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Paying It Forward

Happy Friday, everyone! My “Small Measures with Ashley” post is up over on Design Sponge. In advance 0f Thanksgiving, I’ve been thinking a good deal about gratitude and thankfulness. Accordingly, today’s post discusses “paying it forward,” or returning a good deed done to you by bestowing kindness, thoughtfulness, and courtesy to those we interact with in the future. It’s an idea I can’t get enough of.

We’re taking it easy again this weekend chez English. I find that passing the days at home with my little guy and his Papa (who told me the other day he’d like Huxley to call him “Daddy-O”) provide more bliss and love than I ever imagined possible. It’s chilly outside, but with hot tea, delicious meals, and tons of snuggling, we’re all toasty inside.

I have two questions for you, and they’re completely and utterly unrelated, so hopefully there will be enough variation between them for some of you to have suggestions in each camp. Here goes:

1) I’ve been inspired to learn how to both sew and knit now that I have a little guy. I’d love to hear your suggestions on books for beginners on both topics (also, Asheville area folks, if you know great people teaching classes on either topic, clue me in, please!).

2) I’m looking for a good holistic infant/toddler/child care book, one in line with my own natural way of healing ethos. Have any suggestions?

I hope your weekend takes you away to exactly where you most wish to go! See you soon!

*Image from here.

20 Responses to Paying It Forward

  • The Beast says:

    Honestly, the Stitch 'N Bitch Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller is the book I turn to again and again. She goes into great detail about each stitch and how to achieve it, then how to put them together. Some of the projects are silly (a knit bikini, really?) but there are several super easy ones, and her tone is easy and pleasing to read.

  • Megan says:

    I have found that the easiest way to learn to knit and crochet is to watch Youtube tutorial videos.

  • Maria says:

    I'd love to teach you to knit!!! Knitting and and sewing helps keep me same when the littles are running wild :-) I also know of a good sewing teacher (I'll give you her info offline). I also have a ton of kids health books you can look through to see which ones you like! Hope you are doing great!

  • Heather says:

    I second “the beast”s comment. I love Debbie Stoller's books, and taught myself with Stitch n Bitch.

  • Colie says:

    Lotta Jansdotter's “Simple Sewing” is wonderful, and covers a lot of bases. It has very easy-to-slightly more complex patterns for bags, aprons, pillows, and a host of other things. And the book is beautiful to boot!

  • Denise says:

    Wish I lived closer cause I would come over and teach you how to sew and knit and even how to spin your own yarn. If you need some help getting started with the knitting part there are some great videos at Interweave Press/Knitting Daily. You can also find a lot of info on Youtube as well. Your local library will have some good books on getting started. I would look for Reader's Digest knitting books and I believe they have sewing ones as well. Another good source of info is MaryJane Butters' books. She does an overview of how to start sewing, embroidering, etc. Her site also has tons of people on the forum that can help you if you get stuck on any subject. Most knitting mags also have how to start knitting tutorials in the back. Knit Simple is a great beginner's magazine. They do a lot of different patterns but as the title says they are very simple to knit. Another good source of sewing info is your sewing manual that comes with your machine. They usually include the basics and if your machine did not come with a manual check out the web, most manuals can be found there and downloaded. Hope this helps.

  • annemarie says:

    Both Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner have fabulous sewing-for-babies books with patterns included. Handmade Beginnings (Anna Maria) and Little Stitches for Little Ones (Amy Butler). Also, check out purl soho's site for tons and TONS of knitting patterns, and a few basic sewing patterns too.

  • jules says:

    aviva jill romm's books are great, she has one about vaccines and general child/baby health, i would recommend them both.

  • Darla says:

    I got Rosemary Gladstars Herbal Remedies book (paperback version) and it has a ton of herbal remedies for kids. I also like Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child, as it offers both conventional and alternative approaches including nutrition, herbal treatments, homeopathy and prevention techniques listed. Hope this helps!!!

  • Nancy says:

    Hi Ashley, I agree that the Stitch N Bitch Knitter's handbook is a great one! Easy to follow and pretty inclusive of all basic methods of knitting. It's really great to join a class or participate in a knitting group, though. You can meet interesting people and have people who can help demonstrate techniques.

  • Helena says:

    I like Mason Dixon Knitting. Also, has lots of helpful videos for specific techniques if you don't have a knitter handy to ask.

    No idea on the other book–wish I knew of one, actually. Mothering magazine sometimes has info like that, but if you're looking for a book to have it all in one place that's probably not much help.

    In our house we have a Daddy-o and a Baby-o. It's their thing. :)

  • Mary says:

    I have to agree with Megan. I'm just learning to knit and have found YouTube to be extremely helpful.

  • I have to second what many people have already said here: YouTube is my go-to for learning new knitting and sewing techniques. I almost always find what I need there.

    As for books, I don't know of any for sewing (I learned from my mom), but books for knitting – Stitch n' Bitch is definitely something to check out. Stoller just came out with another knitting book on specific knitting techniques which is awesome – but stick with the first one for the basics.

  • I second Aviva Romm–Her book Naturally Healthy Babies & Children is loaded with great info & DIY herbal recipes.

    My son–completely unprompted–has always called his dad “Daddy-O.” He's had a bit of a smirk about him since he was a newborn (his doc even noted it) and it is so funny that he thought of this name himself and that it seems to fit his sense of humor.

  • Tanya says:

    Don't knit, and my sewing skills are somewhat rusty, but I can recommend a book called “Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child” by Zand, Rountree and Walton. It's gotten us through many an issue and a sleepless night, and more to come, I'm sure! It's a comprehensive book with natural, homeopathic and conventional treatments. Good luck, and enjoy that little one!

  • melissa says:

    I also learned how to knit by watching Youtube videos! I get most of my patterns from which I HIGHLY recommend you join. All kinds of patterns for knitting and crocheting, some free and some not, and forums with tons of helpful people to answer questions.

  • Try Purl on Wall Street and Earth Guild on Broadway for classes/groups/lessons.
    There is also a yarn store in Candler that is likely to have or know about classes but I can't remember the name of it.
    Unlike your friends, I was unsuccessful using videos and the Internet to learn knitting. In person works best for me.
    Check Earth Fare or Greenlife/Whole Foods for the book.

  • Tracy says:

    Hello! I have just started knitting by watching the DVD series Learn to Knit by Tracie Wunderlich. I checked it out from my local library. It looks like the Leicester library branch in your county has the series.

  • Cat K. says:

    I'm just getting around the catching up on my blogs…so excuse me for the late comment. :) One of the sites I use most for my knitting ideas, patterns, and techniques is It's fantastic. I also have a great book called “Itty Bitty Hats” that's full of awesome baby hats. Would love to let you borrow it.

    And I also want to sew more. I'm nearing the end of a weight-loss/health-improvement journey, and I want to celebrate this step toward long term awesomeness with new clothes that I made myself. I've heard that here in Asheville, the Dry Good Shop over in West Asheville is quite good.

    Glad to hear y'all are doing well!

  • Kate says:

    I recommend “Baby Knits for Beginners” by Debbie Bliss. The book takes you through projects (all for babies and toddlers) from very easy to intermediate, but everything is lovely and wearable (although later on you will realize that there are more elegant ways to put together a garment…but these are stellar basics). That is the book that really grew me into a proficient knitter. After that, I'd just go straight for Elizabeth Zimmermann :)