Oh, where is a kitty to sit? To cobble together some warmth on a cool spring evening? Miles found a perfect spot: between the radiator and the electric fireplace. Our niece, Gabi, declared him a genius when she first met him a couple of years ago. More and more, I'm convinced she's right.
The girls love their bugs! One of their favorite treats is the mealworm which, according to this website, is the larvae stage of the Darkling Beetle or Tenebrio Beetle. Not my cup of tea, but that's unimportant; it's what the girls want that matters. Seems many poultry keepers raise their own mealworms to feed their chickens. This blogger's post, Raising Meal Worms 101, has a lot of information about raising the little buggers.
Now, I don't know that I'll be raising worms any time soon, but one never knows. From Googling for general information about mealworms, the internet informs me that there was a mealworm shortage (!) a couple of years back. Still, there's just something about actively raising worms that kind of skeeves me out...at present. It seems I'm making my way down a slippery slope into 'back to basic' type activities, hobbies, lifestyle, etc. so I won't rule it out entirely. It might become palatable to me some day.
Here are some tender, juicy looking worms about to meet their end in our hens' innards:
Blech. But to each his own; here the girls are feasting on the worms:
The chickens are almost always fun to watch as they go about their business. They're especially fun to watch when they get something tasty to eat. They grab their worm and run away from the others to eat it. Then they dash back to look for another worm. If there aren't any more worms, one chicken will run after a chicken that got a worm to try and get it away from them. That doesn't often work; they're usually much too quick at snarfing down those bad boys.
Good afternoon, Dear Readers, including those stopping by as part of the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011. The blog week is actually on Day 5. Day 5's topic is an open-ended, experimental one, basically, anything you want to do. I'm not feeling the creative mojo for that kind of post and, since I've only done a couple of the topics so far this week, I'm going to go back in time and write on Day 2's topic:
Day Two: 29th March. Skill + 1UP
Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?
So what have I done, fiber-wise, since this time last year? I typically photograph my projects so I'll peruse my pictures to remind myself of what's been going on.
My First Sock - Ugh. Then there was another first, a sock. Pictures say a thousand words, but pictures of my first sock say the same word a thousand times over: fugly, fugly, fugly, fugly,....
Happily, one of my favorite things about knitting -- relatively quick improvement -- kicked in and there was...
...My Second Sock - The second sock (not a mate to the first, which I frogged) is going swimmingly. I'm quite a bit further along than you see in the picture below; just about to start toe decreases; might even work on that today.
Plus, I've apparently caught the sock knitting bug and look forward to making many more socks.
Improved Seams - It's been a real pleasure to see my seaming skills improve. I cannot stress to newbie and/or stressed knitters enough that practice, practice, practice is the key to improved knitting. And sometimes it's just practice, practice and you already start to see improvement. In the post about the vest I knit for niece Kristen, I crowed about my side seams. I hadn't seamed many things before and I knew that the seams I had done before were not particularly well done. So I was very happy to see that the vest's side seams showed improvement.
New Stitch Techniques - I enjoy knitting dishcloths for a variety of reasons. 1) They're quick so I get the gratification of actually finishing something relatively quickly. Other projects, e.g., blankets, go on and on. 2) They're small so they're easy to tote around. 3) The stitch patterns are relatively easy to remember, or at least easy to 'read' from what you've knit so far, so you needn't continually refer to a pattern. 4) It allows one to try out and gain experience with new stitch patterns in a small piece. The dishcloths in this post all taught me something new (even the classic Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth); all I had to do was pay attention.
I haven't blogged about these dishcloths/patterns yet, but two of three stitch patterns were new to me.
E.g., I don't know that I'd done much seed stitch before, but the dishcloth on top has seed stitch in it. Previously, I had thought it would be tiresome, but I actually enjoyed it. The dishcloth offered a small project in which to practice getting a rhythm and regularity to seed stitching.
Blocking - I have discovered blocking and I love it. I invested in a large, folding blocking board and I love that, too (see the first picture above where the shawl is blocking). It is a bit awkward to store, compared to the interlocking floor mats some use, but I've found a few places where I can slip it behind something (e.g., a china hutch) and the cats won't fuss with it. That's the main storage concern; otherwise, I'd just leave it out against a wall. The cats do occasionally scratch the bottom of it (not the blocking side) if I leave it out.
Anyway, I will block anything. Feeling down and disheveled? Come on over and I'll block you into shape. I block pieces before seaming. It seems to make it easier for me to see the edge stitches and also get an idea of how the pieces will fit together in the final analysis. I block pieces again after seaming to make them look as nice as possible before giving them away.
Crochet - This might be stretching it a bit, but, technically speaking, I have started crocheting. I've crocheted some round cat toys, but there really wasn't much to them. Last night at Needlecraft Club, Jennie -- a dear fellow Clubber and such a patient teacher -- helped me get started on practicing the stitch pattern for the Crochet Clusters Afghan (free pattern from Michaels). I'm using the suggested yarn, Loops & Threads Country Loom. It's a bit fuzzy and it was difficult to see what I was doing so we switched over to a worsted yarn just for practice. I'm undecided as to whether or not I'll do the afghan in the suggested yarn because I'm finding it very hard to differentiate stitches. I may end up doing the pattern, just in a different, unfuzzy yarn -- maybe a chunky? -- so I can see what I'm doing. Progress so far is uninspiring:
Yet I am determined to crochet something, even if it's just a simple afghan.
To see posts by other bloggers about their improved skills, click here.
Aaaah, the eternal love affair between cats and yarn. I suppose it's a bit one sided, seeing as yarn is inanimate, but that doesn't seem to stop cats from loving yarn. Their love will not be denied.
Predictably, my cats are unpredictable when it comes to yarn. Sometimes they'll behave themselves around it and other times they'll try to devour it. Here Edison is showing admirable restraint, possibly because he knows he looks damn well against red. Apologies for the picture quality; they're from my cell phone.
I was knitting a vest for a niece and he jumped on my lap. Apparently, he'd had an exhausting day because he immediately settled in for a nice lie down.