Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oh Deer!

We live in "outer-suburbia" and have a 5 acre lot.  Every year, we notice that traffic in our little world has increased.  It has become apparent that we are a destination, even a rendezvous (depending on the time of year).  Until the snow gets deep, the critters just run up the bank by the road out front.  As the snow gets deeper, they just use our driveway, like any other visitor.

Now that I'm outside at night to take Gypsy out, I get to hear/see all kinds of critters.  Depending on the time of day, we can see deer, rabbits, skunks, possums, fox, hawks, owls and even coyotes.  Only once have I seen a coyote, but we hear them often...really spooky sounding, too!  Some mornings, after a fresh snow, it looks like there was some sort of party out there with the number of tracks criss-crossing the snow, mostly bunny and deer tracks.

Our larger visitors, white-tailed deer, can often been seen during the day and almost always hear them crunching through the snow at night.  One day there was a group of 6 grazing out back.  A few days later, this single buck was just behind the trailer, near our firewood storage.

Clearly, he still has both his antlers.  Just a few days prior to that, I found this rack, sticking out of the snow, near the turnaround in our driveway.  Deer naturally shed their antlers this time of year.  It's a good-sized one, 4 points and weighs almost 1-1/2 pounds.

I think I'll be figuring out how to make a basket out of it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Finished Objects!

You wouldn't think that I would be this busy just after the holidays and in the full winter gloom that we get around here.  Usually, like many, I just want to semi-hibernate:  stay inside and warm.  Kind of like Gypsy.  A bit of news on Gypsy, she, very suddenly, has gone blind.  Other than confused, she is in good health and we are learning how to be seeing-eye-people.

Be warned, this is a picture heavy post.

Remember all those felted mittens that I wanted to get done before starting anything else?  Well, I did do them first, so there!  Good thing as this winter has been an old-fashioned one:  cold and persistently snowy.

DD purchased her own home last year, so, after reuniting her with her belongings, I've painted her room and moved some of my toys in there.  I have a small loom to put in there and come spring, will assemble the large loom that is in storage.

The drum carder, swift and ball winder can all stay set up and ready to use and there's still space left on that table to sit and work on projects.  There's room for my finished goods, room for the wardrobe (contains various crafty items in bins), a place to hang the tower of yarn (gotta love Ikea) that contains sock yarn, alpaca, novelties, special stuff and a even a spot for those leftovers.  There's a big closet that has shelves and a dresser in it for even more  storage.  It's actually taking a bit to move into so much space as I want things to go where it makes the most sense.

There is room for the spinning wheels (all 2 of them) for when they're not in active use.  Keeping the living room as clear as possible for Gypsy is a must do and is going to help me stay more organized.

So what do I do after knitting and felting 5 pair of mittens?  Lace, of course!  This is the Diamond Fantasy Scarf (designer Sivia Harding) that I've lusted wanted to knit for ages.  By chance, I won some Claudia Handpaints yarn at knitting guild in December and found the pattern that I had gotten awhile ago.  I must say, this was one of the easiest lace knits I've ever done.  Another nice thing is that you knit the border  on at the same time as the rest, so when you cast off, you're done (other than blocking).

Also instigated by knitting guild are the 2 projects on the right:  Flower Power Elephant (Ravelry) and Pyramid Project Bag (Knitting Daily).  There was an unloved yarn swap in January and I was the recipient of a ball of bright blue mohair.  Bah!  I'm not a big fan of knitting with mohair.  However, February brought a contest of finished items from that unloved yarn and the little elephant won a bag of goodies for me.  There was a journal, a calendar, some yarn, a goofy ball and even a little light to put on your finger so that you can knit in the dark.

OK, the cat mittens were actually done last year, but they just got their picture taken the other day.  I showed them to my neighbor, along with another pattern from the same designer.  She called after Christmas and wanted a pair of the lucky horse mittens.  Glad to oblige.  Another good thing from Ravelry:  Being able to get terrific patterns from terrific designers like Jorid Linvik.  Do check out her other patterns.  Seriously, I think I must get the zebra pattern, maybe more.

The cat mittens are handspun, gray from Crik and blue from Bob G.  The horse mittens are alpaca (white) and wool (brown/red) commercial yarns.

Hmmm, what next, you ask?  Well, I fell in love with the Yarn Harlot's silk mittens.  Lo and behold, stash diving came up with a nice blue & yellow package of silk mawata.  Perfect!  Pictures will be reserved for another post.  Now then, now that we're all caught up, I'm going to go play with some silk!