A Surprise, A Sleepover and A Separation

The Surprise:

My finished secret project: A crochet Gromit for my Sweet Prince as an Anniversary gift (15 years married last Thursday!).

crochet gromit

He said he wanted it life-size (still not sure if he was joking) so I used super-bulky yarn and I think it turned out pretty close (used almost a full bag of stuffing!). He’s definitely bigger than our cats.

I got the free pattern here: http://amiamour.com/2010/05/gromit-amigurumi-pattern/ but I followed this Ravelry project notes to make the spherical eyes and longer nose and ears: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Clelixedda/gromit-amigurumi

The Sleepover:

Our Chicken Integration Project is officially a success! Gloria wanted to go into the coop with Alberta and Frances the other night, and they didn’t seem too freaked out about it (they’ve been hanging out in very close proximity all week, and the rainy nights have been leaking into her little coop), so I thought we’d give it another try. Of course, once she realized she was locked in, she tried her best to get out, and paced around until almost dark, but I thought, hey, she is a chicken, let’s see if those roosting instincts kick in. And lo and behold, just before complete nightfall, she went up into the house and settled into the largest nesting box (the same size as her current one). Hooray! Then, the next day, I left her old coop closed up, hoping that she’d follow her habit she developed after Cleo’s passing (however annoying) of laying her egg where she’s been sleeping. And she did! Yay!

first-egg-new-coop

The next night, while the girls were all slightly mystified that this sleepover thing is turning into a permanent roommate situation, there were no serious complaints, and Gloria went right up into the house when it started to get dark.

all-chickens-in-coop

Life is going to be so much simpler for all of us now, and so much better for Gloria. 🙂

all-chickens2

The Separation:

Don’t worry, it’s a good one, if a little bitter sweet. While the chickens were moving in together, my kids were officially moving into their own bedrooms. They’ve been using the same room since Mae was born, and 7 years later, even though they are closer than ever, they have finally decided they would like their own spaces. So, our house has been in upheaval moving furniture around, building new furniture, reorganizing closets, etc… I’m very happy for them, and proud of their little independent spirits, but also a little sad that they are growing up so fast! The question now is… what are we going to do with all their door/hall decorations we’ve accumulated over the years?

jonah-mae-door-hall

Star Flower Mystery Revealed

The Bad News: I haven’t made significant progress on my mystery Star Flower pattern, due to the distraction of a different secret project that needs to be finished sooner (to be revealed later).

The Good News: I’ve made enough progress (sewing the two finished stars together) to end the suspense for all of you who can’t wait any longer for the riddle to be solved… and for those who might want to embark on this project for Christmas gifting.

And the answer is…

 

drum roll please…

 

Fingerless Gloves!

vogue-fingerless-gloves-top

vogue-fingerless-gloves-bottom

My sister commissioned me for this project because she fell in love with this pattern she found online: Vogue Fingerless Gloves. Aren’t they so very fancy?

vogue-fingerless-gloves-had

The yarn I used is Madelinetosh Pashmina (the color is Baltic), a gorgeous sport-weight hand-dyed blend of superwash merino, silk & cashmere. It looks like one skein should be way more than enough to finish.

Most of the projects on Ravelry found that the finished size was a little on the snug side, and recommended that you go up a needle size (which I did). I would say otherwise (depending on your gauge of course) that the finished size is a women’s small. Mine fit me just right (and hopefully my sister as well) and I would guess they are women’s size Medium.

I also used the magic loop method instead of 5 double points, and I found it less fiddly and much easier to keep track of where I was in the pattern than some others mentioned. And a cable cast on gave me a more precise flower in the center the second time around.

Overall, I would highly recommend this pattern, if you are not afraid of lace knitting. (Or even if you are, you will learn a lot!)  And just think of all the other possibilities for these lovely star flowers that you all came up with in your guesses! 🙂

Chicken Townhouses

It’s been over a week now since all of the girls have been free ranging together during the day, and I think it’s going as well as possible. We’ve moved Gloria’s coop right next to the new coop, to take advantage of a bit of roof cover, as well as hopefully promote more of a flock mentality. Gloria has had a weird laying week, I think mostly due to all-day access to food with less calcium (soft egg shells) and several missed days, but she seems to be getting back to normal now.

chicken-coop-townhouses

Alberta and Frances still seem a little edgy around Gloria, but I haven’t seen any violence, and they are letting her get much closer than before:

mae-feeding-chickens

In fact, they all are hanging out in the same area of the yard most of the time:

chickens-bushes

But Frances prefers to spend most of her time napping up high somewhere out of pecking reach, so of course Alberta usually joins her. Here is their current favorite roost:

napping-chickens-grey

I feel like a weight of responsibility has been lifted from me… no longer needing to babysit or referee. Perhaps I can actually get back to some serious knitting and spinning in my free time now… just in time for Autumn’s cooler evenings and Christmas crafting!