Trunk-or-Treat

We live in a very social neighborhood. There’s always something going on. This month was the Trunk-or-Treat and we decided to give it ago as I mentioned earlier. I did the Witch’s Apothecary. I’ve set up my this before as part of our Halloween decorations.

a snippet of last years Apothecary

For Apothecary supplies I use a lot of things we already have in the house. Such as my collection of fossils and Max’s shark jaw he was given when he was a kid from my uncle Jim. I also use the cotton bolls we grew and harvested one year as “Bunny Tails” and assorted other things like this. 

This is the one I set up at Trunk-or-Treat

I was surprised how interested the kids were. I guess because it was rather interactive and some of the things were real, and I let them touch whatever they wanted. The bird’s nest was from the Robin that built it and raised a brood in one of the hanging baskets on the front porch. The nest was popular as was the shark jaw. The kids also really liked the Spell Book I made last year or the year before. I had a young girl, maybe ten years old that was also dressed as a witch, spend much of the time at our car. She was extremely interested my book, she must have looked through it 6 times.  

Chuck made Carrot Cake Cookies that went over really well, too. And my candy packages were well received I think. I was really glad the kids and adults alike were interested in hearing about the Devil’s Claw seed pods collected in the desert in New Mexico and the  Petoskey Stones I had, which were collected in Michigan. 

I was surprised there were only about twenty cars participating. I guess with all the kids in the neighborhood I thought there would be more. I gave out maybe 50 packs of candy, but I know a few kids came by for an extra one. But in general all the kids were great and most were honest and said that I’d already given them one when they came around again. And many did come around again as their friends arrived. 

It was a fun night and to my surprise there was a contest for Best Trunk. The kids vote for their favorite. And even more surprising- We WON! I call that a bonus. They gave me a cute trophy that now I can add to our Halloween decorations. 

I’m not sure if we were to go again next year what I would do. It seems people change their themes each year and I’ve only done the witch theme for so long. I have about 11 months to decide.

Until then I’ll have our house lights on Wednesday and see how many trick-or-treaters we get at our actual house. 

And I’ll be the one dressed as a witch. 

Happy Halloween. 

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Witch Hat Redo and a Flat Cat

Several years ago I knit a witch hat.  Actually, I knit two witch hats. The first I knit one for myself and one for my son in-law, Matt. Matt’s hat is more Gandolf and mine is more Elphaba. 

This is Matt’s hat drying-my knitted things picture taking at least has improved over the years

This year I decided mine needed some sprucing up. Over the years it had become….well…limp. It was always more floppy than I had wanted and I never really liked that that brim was unstructured. 

To address the unstructured brim I spent the better part of two days sewing bias tape to the underside by hand. I inserted a 12 gauge black florist wire as I went. Sewing black bias tape onto black fabric with black thread while inserting black wire is not for the faint of heart.  

It was worth it though. Having been felted again it has shrunk a bit, becoming more comfortable to wear and now that the brim is wired I can shape it to suit my preference. Which I really like. 

I added a spider pin for a little glamorous panache. To go along with my revamped hat I also knit a flat cat. Yes, A Flat Cat, or Professor Meow-Gona-Cowl pattern by Tiny Owl Knits. I am pretty happy with the results on both the hat and the cat.

I’ve upgraded the hat and made the cat for my “Witch Costume.” I’ll wear these with all black, don my wand and Sheath at my waist and set up a Witch’s Apothecary Storefront at tonight’s neighborhood Trunk-or-Treat. I’m looking forward to this and have made goody packs for the kids. 

I made about 100 of these, give or take a few, and they took about 30-35 hours to put together 

The packs have a 4-5 pieces of candy each and are ‘simply” wrapped in brown paper and raffia. I collecting feathers mostly from our neighbors chickens (as they were molting and mine were not) and washed them. I used a wax seal and then silver Sharpie on the raised bits. The labels have our address incase people want to know which Apothecary they came from. I suppose my vision for these are that if you purchased some things from my apothecary it would arrive via Owl Mail, well at the very least, Chicken Mail. 

To round out my outfit I’ll wear my black and green striped socks and yarn danskos. I also have a Chatelaine necklace of sorts, made out of assorted things. I will carry the Book of Spells I made a few years ago. I did upgrade of few things in this book this week. too. 

Are you dressing up for Halloween? I think I only dress up as a Witch. I’m going to print some social media icons and those along with butterfly wings will be either Tim or Chuck’s costume. Although it suits Chuck the best, you know he is the social butterfly in this marriage after all. 

Happy Knitting, Happy haunting. 

It’s fall Y’All

I haven’t had a true Fall for several years having been lost in a desert oasis. There aren’t many trees in a desert and it’s still rather warm this time of year. So, it’s basically just like the summer only a slight bit cooler, like in the 80’s instead of 90’s. This year it’s different. We live in a beautiful neighborhood with trees galore. Our neighborhood is named Queen’s Lake and we are in Williamsburg, Virginia with the leaves beginning to fall and the nights getting pretty cool now.

I’ve always decorated pretty enthusiastically for Halloween. This is year was a little slower in that regard. I only just yesterday would say I finished decorating. Stevie and Hanna are both big fans of the Halloween time. Stevie got married on Halloween and her rehearsal dinner was a costume party. Which was really neat.

I think I had a harder time getting in the spirit of the season since Hanna is in Oklahoma and Stevie is up in Alexandria. These girls always go big on costumes along with their respective men. And I really enjoy seeing their creativity.

For me this year was a little sad, and anticlimactic, particularly because I don’t have my friends coming over every Monday to knit and share in the joy of a holiday theme.

Moving on.

I try to invoke a witch atheistic. But, basically, a lot of my decorating consists of covering everyday stuff with spider web table cloths. Then I might throw in a pumpkin or two.

This is a very simple thing with a big impact. I’ve been collecting the table cloths, table runners and such for a few years. I find them mostly at Target and Michael’s and I try to pick up a couple new ones each year.

I always set up my “The Witch is in” spot. This is my favorite thing. It’s different each year but always includes this broom that I’ve had for probably 15 years.

I really need to upgrade my rug, but overall, I like the way this turned out. I even had some help from Mother Earth with making this feel authentic. Notice the spider just above the witch hat? It’s the perfect touch. [As a side note, I used a heavy duty magnet to attach the hat to the suitcase so it can’t blow away.]

A nice big Daddy Long Legs, or whatever they’re really named. This year I added the old suitcase I found for a couple bucks at an estate sale a few years ago. The suitcase was living in my fireplace in the living room. My sister-in-law, Ruth, asked why I had a suitcase in the fireplace. I say, why not?

Here’s the first level of Fireplace decorating I did when we moved into this house which included said suitcase. I thought it was charming. I really don’t like having and empty hole in the fire box.

For the fall I changed this fireplace up a bit. We probably will have fires in this fireplace and not in the other one in the family room. I will change this again to allow for that when I decorate for the Christmas season.

The bit of change was adding a old toolbox, cedar shavings and a few pumpkins to “Fall” it up. The big Pewabic tiles hanging over the fireplace have a fun story. You may know of my love of reading and of all things books. I also have a great big spot in my heart just for libraries, and specifically, the Detroit Public Library main branch building.

The Friend’s of the DPL did a fundraiser a few years ago, coordinated with Pewabic Tile, to replicate the story themed tiles that are on the fireplace surround in the children’s room in the DPL’s main branch library.

This is the library fireplace, These are original, one of a kind tiles, that were made for this fireplace.

Following is are the two tiles above my fireplace up close. They are replicas with more contemporary colors that happen to suit my decor style perfectly. These are the “Steadfast Tin Soldier” by Hans Christian Anderson and” Midsummer’s Night Dream” by William Shakespeare. They measure approximately 11×14 but as they are individually handmade they vary slightly, adding to their charm. My brother made these frames using our wet bar counter.

I have two other tiles from this fundraiser. but they currently are living with my brother. I think I should do a full blog post just on Pewabic and these tiles.

But today I’m talking about Halloween decor. The last bit I’m sharing today is the dining room table. I added some table runners to the chandelier and hung my ghosts, too. A simple table cloth and runner I’ve had for a while and some red candles with ghosts from Party lite that I’ve also had forever. Then I added more table cloths to cover up the everyday things, including the chairs that forever are living stacked in the corner……

It’s a pretty low key style with my Witch aethtic going strong. I left the burned out lightbulb to add to the effect, or maybe I just don’t have one to replace it with, whatever.

These are some of the favorite bits. There’s more. Come on over and see. And you can grab a dozen eggs while your here. We have a few. A few dozen or so.

I’ve also finished some knitting projects that need photographing and I’ll update those soon.

Happy Halloween and happy knitting.

Scarves and the Long and Short of Things

I’ve worked rather diligently on my knitting. trying to get in at least 3-4 hours of knitting a day. Which has produced a lot of yardage  of yarn turned into stitches.

Here’s where I’m at-

  1. Entralac Scraf –did not work on this at all
  2. Magic Stripe Scarf –I could be done I think the length is good
  3. Jaywalker socks –decided to change these to wrist warmers
  4. Find Your fade, my third one –on the last lace section
  5. Nuvem Shawl –only knit a couple rows
  6. Advent Mittens, I have 2 of 25 done and I haven’t knit any since 2017!-no work, I did look at the basket though
  7. Maighdeann-roin-The Seal Maiden Shawl, I just started yesterday -finished all the lace sections

The actual updates. First off, I changed the Jaywalker Socks into Wrist warmers. I liked the striping so much.  I kept envisioning these under some long sleeves, just peeking out. I love a good I-cord bind off so I decided to finish with that. These are so good. I really want to make a few more pairs. I think the youngest daughter will nee some as she’s always cold.

The I-cord bind off required some extra thinking and details. I cast on 3 stitches using the Backwards E-Cast On, the K2, k2togTBL and slid stitches back to left hand needle. continuing in this way until I came to the increases of the Jaywalker pattern. Where the points are I needed to ensure they had enough give so that the point would stay pronounced. At the point -between the double decreases- I added a single I-cord row with a K3 instead of the K2, K2togTBL. I then continued the K2, K2togTBL to the last row. Here was tricky bit, and I don’t know how to properly explain what I did, so bear with me. I worked a Kitchener Stitch on the live stitches and on the cast on stitches I wove the needle around the legs of each cast on. Clear as mud, right? Well, anyway. This finishing did two things. 1-It gave me a clean I-cord that looked continuous 2- Added the one extra row that the other double decreases have.  I think you legitimately cannot see where the beginning and end meet.  I’m so in love. Did I already mention that?

As knitter’s oft do. I cast on a new project, because I had a finished one. And I blame my dear friend Peggy. She told me about the pattern you see. It’s one of four patterns in a socks series based on Willy Wonka. I know, right? You see why I had to. The pattern I’m working on is the first release in this set. It’s called Candyman and I’m using the left over yarn from the Jaywalker Wristwarmers and some black yarn, both of these are Wollmeise.

This pattern uses Judy’s Magic Cast On, which will forever remind my of Carol. We spent so many hours working on this cast on together. She is very dear to me. Carol moved from New Mexico to Colorado not long after I moved to Virginia. I will be able to see here next summer when we go to Colorado for Chuck’s niece Beth’s wedding. Luckily for me she is getting married very near to where Carol now lives.

 

 

I think I’m ready to cast off the Magic Stripes Scarf. It’s a good length for a tuck just inside you coat scarf. I probably have enough yarn to knit a second one or I could double the length. I’m thinking it’s the right length right now but I’ve put it on hold to give some time to confirm my thoughts.

On the Find Your Fade I have to finish the lace section on color 6 and then there like 32 rows or so of the 7th color and then the bind off. Pretty close to the end on that.

All in all, I’ve made pretty satisfactory progress. Now to not get distracted my those new socks.

I haven’t said anything about the wand sheaths I made. Yes, I did say “wand sheath.” Yes, I and most of my family have magic wands. Doesn’t everyone. These are very special magic wands that my brother, Andy, makes.  I made the sheaths based on an item by Alice Starmore from her book Glamourie. It was designed as a needle case but it is everything a wand sheath should be.

I ran some experiments. and realized quickly the 133 stitches she starts with are way too many.  After my experiments I found 65 stitches is correct for the wands. I used yarn I spun myself. I also added a flap to the back (that I had sewn down after felting) to create a loop for a belt to go through. I’m quite pleased with these.

I made mine from undyed, natural colored wool and used some of my precious  Wensleydale Lockes, also undyed.   I made a talisman pouch as well. These should suit the Witch aesthetic I’m going for in my forever Halloween costume.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made one for both my nephew and niece. I made theirs with them specifically in mind. Thinking My nephew’s would have caterpillars as he enjoys making friends with the real thing. And my niece’s would have unicorn hair, be cause it’s unicorn hair.

If I do say so, and I do, they turned out quite magical. They were gifted with some rather fun gift wrapping as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wand sheaths were very fun to create. I should’ve taken notes, but was rather lazy about it and my memory isn’t as good as I would like, especially since I made these in July. But…They were happy.  I was happy. We all are happy.

Now, if I can just find where I put that darn witch hat!

l’ll leave you with a cute pic of some chickens.  Happy knitting!