Sassafras Leaves

Nature Walks

The sassafras tree is very interesting, for it produces multiple types of leaves on the same tree. Each leave can have one, two, or three lobes. They are also slightly fuzzy. The roots were an important item for trade between early America and the old world because they made a tasty drink, and the leaves are used in some styles of cooking, though I have no recipes to offer.

Slippers from Nothing but Scraps #2

Cooking and Household, Sewing

Remember my nice warm slippers from last time? They’ve been working great! I don’t feel the chill from the floor on my feet at night.

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A loved one saw my slippers and wanted a pair for himself. I made them from wool and denim scraps. The sole is crocheted rag tshirt yarn with cardboard stacked like plywood for stiffness. I used a half-double crochet for these soles. To check my work, I would compare the size of the sole to the size of an existing shoe.

This iteration, I figured out a better method of attaching the top of the slipper to the sole, shown in the progress pictures here.

The slippers are quite thick, which provides excellent insulation from the cold floor. The fabrics I chose are thick and sturdy. The whole thing should hold up to plenty of use.

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My decision to use a nice, warm wool for the slipper came with a drawback: the underside of the slipper is very slippery! I used a bottle of puffy paint and drew designs on the bottom of the slipper, and it greatly improved the grip. He won’t have to worry about slipping in the night with these slippers.

Curly Winter Grass Fronds

Gardening

This is the seedhead of a very hardy grass that we call elephant grass here. It’s a bit of a pest, in my opinion, because the leaves are sharp (no good for weaving- you’ll cut up your hands) and the roots are so strong it’s impossible to pull up. You’ll only hurt yourself if you try. Perhaps it’s named elephant grass because you’d need the strength of an elephant to move it? It grows about 5 feet tall and provides good privacy and can withstand freezing temperatures, drought, and seasonal flooding and doesn’t take much effort to maintain, but I still don’t like finding seedlings of it in my garden. Even when the plant is small, it is incredibly difficult to pull up. A single plant with just a few blades of the sharp grass takes all my strength to remove.

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In the winter, when everything else has died back, it’s rather pretty to look at. I took this photo earlier this month, and since then, a neighbor’s cat has moved into the grass and made it her home, so I don’t disturb that area right now.

Crocheted Hat and Headband- In Bright Yellow!

Sewing

I originally had this yarn as my trellis-making yarn, but now I have a roll of real twine that I don’t have to fuss over my trellises at the end of the season. I wanted to give this yarn a better use since it is so nice. The yellow yarn is synthetic and shouldn’t be left out because it could pollute the earth with plastics, whereas twine is a natural fiber and is just fine to compost. I had a whole lot of the yarn left. Enough yarn to make a hat and a headband/ear warmer! Making these was fun. The color is so cheerful. I could never lose such a bright hat, even in the snow. If I choose to keep this set, I may have it in the car for emergencies since it’s bright and noticeable.

The hat was made with a large circle of alternating single and double stitch, and the ear warmer was made with a single stitch foundation chain, double stitch for most of it, and then another single stitch for symmetry.

Three Headbands

Sewing

Here are three of the headbands/ear warmers I’ve crocheted this winter. I used a double stitch for the whole thing save for the first and last rows which were single stitch. They are plush and soft and like they’ll keep the ears nice and warm. The white one is from the remaining yarn after I made my first hat. The light blue one is from the remaining yarn after I made my first pair of socks. The navy one was just a small ball of secondhand yarn I had, and it became a gift for a loved one.

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Technically, though I’m posting this in the new year, this is a part of my 2019 Fabric Use-Up Project, as I’m counting my fiber stash as another thing I need find good use for.