Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Recent FOs and In Progress

The bunnies continue to grow, but they look pretty much the same -- only bigger every day. I thought I'd show some of the things I've recently finished today. First, I finished these thrum mittens a few weeks ago. The little v pattern in the exterior of the mitten is created by placing "thrums" or bits of carded wool into the knitted fabric as you knit. The ends of the thrums are left loose inside the mitten to form a fleecey cosy lining, which you can see in the mitten turned inside out.
Second, I made a nice cowl out of my handspun Louet merino/silk blend yarn. The pattern was easy and fun and I may make more of these. It makes a great neck warmer.
Third is my work in progress -- which continues to be in progress. I'm making a pair of "Guided by Love" socks and it's proving to be difficult. I've already had to rip it out twice. Fortunately, the yarn (Handmaiden's Casbah) is to die for and I can't wait to get these babies on my feet. The pattern is based on Cat Bordhi's sideways sock construction and has little paw prints that work around the leg. I think it's perfectly adorable ... but it's a pain to do.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bunny update and First Fiber Festival of 2009

The baby bunnies are getting bigger every day. Now they look like real bunnies, only small. They were spending more time out of the nestbox than in it, so I finally took it away yesterday to give them all some more room. They've learned to drink out of Genevieve's sippy bottle and they've been eating up her food, so I gave them their own bowl. They're eating me out of house and home! I have to fill the bowls twice a day! I assume that they're nursing too but, since Genevieve has always been remarkably discreet about nursing, I can only infer from their fat little tummies that they're getting plenty to eat.
The girls are enchanted with the little bunnies. They've been spending time with them every day after school and the bunnies are very tame. In fact, if you open the cage door they all crowd to the front and want to be petted.
In this picture it looks like the bunnies have all gotten together for a meeting, but actually they're just crowded around their food bowl.
Last weekend, Lynne and I treated ourselves to a weekend out of town and went to our first Fiber Festival of 2009 in Portland, IN. It was about 2 1/2 hours away. I took a class in rug hooking on Friday night (the beautiful picture of the sheep is NOT my work, but it is a good example of rug hooking)and then we shopped at the festival on Saturday. It was a small festival -- only about 25 vendors -- but we had a great time anyway.
A man was demonstrating the great wheel and he let me spin on it. I had never tried to spin on a walking wheel like that. He also had a weasel and, of course, I had to spin it until it popped (as in "Pop Goes the Weasel"). For anyone who doesn't know, the weasel is a mechanical yarn measuring device. You spin the arms to wind the yarn around and around and when it reaches a pre-determined length, the weasel makes a loud popping sound to tell you that you're done.
We also saw a lot of sheep! This Southdown was sort of a pet and her owner had brought her to be sheared. There were several Shetland sheep too.
This Shetland has just lost her winter coat. Her name is Checkers and she's a yearling and I bought her fleece and brought it home and washed it. I've carded some of it and I'm spinning it into a lace weight for making Shetland lace. The ewe was a black lamb and her wool turned white as she grew older, so the fleece is mostly white with black tips. Once it's carded together, it makes a lovely light grey color, and when it's spun the grey becomes slightly darker.
At the festival I bought some Casbah from Handmaiden. It's a fingering weight mostly merino with some cashmere and nylon thrown in for good measure. It's a gorgeous dark blue/steel grey color. I'm knitting some socks out of it called "Guided by Love." The pattern is mostly a plain sock but with little lace paw prints curving around and up the leg. Around the top of the leg, beads spell out "Guided by Love" in braille. All the proceeds from the pattern sales were going to be donated to a seeing eye dog charity. It's a fairly tricky pattern ... on two circulars using Cat Bordhi's new sock construction. I've been plugging away at it for a couple of days now.
Other than Checker's fleece and the Casbah yarn, I bought some lovely sea-green shadesd merino/silk fingering yarn, two orifice hooks, a ceramic sheep planter that I'm using to put a stock of roving in while I spin, and an exquisitely carved wooden crochet hook (size F). So, even though it was a small festival, I managed to spend money!
This week I gave my Medical Microbiology class their last test, graded their lab notebooks and tests and sent out all their grades. I expect their evaluations of me are pretty grim -- I haven't read them yet -- but, surprisingly, several of them emailed me saying they were glad to have been in my class and that they understood how difficult it was to take over in the middle of a term. They wished me luck with my next class and one even said she hoped I wouldn't give up on Beckfield. I guess that's the good thing about teaching adult students, they have maturity and some even have sensitivity.
Next term, I'm teaching a rudimentary class on Anatomy & Physiology. I'm reading the book now and it's pretty good -- something I couldn't say about the Microbiology book. Also, Olivia Ballard is teaching 2 sections of it just like me and we can put our heads together about it. Olivia is also a misplaced lawyer, but with a considerably fresher degree than mine. I'm hoping that next term will be a better experience than last term.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day 21: Out of the nestbox, and in the nestbox, and out ...

The bunnies are completely adorable. They look like miniature rabbits and are starting to have all the rabbit behaviors. They stand up on their hind feet (a little wobbly) to look around. They run fast and then freeze. And they're so curious about everything.

Lynne and I got them out for a little while yesterday and let them run around. They climb all over you, sniffing everything.

The little runt seems to be just fine. He's smaller and skinnier than the others, but he seems healthy. The other one that I was concerned about -- who seemed to have a scab on his head and on his ear -- is also okay, but I think the ear was permanently damaged though. It's not perfect and may have been bitten or something. As he gets older, it'll be less noticable, but I think he'll always have a scar.

Their new thing is jumping out of the nestbox. They entertain themselves with this all day (and probably half the night too). Some of them can get back in once they're out, but some of them are stuck outside the nest once they jump out. We've been trying to scoop them up and put them back in when we see them out, but it's a losing battle. They just jump out again.

If they start pestering Genevieve too much, I'll have to separate them for part of the day. Poor mother! She looks thin and tired (and constantly hungry!) already.

Another thing they're doing is nibbling on the hay in the nestbox. I wonder if they're ready to start trying kibble yet? I watched one of them eat an entire long piece of hay yesterday ... so, at least they're capable of eating something other than mother's milk.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bunnies gone WILD!

Today, Kate and I took the bunnies out of the box and let them run around the livingroom floor. We made a makeshift pen with boxes so they couldn't get too far. They are so CUTE! They've all got their eyes open and are holding their ears up like real rabbits.

Kate laid down on the floor and they all cuddled up to her. She loved it. They're learning to hop. At first they were just walking around, sort of crawling, and then some of them began to hop. Soon they were all hopping around.

I tried to sex them again, but I'm not very confident that I can tell. Some of them might have been girls, but I wouldn't put any money on it.