingers busy!

Please visit the SweaterGirlKnits recycled yarn store HERE and the pattern store HERE.

Molly Makes {Jam}

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and a mess – mess not shown due to the “I don’t quite know what I’m doing, I’m learning this out of a book” panic of this first batch.  Word to the wise, when buying can supplies with in the intent of jam making, buy an old fashion potato smasher.

The haul here – I went a little over board with the strawberries I think.  But the smaller boxes were sub-par and I only managed to get about half a box of usable strawberries out of each.  One of the larger boxes went to strawberry pie and the other is waiting for today (Wednesday) to see what becomes of it.  The cucumbers are for pickling, more on that to come!

For my teacher I used the classic Ball Blue Book and found it an amazing resources.  Really, it’s full of great information and easy to follow diagrams.

If you think canning looks complicated, it’s really not so bad.  It’s about timing and planning that’s for certain, but I managed to make and cleanup after this batch in about an hour and half (not counting the half hour-ish I spent cutting up the strawberries earlier that day).

The true test of this first batch is yet to come, the remains that were cooling on the stove were delicious, but I’ve decided to wait a little bit to make sure I sealed them right and nothing rots/spoils.

The most important thing I’ve learned in this years strawberry adventures (with the store-bought and my few precious berries from my backyard) is that the store-bought have been fooling me for almost 30 years!  Yep, I’m kind of naïve for a native  Iowan, but I never realized before this year that strawberries are not meant to be hallow and white on the inside.  Real berries are ALL berry and you’ll never want to go back to the imposters after you’ve realized that.  So now I have very high expectations of next years backyard strawberry crop.

Dill Pickles were attempted yet, and still on the list is perhaps one more batch of jam, apple butter and bread and butter pickles.  Honestly, this will probably be the extent of my canning this year (start small), but I still have plans for some freezing in the future.

Molly Makes {Dirt}

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I’d like introduce you to the newest member of my family.  This is Bob, my compost bin.

He’s like a big, plastic member of the family.  He enjoys lazy afternoons in the shade of the defunct apple tree and turning garbage into food.  Originally Bob was a couple of plastic storage bins under the deck,

but we upgraded him when we found Bob 2.0 at a tag sale for $30 bucks (most composters hover around the $100 + range and it was high on my Christmas List).

Starting a compost pile is relatively easy.  Collect stuff, let it rot, feed it to plants.  Of course there are many ways to go about it – compost bins, vermicompost, compost tea, but the end result is great – fewer bags going to the landfill and readily available nutrients for your garden – veggie or flower!

Things that Bob likes to eat include –

  • Small sticks and twigs
  • Dead Leaves
  • Weeds from the garden
  • Veggies Scraps from the kitchen
  • Egg Shells
  • Basic paper, cardboard and egg crates (except for egg crates I try not to put any paper in that I can’t verify the type of ink used)
  • Grass Clippings – great for compost as they decompose quickly
  • Cotton dishrags that are past their prime – I went thru a stack of old towels and dishrags that were old, full of holes or to scratching to be chosen post-bath and ripped them up and fed them to Bob last week!

Things I need to remember Bob can eat –

  • Coffee grounds and Tea bags
  • Plainly cooked pasta & rice
  • Stale (not moldy!) breads, crackers, etc.
  • Old herbs and spices
  • Spent Toilet Paper rolls
  • Animal Fur
  • Freezer burned fruits and veggies

More lists can be found Here, and Here

One thing I haven’t seen on any lists are crafting waste – I’m assuming if I have thread/yarn/etc. leftover that are 100% wool, cotton or other natural fiber Bob would be happy to munch on them!

I swear we put at least one bag less of garbage in the garbage bin each week just by composting the basics and with the amount of “waste” Henry produces each week one less bag makes me happy.  Once the garage gets a good clean out this summer I hope to kick my recycling habits back into high gear and really make an impact on how much landfill garbage we put on the curb each week.

Does anyone have advice for composting dairy products like expired yogurt and moldy cheese – I’d like to add this to my pile but am worried about encouraging molds to to spread or insects to multiply.  Any advice?

Molly Makes {A Deal}

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This is a teaser…

I can’t wait to share more about this project with you in upcoming weeks!

Molly Makes {Things with Thread}

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This is not a test, you are actually seeing double… well kind of.  This cross-stitched saying is my copy of one I made for my dearest friends wedding two years ago.  I loved it so much and had plenty of leftover thread and stash of hand-me-down x-stitch fabric that I made myself one.

I’m actually considering this to be one of my submissions for the State Fair this year… if I can get around to it.  I might just have to stock pile things for next year when I can actually plan ahead.

The thread is variegated and though it might not show up well on my (last minute) photos it gives the stitching a nice depth without shouting “Look At My I’m Thread That Changes Color!”

What have you been making?

Molly Makes {A Baby}

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No I haven’t made a second one… yet… that’s long in the future.

But today marks the 1 year anniversary of finding out that I had made a baby.

I had an inkling that I might be pregnant, in a “it’s a long shot” kind of way when I bought a box of three pregnancy tests on my way to work on June 1st last year.  I hid them in my purse like I was carrying illegal substances across a border, terrified they’d fall out of my bag at exactly the wrong moment.

Before my show for that day (Pride and Prejudice) started I snuck myself and purse off to the bathroom and took a test.  Hm, I thought, that looks like the faintest of + signs.

During intermission, 2 hours later, I decided to double-check, no way that could be a plus sign.  Hm, that looks like a stronger + sign.

At the end of the show, 2 hours later, I took the last test.  Well, that really looks like an actually plus sign.

My hubs picked me up from work and I convinced him to stop at the grocery store for “Milk” and once again snuck some tests into my purse (paid for of course) and into the bathroom I ran with my purse when we got home.

I took another test while the hubs gathered up our clothes, because it was Laundromat Date Night and I’m not kidding the + showed up before the test had finished “Loading”.

I went into the living room, told Ben to close his eyes and stick out his hand and placed the 4th test of the day in his hands.

After the shock and amazement wore off we went to the Laundromat, did our laundry and started to pick out names.

—————-

For anyone who followed my old blog or know me personally you might recall how tough pregnancy was for me.  We went through a lot of huge life changes while pregnancy was wreaking havoc with my emotions, thru ante-partum depression, and physical health, thru 5 months of constant morning sickness/nausea that never totally went away for the entire pregnancy.  Today is more than the day I first day I told Henry I loved him, though it was the first thing I said to me belly after reading the first test, it’s a day of celebration for myself.

When I was 16 I had what can only be called a premonition.  I remember it clearly, I was walking down the front hallway of my high school, when  I had a thought implant itself into my brain and never leave.  Something was going to happen when I was 27 and I was going to be lucky to turn 28.  I used to think I’d be in a car accident or get cancer, but it turns out it was my pregnancy.  I turned 28 a month after my son came into this world.

Though it might seem extreme and little cliché, I do feel like I’ve been given a new lease on life not only thru my son, but because I made it, I survived the last year of my life and I’m damn proud!

So today I will pat myself on the back a little and give extra thanks to those, my husband and my parents especially, for helping me weather those truly dark days.  I couldn’t think of a better reward for such a success than my little boy.