waiting for buttons

I’m having an almost happy dance here – yay!  It took lots of cursing, swearing, and more watching of youtube videos, but I managed to pick up stitches and get my neckband and  button bands knitted.

Once all seams were sewn and loose ends woven in, I decided that cardigan needing blocking properly to keep those button bands from trying to curl . . . so I bunged the buttonless cardigan in the washing machine on a delicate cycle, and left it to dry flat on the clothes airer.  The final touch, being a cardigan, is to add the “perfect” buttons, which is why I’m not having a full-flung happy dance, modelling my purple cardigan just yet.

Originally it started out as a stash-busting project (pattern & yarn from stash) and I planned on using buttons from stash too.  However, I need 10 buttons for this project, have decided on 20mm size, and the only ones I have in my stash (in sufficient number) are “gold” (well, plastic painted gold).

And I’m not 100% sure about either.

I’ve therefore pressed the pause button on my happy dancing . . . and ordered in 2 different types of metal buttons in silver/antique silver.  They should be arriving some time this week, so I’ll be able to decide once I can compare.  In the meantime, I’m itching to cast on a new knitting project.

purple knitting

On 10th of this month, I showed you a knitting project, actually begun on 29th September of a long plain cardigan I’m making for myself.  It’s a stash-busting project, using some acrylic yarn I’ve had in my stash for a number of years and a Sirdar Hayfield pattern bought a couple of years ago.

Since my last update, I knitted both fronts, and both sleeves, remaining consistent with my raglan decreases.  And, after watching a couple of videos on youtube, to remind myself on how to assemble my pieces . . . I’ve sewn the 4 raglan seams – yay!

Here’s a photo of the first one.  I’m so pleased with how it turned out!  This photo shows you the true colour of the yarn.

Anyway . . . next job will be to knit the neckband and button bands.  I put back & sleeve stitches onto stitch holders, rather than doing the cast off as pattern suggested.  Will just need to increase evenly by a few stitches on those parts, when also picking up on the 2 fronts at neck line.  Am very optimistic that I’ll have a finished cardigan to keep me snug, by the end of the month!

SAL “together we are magic” #9

It’s time for the 3-weekly link-up with other SAL members.

AvisClaireGunConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunny,

MeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJCathieLindaHelen

who have all been busily stitching (I hope!) on their currents projects.  Mine is a kit by Letitstitch, and last time I had just begun on page 2 (of 4) of the chart.

Since then, I allowed myself to get distracted by other projects, so sadly, I didn’t get much done.

Still having to juggle with lots of different blues for the background, but I did also add some beige which is the beginnings of an ear.

We’ll be back in 3 weeks time, on 7th November.

ScrapHappy # october

It’s 15th of the month, the day to link up with other ScrapHappy people around the world and play around with our scraps.

Last month I didn’t have anything to show you except this photo
of leftover yarns and a pattern I’d found on the internet by Zhaya Designs.  The pattern is to make what Zhaya calls “smooching balls”.  I thought I’d give them a go.
Mine are still a work in progress.  I’ve made one little “fellow” but he needs to have his pink feet sewn on and then some kind of hair & facial featurees.  The second one is just a stuffed ball for the moment.  Also needs a face, legs and some kind of hair.

knitting & stash busting

After a couple of crochet projects to help with my yarn stash busting I picked out a knitting pattern (from my stash) that would be suitable for using some DK yarn I bought at least 6 years ago.

The yarn, bought before I really knew much about knitting, was sold in bags of 10 x 50g balls.  Label gives tension as DK equivalent, and the bags stated that 500g would be enough to knit something in a size 42 (EU sizing).  Therefore, at the time, I bought TWO bags lol.

I also had this pattern, bought a couple of years ago, but never knitted . . . of a very ordinary looking long cardigan/jacket in stocking stitch.  Pattern model made using a self-striping yarn. I  bought this pattern because it’s so simple, and is something I would wear in the colder months.  So, with colder months not far away, I finally got around to casting on

Pattern is Sirdar Hayfield #8159.  It’s all 2×2 ribbing and stocking stitch.  Nothing very exciting but, with the raglan sleeve style, after over 22″ of rib & straight stocking stitch, I finally got some practice with my decreasing over 60 rows.

So far, after many many hours of knitting, due to the fact I’m knitting this in a very large size, I have a back – yay!  And, after racking Avis’ brains, plus lots of watching of videos on youtube on how to decrease neatly, when the pattern just says “dec 1 stitch at each end on every row”  or “dec 1 stitch at each end of next and foll alt rows”, without specifying which decrease method to use . . . I opted to not just do the K2tog or P2tog at both ends, but to try the SSK and the SSP where appropriate to work on getting my stitches sloping inwards.

Not sure if I’ve done it properly, but it looks neat enough to me.  And big sigh of relief when that back part was done because it’s huge and was getting quite heavy on my needles.

monster crochet stash-busting

After making the bright pink crochet dragon, I had a tidy up in my “discount store” yarn drawer. Very happy to see that, whereas once upon a time it was overflowing and difficult to close, now there’s plenty of room in there.

I had lots of bright neon colours in there, just crying out to crocheted.   So, a quick flick through my pile of crochet books looking for a pattern to make something in another bright colour.

And this is what I made.

Pattern from the book “Amigurumi Monsters”.

Design by YOUnique crafts:  Toby the triclops.  My Toby turned out at 6″ tall (that’s the measurement to his middle eye).  I love his feet, with 4 toes each, and he has a thumb on each hand.  He was a nice, relaxing, easy project to make.

best layer of the month # september

After the events of last week, with “murder in a French orchard” we went out and bought 3 new laying hens to keep Ruby company.  Hens are back in the veggie garden coop, so they’re closer to the house and (we hope) safer.

Anyway, before I do the introductions . . . first, let me tot up the number of eggs this month.  Before their untimely deaths on 23rd Sept, Mauricette had laid 12 eggs  and Florence had laid 18.  Ruby, understandably, has been a bit off her laying since, what with seeing two hens killed before her eyes, and then having 3 new companions arrive.  She laid a total of 21 eggs this month.  Big surprise, only a few days after the new girls arrived – they started laying.  Only tiny eggs for now, but we’ve had a total of 13 small eggs in the last 7 days.    Which makes a total of 64 eggs for September.   I think in future, I’ll stop the “best layer” posts, and simply do a monthly round-up of hen life.  I haven’t been able to identify who is laying what, so from October, I’ll just do a monthly hen & egg-count update.

In the meantime, let me introduce you to the new hens!

Here they are, on day 3, when they finally felt brave enough to come down the ramp and start exploring.

This is Doris – a red hen.  She doesn’t appear to have the same dark brown tail feathers as Ruby, and she’s a darker red, so I shouldn’t have any trouble telling the two apart when Ruby’s feathers all grow back.

Agatha is a black & tan.  She seems the less adventurous of the three.   She’s also quite happy to be picked up for a stroke.

And finally,

Rita who is a French blue.  She’s a much lighter silver grey than Mauricette (who was also a French blue) but, like Mauricette, she is a very large bird.

We had some fun & games in the first days. Despite clipping flight feathers on left wing, on the 3 new gals, they were managing to helicopter out of the enclosure.  But after adding some extra netting higher up, we seem to have solved our Houdini problem.  There is also a certain amount of confusion at bed-time with Rita heading up the ramp, closely followed by Doris, then Agatha . . . only for Rita to turn around at the top and want to come back down. This causes a hen-jam on the ramp before Rita does another 180° turn and goes to bed properly.  It’s early days yet though.  On the whole, they seem to have settled in very well.

SAL “together we are magic” #8

It’s the 3-weekly meet-up with other SAL members, organised by Avis, to show photos of the projects we’re stitching.  We’re an international group, all working on different projects, with the SAL being our way of motivating each other.

Full list of members.

AvisClaireGunConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunny,

MeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJCathieLindaHelen

Last time I had managed to complete page 1 (of 4) of the chart of my project: “Together we are magic”, a kit by Letitstitch.

For this time, I began work on page 2.

Next update on 17th October.

murder in a French orchard

A very unwelcome bit of excitement in our part of the French countryside yesterday . . .

I’ll spare the gore but, heading to the orchard yesterday at noon, to collect eggs and have a chat with the hens, I was very surprised not to see all three out pecking & scratching in their enclosure in the shade of the apple trees.    Everything was eerily quiet . . . and the only hen visible was Ruby, looking scrawny & hen-pecked as usual, but also acting worried and wary.  At first, I thought the other two were in the nesting box, but no.  Coop & nesting box were empty.  It was only then that I noticed , in one corner of the enclosure . . .  a pile of feathers and a corpse:  Mauricette.  No visible signs of injury, just dead, on her side. On further inspections, in another corner of the enclosure, I found a different pile of feathers

but no corpse.  That would have been Florence (missing, presumed dead).

We took Gibbs out in the orchard, where he sniffed and followed a scent trail which stopped at the boundaries of the orchard and a neighbour’s garden.  We even had Moka, a neighbour’s labrador) out in the orchard, who sniffed and followed the exact same scent trail as Gibbs.  There were more Florence feathers the other side of the fence . . . so with our Sherlock Holmes cap on (plus the husband googling fox hunting habits) we deduce that deaths were caused by a fox even though it occured in broad daylight.

We’d been lucky up until now.  We’ve lived here for 7 years, and kept hens for 6 years.  This is the first time hens have fallen prey to a predator.  Anyway . . . Ruby, as I say, was completely shell-shocked yesterday, poor thing.  Yesterday evening, we moved her back to the hen coop in the veggie garden.  And I got on the phone to our usual hen breeder.

This morning we went and collected 3 new laying hens:  a black & tan, a red hen, and a French blue.  I’ll show you photos as soon as they’re settled in and brave enough to leave the coop.  In the meantime, Ruby is even more worried, because of the 3 strange birds in the coop.

Saying that, it didn’t stop her laying an egg in the nesting box earlier today!  I hope she gets on well with the new hens and that her plumage eventually grows back to its former glory.