best layer of the month # March

Above is one of the little joys in life these days . . . the daily visit to the hen coop, and that magical moment, when I lift up the lid of the nest box, to collect fresh eggs of the day.   Above photo has been a frequent event:  four hens, and four eggs.

Our hens don’t know what’s going on in the world these days.  They wake up, go about their business, and have been laying so well.  Total number of eggs collected for March is 104.  Yep, that’s right: one hundred and four eggs.  Which means, what with confinement, and shops not necessarily having everything in stock, we and neighbours aren’t having to buy eggs.  Thanks to our four gals, there are more than enough to go around.

Florence, our black Medicis hen, wins the best layer award for March with a staggering 31 eggs.  Ruby (the red hen) was just behind with 30.  Here they are in centre of photo.

And then Miss Moneypenny (with speckled collar) laid 23 and Mauricette (on right in second photo) laid 20.

chunky knitting progress

Just over a week ago, I showed you the start of a chunky knitting project:  a James C. Brett pattern and chunky yarn to knit up this rather lovely, loose fitting cardie/jacket.  Sleeves knitted up quite quickly, and I’ve only recently finished knitting the back.

The particularity of this pattern is that back & both fronts are to be knit side-ways, which means the gorgeous colour-changing “Marble” yarn creates stripes vertically on the body part, but horizontally on the sleeves.  Here’s a photo to remind you what the sleeves look like.

Now time to cast on the first front . . . but I seem to have become distracted with crochet again, so might be longer than a week before I have another knitting update.

SAL Sugar Skull Panda #6

Another 3 weeks flown by means it’s time for a new SAL update.  I’m still having fun stitching the Sugar Skull Panda, design by Lindashee.

Here is where I was last time.

and here is progress for today.

That’s quite a lot of ground covered for this stage.  And now it’s time to link up with fellow SALers:

Avis, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda

Next update on 19th April.

getting some fresh air

I am so very lucky to be able to go outside and get some fresh air, without breaking current confinement rules (which have tightened up in France since Tuesday evening).  A couple of photos taken yesterday afternoon, where the husband and I have an archery target set up in our orchard. It really did me the world of good just to be outside for an hour, to empty my head, and shoot a few arrows.

*** Please note:  I used to belong to an archery club so take all the necessary safety precautions.  No neighbours or pets were anywhere near the orchard or on land behind at the time.

can’t stop knitting!

Well I simply can’t stop knitting!  After the bright, sunny cardigan for Toddler Viking, I had a look in my yarn stash, all eager to start a new project . . . and decided on something chunky, for myself.

bday 01

This James C. Brett pattern, and J.C. Brett “Marble” chunky yarn being something I treated myself to for my birthday in 2019, which means it’s been taking up space in the cupboard for over a year.  This particular pattern caught my eye because it looks like a very simple knit.  It’s in double moss stitch, but with very little shaping.  There are no button bands, button holes or neckbands to deal with.  As for the main body of the cardigan/jacket: pieces are knit sideways, which means colour-changing yarn will stripe vertically on the body, but horizontally on the sleeves.

Pattern requires 4 x 200g for the size I’m knitting, and while tempted to buy the same colour as the pattern photo, I went for more autumn shades.  And knitting with chunky yarn has begun.  I did take time to knit my gauge swatch, which was also the opportunity to familiarise myself with double moss stitch.  My only query with this . . . how to know which is the right side and which is wrong side? since both sides look the same lol.

IMGP0737

Anyway . . . 3 days into knitting, and I had my first sleeve.  Amazing how quickly knitting grows when working with chunky yarn on a 6mm needle.

And another 3 days later . . .  the second sleeve.

IMGP0741

You’ll notice I haven’t attempted to match my stripes.  I’m just enjoying knitting and letting yarn stripe and change colours as they come.   Next part to tackle will be the back and I’ll need to use my circular needles so that’s going to be a new learning curve!

making masks

What with France now being in lock-down since Tuesday, and Covid-19 being on everyone’s minds . . . the husband and I are pottering around indoors or in the garden, trying not to dwell too much on the fact that no one is allowed out, unless for specific necessary purposes, and for which we need to print out a form to justify our being out. Failure to produce printed justification will lead to a fine if stopped and checked (amount currently set at 135€ until further notice, I believe).

We are very lucky that we live in the countryside, with a large garden, so we’re able to get some fresh air, rather than having to stay cooped up indoors (weather is glorious here at the moment).  I spare a thought for those who find themselves shut up indoors, perhaps in a flat, with young children.  For the elderly.  For those in the medical profession, army, police force, postal services and supermarkets (just to name a few) who are working in very difficult & stressful conditions.

I’ve been entering into the spirit of things, with some sewing.  I believe quite a few people have been doing the same . . . inspired by several articles, namely a pattern & tutorial by CraftPassion which seems to have been officially adopted by the Grenoble Hospital service in France (who are telling hospital staff to get sewing), with what appears to be exactly the same pattern.

Different governments and different experts are all giving differing opinions as to the utility or necessity of wearing a face mask at the present time.  By my way of thinking, if Grenoble Hospital are sharing this info with their medical staff, then it can’t be totally without use.

The husband and I won’t be walking around wearing masks BUT the husband was rather concerned about Carole and Audrey (the mother & daughter team) who run our local Spar supermarket.  They’ve been serving customers as usual, 6 full days a week, plus Sunday mornings.  Tirelessly restocking shelves (when supplies arrive) and no doubt putting up with a few uncivil customers (when supplies don’t arrive).  They’ll be in contact with the general public all day, every day, so I made a couple of masks.  Whether they choose to wear them or not, is up to them.

The one on the left in photo is my first attempt.

Go ahead and laugh if you want to . . . but it might do some good.

Needless to say, I didn’t try on the ones I made for Carole & Audrey.  Fabrics were washed before sewing.  I washed my hands before sewing sessions too.  And once made, I washed finished masks (as recommended) on a normal cycle & left to dry, before placing in a brand new freezer bag and giving to our Spar ladies.

Nature’s Walk – my stack grows

I managed to put knitting needles down for a couple of hours here & there, to work on some more crochet squares.  Patterns for these squares, by Sandra Paul, are available on-line for the Nature’s Walk CAL.

Here is my last batch of six squares. Pattern is “Berries” and hooked on a 2.75mm hook, in Stylecraft Special DK “Bluebell”.

My stack of squares now looks like this

My choice of colours, from bottom to top of stack:  meadow green, spring green, magenta, wysteria, clematis, sherbert, bluebell.

I think I’ve got enough for a decent sized blanket, so the next job will be to join them all together.