Stasia's Place Of Grace


Sunday, January 02, 2005


Papa Bear's Cold Care

"Hack-hack-hack. Cough. Groan. Moan. Whine." [Pout. Sigh.]

I fear, Gentle Reader, that I am not good company just now. Woke up with a chest cough and stuffed sinuses. No holiday trip to the natural history museum for me today. [Pout again.]

At least Jeff is playing nurse for me. He's been busy concocting natural remedies that are, in fact, working!

The vitamin C in oranges never hurts. But what is really helping is the essential oil concoctions.

In the candle diffusers placed throughout the home, he has an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-septic blend of tea tree (5 drops), lavender (2 drops) and thyme (2 drops).

In the dish is a homemade Vick's vapor rub: a 1 tsp. base of grapeseed oil in which he's placed lemon (1 drop), eucalyptus (2 drops) and rosemary (3 drops). It is to be massaged around the chest, neck, and sinus area and works great.

And on the hankie* we have an inhalation blend of thyme (1 drop), peppermint (1 drop), eucalyptus (1 drop) and clove (1 drop). I'm supposed to inhale deeply whenever possible, and so am carrying this around as I shuffle about in my fuzzy yellow robe with sheep on it. (There is something comforting to a fiber artist about having PJs and a robe with sheep emblazoned on them. I will spare you a pic of me in my sheep slippers.)

If you've been lucky enough to avoid colds or influenza (and believe me, if you have ever had influenza, you know that it is not just a bad cold - it irritates me no end when people with colds say they have the flu, and then take anti-bacterial antibiotics which wouldn't help a viral flu, anyway! Sorry, I told you I was grumpy today...), then get thee out to get some essential oils so you are prepared should the worst happen and you be unlucky enough to succumb to that sneeze from the checkout person at your grocery store! Blech! (And don't forget to wash your hands often - the very best prevention of all!)

* What, you don't have a hankie? And you, a craftsperson? You deserve to have a nice hankie or two, and not those horrendous, skin-irritating and wasteful paper tissues!

Simply buy inexpensive cotton hankies at your local discount store, or get some cotton yardage from the fabric store and cut a square. Then, take a tiny, metal crochet hook and some fine crochet cotton, and a handy book of crochet edgings from the library, and just poke the hook right through the fabric to crochet some lovely border lace (a good project for an at-home, in-bed, not-feeling-well-at-all day! Imagine you are indisposed a la Jane Austen. Play it up, and have people pity you and bring you Earl Grey tea.)

Roll the edge of the fabric tightly as you go, to make a hem enclosed by your foundation row of crochet stitches. Heck, if you don't want to make lace, you can stop with one round of colorful stitches just to secure the fabric. For an elegant hankie, use crochet thread in the same shade as the fabric - white on white or cream on cream are lovely.

If you're feeling especially creative, you can take a needle and the crochet cotton and stitch your initials onto one corner using simple embroidery techniques.

Voila - a gorgeous, soft, washable hankie you'll be proud to take out of your pocket... especially when infused with your favorite perfurme, or some essential oils, to sniff when you need a mood-lifter or sinus-clearer!

All recipes are from The Complete Book Of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood.

The Blunders Of 2004

I promised I'd share my 2004 fibery boo-boos with you, and here they are.

I knew, when I wove these cotton dishtowels, that they would shrink a lot because of the fiber and the waffle weave pattern I'd chosen. (Thanks again for the help on that, Pamela!) I did not, however, realize they would shrink down to washcloth size!

I tried warping my rigid heddle loom in an unfamiliar way, and ended up having to re-tension the warp a couple of times. That goofed up my length estimates, which is why one towel is so much shorter than the others.

Well, I learned a lot from the project, and had fun doing it, and got over some more loom-a-phobia, and still have some useful... washcloths for my troubles, so that wasn't as bad as this:

That would be my silk/wool cabled tunic from the Fall, 2002 issue of Interweave Knits. The pattern is called "Welcome Back, Old Friend" and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it.

It was my first big cable project, and took me ages to knit and seam. But I finally finished it, and loved wearing it. And then... it grew.

And despite (or, perhaps, because of) washing and blocking several times, it grew and it grew and it grew and it grew.

It got longer. It got wider. The sleeves lengthened and began to look like elephants' trunks. What on Earth?

I made Jeff try it on. Wow, he is 6'3", and it was too big for him!

What to do, what to do? (If I had asked Jeff first, he would have wisely told me to take it apart and re-use the yarn. I did not, unfortunately, ask Jeff first.)

I tried to felt it. It took three trips through the washer and dryer to begin to felt. And then I remembered: cable-knit items will not felt in width! In fact, if anything, it actually got wider!

I now have a sweater with a 60" bust measurement (I am a 38-40), and a tunic which is now 19" in length (I am 5'7" so that goes about to my waist.

Well, what I actually have now is a very expensive and time-consuming dog bed/blanket for Fiona. And at least I didn't have the heartbreak of poor Julia - I had gotten some use out of the sweater.

What did I learn from this? That not every pattern published in a magazine has been road-tested. That heavy yarns are not good to use for big sweaters knit at relatively loose gauges. To trust my instincts and take inspiration from other designers but continue to design my own projects using techniques from Elizabeth Zimmermann, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, and Barbara G. Walker. (Claudia, they are great for those of us who are gauge-challenged!)

And to ask Jeff's advice once in a while. I always think I have more common sense than he, but... that is just a wifely superiority complex. There is a reason, after all, that he had a high-school project accepted by NASA, to go aboard the space shuttle. There is a reason, after all, that he just got a great review and a raise (go, Jeff!) There is a reason, after all, that he knows how to make a lovely Christmas dinner and a wicked vapor rub. Why, that man, despite being a man , might just have a brain or two in that skull! Knitting, for him, should be child's play... if I can just get over my pride and admit he might actually be able to help!

Good Wishes For You

May your 2005 bring you the best of luck in your fibery pursuits, the best of health, and an open attitude of willingness to accept help from others. Have a fantastic day!

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Welcome To Stasia's Blog

Stasia is a knitter, spinner, weaver, writer, reader, and musician from Wisconsin, USA.

Join her here as she journals about beauty in nature, the joys of fibery pursuits, special people and pets, and great places to shop. It's her hope you'll leave spiritually inspired and creatively motivated. Thanks for visiting!

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Holiday Surprise We went out for some last-minute...
Baby, It's Cold Outside! Eight degrees F, to be p...
Fibery Pursuits I finally warped up my Ashford ri...
Happy Hanukkah! On the menu today: roast Israeli ...
ANOTHER UPDATE! Thanks to Dennise and Nannette, w...
Thanksgiving Season The sun is lower in the sky a...
Help With Wheel? I found an interesting spinning ...
Day Two Of The Fiber Fest Now that we have the ge...
2004 Wisconsin Spin-In/Sheep & Wool Festival Jeff...

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