Crochet

Three Color Tunisian

So the Craftsy journey continues, and I have to say, I liked the three color Tunisian soooo much better than the single color work.  I chose Catania Cotton (yes, shocking I know).

I love these colors!

The three color is easier because each different color strand highlights and accents the architecture of the stitches.  You don’t have to figure out where your “vertical bar” is because it’s color coded.  Very cool!

So I’m into my next Tunisian project.  Titled the “Multigarment”,  it’s a two-panel wrap that can be worn as a shawl, sweater, or poncho (love the peekaboo shoulders).  Not to be redundant, but also very cool.

Also very ambitious.  I’m branching waaayyyy out on this one.  I’m using Paton’s Grace-another mercerized cotton (practically identical to Catania-the waaayyy was sarcasm). I’m not sure that the photos do my palette justice.  I think it’s going to be pretty….if it ever gets completed.  Did I mention it’s very ambitious?

The blue is my “color pop”.  Hmmm…still thinking about it…love it in theory, though.

I’m off to stitch!

 

Crochet

Geekery of the Crafty Kind

 

So I’ve been stalking Craftsy.  A relatively new site that offers an increasingly broad array of online crafts coursework.  There are sewing classes, quilting, knitting, crochet, beadwork, and several others-all taught by prominent artists within their field.  They frequently offer discounted deals on classes they’re introducing or highlighting.  I’ve considered several, but didn’t bite the bullet until they posted Jennifer Hansen’s Tunisian Crochet.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know I wanted to learn Tunisian.  And yet I found myself clicking to purchase.  Go figure.  There have been a lot of cute Tunisian projects in magazines lately.  And I’m pretty excited to be trying a new learning medium.  Is that geeky?  Yes, it’s pretty geeky.  I’m cool with that.

Part of the sales hook for Craftsy is that once you’ve purchased the class, you can take it as many times as you want, whenever you want.  There are several projects of increasing complexity for coursework, and my plan is to  post my progress as well as feedback on the class and curriculum.

So now I’m going to dig my afghan hook out of what will probably be the last giant tupperware tub in the far corner of my storage area.  I’m going to make a very icy bourbon and coke (because it’s Friday night, I’m a grown up and I can). Then I’m going to sneak away and leave my husband entertaining my six year old and his buddy during their first big sleepover, and begin my class!  Yes, I know.  It’s wrong on so many levels.  To tell the truth, if I find the stinking hook, I’ll be ahead of the game.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Chicken Mission

The Official Chicken MissionRecap

I had chickens as a kid.  Let me correct that statement.  My mom had a flock of free ranging bantams.  And I’ll be honest. I hated those chickens.  Due to their prolific elimination, I was labeled with the moniker of “chicken doo foot” for a couple of years of my childhood.  There was also this horrible little rooster that would chase you at will.  He had gigantic spurs for such a little rascal.  My older brother spent a lot of time and energy feeding a deep anger toward that rooster, and would inevitably torment the chicken as much as the chicken ever tormented the rest of us. I don’t remember why mom got rid of them, but I remember it being a happy day.

Needless to say, it was a little confusing for me when I realized I wanted some. It was counter to everything I’d stood for as a young person.  I was a confirmed chicken hater.  I can’t even tell you when I stopped.  Probably about the time I started thinking about the experiences my children weren’t having.

I was raised in the rural agrarian south, with all the life experiences that went with it. My friends and I grew up with an understanding and appreciation for livestock and the work that goes into it.  My kids are somehow managing to grow up in the new rural south. A place where it’s actually possible to maintain a weird kind of quasi-suburban lifestyle.  I’m not really okay with that.  If you’re going to grow up in East Texas, you really need to understand and experience the whole rural agrarian thing. Otherwise, I might as well park them in a Dallas suburb and move on.

On top of all of that (and oh, how I hate to be a lemming but…) the whole industrialized food chain thing is freaking disturbing.   I just want my kids to be able to eat an egg without wondering what the idiots have fed the chicken.

So I had chickens on my agenda for several years before I pulled the trigger.  It was the unexpected gift of our little red coop that pushed the goal to reality and launched my three month chicken intensive as chronicled on Such the Like.

Today I’d like close out my generalist’s study of poultry keeping with a list of really important things I’ve learned about chickens the last few months.  Because as it happens, I really knew nothing when I started.

1.  They poop.  A lot.  And their poops are all different and some of them are weird, which can make you paranoid about the quality of their poop.  And you find yourself inspecting their poop.  Boo.

2.  They’re work.  Before I brought my ladies home, I had been told that a backyard flock was little or no trouble.  “You throw them out there and feed them. No big”  I can’t agree with my friend’s statement.  Refer to number one on my list.  Chickens poop a lot.  I don’t like the way poop smells.  I don’t want my neighbor to smell poop.  I like him. It’s not something he should have to worry about.  So I spend some time making sure the coop is maintained.

3.  Plan your coop.  I love the little red coop! There are a lot of things about it that are awesome.  There are also a lot of things that aren’t working for me right now.  It’s important that food and water be easily accessible for the chicken and for the human.  My chickens have no problem getting to their rations.  Unfortunately for me however, I have to crouch or kneel to change them out.  Not ok! You don’t want to be kneeling in a chicken coop people (reference #1). So I’m  looking at improvements to our coop to keep it from being a complete hassle-especially during the summer.  We have a lot of 100 degree days inTexasduring the summer.  I need this coop maintenance thing to get a little more streamlined.

3.  Chickens can be brutal.  Granted there was the mean rooster from my childhood, but that was a rooster.  I thought hens were laid back, gentle, and generally vacant.  Not so much as it turns out.  The stories I’ve read will curl your hair…and the whole cannibalism thing! Wow.  My ladies have spunk! They’re feisty!  They’ve got that certain look in their eye, and I’m keeping my eyes on them.

4.  Certain chickens are good for certain things.  Make sure you’re purchasing a breed that works for your climate and your goals.  For me, it was good layers that are heat tolerant and docile.  Don’t get sucked in by the babies at the feed store. Do a little homework.

5.   The more time you spend with them, the more gratifying the experience.  But isn’t that how it is with everything?

Chicken Mission

A Plethora of Poultry: The Desk Reference Edition

So I’ve been quasi-obsessed by the chickens.  I know it and you know it.  Given my track record, no one should be surprised that I’ve been reading and googling incessantly. It’s probably time to give a recap of the great resources I’ve found and utilized.  Maybe in the process, it will give me closure and I’ll be able to bring the chicken mania to a more reasonable level of engagement.

I started with Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow

This book was epic.  It provided me with more detailed information on the care of poultry than I could absorb. I waded through it, but I felt like I needed something a little more streamlined to get me off the ground.

So I downloaded The Working Chicken by Anna Hess.

This is a succinct well-organized e-book available for your Kindle through Amazon.  It cost .99 and was a great read.  I felt like between the two, I had a good basic overview (Hess), as well as a desk reference (Damerow) that I would be able to go back to when needed.

So I moved onto magazines, which is very much my MO.  Of course, first there’s the mothership…It does not disappointment.

Then Hobby Farms Annual Poultry Issue

Then Chickens…Hobby Farms’ “Essential Poultry Publication”

And of course, there’s the litany that is my Chicken Blog Roll…

Many of the following blogs a present a staggering array of detailed (sometimes graphic) information that poultry keepers need to know.  They are passionate about their flocks and their posts demonstrate intense connections with the animals they keep.

ADozenGirlz, The Chicken Chick

Fresh Eggs Daily

Lessons Learned from the Flock

Tilly’s Nest

The Tangled Nest

Eggs and Chickens

For the Love of Chickens

HenCam

My Pet Chicken

Backyard Chickens

There are a ton of resources out there, and the enthusiasts are true enthusiasts.  Many of the blogs I’ve highlighted are absolutely beautiful, and the bloggers have brought chicken keeping to the level of art.

If you have an interest, enjoy! I certainly have.