Monday, October 15, 2007


The big old birch in the pasture only had one branch still alive and its centre was hollow. During every wind storm, a few more branches would break off. Dad made a stack of all the fallen branches and torched it on Saturday, then hours later he pushed the smouldering pieces inside the tree's trunk through the space at the bottom. It looked quite dramatic at times, with flames shooting out of the top of the trunk. A couple of times there was a loud bang as a big piece broke off and hit the ground. It took a couple of days to burn completely. When it was just a small pile of smoking coals, the llamas moved in. That's Jeff Jefferson monitoring the remains of the burn pile in the last photo. They love rolling in the ashes, but they didn't even wait until it was cool!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


I'm on Ravelry as hillshounds. I am slowly adding my projects, FOs and stash. Ravelry is a wonderful resource for checking what others have done with yarns I have or am considering getting. It's like having access to thousands of reviews and photos all at once without a bunch of Googling.

I've got something new (not a sock! gasp!) almost done, but I can't post photos until after October 11.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Recent Socks

Here's some socks I knit over the summer. I knit all my socks toe-up, one-at-a-time on two 2mm circs (Addi Turbos). Basically, I use the same formula for every sock, and just sub in whatever stitch pattern for the instep and leg that takes my fancy from any of the numerous free patterns available on-line. I always use the sewn bind-off now too, as it yields the stretchiest, yet non-ruffley, cast-off edge I've found. I'm generally working on somewhere between 64 and 74 stitches, depending on the thickness of the yarn and the stretchiness of the stitch pattern, all to fit a medium woman's foot (mine!).

Wool: Spinning Bunny, I think the colourway was Clematis (50% merino/50% tencel)

Plain stockinette with a bit of feather and fan at the cuff
This wool feels wonderful to knit and wear, but it's a bit weird how the colour patterned itself. One sock has considerably more white on it than the other. I was very careful to make sure I had the same number of stitches on feet and cuffs for both socks.

Wool: Meilenweit Cotton Maya (wool/cotton)
Stitch Pattern: slightly modified Monkey (no purling)

Wool: Trekking Pro Natura (75% wool/25% bamboo)
Stitch Pattern: Cascading Leaves from the Townsend Knitalong Group


Meilenweit Meeting

80% wool/20% polyamid

Nothing special about this wool, but the price was right. I'm not terribly enamoured with the self-patterning "fake isle" either. From the feel of it, I suspect it will wear beautifully.

I appear to be a bit of a sock wool snob. I much prefer knitting with (and wearing!) the more luxurious (and way more expensive) merinos and merino blends.

Greyhound Burrito Redux

Free Range Day

Once or twice a week, I lock up the dogs in the kennel and let the chickens and turkeys out to gorge themselves on grass, weeds, seeds, bugs and whatever else they can find. Some of them did a little gardening in the big planter beside the garage; they are terrific weeders, but they aren't terribly discriminating about what they pull up!

The top photo is my two young Blue Slate turkeys and an Isa Brown hen. There's a Barred Rock hen almost hidden under the rose bush at the back of the planter.

The second photo is one of the "mutt" chickens hatched last summer.

The third photo is more Isa Browns, a Turken and a Silver-Laced Wyandotte exploring down the side of my driveway.

The fourth photo is the incomparable Turkenstein fresh from her summer moult, all glossy and beautiful.

And finally, #5 is a frustrated Traveler on one side of the fence and the black Silkie rooster on the other.

Friday, August 31, 2007

New Socks

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK (100% superwash merino) "Spring Frost"

Needles: Addi Turbos 2mm & 2.5mm

Sewn Bind-off à la Elizabeth Zimmerman

Turkish Cast-on, which is even easier than Knitty's Magic Cast-on, and I think looks just as good. Actually, I can't tell them apart.

Toe up as usual.

I lifted the stitch pattern from >Sock Bug's blog; it is pretty and fun to knit. I'll certainly use it again.

I couldn't figure out at first why my knitting looked so tight on the toe, then I finally realized that I had ordered the DK version of Supersock, so it's a heavier weight than "regular" Supersock, and I was using my usual 2mm's. Duh. So I switched to a 2.5mm for the patterned instep part of the sock two inches up from the cast-on. Maybe I knit looser than most (normal?) people because the ball band recommends US size 5 (!), and I don't think the finished fabric looks stiff or distorted. It certainly feels nice on the foot. The sole portion of the sock is quite firm due to the tiny needles I knit it on, but I think that is appropriate for a sock -- won't it improve wear? Time will tell.

Greyhound Burrito

Charis the canine mole.

Monday, July 23, 2007


These little guys are two days old, just five of the ten hatched from my own chickens' eggs. The two on the left are Turkens -- the bald neck is more visible on the darker chick; the other three are "just" mutts. It's fun seeing what hatches and then watching them grow up.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

New Banties

I received these four little birds from a nice person on Freecycle. I'm still trying to figure out what breeds (or mix of breeds) the gold and white hens are. The fluffy black and white birds are Silkies, of course.

Ready for her Close-Up

The Grass IS Greener on the Other Side

It's a sad day in Chickville. They've just realized that the grass really is greener on the other side.

Any guess as to what breed the centre chick is? I believe they're all about two months old. They are all bantams. The two outside chicks are blue Silkies.

And this last one is my single Brabanter chick. He/she is a cute little thing, with a black crest, spangled feathers and slate-blue legs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Photo by my friend Laurel Wilks


Here's my new boy. Yes, he's a whippet. I know, I said I'd never get one....

He'll be two in November. He gets along great with the greyhounds and is a very sweet boy.
Photo by Laurel Wilks

Monday, April 23, 2007

Egg Colours

I have a variety of chicken breeds, so I get lots of different coloured eggs, ranging from pale beige (almost white) to pale sky blue to olive green to deep brown. Some of the brown ones are so big they don't fit in an egg carton. I haven't figured out yet which of the hens is laying the pretty blue eggs; I think it's one of the hatchlings from last summer. Could it be Turkenstein who's being so clever?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sea Wool Socks

Fleece Artist Sea Wool (70% merino, 30% seacell, which is derived from seaweed).
Colourway "Spring".
Standard toe-up , two circs (2mm Addi Turbos).
"Falling Leaves" stitch pattern from Knitty.
Happy feet!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

April Fool

This is not what April 2nd in the Fraser Valley is supposed to look like! We got an inch or two of very unseasonal snow on Monday.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

More New Socks! Knitty's Monkey and a no-name

The brown sock is Knitty's Monkey, or rather the stitch pattern from that sock. I knit it toe-up, as usual. Wool is the luscious Sweet Georgia superwash merino "Coffeebean".

The other one is the same slip-stitch fake cable I described in an earlier post, also knit toe up. The wool is Lorna's Laces Sock "Gold Hill".

I think I was pretty successful in cropping out almost all bits of unsightly pasty white leg, which is not easy this time of year!

And lastly we have the sole of the LL's sock, just because I like the staggered stripes.

Guard Llamas

This is the view from my kitchen window. I am very lucky to live here, I know!

I appear to have lost any skill I formerly had with this camera, so please excuse the blurry photos. Those are ducks in the water front of Allana, the brown llama.

Interlopers are spotted. Jefferson is heading the wrong way, but he soon corrects his trajectory.

Now we're in business! Chase those ducks off the pond! If I'd managed to get this photo focussed, you'd be able to see that there are both wood ducks and mallards taking to the air.

Once the ducks are gone, Jeffie and Allana just chase each other around for a while. Who knew that llamas like to play in water?

Waiting for Racing

Charis says next weekend can't come fast enough!
This photo came out really dark, so I messed around with the brightness and contrast settings -- I'm not sure if it's better or worse now....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Jefferson the llama, about as filthy as he can get and still photogenic. Behind him is our seasonal lake, a result of the ridiculously lavish rainfall we enjoyed two days ago.

Mini Daffs

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New Socks

The wool is Tiny Toes "Tapestry". I am really pleased with how it looks in this stitch pattern. I don't think the photos do it justice, as it is super-saturated and rich. I think I will give these to my mom as they are just a bit snug on my foot.
The stitch pattern, a rib variation, is very easy:
1 and all odd-numbered rows: *K6, P2 to end.
2: *(Ignore first stitch on left needle, K second stitch through the back loop, leave it on the needle, insert right needle through front of first stitch as if to purl, and slip both stitches off left needle), K4, P2; repeat from * to end.
4: *K1, (Ignore next stitch on left needle, K second stitch through the back loop, leave it on the needle, insert right needle through front of first stitch as if to purl, and slip both stitches off left needle), K3, P2; repeat from * to end.
6: *K2, (Ignore next stitch on left needle, K second stitch through the back loop, leave it on the needle, insert right needle through front of first stitch as if to purl, and slip both stitches off left needle), K2, P2; repeat from * to end.
8: *K3, (Ignore next stitch on left needle, K second stitch through the back loop, leave it on the needle, insert right needle through front of first stitch as if to purl, and slip both stitches off left needle), K1, P2; repeat from * to end.
10: *K4, (Ignore next stitch on left needle, K second stitch through the back loop, leave it on the needle, insert right needle through front of first stitch as if to purl, and slip both stitches off left needle), P2; repeat from * to end.
The number of knit stitches in each "cable" as well as the number of purl stitches between are endlessly variable to suit the number of stitches on the needles.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Plain Vanilla

Lots of "vanilla" sock-knitting going on here the past couple of months.

left to right:
Koigu PPPM (merino)
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (merino superwash) "Blueberry Hill"
Fly Super Sport Monarch (merino superwash) "Petrol"

left to right:
Apple Laine Apple Pie (50% wool, 20% mohair, 20% silk, 10% nylon) "Godiva"
Regia Bamboo Color (45% bamboo, 40% superwash wool, 15% polyamid) "1069"
Knit Picks Main Line (75% pima cotton, 25% merino) "Dusty Lavender"

The top three have been worn and washed numerous times, hence their slightly fuzzy appearnace; the bottom three are new and unworn. The Main Line sock is much heavier than the others, but I thought a very thick sock would be good for wearing in my boots. I ran out of yarn (one ball per sock, and one 50g ball is only 82 yards) before I could get the top ribbing done, so I just grabbed a little ball of left-over sock wool to finish the top.

I knit all my socks on two Addi Turbos, size 2mm. The pattern is You're Putting Me On, which I've rewritten very slightly to change it from dpns to circular needles.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Isn't she a beauty? Her mom is a Turken, her dad is an Ameraucana. She has the long bald neck of her mom and the cheek puffs of her dad. She hatched last summer, so should get serious about laying this spring.

'Lana of the Lake

Allana the llama/alpaca mix strolls through the seasonal "lake" at the bottom of the llama field. We are enjoying some gorgeous weather right now in the Fraser Valley.