hen happenings # november round up

Hello, well it’s 1st December already, so time to do a November round-up of hen happenings in this neck of the woods.  All four gals are happy & healthy.  And Ruby is looking (almost) splendid with her new feathers.

Ruby is the red hen on the left. Easy to differentiate from Doris, because Ruby has quite a few dark brown feathers at the end of her tail, and she’s also slightly smaller in size.  There are still a few spikey bits on her head, but I think you’ll agree the scrawny look is behind us (until the next moult).

On the egg-laying front, gals are not firing on all cylinders.  Some days there are 3 eggs to collect. The one top centre here was a double-yolker – I’m pretty sure that was laid by Rita.  Most days there are only 2 eggs in the nesting box.  It seems they’re taking it turns to lay but, with 4 hens, that still gave us a total of 67 eggs for November.  Since I took the above photos we had our first snowfall – hens not too happy about that.

Saint Georges (update)

New photos today to show you how the restoration work on Saint Georges is progressing.

Workers are still at the “revealing” stage of work, removing the rendering to reveal the gorgeous layers of stonework of the original walls.  And, lovely surprise . . . they’ve put up scaffolding on the front of the church too, and told us the budget does extend to work on that wall too.

 

SAL “together we are magic” #11 and a finished “Tiny Treasures”

Hello everyone! Today it’s our 3-weekly meet to motivate each other with SAL projects.  My current WIP for this is “together we are magic”, a kit by Letitstitch.  It’s a bit of a slog, I have to say, but little & often will see it done eventually.

Last time I was here

saying that if you squinted you could see unicorn ears.  I hope that today’s photo makes it easy to see the unicorns.

Still a very long way to go but I’ll think you’ll agree, I’m getting there.

Other photos to share a festive happy dance with you!  You’ll remember Avis and I both stitched “Tiny Treasures” from Sept 2020 – April 2021.  I’d chosen red, green & gold to stitch mine.  With Christmas only a few weeks away now, I’m pleased to share my finish. (The plastic clothes hanger is only temporary – need to find a nice rod of wood, and sorry about the stray pet hairs on white!).

I sewed 3 blingy gold buttons along the top and made 3 loops, with button holes. That way, I can remove loops and use this piece as a table runner if I choose to.  I might sew on 3 buttons along the bottom too, just for balance, or so I can hang it the other way up!.  Fabrics were all from my stash.

Linking up with other SAL members

AvisClaireGunConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunny,

MeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJCathieLindaHelen

And our next update will be 19th December.

Saint Georges

Our house is situated right behind a 13th century church “Saint Georges”.  While the church dates back to the 13th century, it underwent  renovation over the centuries, both inside and out, but I believe the bell tower maintains most of the original 13th century features including gothic windows.  When we first visited our house, the location, just behind the church really tipped the scales in favour of us wanting to buy.  Of course, we fell in love with the house, but also fell in love with the scenery.

We arrived for a first viewing on a beautiful July day in 2014. Skies were blue, and as we parked, the bell tower chimed 11.  It’s not much to look at, from the outside really, but we have a view of the back of the church from our house.  We also have no need to wear a wrist watch or glance at a clock during the day because the bell tower faithfully chimes the hour and half hour throughout the day (from 8am – 8pm, with a bit more of a flourish ar 7pm for vespers).

Anyway . . . a couple of years ago, the local council had managed to allocate a budget for some renovation work.  Scaffolding went up, old rendering was removed, and work was done on the bell tower and one outer wall of the church.  The result looks like this.

During that time, the bell was removed, in order to do the work properly on the tower, and it felt very strange for several months without the familiar chimes.  However, the bell was replaced, and we were once more able to hear the reassuring chimes.  Because renovation work is expensive business, and we live in a small village, work stopped there. However, fast forward time to last week . . . the local council obviously has more money in the church fund – yay!  Scaffolding has gone up!

around the back and along another side.  And work has begun.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like the budget is going to stretch to renovating the front of Saint Georges just yet, since there’s no scaffolding on the front.

Apparently there are plans to re-do the paving in front of the church (and hopefully the front itself) so that’ll be something to look forward when there’s more money in the kitty!

 

starting a finish (Tiny Treasures)

It’s getting to that time of year where I’m trying to remember what I’ve got hidden away in my drawers. Craft projects that never saw a proper finish.  You may remember that I stitched a lovely blackwork piece for the SAL, from September 2020 through to April 2021 ( I think) and, when I had finished the blackwork, I said I imagined it as a wall hanging or table runner for the festive season.

Well . . . the finish has begun!

It didn’t actually begin very well – see those two red triangles in top corner!  I’d carefully made some cute little HSTs (half square triangles) to add a border around the edge, but when I sewed the borders on, I realised triangles should have been leaning the other way on opposite strips.

And I had the same problem on a different corner – oops.  Out came the unpicker, and I had to sew a long and short band of triangles again.

With these right angle triangles, there was no way I could get all four corners looking the same, because of the lean, but I could, at least, make things look more balanced.

This is how things looked once I’d sorted out the triangle bands, added a slim white border, and with the length of green I plan on using for the binding.  So, next job is to sandwich & quilt.  This piece should be finished soon.  I’ll hopefully be able to share the happy dance on 28th November so SAL members can see the finished piece!  The blackwork design is called “Tiny Treasures” by Elizabeth Almond of Blackwork Journey.  It was a free download, and a pleasure to stitch.

 

new knitting project: Shavo

I’ve begun a new knitting project, in grey aran yarn, knitting a sweater for the husband this time!  After lots of umming & ahhing, I decided on the Shavo sweater.  This is a free download on the official Berroco site, but also on Ravelry & Lovecraft.

Berroco yarn seems impossible to come by in France, despite it being “made in France”, so I settled on DMC Magnum in 997 grey.  It’s an acrylic wool mix, machine washable etc, so I’m confident it’ll be good.  Sold in 400g balls, and worked out less than half the price of the Berroco, so that’s not a bad thing either.

Anyway . . . I knitted a tension swatch, because DMC Magnum tension isn’t quite the same as the recommended yarn. . . and am knitting on a 5.5mm needle to get the correct gauge.

I started out following the pattern exactly, which called for 4 rows of garter before the 2 x 2 ribbing.  I do like the look, but wasn’t too sure it would look so great on a men’s sweater. So I ripped it all out and started again.

Second version doesn’t look quite so “pretty”, but it does look more “manly” and I think it’ll be more practical and will help sweater keep its shape better.  There’s plenty of texture elsewhere.

That’s a combination of knits & purls, with a 28 row pattern repeat.  Just enough to keep me on my toes without being difficult to spot when I’ve made a mistake.

Being aran weight, it’s knitting up very quickly.  I’ve just finished the front piece, and cast on the back.  I was also a little naughty when I ordered in the grey yarn . . . and ordered in some pink too.

Once I’ve finished the grey version for the husband, I’m going to knit a Shavo sweater for myself in this pink.  Will most likely knit those 4 rows of garter at the very bottom too.

ScrapHappy # november

It’s 15th of the month, time to link up with ScrapHappy members world wide!

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
ClaireJeanJon, DawnJule,
Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, EdithDebbierose and Esther

For this month, I’ve been thinking ahead to Christmas.  When I stitch a large xstitch piece, I always keep the bands of aida that I trim off around the edges of a finished project before framing or finishing in any way.  Which results in me having quite a few lengths of aida that are only very narrow, and not good for much other than stitching very small projects (or bookmarks, possibly).  So for November, I am using up some of my aida scraps and getting ahead, making a few little decorations.

These bands are only approx 28 stitches across, so I found a nice little design only 20 x 20 stitches, and, while I have chosen a full skein on DMC 666 for the bright red, I’m using leftovers from my thread bags for the other colours. This design was in a freebie chart book (designs by Lucie Heaton) that came with a cross stitch magazine several moons ago.

I also had some wider strips I cut into squares.

And chose another design (by Durene Jones) from Cross Stitch Crazy issue 260.

 

a yarny finish in “Lincoln” green.

With the clocks going back the other weekend, and night time falling so early, I seem to have more crafting time in the evening and a desire to knit.  I showed you the beginnings of a small project, not so long ago.

It’s a Stylecraft pattern, designed for organic cotton, but I was stash-busting and therefore used a Stylecraft Special DK  acrylic yarn in “Lincoln” green.  I cast on to make size 4-5 years and knew, when I began, that I wouldn’t bother with the stripey sleeves, but keep it plain.

And here it is (front view first)  I wanted to knit this one because it gave me more practice with the raglan sleeve seams and also because it gave me practice with decreasing “in pattern”.

Just one area where I could have maintained some of the holey pattern when decreasing along those raglan edges, but didnt.  Possibly more noticeable on the back (above) than on the front.   But overall, I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

I knit on 3.25mm needles for the ribbing and 4mm needles for the rest, as per pattern.  Used approx 170g of yarn, and was amazed at how quickly it knitted up.  Begun on 27th October, I actually finished on 2nd November, so less than a week from start to finish.

SAL “together we are magic” #10

Time to show progress on my xstitch SAL project, which is currently the only xstitch piece getting any attention these days.  Last time I was here.

Three weeks on and it looks like this.

If you squint, you can see the beginnings of unicorn ears.

I’m being motivated to stitch on this piece thanks to the SAL of other members, who all post 3-weekly updates. Full list of members here.

AvisClaireGunConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunny,

MeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJCathieLindaHelen

We’ll be back again on 28th November.

hen happenings # october round-up

Well the last month, things have been hunky dory in the hen enclosure.  The new gals took a few weeks to settle in, and it took Ruby just as long to accept their presence, but the four of them seem to be getting along nicely now.

It certainly didn’t take the newbies long to recognise the reuseable ice-cream tub as meaning “treats” every day.  Depending on what leftovers we have, here they are enjoying some GF pasta from our dinner the night before.  Anyway, we’ve had eggs in a variety of shapes and sizes in October, including several double yolkers!  There have also been broken eggs because someone (I don’t know who) insists on letting drop from a perch instead of laying in the nesting box.   Agatha, our black & tan, hasn’t even worked out how to perch yet. So, while the other 3 all spend the night balancing on the same perch, Agatha just sleeps in a corner of the coop on the sawdust covered floor.

Anyway, total of eggs collected this month (including the broken ones) was an all-time low. Only 60 eggs for October, despite having 4 hens!  The good news . . . Ruby’s feathers are finally growing back and she’s looking like a red hen again.

I think you’ll agree that Ruby’s appearance now (on the left) is a fast improvement of what she looked like late September (below).