As many of you know, Mack and I live in the country and have quite a few animals, especially birds. I love watching and learning from them and am always amazed by the things they do. We have geese, ducks, chicken, guinea fowl and pea fowl. This summer we have suffered serious attrition in all our flocks. We have lost so many guineas, I have lost count (especially the females when they are on their nests). We have also lost ducks, hens (no roosters), and geese. We have been attributing these losses to coyotes, neighborhood dogs, and owls.
On Monday afternoon, Mack yelled at me from the back of the house. He was standing there shaking his head in absolute astonishment. He had been shoving decking up onto the second floor deck we are building when he heard a commotion and went around to the back of the house. There he saw what looked like a large cat with its jaws around the neck of one of this summer's geese--a little female we call one of the lawnmowers. (We have been letting the birds into the yard in an effort to protect them. We have a four foot fence with electric wires at the top and bottom.) This little goose had always been in the yard working away mowing on the days we couldn't get the lawnmower out because of the rain. The "cat"and Mack both looked at each other in surprise and shock and then it shot across the yard and over the fence into the soybean field. The cat was about the height of our small standard poodle with hair that stuck up on its ears and a bob tail about 3-5 inches long--a bobcat! A bobcat has been preying on our birds this spring and summer! Who would ever have thought it! I guess we know now where the OU Bobcats got their name!
As you probably have gathered, our little goose didn't make it. Everything about her looked fine, but she wasn't able to breathe properly. We think she probably had a crushed windpipe. Her sisters and brothers stayed with her in the shade for a day, but she passed away during the next night. I hope the bobcat doesn't get shot. He has to live, too. I would be just as happy if he didn't come into our yard and hunt about 6 feet from the back door.
Wow! What a day we had on Friday, August 16. Both stores were full of eager students and we had an excellent teacher, Linda Holmes, to lead our two sessions. We learned sooooooo much about Husqvarna Viking sewing machines, especially the Designer Diamond deLuxe, and had fun to boot.
We saw for ourselves the amazing ability of the Viking sewing machines to sew through layers (13, I believe) of denim and even harness leather, how it cuts its thread and doesn't make horrible knots if sewn off the fabric, along with learning about the sensor sewing system and the fabric adviser. If that wasn't enough, the features we used to do our embroidery took us over the top. We all practiced design positioning and used it to monogram stadium blankets.
Designer Diamond deLuxe sewing machines are being phased out, to be replaced by the Designer Diamond Royale. We are anxiously awaiting their arrival, since there are very few new Diamond deLuxes around. We may have the last two and they will be shipped out today. The good news is that the new Royale will be coming and in the meantime we have lots of really nice used machines, including a Designer Diamond, Topaz 30 and several Designer SEs.
The first of the Noro tops is done. I am making great progress on the Hedrick's semicircle shawl and the Multidirectional Cap Sleeve top. My goal is to finish both in August--maybe this week for the shawl. They are lovely--both a joy and quick to knit.
We just got in a big shipment of Noro that includes Koromo, Obi, Ayatori, and the gorgeously, fabulous 45% cashmere Shiraito. I may be making more than 3 things out of the current Noro magazine. Ummm1
The spring/summer 2013 Noro magazine is finally here and does it have some lovely patterns?? Ohhhh, yes! Absolutely stunning. Several of us are working on the shawls shone in the picture to the right. (We even have those colorways in the Taiyo sock yarn).
I am also working on two of the tops, and there are three others I would like to make. Summer is fast getting away from me!
Aren't these lovely colors for summer! And even better, they are composed of luxurious fibers--linens, silks, cottons and other cool materials. They feel so good in the summer. The top bin is Malipulli, a cotton, bamboo, linen and silk blend. I made a top from one of Maggi Jackson's patterns Malipulli and absolutely love it. The only thing is, well, it isn't sewn together. As soon as I do so, I will post the picture. The second bin is Elsebeth Lavold's Lin Silk. I have started a lace sweater out of it and am thrilled with it. So far I have the back done.
If you aren't into summer fibers, now is a good time to knit a versatile shawl.
This shawl is totally adaptable and can be worn any time. The back is lovey!
But look at the front! WOW!
And, can you imagine this shawl in one of the new summer fibers! Yummy!
Just a quick note to let you know I am still here and do intend to get back to blogging! Mack and I have been very busy trying to help my parents (who are not in good health at all), rehab an apartment for occupancy by June 1 and then doing all the spring things--like plant a garden, brood the baby chicks, ducks and geese, and all the chores that go with having animals. Our most recent (probably quite comic) enterprise was to load up the boys, our two alpacas Machu and Picchu, and take them to a neighboring farm for their annual haircut or shearing. The poor boys are cool now, but oh are they embarassed. They feel naked and the flies are bothering them something fierce. That is a job for us this afternoon.
Here are some pictures of Ridgely, the latest and greatest Knit Along from Skacel and Michelle Hunter. We are using CoBaSi, a cotton-bamboo-solk and elastic yarn. It is great fun to knit and feels wonderful. Ridgely is going to be a "shawlette" when it is finished. In these pictures I am halfway through the second week's clue. Another great project from Michelle and Skacel, although I must confess that one does have to pay attention, it is easy to get on the wrong row. Also, notice that I did something I don't generally do-I inserted a lifeline so viewers could see what it looks like. I rarely use them and so far haven't needed this one, but it is comforting.
Finally, today we are having a day that feels like spring. The sun is out, the wind is not howling, and the temperature is quite pleasant. Of course the signs have been peeking up for awhile--the spring peepers were out peeping the other day, the daffodils are growing, a crocus or two has popped out in the yard, a dandelion showed up the other day and then there is the most important portent of spring, the baby birds at the farm stores. (To be sure, our own birds have been busy for weeks now finding locations for their nests, laying their eggs, and just as they start setting, pulling feathers out to help keep the eggs warm. At the moment we have 7 geese on nests, two chickens are trying (not very successfully) and the year old ducks are laying eggs in goose nests. Unfortunately, our neighbor's dog made a raid on our little domain and killed my setting duck and hens. I was and am still quite upset.
We bought 12 little day old Pekin ducks to help out the diminishing duck flock and soothe my ruffled feelings. They are the cutest little things. They are very friendly and when we clean out their little brooding pen, they come running to greet us making little affectionate peeping sounds and keeping their little black eyes on us. They are 10 days old now and starting into their teenage (ugly duckling) phase. We are enjoying them immensely, even though they are little pigs. It is amazing how fast they can turn their clean pen into a watery mess, but they are eating and drinking and growing like little weeds. We will have to get them a new pen this weekend, because their little heads are just about to bang into the top of the current pen. Now you know what we will be doing on Easter weekend.
Have a happy and safe Easter!
Here is an announcement to alert all of you knitting designers of an opportunity to compete in a knitting design competition sponsored by Skacel. The competition is called "The Fiber Factor" and is being held to find the "next great knitwear designing superstar." You, customers who come up with great designs, know who you are, so get on out there and register if you haven't already. Unfortunately, I just heard about this this week and it is getting down to the wire to get registered--BUT it is not too late. Skacel is accepting application through March 24, 2013. They will select 12 contestants to compete in the contest. The 12 winners will be announced on April 6 and the list of winners will be posted online by April 8, 2013. A series of 6 challenges will be presented to the 12 winners from April through October. Three contestants with the highest scores will be chosen and given a final challenge. The Grand Prize winner will be selected and announced in January 2014. There will be cash prizes for each challenge and the Grand Prize will be a 5 day trip to Germany to tour yarn production facilities and the addi needle factory. Oh WOW! Those of you who love to design and knit this is a dream come true for you. What an opportunity to show your creative side--and get recognized for it!!!! I know you are out there, so get that application filled out and submitted. More inforation is available at http://thefiberfactor.com/
My apologies for not posting a blog during the last couple of weeks. Life has changed my plans. My mother has been quite ill (my dad isn't too well either--we have some appointments scheduled for him) and we have been rushing around trying to take care of her and make sure someone is with her most of the time at the hospital in Morgantown. Mom got through her surgery beautifully, but now we have to get back to the problems that hospitalized her in the first place.
Unfortunately, the stores have had to take the backseat, so to speak. We plan to have both stores open the next couple of weeks, although only one of us may be here. If you plan on coming in, please give us a call to make sure we are going to be open. Our phone numbers are:
Market Street Yarn and Crafts--304-865-9276
Sew Creative-- 304-422-6454
Thank you so much for your understanding!