It’s been a relaxed weekend here, eating with family and playing with swatches and yarn. The above is for a Sixareen Cape, which has been brewing in my mind for a while.
It’s still freezing, but it seems like the garden is starting to defrost a little and the snow is gradually retreating. And so today our new chicken ladies were settled in their outdoor home after what was a pretty entertaining week in our garage. Once they’ve stopped gorging themselves on grass and put their heads up towards the sky a little I’ll introduce them properly…
So…to the exciting thing first – the winner of the Dropcloth sampler, Yarn Yarn silk embroidery threads and possibly a couple of other goodies from the depths of my craft room. Congratulations Nicola! Your post was picked at random and I will send you an email in the next few minutes… Thank you to everyone who entered x
And so back to usual business…the new chickens are settling in well, and I am most definitely head-over-heels in love with them. These girls are much more active that our last lot of rescue chickens. This is due to a change in the law for these kind of caged hens in the UK, who must now have (a little) more space, and a place to scratch and roost. It’s better, but still not good enough in my opinion. They have a some natural behaviour, but looked frankly amazed when I carried one outside for a wander. Fresh air is something completely new for my girls.
And so the names – Lady Dorothea Featherbottom (Dotty), Scarlet o’Hara (Scarlet), WPC Polly Parker (Parker) and Duchess Mimi the Second (Mimi). Here’s little timid Mimi. I knit her a wee sweater as she’s in the worst shape physically and is completely bald on her belly. She’s very pale and has been over-heated, so the sweater should help her adjust more gradually. She seemed quite happy as I got her dressed, but a little less tolerant a few minutes later. I’ll try it again when we put them outside, she’ll need it then and might be a bit more grateful!
Everyone in our house is getting new things this week. Mr Saz and I treated ourselves to a fancy new mattress and bedding and it is lovely. And so last night after the men were relaxing after getting the mattress upstairs, I sat down at my sewing machine and bound a little quilt for Penny that I pieced and quilted a while ago.
This is made from leftovers of a large quilt I’m making for the humans and as you can see above, is nothing really to be proud of! But the top is a lovely soft cotton flannel, and Penny seems very attached to it already…
Pretty much all my crafting falls into two catergories – very fast and very slow. Sweaters probably fall somewhere in the middle, but I don’t make too many of them…
It’s working well for me just now. Keeping a balance seems key – if I’m working on a slow sewing project like Swoon I can pick up a quick hat to knit for relief. And when the Beekeepers Quilt or those massive colourwork socks get too much I stitch up a quick potholder, or spin a little sampler. Its helping to keep me sane and focused right now, which is just what I need.
Finishing Swoon gave me a little more confidence in my ability to actually finish big, long-term projects. So I started another -
The first patchwork I ever did was paper-pieced (and small), and this is the first time playing with it since. I even managed to find my old hexagon templates, though, um, I’ll obviously need a few more. This one is destined for another family member, and one with an extremely large bed. I’ll need to get some sneaky measurements of it… Just as Jules said in the comments on Swoon, one stitch at a time is the best way to undertake big projects. I’ll do this the opposite way to Swoon – hand pieced and then machine quilted.
I’m in a kind-of methodical mood at the moment, taking my time with things and being thorough. I did a little spring cleaning (including cleaning and oiling my sewing machine – eww), and came up with a little giveaway. In my embroidery box I found two of the same Dropcloth samplers – the original one shown here. I’ve decided to give one away, and will throw in some hand-dyed silk from the Yarn Yard. It’s lovely, dyed just a few miles from my house, but is a little thicker than I like to use for my embroidery (but is loved by others, I’m sure.) If you’d like these threads and the sampler just leave a comment letting me know, and on Tuesday night I’ll pick someone at random.
Ursula is finished. I love her. I loved spinning her yarn (the three contrast colours). I loved thinking about making her and what it would be like to wear her. I loved knitting her, steeking her, finishing her, and even sewing woven ribbon on the buttonbands. And now I love wearing her, but I miss the fun of creating her a little. Thank you Kate for a joyous design! I’m sure I’ll be making this again in colours more similar to the original.
Next up – a Puffin Sweater, again in very un-puffin-like colours and completely in handspun this time. I believe that a pile of gotland fibre I forgot I ordered may be waiting for me at the post office, I think its a sign that I need to get started.
In truth though, my knitting is taking a bit of a backseat at the moment. I decided that a very large project has been in progress for far too long. Something is telling me it’s time for it to be done, out of my life, and into the life of the people I’ve made it for. I’ve set a crazy deadline for its completion and am filled with determination. If all goes well and my fingers hold out I’ll be back at my spinning wheel by Wednesday.
How can it be March already? This is proving to be a tricky month, filled with reminders of past awful events and my sadness. I’ve wanted to appear in this space more over the last couple of weeks, but haven’t felt like saying much. I’ve decided that for this month posts will consist mostly of photographs, and if I don’t feel like saying anything, I won’t.
Thank you for all the comments and emails asking about Penny – she is doing much better. She has healed quickly and didn’t complain too much about her first encounter with toothpaste. She also seems to have forgiven me for leaving her at the vet, and is back to attempting to kiss me at every opportunity. She is so sweet, I love her x
So for today – photos of things I am enjoying, working on, and um…fixing…
There are lots of things I love on my list, but the one that is now closest to being finished is definitely my favourite.
I’m sad to be finishing work on my Ursula, but excited at the same time. The buttons are ready, and hopefully I’ll be wearing it at the weekend.
This space has been very knitting-heavy recently, but I have plans to start on a new embroidery project this week, and its a quick one…
Remember my lovely Levenwick? I pounced on the pattern seconds after I saw this design for the first time, and ordered my Shelter to knit it a few minutes later. On Thursday night though, we said goodbye.
I love the design, the yarn, and the making of it, but we never became close friends and I think I wore it only a handful of times. Some of the problems were fixable – it was too big and the buttons were in the wrong place. But its main issue I think was the colour – I bought the colour of yarn I loved at the time (and still do), with no thought whatsoever about whether it would suit me, and I don’t think it does.
Then, almost immediately after the ripping session I became the victim of a very strange mascara-allergy incident, which made my head try to explode and kept me awake all night. (Please – no sympathy – this is not a serious problem and has taught me that mascara that I’m allergic to does not belong inside my eyes.) So Friday was spent in bed, trying to hold my face together and get even just a little sleep…. It never happened, so I ignored all the warnings from my inner-knitter (16 wips, Saz, remember?!) and um, cast on something new.
All done in one sitting (but really kind of lying down), a Honey Crisp by Gudrun Johnston. Ravelled here. Lovely and satisfying to knit, and I’ve hardly taken it off since I finished it. And it is definitely my colour.
Do you ever sit down to start a new piece of knitting, know for sure that you have needles in every size but can never find what you need? I’ve had this problem for a while, then in the corner of my eye I noticed a metal needle tip peeking out of my knitting basket. This is where my needle-troubles are brewing. I decided to be really, truly honest and count my works-in-progress.
There were 17 things on that list. Only one of them I decided to rip, but and then I accidentally cast-on something else and so added another. For me, this is too much. I made a little pact with my mum that I would finish two things on the list before starting each new thing, but it only seemed to last as long as she was in my house.
This list does include though three long-term projects, one that is waiting on more laceweight yarn being spun, and two that actually belong to my mum, but I said I would finish off for her. This is what is eating my needles!
I came up with great plan! Instead of trying to work through them, or be truly ruthless and rip another two or three, I reached for the unfinished quilt in the cupboard and started working on that…
I’m not going to say too much about this quilt for now, as its a gift for someone who may read here. It was lovely to be back at my sewing machine for oh, 30 minutes? Now I have to work through the hand quilting, which I suspect may take a little longer…
Remember this? My dad turned up at the weekend, cradling his hand-crafted masterpiece in a box.
He turned his 9+ metres of cord into a little bowl! It is very beautiful, and now cradling my eggs in the kitchen, since it reminds me a little of a bird nest. Thank you Dad!! Please feel free to leave suggestions of what his next project should be…he’s pretty attached to his little french knitter and wants to leave the two-needle knitting to my mum. I suspect this is because he prefers her to knit his socks, rather than doing it himself…
Other news – I don’t think it’s obvious from the photo, but these are shop-bought eggs. Our two remaining chickens Bowie and Mrs Weasley officially retired from egg production a few months ago and seem to be content merely pecking about our garden with nothing to show for it. They’re elderly though, so we forgave them. So for a while I’ve been on the hunt for more chickens to rehome and had almost given up after the charity that usually rescues them decided to stop its work in Scotland. But this week I got a tip-off about a rescue happening in March, and there are now 4 new chicken ladies coming our way! There’s a few weeks to go, so plenty of time to build a new enclosure and get things cosy for the newcomers. Seeing caged chickens experience the outdoors for the first time is a wonderful and entertaining thing – I might try and film it…
There are still hens looking for homes – so if anyone is interested in the details leave me a wee comment and I’ll get in touch. You’d need to willing/able to collect them from Central Scotland at the end of March…
ETA – I’ve just realised that the blue yarn my Dad used in his bowl is Quince and Co Chickadee in the colourway ‘Bird’s Egg.’ Haha, how appropriate!