Big Sebago

Sebago Lake is the second largest lake in the state of Maine, as well as the deepest. It is commonly referred to by its portions—Big Sebago and Little Sebago. This drapey cowl, reminiscent of the first frosted glaze over the lake (or your windowpanes!) can be worn as Big Sebago (one long loop) to dress up a simple outfit, or Little Sebago (doubled) for warmth and style in the cold weather!

Yardage is minimal and versatility is great, which means big impact on your wardrobe but small impact on your wallet.

Materials

 About 200 yards of worsted weight yarn

Size 11  circular needles, size 8 circular needles

Darning needle

With size 11 needles, cast on 2, place marker, cast on 19, place marker, cast on 2.

Work rows 1-12 of lacework pattern for  45’’

Bind off. Block carefully (don’t skip this step- blocking is what makes the garment and the lacework bloom so nicely!) and seam ends together using mattress stitch or whipstitch, right sides facing out.

Lacework Pattern: Knitting the first and last two stitches (not included below) and slipping markers:

Row 1: k1 *yo, s1, k1, psso, k1, k2tog, yo, k1*

Row 2 and all WS rows: purl across.

Row 3: k2 *yo, k3* yo k2

Row 5: k2tog, yo, s1, k1, psso, k1, k2tog *yo, s1, k2tog, psso, yo, s1, k1, psso, k1, k2tog* yo, s1, k1, psso.

Row 7: k1 *k2tog, yo, k1, yo, s1, k1, psso, k1*

Row 9: k2 *yo, k3* yo k2

Row 11: k1 *k2tog, yo, s1, k2tog, psso, yo, s1, k1, psso, k1*

Finishing

With smaller needles, pick up 3 of every 4 stitches along edge of each side. Work for 3 rows in garter stitch, bind off very loosely or using an elastic bind-off method (like Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind off or the Lacey bind off)

Enjoy! <3

 

If you do a Google or Bing search on the web for American made toys, you’re likely to find a ton of high quality wooden toys (usually with the price tag to match!)

This Christmas I did get Ellie a locally made “lawnmower” toy for early walkers. If you love it, you can click the picture and it’ll bring you to the link. This one is around 30$, but I got mine at a local yarn shop(Rosemary’s Gift & Yarn Shop in Windham) at 50% o ff and ended up paying about 10$. It’s cute, nontoxic, locally made, and even fine for teething babies. That being said, sometimes you don’t necessarily want the old-school look. Maybe you’d really like to get your kid some toys that look like, well, all the other toys out there right now.

Green Toys Inc. is a great place to find just those things. Their prices are competititve with other brands like Playschool or Fisher Price, so you’re not emptying your wallet just to get something US made. They have a wide array of everything from stacking toys to cars to play kitchen utensils and food. Also, in concert with most of the other American companies I’ve found, they are eco-friendly, BPA-free, and they use less fossil fuel to transport. Here are a few of my faves from this company:

For the little baby just learning about stacking and fine-motor skills, you have the tower. These also double for learning about water properties, water conservation and volume changes in the tub. This set is a little more on the girly side but they also have one in “boyish” colors, minus the star shape. They cost around 12$.

 

For the little boy obsessed with racecars (or little girl) you have this. You can get it in blue, red, or pink, and you can also get a larger loader truck that it fits into should it “break down” (pretendplay.thesedon’thavebatteries). This will put you out a whopping 9$! The great thing about toys that aren’t always battery operated is that they’re portable, less annoying, and they force your child to use their IMAGINATION during play. They also can encourage more gross motor skills if they don’t move themselves.

 

My last favorite is for the little girl (or boy, again, they’re great at having a color selection for every toy) who loves to do everything Daddy (or brother, or cousin) does: The tool set. Now your child can tag along and NOT get into the real tools–hopefully, anyways!

Adorable, right? And they have words printed on them to encourage literacy skills and differentiation between flathead and phillips screwdrives. We all know that is an essential point of knowledge for every three year old! 🙂

This one is 28$, which is pretty standard for a tool kit. I’ve heard of many children being obsessed with tool sets and needing to carry around a screwdriver (or whatever) and having FITS if it gets taken away. Now they can get that fix without the worry on the part of the parents.

All in all, this website is just so great. They have dump trucks, planting kits, kitchen play items, etc. Gotta love it!

So chances are you have a ton of stuff in your house that wasn’t made in the US. I’m going to use three common household items to demonstrate: your dishwasher, a keurig, and perhaps a scentsy warmer. All of these things in my house were imported. So how can I use a foreign item to the advantage of the American economy?

It’s pretty simple, actually. Buy American products that correlate with your product! My favorite dishwasher tabs right now are by the Method Corporation. The website says 5.99 for 20 of them, but I get them at Hannaford for the exact same price as Cascade dishwasher tabs which are imported. They also come in a really great Pink Grapefruit scent (whichdoesn’tsmelllikegrapefruits) but it still smells amazing.

 Method makes an entire line of cleaning products that are priced similarly or equal to imported ones. The visual aesthetics are nice too, with simple lettering and sleek bottles. The smells are good and the company upholds many ethical and ecological standards in their practice. Hannaford and Target are two stores that you can easily find this stuff.

If you’re like me, you NEED your morning coffee pretty quickly. I love my Keurig, but it’s made in China. Again, all I have to do is buy American-made k-cups out of American coffee. While many coffees are imported from warmer climates, Hawaii is one place in the US where coffee is grown and sourced. When I visited the Island of Kauai (oneofthesmalleroutlyingislands) there were fields and fields of coffee bushes. If you do buy K-cups, try to find some that say “Kona” coffee on them, sourced from Hawaii. Green Mountain Coffee carries some of these.

On to the Scentsy. Walking into a house that not only looks but smells amazing is always a nice experience. (just to clarify-IhadtocleanmyhousewhenIgotthis). My good friend Melissa recently mailed me a Scentsy warmer and some wax bars to heat in it. She included a little message that the Scentsy wouldn’t have arrived it time, but included some wax by Better Homes & Gardens that smells just as nice. Now Scentsy bars are produced in two places: Meridian, Ohio, and France. Try to ask your consultant to get you the extra info as to where each scent is produced just to be on the safe side. (I could be wrong, but I pulled this info straight off their website). The Better Homes & Gardens wax bars are also made in the US and smell just as good!

Try to look around your house for other appliances or products that need add-ons to work, and check the labels. There are lots of ways to buy American this Christmas, especially during the Holiday season (and cleanup afterward!)

Since it’s so close to Christmas, I’ll be ramping up my posting to help you guys in the buy-local department as much as I possibly can.

My friend Jen runs this amazing blog, called My Little Avocado. She has these incredible recipes that are simple and healthy like the glazed chocolate avocado cupcakes, or the zesty italian chicken fingers. Another one that sounds great is the banana burrito with kiwi salsa.

Anyways, I entered this scarf design contest (knitting) and I’m pretty sure I didn’t win. I hear they’re still deciding on the last few slots but that there’s a ton of good entries. I’m sure! So to distract myself from checking my email compulsively I decided to make cookies off Jen’s blog.  The picture’s not mine, it’s Jen’s, and if you click on it it will bring you straight to the recipe. Hooray!

“What does this have to do with buying American?” you may ask. Well, it’s 100% American if you use ingredients made in the US. My favorite is King Arthur Flour. Even the wheat they use to make it comes from local fields. The batch yields at least 24 cookies…and who really needs 24 cookies?

Do yourself a favor, and freeze the dough. Then, whip it out of the fridge right before Christmas, pop it in the oven, find a cute locally made tin, and tah-dah! You’ve saved some dough (literally…and metaphorically).

Shopping feels good. Really good. But buying American feels even better!

One of the biggest challenges I’ve found in buying American is in the clothing industry- it’s nearly impossible to find stuff made in the US, let alone cute, up-to-date, fitted, flattering stuff. Maybe you don’t want to shop online only for clothing–you want to try it on. See the fit, the feel of the fabric, how does it sit when you move? One store I found at our local mall, Francesca’s Collections, carries a TON of US made clothing. I had passed by this place a million times thinking it was an accessories only store (the storefront has mostly accessories on display) until my friend Angie told me about it. On top of that, it has a lot of different styles, so you can choose something that suits you.

The Grand Entrance dress is nicely balanced and gives off a vintagey feel of days gone by:

But if you’re looking for something more simple, the Place in the Sun Dress is elegant and basic (though I’d like to see it with a chunky belt!) 

But maybe you don’t want a dress. I live in a part of Maine where holiday parties involving cocktail dresses aren’t the norm. This is more up my alley:

I seriously love this sweater.

Or a shirt for lounging around the house.

I mean, I could keep posting more and more stuff, but you should really go to the website to check it out. www.francescascollections.com

 Just take a quick peek at the tag to see if it’s from the US, because they carry imported also. Readyforthebestpart? Everything I shared on this post today is under 50$.

And thank you for your patience with my horrible formatting. I’m bad at setting this stuff up, but I’m good at finding and buying American! Check your closet! Do you have anything made in the US?