Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

A Rolling Stone

A Rolling Stone

…has no time to sit down in the evenings. I always forget that this is what this time of year is like here in Montana. Everyone is trying to pack as much activity into the daylight hours as possible. I see the husband for about 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.

It is what it is. We’ll have cold and snow again before we know it.

I swapped out my hot, heavy muck boots for these adorable half boots:


Ali gifted me with them last spring. They are so much lighter and more comfortable for gardening.

After spending far more time in town yesterday morning running errands than I had planned to, I came home and finally got the lavenders moved after lunch. I dug ONE clump out of the gravel path of the herb bed that turned out to be about a dozen plants growing together. They became the second hedge over in the veggie garden. I hate to pull up and throw away plants, but I’m out of places to put a lot of this stuff. And those lavenders are so promiscuous that they are everywhere.

[Perhaps I should take up lavender farming.]

I raked out the rest of the herb garden. There seems to be a lot of vole damage in there this year. That may not be a bad thing as that garden is so overgrown, but I don’t need another pest to have to manage. I wonder why that weasel never came back?

Project Broody Hen is not going as planned. I don’t know why I can’t convince any of these hens to set. Some of the Buffs act like they want to—and they should—but they give up after a few days. The chicks we bought are doing well. They like to stand by the side of their enclosure and watch the big chickens. They’ll be big enough to let outside soon.

I am planting peas today.


I sat down to work on grocery bags yesterday after moving lavenders. I am doing a batch of light/dark brown ones, but I discovered that I didn’t have enough dark brown thread for topstitching. I was so irritated with myself for not checking, because I was at Joann Fabrics yesterday morning and could have bought some. I don’t like to go to town more often than necessary, but the schedule is such that if I don’t finish this batch today, it’ll be the middle of next week before I get them done. I sucked it up and drove back into town to get the thread. I did order coned thread from Wawak, but that won’t be here until Monday.

I was explaining thread labeling to the husband last night over dinner. (My dinner was half a pint of Haagen-Dazs Bourbon Vanilla Bean Truffle, by the way, because I am an adult and can have ice cream for dinner if I so choose and it was that kind of day.) The system for labeling thread weights is a mess. Superior Threads has an excellent article on why that is, if you’re interested. Part of the problem is that the US uses the weight system (40wt, 50wt, etc.), which, of course, no one outside of the US recognizes.

When I choose quilting thread, I tend toward 50wt thread for piecing and 40wt thread for quilting. As the number goes down, the thickness of the thread increases. A 12wt quilting thread is much thicker than a 60wt quilting thread. That system does not account, however, for the number of plies in a thread. A 50wt three-ply thread is going to be thicker than a 50wt two-ply thread. I also know—from my handspinning and knitting days—that a three-ply thread is going to be rounder than a two-ply thread and will give better stitch definition. I suspect that is why I like the Coats and Clarks Heavy for topstitching, as it’s a three-ply thread.

Industrial sewists, on the other hand, often use the Tex system for thread labeling. In this system, the higher the number, the heavier the thread. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to determine which Wawak thread—labeled using the Tex system—was similar to the Coats and Clarks Heavy, which is a 15wt thread according the the Coats website. I finally settled on the Wawak brand Tex 60 topstitching thread.

Some sites label thread as V-30, V-46, V-69, etc., where V-30 corresponds to Tex 30 but V-46 corresponds to Tex 45 and V-69 corresponds to Tex 70. Yeah, that’s not confusing at all.

[The knitting industry went through a similar nomenclature mess a couple of decades ago. Sometimes you just have to ignore the labeling and figure out what you like by using it.]

About Buttercup Designs…I wanted something that incorporated part of the blog name because the blog is fairly well established. I’m still running everything under the Big Sky Knitting Designs umbrella—you’ll see that on the PayPal invoices if you order a bag—but the accountant and I are working on the best way to handle things. Having the infrastructure of an existing business is helpful, but it can also be a hindrance. The soon-to-be college grad has a degree in business with a concentration in marketing and is advising me behind the scenes on my social media presence and a possible Etsy store. All I can say is that it is much harder to start a new business at 53 than it was to start one at 28, when I had the advantage of blissful naiveté.

I leave you with a picture of the black beans I canned on Sunday:


Burritos are on the menu for dinner tonight.

Descent Into Mediocrity

Descent Into Mediocrity

Growing Berries in Montana

Growing Berries in Montana