Hello everyone,

I’m quite happy my chicken jacket seems to be getting a lot of good reviews. I totally understand how some people might not like it and that it might interfere with the chickens natural way of movement. From what I have observed with my chickens, they are perfectly ok. I know that hens can regulate their own temperature, but if they don’t have many feathers I feel that anything that I can do to help, I will.

I have been getting up to quite a bit of spinning this week, notably my red and black mohair rolags and my North Ronaldsay fleece that you may have seen a few blog posts ago.

I went up to our flat on the weekend, and I always look forward to the train journeys. I usually (!) bag myself a table seat and this time was no different. But I came slightly differently prepared!

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I am utterly in love with the programme ‘Prisoner: Cell Block H.’ I cannot get enough of this drama. I’m on Episode 345… perhaps enough said, haha. Anyway, this was me on the train on Friday afternoon. My favourite programme, big headphones and some gorgeous spinning.

Let’s zoom in on that, shall we?

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There was quite a bit on the spindle, so I think I spun a tiny bit more and then wound it off. I probably got a few funny looks on the train but I didn’t care.

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The picture shows some of the sparkles, so that is ok. I spun a lot more at A’s and then on the way back I  tried plying it. For some reason, I plyed it the wrong way so that was almost half an hour wasted trying to get it back into singles again.

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As you can see, one ball was bigger than the other. I plyed what I could and then Andean Plyed the rest.

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I’m surprised I got it all on there, but I did!

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I felt very proud of this yarn once I had finished it. From rolags to completely spindle spun. I love the way it looks on the niddy-noddy.

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Not a great picture, but you can see the variations in colours and sparkles!

As mentioned, I did spin up quite a bit of my North Ronaldsay. I enjoyed quite a bit of this, but have been disappointed by some batts. The softer pieces seemed very neppy and I was forever taking bits out of the spun yarn. Very frustrating. But I persevered because I had not spent all that time to have it not work. I think I have a batt and a half left to spin, which should give me another decent skein of yarn. I love the colours in this wool.

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Plyed yarn on the left, singles on the right. As I do not have enough bobbins, I have had to do singles on the first two and then ply on the third. I then reattach the singles left onto the batts and keep spinning, to ensure that I have enough singles left to create another skein. I hope that made sense to you…

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I love, love, love this! I love the look of it hanging down and drying. One is ready and twisted up and another is drying in the bathroom. I am determined to get the rest spun up and washed tomorrow.

For anyone interested – WASHING 

To wash my skeins I tie them loosely using the end of the yarn. They are submerged into water with conditioner mixed into it. I leave it for ten minutes. Then I repeat it with fresh, clean water to rinse. I then gently squeeze the water out after ten minutes and wrap it in a towel. I stand on it to get most of the water out. I stretch the yarn to get out any twists and then simply hang up to dry. I would leave it for ten minutes to make sure it is completely dry before use.

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The yarn on the bottom left is my North Ronaldsay. The others are a mix of fibres that I took into school so children in another class could see where we get our clothes fibres from.

Anyway, I have lots more to add but this post is getting pretty big! I will be showing off some dyed Wensleydale locks and what I have done with it.

Have a great evening!

xXx Love Kais xXx

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Crocheted Chicken Jacket

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I designed this small chicken jacket after looking at my three beautiful chickens. One of them, Grace, is currently losing a lot of feathers and I’m worried about her warmth in Winter. I did a bit of research online and saw that some people have made little jackets for their girls.

I know that some people do not like them and think they are a waste of time. I, however, think that they are a good idea. Many an ex-battery hen would be glad of the warmth of one of these jackets when they are finally set free. I’m not going to say much about battery hens but the way they are treated is despicable. I’m willing to do everything I can to make life a little bit easier and warmer for these brave, beautiful girls.

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Here is (top left) Martha, (top right) Donna, (bottom left) Rose and (bottom right) Grace. Donna is no longer with us, but she was a fine example of a happy, contented, bossy, cheeky, happy chicken.

Anyway, this is my version of a crochted jacket. I have taken ideas from other patterns, but modified them quite heavily.

You will need – 

5mm crochet hook (US 8)

Chunky yarn. I’ve not measured it exactly, but I would say a 100g ball would manage two jackets,

DC stitch (Wrap yarn over hook, insert into next stitch, wrap yarn over hook, pull hook through, yarn over, pull through two stitches, yarn over, pull through last two stitches).

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Pattern – Suitable for medium breed chickens. 

Chain 31.

Row 1 – DC into third stitch from end. DC all the way across. Chain 2.

Rows 2 – 7 – DC across, chain 2.

Row 7 – DC 6, chain 12, (skip 12 stitches) DC rest of the way across, chain 2.

Row 8 – DC across.

Row 9 – DC across to the last three. DC 2 in third from end, DC 2 in second from end, DC 1 in last stitch. Chain 2.

Row 10 – DC 1, DC2 in next two stitches, DC to end.

Row 11 – DC across to final 5 stitches. DC2tog in stitch 5 and 4, DC2tog in stitch 3 and 2, DC in last. Chain 2.

Row 12 – DC1, DC2tog in next two, DC2tog in next two, DC across to end. Chain 2.

Row 13 – DC across, chain 2.

Row 14 – DC in next 12 stitches, chain 12, (skip 12 stitches), DC 6, chain 2.

Row 15 – 21 – DC across, chain 2.

Fasten Off.

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If you look carefully at the picture, you can see the wing holes are closer to the right hand side. This is where you will attach the yarn to at the bottom.

1 – DC 12 across, chain 2.

2 – DC 12 across.

Put right sides of jacket together and using the crochet hook, sc the short piece to 12 stitches on the other side. This creates the wide neck opening. Turn the right way again.

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Sew in all the ends tightly so the chickens cannot peck at them or pull them.

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This is what the jacket will look like when complete.

It can be a bit strange for the chickens wearing this for the first time, but they get used to it super quickly. Be gentle and it will fit them nicely. Just ensure that their wings are completely free and they can flap and fold them properly.

This can be adapted by making the wing holes longer and more or fewer rows in the body.

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I am not affiliated with, but I absolutely love and will highly recommend ‘Homes for Hens.’

Homes for Hens

They rehome hens all over Dumfriesshire and the borders. If you are around here and have room for a few hens, give them a call. You won’t regret it 🙂 When I get a house and garden of my own, my fiance and I will have lots of rescue chickens.

You can find hen rescue centres all over the UK, and I imagine you can find them in other countries too.

If you make any, I would love to see some photos. Any questions? Just ask.

Martha posing for the camera 😀

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Good (c)luck!

xXx Love Kais, Martha, Rose and Grace xXx

Hello everyone,

It’s been quite a nice weekend. It’s so nice to just be able to get on with what I want to do for a change and not have to go anywhere or rush about. I adore being at the fiances house, but sometimes it’s nice not to rush about for the train on a Sunday afternoon.

Lovely, relaxing morning was how I spent my first part of the day. Watching ‘Z Nation’ with Mum on the sofa. I completed almost an entire new chicken jacket for Martha. I used some acrylic chunky and a size 5mm hook. I’ve decided I’m going to write the pattern up and put it on Ravelry. It will go alongside my other pattern – Crochet Baby RattleWP_20150920_002[1]

Doesn’t she look smart?! Martha let us put her jacket on really easily. She fluffed her feathers up a bit and then just got on with what she was doing. Grace is not a fan of her jacket so I don’t know how this will work when it is below freezing. I tried it on Rose and she was not bothered by it either. Maybe I need to modify the collar of the jacket for Grace to make it a bit more comfortable around her neck.

Here is Rose showing off her new look 🙂

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As you can see in the next photo, they can do exactly the same things as they do without jackets.

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I only let them wear them for ten minutes to get used to them then took them off. They then all squeezed into the same dirt bath together which was sweet. I love my girls.

Sadly, some of you might notice that there are only three girls there, and not four. My beautiful, beautiful Donna died in July, whilst I was away at summer camp. Donna was really special to me. I remember the first time I saw her and how she behaved. Such a bossy madam who clucked loudly and rubbed her beak against the wire mesh if we didn’t let her out quick enough. She kept the others in check and wasn’t afraid of anything. We found her on the roof of the shed once! (We have no idea how the heck she managed that as her wings are trimmed on one side!) If there was even the slightest chance of her escaping, she would do it. Donna the Escape Artist. I’m glad that she was given a chance at having a happy life with my family after her dreadful start. I just wish that it had been a lot longer. She died of old age, in her sleep. I’m happy that she was loved and well fed and nothing was expected of her but to be happy. She wasn’t ‘just’ a chicken to me, she was family.

I miss you so much, Donna. Hope you are back with Sarah-Jane now. Love you both.

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Today I had a look at the amount of fleeces in my shed. There were a lot! Lots of my Zwartbles to get rid of and I think five of my own personal fleeces to get through. I have a net bag of North Ronaldsay fleece that I washed before I went to summer camp. I have been waiting for a good time to get it done, and today was the day! NR fleece seems a bit special to me as my parents used to have these sheep in the Orkney Islands. They eat seaweed and would be let out on the beaches. It seems an idyllic life. I have baby photos of me feeding the lambs from a bottle. I long for the day I can have a small cottage with a huge back garden. I’m going to have some pet sheep, lots of chickens (named after the Prisoner Cell Block H characters!) and lots of space to grow vegetables. Well, a girl can dream, right? Anyway, I digress.

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I carded one batt yesterday and it seemed to take a loooong time! The fleece was full of bits and needed two goings through the carder. First one quickly, second one slowly, taking time to get rid off all the little bits and pieces that gathered, including the annoying neppy bits!

Today I took the time to fluff up all the fleece beforehand and then fed it into the carder, rather than fluffing, feeding, etc. It went a bit quicker that way.

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These seven large batts make up one small North Ronaldsay fleece.

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I’ve got three more to just put through the carder the second time. I’m really looking forward to spinning this all up properly. No idea what to make with it though! I’m thinking of a DK thickness to make a lap blanket, but we shall see.

I have a gorgeous looking Manx Loughtan fleece to card up next. Such beautiful colours.

Anyway, I have work tomorrow and it’s getting late. Hope you all have a great week!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello everyone,

Looking back, it looks like my last post was on the 5th of July. A few things have happened since then, so this might be a long post.

Four days after the last post I was on my way to Oxford, England. Last year some people might remember I worked for a summer camp and absolutely loved it. Four weeks of trying out things I didn’t have the opportunity to do here. Well, I was asked to do it again this year and I agreed.

I wish I could say that it was a whirlwind of a time with me learning brand new things and having new adventures. Well. . . I can’t. I loved my class towards the end and would be happy to have a class like them forever. I also liked my little room a lot and spent a bit of time there watching stuff on my laptop. My favourite part was spending time at the river at the bottom of the school and sewing, listening to my MP3 or the sounds of people going past on punts. Oh, I also enjoyed the punting. (Look it up, it’s a way of sailing).

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Another great thing that happened was meeting up with someone I have known for almost eight years online. He came up on his motorbike (very late Alistair!!) and it was wonderful to finally meet up. We went for a coffee, then a wander round town and then a coffee again. Why we didn’t take even one photo was beyond me!?

I almost forgot. I went on the London Eye. Twice. First time was amazing! Second time I sat and crocheted the forty minutes we went round.

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Anyway, I was relieved when it finished. I had a day or so off and then I was back to work! A brand new P3 class. They have been exhausting and drive me nuts, but I love each and every one to bits. They are a vastly different class to my previous one but I don’t care. I have put up most of my displays and am looking forward to doing some Christmas art with them in a few months. Oooh hang on, Halloween stuff first!

However, I had to have three days off last week, which is virtually unheard of for me. I detest having time off school. It always makes me feel guilty for leaving others in the lurch. As it happened, two other teachers were off at the same time too. Ooops. My problem? Two burst eardrums. Yep, TWO. BURST. EARDRUMS. Painful was not the word! I left school in a hurry on Friday as my left ear suddenly went very blocked and my tinnitus shot through the roof. It started pounding and I must have been in tears the entire drive home. My Mum called the Dr who simply told me to take Ibruprofen and that it would go away soon. Well, I did, grudgingly. (Long story). It did go away, and it worked really well! Until the early morning. The pain restarted and nothing stopped it. I had to call NHS24, who got me an out of hours appointment. The Dr there gave me Tramadol and said that if it starts to hurt again I was to call NHS24 again. He told me that my ear drum had a hole in it and that my ear was leaking pus from the pressure build up. (For those not in the UK, NHS24 is an helpline who can give you medical advice and if neccessary provide ambulances and appointments for those in need. It frees up calling 999 if it is not an emergency yet you still need help). It was ok for most of the night, until I started being sick. I lasted until the next day where every single movement made me throw up. It was a real struggle getting out of bed. I called NHS24 again, who gave me another appointment. I took two steps out my front door before being sick, as it was such a struggle. I’m amazed I wasn’t sick in the car, but I was as soon as I got out at the hospital! (Sorry for TMI!)

The Dr there gave me antibiotics and saw that my other ear was leaking and she said that it had burst too. The tinnitus was driving me crazy. It felt like my head had been smacked between two saucepans and the result ringing was insane. I was assured this would go down. She gave me tablets for the sickeness too. As soon as I got outside her office I was vomiting again (thankfully she gave me a sick bowl beforehand!). She led me to a side Dr’s room and gave me an anti-sickness injection – in my bum cheek! Haha. I tell you what though, it worked. Sickness gone instantly. That is amazing stuff, lol. I was able to sleep  until she came back.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went very deaf for a while so had to take time off work to recover from the sleep deprivation and to get my hearing back. I can hear almost properly now, just my left is still a bit deaf.

Ok then, let’s get to the fun and interesting stuff!

chicken sweater

 I know this looks a bit strange on Grace, but this is her little chicken jacket, all ready for the Winter. She is losing a lot of feathers at the moment. I know chickens moult, but she is looking a bit too bare! I am going to make one each for Rose and Martha too. It’s a very simple crochet pattern, with spaces for her wings so that she can still spread her wings and stretch. She wasn’t too happy about it for the first minute, but absolutely fine after that! Pecking away at the grass and scratching in the dirt. I think when all three of them are wearing them, they will be fine together. I half used a pattern from online but modified it heavily. I will put it on here if anyone is interested.

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I tried it out using fabric from my stash but made it far too big. I think it is a big too thick for them though. Oh well, when I have finished we shall see. I think the crocheted one is better for them though as the neck is a lot more free.

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You can see on this one where I have tried shortening it. If I have a little bit of time tomorrow I’ll finish this off. Pattern is my own and I just used what was in my fabric stash. I’m pleased with it.

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This is one batt of North Ronaldsay wool. I’ve been wanting to spin this for ages. I have one batt here and one still on the carder. It took me ages to get the first batt like this as it is so neppy and bitty. On the second pass of the fibre I did it really slowly, picking out nepps as I went. I hope to get this finished tomorrow. Can’t wait to get it spun up! I have some Manx Loughtan I desperately want carded too, and some Hebridean!

When sorting through some boxes of old projects and yarn from under my bed, I found loads of unfinished bits and pieces. Mittens that were not sewn up, pieces without buttons, etc. I gathered them up and finished them off. Some of the things you are about to see were in the start of my knitting days and some were not knitted until about four + years ago!

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I did the little socks a month or so ago, sewing on some lace and extra ribbons and bits. I really like them. That’s got me wondering where the fabric roses I bought have disappeared to…

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I’m not a fan of the little white vest on the left but I’ll finish that eventually. I love the little red and yellow booties though. The yellow top is the first clothing item I ever crocheted. And the socks at the top are the first baby socks I’ve knitted too. The hat on the bottom right is made from a bamboo and silk mix. Very nice and cool 🙂

Right, I have a few more things to show, such as my quilt and my busy books I’ve been working on. But, this blog post is over 1400 words now, so it might be a bit much all in one! Hopefully I will be able to get back to more wool and crafty things to blog about. I miss my crafting so much!

Hope everyone is well!

xXx Love Kais xXx