Saturday, December 31, 2011

Almost There

Almost there....

...have seen to the imperfections...

.....rewritten the pattern....

....looking forward to tidying up my stitches....

Then and only then, will I introduce you.  As you can see my work is a little messy and needs redoing, but...

Almost There!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I have a parcel packaged up, waiting for one of my test knitters to pop by.........I can't believe how nervous I am about this part of the process.  I bet I'll be even more nervous the day I click "post" and make my first published pattern available for sale to anyone in the world......

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Almost A New Year

It's almost a New Year and I can't wait to take it by the horns and run with it.  2011 was a wonderful year for us here on the Homestead and I just know that 2012 is going to be even better.  The last couple of weeks has been filled with planning, working and anticipation of the Holiday Season, here, as with the rest of the world.  The only thing that may have been a little different here than most anywhere else, is that I have also been working on my first hat pattern that I intend to offer for sale on Ravelry.  I am in the process of knitting and writing it right now and I am just a little excited about it.  I have made around half a dozen patterns to date but not the kind of patterns that I would offer for sale as they were all quite plain and just another variation on what is already available (sometimes for free).  The pattern I'm working on is an original colour work Tam, designed from my own original plain Tam pattern.  I hope it ends up looking fabulous and that there might be a few folks out there who think so as well.  Here's a little taste of the work in progress.

I can't believe how much work goes into writing a pattern, especially with charts for colour work and shaping, but I have absolutely loved the process and I can't wait to share it with you.  I am almost finished my part of it, then it's off to test knitting and reworking/editing anything that needs it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays.

However you celebrate the season, may it be warm and filled with loved ones.  

All the best,  


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


This year the Winter Solstice occurs at 12:30 am on 22 December.  I'm putting the Sole back in Solstice by having a warm evening at home with candles burning to harken back the longer days, surrounded by fresh greenery to remind me of the greens of summer.  For any of you out there in the blogasphere who celebrate Yule or Midwinter or Solstice, I wish you a very happy and joyous one, surrounded by love, warmth and plenty.  May your home fires burn brightly.

Cheers, Chantelle

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Did a little Holiday baking today....

...Cranberry Tarts made from local cranberries and Raisin Tarts made with my very own raisins.  They don't look very nice in the photo but believe me, they smell and taste really good.  Celebrations always need a little sugar!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Tis the season to start enjoying the fruit of our labour.  If you've been tuned in for a while, you already know how much preserving the food we grow and acquire from local sources means to me.  After working hard this fall to jam, pickle, dehydrate and freeze many pounds of beautiful home grown and locally grown food....we get to eat it!  I started diving into the food stores this week and oh my goodness does it all taste good!

The pressure canner in full swing.

One food that I love this time of year is Clementines.  Unfortunately for now I'm still buying them and they are still coming from a continent away.  We do have a tangerine tree though and last year we had one lonely little fruit.  With any luck, we'll be getting many more in years to come as the tree gets more mature.  Who knows, they may even substitute for my seasonal clementine addiction.

It's hard to share one lonely little tangerine.

If you've ever wanted to homestead, grow and preserve your own food and maybe even have a root cellar, I recommend you check out Kevin's Blog.  He recently posted a video he took, preparing a salad in his root cellar.  I am now experiencing root cellar envy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sew Pretty

I was in town today and stopped by the fabric store......

The fat quarters at top right were together in a set and are destined to be made into future gifts.  The turquoise with dragon flies and beige with lady bugs are for me and are eagerly awaiting some embroidered embellishments.  The ribbon is for embroidery.  It used to be cost effective to sew your own clothes, not so any more, at least not with new fabric.  I do use upcycled fabric whenever I can, buying this today was a bit pricey and I'm not sure if it was really worth it, but how I loooove those dragon flies.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thoughts On "Slow Wardrobe"

The Wovember Campaign during the month of November was the brain child of two amazing women, Kate Davies and Felicity Ford.  I had a great time competing in the Wovember contest (and am still hoping to be one of the lucky winners) and continuing my day to day love affair with wool.  I just read a wonderful post by Felicity describing "Slow Wardrobe" in a very interesting twist on the "Slow Food" movement.  This way of thinking and living fits in nicely with Homesteading, and I have to agree with Felicity whole heatedly.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wish List

I've been adding and subtracting books from my wish list, this is an ongoing thing that I've been doing for as long as I can remember.  This being that season when Santa is watching and listening to hear what you might be wishing for, I thought I'd share.  As well as the beautiful book listed in my last post (which I think is at the very top of my list), I've been dreaming about these as well.

For the knitter in me (and the budding designer), Shirley Paden has written a book to help us learn how to design our own patterns and adjust other patterns to get the perfect fit.

For the homesteader in me....I enjoyed watching Victorian Farm last year on PBS, it was a documentary series of 2 archaeologists and an historian who lived a year as Victorian farmers.  Since the release of this documentary, these same folks wrote a book about the series under the same name.  They also referred to Henry Steven's Book of The Farm throughout the series as their Victorian Farm "Bible".  So they are both on my list.

Victorian Farm: Christmas Edition

Book of the Farm: Concise Edition

For the aspiring seamstress in me...Sew Retro, I sweet book that is part snippets of historical data, whimsical memorabilia and practical sewing advice and patterns, all with a nod to past with 25 vintage inspired patterns.

Sew Retro: 25 Vintage-Inspired Projects for the Modern Girl & A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution

I think all of these books would make useful and adored additions to my library, being both practical and beautiful.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

....Still Inspired....

Jardin reve, jardin brode

Good news is that I don't have to wait and order this book I told you about yesterday from Euro Amazon....It's available at Chapters online as well!!!  I think there might be a Chapters gift certificate under the tree...hmmmmm and even if there isn't....I have another little Chapters coupon hanging around somewhere....oh there it is....

If the book is even half as beautiful as her blog, I'm going to love it!

Friday, December 9, 2011


I get a lot of my inspiration from other people's amazing work.  I wish embellishments came out of my own head and I guess they do, it's just that they are often originally inspired by an other's work.  I found Cecile through another blog that I like to read.  I have to say I have a textile crush on Cecile, her blog is amazing, her work even more so.  Seeing her use of colour and texture to bring nature to life in floss and ribbon inspired me to pick up needle and floss and take a chance......

If you can guess what kind of flower this is, then I've accomplished something:)  Of course, since I haven't stitched anything in years (and it was counted cross stitch when I did) I think I did pretty well.  Can't wait to hone this skill as it just opens up a world of possibilities.  I hope to buy her book "Jardin Reve, Jardin Brode" (excuse the lack of accents, I don't know where they are on this keyboard).  Oh, by the way Mom, it's available on European Amazon....just sayin'.  Anyway, I don't know if Cecile will ever know how much her work has inspired me but just in case you do read this... Merci Cecile.


If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I love felted wool and I use it quite a lot.  Today, I took a sweater that I had knit for Mr. several years ago that was way too big (and he was way to kind to say a word about it, he just doesn't wear it) and felted it.  I neglected to take a before photo, but here is an after shot.  It was knit with MacAusland's 2 ply in Natural Grey in a nice checkered pattern (about 5 stitches per block).

Not a great picture I'm afraid, but you can still just barely make out the pattern.  It might be about in inch shorter than he would like it now, but all in all it will be a much better fit.

I also machine knit a sheet of MacAusland's 3 ply in Natural Grey (a different shade than above) and felted it to see how it would turn out.  I need to make 2 more sheets and felt them, then I'm going to cut and use my signature stitch to make a very interesting pullover.  This was Mr.'s idea, I think he's on to something.

This particular batch of yarn felted up very nicely with a soft halo, I think it's perfect for a warm garment.  Here's a closer look at the finish.

Unfortunately the Mr. Darcy that I was lovingly hand knitting Mr. for Christmas is in the frog pile.  I love this sweater, I love the pattern, it was a pleasure to work on it...but I was again making it way too big.  Ok, before you say "did you swatch"....I sure did!  And knowing that I knit loose, I started with a smaller needle than recommended and my swatch was perfect.  In fact, it seemed that anywhere on the sweater that I checked for gauge, it was perfect...but It was still ending up many inches toooooooo wide so instead of going any further and ending up with yet another lovely sweater in the closet....I stopped.  I will let you know how the felt and cut sweater turns out.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And It Only Took A Week!!

Back to the Singer Treadle Sewing Machine that Mr. Homesteader bought me for Christmas....I was so happy to see that the brand new leather drive band made it here today all the way from the UK in only a week (in December no less).  So with any luck, when I get home from work tonight Mr. and I won't be too tired to size, cut and latch it together.  I sew so (snicker) want to play with this beautiful thing.

Dave wanted to get it working for me this afternoon, but I told him that he'd better let Mr. do it.  So he checked it all out and decided to continue grabbing and dragging the yarn I was knitting with across the house instead.  He's so helpful.

Speaking of knitting....this is as much as I can show you as it's still classified "top secret", but dear knitters just think of Mr. Darcy that hung out over at Knitty sometime back in 2009.....if I say any more, I might get into trouble.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Warms The Heart

This video is so cute........

Sweet Christmas Carol

If that doesn't put you into the Holiday mood.........

Another Job Finished.

I finally finished the socks that my Father asked for.  I love making them, but I have to say I'm looking forward to making something different.  I'd tell you what that something different is but Mr. Homesteader reads my blog....SPOILERS!

Six pairs of warm, hand knit, 100% wool socks.

They make nice ornaments too!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Now We're Talkin'

So that sewing machine I told you about yesterday, you know, the one with the knee lever...I gave it a try today and it took less getting used to than I thought it would.  I decided that the first thing I make on it should be both for me and old fashioned so I set to work making a doll.  I drew a pattern out yesterday for the doll and dress.

And finally this morning I was able to play with this amazing machine.  See the black iron lever in the front...yup that's how it runs.

The doll was made out of a pillow case.

Then I made her a dress from an old dress of my own.

She's so pretty that she doesn't even bother dying her hair, it's make of natural brown 100% wool yarn (of course).

Her name is Miranda.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Ok , quick post just to let you know how challenging the smaller details in life can be.

See this....this is a catalogue picture of another vintage sewing machine.  This one I've had for about 13 years now.  It is an early electric model.  When I bought it I noticed that there was no pedal so I figured I'd keep my eye out for one and if one came along I'd be all set.  I paid very little for this machine so I didn't mind it sitting around looking pretty for so many years, but my recent acquirement of the treadle machine re sparked my interest in getting this one working.  Mr. took a long look at it (he understands physics, I don't) and he couldn't figure out how or where a pedal would actually plug into the machine.  So after further examination, he discovered that there was a lever inside of a hole at the front of the machine and when you moved it it made the motor run.  On even closer inspection Mr. saw that there was an odd shaped metal thing, neatly housed inside of the didn't take him long to figure out that the metal thing fit the strange hole and turned the lever!!!!  Unfortunately I'm at work right now and haven't been able to play with it myself yet.  He assures me that it goes like snot.  He said "the good news is that works great, the bad news always did".  Well now, all that needs doing is the electrical cord to the machine and from the machine to the light to be replaced as the insulation is dodgy.  Voila......