Chicks that don’t knit.

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Black Cherry with her new hatchlings.

A part of “A Chick that Knits” comes from my love of animals.  Not only am I a chick (woman) that knits, but I love chickens.  We have a chicken coop and chickens.  My husband calls me a “slab baby” because I grew up on concrete (the city).  The first time I’ve ever seen a real chicken was when I was dating Len and he showed me his mother’s chickens.  That was only 14 years ago.  I was 35 years old.  I was so awed and impressed.  Have you ever looked at a chicken close up?  It’s really neat how the feathers grow in from their skin.  I was just amazed.

I had no idea how many variety of chickens existed.   Yes.  I’ve seen the rooster on the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal box and I’ve seen white chickens on TV, but, that was it.  That was my experience with chickens.  There are ALL kinds of chickens!  They are so beautiful.

Len built me a chicken coop and we purchased some chickens.  I picked the pot luck fancy chicken collection.  I had such fun watching those chicks grow up.  We even went to farm auctions to add to my chicken collection.  We bought these huge orange fluffy chickens at an auction once and were so excited for them to lay eggs.  After 3 years and no egg laying, we finally figured out they were roosters.  To be fair to ourselves, they didn’t look like roosters.  One of those bad boys was my first attempt to make chicken and dumplings from my own flock.  (The one and only time we ate one of our chickens)

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Our chicken coop in the back yard along with a smaller portable one for the babies.

Now our chicken coop is old and needs some work.  It’s still a great coop.  We made it from fence panels.  We drove by a house that was getting a new fence and they gave us the old fence panels.   We turned them on their side to make walls.  We also bought the door at a garage sale.  Len did buy the materials to make the roof.

We used to come sit outside and put our feet in a bucket of water and watch our chickens grow.  Once you have eaten fresh, organic, home grown eggs you will never want to eat grocery store eggs again!  I’ve gotten so much joy from our chickens.

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Black Cherry just hatched a flock of chicks!  These chicks are one day old.  Black Cherry is a black Cochin and is a great mother hen.  Our rooster is an Americana so our baby chicks are all mixed breeds.  We’re hoping for some interesting egg colors with the Americana and our various hens.

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Bella is mother hen to our last hatch of now “teenagers”.

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Harry Connick Jr is our rooster with his head down and plumes in the air on the right.

 

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I’ve been working on designing a blanket.  This is one of my gauge swatches.  I only have so much of the yarn I’m working with, so my blanket dimensions have to fit in with my yardage on hand.  The yarn I’m using has been discontinued, so I can’t just go out and buy more yarn.  I’ll post my pattern when I’m done.  It’s still in it’s creative process.

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This is the yarn I’m using for the blanket, De Aire by Plymouth Yarn, but in a different color.   This is a practice gauge to see how much an actual skein of yarn knits up.

I bet ya’ll have been missing Max.

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Blocking the Aideen Shawl

Lauren asked me what blocking was the other day, so I thought I would share.  I’ve mentioned that blocking is not something that many knitters enjoy.  It is necessary for several types of knitting, especially lace.  I knit the “Aideen” shawl by Dee O’Keefe two years ago when I travelled to Rhinebeck, NY for their annual Sheep and Wool Festival.  If you haven’t been, please put it on your bucket list to go.  New York is absolutely gorgeous in the fall.  My husband has turned his nose up at traveling to the East coast, and he loved it!   It’s an absolutely must do.  Two years later, and I’m finally blocking my shawl!

This is the shawl laid out unblocked.

You soak the garment in water, and the wool/alpaca/fiber blooms.  You get the excess water out by rolling it up in a towel.

This is a blocking mat.  You can get these at your LYS or buy them online.  I purchased two packages from Knit Picks, an online yarn store.  I did not have enough to completely block this out like I should have, so I will need to buy one more package.  The long cardboard contains long wires that you use to help block and then T-pins to pin the garment down.  You will see Max in these pics.  He’s everywhere I am.

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Max is trying to help me, but he’s in my way, playing with the blocking wires.  I had to shut him out of the room to get this done.  He sure is cute though!

This is the shawl laid out and pinned down.  The pattern will tell you the measurements it should be.  You just flatten and pull and push until you get the correct measurements.  I did not have the appropriate space of blocking mats to do this “perfectly”.  The wires are thread through the inner circle, where Max is laying.  The pattern called for more wires to be thread and placed along the edge between the lace and the border.  I did not do this.

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Here is the diagram from the pattern on what it should have looked like.

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You can see mine is kinda wonky compared to the pattern.  I even accidentally missed pinning a few of the picots on the edge of the scarf, but you can’t tell.

Here is the finished product.

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Thank you Lauren for posing for me.  You are absolutely stunning!   Our grandson has a new name.  It was going to be Jack.  Now it’s Luke Scott Mattinson.  I told Lauren he is going to be so cute that she will never put him down.  She promised me should would put him down for a little bit so I could hold him. :-).

This is my oldest son, John, the dad.  Both mom and dad have the cutest dimples.  Luke surely will too.  You never know.

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I hear several people are intimidated by lace projects.  Don’t be.  They are not hard.   It’s only yarn overs and knitting two stitches together.   Not hard at all.