Spring has sprung!

Despite the wind whipping through the trees, loudly rattling my windows, the sunshine called me outside. It's been a chilly, rainy few days, and I needed some fresh air. I brought my camera with me, just in case! I found some newly planted pansies.

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil. 

-"A Prayer in Spring", Robert Frost

I can't wait for the wind to die down, and the temperature to climb a few more degrees. I have the perfect place in mind to spend warm days with my books outside. Quite idyllic, yes? Hopefully the vines there will have some leaves soon!

Round and round we go!

I just successfully finished my first project "knitting in the round". For those of you who don't know what that means, it's when you knit around continuously using circular needles or a set of double pointed needles.
It's not as hard as I thought it would be. It feels a little strange at first, but you get used to it fairly quickly. I learned how at a class at JoAnn Fabric, but there are a lot of great resources available online if you want to learn. There is a nice learning center at Lion Brand Yarn's website, and there are lots of educational YouTube videos you can find that show you what to do. 

The class's purpose was to teach me how to knit in the round and change yarn colors by making a very cute little baby hat. However, as I have no baby for whom to knit said hat, I said "to heck with this plan!" and did my own thing. I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease yarn in navy and heather gray to knit up a roll-brim toque (even though it is now unseasonable!) for the Hubster. I started out thinking it would just be a simple striped hat, but soon my ambition and creativity took over, and once again, "to heck with this plan!" :-) I pulled out a chart that I drew on graph paper of his name, Soumyajeet, in his native Bengali. (If your screen can read Bengali script, it looks like this: সৌম্যজীত ) I also experimented and created some skull designs to make it a little bit more punk, less ski-lodge. Here's my graph: 

Here is the finished product!

Happy Belated Earth Day!

I meant to post this yesterday, but I was out all day, so better late than never! Appropriately for Earth Day, we had an "energy audit" of our apartment, provided by our energy company for free. They measured the air flow in our place, caulked up the windows a bit more, replaced our light bulbs with CFLs, put aerators on the faucets, and gave us a free Kill-A-Watt so we could measure how much electricity our various appliances use. I recommend getting/borrowing one! When you know how much energy your stuff uses, you can make smarter choices. You might choose to upgrade some appliances to more efficient Energy Star rated ones, or perhaps just unplug some things when not in use. Knowledge is power!

Now for some fun Earth Day projects! I am thinking about trying this with my many company swag tshirts: slice them up into thin strips and knit something fun! I got the idea from Knitting Daily's website, which is a great place to get advice, ideas, patterns, and inspiration. I love the idea of re-purposing something old to make something new.

IKEA 2.0

I wanted to share a website that I have found inspiring: IKEA Hacker. I love how IKEA has such a vast array of great home products, and everything from pots and pans to sofa-beds can be found for a very affordable price. IKEA Hacker shares how individuals have taken their bureaus-in-boxes and put them together in very outside-of-the-box ways. IKEA's offerings are affordable enough, so you don't really have to worry as much about ruining your furniture if something doesn't turn out quite how you'd hope. Don't be afraid to take something and really make it your own! I have a couple of IKEA hacks of my own:

My Sewing Table

This table was left in the open common area of my apartment building, free for anyone to take. The legs were wobbly and the top had obviously been drawn on by a child. A few coats of paint (a primer underneath, Green Apple latex paint on top, and a clear topcoat) and tightening of a few screws, and I had an attractive (and free!) new sewing table!

It was nice on its own, but the boring drawer pulls it came with were easily upgraded with something much more modern and attractive. I did the same thing on my Hemnes nightstands

Get hacking!

My first scarf

I am proud to announce I just finished knitting my very first scarf! I first learned how to knit in December at a class at JoAnn, and I have just fallen in love with it! That's no surprise, since I usually love anything that is creative and crafty, especially if there is a potential to make something that is both beautiful and useful. I've since taken two more knitting classes at JoAnn, a lace knitting class and an intro to knitting in the round (more on that later... I know you can't wait!). I didn't want my first scarf to just be foot after foot of plain stockinette or garter stitch, so I tried something a bit more ambitious and applied my new lace knitting skills to make a pretty warmer-weather scarf. It took a while, but I think the effort was worth it. I used Naturally Caron Spa yarn in Coral, which is a nice bamboo blend. The best part? The yarn was free! A couple of months ago they were having a giveaway.

I made it in two halves, and then grafted it together in the middle. It gives it a nice, symmetrical look.

UPDATE: I tried to find the original place where I first found the pdf for this pattern, but couldn't, so I uploaded the pdf HERE! Take it, and make it!

Design your own fabric?!

In between Kathie Lee poking fun at Hoda over a.m. libations, and Hoda rolling her eyes back so often I fear they'll get stuck, occasionally on the Today Show I actually find something really interesting. Today, it's this: a website called www.spoonflower.com that lets you design and order your own custom fabric! There are six fabrics ranging from Quilting Weight to Upholstery Weight Twill, and you can order something as small as an 8"x6" test swatch. Just imagine the possibilities! Make a quilt with squares featuring family members faces, or a skirt with a design you painted yourself. Upholster an ottoman with pictures of your cat (I don't actually recommend this). Here's a sample fabric block with Casper when he was a skinny kitten:

Maybe I won't be ordering this particular swatch, but I'll be keeping the website in mind for times when I want to make something truly personal.

My Life as a Home Economist

I have to admit, I like the idea of having a blog. I've been kind of thinking about it for a while, and an article about "Knitblogging" in the latest issue of KnitScene magazine convinced me that I might as well give it a shot! I'm pretty sure my mom and husband will be my primary readers, but that's just fine with me! I'll be sharing my latest endeavors as a home economist, and hopefully there will be more successes than failures! Some people in my position go by the title of housewife, domestic goddess, CEO of the household, or whatever else you can think of. I chose Home Economist for this blog because, as it happens, I majored in economics at Gordon College. I loved learning all about supply and demand, and how everything in our economy is tied together to run as a whole (however poorly!). Now I'm in control of my own micro-economy, so from time to time I'll share things I'm making, cooking, cleaning, or learning.


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