Some Campfire's Love Poem Weary child, as evening casts your shadow long across this pebbled bank the sun, who held your face in daytime, selfless omnipotent illuminator who only told you true for all of your life who kissed your cheeks and showed you how to plant your feet down and how to lift them up again weary child, the sun is fading. Draw near me now in reflection and be held almost whole in this unsettling hour. Elizabeth Keefer, May 2021
I squatted down to adjust the height of the lawnmower and the entire butt of my pants split right out! Down the middle and to the side in the shape of a crooked “Y” – I wasn’t mad, I look forward to big mends like this.
I used a pocket from a retired pair of light blue linen pants that belonged to my husband and a handful of colors of linen thread. The pocket was a nice upgrade from a regular fabric patch; now I have a good place to tuck my gardening gloves in a pinch.
I loosely reinforced the edge of the hole with running stitches before pinning the pocket over top, edges folded under and pinned flat. I worked the perimeter of the pocket with hand-stitching until satisfied. Simple enough!
Below is a recent picture of the original knee patches after about a million washes and rough wears…
On an average day I’m wearing an outfit like this: heavily patched pants, long sleeves to protect my arms from the sun, no-frills Casio watch, wool socks with sandals or boots (depending on the tasks of the day) and a me-made wool sun protection hat. It doesn’t get more “me” than this look right here. 🙂
These pants have developed a spirit of their own. I can’t head out into the yard to work, or pack my bag for a camping trip without them saying, “Hey! I want to play, too!”
And who am I to deny them the rigors and grit they so crave?
Shucks… a pair of pants after my own heart ❤
With love! ~ EK
My primary interests this spring put me outside for long stretches of time, subsequently exposing my skin to the sun more than I’d like: hiking, camping, landscape photography, fishing, gardening, etc.
I wanted to create a custom-fit sun protection hat for myself that ticked all of my “must have” boxes:
- 100% natural domestic wool with natural lanolin retained to increase the inherent moisture-repellent properties of minimally processed wool
- Comfortable custom-fit cap intended to wear over a thin scarf or bandana for added sun protection of ears and neck
- Dense, totally opaque fabric to maximize sun protection and reduce the risk of picking up ticks in my hair while in heavily forested areas
- Secure/heavy enough to not blow away in the wind without being overly warm
- Extra wide, semi-firm brim extending wide enough to protect my neck, ears, and entire face from the full noontime sun
- Cute, homey, forest-dwelling-mushroom-spirit-vibe
- Inspired by my own previous design for this felted wool cloche
- Designed to felt naturally with wear over time
Crocheting is old hat for me (har har! I’ll never pass up a good pun) – I picked up some of my favorite wool yarn and a hook, threw a few stitches into a magic ring, and an hour later we had the start of something promising…
Once I was satisfied with the fit of the cap portion, I moved on to the brim with the intention to try the hat on every few rounds until I was satisfied with the width of the brim and the amount of sun protection coverage for my face and neck.
My goal was to finish the hat completely in time to bring it with me on a weekend camping trip.
I finished just before bed the night before we left and snapped a window-lit selfie as the sun went down to commemorate.
This hat is a delight! Truly one of the best things I’ve ever made, all crafts considered.
It fits my outdoor needs exactly, which means I will treasure it and wear it for years to come.
This feeling; this is whole point of slow craft. ❤
As it turns out, an unintended benefit of my new wool sun hat is that it helps me hid from neighbors and sip my tea in peace…
Anti-social sun protection…
But as always, my anti-social inclinations are betrayed by a big grin and friendly disposition. 🙂
My new hat even matches my favorite self-drafted knit shawl.
This look is giving me amateur mycologist, forest dwelling Carmen Sandiego vibes and I love it.
*singing to myself* – “Where in the woods is, EK Sandiego?”
‘Til we chat again, EK
February Self-care care packages are now listed in my shop. A short video detailing what all is included in this month’s care package can be found below.
I might do these monthly or seasonally as I have time and resources, and depending on the response.
All the best, Bette
There is a cake recipe at the end of this post as your reward for continuing to indulge me in my steadfast effort to convert my modest wardrobe into a curated collection of slow craft, folk art heirlooms. I’m only half kidding when I say “curated” and “folk art heirlooms” and I’m not kidding at all about the cake recipe… scroll down to the bottom if you need hard proof.
Years from now I’m sure I will look down at these finished knee patches and remember fondly all of the delicious loaf cakes I baked and ate while stitching my way through the cold, dark winter of 2020.
A meditative stitch (or 100 stitches) here and there, day and night, always quietly accompanied by a hot mug of coffee, tea, or cocoa…
Now, about that Sour Cream Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Recipe.
As a “mature for my age” child and an inevitable coffee lover, to me, coffee cake was the pinnacle of grown-up baked goods. I could argue the Seinfeld episode titled “The Suicide”–during which the main characters discuss at length the merits of Drake’s Coffee Cakes–had a strong impact on my young, impressionable mind.
The success of this cake depends on only two things, really: 1. starting with room temperature ingredients and 2. incorporating them together as thoroughly and slowly as time and reason will allow. It’s best not to just slap this one together; take your time and your prize will be an easy, delicious cake.
Sour Cream Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake Recipe
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 2/3 c brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Butter and flour a 9″ rectangular loaf pan and set aside.
To prepare the cinnamon swirl: in a small bowl combine 2/3 cup brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and set aside.
In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt, and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, beat room temperature butter on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes until creamed. Scrape the sides down into the bowl and add sugars. Cream together again on medium speed for an additional minute.
Scrape sides down into the bowl again, then add vanilla and molasses and incorporate on medium speed for 2-3 more minutes.
Scrape sides down into bowl again and add eggs, one at a time on the lowest speed, stopping to scrape the sides down into the bowl between each egg. Batter should be fully combined and smooth in consistency at this point.
Pour approximately half of the batter into your prepared loaf pan and even out the top using a spatula. Using a spoon, sprinkle approximately 75% of your cinnamon swirl mixture evenly across the top of this first layer of cake batter.
Proceed to pour the rest of the batter overtop the cinnamon sprinkle layer and even the surface with a spatula again. Finish the top with the remaining 25% cinnamon mixture evenly sprinkled with a spoon.
To swirl the center cinnamon layer, insert a butter knife down from above into the batter until the tip of the knife reaches the pan. Slowly drag the knife through the batter in an easy S-shape swirling motion from one end to the other. Repeat a second time.
Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 60-75 minutes until a butter knife, cake tester or wooden skewer inserted carefully down into the center of the cake from above pulls out clean (crumb is fully formed/no wet batter clinging to it) and the top is puffed and browned. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before carefully lifting or turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Good for 3 days at room temperature.
I silently cast a white bone spell with the new moon A starless revolution I waited, visiting in perfect stillness Engorged circle hanging in the air like breath Fat Moon – I rose to melt the frost, blinked blood and knew it didn't take. E.K
This untitled poem is an original piece that attempts to express the particularly crisp, acutely bitter ache one can feel after struggling to start or successfully maintain a pregnancy.
Do you enjoy reading and/or writing poetry? I do, and I think I’ll continue to share more of my own to this space.
Thanks for reading it ~ Bette
This morning I began a massive mending feat: stitching two large Sashiko-inspired patches on to the knees of my well-loved, worn-nearly-into-the-ground Lucy and Yak organic cotton twill Dungarees.
Sashiko is the traditional Japanese method of decoratively mending or reinforcing textiles with cotton fabric and white or indigo-dyed thread. Sashiko is an expression of the traditional Japanese aesthetic Wabi-sabi, which is characterized by the appreciation of “imperfect beauty” and impermanence.
I plan to sew each patch down by hand in a grid pattern of small stitches using linen thread in a few different natural tones that remind me of wildflowers… the resulting mend should reinforce the knees and lower legs for at least another year of abruptly kneeling in dirt to spot cool bugs, and scooting across the living room rug while “playing dogs” with… the dog. Don’t ask, I’m an adult and this is just how I live my life.
I’ve had this same pair of dungarees since the early days of Lucy and Yak, and I have worn them more times than I could possibly count. I envision them 10 years from now, held together entirely by clever little hand-stitches and assorted patches cut from long-since-retired-yester-clothes.
In current food news ‘round these parts: I baked a lemon loaf cake today using this recipe and it turned out great, really great. My only deviation from Maria’s recipe was that I opted for a quick vanilla bean icing to douse the top instead of the suggested lemon glaze. Smash hit. Well done on the recipe, Maria. 🙂
I’ll continue to share the process of mending the knees of my dungarees as I go.
What was the last piece of clothing you brought back to life with a thoughtful mend? I’d love to continue the discussion in the comments below.
All the best ~
In this video interview I chat with Kristy Glass regarding all things knitting and slow craft.
Best xx Bette
The pattern I used was Entrelac Knit Dishcloth (available as a free download via Yarninspirations) however instead of using the recommended Lily Sugar’n Cream Scrub Off which is a self-striping yarn, I switched to a new ball of Lily Sugar’n Cream cotton yarn between entrelac stripes.
Are you familiar with entrelac knitting?
October Untitled, cotton thread on flour sack
A quiet meditation held steadily in my hands and in my mind throughout the month of October.
Hundreds of tiny hand-embroidered knots in a 4″ hoop testify to countless hours spent stitching slowly, silently.
When I gaze upon this finished piece I feel: washed in warm – nestled someplace soft.
I’ve taken to knitting cotton dish cloths again in a continuing effort to eliminate paper towels from my home, and as a way to grow my toolbox of knitted textures, cables, and stitch motifs.
Yarn is good old affordable (US grown, Canadian spun) Lily Sugar’n Cream in the color Tangerine.
Dish cloth? Wash cloth? Face cloth? Cotton scrubby? Trivet? Doily? These decorative, machine washable workhorses go by many names and serve a thousand various functions in my house.
I say “dishcloth of the day” in jest – although they are quick projects and the idea of knitting 365 cotton dishcloths in a year isn’t totally unrealistic for me, I won’t be posting a new hand knit dishcloth daily. Let’s shoot for weekly? we’ll see…
Until next time xx Bette
Two things that have been bringing me joy lately are fresh loaves of bread baked in the Le Creuset Dutch oven Kaleb got me for my birthday this year, and thoughtfully hand-mending my clothing.
For much of my life I prioritized quantity over quality when it came to clothing. I think moving from Arizona to St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, then up to Washington in just under a year forced me to whittle my wardrobe down to versatile basics, pack light each time I moved, and to treat what I have with care – all skills I now consider essential and am grateful for.
This patch is one I ordered from The Far Woods and had been saving for a special occasion. Covering an unfortunate bleach spot on one of my favorite shirts felt like I was finally putting it to good use.