Friday, April 29, 2016

Amanda Makes - Episode 11

Thanks for all the love I've gotten on Instagram after sending out my very first skeins 
of hand dyed yarn and also being under the weather. I really appreciate it! 
Turns out a few slow days is just what I needed to get another podcast on the air! 
I hope you'll find me on Instagram (littlehousebigwoods) and Ravelry (AmandaMakes) so we can continue the discussion there. 

On the Needles

Yarn Acquisitions
Rowan Fine Art, Lapwing
Patons Kroy, Blue Stripe Ragg

Stitch Markers


Knitting Knee Highs by Barb Brown
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
The Other Daughter by Laura Willig

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book Review - Hunting Hope

Spring has turned to summer this week and on the deck is the only place I want to be. Our bluebird pair is feeding their babies almost constantly and the yard is parched and dry. In two weeks' time, the spring semester will be over and our summer break will be sprawled in front of us with near limitless potential. It is wild to think how quickly this first year at Longwood has passed for Julian.

We are having a pancake party at the house Thursday night for all the students he has taught these past nine months. They really love him, think he's funny, and they spend way too much time loitering in his office when they should be doing other things. It's a good problem to have, I suppose.

So I am doing all the usual party prep things: baking in advance, coaxing the flowers to bloom, scrubbing floors, praying for rain, dyeing yarn, praying for good weather on the day. In addition to Julian being generally like-able, we want to show this college-aged, desperate-to-be-grown-up-but-still-not-sure-of-themselves crowd that you can do a million and one fun things without getting wasted, and that there are lots of people in this world who will love you for who you are, and that we are two of those people.

The opportunity to review Hunting Hope by Nike Maples comes at a perfect time for me. In addition to the fact that there is never a bad time to read a message of hope and gospel truth, it is a perfect time - as I am praying for these students as they go off to have their summer break and come back older to us in the fall - to add another arrow to my quiver of faith-based resources that I feel strongly enough to recommend. Here is my review of the book I posted on Amazon:

"I am always hesitant to give a book to someone who is struggling because so many "devotional" type books can make a struggling person's situation seem trite. Not this one! In the introduction {don't skip that part!} Maples points out that God created darkness and while He separates Himself from all spiritual darkness, He is alongside you in any situational darkness. The author equips you to know the difference between the two and then uses scripture throughout the book to show you how to find hope through the scriptural truths of God's character. The last 40 pages of the book are devoted to refining YOUR character so that you can be a person who knows joy and light through the trials and darkness of life. Great book. I think I'm going to sit down and read it all over again."

Oh I do hope they come here and feel good, feel at home, feel loved and looked after. Students unload a peculiar number of things on their favorite professors' shoulders and I just hope that we can do justice to the trust they give us and pray them through to the other side.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Knitting and Reading

bridal wreath bush :: no-knead bread :: morning tea slice :: sunset :: mrs. bluebird taking a break

The most exciting yarn-y thing I've got going on at present is my dye batch, on my previous post (check it out!) but I am happy to have a little bit of down time today to knit up the land of the land agent mittens. I say the last because I knit a pair to start with that was not to my satisfaction, but I didn't know this until after they were blocked... and felted... so there was no going back with that yarn.

So I re-knit, and here I am. They were a project for a friend and I have poked around with them because it is spring, right? No time now for wearing mittens. It was 26F this morning, 57F inside the house because we didn't bother to turn on the heat. Julian has been selected to represent the natural sciences at a campus "raft debate" in one week, so he has asked me to spend the day watching all the recorded raft debates the internet has to offer, from start to finish. I think I can handle that task, my dear!

I've been doing my house chores along with Marilynne Robinson's Lila and I like the book but it seems to have this author's characteristic way of not really telling a story with a standard plot but rather the main character's emotional arc. I'm only a little less than half way through and it seems this poor girl Lila is living life two steps forward, three steps back...

What are you knitting and reading? Show and tell with Ginny and the others through Yarn Along! If you're in the market for some beautiful hand dyed sock yarn, visit my previous post!

A little nature yarn...

I've had a good long month to sit and admire my backyard redbud tree in bloom. It looks best in the glow of sunrise and sunset but it never looks anything short of stunning. The bees and birds for miles around agree.

Then Kate @ Bluestocking got into a frenzy of knitting pink socks and the ideas just kept swirling in my head. Now faded and leafed out, it will be another year until I can see my redbud in bloom again. But what if I only had to look at my feet to be remembered of its glow?

Yes. I went there. I'm going to dye yarn to match my sunlit redbud. What's more is that I figured that since I'm going to buy all the acid dyes to do it, I might as well share the yarn-y love.

Here's all the specs:

Fiber: 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, 2ply high-twist
Weight: 100g/Fingering
Yardage: Approx. 400
Care: Hand wash cool, dry flat
Price: $24 pre-ordered, includes domestic (US) shipping

The yarn will  be hand-painted, having some longer sections of strong contrasts {but not stripes} between dark slate blue, silver gray, lavender, and light blue-gray, then berry toned speckles with a pop of fluorescent pink. 

So who's in? If you want to pre-order a skein (or two) use the form on the top left of the blog to send me the email address with which you have a registered PayPal account and I will send you an invoice. If you don't have a Paypal account, you can mail me a check, but you still need to let me know what your plan is through the contact form. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Amanda Makes 10

** Please pardon the hodgepodge nature of this post.
The pictures below are relevant to things I discuss in this podcast episode. **

Easter Lunch 
Lambie Cake

Bathing titmouse that was distracting me while filming. 

Peplum top pattern #1

Peplum top pattern #2

My wood ducks from the yard. 


Here is episode ten of the Amanda Makes Podcast. 
Join the conversation in the new Ravelry group! Like, share and subscribe!

On the Needles
Tracks sock in Online Sockenwolle, 'jungle color'
Dream bird shawl, Knit Picks Chroma  ‘weathervane’ and 'fog bank'

Stash Busting
Araucania Nature Wool Colorway 31
Knit Picks Stroll Tonal ‘pony ride'



DPN Cozy - The Nome Knitter


Friday, April 1, 2016

Raven Babes

Julian and I set out on a bike adventure yesterday to seek out a nest of ravens, which we already knew were there. This post is dedicated to all those people out there who say there is no such thing as an ugly baby. 

Ravens can be readily differentiated from crows by sound, but when you cannot hear them to compare, the size of the raven's overwhelming beak speaks for itself. They are very smart birds that are communal when young, and monogamous pairs defend year-round territories as adults. Ravens also are known for coexisting well with humans and have an interesting tendency to get where they are going by flying the path of roadways instead of "as the crow flies" in a straight line from point A to point B. 

This pair of ravens is a continuing pair that nests on the pylons underneath the historic High Bridge. The nest is best accessed from the Camp Paradise access point and hold four babies. They will leave the nest between five and seven weeks of age. 

We rode our bikes down to the bottom of the bridge to the banks of the Appomattox River. You can see from my pictures that the original pylons from the Civil War era bridge still stand.