by Jane Wolfinbarger
Northern Native Americans, such as the Koyukon of interior Alaska, believe that Dotson'sa, the Great Raven, created and recreated the world. The second creation came after a large flood that killed all animals except those Dotson'sa had placed in pairs on a raft.
My name is Jane Wolfinbarger and I am She Wolf. I live in the western United States, am happily married (for 30 years), and have four (mostly grown) children, three Labrador retrievers, and a variety of birds. In addition to writing, I enjoy reading and I am a voracious reader. Fantasies and mysteries are my favorites; I also read a great deal of young adult and juvenile fiction even though my own children have outgrown it.
I see myself as a storyteller, a spinner of tales: tales to distract the audience from the cares of the day, tales to amuse and send everyone off with a smile on their faces, and occasionally, just every once in a while, a tale to leave the audience looking over their shoulders a bit nervously when they are done. I told my stories to myself for many years, amusing myself as I worked at jobs that used my hands rather than my head, and now I am greatly pleased to share them with whomever would like to read them. I am the She Wolf.
She Wolf was born when I screwed up my courage and asked to join an on-line group I had been lurking on the edges of for several years – Soul Food Café. I joined the group at Riversleigh Manor shortly after that. I needed a name to write under, and I decided that my alter-ego would be She Wolf. She Wolf is the creative part of me, and has flourished in the fertile grounds of Riversleigh Manor and Soul Food.
Pictures and photos often inspire my stories. The story “Once Upon a Winter’s Moon”, was inspired by a beautiful full moon rising in a wintery landscape that I photographed as we drove home from a trip one winter’s evening. I also like to take a normal, everyday situation and imagine what would happen if something unexpected were added to it. What would happen if the view of reality shifted slightly? I often write fantasy set in an ordinary, everyday setting based on this.
In addition to writing, I also enjoy digital photography, paper crafts like card-making, and knitting and sewing, and gardening. If it is a creative medium, I have probably tried it and likely enjoyed it.
- Wolf Dreams
- These are the tales told as part of a dream.
- The Wandering Path
- Welcome to the wandering path through my garden. I find it to be a place full of magic and wonder. Feel free to join me for a while in a quiet nook and enjoy my stories.
- Wooly She Wolf
- I know, I can hear it now. "She Wolf, don't you think you have enough blogs already?" Well, yes, I did. Then someone I know suggested that I start one for my knitting and spinning. Since I do not write about these on any of my other blogs, I thought that perhaps this was not a bad idea. So this blog was born. It is for my knitting, spinning, and dyeing, and other needlecraft and fiber arts as well. Thank you for visiting, and please feel free to leave a comment.
When my children were small, one of my own personal Christmas traditions was of a creative nature. I sewed their little Christmas outfits every year - or almost every year. (The boys’ things could be handed down to a little brother.) For the boys, I did this most years until they were about four or five, and then moved them into store-bought shirts, ties and slacks. For my daughter, I sewed her Christmas dresses until she was about 10.
I have always loved the innocent look of childrens’ clothing from earlier times, when childrens’ clothing was made to look like children’s clothing, not scaled down adult clothing. Therefore the boys tended to have little suspendered shorts and Eton jackets and shirts with big, round collars. I bought knee socks for them and they looked so old-fashioned and sweet! (Clearly this had to end when they were old enough to realize that the other boys didn’t wear those things!)
When our oldest son was about one and a half or two, I found some light grey brushed corduroy that looked like grey velvet. I made a little Eton suit from it. He wore it that year with a red and white striped, round-collared shirt, and then two years later his younger brother wore it, with a new red Christmas print shirt. It was perfect for the Christmas season. Later outfits would feature red suspendered shorts, plaid shirts and a blue dress jacket that I bought second hand and cut down a bit to fit.
One year when my youngest was two, I went all out. I made him a red, white and green plaid shirt with a smocked inset featuring gingerbread men, and some green corduroy knickers that buttoned on to the shirt. He wore tights under it so we wouln’t have to worry about falling socks. I loved that outfit, and he was too little to care what he wore!
My daughter’s dresses always had a lot of work, and love, in them. The earliest ones were just confections of Christmas colors and lace, but later on I learned to smock and most of the dresses featured pretty patterns smocked onto the bodice. (Smocking is done by gathering the fabric into tiny pleats and then embroidering either geometric or picture designs on top of, and through, the pleats. It is a lovely embellishment for children’s clothing.) I usually chose a dress pattern of the sort that would have been popular anywhere from the 30’s to the early 60’s, with the smocked bodice, puffed sleeves and a full skirt and sash.
One year, our daughter got a special doll, and I made the doll a matching Christmas dress. That year, the dress was a dark blue calico print with a white pinafore with ruffled shoulder straps. The smocking was on the bib of the pinafore - snowflakes in blue. The doll’s pinafore had the snowflakes embroidered on. She was delighted not only with the doll, but with the matching dresses.
The last Christmas dress I made for her was a red and metallic gold striped fabric. The smocking was done in a diamond pattern in metallic gold floss, with little gold beads in the corners of the diamonds. I found a wide metallic gold ribbon to use as the sash. It was a little more grown-up looking since she was growing up, too.
When she finally outgrew the Christmas dresses, I was a bit sad. On the other hand, I was relieved. Most of Christmas Eve usually had been taken up with last minute finishing and the hemming of the dress - and I used two full widths of fabric on the skirts, so hemming took a long time! Still, I was always delighted to see how pretty she looked in her Christmas dress. She always got a new pair of black patent leather Mary Janes to wear with it - the one package under the tree that she was allowed to open on Christmas Eve.
Sometimes I still miss it all - the planning of the dress, finding just the right pattern or making alterations to another pattern, picking out the fabric and embroidery floss and lace, and making something lovely at Christmas time.
More Christmas Memories
I have been making this pound cake since I was about 10 years old. Now, pound cake is sort of a Southern specialty, and I always had a pound cake as my birthday cake when I was growing up, and at Christmas there is always plenty of it around. My grandmother would make a pound cake around Thanksgiving and then spend the next month regularly soaking it with alcohol - I’m not sure what sort. I just know that I was never allowed near that cake, and you could smell it across the room!
My grandmother’s recipe was literally pound cake - a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, etc. But when I was a child, my mother was given a recipe for a sour cream pound cake, which I thought left regular pound cake in the dust. I make some every year at Christmas, both for the family and for gifts. I have made it for so many years that I have the recipe in my head; the paper copy disintegrated a few years ago. I have been threatened by the Denver relatives that they might not let me in the house if I don’t have the pound cake with me! Anyway, since I believe that yummy things should be enjoyed by all, here is my recipe!
SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE
3 cups of all-purpose flour, sifted with
1/4 teaspoon baking soda and
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 cups sugar
1/2 lb (2 sticks) of butter, softened
16 oz of sour cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs. Add flour alternately with sour cream, beating until smooth. Add vanilla. Grease and flour either one tube pan or two loaf pans (this is a great gift size!) and then bake for about 1 and 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes back clean. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then remove and finish cooling. Keep significant others and children away from the cooling cakes if you want any left. Trust me on this.
I have learned that at our altitude (7200 feet), I need to cook the cakes a little bit longer. You may need to play with the oven temp, too, depending on your oven, but the cake is always cooked in a very slow oven.
This makes a dense, moist, rich cake.
If you knit in the round on double pointed needles a lot, like both my characters and I do (I always have socks on the needles), don’t do what I do all too often, and just stick them back in the bag when you stop knitting. Put point protectors on the ends of your needles. This will solve two problems – both the way the needles will poke holes in your knitting bag (and by extension, you), and having to pick up the dropped stitches that have fallen off the needles every time you take out your knitting again. I could probably have knitted several more socks by now just by not having to pick up those pesky dropped stitches!
Take a small project with you wherever you go. Socks, mittens, a simple hat – put the materials into a small bag in your purse and you’ll be set for those boring moments waiting at a doctor’s office or while waiting to pick up a child after school. Some people even knit while waiting in a long line. I’ve gotten half a sock done waiting for a child’s sports physical to be finished.
Have you ever put down your knitting in the middle of a row and then wondered which way you were going when you picked it back up again? Have you ever accidently reversed in the middle of a row and ended up with a finished item with a strange place in the middle with an extra half row? (Short rows are a great shaping technique, but only if you’re doing them on purpose.) Here’s the solution: your yarn is coming off the side you are working to. It is always attached to your new stitches. Just keep going in that direction, working to the same needle, and you’ll be fine!
A word about gauge. Check yours. It does matter. Ask my friend whose gauge changed in the middle of the hat she was knitting her husband (she was a new knitter) – she needed to felt the hat to make it small enough. I hate doing a gauge swatch as much as the next knitter, and maybe even more (but we all think that, don’t we?), but gauge does matter, so check it. Unless you want your new socks to fit Godzilla.