Sunday, February 26, 2006

We're all doooomed

When I was training to be a counsellor I used to get told off for making jokes about serious things that had happened to me. 'You're laughing Stacey, but that sounds very painful.' No shit Sherlock, why do you think I'm laughing!

Anyway - something I may have to joke about or I'll start getting slightly hysterical is bird flu. The talk on the agricultural grapevine is that within 2 week it'll be here. It leaves us with somewhat of a dilemma. The reason we got into this lifestyle is that we needed to be absolutely certain that the meat we eat had lived as good a life as is possible. I abhor battery farming and feel that it represents the worst aspects of humans. We want it now, we want it cheap, we want it in excess and as long as we can shut our eyes to how producers are able to sell us chickens for £2.99 it's all justifiable. I was no longer able to shut my eyes to the methods used to provide cheap food and so, when we came to this smallholding, one thing we were both 100% agreed on was animal welfare. Our chickens are completely free range, the ducks have a large enclosure and a lovely pond and the new geese have a large enclosure ( they used to be out in the yard but the gander saw it as his personal responsibility to attack anything that came within a bus ride of him and the postman wouldn't get out of his van so into an enclosure they went - not the postman just the geese - lol)

The dilemma we have is safety versus animal welfare. We obviously have to follow any guidelines set down by Defra and are willing to do so. However, I'm not willing to compromise the welfare of our birds beyond a certain extent and if the only way to keep everyone safe is to keep them in conditions which we feel are too restrictive what do we do?

Anyway - all too serious for a Sunday morning

We apologise for the loss of service - normal sock related chat will resume soon :)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Now I know that Spring is just a round the corner

Himself has got the rotovator out and is preparing the vegetable plot. Loads of stuff is growing away on the widowsills and I'm particularly excited that the seeds for my dyers garden seem to be doing really well. It's really a exciting time of year and we can start dreaming of new potatoes and butter, sweetcorn, peas, tomatoes and broad beans. I've never got over the joy of producing our own food. It's part of our lifestyle that I'm really proud of. Here's himself doing all the easy work while I'm doing the hard work of holding the camera

Hopefully next time you see the plot it will be full of lush, healthy vegetables and flowers

Hole in the sock

There's a tiny hole in the sock I'm knitting and I don't know what I did to get it?

I don't think it's a dropped stitch as there's no laddering. Is it a slipped stitch? ideas on a postcard please.

I've found the ideal solution to having the kids back:

In actual fact it's the new ramp for the trailer that my husband has made but I'm sure it could double up as a 'playpen'

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sneaking one in

Just sneaking a quick post in before my lovely boys get back. They've been at my mums for 3 days as it's the holidays and the M.E and Fibro have brought rags to my ass and tears to my eyes. It was exactly the same last year, I was quite well for christmas and then by February I was ill again. It'd be intereting to hear from anyone who has the same pattern. Anyway - they'll be back in a minute with all their noise, drama and muddy shoes. All the things which I love deep down but which is virtually impossible to bear when I'm ill.

I've started the socks for my husband and they're coming along quite nicely this time. I really do love knitting socks, especially now I've discovered bamboo needles. Hopefully I'll make some decent progress with them tonight so I can post a pic tomorrow.

While I'm here I'd like to take the opportunity to thank the lovely people over at Downsizer who are so incredibly supportive of anyone trying to set up a new enterprise (however small) They've given feedback, support and their technical know-how with such generosity and warmth of spirit. My thanks go to them.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

We apologise for the delay...

Blimey O Reilly. It's been all go here. I've been figuring out if it's possible to add a shop to a blog and it looks like it is - hurrah. I've only got 3 pairs of stitch markers in there for now as I find HTML exhausting. Hopefully I'll be putting more things in as the days go by. It's all quite exciting really.

I've been spending a lot of time looking at other peoples blogs. I love looking at other peoples blogs as I'm basically a nosey old cow and half a day can go by before I know it. I'm particularly interested in and envious of other peoples yarn stashes. As a smallholder who also spins I don't have a yarn stash per se. I know I shouldn't moan as I've got a free supply of wool but it also means that I don't feel I can go on a Noro splurge. Self inflicted yarn based guilt - whatever next! Anyway - this is my 'stash:

Don't expect many of you will drool over that lot! That mess is what we laughingly refer to as my 'workroom'. It will be one day, I hope. In the sacks are the 20 kilos of poll dorset waiting to go off to be scoured and carded. I'm still quite excited about that and I bought a couple of books in anticipation. I've been meaning to buy Deb Menz's 'Colour in Spinning' for ages and this has proved to be just the excuse I was looking for. Of course to qualify for the free postage on Amazon I had to buy another book so I got 'Yarns to Dye For' to go with it. Rude not to wouldn't you say? lol

I have to say that both books are gorgeous but Deb Menz has me going 'Phwoar! Look at that! about every half a page. I'm really glad I bought them and am going to buy some plain 4 ply wool to try the self patterning instructions on Kathleen Taylors book.

I've finished my other recycled yarn shawl. I've called it Mor Gwyr which means green sea in Kernewek.

I'm pleased with it. As usual the photo doesn't do it justice. What is it with knitting and cameras?
Still, I'm happy that it's finished. It's that psychological hurdle of having WIP's sitting there glaring at you isn't it? lol Tonight I'm going for attempt #2 of my husbands Opal socks. For some reason they didn't want to be knitted last week so I put them in a bag and hid from them.
Wish me luck!

Friday, February 17, 2006

What kind of tarot card are you?

To frog or not to frog

That is the question! Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the holes and bumps of outrageous knitting or to take dpn's against a sea of troubles, and by frogging end them. Fnar.

Toe up socks. Why? Part of me thinks I should soldier on even though I’m not really enjoying it but the other part of me , the one that knows that all three ‘men’ in the house really want some socks, is nagging me to undo them and knit a few pairs of standard top downs and then see how I feel about going back to the project later. It’s just such unknown territory. I really like the free pattern that comes with Mail Order Opal and I know where I am with that. This is what they look like so far:

The woman running the workshop has put a lot of effort into it as well and I don’t want her to feel unappreciated.
Oh for Pete’s sake woman listen to yourself,! Rip the damn things out and be done with it! There, that was easy - rofl.
‘Himself’ is still languishing on the sofa although he seems a lot brighter today. My middle boy never seems to catch a cold or anything. It’s amazing how different they can be

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Okey doke

I've put todays stitch markers on Ebay now.

Here they are:







Hope you like them :)

Blue Day

My littlest has been home from school again with some other beastly bug. I always know he's properly ill because he just lies on the sofa watching tv. Usually I keep them off and by 9.30am they're fidgetting and nagging and saying 'I'm boooooooored'.

So, today I have been watching Spongebob Square Pants and making yet more stitch markers!

I'll put these on Ebay tonight, though Ebay is losing its charm for me. You can only have items on it for a limited period and you have to hope that people see it within that time. Maybe it's time to start that site I've been planning but never seem to get round to.
Anyway - here they are. As you can see today has been a blue day - lol

I've booked in 20 kilos of Poll Dorset fleece to be scoured and carded at the Natural Fibre Co today. It's been sitting there staring at me in a very guilt inducing way. I'm just not strong enough to deal with that amount of fibre but I don't want to see it wasted. The scouring and carding is the back breaking work (even though I treated myself to an Ashford drum carder last year) My plan is to dye the batts and spin it into something quite lovely when I have the time. It'll be interesting to see what machine processing does to it anyway. We're going to drop it off on 28th of this month as it's on the way to my dentist!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Toe Up Socks

Phew! I'm not sure these are the socks for me. I have to admit I'm struggling. I've had to do the toe twice and I've still got holes. I think it's from not picking up both the wraps on the knit side but I can't face knitting it again so I'll stitch the first one up and pay more attention to sock two. Here they are so far.

You can see the crochet chain stitch from the provisional cast on. I've enjoyed that bit and I'm sure it'll come in very useful. I'll keep an open mind about toe up socks as I may love it once I've got the hang of it. However, I have to say I can't see the benefit yet.
As well as being socked up I think I've gone a bit stich-marker mad as well! I've been buying beads on Ebay like there's no tomorrow. As usual, what started off as being quite cost effective has 'expanded' somewhat as I've found nicer and nicer beads. I'm finding lovely fancy lampwork beads and they really do look lovely as stitch markers - well, they do in my opinion anyway - lol. Here's some of the fancy ones:

I'm going to have to be brave and start approaching some of the yarn shops to see if they'll stock them for me. I'm not so good at that sort of thing though. I'll just pretend to be someone else!
Well, I've finished the socks and am now thoroughly addicted to the Opal yarn.

I've bought another ball to make some socks for my husband after I've done the toe up socks for the guild. What is it about socks? They're time consuming and not in the least bit cost effective but I can't wait to knit another pair! The only downside is I haven't done any spinning for ages. Maybe when the weather perks up a bit I'll feel inclined to wash some fleece and get spinning.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I'm stitch markered out! They've proved to be quite popular and I have some on Ebay now. Here's some pics.

Hope you like them
I couldn't resist the Opal yarn any longer. The toe up sock workshop doesn't start for another few days but I couldn't bear it any more and had to start a pair of conventional socks whilst I'm waiting. The Opal knits up really nicely and quickly and the bamboo needles have been the icing on the cake as they grip the stitches so well they haven't fallen off once! I have to concede that it might be worth the £6.50 it cost and I think I'll definitely be using it again.

They should be finished soon.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

A stitch marker in time?

I made some stitch markers today. I have a stash of little tins and I thought they'd look nice in there. I'm looking for things to do that I can sell so that I can ease myself gently back into work.
This is what they look like so far:

I'd love to hear your comments on them.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Now't so queer as folk.

I've had to remove the link to this blog from some places as I had the unpleasant experience of becoming the target for two pretty odd people. They managed to find where I live, come to my house, take photos and then post them on the internet to give me the clear message that 'they know where I live'. Quite why they went to that length to spook me out I'll never know - I guess they must just like me - lol!

This week my youngest has been off school with some pretty nasty bug so I haven't had much time to do anything 'yarny'. I've started a new shawl with some of the recycled yarn I bought at the weekend. it's coming along nicely apart from the fact that I'm so tired from being up every night with No 3 son that I can't knit more than a row without falling asleep.

Here's the new shawl so far:

I've got a ball of Opal sock yarn and some dinky bamboo needles waiting for the toe-up sock workshop at the online guild. I've had to hide them as they were calling to me. I've never knitted with Opal before. I was going to spin the sock yarn myself but decide to 'treat' myself to some Opal instead. At £7 a ball it'd better be worth it.
The Spinning Wheel
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