Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Oh, Walt Whitman, you've done it again...gone and stole my heart!

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object she look'd upon, that object she became,
And that object became part of her for the day or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of year.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass and white and red morning glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs and the sow's pink-faint litter,
and the mare's foal and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there—and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads—all became part of her....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Respect the Spindle

Over the last 5 days, I have come to respect the spindle.
Last week, I suddenly became obsessed with spindles - something I had never cared about before.
First, I finally realized what they were (I have seen them hanging in yarn shops, but ignored them because I didn't really know what they were/how they worked).
They are simple, handheld tools for hand spinning fiber.
Then I read online how to use one (google searched it) because I was too embarrassed to try in the store AND I was at work, so I had to be virtual.
Then I wanted to get my hands on one and try out this ancient, women's skill...but I was still at work :(
After work I walked over to the cool U District fiber store, Weaving Works, tried one out (using my recent google knowledge) and realized no one at the store really knew how to use a hand spindle either. I also found out the nice ones are very beautiful and expensive.
Then I read online (searched 'how to make a spindle') that you can easily make one with a wooden toy wheel and wooden dowel or even with a pencil and CD's (If you were babysitting or something...?)
I figured I should make one for my birthday, and have a great present for under $5.
You have to remember the original spindles were sticks and balls of clay, so you don't need to be fancy.

Here's how I did it:

wheel, dowel, brass cup hook

and here is what I spun:

the cotton fluff from the vitamin bottle!!!

I saw this intriguing book called Respect the Spindle. It has beautiful photos of spindles both new and antique from all over the world. Very cool.

Here is a great link to interesting photos of women spinning all over the world.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mushroom Party

I like to have mushroom parties for my birthday celebrations.
Adam and I planned one this year and it was great :)
Pretty much it is a mushroom/fungi themed potluck where everyone brings something made by, from, in the shape of, or out of mushrooms/fungi and I make one of my famous mushroom log cakes.
And then we eat everything!

This year we had: mixed mushroom soup, miso and shiitake soup, nettle soup with morel cream sauce, mushroom-nettle torte, spinach stuffed mushrooms, and yeast risen bread.

Unfortunately, I only took pictures of the first few people that came and we didn't get a whole group photo. Bummer.
It was so fun to catch up with friends and make plans to hang out again soon.

The hazelnut-cardamom mushroom cake:

I got this in the mail from a good friend:

Isn't it wonderful?
What a great birthday. Thanks, friends!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring chick

Spring, Spring, what a glorious Spring!

We are having the most glorious spring weather!
And it's coinciding with my 25th birthday :)
March 18th, 1985
Here are a few of my favorite photos as a little one:

My family gave me an ebelskiver pan!

So, Adam and I made ebelskivers for breakfast. YUM!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Camellia Dye

I read online that dark pink Camellia flowers make a good pink dye.

This was interesting to me since typically flowers - no matter the color - don't dye. The color chemicals are not stable and the best you get is a light yellow or brown.

Pink Camellias happen to be in bloom right now all over UW campus, so, I picked a bag, chopped them up,

simmered in water

and added 1T salt and 2T lemon juice (that's what the link said to do).

Check out the results:

unmordanted merino wool on left.
Copper penny mordanted merino on right.
I don't know if it this will be lightfast so I am starting a test swatch by covering part with paper or cloth and leaving in the window for a few weeks. I'll let you know how it turns out.
I'm also looking for more yarn to dye...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Seattle from 800 feet

(Space Needle)

Adam and I went to a party on the 75th floor of a building in downtown Seattle.
It was quite a birthday bash.

We got all dressed up and rode the bus down.

(I like how my dress gathers in the back)

I'm posting this to show the cool view of Seattle at night from up high, and because I am proud of the pincurls that Adam and I managed to pull off despite being notoriously bad at hair do's...

tree peeps forever!

I used to sell handsewn things at the Provo Farmers Market under the "name" Tree People.

(very old pic...circa 2006?...)
Then I made a map to the edible trees of Provo and posted it at treepeeps.com
(map not online but still exists. It's a goldmine!)
Then I opened an Etsy store at TreePeople.etsy.com
Now, Adam linked this blog to the address treepeeps.com and we both have matching emails:

Yahoo! Tree Peeps Forever!

Monday, March 15, 2010

weave it!

Remember this Mushroom Dye Sampler?
I just realized it was made on a Weave It, a hand held weaving loom that was a popular craft medium back in the 1930's-1960's.
The website Eloomanation has a collection of vintage Weave It looms and vintage Weave It patterns (click projects to see the awesome vintage patterns. I spent quite a long time checking through them, they are pretty cool!
Here is are two how to make your own weave it loom 1 and 2 tutorials.
...I'm thinking of making one.
I want to make the vintage Weave It loom bathing suit!

And if I don't, a multicolored, multipatterned blanket would at least be a great way to use up my bits of mushroom dyed yarn lurking around the house.

Have any of you used a Weave It loom?
Ever seen your mother or grandmother use one?
Have any heirloom Weave It creations in your family?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

dye plans

I found a new book!
The Complete Guide to Natural Dyeing: Techniques and Recipes for Dyeing Fabrics, Yarns, and Fibers at Home. By Eva Lambert and Tracey Kendall.

I looked through it at the yarn/textiles store here in Seattle's U District, and highly recommend it.
This book has great photos highlighting the amazing colors obtained from plants.
They also give many examples of overdyeing a previously dyed yarn (such as: yellow from any yellow producing plant/mushroom later dyed with indigo to give a beautiful teal) and of using more than one mordant to give variation in tones (such as copper mordanted yarn in a Sambucus/elderberry leaf dyebath, dying for a while to get a yellow, then adding an iron mordant to add nice brown tones to the yellow).
This book also got me thinking positively about collecting plants for dye starting now or soon. I've heard and read about several dye plants, but need to actually go out and get them. Easy once you find a patch, but hunting for a good patch seems hard.
But SPRING is on the way :)

Some plants on my list are:
Weld (Reseda luteola)
Woad (Isatis tinctoria)
Solidago sp.
Calluna vulgaris
Elderberry leaves (Sambucus sp.)
Pterocarpus santalinus (tree from India, need to order)
Madder (Rubia tinctorum)
Alkanna tinctoria
Logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum)makes black, purple, grey
Henna powder

I spend my time reading things like this and this and this and this on the internet :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bird Dogs Forever

I caught Adam looking at the site Bird Dogs Forever
I recommend clicking on that link to listen to the "Bird Dogs Forever Theme Song," you won't regret it!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I can't get over how delicious cardamom smells.
It's one of my favorite spices.
I love cardamom in spicy-hot equatorial cuisine like Indian curries and African stews as well as in sweet northern baked goods like those from Scandinavia.

A good friend served a mission for the LDS Church in Finland and taught me and my sisters to make Finnish Pulla, a sweet, egg bread spiced with cardamom.
I've been making it at Christmas for the past 4 years and couldn't resist making it again over the weekend.
It's simple, but takes about 6 hours with the multiple rising steps.
Here is the recipe so you can make it and sniff cardamom all day and night:
2 cups milk
1 packet (1 tsp.) yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 T. ground cardamom
4 eggs beaten
9 cups white flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg, beaten
2 T. large chunky sugar for decoration.

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water; heat milk without boiling, then cool to room temp.
2. Combine yeast liquid, milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, 4 eggs, and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth and elastic. Add 3 more cups flour (5 cups total), beat well; dough should be smooth and glossy. Add melted butter, beat until glossy. Stir in remaining (4 cups) flour until the dough is stiff.
3. Turn dough out of bowl onto a floured surface. Cover with inverted bowl to rest 15 minutes. Knead dowugh until smooth and satiny. Place in lightly greased mixing bowl, turn dough to grease the top. Cover with clean dishcloth, let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour). Punch down and let rise again until almost doubled.
4. Turn out onto a floured surface, and divide into 3 parts. Divide those further into 3 parts. Roll each piece into 12-16 inch strips. Braid 3 strips into a loaf. Lift 3 braided loaves onto greased baking sheets (or sheets lined with parchment paper). Rise for 20 min.
5. Brush each loaf with beaten egg and sprinkle with crunchy sugar.
Bake at 375* for 25-30 min. Check to see if top is burning, cover with foil if necessary.

Serve sliced with tea/coffee.
As it gets old and dries out, toast it. Or break into pieces and pour milk over.
Makes great french toast.
(Also great to use dough as cinnamon bun dough, or orange rolls, or poppy seed buns, etc.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mini Me

I finished the knitting project I mentioned previously.
And, yes...it's a little baby Icelandic Sweater, with a hood!
Or, a "Barnapeysa med hettu."

It's knit from Lopi, yarn from Icelandic sheep's wool. Icelandic sweaters with yoke patterns and seamless, knit-in-the-round construction are called Lopapeysa.

I made this tiny one to match mine:

I made my Lopapeysa when I was in Iceland for 3 months in 2005. While I was there i fell in love with Icelandic sheep, Icelandic knitting, and the Lopapeysa.

While in Iceland, I asked a friend’s grandmother to coach me in knitting a lopapeysa for myself. She was wonderful! She helped me draft a personalized yoke pattern and even went with me to the yarn shop to pick out the yarn.
Once a week I would walk to my new grandma’s house for a knitting session. We drank tea, ate pastries, talked about life, photography, travel, hiking, we listened to Joan Baez, and we knit.

Lopapeysas are always knit from Lopi, Icelandic sheep’s wool. The colors I chose were symbolic to me of the colors I loved about Iceland. On a general day anywhere in Iceland, the main colors you see are: white, from snow, ice, or the cloudy sky; black/brown, from the lava rocks (the entire island is lava rock); and moss green, from the copious amounts of moss growing everywhere. At times moss can be seen growing several inches thick, rolled out like dense batting over the landscape.

Back in California, Utah, and now Washington, I wear my lopapeysa with pride! I love the memories it carries of Iceland, my adopted Icelandic grandma, and of friendships created through knitting.
Now, I have one ready and waiting for the first fat little baby that comes along!