Washi Shirt

Can I just say how much I love the Washi pattern from Made by Rae? LOVE. I’ve made several things with this pattern, both in woven cotton and in Jersey knits and I’ve had no misfires (knock on wood!!).

Today I’ll show you the shirt I made with some Amy Butler Lark fabric I’ve had waiting around for just such a project.

With the Washi pattern there is an option for the keyhole neck design or the scoop neck, and I prefer the scoop.


The front is pleated just under the empire waist.


Let me say this: I love empire waistlines. But, as a woman who is not shaped like a beanpole, it can be a challenge to wear them and not look pregnant. In fact, the last time I wore a high waisted blouse an older gentleman asked me how far along I was.


But with this pattern, this fabric, this comfort level, I don’t even care.

The back is gathered with elastic thread.


Unlike all of the other woven-cotton blouses I’ve made, this one sits comfortably. It doesn’t feel “off” in any way. I cut it out in the medium size and didn’t have to make a single sizing adjustment.


Neve was my photographer.  When she takes your picture, she bounces around a lot and you never quite know where to look or when she’s going to snap away. Also, I have a bad habit of looking pissed off in pictures even though I’m not.


…….And then we were feeling a little silly.


You cant see it in the pictures, but the destination sign for the bus reads “Walt Disney World”. I was kind of hoping that would come through here, but not so much.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Sunday Progress

It was so sunny and warm out today that we opened the windows early and had vegetable omelets and coffee in the fresh air before getting to work outside.

Oona and I mulched a raised garden bed for her use and she planted peas.  When it’s warmer she will plant sunflowers and mini pumpkins as well.  She is beyond excited!

After we took care of that we finished mulching the back garden and Oona helped plant peas back there as well.  We got tomato and pepper seeds started inside, and I tied the long, spindly rose branches down to the trellis after some pruning.

I checked on the bees and they were happily buzzing about and working hard to bring nectar and pollen back to the hive.


There were tiny little blue wildflowers blooming all over the lawn, and I found two little crocuses in the front.


It was great to have the kids all outside all day for once!  Oona conned Paul into playing on the swingset for a little while before dinner.



Our house lamb is getting used to life outside once again, and is walking and eating on her own.  Her head is unfortunately still turned a bit back, but very slowly that seems to be improving as well.

In the coming weeks we will be putting in the cooler weather crops: lettuces, beets, carrots, radishes, etc.  I can’t wait for them to be ready.  I’ve been craving crunchy salads like nobody’s business!!!!

The sheep have been running and playing and kicking up their feet, and the dogs have been rolling happily in the grass.  Everyone’s got spring fever!


I think Lucy is the most photogenic dog!


Though Orzo doesn’t want to be counted out.



I know spring doesn’t officially start for a few more days, but we are enjoying life as though it is here already!


I love this part of the year; the air smells fresh and cool and earthy.  Full of the promise of things to grow. The rains are warmer now, and the first early bulbs are just starting to send their shoots up through the surface.  Normally this also the time of year we look forward to lambs and kids, but we have taken the year off.  Though I will miss the wee lamb noses and kid bleats, I’m relieved to have more time to devote to the garden and other farm projects that are sorely in need of attention.

I have gone through all my seeds and ordered the ones I needed; i’ll be starting my seeds in the mini greenhouse this week. Peas will be going directly into the ground in the next few days.

We did lose one bee hive over the winter. Not sure if it was the Varroa mites that did it or the cold; it was the smaller of the hives and not as strong as the swarm hive I started out with.  I will be sterilizing the components of the hive and seeing if the swarm hive decides to produce another swarm this year. If it does, I’ll be ready for it. That hive is super strong.  It went into winter with a bumper crop of honey.  I decided not to harvest any because there wasn’t a large amount above what they needed for themselves, and I wanted to be cautious in my first year as a beekeeper. It seems to have paid off, because they still have a few frames of lovely honey left and I’m not really needing to feed them much extra.

The chickens are finally starting to lay with some reliability again, to my great relief.


You cant see the color really well in the picture, but that is a blue egg!  I’m looking forward to being overloaded with eggs again; it’s it’s been far too long!


Little daffodils and crocuses poking up!


I’m hoping to be able to get out and work in the gardens a bit today and clean them up a bit in prep for planting.  I am going to be trying the Deep Mulch method this year. I have so very much waste hay that we may as well put it to good use!


One of our lovely Silver-Laced Wyandottes, Penny. She likes to hang out on the porch.


We’ve been able to have the windows open during the day lately, and the cats are loooooooving it. I’m thinking this little one needs a perch next to the bird feeder so she can better stalk her prey.

All this springyness has got me wanting to get sewing a whole lot as well. New dresses and skirts!

I’ve been getting a bit done here and there, and I’ll reveal all soon.  But I am excited about the newest Lonsdale dress I’ve made with some lovely Moda crepe:


This fabric reminds me so much of one of my favorite sewing bloggers – Lauren over at Lladybird.

For now I am excited to get outside and get the gardening started for real. What are you excited for this spring?







Tub Lamb

Just when all was starting to return to normal around here (and all of my seed catalogs were calling to me, reminding me I need to start my seeds), we got another snowstorm.


It was quite lovely.  Of course, the town was in no way prepared for it.  People were trying to drive home from work in it and there were abandoned cars everywhere on our road. Paul was out on the tractor clearing our neighborhood until pretty late, but thankfully neither of us had to be anywhere.


I love when it’s just snowed and all of the trees are heavy with it; it’s very Narniaesque!

Today it’s bright and sunny and in the upper 50’s, so everything is melting off and I am back to thinking we actually see spring soon.

It also means I can let our little Wembley outside to get some sun and fresh air.

Wembley, you see, has been living in my bathtub for the past week or so.


“I know there’s a cat there, but I am going to stare you down for more treats”.

Right before I got sick, we found her at evening feeding time laying in the hay with her head pinned back. Susan and I agreed that this looked exactly like a thiamine deficiency. But, not having any pure thiamine on hand, and out of an abundance of caution, a trip to the vet was in order.

Dr. Davis gave her an IV with thiamine and some glucose to keep her blood sugar up. She couldn’t find anything else wrong with her, so home we went, with instructions to keep her warm and keep her blood sugar levels up.

Into the tub she went, with some hay, food, and warm water mixed with molasses.

She’s been getting many, many shots of thiamine and plenty of attention. Her head is no longer pinned back to her side and her appetite is monstrous. She’s been in the tub awhile, though, and her limbs are a bit unused to holding her weight, so I’ve been taking her outside when I can and trying to get her to stand up.  She tries all the time, but in the tub she cant get any traction to stand.  Otherwise, she is the picture of health!


“Seriously, lady. Make with the treats.”


“Hello, cat. Do YOU have treats?”

I’m hoping her strength returns soon and she can be back out with the flock. Keeping a lamb in the tub is just as adorable – and disgusting – as you can imagine.


Staying distracted and busy is the goal for today. That’s what happens when you’ve been hit with a nasty Norovirus and you have to miss your best friend’s baby shower.


I am so unhappy about that.  Not only did I miss out on cake and fun and seeing Susan in all her giant belly glory, I missed seeing a whole lotta other friends I’ve been missing.

I guess I can take solace in the fact that the puking/diarrhea/fever train seems to have left the station.  Now it’s just lingering hot flashes, dizziness, sensitive stomach.  I can function, but who knows how contagious I might still be?

Maddie had the crud, too.  It’s possible she gave it to me when we met at The Alley Light last Sunday for dinner with our old friend Kim. Or maybe I gave it to her. Either way.

Since the miserable sickness seems to be on its way out I can finally move around and eat, and sew.  Because what else do you focus on when you’re wallowing in shower-missing sadness?


I re-threaded my serger, figuring I need to practice with it if I’m going to get serious about sewing apparel for myself. As much as I’ve enjoyed making things I’d still put my skill level at novice.  There’s a lot I need to learn about finishing techniques.  And putting together-y techniques.

You know what I mean.

I think my biggest obstacle is a total lack of decent fabric sources locally.  I’d have to trek out to Richmond (okay, that’s not terrible, but I AM pretty lazy).  Ordering online means taking a gamble if you’re not completely sure what you’re looking at. And trust me, good fabric makes aaaalllllll the difference.  Especially if you’re sewing with standard-issue machines, as I am.

Anyway, I worked on a three-quarter sleeve tee shirt today.


I’m loving the clean edges with the serger. Unfortunately I can’t use it exclusively to sew the pieces together since I seem to be having a lot of tension issues with it.  Maybe because I’ve got the cheapest serger on the market.



I love this Renfew shirt pattern from Sewaholic for its ease of use and how simple the dang neckline is! I’m pretty happy with how well it turned out, even though my stitching could be better.  I thought for sure when I sat down today that I had a twin needle to work the hemlines, and as it turns out, I don’t. So…….I sewed one line, moved the fabric, and tried to make the next line as parallel as possible.  It’s not bad, but it’s not fabulous, either.


See? This is the sleeve hem. Not bad, not great. (I did order a twin needle. It’s coming next week).


The one issue I have with the pattern is the banded bottom hem. I want just a simple, regular ol’ tee-shirt hem.  Again, no twin needle.  What I’ve ended up with is a hem that doesn’t look terrible, but there’s a stretch issue now that’s making it kind of ripply and weird.  I’ll be revisiting the hem on this when the twin needle (and more stabilizer tape) arrives.

I did have a lot of success with Cake Pattern’s Espresso Leggings.  They were super easy to assemble and I had fabric already that I knew would be perfect for leggings (just a standard Ponte de Roma knit from fabric.com).


I love that they have you put a looped ribbon in the back so you know which side is which.  It looks a little more polished somehow!


They went together in less than an hour and fit perfectly.

No, you will get no pictures of them on me today, due to the previously mentioned illness. I’m not looking my best right now!

Next I think I want to try Papercut Pattern’s Ooh La La Leggins.  They have more visual interest and look challenging in a very fun way.

Also, I should mention that THIS BOOK has helped me tons.  It’s a great reference for sewing knits, and I need all the help I can get!  If you’re new at sewing knits or, like me, need extra help, I seriously can’t recommend it enough!

Winter Weekend

More snow!

I know, I’m probably the only person on the eastern seaboard right now who gets excited over seeing snow anymore. Can’t help it.  Even after trudging out in it in the morning to put out fresh hay and again for evening feeding (and to knock the accumulated snow off the shelter) I was still smitten with it.



The kids stayed mostly in their pj’s all day, snuggled on the couch with hot cocoa and popcorn watching Rise of the Guardians and Bob’s Burgers.

We also spent a not-insignificant amount of time watching the cat, who was watching the birds.


She knows how to keep us entertained!

I was able to get a decent amount of knitting done on my Shepherd sweater. I’ve got one sleeve finished and I’m about a third of the way done with the second. I can’t believe how slow it’s going.  Not that I am a quick knitter or anything, but man! All that cabling really slows me down.

I’ve got some patterns pulled out that I am hoping to get to work on soon as well. I want to make a few more Renfew tops, some Espresso leggings, and at least one more Lady Skater.  I’ve also got some lovely Moda Crepe that I want to use to make another Lonsdale.

It probably won’t happen today, but it’s an exciting prospect to have it lined up.

I’m also toying with the idea of making a rain jacket with Minoru since I will need one in June, because……and here comes the super big news of the year……I am heading to Europe for 15 days with my sister and middle child!

Specifically, we are flying into Edinburgh, Scotland and staying there for 3 nights.  Even in June I will likely need a light jacket or sweater in the evenings.  My friend Jessie and her family will be there at the same time. We are already looking ahead to having a pint together in Scotland!

We are then taking the train to London (where a rain jacket will be a must) where we will stay for 5 days before taking another train to Paris. Happily, my friend Jennifer lives in London and we will be able to meet up with her while we are there.  We are also lucky enough to be able to stay with my friend Aurelie at her apartment in Versailles for 3 nights.  I haven’t seen her since before Oona was born, so I am crazy excited!

After Paris we are heading to Wiesbaden, Germany to stay with my friend Diana, who’s been there for work since August.

I am still amazed that we will see someone we know in each European city we are visiting!

We’ve got our tickets and our hotels in the UK booked and I can’t even tell you how hard it is now to just wait. I’m throwing myself into my knitting and crafting and garden planning  to stay occupied.

Before we get there, spring will come. The garden will be planted and the bees will be out gathering pollen and nectar. And most important of all, Susan’s baby will be here!

It’s going to be an incredible year!