Ruby’s Vintage Patterns

Transcontinental Ruby’s Story begins.

What’s up with Ruby’s Vintage Patterns? Well, Ruby was a really hard working woman in her time. Her life has unfolded before my eyes over the past 12 years and I am truly interested in sharing her story. So in Project number 1, I am knitting the garment using the materials originally called for in her 1960s written pattern. As I do, I am also searching for that perfect 21st century yarn to work the design in parallel. I think Ruby deserves to have her patterns revived, as they are universal, practical designs, meant for us “normal knitters”.  We like Simple & Practical.  We know if we are going to spend X amount of time hand knitting the garment, then you need quality materials that will hold up to the XX wear and easy care you hope the intended user will give it!!  I truly like knitting things that people will actually use! So look forward to explaining more about Ruby, her patterns and her story.


Friday fluff


This bowl of Friday fluff brought to you by Buddy, a 2 year old French Angora house bunny.  Stay Warm!!

WHAT IS THIS PLANT?                                                                 Found on Minnesota shore of Lake Superior

Please comment if you know what this is!!!

Fall Fluff


At October’s close, we had a gorgeous fall day and I collected some milkweed pods.  I have every intention of spinning all of it.  I did make a supported spindle from a pine nut and a piece of wire to try it out.  It was relaxing! Every turn of the spindle spread the fresh pine oil into the crisp air. I love camping and finding treasures to inspire.img_20161028_122446397

Postage due

Postage due …not a phrase used today unless standing at a kiosk reading a screen outside the locked post office lobby in your town.


Once upon a time my father had a robust stamp collection. Though I am never sure where treasures like this appeared from or when, he seemed to have somehow gained this unique knowledge of what I consider …entrancing hobbies.
Though I never knew dad to step foot inside a library, and there was no internet, we often found him in his little workshop in the basement, at his 2nd hand drafting table, peering  through the fluorescent magnifying lamp.
Didn’t matter if it was a rifle being restored, a Kennedy half dollar being polished, or a tiny little stamp from belgium, I never asked how my dad learned these skills…he was just Super Smart. Must have been that Christian Brother School?
Looking at my own hobbies I often find myself picking up something that, only in reflection emotionally ties me to my parents- so far away.  I can remember the most trivial details of my mother’s China, my dad’s wood planes, and my Granda’s fly rod with cloth case, the vivid small details, smell of sawdust, the sound of a spoon swirling sugar in the brown glass ARCOROC tea cups…is just a mystery.
I knit, but not because I like to create, but maybe because I think the skills I learned watching  my young parents, keeps them young and close in my heart. I’ve never mastered stamp collecting, I don’t like guns, i’m good with tools and building “tools” (spinning, wool combs, knitting machine accessories)  other items from available materials.  I never miss out on quality China in thrift stores. I knit many different techniques, until I’ve learned it, then learn a new one.  I do go to the library and learn much of the skills from reading the same old books my dad must have himself bought in a thrift store garage sale or borrowed from a friend.
I enjoy the challenges of process, not product. I like to discover how things are made and relish in recreating processes from our history that go unappreciated in today’s world. Though I don’t make clothes or pictures frames or even dinner most nights, I could teach a person how to do these things with great efficiency and quality. Because I spent so many moments watching my parents enjoy their life in the best way they knew. I was fascinated with their interests. Still am. That is my “postage due”.



IMG_20151202_221053944It was a simple solution. That’s what drove me to the idea.  For many years I have noticed I love to choose challenging from scratch, gardening, knitting….I’m just not satisfied with steady state, “run of the mill” work. So I challenge myself with Veganism, subsistence gardening, building my own spinning wheels and raw wool combs, super crazy reverse Knit cables from a Japanese knitting Cable book, or the other extreme, historic Shetland shawls, Estonian lace (Thank you Nancy Bush) and you guessed it cobweb lace, as seen in Skaska designs.  (I’m also challenged to write short sentences….still working on that!!)  This unfortunate fascination, however often means I sacrifice one project for another, or once I learn a new technique, I’m ready for a new challenge.

But I hate the idea of investing money in a project before I know if I will like it!!! Or if i will finish it.

Simple economics on this one. If I were going to spend the time to learn to knit lace with cobweb yarn, how much would the yarn cost and would I really use it?

So, to the thrift shop I went. Found an extra small, 100% cashmere, short sleeve, Knit top that had been horribly tiedyed camo blue.  $1.99 later I was at home, hand washing, drying and unzipping the chained-linker stitches holding the collar, sleeves, and front and back together.

Vioila, I successfully disassembled the sweater. Pulled the cast off rows apart and begun winding the tiny cashmere thread onto the ball winder. It was fascinating.

My children and husband just looked at me funny.  They left me alone. I was happy and content just watching the shades of blue, randomly placed, Knitted back up into a small triangular lace pattern (thank you Piecework and Nancy Bush) I was learning, on size 1 needles.2015-12-03_11-08-19

And so began the addiction. Luxury fibers, in greater quantity, for a fraction of the cost.  Yes there are some drawbacks….extra time, 2nds stigma, but if treated properly, and blended with other fibers, they now become unique, soft, & repurposed – lovely yarn always available….no waiting.

Tonight’s Picture at top, is cobweb cashmere/angora blend… repurposed from a donor sweater.