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The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Livng

country living book

One of the few pleasure trips my husband and I have made since Felix was born was to Barnes & Noble for Brock’s birthday in May. While it was for his birthday, I came away with a pretty great find. (Don’t worry he found plenty of good stuff too.)

gardening country living book

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Living was in the sale section at Barnes & Noble and was about 80% off. I picked it up and flipped through it while Brock and Felix were perusing books by Richard Feynman and Carl Sagan, and I was hooked right away.

This book is definitely an encyclopedia. It’s a quick reference to a lot of different things. Obviously, the craft section is my favorite. It tells you how to do all of the following fun things.

basketry country living book

candles country living book

soap making country living book

They also have small tutorials on knitting and spinning and beekeeping and gardening. There is a lot of practical advice too. There is a whole chapter on building furniture–which has kind of got me hankering to invest in some power tools.

There’s also this
main objective

and this

smoking fish country living book
(that’s fish in a smoker)

One of the most valuable sections in this book is the section on canning.
canning country living book

Buried in the middle of this encyclopedia is a 120 page book on canning, which pretty much makes the book worth the full cover price alone.

I love this book.

I like to flip through the pages for inspiration, because the photography is phenomenal, and the subject matter in dear to my country-loving heart. It’s one of those books that you’re glad when you have when you don’t have internet access.

Also, now I really want to try my hand at basketry. Anybody with me?

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In the Works

I’m going to be honest, (I say this, though, I always am when I am writing to you, dear readers), it has not been a very productive week on the fiber arts front. I have been doing a lot of reading and research on various topics lately. In particular, I’ve suddenly become very interested in soap-making.
You see, in my day job, and I may have mentioned this before, I specialize in selling Kansas-made products. I have two very good soap-makers whose work I sell in my shop. I had a customer complain to me directly that the soaps we carried contained lye. Now, I’ve heard this before, but it had never been broached to me directly.

Naturally, I was a little taken aback, because I was under the impression that lye was necessary in soap-making, I told her that all soap had lye in it–I thought I remembered that much from when we made soap in chemistry class in high school. Later, just to make sure I wasn’t inadvertently lying, I looked it up and found this blog post from Humblebee & Me and was relieved to see that I was correct. At the same time, I discovered a really cool new blog, which I plant on exploring more thoroughly. Naturally, I looked up a local soap maker, at lovingsoap.com a soap maker out of Kansas City, to see if there were any classes in my area. She has an affiliate link to Brambleberry.com and suddenly I was so far down the rabbit hole of soap-making that I am already a soap-maker in my head, even though I have never ever tried it, outside that one day in Chemistry Class in 2001.

Anyway, I have been doing a lot of research about soap-making and ruminating on my blog and the roll it plays in my business (by the way, did you notice that I put up a survey a couple days ago, please won’t you fill it in?) and so my knitting has not really been so impressive this week.

I knit exactly 3 1/2 inches on my Thrysos, but it feels like I should be so much further along.
thrysos blouse onto body
I am using smaller needles than I remembered, and things are going slower than I counted on. But I love, love, love this yarn at this gauge. It’s pretty gorgeous; look at that stockinette! Every now and then I remind myself that I am knitting a sweater for me out of silk and merino and it keeps me motivated to finish it.

In light of me hosting a KAL in a couple weeks, I did a little bit of swatching to try out needles size on my handspun. I decided on size sevens. Here’s a look at the alpaca swatch I made.
pogona swatch
I am loving the handspun. I can’t wait until July 1st. If you want to join us for the KAL, just stop by the PFA Ravelry group and you’re in.

In the meantime, I ordered a cold press soap kit from brambleberry.com, where I have spent way too much time the last few days. It’s a lot of fun to learn about something new.

What’s driving you lately?