Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chicken Drama

Who would have thought that chickens could be so entertaining. We had a tragedy the other night; one of our Buff Orpington's became the murder victim of a bigger and meaner member of the animal kingdom. We know it wasn't a Weasel because only one of the wings was torn off and half the head was missing. (Sorry for the gore.) Weasels go for the heart and the breast. And now come the chicken dramatics:

Since this incident several of our two-winged, two-legged egg producers refuse to go into the coop at night. It took some sleuthing were they were hiding, and we haven't found all of their hiding places yet. But our only white chicken currently gets her beauty sleep on a branch of the honeysuckle bushes. Since they are full of creamy white blossoms at the moment, she is well hidden. One of the light brown/tan Aricaunas has found a spot on top of the roof of a very old, very small shed. The roof is covered with dry pine needles, and she blends right in. We have yet to find Roadrunner's hiding place She got her name because of her speed and habit of zipping through the landscape.

Sorry no pics since these critters don't retire until it is almost dark.

And thus the tale of the chickens continues.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Finally some knitting content

I finally took photos of the Tee I knit last month. The yarn is a discontinued Plymouth Yarn, Linen Isle, with a content of 50% Cotton, 30% Rayon and 20% Linen. Each 50 gram skein has 86 yards and five stitches to the inch with size 6 needles. The yarn is machine washable on gentle and should be laid flat to dry. I put the finished Tee in the dryer on the gentle cycle. It did not lose its shape or shrink. It would be more energy efficient to air dry since it took a couple of drying cycles. Unfortunately the pictures with me in the Tee are not the most flattering, but then, to be honest, there hasn't been anything flattering about my figure for at least 10 years. It's a wee bit snug, but I've been losing weight, so I figure it will fit just perfect by the end of the summer. While I am grateful in having lost 28 lbs. over the past 1-1/2 years, it's also worrisome since I haven't tried to lose weight. We'll see if it continues and then I'll worry enough to mention it to the doctor.

So without further ado here is my plump figure in my new Tee. It's frightening how much I look like one of my mother's sisters, in size that is.

Well, the hair is still au naturel, with distinguished gray at the temples.

I found the pattern at . The pattern is called "Sommerflieder" or "Summer Lilacs." The instructions are in German, but can easily be translated into English with the Google translate button. Be prepared for a few non-sensical words, but any knitter who has knit a sweater before can easily ignore the occasional gibberish.

The second finished project is a pair of socks. Knit from an overly ripe skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. Not my most favorite sock yarn since it has to be hand washed. I prefer to be able to toss my socks in with the regular wash. However, the yarn was perfect for the pattern and had been stewing long enough in my stash of sock yarn. The pattern is fairly easy and for a medium experienced knitter can almost go on automatic. The cuff and foot have a pattern of knit 2, purl 1, with every other knit 2 crossed every fourth row. Pleasant enough to the eye that I might just knit a whole sock that way one of these days. The leg pattern has a pattern consisting of dropped stitches, 1x1 cables and purl stitches. Yes you have read correctly, dropped stitches. If I hadn't knit the pattern, I would not have believed it. The pattern is by Terry Morris and can be found on Ravelry under the name "Yaneris Socks." It is now a "for buy" product, but was originally offered for free through the Yahoo Holiday Mystery Gift group.

Well that's all folks until I have knit something else.

Knit on merrily!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all women who have born children. Some of you were even fortunate enough to see them grow up.

Two women stand out in my life, my mother and my Aunt Emma.

My mother had one child live beyond birth, me. Before me was Helene who died either in child birth or shortly thereafter. We were both premature, a condition made more difficult because the years were 1938 and 1940. Some of us were more stubborn or willful than others and decided against all odds to stay put on this earth. In my mother's case that would have been me. In my Aunt Emma's case (my mother's sister), one of her children was murdered by the Nazis; she had what we now know as Downs Syndrome. Both women were tough. The kind of outer toughness that let them make it through War, hunger, and pestilence and, then, pick up the pieces and build new lives.

In the early post war years, my mother was a wheeler-dealer, getting us successively better apartments in which to live, not an easy undertaking in a country where there seemed to be more bombed out buildings than inhabitable ones. Mother also had no ethical problems with obtaining a ball for me on the black market for Christmas 1946.

She had it down to a fine art when to walk the 5 miles between the village we lived in and her farmer friends in the neighboring village to garner a fresh egg or some freshly canned meat. When fire wood was needed, she and her neighbor became wood fellers, going into the very cold winter of 1946, 1947, or 1948, the axe apparently slipped off an icy tree trunk into her shin, but the two women and the wood made it home without an ambulance or having to pay a bribe to the local constable. You see it was legal to collect wood off the forest floor, but not to cut down trees.

In 1948, I was allowed to visit my aunt in the far away big city of Hamburg. I don't remember how I got there, for travel in 1948 was not the easiest undertaking, but I do know that my mother did not take me. What I do remember are all the new dresses I had when I got to my aunt. The material came from some of my mother's dresses, remade into the latest 8-year old girls' dresses by a local seamstress. I wonder what she used for money, since we certainly didn't have any. Of course, I also need to report that I tore one of those dresses when we did less than girly things on that visit. But nary a "tsk" from my mother when I came home.

As I became eighteen and up to twenty-two, I always knew where I could find a fashionable wardrobe--in my mother's closet. She abhorred my lack of taste in clothing and was ready to clothe me. Of course, I would never have taken advantage of my mother in that way. *cough, cough, smirk, smirk."

Thank you, Mutti, for also attempting to clean up my pal Seppl, before sending him home to his mother. Seppl had "accidentally" fallen into a mud puddle. Poor Seppl still got a thrashing.

She also rescued me from our local Pastor who was in the habit of administering "Ohrfeigen" (slaps on the side of the face) rather randomly to his confirmation students. When my turn came, I walked out of the class room, went home and my mother took up the matter with the District's supervising Pastor. The following week I was able to take confirmation classes in the "big" city.

At age 18, she gave me my freedom and told me if I wanted to go to England for a year as an au pair, it was alright with her. After all, she had never married again after her divorce in 1948. Unfortunately, I have this inkling that it was my fault she never remarried. I was jealous of every man that ever came to visit her and spoke my mind about it. Sorry for having been so selfish.

Above all thank you for always accepting me for being me, regardless of how difficult that might have been at times.

And thank you to my Aunt Emma for letting me visit every summer vacation, for fattening me up when my camp stay didn't, for having all those Romance novels stashed in the cupboard, so I could read into the night under my bed covers and cry and cry and cry. And above all for having the Bakery deliver, wonderful hard rolls (Broetle) and soft pretzels (Laugepretzle) every morning while I was visiting.

A Blessed Mother's Day to all.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

No knitting content yet, but still knitting...

No knitting photos yet. I have a couple of things on the needles, but nothing finished yet.

In the meantime I've been poking around E-Bay for old German lace knitting magazines and yarn for knitting a doily of some kind. It probably will take me as long to decide which one to knit as it will take time to knit it. In my search for patterns, I found a 1991 magazine "Neue Moden" (New Fashions) with a special issue of "Kunststricken" (Knitting of Lace Doilies, etc.)--32 patterns all together. I have bought from this seller (gizmo73733) out of Germany before and she hasn't disappointed me yet.

On the other hand, I have an exchange of e-mails with another E-Bay Seller that is both funny and bad business. Here is the e-mail exchange, starting with my asking who the designers of the knitted tablecloths in an old Anna (Burda) magazine are.

April 28;
Is there any chance that you can tell me who the designers are for the knit tablecloths? Thank you much.

May 1:
I have e-mailed you previously with no reply. I understand if you are unwilling to look in the magazine to answer my question, but a brief "I don't know answer" would have sufficed. Again, would you be so kind and tell me if the magazine lists the designers for the knit tablecloths advertised on the cover. Thank you Renate Speaks

May 1:
Dear renate...,

May 1:
Obviously you answered my question exactly the way it was asked. However,the names of the designers would have been a sign of good will after you didn't answer my first e-mail. But never mind. Just a suggestion particularly if lace knitting is involved. You might get better bidding results if you were to list the designers of the knitted lace items. Sincerely, Renate Speaks

So far no answer. The seller who I suspect is a guy due to his moniker most likely thought he was being particularly witty. I don't think so, however. You can bet regardless of how badly I may want these magazines, I will not buy them from this seller. I particularly dislike being yelled at over the Internet. It's enough that people yell at me in real life. If I do not receive a reply in a couple of days, I just may give the name of the seller.

In the meantime, keep on knitting.