Month: October 2014

Same, but Different

I’m pleased to say that I’ve moved on from feeling heartbroken about not being in school this semester. The time I spent attending class and doing assignments has been replaced with some wonderful things! One of those wonderful things is that I have more time for my knitting. Case in point — these socks were lingering on my needles since last year. When I had a break from my studies, the idea of making tiny stitches on size 0 needles and thinking about heel turning, gussets, and all of the other mechanics of sock knitting was not the appealing thing. But now that my time and mind is much freer — it’s exactly the thing! My mind likes to figure out knitting stuff just as much as rhetoric stuff.


I really like the way these socks are the same but different — when you start a sock with self striping yarn, you can choose to start with the same colors for each sock, or you could take a chance and see how starting with different colors will play out. That’s what I chose. See how the heels are the same but different?


and the tops?

and the toes?

That fills me with glee! These socks are going to be so fun to wear. I used a pattern from Nancy Bush’s book Knitting Vintage Socks (my favorite because she is a friend of the tiny needles too, plus her patterns are always clear and perfect). The yarn is Kaffe Fassett sock yarn (of course — those colors!). I had the yarn, so no coupons used.

I think “same but different” might be a little mantra of mine in the coming months. I’m wondering if I should go back to school at all now. I did some math, and finishing a graduate degree will cost $10,000 even after my tuition reimbursements at work. I have already learned a great deal about writing and research that I can take to my own projects. Instead of writing articles for academic journals, I can make my own little books. Instead of shooting videos to include in multimedia projects, I can make them about how to bake bread. You get the idea — same, but different. And I think that difference is really, really exciting.



You might remember that I came home from Indianapolis one vintage slip short (how that happened is still a complete mystery to me, btw!)! I finally got a chance to sew a replacement, and I’m so happy with the way it came out!

I used some raw silk fabric that I had already, which I washed and dried. This gives it a slightly crinkly look, and also makes it so that you can always wash it yourself — no dry cleaning! I used the pattern I drafted for my Vibrant Matter skirt, some fold over elastic, and did the hem in some red silk embroidery floss that I’ve had in my possession for almost 20 years! I sewed it by hand, and even stitched the raw edges on the inner seams by hand.


Can you see those teeny tiny rolled hem stitches? They fill me with glee!

Once I was done, I realized it was not so much a slip as a layer. I can wear it like a skirt, or over other longer skirts, or under shorter dresses! It’s pretty enough to stick out and be clothing, not underwear. I also love the feel of the silk so much more than the nylon material slips are usually made of.

It was really relaxing to make — I love sewing by hand!

Here I am ready to run out the door after a long day at work. I wore the new silk layer under a shorter dress, which I wore a sweater over, which I wore a hand knit shawl over. Don’t forget the hand crocheted beret! Multilayered indeed!


Kinda European Peasant Meets 1980s Bohemian Eccentric?

I also can’t resist sharing this outtake — doesn’t it look like I am a ghost with webbed hands?!?!


(It’s Friday, and I’ve had a long week — forgive me for being silly!)

Yay — new slip — no — LAYER! No coupons used! Now I’m spoiled. I want to make all my future layers in silk.

hands on.

I love this blog post from radical farmwives on so many levels that I had to reblog it. Love the idea of hands on. Love the pair of handmade socks of two different shades of grey. Love Opal’s outfit that she made so much of herself. Amazing tiny person! I look forward to more hands on posts 🙂

radical farmwives

All of the rain that has been falling lately seems to be driving home the fact that the seasonal shift from mostly outdoors to mostly indoors is upon us. Here I think I can speak for my fellow farmwives (and their families!) that when we find ourselves indoors, we also find ourselves making things. (Probably our creative juices get flowing as a survival mechanism when we find ourselves trapped in tight spaces for long periods of time with our respective families. Ahem.) Whether we’re making gooey donuts or colorful knitting, textured weaving or gaudy jewelry, pretty paintings or sewn sundresses… our hands find different outlets for keeping busy (and sane).

So today, I’m going to launch a new series here with the farmwives: hands on. Every so often we’ll take our turn at showing all of you out there what we’ve been making with these busy hands of ours…

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On Gifts


I recently gave a gift, and started thinking that I didn’t really address gifts in my ration plans. Of course, if you were going to give a gift back during wartime, it would need to be something that was not rationed, come from your ration book, or be something you could create from things you already had. When I watched Wartime Farm, I learned that many gifts (especially toys for children) during the war were handmade from the most random things (and came out so charmingly!), and also a very popular and appreciated gift was a bar of soap (soap rations, you know).

After much mulling over, I decided to be true to the spirit of my challenge, rather than the law: I would not subtract coupons for purchased gifts that fell into my three categories of clothing, soap, or tea. The reason I started this challenge was to monitor my personal consumption and find creative ways to do more with less. When it comes to others, I want to let my heart dictate what I give, not my ration book!

That being said, when I was purchasing said gift, I threw in a few things for myself (sheepish grin) — that’s the kind of gift I need to report! I purchased 300 grams of yarn. 300 g = 10.5822 oz, let’s call it 11oz. 2 oz of wool = 1 coupon, so let’s just say 6 coupons. Fractions, smackshions! As long as I round up, it’s fair I think.

I also want to note that I’ve been the recipient of some really lovely gifts since I’ve been on the ration. I have to tell you the truth — receiving gifts when you are limiting what you purchase feels 100000000000000 times more beautiful and touching and exciting and tender! One’s appreciation soars. Have I mentioned lately how fruitful working this challenge has been? 🙂


Clothing: 21 out of 66
Soap: 24 out of 36
Tea: NONE out of 10

image: pretty little gift from where you can find scads of restored antique and vintage royalty-free images.

Mentioning the Unmentionable(s)


I can’t believe I’m going to talk about my underwear on the internet


it is imperative that I keep my ration coupons up to date!

When I was organizing my lingerie drawer at the season changeover, I noticed that my bras were showing signs of wear. Bits of elastic poking out, a sort of run in my one nude colored bra . . . nothing that would make me not wear these items (it would take a snapped underwire or such for that to happen!) but I did pause and realize that I should get one new bra this year since I have the coupons. I got my tried and true: 3 coupons spent.


The Bali Minimizer Satin Tracings bra: a comfortable and nice looking in a fuddy duddy retro way number for the amply endowed. I’ve been buying this style whenever I need a new one for gosh — almost 20 years! The padded, wide straps are a lifesaver!

I’m really practical when it comes to unmentionables. I have 2 black bras, 2 nude bras, and all of my underwear is black, nude, or a combination of black and nude (lace, leopard! I am a little frivolous) so everything matches and looks put together. I also have two sports bras although I don’t play sports. These are for gardening and such; I do not wear them in polite company! These numbers allow me to have each color/type to wear during the week and then handwash and hang dry the alternates.

Remember — you don’t put a bra in a dryer!



Clothing: 27 out of 66
Soap: 24 out of 36
Tea: NONE out of 10

Rationing, or the Creativity of Limitations


It’s October 1, which means that this year’s challenge (and associated coupons!) last for 3 more months. Just a little, “WOW! Where did the time go?” and a tally of where I stand in the challenge: