Friday, April 28, 2006

H is for Hopes of a Huge Harvest!

We have a small pear tree in our garden

Last year I think we got about 2 pears from it. But judging by the Huge amount of blossom on it this year maybe we'll have a bumper Harvest?

What we don't need now is High winds which will wreak Havoc with our Harvest ;)

Green Gable

If you thought the recent lack of knitting content to my posts was due to inactivity on the knitting front, think again;)

Pattern: Green Gable
Yarn: SWTC Oasis (100% Soy Silk), shade Chocolate. I used every scrap of 2 x 100g balls (from the stash, yay!)
Needles: Addi Turbos 4mm & 3.5mm, plus DPNs 3.5mm
Time on needles: 7 days

Despite some sizing issues, which are discussed on the Knitalong (I knit the size 36" when I would normally knit 32"), this is a great pattern. Knit completely in the round so no seaming! I plan to knit another with 3/4 length sleeves, in the yarn specified in the pattern (Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece). I'm really pleased with the result. The Oasis has a lovely sheen to it and is great to wear next to the skin. Knits nicely too. Blocking opened up the lace a lot, and lengthened the body and sleeves. I think next time I'll probably block a little less ferociously!

And, just because I know you'll moan if there's no modelled shot, here's a craptastic photo for you (Eddie's busy with the VAT return).

Lambing is nearly over!

The past couple of weeks have been really busy as the lambs have been coming thick and fast! We've had several sets of triplets this year - something we've never had before. Most of them are doing fine with their mums and it seems there'll be enough milk to go round but we'll be keeping an eye out to make sure no one's getting pushed out. If they are, we can supplement feed them with bottles of milk.

We have only lost one lamb so far - the third of a set of triplets. He was absolutely tiny and was too weak to get up and feed from his mum. I ended up bringing him indoors as he was getting cold and I spent a couple of hours that evening warming him up and trying to coax him to drink a little milk. I put him in a cardboard box with some snuggly towels and he spent the night by the side of my bed, with me getting up every couple of hours through the night to feed him. I had to go into the office the next day and left him with Eddie. He spent the day in the kitchen quite happily trotting about with the dogs (who thought he was the greatest toy EVER!). He even got to spend lunchtime lying on the sofa with Eddie watching Neighbours! But unfortunately, later that afternoon he went to sleep and quietly died in his sleep. Clearly he wasn't viable, but we did our best and at least he had some fun in his very short life.

Several people left comments on my last post to say they hadn't realised sheep could be spotty!
We have two Jacob rams who are brown and white, and our ewes are a mixture of Jacobs, Dorsets (who are plain old cream) and Jacob/Dorset crosses, who turn out all manner of spots and stripes. But we've never had one like this

Isn't he cute? Here he is with his mum and brother

Note the (complete lack of) family resemblance!
Sadly, he won't stay that lovely black - the lambs are all born black and white, but the black fades to brown as they get older.

We have just one more ewe to lamb and then that's our breeding season over. It can't come quickly enough for Eddie who's survived the last couple of weeks on an average of about 3 hours a night sleep. He's looks like something out of The Night of the Living Dead ;)

Friday, April 14, 2006

First lambs

We got up this morning to find that our first lambs of the year had just been born. One boy, one girl. Mum and babies all doing well. The ewe is a first time mum so she did really well to lamb all on her own. She's also extremely protective of them, stamping her feet whenever we go near, so apologies for the poor quality photos but I didn't want to upset her too much.

This heralds the start of 4 hourly checks, round the clock, for Eddie so he's going to be pretty knackered over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It's official - my SP is THE BEST

A package arrived today.

No, wait, that doesn't begin to do it justice. A ruddy great BOX arrived today - stuffed to the gunnels with goodies.

This is my 3rd and last package from my Knittyboard SP6, and I really didn't think she could top what she had sent me so far. Ha! How wrong can you be?

My SP, who I now know is called Cathy (hi Cathy!!) lives in New England, and her final package included a wonderfully thought out selection of treats from her home.

First up, some cards of Boston

Then these

The (cutest) elephant (in the world) is there (see he's saying hi!) because a) they're one of my favourite things and b) her local uni's sports teams are known as the Mighty Jumbos after P T Barnum's circus elephant. Neat link!
Nestled inbetween his legs is a bottle of wonderful maple syrup - the epitome of New England and one of Eddie's favourite foods (syrup is food, right?). Yum!! Also some "Boston baked beans" (chocolate peanuts). The other sweets are chewy fish, a red herring. A red herring has been included in each package in some shape or form. Damn, she's sneaky!

Next up

A buddha card because again this is one of my favourite things, and some really nifty "jump rings" used for jewellery making but spot on as stitch markers.

Oh, yes, there's more

Woot woot! A copy of Wild Fibers magazine (produced in Maine, so a local link, but also of great interest to me as a bona fide fibre producer!) and, swoon, the current Knit Picks catalogue. I'll be the one curled up in my chair chewing on red herrings and drooling over this tonight.

Oh yeah, and then there was some yarn

Can you believe that - she sent me ALL that in ONE package!!

The beautiful heathery green yarn at the back is produced locally. The Knit Picks sock yarn at the front is called New England Foliage. The green yarn on the right is Knit Picks Panache and it's a lovely soft alpaca blend. The wonderful little yarn cake on the left is Knit Picks Shadow, 100% merino.

To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement. The enormous generosity of someone thousands of miles away who doesn't know me from Adam. Really, it makes my head spin. Just shows though, while there's people like Cathy around there's hope for the human race, don't you think?

Thank you Cathy, this was such a wonderful gift to receive.

Right, now I've got some serious sleuthing to do to find out who on the Knittyboard she is......

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Please ignore my pasty arm (roll on summer!)

Pattern: Warm braid cable wrist warmers
Yarn: Knit Picks Decadence 100% alpaca, shade "Grape" - I used approx 65g of a 100g skein
Needles: Brittany Birch DPNs size 5mm (US8)

Each wristwarmer took me about 3 hours to knit. I'm not a fast knitter (especially on DPNs).

Great pattern, very straightfoward, really clear instructions.

Warm and snuggly. Instant gratification!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Little Man

One of our does, Hebe, had twin boys this year. Unfortunately, just before she kidded she damaged one of the teats on her udder with the result that when the kids were born only one teat would produce any milk.

While the kids were tiny this was no problem, as they very quickly learned which teat to suckle, and there was plenty of milk for them both. But as they got a bit bigger Hebe suddenly started to refuse to let one of the kids feed properly. Every time he went to her udder she would walk away, only very occasionally letting him feed. To start with we would grab hold of her several times a day and keep her still to let him feed, but it was clear that she did not have enough milk for two and one was growing much faster than the other. Our neighbour thinks that she somehow knows she doesn't have enough food for them both and has chosen to favour one over the other - the one she thinks has the best chance of survival. It's an interesting thought.

So Eddie has been bottle feeding the rejected kid. He gets 4 meals a day - breakfast, lunch, tea and bedtime snack. To get him used to taking the bottle he decided to say the same thing each time he took a bottle to him so that he would associate the sound of the words with food. It's worked, and now whenever Eddie goes out with a bottle and says "Come on little man" he comes skipping up to him, mouth open at the ready.

It's interesting that although she doesn't like to let him feed, Hebe is otherwise extremely affectionate towards him and he spends an awful lot of his time snuggled up by her side, more so than his brother who is being fed on demand. All in all, apart from being a bit on the small side, he's a very happy little chap.

And he does manage to snatch the odd drink from his mum every now and again ;)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Progress at last

The Aran Pullover FINALLY came off the needles last night.

I feel as though I've been knitting this sweater forever, but looking at my journal I only cast on about 5 weeks ago, so it's not that long really. I enjoyed knitting the front and back but the sleeves were a killer. Hmm, the sleeves. They look a bit short, although I knit them to the length given in the pattern (which corresponds to my size). I'll have to have a fiddle with it and see exactly where they'll be seamed to the body. I've no doubt I can stretch them a bit if necessary when I block it - everything else I wash & block seems to grow at least 25% !

The cable pattern is lovely and I got much quicker as I progressed! Here's a close up

It's looking a bit "lumpy" at the moment but I'm hoping a wash and block will sort that out. I'm hoping to do that this weekend, then set aside some time over Easter to seam it and finish the neck.

I cast on last night for a crafty quick knit before I start my next garment. I'm knitting these with the super soft Knitpicks Decadence Alpaca yarn my SP sent me (thank you!). As it's still absolutely bloody freezing in our office these should keep my hands warm on the days I have to go in to work!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

G is for The Gherkin (aka "City of London Architecture Part Deux")

A city as old as London will never be able to boast a skyline of the magnificence or magnitude of cities like New York, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong, but we do have one or two gems.

30 St Mary Axe sounds like a pretty humdrum address, but therein lurks the Swiss Re building, affectionately known in the City as The Gherkin.

You can wander around the City and not be aware of its presence, then suddenly you will turn a corner and there it is

As you approach it its presence begins to dominate the skyline

Up close and personal you can appreciate the marvellous feat of engineering that enabled a glass rocket ship to be built in the heart of the City

The Gherkin may not be the tallest building in the City, but it's certainly one of the most controversial

Those who live and work in the City do seem in the main to be tremendously fond, and proud, of it, but there are many (including my next door neighbour who's a retired architect) who think it's a travesty.

Me? I love it.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Flash Your Stash!

At first I didn't think it was too bad

But by the time I'd finished heaving everything out of the wardrobe and onto the bed it was looking pretty dire

Talk about coming face to face with your addiction! How have I managed to amass so much yarn in what is really only a little over a year? Time for drastic measures. Since taking these photos I've had a huge clearout and am left with yarn that is both lovely and which I KNOW I will knit. Not all of the rest was horrible - far from it - but there were some unwise impulse eBay purchases in there - lovely yarn but simply either not my colours or not yarn that I would ever be likely to knit with, beautiful or not. So, a huge amount has gone back up on eBay and I'm left with what is still a sizeable stash, but one which is 100% yarn I love.

I know that my stash is going to seem pretty weedy by comparison to some of the professional SABLERs out there (and I can't wait to go and see everyone else's stashes), but it's full of yarn which makes my heart sing.

So here are a few of the highlights....

My Rowan Kid Silk Haze stash

3 balls of Dewberry, bought to knit Birch for a friend and 6 balls of Toffee bought to knit Lily Chin's Reversible Rib Shawl for me.

Just how much Hip Knits silk does a girl need? This much, apparently.

Handpainted Worsted Merino and Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk

Then there's the sock yarn

The wonderful Possum yarn from Touch Yarns which was my birthday present from my mum and dad last year

And the snuggly Jaeger Natural Fleece

I could go on, but I think you get the picture. I'm really very, very lucky to have such a wonderful stash, and ONE DAY I'll get round to knitting it all!

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