Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It's been awhile since I've felt like writing. Paul is on a work trip and with only the cat to talk to, I've been reflecting quite a bit.

Autumn is my new favorite season! The air is brisk and fresh, the cloud cover is thick and protective, and I have every excuse to bake, drink lots of hot tea, and curl up with a down blanket and knitting project. I have a lot of projects going just now, actually. It's been so long since I finished anything! Not just knitting, either. I picked up a sewing machine in August as a birthday gift to myself, and have been slowly learning how to sew sweet little things. Not curtains, like I need, because those are huge and tedious, but little fun things like project bags and wallets and a pincushion.

When my friends ask me what I've been up to for the last few days/weeks/months, my answer is always "I don't know, just busy I guess!" Things certainly haven't been easy since I left my job at the end of June, but they haven't been difficult, either. And that was the point--to alleviate stress and get back to good health. To answer some quick questions before I continue:

No, I'm not looking for another job.
No, I'm not pregnant.
No, I'm not doing nothing every day.

I'm learning to manage our home better. I'm learning how to make lasting knitted clothing items and gifts. I'm learning how to buy in bulk and cook delicious food efficiently. I'm learning to sew. I'm reading and getting enough sleep. I'm doing chores (which I suck at, so I can only get better, right?) and blessing my husband so that when he's at home we can spend time together or he can pursue his hobbies, rather than do chores. Oh, and I'm working on my business, Bumblebirch.

I'm content, something I haven't felt in a long, long time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

report from day 0 at Sock Summit

This afternoon was exhausting, but really fun to be a part of. I met Karin of Periwinkle Sheep at the Convention Center and we proceeded to set up her booth. Every box she opened was a burst of more delicious, earthy color! She even has special Luminary colorways inspired by the members of the Luminary Panel. They are drop-dead gorgeous! What I wouldn't give to get my hands on some Steph and some Pricilla...See this post on her blog for the colorways.

Seriously, there is so much beautiful yarn!! And this was just one booth...

We got the booth pretty much set up and the colors arrayed in a rainbow palette. The dressform was naked so I threw my own shawl over it until Karin could get the sample shawl. (And I'll be publishing that shawl pattern to Ravelry soon!) We did more work after this shot, so imagine colorful project bags, fluffy balls of roving, and beautiful socks everywhere!

This was just looking one direction--the exhibit room is HUGE!! Behold the mess!

(Pssst! There's YARN is those boxes! Please somebody unpack them!)

You recognize that name, right?

Lisa Souza is across the aisle.

And Blue Moon is right behind us!

The cheerful, sweet folks setting up the Blue Moon Booth.

And the Verb for Keeping Warm people, having it all together and decorating their spindle tree. I can't wait until tomorrow when it's fully set up!

And now, I'm going to bed! I've got a workshop in the morning and I want to be wide awake for it.

Stitch Markers for Sock Summit

Today is the day! Sock Summit officially starts today with registration, check-in, and marketplace setup. I've been working very hard over the last 2 weeks to get stitch markers ready for this amazing event, and they're ready at last!

So if you're coming to Sock Summit, you can find Bumblebirch stitch markers in the Marketplace at booth #800, with The Periwinkle Sheep (and buy her yarn, too, while you're there!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Changes to the menu!

Of course the plan needs to be adjusted! The Farmer's Market was crowded (we really need to get there at 8:30am to beat the crowds) but we found everything we needed and some extra things that caught our eyes: after trying artichokes for the first time, Paul wanted more, so we picked up a couple large ones from the artichoke stand. We got lots of giant bing cherries from Baird Family Farms, and some burgundy dahlias for me. Now for the menu adjustments:

Saturday: Chicken salad with mandarin oranges, almonds, and soy-ginger dressing This turned out well. The key ingredient was definitely the dressing I made: 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1-2 tbsp sesame oil, fresh grated ginger.

Saturday evening we visited some neighbors for whom we do garden watering while they're on vacation, and they gave us a bunch of produce! They gave us sweet peas, celery, basil, parsley, cilantro, dill...What a blessing! The Lord always provides! And in a couple of weeks, they're going on a week-long trip, so we're free to harvest a bit of whatever ripens while they're gone (or else it'll go bad anyway). There should be some more celery, a few potatoes, and a few tomatoes. Yum!

Sunday: Casserole with potatoes and summer veggie (squash?) This didn't turn out so well. Somehow I messed up the bechamel sauce halfway through (I still can't figure it out) and then put too much sauce in the casserole dish, and the zucchini didn't cook all the way. I'm thinking of adding some ham and re-baking it.

Monday: Fish with rice and steamed veggies Change of plans, we're having lentils and veggies, as we'll be having fish on Friday.

Tuesday: Tomato soup...maybe with grilled cheese!

Wednesday: Fajita burritos

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Prime beef cut (from cowshare, stocked in freezer) w/veggies Change of plans. We're having some friends over who want to make salmon, so we'll have salmon, green beans, bread, etc.

Hooray for flexibility!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Most of the clever meal-planning women I know post their menus on Monday and call it "Menu Plan Monday" or something similar. I like this idea, but it doesn't make sense for Paul and me to wait until Monday to plan our meals. The Farmer's Market is on Saturday mornings, so we need to know what to aim for before we head out. Sometimes the plan changes when we find a certain vegetable (or lack thereof) at the market, but it's better to head out the door with a plan than no plan at all!

Saturday: Chicken salad with mandarin oranges, almonds, and soy-ginger dressing

Sunday: Casserole with potatoes and summer veggie (squash?)

Monday: Fish with rice and steamed veggies

Tuesday: Tomato soup...maybe with grilled cheese!

Wednesday: Fajita burritos

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Prime beef cut (from cowshare, stocked in freezer) w/veggies

Special items to make this week:
Bake sandwich bread
Make summer fruit tart
Make tortillas using Michal's recipe

Thursday, July 9, 2009

dyeing up a storm

I had such a fun time dyeing the first couple of skeins that I decided to dye more! My friend Hettie sent me some Koolaid, so I used that as well. Koolaid tends to be really vibrant, but the process is much easier, since the coloring already includes citric acid.

Aren't they pretty? They're like jewels! I can't wait to make some tasty socks out of them!

These 2 skeins were done a few weeks ago using Wilton's food coloring. On the left is Ginger Peach, varying in color from pink to peach to orange. On the right is Violet Dusk, varying in color from dark blue to violet. As Paul tells me, I "accidentally make good colors" so I couldn't tell you how I got these colorways. The Wilton's doesn't absorb evenly, probably because my lemon juice (rather than vinegar) works very effectively, and because superwash wool is like a sponge. I like the way they turned out!

These were done using Koolaid, and the color absorbed more evenly. The one on the left is Robin, a teal-turquoise color (2 packets berry blue + 1 packet lemon-lime). On the right is Ruby Slippers, a tweedy ruby red. I was actually aiming for a burgundy, but I like the rich color it came out (1 packet tropical punch + 3 lemon-lime should have made brown, but I guess the red was too strong. I added 2 packets black cherry for the saturated dark red).

And here we have a "disaster" and a "success!" The dark blue tweed skein on the top was supposed to be brown (again) but it didn't turn out right (again). I thought green + red would make brown, but I was wrong. It turned out some icky inky pukey periwinkle, with splotchy parts slightly yellowed, like a bruise. So I overdyed it with a LOT of blue Wilton's food coloring! It ended up an inky, denim-y blue tweed, which Paul likes (thankfully), even thought it didn't turn out brown like it was supposed to. Apprently it's still manly enough! I'm calling it Merman. ("MerMAN father, merMAN!!!")

The 2-color skein on the bottom is self-striping sock yarn for Mo. I wound the yarn around a couple of chairs about 5 feet apart (I did do more in-depth maths on the length of yarn for 2 rows of each color), tied it loosely, and did my first-ever 2-color dyeing experience (1 packet berry blue for the blue half & 1 packet orange + most of a packet of tropical punch for the orange half). I'm calling it Speedwalker, because Mo always walks quickly, especially up hills, and thinks she can walk anywhere in 15 minutes.

Alas, I'm now out of bare sock yarn! But I plan on getting some more when I've knitted up all these into socks...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

mai boks

Olive lurrrrves her box. A lot.

She just sits in it, staring out the window, or curls up like it's the most comfortable nest ever. Thank you, KnitPicks, for sending me yarn in just the right size box. You have made my kitty very happy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

special delivery

Look what arrived today!!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

yarn and tea pairing

Introducing a new addition to Bumblebirch:

Summer Breeze Yarn + Tea Pairing

For now I'm only offering monthly subscriptions, but starting this fall I will offer 3-month seasonal subscriptions. So delicious!

adventures in dyeing, part 2

After testing the waters last week to decide on a color and refine my method, I went ahead and overdyed the blue and yellow yarn a deep and vibrant green.

Here the yarn is acting like a sponge and soaking up the color quickly, because it's superwash wool. It didn't take much heat. The water cleared within a minute! I ended up adding a second round of dye for the areas that didn't get any green love.

And this proves that you should not touch your yarn while it's soaking or dyeing. Don't move it around, don't twist it, DON'T TOUCH IT. Gah!

I think it came out beautifully! It reminds me of the forests here in the Pacific Northwest.

What should I name this skein?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

dyeing experiment

Yesterday evening, after frogging an entire sock that turned out to be too small and was flashing anyway, I decided to try my hand at dyeing. A trip to the grocery store proved that this neighborhood doesn't drink a lot of Kool Aid, so I didn't have a the selection of dye that I wanted. All they had was grape and 3 flavors of the red persuasion. Nope. I wanted green and blue! How sad!

Upon returning home and re-checking the Rav threads, I found a lot of people dyeing with food coloring. I just happen to have a cake decorating kit, which included 4 colors of food dye concentrate! Perfect!

Here's what I started out with: yarn given to me in a swap, in colors I find I probably won't wear, as they contrast too much. I like more subtle variations. More earthy colors.

I soaked the yarn in tepid water with a bit of lemon juice (rather than smelly vinegar), then mixed up a jar full of dye. After 30 minutes of soaking, I put the yarn in the jar of dye and started heating it in a water bath. I found out today that food-grade dyes are ok to use in your normal pots and pans, but not commercial dyes.

When the yarn soaked up all the dye, I let it cool, covered, and then moved the yarn into water of the same temperature. I gradually decreased the temperature to avoid shock (even though it's already superwash), and squeezed it out.

Obviously, I over-saturated with the greens, but it was so interesting to watch the yarn soak it up and leave the water clear! If I go with greens, I won't use so much so that the yellow and blue show through a little more. I made another batch with golden yellow dye and it also turned out nicely.

I'm already addicted! I ordered 6 skeins of sock yarn and am having a dyeing party with Paul, Rob, and Mo. It will be interested to watch the guys try to make what they consider to be "manly" colors. I'm guessing they'll go with brown or navy blue. I'm thinking I'll try to get a perfect purple.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Knitting is stretchy, and cotton is not. This is frustrating, but so rewarding. It's going to be so wonderful when I'm done with this phone cozy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

a summer of socks

In preparation for the Sock Summit in August, I have been brushing up on my sock-knitting skills.

My latest endeavor: the Temperance socks.

You'll have to forgive the cruddy phone camera, there's no hope of a better picture until I can swipe Paul's camera for a day! Until then, imagine some beautiful, manly, black socks and some bright blue and yellow ones with a diamond-print.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

yarn art

The other day I went to Stumptown coffee on my way to work and saw an amazing sight: yarn on the wall! Coffee and yarn! The art exhibit featured a local artist named Jo Hamilton, who creates crocheted portraits.

She even made a giant crocheted Portland! Here it is, almost finished. If you're in Portland, go check it out!