Monday, 31 October 2011

Handmade Monday

This my first ever Handmade Monday.    (What's it all about?)
And it comes straight after my First Finished Object Friday. I'm on a roll.
So, I'm actually a knitter but I've chosen to show you cakes I've made recently. This is because I have no photos of current projects that I haven't already used, and there is no light now for photography.
I hope you enjoy the cakes anyway. There's a high percentage of butter in that buttercream. And the eggs in the cakes come from our own well-cuddled chickens.

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Here's the bunch of silk fluff I got from Oliver Twists at Wonderwool Wales.

This is what I've spun so  far.

                                                    And I started a new bobbin so I could make 2 ply, producing this in 1 hour. 
I've been looking for a shawl pattern that will suit it, so I need something that's not too fine and lacy because of its handspun uneven nature, so I am thinking that a Multnomah would do the job nicely. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

FFO Friday

(First Finished Object Friday)

From start to finish:
I bought the wool in April from Wildfire Fibres at WonderWoolWales 
Beautifully soft, with a cotton thread running through it, threaded with tiny shiny beads, like dewdrops. I can't remember exactly, but it was less than 300 metres in length.

When I got back home after the festival, this was the first thing I started to knit from the stash that I gathered there. I found this pattern Little Arrowhead Shawl on Ravelry. This was my first shawl, and it took me a while to get used to the concept, but I got there in the end. The yarn was lovely to work with, and I tried to push all the tiny beads through to the front to get the benefit. You can't see them on the photo.
It only took a couple of weeks to knit (which is quick for me, at the moment), but on the cast-off edge, I was about 2 feet short of yarn. I tried to finish it with a plain red cotton thread, but it stood out too much.

So the project was abandoned.

Until today. I thought that today I could have my first Finished Object Friday.

 So I selected some lovely fluffiness and blended it on my drum carder.

And then got out my lovely Ashford Joy spinning wheel which Father Christmas bought me last year. 

 I spun the fluff into a single ply, which I then plied with half of the ply of the original red thread, after I'd undone the offending cast-off edge. (Are you following? :oD )

Here is the finished yarn ready to complete the shawl.

And here is the new cast-off edge.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Feed the chickens

This is a fab chicken cam, with goats and ducks too.
The best bit is feeding the chickens, you really can! Looks like they run out of food periodically though. Or I fed it all to them in one go!!!

Chicken cam

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Knit o'clock

I keep tweeting that it's 'knit o'clock' but with one of these in your house, it could be, all the time!

Say hello to the clock that knits the time and which

by the end of a year has produced a 2 meter long 

scarf, perfect for the January freeze.

Follow me on Twitter here.!/SecretSheep

Sunday, 23 October 2011

10 things I've learnt about keeping chickens

I stole the idea for this post from someone else, so if it was you, thankyou very much, it was a good idea :o)

I've been keeping chickens for a year now, and it seems like forever. I have learnt oodles of things....some that I really knew anyway, but thought were just a myth, like pecking order, for instance. So, here goes.

1. Chickens have personalities and feelings.
Our chickens have their 'best friends' who they sit next to, and hang out with. When Portia lost her 'lady-in-waiting' she was visibly mourning her. Moping around, and all that.  Missy is our 'top personality' chicken. I wish we could have got a photo of her in the passenger seat of the car when Hubby drove her up to the Church Hall to show the children at playgroup. She's unflappable.

2. Chickens lay eggs of all shapes, sizes, and colours.
We've had teeny tiny eggs (usually their first eggs), massive goose-style ones (usually double-yolkers)  elongated, short fat, every shade of brown, beige, and a lovely plummy pink. We are now waiting for our first blue egg. Fingers crossed.

3. Eggs come with or without shells.
Shells have huge varieties, too. From no shell at all, so you just get the egg itself as if someone cracked one open into the nesting box, through soft-shelled ones, which might have a floppy shell, or just the membrane. Then there's thin-shelled ones, which shatter as you look at them, and the ones which are made of concrete, much harder than shop-bought ones. And wrinkled ones.

4. Chickens can have very different pitched voices. Missy has a little squeaky 'peep peep' voice. Miranda has a man's voice. She sounds more like a duck. Portia lost her voice altogether because she was loud and very vocal. So then when she squawked, nothing came out. Bless her soul.

5. Chickens can die suddenly. Sadly. If you find a chicken out in the run, stretched out on its back, it's most likely died of a heart attack.

6. Chickens can sneeze.

7. Chickens can fly quite a bit. They can fly up to the top of a fence, and they can skim along the ground for quite a distance. They like to perch as high as possible, and try to get right to the top in a new run/coop. We had to rescue one from a roof bar. She squeezed in between it and the netting, which was directly on top.

8. Pecking order is very real, and can be very vicious. When a chicken leaves the flock, and when a chicken joins the flock, pecking order has to be re-established and there is a lot of fighting that goes on. Feathers fly!

9. Chickens come in loads of different colours! We currently have 2 each of black, grey, white and brown, but they're all very different from each other.

10. Chickens make wonderful pets. They're friendly, they follow you around, they're entertaining, relaxing, cuddly, cheap to keep, recycle your waste food, easy to maintain, and best of all, they make eggs!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Scottish wool hat

Knitted with lovely 100% wool spun in a independent mill in Scotland.
New Lanark wool shop
Sorry I can't link to the pattern, but I just made it up as I went along. I'm very happy with how it turned out, and it's a perfect fit.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Witchy giveaway!

Details here of how you can win one of these gorgeous witchy people.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Today, Ofsted visited our lovely playgroup.
We are not allowed to disclose what they said, because it's confidential until reports are published in 4-6 weeks time. Suffice to say, we are happy with the results, and the last 10 months' very hard work has been worth it.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Here is the start of my Sleeveless Jacket by Bergere de France. This is the Left Front, which I have completed.
This is what it will look like when it's done.

And here is the 100% wool yarn I'm using from Scotland, online ordering available. Shop 

There will be further posts on this subject, and hopefully it won't take too long, because this first piece knitted up in no time.

Permanent Chicken Cam

I've just posted a permanent link to the live chicken cam (top right of this blog)

Yesterday, the baby girls went in with the big girls. Everything seems to be going quite smoothly at the moment. The little girls are keeping their distance, sensibly.
FYI, Bianca is the pure white chicken, Imogen the toffee coloured one. You can see that they are quite a bit smaller than the big girls.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Mixed bag

Thought I'd show you what's going on craft-wise.  It's been mostly chickens here for a while, what with the new girls settling in, so a quick round-up of current projects shouldn't go amiss.

 Here's my second pair of socks. Generally a pair of socks will take me a couple of years to knit. Really. That's because they are my travelling project which I leave in the car or my handbag, and I knit in between lessons (a few stitches at a time) or in the waiting room (a row, maybe?) or in the car before my next school (5 mins twice a week). This is also why I need a simple pattern. In fact my next pair  are completely plain, like my first.
These are Roo Knits Fishtail socks Pattern here
You can't see the fishtail pattern terribly well here, but it shows up better in real life.
 These are my sheepy friends. The middle one was made and sent to me by a lovely lady in Scotland. The one on the right is for my sister to give to her friend who is ill. The unfinished one on the left is up for grabs. They are all going to Church for a week for St Bartholomew's 24/7 Prayer Week They will soak up lots of good vibes and then go to be friends with people who need them.

 The start of my beach hut doorstop. I adore beach huts and all things beachy.
Here is the finished bag which was featured in an earlier blog post. Currently stuffed with all things sheepish to take to the Church tomorrow.
And here's my very first box pouch. It's so cute and adorable! I've got sewing supplies in it at the moment. It's fully lined. This tutorial  is a good one. 

Sunday, 2 October 2011

New girls!

Much excitement here in Chickenland.
Two new girls have arrived.

This afternoon we visited Newland Grange Poultry for the first time.
Lovely place. Very well kept, clean and tidy.
We had a look around, at the fancy chickens, the ducks, (avoiding the little dog because of Ellen's phobia), and chose our 2 new girls.
Bianca is a White Star. She will lay porcelain white eggs, when she is ready in a few weeks, but she's only 17 weeks old at the moment.

Bianca, say 'hello' to everyone. She hasn't said much yet. She's a good girl, went to bed nice and early all by herself.

And here's Imogen. She's a Columbine and has an 80% chance of laying a blue egg. Nice.
Imogen seems to be very vocal.
After they've been here for a couple of weeks, we'll integrate them with the big girls and we'll be back to our 8 chickens again.
We look forward to our first '8 egg day' which we sadly never achieved previously, because the lovely Portia stopped laying before Miranda and Rosalind started.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Dust bathing

Pure bliss!
A lovely sunny day and an empty vegetable inviting.
Rosalind, Desdemona, Juliet and Miranda take a dip.

Desdemona's found the best spot. She was actually purring.

Mistress Quickly and Rosalind take it easy. After all, the eggs are laid, and the worms and crawlies are all munched up, so what else is there for a chicken to do on such a lovely October day?