June, July, and Apparently now a bit of August

by Sarah Lake Upton in ,

Against my best plans, I may have let the blogging/social media slip a bit in June and July.  


Before the excuses, a quick and very exciting note:  I will be vending at the Squam Art Fair on September 15, from 7:30 to 10:00.   I am so excited to be included in such an amazing group of vendors!  (And I really hope that I’ll be able to pull together a few new kits I’ve been planning in time, which brings me back to the excuses). 


Back to the excuses:

Unexpected pregnancy induced exhaustion limited my work time this summer and what energy I had often went to baby centric things - baby shower, painting baby things, and the part time job that is meeting all the doctors appointments scheduled as part of a “geriatric pregnancy” (and aside from being “elderly”, both I and the as-yet-unborn-baby are thankfully in perfect health - I cannot imagine how much more medically intense things must become if there are issues).  

Pregnancy induced exhaustion recently morphed into pregnancy induced insomnia, which has at least given me the time to sew crib sheets for the fancy oval crib inherited from my sister-in-law.  When passing along the crib she mentioned the difficulty of getting a new sheet in the correct orientation on the oval mattress during the inevitable three AM  accident clean-ups, to which I sensibly thought “oh-ho, I shall just embroider a french knot or something so that I can line the sheet up along the long ends by feel”.   And then somehow I decided a french knot was boring, and given that I wasn’t sleeping and it was too hot to knit…  

I can now sew fitted sheets and embroider sheets but I still cannot fold fitted sheets.

I can now sew fitted sheets and embroider sheets but I still cannot fold fitted sheets.


So now I have four home sewn sheets with hand-embroidered whales. 

 A few days ago we discovered that my sister-in-law had also given us several crib sheets, which somehow got mixed in with a box of baby clothes.  So the home sewn sheet part was probably completely unnecessary.  Still, it was a fun project. 

 Not being able to carry the buckets and pots of water necessary for dyeing has led me to catching up on other projects, most too boring and administrative to bother describing, but amongst the other chores I finally downloaded the photos that have been accruing on my working SSD card, and came across this gem of an outtake from a mid-February photo session.  Note my hand settled gently and proudly atop my (invisible) belly.  I am fairly sure the impetus for this photo session, aside from the desire to document the progress of my heavily modified Solbien cardigan turned dress, was the discovery that my vague feelings of becoming a little thick around the middle had solidified into an actual baby bump (which again, I cannot see in this photo, though I remember running downstairs to show Sam the moment I noticed it, who was equally excited). 

Also the Socialist Realist pose - I look like I’m about to do something epic for the glory of the fatherland.  

Also the Socialist Realist pose - I look like I’m about to do something epic for the glory of the fatherland.  

Yup, at 40 weeks, 6 days pregnant I have settled into the game familiar to every person who has ever been pregnant - “remember when I thought that was a belly?” 

To be fair, this Alabama Chanin A-Line dress is somehow magically also minimizing my belly, or maybe I just feel like I should be a foot or two wider.  




Back to a semi-business related note:  Any moment now (really, any moment now kiddo, but hopefully soon - I get that you are comfy in there, but you’ve had your full run and it’s time to come out and start exploring the world) we will be heading off to the Birth Center for a hopefully short stay.  There may be some delay in shipping orders and responding to emails as we all adjust to our new life.   Thank you for understanding. 

A Very Overdue Craft Roundup

by Sarah Lake Upton in ,

In amongst all the farm visits I actually managed to get a fair bit of crafting done, though as usual I let myself be lazy about blogging. 

First up, I worked up a few more dye lots of my Straws Farm Island Sheep gansey yarn for the Netloft’s Cordova Gansey Project.  For this batch I experimented with larger skeins, and found that I actually quite enjoy working with them.  Anyone interested in this yarn should contact Dotty at the Netloft (and anyone interested in knitting ganseys should check out her site and the Cordova Gansey Project on principle).  

I let myself play with the darker blue end of the spectrum


While my indigo vat was in use anyway I decided to start messing around a bit with shibori.  I’ve only dyed the one piece so far, but I am very pleased with the result.  I will definitely be exploring this a bit more. 

 Next, for Christmas this year we received a generous Amazon gift certificate from a family member and with that in hand we decided to finally buy the sewing machine that we had been eyeing for months.  It arrived somewhere around the middle of my break, when the piles of indigo dyed gansey yarn were taking over every available craft space (and crafting moment) so it sat in its box, abandoned, until I returned home in April, at which point I very bravely opened it up and set to re-learning how to use a sewing machine.  

I have can’t explain why exactly, given that I was a fairly competent user of sewing machines in high school, but for some reason I find myself intimidated by sewing and sewing machines.  It may have something to do with all the beautiful handmade clothes on my Instagram feed: something that I used to do for a lark now comes with Standards, and The Right Way to Do Things, which always piques the interest of my internal, merciless, Editor of All Things Craft.  Once she starts paying attention, seemingly simple tasks become fraught with Great Import and I find myself ripping back rows and rows to address mistakes that only I can see.  My internal editor does make me better at craft generally, but she also kind of sucks the fun out of doing them.  I am working at achieving a balance, wherein I let her know that I appreciate her critical eye, but could she please just shut up sometimes and let me have fun.  We’ll see how that goes…. 

Anyway, I began to reacquaint myself with the sewing arts by tackling Grainline Studio’s Stow Bag.   My internal editor would like to point out a few wonky seams and some less than skillful use of bias tape, but I am overall quite pleased by the results. (I’ve also never sewn with bias tape before, so yay new skill!).  As a project bag the Stow Bag is everything I could want - simple, easy to knit out of, with just enough pockets to hide the fiddly little notions that tend to collect in the bottom of my project bags.  I am planning to make quite a few more when I get home this time, to keep practicing those new skills before I move on to clothing (gulp! maybe even involving fabric that I have dyed!). 


And then, as noted in my last post, I finally made my peace with the slightly rumpled ribbon on the button band of my Epistrophy by Kate Davies, which I then wore quite proudly to the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival.

As always my rotation home went waaayy too quickly.  I am already plotting all the crafty things I want to try when I get home in July.