best layer of the month #January

It’s 31st January already!  So, after a quick phone call to Mr Tattoo, to wish him a happy 33rd birthday, it’s time to tot up egg total for the month.

Egg count is down from normal, partly (I think) because of the weather we’ve been having.  We had a couple of snow falls this month

About 10cm in those photos, and the hens were rather perplexed by all that white stuff covering the ground in their enclosure.  I had to rake a clear space so that they could see grass poking through before they agreed to get back to their normal activity of pecking & scratching.  A bowl of daily “treats” helped too.

Anyway, for January there were a total of 67 eggs.  From left to right in photos: Mauricette laid 18, Ruby laid 23 and Florence (our black Medici) laid 26.

totally unnecessary

The other day I owned up to having done some on-line retail therapy . . . today I have to own up to having done some more retail therapy, that was totally unnecessary!

There was I, in Lidl, with my mask and big shopping trolley, while the husband checked the shopping list for all the essentials we were out to buy (the usual UHT milk, coffee, salted butter, loo roll, washing-up liquid etc) and I, of course, couldn’t resist wandering into their non-essential aisles, where I found

No, I’m not planning on knitting socks, despite what those labels show!  Couldn’t resist this yarn though!  It’s a cotton, acrylic, polyamide mix, each pack contains 2 x 100g and it was 5.99€ per pack.  To be knit on quite a small needle, I’m thinking: doll clothes!!!  And while rifling through the yarn, I also found the last pack of bamboo circular needles in the shop.  No, I don’t plan on knitting anything in super duper chunky either, but these were 2 sizes missing from my circular needle stash and for 1.99€ I wasn’t going to leave them in the shop!  And final item: a packet of 2 bodkin type needles – always useful.

And, because I’m rather pleased with cross stitch progress . . . here’s a photo I posted last week, of the start on a new cross stitch kit.

Things have progressed since.

I’m actually stitching this with one of neighbours’ children in mind.  You’ve heard me mention Cléo before – one of the girls who lives directly opposite.  Her birthday is in May.  She’ll be 11 this coming birthday.   Last year, you may remember,  the husband and I concocted a magical homemade present, with a hand-crafted magic wand, authenticity certificate in a velvet pouch.

This year I plan on stitching the dream catcher project and gifting that, framed.  That’s giving myself a dead-line but it’s do-able.



a bit of xstitch retail therapy

With all this “stay home & save lives” I was in need of some retail therapy (on-line) to cheer me up.  Suddenly discovered, that with the new Brexit rules, a lot of UK-based on-line shops where I love to spend my pennies are not shipping to EU countries at the moment – shock horror!!!!  But I do also have several favourite French on-line shops and am always happy to discover new ones.  Anyway, I was browsing, as you do, and kept seeing pop-up thingies wanting me to go visit La Maison du Canevas, which is based in Saint Nazaire, France . . . so I did.  And found several kits that caught my eye.

Colours are much brighter in real life!  Funnily enough these two, were made in Moldova but marketed by Letistitch, which has a London, UK address.  So if you live in the UK just Google Letistitch and you can buy directly from them.  A third kit in my basket, made in Russia.


It had been such a long time since I treated myself to any cross stitch supplies. I think the last time was about 4 years ago, just before sewandso went out of business.  Anyway, I’m a happy bunny.  La Maison du Canevas dispatched quickly and all three kits look very good. The Letistitch ones especially are very well packaged with very clear charts, Zweigart aida and Anchor threads all pre-sorted.

Since I’m not working on any cross stitch projects at the moment (my SAL project being blackwork) I made a start on a dream catcher.

Doesn’t look like much for now, but it’s 16 count aida so stitches are small.

finished neck/shoulder warmer

I really do seem to be on a roll with knitting (and some more stash busting for this one).

This was the beginning, with a photo from the pattern so you can see what I’m up to.  Pattern is free downloadable King Cole 5624 and this is one of the seven items from the pattern.  I had some James C. Brett marbled chunky left over from when I knitted myself a (sideways) jacket in the Spring last year. You may remember this photo

That shows true colours of yarn.  Anyway, I had some of that yarn left, and it seemed to lend itself to this King Cole pattern.  The neck/shoulder warmer is actually knit flat, on circular needles (because at starting point there are 170 stitches to cast on).  Seam is then sewn up at the end.

Here it is while I blocked outer edges (which still want to curl up) and here it is on.

It was fun to make, is lovely and warm, although the ribbed neck could have done with being slightly snugger.  That’s probably to do with me using James Brett yarn with a King Cole pattern.  I’ll probably be wearing this indoors, in the evenings, when I want a bit of extra warmth rather than have the heating on full blast.

SAL Tiny Treasures #8

Hello everyone!  Another three weeks have flown by, therefore it’s time to take a photo of my SAL project and show you latest progress on “Tiny Treasures” by Elizabeth Almond (Blackwork Journey). Last time things looked like this

For this time, it looks like this

Another four squares filled in, and outlines stitched ready for the next row.

For those of you wondering when this gorgeous piece will ever end . . . Avis and I now have 9 rows of 4 squares . . . and there are still another 4 rows of 4 to add.  We were thinking about picking up the pace a bit, and making a dash for the finish line but since Avis and myself are also happily working on other projects (mainly knitting) we’re going to carry on at the nice sedate pace we set ourselves, and this blackwork project should be finished some time in the Spring.

Here is the list of links to other SAL members.

and we’ll be back again on 7th February.


fourth knitting finish in a row!

Not quite sure when I suddenly became such a prolific knitter?  but I realise this is the third post already this year, and a fourth knitting finish to share!

I actually started this just before Christmas but got waylaid with other things, so it was waiting for ends to be sewn in and buttons.

It’s another baby cardie (for one of my dolls) in pink!  I followed the Little Avery pattern again, for number of stitches to work, and all the increasing for shaping sleeves.  But I kept to stocking stitch instead of knitting the textured pattern for lower sleeves and bodies. Thought the yarn was busy enough, with all those bright colours, without needing texture too.

This was a stash-busting project, using half a ball of Mariner DK yarn and 4 vintage buttons from MIL’s button box.  And I’ve got plenty left to knit a hat!

knit, purl, clickety click

After the chunky cowl project of the other day, I cast on in more Katia “Britannia” tweedy chunky yarn to knit a hat, following the King Cole 5624 pattern I had downloaded for free.

Not for myself, nor the husband, because neither of us like to wear wooly hats, but for one of our neighbour’s: Claude.  Because I was following a woman’s pattern, and knitting for a man, I added a few rows for extra depth but could probably have done without.  Hat turned out larger than expected but Claude was very happy when I gave it to him and it does fit, if he turns up more of the cuff.

Anyway, that was another stash buster and took just under 100g of yarn from the stash.

I got all excited about how chunky yarn knits up so quickly and was a naughty girl.  Buying in MORE yarn, rather than using what I have.

Not my colours at all, but when Mr & Mrs Tattoo were here for Christmas, Mrs Tattoo asked for a knitting lesson. I was more than happy to oblige.  And said she’d like to knit herself a very chunky scarf in black.  Knowing she probably won’t have time, what with work, to make a scarf from start to finish in time for this winter . . . I visited a local discount store and bought in these Gründl yarns.  Both have the pattern printed on the inside of label (in German for the first one, in German & French for the second one).   Anyway, that was 450g of yarn in, when I’m supposed to be aiming at not adding to the stash!

In order to justify this unneccessary spending, I therefore sat down and cast on with the second yarn, a lovely chunky, velvety, chenille type fashion yarn, following the pattern on label to make the cowl in photo (hence 2 x 100g).  A very easy pattern and yarn was gorgeous to work with!  So soft, velvety and drapey!  However, it was a big disappointment when it came to the end: sewing up and weaving in ends.  The velvety-ness sort of disintegrated as I sewed, with black fluff flying everywhere, leaving only a very fine centre core of thread.  I’m not convinced this is going to stand up to being washed (despite there being machine washing instructions on the label) and I’m not even convinced my sewing up/weaving in is going to hold for long.  I won’t be buying this type of fashion yarn again – ever!  Yes, it looks lovely and the finished cowl does look & feel very warm.

But I think this kind of yarn is bordering on mental cruelty, for the beginner knitters who will be spending hours/days/weeks on their first knitting project, only to stumble on the finishing stage when yarn refuses to cooperate.  Anyway . . . next knitting project will probably be with the grey/black variagated super chunky.  That’s a wool/acrylic mix therefore shouldn’t give me any nasty surprises along the way! Recommended needle size for that is 7mm – 8mm, so it should knit up even faster!

first finish of 2021

With the start of a new year, I’ve read quite a few “good resolutions” posts by fellow bloggers of goals they hope to achieve in the coming year.  I’m not going to make any resolutions as such. I know, from experience, I never stick to them.  So I’ll just continue in 2021 pretty much as I did in 2020:  picking up whatever project takes my fancy and (hopefully) working from start to finish, be it xstitch, sewing, patchwork, knitting or crochet.  And while doing so, try not to add any more stash to my very healthy supply!  I did well last year with stash-busting, only being naughty towards November with a couple of non-necessary buys.  So this year began the way I hope to continue.  I pulled a couple of 50g balls of chunky Katia “Britannia” from my stash . . . downloaded a free knitting pattern by King Cole . . . and I have my first finish of the 2021.

Doesn’t look very exciting, does it?  Maybe it’ll look better if I model it, in front of bathroom mirror (which I should have cleaned first!).

There you go!  One cowl.  The tweedy yarn and colour are quite masculine which is fine, since I cast on this project with the husband in mind.  This will be something to keep his neck warm when walking the dog!  I used approx 120g of the “Britannia” Katia yarn, knitted on 5mm needles for 1×1 rib and 6mm for stocking stitch, following pattern to the letter.

This King Cole 5624 pattern also included instructions forseven different projects!  The cowl; hat;  fingerless mittens;  shawl;  two different styles of scarf and a polo neck shoulder wrap.  I’ve just cast on to knit the hat and plan to tackle the polo neck shoulder wrap after that!

best layer of the month # December / best layer of 2020

First of all, happy new year to all my readers!  Bye bye to 2020 which we’ll all be glad to put behind us, with hopes of a brighter year in 2021.

I’ve been having fun totting up figures today of eggs laid by our very productive hens (left to right in photo) Florence, Mauricette and Ruby.  But also not forgetting old Miss Moneypenny, who died this summer and contributed to egg laying in the first half of the year.

For December our best layer is Ruby, our red hen.  She laid 27 eggs while Florence laid 22 and Mauricette laid 15.

And when I tot up total egg count for the entire year . . . I collected a grand total of 956 eggs in 366 days!  Incredible,!

Miss Moneypenny laid 136 of those . . . Mauricette was in third place with 180.  Florence was in second place with 311.  And Ruby our red hen takes gold, with 329.  Well done to all of them!  And here’s to another year full of lovely fresh eggs!