Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chat Back for June 21

Answering questions from comments and email.

Kellygirl asked . . .
What do you do with all of your lovely swatches? Do you unravel them and use them in your project? for seaming?

Swatches are so useful that I never consider them a waste of yarn.

Occasionally I need to unravel them to have enough yarn to finish a project.

If they're wool, I usually unravel them for CIC_Knit List knitting.

Sometimes I keep them for reference, especially if I love the yarn and know I'll be using it a future project.

Sometimes I ask myself why I would ever want to see this swatch again and toss it in the wastebasket.

Karen asked . . .
Did Michigan have a large number of bird deaths this spring?

Not that I've heard or read about. And my personal observation of the bird population at my house says no.

It's possible bluebird numbers are down. They winter over here and I think the winter was hard on them. The only pair to use a nest box so far this year were either young or not as healthy as I normally see. They only had four eggs and one egg never hatched. Normally there are five eggs and five fledglings in a nest box.

There seems to be a large increase in the number of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Goldfinches.

Most exciting, there are Pileated Woodpeckers nesting in the woods across the street. Mostly we hear them. There is nothing to rival the loudness of their call or their bass drum like pecking.

They stay in the tall treetops and don't come to the feeders, but occasionally they bless us with a sighting.

This picture was taken with my zoom lens from an open window. Mr. Pileated is about forty feet away and twenty feet up in the air.

Kathy in Iowa asked . . .
How many nesting boxes do you have on your property? Do you keep track of how many "families" are raised each year? Stats on most prolific years, etc?

Reading this question made me feel a little guilty, but I'm over it and ready to confess I do none of these things.

We have four nest boxes, two on the east side of the field, two on the west side of the field. The only log I keep are the pictures on my blog.

I do informally record egg laying dates so I know when to expect hatching. And I'm very careful to record hatching dates so I don't open the boxes when the chicks are strong enough to flap themselves out and onto the ground.

Thank you for all your comments and suggestions on my
Bad Biasing Yarn . . .

Queensland Tahiti (49% cotton, 36% acrylic, 12% microfiber, 3% polyester).

Yes, the swatch has biasing. I naively assumed it was from knitting a small swatch with the thick and thin yarn.

Although I admit I haven't tried a knit and purl pattern as suggested by several commenters, I don't think the nature of the yarn allows for it. I made my ribbing as shallow as possible because it looked so awful with the purl stitches.

Here's a close up so you can see the yarn better. The "thin" is about sport weight and the "thick" is about Lopi weight. Both have a weird crimp.

The yarn is in time out. More accurately, the yarn is on death row. I've officially labeled it "crap", and one day soon when I'm feeling ruthless it will end up in the trash.

Or maybe I will use it for wrapping gift packages. It should last the rest of my gift-giving life.

What did I learn? If the swatch biases, a larger piece is going to bias worse. Sounds simple enough. Why did I have to learn this the hard way?

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