Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What a Beautiful Weekend it Was!

This was the first line-dried laundry of the season:

My plan was to begin planting, I have planting charts from the Penn State Extension Service, Burpee seeds, maps of my beds, square foot gardening plans...

My first job was to dig out the compost bin that has been sitting all winter and get a pile ready for pole beans, and sprinkle a nice coating on the garden beds etc. As it turns out the only thing happier than a pig in shit is a chicken in compost!

We don't get to see a lot of Ethel, she is a pretty independent hen, but she had just as much fun in the compost as everyone else.




But the day was so lovely I got sidetracked and while I did get the chickens got the compost spread, I lolled about a lot and watched the flowers!

Lenten Rose (hellebores)



We are expected to get cold and a "wintry mix" on Wednesday, so planting can wait until next weekend! Spinach, collards, peas, shallots and garlic will be the first to go in!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to Knit: Casting On

These tutorials were originally posted at the Juniper Moon Farms blog. I want to thank Susie for letting me post on her terrific blog, and encourage you to go visit it - nothing beats Juniper Moon for photos of puppies, pigs, chickens, llamas .. and if you have a hankering, they are looking for a Farm Manager......

When Susie put out the all-call for possible blog contributors, she probably figured nobody would actually volunteer to embarrass themselves publicly on video demonstrating knitting done their way! Well, I figure, what the heck! So I am here laying out my knitting skills for all of you to see – please be gentle!

I really love teaching people how to knit, but what I really like is knowing why something works, or doesn’t work. Why are there umpteen million ways to cast-on, decrease, bind off? How is knitting constructed? Why do some ways to knit work better than others? I was taught by my mom, who was taught by her Aunt Addie, when I was pretty young, I don’t remember learning. I do know that I was a very successful knitter for many, many years without being able to follow certain lace or stitch patterns before I realized I knit “backwards”. I took a class and saw how my knitting was constructed differently, and presto- a light went off in my head and I became so much more aware of how knitting was actually constructed, stitch patterns were developed and why there are really no mistakes or wrong ways to knit.

Anyway, I plan on a series of videos, hopefully one set every month, which will show you not only how to do something, but why you are doing it that way, and why that way and not another way. I hope that will help de-mystify knitting, and make you not afraid of your knitting, and not a captive of instructions.

So, here we go, with the first four videos of Knitting According to Lisa: Casting On!

Long Tail Cast-On: the basic all-purpose cast-on edge

Long Tail Cast-On from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

Crochet Cast-On: where you don’t run out of yarn and which you can also use to decorate a hanger

Crochet Cast-On from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

Knitting-On Cast-On: just how the heck do you cast on in the middle of your knitting?

Knitting On Stitches from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

Provisional Cast-On: my favorite because I tend to be hard on my knitting and this one does not fall out!

Provisional Cast-On from Lisa Stockebrand on Vimeo.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm a Guest blogger!

If you look down my blog list over there on the right, you will see a Guest Blog post over at Juniper Moon Fiber farm, well, that's me! I am working on a series of how-to videos on knitting: "Knitting According to Lisa" and the first set of 4 - Casting On are up!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Beautiful Saturday

Yesterday was beautiful - as in yes maybe Spring is on it's way beautiful!

Forsythia buds:

Snowdrops and Hosta

Teeny Crocus



Aggie on the rocks

And that Betty, such a ham - er - chicken!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Waiting for Spring - BEST tutorial ever!

Check out this tutorial about making your own bias tape! It is a GREAT tutorial. Bias tape is stupid easy to make and yet I NEVER think to do it myself! Ran across this tutorial and am all inspired - in fact, so inspired I ran out and bought a bias-tape maker and whipped up this little bit here!


There are only 2 things (ok - 3 things) I would add to the tutorial (which is amazingly good!) -

First - a fat quarter of fabric makes a generous 5 yards of 2 inch wide bias strip which translates into 1/2 inch double fold bias tape.

Second - USE SPRAY STARCH when you iron the strips. When you iron fabric cut on the bias you are fighting both the warp and weft thread so you have twice as much trying to unfold on you. Ironing along the grain, you are aligning the fold with either the warp or weft so those threads, parallel to the fold, not across it, don't fight the fold, only one set fights. Starch is a wonderful thing for beating fabric into submission.

- pay attention when sewing the bias strips together- you sort of zig-zag them, and may have to pick and choose a bit to get the strips to fit together. Not the best activity after a glass of wine!