Ostara Socks in Progress Friday, Feb 27 2009 

After looking at the calendar, and realizing that March has snuck up on me rather sneakily, I’ve started to get cracking on my Ostara socks.

Ostara Socks

These have been a bit tough. I was looking for yarn, and found some Paton’s Kroy in a great, spring-y purple that I had forgotten I owned. It fit with my stash-busting plans for the year, so I started swatching. A good, spring-y pattern was eluding me, so I had a couple of failed attempts before I got going.

I like the girly, springyness of this pattern; it’s very cute and girly. Which isn’t generally like me, but I admit to being charmed by the picot cuffs. It’s so cute I can’t stand it. Now, I just have to focus long enough and get going to have them finished in time! I’m hoping to avoid the whole casting-off-two-hours-before-I-have-to-leave incident from Imbolc, but I’m not entirely optimistic.

Tarot Card of the Day: Four of Pentacles

Official Recession Hobby Thursday, Feb 26 2009 

It’s possible, as people who know me may have noticed, that I may have a slight addiction to handwork. It’s really very difficult for me to sit still and not be working on something, and I enjoy the fact that more and more of the things I own are ones that very carefully made (by me, my friends, or other indie artists) and not mass-produced in some third world country.

But, sometimes having all of these hobbies can get a little spendy. Yes, there is cheap yarn out there, but the reality is that a lot of them aren’t going to look or feel as nice and I’m not going to put hours and hours into knitting something I won’t wear. The same goes for sewing: I have to really love the fabric. So, with economic times being what they are, I picked up an older hobby of mine, and quickly determined that it is THE perfect recssion hobby.

I give you–cross stitch.

Jefferson Memorial Cross Stitch

So, here’s the thing. I get why cross stitch gets a bad rap. It was the first craft I learned, becuase it was what my Mom did. But the patterns? Not so hot. I’m not into country scenes of cutesy kitchens, or bible verses. But now, there’s a lot more out there. Mystic Stitch and Shinysun Cross Stitch both have some incredibly gorgeous fantasy paterns, as well as some great art and photography turned into charts. Plus, with Photoshop, designing your own pattern is easy too–turn a photograph into a design, or do some snarky text.

But here’s where it gets really good–cross stitch is both cheap and time consuming. The charts are the most expensive supply, but $15 isn’t so bad when you realize it’ll take a couple of months to complete. And the floss? I bought about 30 colors for the Jefferson Memorial design in the picture, and I think it cost me all of $11.

And when it’s done, you’ve got some great art for your walls. I don’t know about you, but my walls are looking kinda bare, and it would be nice to have some pretty things to hang up.

So–cross stitch as the official recession hobby. Who’s with me?

Tarot Card of the Day: Five of Cups

Who’s the fairest of them all? Wednesday, Feb 25 2009 

Yes, I will continue with cheesy titles for as long as it takes me to complete this sweater. Consider yourselves warned.

Snow White joined sleeves

I’ve made more progress on Snow White–finished the sleeves and  attached them to the body. I’m liking it so far, though a little worried when I look at the size of the arm holes. But I just keep telling myself, ribbing stretches. It does.

I have a few more rounds to go before the picot bind off for the neck. That’s a new technique for me, so very exciting! And I am loving this sweater. The pattern, the yarn, and the color are all fantastic and I really can’t wait to finish so I can wear it.

Tarot Card of the Day: Eight of Cups

Stash! Tuesday, Feb 24 2009 

I’ve been really good about not buying yarn for a while. My stash is taking over in an embarrassing way, and it’s about time I knit through some of it.

But it’s possible I may have slipped recently.


First of all, I got some gorgeous sock yarn as a birthday gift. Don’t you just love fellow knitters?

BDay Yarn

The yarn is Louet Gems in Eggplant, and it’s been fondled and petted many times. I think it may be set aside to become my Samhain socks.

I also may have bought something. But it’s not my fault. You wouldn’t be able to resist either.

Bacon yarn!

Not when someone sends you an email about BACON YARN! Yes, it’s yarn that knits up to look like bacon. I wanted to cast on right away, but I’m trying to finish the pair of commuter socks I’m working on now. The progress of which has been slowed by my inability to get a seat on BART.

I have to say, I was so excited–I’ve never ordered from Holiday Yarns before, and I got my bacon yarn so quickly! And, of course, I nomed it.

365.43 (Mmm, bacon yarn!)

Bacon yarn. Nom, nom, nom.

Tarot Card of the Day: Queen of Wands

Change in the air Monday, Feb 23 2009 

Lately I’ve had the feeling that change is in the air.

(No, I’m not just talking about Obama.)

The past few years have been marked by an extraordinary amount of negativity, division, and hate. Now, I’m not that old, but I can remember even as recently as ten years ago, things weren’t this bad. yes, there was partisanship and yes, people have different ideas on the best way to run the country. But it seemed to lack the personal, visceral hate that has recently begun to represent the conservative ideology.  It was time when people like Rush Limbaugh represented the conservative wing of the party, not the main goals and ideas.

So, I’ve been thinking. Why? Why now? This came after a lot of questioning–a lot of asking why people don’t seem to care about their fellow countrymen-and-women, about what it is about me that makes them hate me so very  much. Then I realized.

It’s because they are afraid.

They can feel what I’m feeling, and that’s the crumbling of a lot of old power structures and ideas.  And it scares them, because suddenly, this group of old, white, Christian men will no longer be deciding the direction of the country. So they’re fighting back in the only way they can–through fear and intimidation.

That doesn’t make it any better. Fear and intimidation can breed some pretty ugly consequences, and big changes frequently involve some drama and pain. But it’s also something to think about–what change is coming, and how can we make it all what we want?

I know what I think we need. I think we need to start caring about people again, to stop clinging to our money and refusing to help people because we’ve deemed them somehow unworthy. I think we need to start realizing that being able to afford a decent place to live, having access to health care, the right to live your life as you choose (provided, of course that you aren’t infringing on anyone else’s rights), a good and affordable education are all things that every person in this country should have. I think we need to start realizing that the Earth is precious, and that we may not be able to destroy the planet, but if we anger her enough we will destroy ourselves. I think we need to start re-embracing the idea of a tribe, a community.

And, somewhat more controversially, I think paganism has a pretty big role to play in this. Frankly put, I think we need more pagans. I think we need more groups in the model of CAYA Coven*–bringing people from different, unique personal traditions to form a larger community. I think we need to start being more vocal about who we are and what we’re doing. Let’s face it, right now our PR kinda sucks. It’s the wackos and the crazies who come out and loudly proclaim their faith. Now, I’m not saying that we should slap a gag on anyone who’s a little left of center, but isn’t it time that those of us who appear more “mainstream” start stepping up as well? I don’t think we should evangelize–that’s just annoying, not to mention kind of rude–but just be willing to be open. Why not invite your friends to an open ritual? I do–it’s something I’m involved in and to be honest, sometimes I want their support.

Because I have a feeling there are a lot more people like us out there. We just need to start finding each other.

*Yes, clearly I’m biased here. But, I wouldn’t be a part of this group if I didn’t think they were doing some amazing stuff.

Tarot Card of the Day: Eight of Pentacles

PantheaCon! Tuesday, Feb 17 2009 

So, not much knitting got done this weekend, because I was at PantheaCon. It was my first time, and it was pretty fantastic. I loved most of the workshops I went to, and it was great to spend time with so many awesome people.

I also didn’t turn on the TV for about 3 solid days, which is so unusual for me. Kind of calming, but also kind of made me twitchy–but I figured someone would post to Twitter if the world ended, and I’d get the news on my phone.

PantheaCon badge and ribbons

I also had a lot of fun with the badge ribbons.

Yarn Goddess ribbon

I loved the yarn-y ones! Yes, I am a yarn goddess thank you!

Hella Sacred

I also loved the CAYA ones. Because who doesn’t want to be hella sacred?

Unfortunately, I had to return to the real world, where I have promptly been buried under my to-do list. Alas.

Tarot Card of the Day: Princess of Cups

Sweet Dreams Wednesday, Feb 11 2009 

So, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth, I’ve just been really busy. There are change afoot at work, which means a kind of stressed and unfocused Steph. I’ve been picking up projects and putting them down a lot, but not making a ton of progress.

I do have stuff to share, but I also haven’t had much time to pick up a camera.  I’m also trying to work on a  blog redesign–I know that my posts tend to jump all over the place, and I want to organize this blog so that craftiness, spirituality, and politics/media all live in different places so that you don’t have to follow any subjects you aren’t into. But more on that later.

Artemesia's DreamTea

One thing I do have to share is this lovely tea! I’ve been sleeping very lightly lately, and I haven’t been dreaming much. I really hate that; I’ve always had trouble remembering dreams, but not dreaming at all is very strange. So Artemeisa from the Sacred Well made me up some dream tea.

I think it’s been helping; I’ve been alternating that with chamomile, and I do seem to be sleeping better and my dreams have started to come back.  Which is very exciting, and I’m sure I’m going to be bugging her for more tea. (And to get a blog up!)

Other than that…let’s see…well, I’ve been working away on Snow White, started my Ostara socks, picked up some cross stitch again. I’ll post more frequently soon, I hope, one things get a little more settled, and I get back from Pantheacon this weekend.

Tarot Card of the Day: Princess of Swords

Sewing projects! Thursday, Feb 5 2009 

Wow, have I been itching to post this! Apologies for the blurry photo; better ones coming soon.

Mod apron

So, during my sewing adventures, I also cut out material for more skirts. Unfortunately, I didn’t measure one of them correctly, and realized it wouldn’t have fit. So, I thought about it and decided to turn it into an apron. Two aprons, actually, one of which I sent off to Mary as a surprise. I didn’t want to blog about it until she opened it, but the package arrived today!

Again, it’s probably hard to tell in the blurry photo (I hadn’t had coffee yet, and the cats kept pawing at the camera) but I love how this turned out. The main fabric is this great retro print I had stashed, and the ties, border, and pocket are all from the same material as my tiered skirt.

Tarot Card of the Day: Queen of Pentacles

Imbolc Celebrations Tuesday, Feb 3 2009 

So, I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I did want to post some pictures from my Imbolc celebrations. Aside from the CAYA event, I tried to carve out some time to do something at home. I was hoping to have cleaned my apartment, and be able to do a home blessing, but…well…


I dusted off my altar, and actually rearranged it for Imbolc.  I really like it, but I’m facing the reality that storing all my supplies in a box and bags underneath is not going to be a realistic option for much longer. I’m thinking a trip to Ikea might be in order–I want to get some spice jars for what appears to be the beginning of an herb collection, and maybe a shelf of some sort for books and things.

Imbolc altar

I also wanted to cook something special. Since the theme for Imbolc appears to be dairy, this was a little difficult for me! :) I finally settled on pasta with salmon in “cream” sauce.

Salmon pasta

I also made a dairy-free version of the Gooey Butter Cake in my calendar. It turned out really well, and I think it would taste even better if it were topped with fresh berries, or maybe some sort of berry and liquor combo (raspberries soaked in brandy, perhaps?),

Gooey "butter" cake

I love holidays and my family was always the one that made a big deal out of all of them, so making a concetrated effort to so do something for all the Sabbats this year is  super important to me. It’s easy to flake, on them and say oh it’s just me and the cats, what’s the point. But really, why  not? I have to cook and eat anyway, so I might as well make an effort.

Tarot Card of the Day: The Devil


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