Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pretty Wool Roving for Spinning

Earlier this spring we sent several clipped fleeces from our pretty Finn sheep to the wool mill to be processed into roving for spinning. I'm so happy that it came today! I immediately dug into one large bag of light-colored wool and put in on the spindle to see how it feels. It is lovely.

I usually process the wool myself, but it is such a lot of work! Now I have enough roving already prepared that I can spin enough yarn to make a sweater I hope. That has been a goal for some time - to make sweater from hand-spun yarn with wool from our own sheep. Perhaps someday I'll get fast enough at washing and combing that I can make a sweater completely "from scratch" so to speak.

We have plenty and enough to sell. I'm working hard right now to prepare to be a vendor at the spring Fiber Festival at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum near Santa Fe. The museum shows life as it might have been in the colonial period on the Camino Real - the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe. It is a fascinating place. You can read about a visit we made to the museum a few years ago in this post. The festival is on June 4th and 5th.

After the festival is over, I hope to get back to my more normal routine and continue working on the hope chest. Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Antique Store Crocheted Edgings

I recently visited a small antique mall in Albuquerque where I immediately sought out the linens in all the booths. I've mentioned before that I love to stir through piles of antique linens and wonder about the lives and stories behind the needlework. On this day I found several "antique" pillowcases with crocheted edgings. I put the term in quotes because I don't think they are antiques, used yes, but probably not antique. The fabric and thread did not match in age. Possibly someone crocheted on the edge of pre-owned pillowcases. These pink pillowcases were worn, but the thread is pretty new and not laundered as often. But I thought the edging pattern was pretty and so I took a picture with my phone. I can deduce the pattern quite easily so I'll probably use it on something for the hope chest.

I can see that the person who crocheted this edging used a single thread to hand sew a foundation on the edge of the pillowcase, creating the spaces for the initial row of double crochet stitches. The initial crocheted row is simply a (3 dc, ch 1) in each space around the pillowcase. The second row is (2 dc, ch 1) in each ch-1 space from the previous row. It may work out to be (2 dc, ch 2) rather than the ch 1. I'll have to experiment to determine that. The third row looks like (sc, ch 4) in each space from the previous row. The final row is also (sc, ch 4). It is a pretty pattern and I'm happy to have stumbled on it.

Here is a second edging. The initial foundation and the first row is the same, and I think it was crocheted by the same person, but I'll have to work on figuring out the pattern...

The initial foundation and first row is again the same in this third example. I'll have to experiment with this pattern also.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Family History for Kids: Simple Family Photo Book

The Simple Family Photo Book is probably the easiest of the projects I've made. I just collected photos with ancestors or family members as children doing unusual things. I tried to find those that I thought would be interesting for the kids to see. I used the "add text" feature in my photo editing software to add a simple caption to explain each photo. Then I printed the photos and placed in page protectors to make a simple book that can be read to my grandchildren. As with the other books, I think I want to make it into a board book so that it can be as sturdy and long lasting as possible.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Family History for Kids: Historical Paper (Felt) Doll

Paper dolls were a favorite toy in times past. Talking to children about old fashioned toys and telling stories as you play is another way to connect young children to family memories. Other toys like jacks and marbles or card games, etc. also work in the same way to start a conversation with children.

Story: When I was nine years old (in about 1969) my best friend's mother helped us make what she called a "Clorox" doll. Sister Wright cut up an old Clorox bottle and cut a doll shape out of the plastic - one for Jody and one for me. She helped us cut and glue flesh colored felt to the plastic body and a colored felt swimsuit on top so that they were modest! She helped us make and attach yarn hair and draw a face. Then she demonstrated how to trace around the doll shape to make simple clothing out of felt. If not too heavy, the felt clothing clings to the body of the doll and you don't have to worry about tabs on the clothing. She gave us more colored felt, Elmer's paste, bits of lace and ribbon, sequins (for buttons) and turned us loose. We had a grand afternoon and I had a lovely toy to take home.

The doll could be made as a regular paper doll as well, using cardboard instead of plastic and the beautiful printed scrap booking paper for the paper clothing. Just don't forget to add tabs to the shoulders to hold the paper to the body of the doll. For our doll, Miss Abigail and I made felt clothing that would be historical and/or ethnic to further connect to ancestors and memories.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Family History for Kids: Seek and Find Photo Book

The Seek and Find Photo Book is also a fun project. I wanted a way to help my young grandchildren interact with our historical family photos. Just looking at pictures and scrapbooks can be fun for older kids and adults, but the little ones are not as interested unless they have some guidance. That's where the concept of seek and find comes into play.

I chose several historical photos that had a lot going on or those that featured subjects that would be interesting to children. Then, I studied the photos and tried to find details that were repeated or otherwise engaging. For example, in the picture above, there are 8 children in a parade, 2 white socks, 3 cowboy hats, 1 clown, a hobo stick and only two smiles among the bunch! Other pictures in the book include finding the number ten on my dad's basketball jersey, counting buttons or pockets in a portrait of grandparents, etc. Just look for the details and make a list. After finding all the details, one can still visit about the picture for as long as attention allows.

I used a word processing document to build the pages and then printed them out and put the pages in sheet protectors. I actually want to investigate making a board book with these pictures so that the book is a little more sturdy.

The Family Story Swap game comes from the July 2013 issue of The Friend magazine. It is a game with simple interview questions or story prompts to answer by turns. The purpose is to help family members get to know each other through conversation and memories.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Family History for Kids: Object/Story Match

This is my favorite game of all. It is pretty simple, but young children like simple! I've started with just my husband and me, but the "game" can be expanded later to include our parents and grandparents on back. I merely have to collect more stories, objects and pictures. The point is to listen to very short stories and then find a simple object that matches the story and place it on the correct picture.

I began by brainstorming stories for both of us. I included a story of my husband working in a gas station in high school, another of my husband's love of spooky ghost stories, a story of when I stepped on a nail and one of how I came to love geology and rocks, etc. Just really simple memories. Stories can be short or long, depending on the age and interest of the children. I wrote these stories on slips of paper and folded them. Then I located a little object to represent each story. For example, the fish represents a story of a fishing trip my husband remembers with his grandfather. Because I have to multiply the game for each of my children, these objects have to be very simple and inexpensive. With just the two pictures, the family would divide into teams. With additional pictures and objects, each person might have a picture of their own to tend.

So you play the game in turns with someone picking up a paper and reading the story. Then everyone can decide which object goes with that story and the person with the correct picture collects the object and places it on their picture. Play continues until all the stories, objects and pictures are matched. If you have a lot of time and interest, more stories can be included. If time is short or the children have limited attention, just decrease the number of stories, saving the others for another time.

I like the aspect of being able to add to the game, sending additional stories, objects, and pictures of other family members as I get them finished.

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