Monday, June 29, 2009

The turkeys are growing

Yes, they are growing and the adventure of growing turkeys goes on. We've ended up with one Tom and 4 hens. The Tom struts a great deal, but never enough when I want to take photos. They are funny and curious, want to get out of their enclosure, but I can't let them forage. Apparently, there is a law in Michigan that forbids domestic turkeys to be free-range due to the wild turkey population. Now I can see why they wouldn't want to let Toms free-range, but hens? I've decided I'll have to source out butchering. I don't think my back will take processing them. Oh well, we have lots of Amish in the area.

We've also got a couple of hens brooding. Hopefully, we'll get chicks this year and not an empty nest after a month because that's what happened last year. The hen sat on the eggs and when I was finally able to dislodge her, nada, nothing. No chicks, no egg shells, nothing. I've observed that the chickens lay their eggs near the brooding hen, and she reaches out with one foot and rolls them under her. Pretty nifty. It would be nice to add to the meat supply for the winter. If it happens, it happens.

Socks No. 5

I have finished my fifth pair of socks for the 52 pairs of socks in 52 weeks challenge (Ravelry Group). I think that makes me ahead by one pair. The pattern came from the Socken-Kreativ-Liste. It is basically a mixture of moss stitch and brioche stitch down the leg of the socks and then having the two sections of brioche stitch come together on top of the foot by decreasing and increasing. I extended the moss stitch strip down both sides of the foot and then have them come to a point as well. Since there was no planning involved, I did rather well. I only had to add 6 rows to the sock before starting the toes. The fit my 7-1/2 shoe size perfectly. The yarn is Schoeller und Stahl, Kolori in turquoise, bought on sale for half-price at either Patternworks or Little Knits. The turquoise has some sections of gray included and has one ply of silvery thread included. The color is not very sedate.

On other knitting fronts, I have a new shawl going called the "Masked Ball of Venice." The pattern is from Monika Eckert from the Klabauter Yahoo! group. I had to actually buy yarn since the yarn I was going to use had been shredded into pieces. The shredded yarn and the previously mentioned shredded sock yarn came from the same shop. Since none of my other stash is affected it had to happen at the shop. But, alas, she is no longer in business. It pained me to have to throw away the yarn, but one cannot knit a shawl with 1 to 2 foot pieces of yarn, the thickness of heavy sewing thread. The yarn I bought for the shawl is called Cashwool by Zegna Baruffa in Italy. It looks almost the same as the Skacel Lace Merino I had to throw out. The price for 100 gram was $16.25 which, as far as I am concerned, is very reasonable for lace yarn. I just cannot fathom to pay $40 or more for 3-1/2 ounces of yarn. Pictures will come when I get done with the first part.
By the way, the magazine "Simply Knitting" under the wool is a British Magazine I discovered at the book store. It is a bit more expensive than Interweave's knitting magazine, but well worth the price. I have bought now two issues (Winter and Spring) and each issue has at least two items in it that I would knit. And the most important thing: they come in my size instead of Twiggy (for those who remember her). The other thing is that the magazine comes with a suppement, some of which are Alan Dart toy patterns.

Knit on merrily!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Finally a new post

I finally took enough pain pills to make it through the blocking of the Taurus Shawl by Monika Eckert of Klabauterwolle. This was a birthday gift in honor of her birthday. It so happens that both our birthdays fall under the same sign, so this was extra special. I used Cherry Tree Hill lace weight yarn and 3.75 mm needles. The shawl weighs 111 grams and is of ample size. While the Cherry Tree Hill yarn is a joy to knit with; the quality of the dye job, however, leaves something to be desired. First, the lovely Spring colors are spoilt by a dark blotch throughout the skein. Had the yarn not been 60% off at a LYS close-out sale, I would not have bought it. At the prices Cherry Tree Hill charges, I expect better quality control. Second, the colors were not set properly. The color left in the wash water was high, and I never could get a clear rinse water. But the shawl is finished. It's lovely, light and airy and will be a joy to wear.
Knit on!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Air Snakes and Confetti (Luftschlangen und Konfetti)

Another pair of socks is started. I am almost to the toe on the first sock. The pattern came from the German Socken-Kreativ-Liste Yahoo Group. It is basically a combination of the brioche and moss stitch.The designer left open the treatment of the pattern on the foot. The yarn is from Schoeller-Stahl (Kolori); the color is actually several shades of green with a silver thread. I bought it at Little Knits, on sale, of course.

Summer has finally set in in Michigan. It's been hot and humid and the air conditioning is running. The turkeys are growing and one of the hens is sitting on a bunch of eggs. She pecks at anyone coming near her. So, we can't even check if the eggs are fertile. Hopefully, last year's fiasco will not be repeated. Then the same hen sat on a bunch of eggs and when we finally could dislodge her, no eggs were left. We still don't have any idea what happened to all the eggs she horded.

For those who have been following the blog, the Finch eggs did not hatch. We had a bad storm and when I checked, the eggs were gone and the nest was empty on the ground. Of course, it could have easily been another critter that decided to eat them. I know for certain it was not our cats since they are not allowed outside.
Hopefully, by tomorrow I should have pics of the Taurus Shawl by Monika Eckert. I attempted to block it today, but did not do as good a job as I would like because of my "aching back."
Knit on!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A whole bit of sunshine.

My daughter just burst into the house and said "nine months of winter and now it's summer; it's 88 degrees (F) outside." Since it seemed summer would never come, I used a hand-dyed skein of yarn to knit these socks. The photo doesn't quite show the color correctly, at least not on my monitor; the colors are gold and yellow. I figured with the rain and the cold weather we've had these past few weeks, a bit of color was in order. The yarn is one of my daughter's hand-dyed skeins of sock yarn. She;s decided to use them as "sample" socks, to show off her yarn at the various fiber shows. This is fine with me since they are too big for me. The pattern called for 64 stitches. Since I never had knitted a pair of socks with the heel as described in the pattern, I decided to knit it per specification. The sock is part of the Ravelry Group 52 socks in 52 weeks. I know -- insanity!

The designer notes in in the pattern: " This is not the standard sock architecture, nor is it one of Cat Bordhi’s. It’s certainly not
mine - I encountered it first in The Tongue River Farm Sock Collection by Katherine Misegades (from 2002). I don’t know whether she originated it or not. This sock has the gusset created as a triangle while the leg pattern continues down the back of the heel."

Now that I've knit the heel, I would decrease the stitches to 60 and increase the triangle for the gusset to 15 stitches instead of 12. This would make the leg fit better and still accommodate my high arch. On the whole, the sock could be knit with a regular heel flap, by adding one stitch on each side for picking up the stitches for the gusset and then decreasing back to 30 stitches for the bottom of the foot.

Nevertheless, it was a fun knit and a new way of making a heel.

Knit on!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I must be crazy

It's not that I do not belong to enough sock groups, I had to go and sign up to participate in the 52 socks in 52 weeks challenge. No one needs that many socks, unless one has children that are still growing. Mine are all grown up and except for the youngest who wears hand knitted socks every day of the year, the other two are perfectly satisfied with one pair a year. And most likely only wear them to please mother. And for the youngest I use Opal most of the time. The only yarn she has been unable to wear out.
The challenge started June 1 and goes through MY 2009. So far I have knitted three pairs of socks. I am not able to show the first two pairs of socks since they are part of the Little Hexorei test knitting group. But the third pair can be shown. The pattern was designed by Cookie A. and can be found on the Classic Elite web site at:

It's a lovely pattern that can easily be memorized. It took me only one repeat to be able to throw away the chart, and on top of it, I didn't have to look at the pattern again even for the second sock. Now that's easy!
So Knit On!

Friday, June 12, 2009

445x2 + 44x2

I normally limit my blog to my knitting, but I have to share this with the word wide web. I’ve just come back from the mailbox. No mail, but I walked 445x2 + 44x2 steps (yup I counted everyone of them) without pain for the first time in at least a year and a half, and all because I was forced to change doctors. My “old” doctor fired me. I wasn’t a good patient, kept canceling appointments and not showing up. One of the reasons was that I have suffered from a severe depressive episode for at least a year with lots of panic attacks due to concomitant PTSD. I’ve also been experiencing a tremendous amount of pain from osteoarthritis (it sucks getting old). Chronic severe pain doesn’t help the other two conditions either. I decided my best bet was to go to a walk-in clinic in the next “city”. The clinic is run by two nurse practitioners with a supervising physician. I figured that this would serve my needs of not always being able to make it for a scheduled appointment. For that convenience, I will, of course, have to pay with waiting time, but I always have my knitting. The nurse practitioners came highly recommended by friends who have been going there for years. Another benefit is that the two NPs are partners in real life and are lesbians. Hurray! Well, to make a long story short, my previous doctor had prescribed a pain medication, Ultram, which only partially eased the pain as long as I didn’t move around. The new NP suggested a try of a medication called Relafen which is a cox inhibitor and is used for osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. Wellllll, I am on my second day of the meds and I made it to the mailbox and back, fed and watered the chickens and turkeys and tucked them in, all without pain.

No city sounds on the way to the mail box; the birds were still chirping since it wasn’t dark as yet, but otherwise it was very quiet and peaceful. I saw a lot of deer tracks, both big ones and smaller ones, turkey tracks, and every two or three steps a few small ant hills. There were even two mole holes in the middle of the driveway. The tree leaves are finally fully developed, the ferns are unfolding, and the milkweed is growing. I saw no blooms on the blueberries. Everything is late this spring due to the cold weather. I even got to squash a couple of tent worms, one of my favorite pastimes in the spring.
The photos are of things that catch my eye around the property.

Do you think, maybe in a few days, I will be able to block the shawls I’ve knitted? I hope so, but as of tonight things are looking up.
Knit on!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

And here are the turkeys with the alpha Tom standing right in the food. I've noticed that too with the chickens. As soon as I finish filling up their food dish, the rooster will immediately step into the food, stir the food around with his feet and then, and only then, will he let the hens eat. The Tom is already prancing around with his tail feathers in a half circle and his chest puffed out. But will he do it for the camera? Oh no! One of these days before he becomes Thanksgiving dinner, I will get a picture of him strutting before the hens.

What is it with Michigan? Two days ago the sun was shining, we had a beautiful day, and today it's as cold as if it were March. I am ready to turn the wood stove on again, but for crying out loud it's June. However, while the sun was shining, I was able to take a pic of the Bearded Irises that were blooming. Living in the woods as we do, cultivated flowers are a rarity. If the deer don't get them, the bunnies will; and if the bunnies don't get them, then the chickens for sure will finish the job.

Look, you can even see the sun in the photograph. Ah, glorious sun, please come back soon.
Knitting-wise, I have just finished two pairs of socks, but cannot show them until the designer releases the pattern. So, my friends, knit on. Since my computer is still on dial up instead of DSL, I hope to get a few things finished around here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I have run into a wee snag

My fast connection to my laptop broke. I had a wee accident with the computer, and the lid broke off in one place which affected the DSL connection. So now I am on dial up till I can get it fixed or buy a new one. What a joy! Therefore, pictures will be delayed for a brief period of time; at least till I figure out what to do next.