Yesterday, I took the dogs for a walk, as you do, and although I wasn't aware of more than a sharp tug on the lead at one "is that a rabbit?" moment, I have woken up this morning with a rather sore thumb which is developing a beautiful blue tinge around the base. Today, therefore I shall be mainly left-handed, which is not conducive to much at all.
I had hoped to have a shop Update for you tomorrow but I think it will be smaller than I had planned (which means there will be a bigger one next week instead). I'm not even sure I can knit much.
Fortunately I have a new toy to play with because I have discovered a new Firefox add-on (sorry, Safari) called Hyperwords, which I suspect will keep me happily entertained for a bit.
The chickens have taken my earlier post about them producing 15 eggs a week as some kind of challenge. I went to look for eggs yesterday and there were FIVE!
Five eggs in less than 24 hours, from just three chickens.
Shame they aren't post-able or you'd be getting them in your blue parcels...
Judy, one of the wonderful brigade of sample sock knitters, sent me this.
Beautifully knitted in toddy.
It's the Diamond Waffle Sock from Knitty, coincidentally in a very similar colourway to the original.
The pattern (as written) is knitted toe up on dpns, but Judy used 2.25mm circulars instead. The shaping for the gusset is done along the foot, rather than in the instep, and it has an eye of partridge heel.
I love it!
I just tried to take a photo of my thumb.
I failed because
you register on the website, you will be sent a voucher for £2 off your first order.
if you register on the website (or are already registered) and then you tell a friend to register, once they have made their first order (and used the £2 voucher), I'll send you a voucher for £2 as well, as long as they tell me who to send it to.
Remember to tell them to sign up to the newsletter as well, as this is how they'll learn about shop updates, new yarns and other goodies.
When we had two Bluebelle chickens, Smudge (the late Smudge) was very much Top Chicken. She bullied Stoorie somewhat, not in a major, unkind, vicious way, but certainly she walked around the garden and Stoorie followed in her path like a teenager following the most popular girl in the school. Smudge was the escapologist, she leapt over the fence around the chicken enclosure at every opportunity, leaving Stoorie behind. We didn't think Stoorie could jump that high.
Then, after a few weeks of solitary chicken-life, we discovered that Stoorie could indeed leap the fence. In fact she could leap over it not just in the one spot used by her late sister, but pretty much anywhere she chose. What she couldn't do, was leap back in! So we would go out for the evening for a walk or to see a film and come back to find her sitting on the table beside the back door, roosting in the dark, and on several occasions during the day we would hunt her down and put her back in the enclosure to make sure she could reach water and food.
When Faith and Hope arrived, Stoorie was quite uncertain about it all. To begin with she chased them. No pecking, but plenty of "herding". They would go in the eglu, so would she. They came out (smartish) and go and hide under the goosberry bushes, so would she. And she continued to escape on a regular basis.
But this week everything is different. Stoorie has become Momma Chicken.
We open up the eglu in the morning and there is what can only be described as a scrum for the door. It's like athletes in the 100m all trying to breast the tape at the same time, three chickens trying to get through one door, almost Laurel and Hardy in their enthusiasm to reach the food. After a couple of minutes they settle down and start doing the usual scratchy, preeny, pecky behaviour of normal chickens. And Stoorie is now "Top Chicken", looking after her "gels". Maybe we should rename her Miss Jean Brodie.
All day they follow her around. They dust-bath together (under the aforementioned gooseberry bushes). They chill out together in the warmth of the noon sun under the rhubarb leaves. And Stoorie has lost the urge to leap. She stays close by all day long. Or at least she does until about seven in the evening - the "gels" have no real concept of "time for bed" and need a little encouragement to go back in the eglu. One minute she is there with them and the next she has jumped over the fence and is walking up the steps purposefully towards the back door, ready to take up her evening roost. It's as though she has put the kids to bed and has earned her evening G&T in peace and quiet.
Despite the gels being on the skinny side, they are laying, and we have moved from a five-to-six eggs a week situation, to a fifteen-eggs-a-week plenitude.
Happy chickens, I think.
A fortnight ago they were living in cages with a base which was smaller than the average laptop computer.
I just need to make more cakes.
I have updated the shop and put the skeinlets on the shelves.
You can click on "new stuff" from the blog (to your left), or click here if you are reading this in a feed-reader or an email.
Phew! I need a little sit down... I have been so busy this week it's not funny.
First of all, some knitting.
A lot of us look at patterns and think "Mmmm, pretty, but I would never wear those because ..."
(delete as applicable)
With this in mind, I asked some lovely knitters if they could help me out by knitting single socks so I would have some samples to take to shows.
The socks have started to arrive!
All of them are knitted in "bonny".
First is one from Sally, who is awaiting final thesis-release and is woman-fully resisting the temptations of a new loom until it has been bound and delivered.
This is Meida's sock(s) by Nancy Bush from the book "Favorite Socks".
It weighs 30g (as a scientist, Sally will approve of me weighing the sock).
I am sure she said that this was done without a cable needle!
And then we have three socks from Debbie.
Snicket Socks (ravelry link), by Sabine Riefler. The original pattern has the latticework continuing down the front of the foot rather than as straight lines.
This is Eunice, by Cookie A. from the new Sock Innovation book.
I love the way the trellis goes into the heel.
Another Cookie A. pattern, Monkey, with deep plum contrasting heel and toe.
I would like to say a HUGE "Thank You" to both Sally and Debbie, for these.
There is still another Shop Update to go this week and those of you who have the newsletter know when it will be, broadly speaking.
I have uploaded the photos onto flickr here.
You are looking for pictures numbered from 781 onwards, in the set marked "next update".
If you read the titles you'll see that some of the yarns are called "Skeinlets".
It seems to me that we don't always want a whole skein of laceweight. I think this especially true in the Summer months when perhaps a little something to accessorise a T-shirt on holiday, or to pop into your pocket on a breezy day is closer to what's needed. We don't always want to buy a whole 100g in an accent colour when 30g would be plenty.
Skeinlets are the answer.
They are made by dividing a 100g skein into three. Much burning of midnight oil and many adjustments to skeinwinderyness were needed to achieve this.
The skeinlets are approximately 32-34g in weight, and contain approximately 380-400m of yarn.
You will appreciate this is not an exact science, and if a pattern calls for 390m, please buy two skeins, I cannot do this any more accurately than I have.
In this particular update, I have shown three Skeinlets in each photo. I also have another whole 100g skein waiting to be divided (dyed at the same time so it's as close as a hand dyer can get to a matched dyelot). If you order 100g, I obviously won't divide the whole skein, I'll send it as one "portion".
Flickr seems to mangle the colours a bit, most of them are brighter in real life.
When I upload photos onto the website I go straight from iPhoto and since I don't want to be tweaking the images for flickr and then again for the website, I'm leaving them as they are.
Have fun browsing...
The first newsletter has been sent, and a second email with an offer code in it as well.
If you think you are subscribed and you haven't had an email, please check your spam or junk email box, and if it's not there, send me an email and I'll sort it out for you. The email link is on your left on the blog.
I've decided to formalise the Newsletter I send out from the website.
It will now be sent out on Monday mornings and any special offers, voucher codes etc will be in the newsletter. I can't promise an offer every week, but I'll do my best make it worth signing up for!
I am still intending to add new yarns and so on to the website throughout the week, here and there, but I'm also planning a bigger update once a week, on a weekday. The days and times will vary because I know not everyone can be available at 3 am on a Wednesday and that we are all glued to Gardeners' World on a Friday evening.
The newsletter will let you know on a Monday morning which day the main Update will be on. Rest assured though, it won't be the ONLY time new goodies are added.
Please tell everyone you think might be interested.
The first one goes out tomorrow morning, and all you need to do to get it is to register on the website today and you'll be included in the mailing.
A few of the newer colourways for the week ahead are in the post below this one.
PS. You can, of course also sign up for the blog feed either by feedreader or email, using the subscribe buttons in the blog sidebar but that's separate from the shop newsletter which will be sent using the customer database from the shop. Any offers will only be in the newsletter, not on the blog or on ravelry. About half my customers don't use ravelry at all, so this is the fairest way of doing it.
Just dashing past to show you these.
I think this looks like a corndolly.
Soft greens, very summery.
Betwixt is back!
Small, but perfectly formed...
And matched 50g skeins in bonny for all the two-at-at-time-knitters.
And also in BFL.
There is more... just taking things gently since it's the weekend!
I am a failure... the brainless sock is no more.
I hated Judy's magic cast on.
I loved the cables - and will definitely be cabling again soon.
I loved the look of the Garter Stitch Gusset.
I failed compleletly at executing said Garter Stitch Gusset FOUR TIMES, and I just couldn't face tinking/frogging it again ... so I got the scissors out and chopped it into tiny pieces.
And then I tried to burn it!
Which is why there isn't a photo, wool of course doesn't burn, and nylon just kind of frizzles.
I still have 85g left, and yes, it was a waste of good yarn, but it was necessary somehow to get rid of it and leave a clean start for this.
I'm not telling you what it is yet... but it is part of my campaign to get everyone - everyone who isn't already doing it - knitting with solid or nearly solid sock yarn.
I have 26g of this lovely tangerine shade and I'm on a mission to see what can be done with it.
60 stitches. K1tbl, P1 rib.
Can you guess?
It's not one of these... although it could be fun.
Faith, Hope and Charity.
Maybe we could design egg cosies for MSF.
What do you think?