India commented on the last post that she hasn't bought non-free range eggs for ages and we are the same. We haven't bought shop-eggs now for almost four years, (or eaten non-free-range eggs for about ten years) and when the girls stop laying in the shorter days of winter or when they moult, we just stop eating eggs!
What all this has made me more aware of, is the number of products I buy with "eggs" in the ingredients. Unless it says "free range eggs", the eggs used are battery eggs, so even though I don't actually buy shell-eggs, I am still buying battery eggs, if you know what I mean.
Or at least, I was buying them until yesterday. Looking at Faith's beak has made me resolve to not buy products which don't list the eggs in the ingredients as free range.
Hunting through the fridge a few minutes ago, this means I need to review all sorts of items such as mayonnaise, salad cream, sausages, egg noodles and ice-cream. If you see me obsessively reading labels on the next supermarket run, you'll know why. I have heard that Marks and Spencer only use free range eggs in their products, so I might need to cast the net a bit wider for some items. Fortunately we are not big consumers of ready meals, so I'm hoping that we can just "tweak" the shopping a bit rather than needing to change it completely.
The girls are gaining in confidence and have ventured out beyond the eglu run ... and gone to hide under the very pricklesome gooseberry bush. Hope has been dust-bathing, which is lovely to see, she would never have been able to do this in her whole life until now.
This is Stoorie.
She is a three and a half year old Bluebelle chicken.
Bright eyed, nice red comb, free ranges in the garden.
Today we went to a farm near Stirling and collected two ex-battery chickens to keep her company - she may not see it like that, of course.
So I would like to introduce you to Hope.
Her plumage isn't too shabby.
The large pink floppy comb is because she is used to being kept in a hot environment. Chickens cool off using their combs, so the size and floppyness is due to the fact that she has been trying to cool down.
As you can see, she has already discovered the eglu nestbox.
And this is Faith.
Faith has had a very severe beak trim as a small chick. She has the same floppy comb and is much more bedraggled looking.
Faith and Stoorie... look at the difference in size and at Faith's scraggy feathers.
At the moment there is much clucking and squawking going on, not from the newcomers, but from Stoorie who is stating her case!
Expect lots of chickeny updates for a little while.
Here we are, four brand new colourways.
Each available in Toddy and Bonny, and in 50g skeins and 100g skeins.
These will be priced as 50g skeins, just order two to have 100g which can be sent as 1 x 100g or 2 x 50g.
1 T (toddy). A subtle blend of tone-on-tone teal shades.
1 B (bonny). Same dyes, but an altogether paler colourway.
2 T (toddy) - hints of pale blue and purple, this reminds me of bluebells.
2 B (bonny) - again, like 1, there is more light/dark variation here.
3 T (toddy) - berry stained fingers, perhaps?
3 B (bonny) - This is more like raspberry ripple ice cream.
4 T (toddy) - rhinoceri, silvered tree bark.
4 B (bonny) - much more variation, like a dry-stone wall.
Each pair of colours is dyed using the same dyestock, but the dyes behave completely differently on the toddy yarn compared to bonny.
It's always tricky, choosing colours which will be available for a season. As always, I have tried to strike a balance between the pretty, and the pretty-useful.
Both 4 B and 4 T are quite masculine yarns. 4 T is more of an all over solid (or very close), and the 4 B has caramel tones, bitter chocolate, milk chocolate, coffee beans all mixed together.
1 T and 4 T go particularly well together. and the same is true of 3 T and 4 T.
Right, I am off to load them into the shop now, (and a few other variegated ones).
The holey gusset.
Thank you for the technical input on the awful holes. Despite my claim that I wasn't going to frog it... well, I have done the deed back to the start of the gusset. You all knew I'd do that anyway, didn't you?
50g vs 100g.
The lines are now closed and the votes have been counted (sorry, couldn't resist - you can still vote if you want to). Exactly 100 people voted in the 50g versus 100g skein contest. 67% would like 100g skeins, and a whopping, much higher than I anticipated, 33% prefer 50g skeins.
I can't possibly ignore a third of you!
The new solids will be available in 100g and 50g skeins.
The easiest way for me to do this is to divide after ordering.
So, all the solids will appear as 50g lots, if you would like a whole, undivided 100g, just buy 2 x 50g and ask me to send it as a whole skein.
If you prefer two x 50 skeins (for two at a time socks) tell me, and I will take a single 100g and split it for you so you get a matched pair.
Of course if you only want 50g just order it.
I can't guarantee a matched pair of 50g skeins unless I do it at the time of the order, so please remember that ordering 50g and then another 50g the following week means that they will be from different skeins.
If you would like a bigger quantity, for a waistcoat or a sweater, just ask and I'll dye them all at once for you.
Posting of parcels is imminent.
I will email the mailing list when they have gone.
The new solid colourways.
These will be in the shop tomorrow.
If I get more than ten minutes to myself today I may even have some knitted up!
... has broken a bone in her hand.
She was about to embark on a Grand Knitting Project, and is feeling rather sore.
Well, more than 70% of you did say in the survey that you wanted to see my knitting.
I need help with my Gussets and I'm not sure it will wait until tomorrow.
Gusset One. Increases on the left of the image.
The inside view. Increases on the right.
Could even be considered as inside-out-wear.
Lots of photo tweeking to let you see the stitches, so apologies for the grottyness of the image.
Grottyness which is entirely in keeping with the awfulness of Gusset Two actually. Increases on the top although this is by no means clear!
Wait until I show you the inside!
See what I mean?
So, stitch sleuths, what am I doing wrong?
The instructions say for Gusset One use ML.
ML (make one, leaning left) on left gusset, insert left needle into stitch two rows below the first stitch on the right needle, knit this stitch. If it is to be a purl stitch, then purl this stitch through the back loop.
No problem. Looks fine.
For the other Gusset it says use MR.
MR (make one, leaning right) on right gusset, insert right needle into stitch below the first stitch on the left needle. Lift this stitch onto the left needle, knit this stitch. If it to be a purl stitch, then purl this stitch through the back loop.
Looks like a dog's breakfast!
So either the method is wrong, or I am completely misreading it.
Can anyone help?
I have four rows before I get to the end of the Gussets and I'd like to sort this out before I get there.
If you have alternative Gusset-making stitches please send information!
I'm treating the sock as a big swatch for gusseted toe-ups so I won't be making it as a pair, the gauge is not right and it's an experiment anyway.
And to anyone googling for Gussets and ending up here when these were not the sort of Gussets you meant, I apologise.
This morning, got up.
Went to let chicken out.
Took dogs out as well.
Dog 2 has sore foot so has plastic collar thing on to prevent licking.
Dog 2 went into hedge at side of house and collar came off.
Went to retrieve collar in hedge - 8 foot high laurel.
Emerged from hedge at different point.
Dog 2 wandered off to different bit of garden by this time.
Kept head down to avoid branches going into eyes etc.
Walked into horizontal piece of timber (square edged).
Now sporting horizontal matching lump across forehead.
Cold compress applied.
Bruise undoubtedly imminent.
I am trying to decide whether to offer the new almost solid yarns in 100g skeins or in 50g skeins.
Both bonny and toddy have 420m/100g.
In the UK, a 100g skein is the conventional size and moving away from this is unusual.
100g means you have the flexibility to just knit away and it preserves any leftovers as a single length of yarn rather than as two small balls. It might be less convenient for anyone knitting larger garments though, leaving more ends to weave in.
50g skeins is more conventional in the US for some dyers like Koigu, but not for others such as STR.
It would give a ready divided yarn for those who like to knit two socks at once, and it means colourwork fans don't need to invest in more than they need. Offering yarn in 50g skeins means I will store them in pairs to give you two halves of one skein (if you need 100g) for the best colour matching.
In the past I have offered to do both and to divide skeins on request but this creates a delay because I can't prepare them in advance and have them ready to post.
So, I have put up a poll in the sidebar to your right (if you are reading this as an email or on feedburner please click here to go to the blog). It would be a great help if you would let me know your views.
Please add anything else you think would be helpful in the comments below.
There isn't an "I don't mind" option because I know that many of you would click that just because you are nice!
Thank you for helping with the research.
Today is officially the beginning of Summer.
It may be coolish, dampish, and in my case weedish, but it is definitely Summer.
How do I know this?
Gardener's World is back in its rightful place on Friday evening TV.
They have a site, a whole field near Birmingham, upon which the BBC have constructed walls to mimic North, South, East and West facing conditions. They have muttered darkly about "hard-pan", and garlic eating pests, and planted strawberries and bulbs. There was a priceless comment about the need to tread carefully on your garden because plants grow by the inch and are destroyed by the foot.
And there was knitting.
Yes, in the midst of the muck and compost, there was definitely knitting.
One of the new presenters, Alys Fowler, wore a gloriously dirty and well used pair of purple fingerless mitts. It seems that these are the same mitts worn by Rose in Doctor Who. They are even the same colour, so either she likes purple, or the BBC is being very careful with licence-payer cash and the props department has passed them onto the Gardening team.
Next week the programme features Window Boxes for your Tardis, presented by David Tennant.
The whole programme is viewable on iPlayer here.
The mitts in question appear on a section about building compost bins, and again near the end when the presenters are having a cosy chat in the shed about the Obama's new White House vegetable garden.
Have a good weekend.
I wondered yesterday on ravelry if anyone would be interested in knitting an odd sock (as in single rather than weird) so I would have some samples to take to Woolfest and possibly to a thing in London next month (no dates yet). I am knitting some as well, but just not fast enough!
Several of you have offered to help, and I have been quite bowled over by your kindness.
reason for the solid yarn request is that I am planning a new range of
semi-solid yarns which will start to be released just after Easter.
There will be two colours each month available in bonny and in toddy. The colours won’t be retired after a month, they will continue to be available, so this is a way of building up a Colour Collection library gradually, rather than launching a complete range all at once.
It won’t “tread on the toes” of the Solid Yarn Club which will offer different one-off, member-only colours and a much wider selection of bases.
particularly looking for samples in solid yarns, in bonny and in toddy.
These could be children’s socks or small size adult socks from the
remains of a skein knitted toe up to use up the yarn leftovers.
They could be colourwork socks or textured cookie a type socks, perhaps if you want to try a new technique but you know you wouldn’t actually WEAR that style yourself.
Single mitts (with or without fingers) would be equally welcome.
I would like to put a gallery of ideas on the blog.
I really think that solid yarns are The Next Big Thing. And like everyone else I sometimes need someone to say “have you seen this” and “how about that?”
So, two colours per month, launched mid month, starting in April.
You are going to love them!