Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Bunday - Bonding

Last week I mentioned that I would write a post on how I bonded my bunnies. Bonding (for those of you with no rabbits) is a process where your rabbits go from not knowing each other at all to bunny dating and then finally and hopefully blissful bunny love.

In hindsight, bonding my bunnies was like introducing two tigers into a small space. But like any other naive first time bonder, we started out with the hope of this taking about a month. We were very, very wrong.

Bunny dating - yip, I hate to tell you its real and you have to do it. I had Berry for about a year before we got Ninja, so she had the run of certain rooms in our house and we assumed that she would defend these places. So we followed all the normal rules of bonding. We set up a gate in our sitting room and let the two bunnies meet each other for the first time and by the end of the session we had a complete success. Each bunny was so excited to see another rabbit that there was lots of binkys, smelling and positive signals.By the end of the session this is how they looked:

Their first meeting
We kept this up for about a week and we did some bathtub sessions where they could smell and hopefully groom each other. Everything was going so well we couldn't believe it. Then we went away for 10 days (there was nothing we could do about this) and we came back to 2 bunnies who hated the sight of each other. We had to start at the very beginning with the room divider, bathtub sessions and about 30 minute introductions. 

They would not stop fighting. I can't describe what it was like to live with. I have a day by day document of my life at that time over on and reading back over it now to write this post I have no idea how we still have buns. Our lives where a ritual of bonding sessions, cage times and coaxing treats. I tried every documented bonding I could get my hands on. In the end after 4 months (yip, 4) which included 3 vet visits, I managed to get the buns into the same cage for a night. 

Ninja's first grooming of Berry
The bonding that worked was space. Any bunny owner will tell you that space during bonding is a no no. This is because rabbits fight like tigers and they are lightening quick. They can go into death spirals nipping at each others tails or necks and rabbits skin is paper thin and their teeth are incredibly sharp so if they fight at the other end of the space away from you, injuries will happen. However in my case at the end of my sanity (and wallet!!) I decided to give my buns space. It was like 2 different rabbits where in my house. Ninja needed to be able to feel like he could flee from Berry, he was comfortable in the hall with lots of running room. This allowed him to settle down and not attack Ber every time she came over to smell him. Berry was very patient during these bonding sessions and she would only move to strike Ninja after his behaviour irritated her (this is apparently normal). We followed the  social bunny rules of placing their hay and food together and had one large litter tray so that they had to share. 

The buns first night in the same cage was spent like.... well I imagine like most people are when a newborn has been brought home for the first time, sleepless. We had a torch just in case they would fight and we jumped at any noise but there was just some scuffles and settling. From here our buns just settled into a routine with each other and over time the space between them when they flopped out closed, until we ended up with the two bunnies in love that you guys see every week. 

I am trying to keep this post short but if there is anyone who wants to read the detailed day to day posts you can find them over on and you will need to register to read the forums. 

Till next week

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Textile Thursday - The Weaving Terror

What my scarf should look like, all 70 inches of her

Ok so that moment has arrived, you know the one. You start to get that sick feeling in your stomach, a tingling in your spine that keeps on growing. Yip, you f***ed up badly and now there is no going back.

So its Monday night, I was taking my new lovely handwoven scarf out of the sink and I snagged it on the chain for the stopper. Do not ask me how on earth I did it but I did. I went through the motions of any craft person who looses a piece......... anger, sadness, grief and then finally and bitterly, acceptance. I messed up and now I have to fix it.

 A couple of deep breathes later, I scoured the internet for ways to fix a woven textile to no avail. I came up with the idea of searching for alternative finishes to my scarf but where the rip occurred will not allow me to work some magic. I let the now broken scarf, dry. I knew this would allow the weft yarn to fluff up and create more stability around the area. I had this idea that I could create a new hem and then sew the new fabric together to form a circular scarf. Well they are on trend at the moment but it somehow did not make the loss of the rest of my fabric, that I had worked hard on, any better.

What she does look like, all 35 inches of her :(

Tuesday, after the piece dried, I rolled the new loose ends in on themselves and cross stitched them for support. I know they won't unravel as some textiles are finished this way. Two very tedious hours later I had two finished hems which needed to be sewn together. The only thing niggling at me is that the scarf is now too short to be a scarf. It has to be a circular scarf or a child's scarf and there is no way that this twenty euro a ball silk garden scarf, was going to a child that is certain. Also if I sew these ends together they will be lumpy and the knitter inside of me is screaming (honestly throwing a tantrum) because seaming should not take away from your finished object. There has to be some way of attaching these two pieces together without forming a quadruple layer of fabric. 

Right back to mulling it over and an idea sprung in the back of my mind that I instantly dismissed. Wednesday morning came and the idea was still there and after my second cup of coffee I said "Ah, why not it can't get any worse" Yes, yes I did. I said that to myself. I think I must be the only person who thinks that things have hit rock bottom and in fact you realise that there is a whole bottomless pit beneath the "bottom" you think you have smacked your head off............

Yes I'm going to make you wait till next week to find out more ;)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Bunday

The Buns

Well readers, it finally happened. Ninja (the smaller) of our buns has decided after a year, that he does in fact like me! Yesterday I got groomed, some snuggles and I was even allowed to stroke him. For those of you who have rabbits you know how independent they are, everything is on their terms and to make matters worse Ninja has had a terrible start in life. 

This time last year we "rescued" Ninja and we noticed after neutering and bonding him that he had contracted pasteurella. This meant 3 weeks of antibiotics in which an injection was given to Ninja in the morning and one at night into the side of his mouth. As soon as he was able, we bonded our bunnies which I can only describe as horrendous (a post for next week) in which Berry managed to take a chunk out of his jaw. Ninja developed an abscess and back to the vet we went which meant more injections for Ninja. 

Another 2 weeks went by and Ninja was finally better but had huge fear of humans and would only bond to Berry. He would hide behind her and would never come to us (no matter how tasty the treat) or allow us to pet him. This meant that the monthly grooming was an ordeal for everyone. 

Slowly over time Ninja has come around with Berry's help. Berry has no fear of anything, she has even managed to take on J's collie and won!But even now if we stand up to quickly Ninja will bolt and he has amazing hearing so any sound at all he doesn't recognise he bolts back to his cage. 

Over the last 9 months we have spent hours on the floor with him watching tv, letting him come closer to smell us. We have friends who have kindly looked after our buns a good few times now. They are patient and wonderful, caring people who also took the time to move slowly around him and in his eyes (and ours!) never did anything bad to him. I think the fact that Ninja got to meet other humans (that wasn't the  vet) in this way helped him, because after these visits, Ninja would be a little more daring and come a little closer to us. Recently when J was ill, Ninja lay next to him on the couch and groomed his leg. He stayed there for 40 minutes, this was our first proper breakthrough with him.   

I know some people think we are crazy for the amount of time and effort you put in to make an animals life better. But the rewards far outweigh any effort put in. Both of us take such joy out of cuddles or binkies that this little man does now. His fear is still there but to a lesser, more manageable extent. His life is better and as a result so is ours. We spend less time on the floor. He pops up to say "Hi" to us. He follows Berry in her binkies to the 'big white box' where the veggies are kept. This little guy went from a cowering bundle in the corner of the cage, who boxed you every time you put your hand in. To a bunny with a personality, who accepts us and  now is showing love and affection towards us. For those of you still in the middle of helping a rescue, hang in there, there is light at the end of the tunnel along with a whole bunch of cuddles and slobbery kisses.

Happy Bunday


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Textile Thursday -Weaving

Textile Thursday - have a peek at the fibre I'm using this week....  

Nature Spun Woven Scarf
This week I have been completely engrossed in anything to do with my loom. The project I am most proud of is the above scarf which is woven from 2 skeins of Nature Spun Blueberry (Warp) and Nature Spun Cresting (weft). Which means even with the beads this scarf only cost 10 euro to make and she is GORGEOUS!! 

Warped Loom
For this scarf I used a 4 x 4 leno lace on the ends which I beaded by placing the beads on the weft yarn  and knocking them in place during the lace row. I continued in plain weave until I reached 4 inches and worked a 2 x  2 leno lace twice. I had to be careful not to allow the beads to make holes in the weaving as I went a long but she is definitely worth it and I think for my next project I will weave the beads into the larger lace work area. 

My other weaving project this week was with Elfen Opal Sock yarn. Opal was interesting because it contains 25% nylon and I wanted to calculate on my loom how much the finished object would shrink by after weaving. As there is so much tension on the loom you can often misjudge the length of a garment especially with a stretchy yarn like this one. It is also harder to weave and harder to keep tension even. But I think she is worth it no??? And this little gen only took 1 night to weave and cost 10.95e. 

Opal Scarf
Don't worry I'm still working on all my other knitting projects and Loomy has been put under the bed in preparation for tomorrow's onslaught of house viewers. So Its time for a coffee and some breakfast and off to This is Knit. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Bunday

There is love....but just not for you, pesky hoomin!!

There is only one way I can explain the above picture, pure hatred of me. I spent yesterday weaving and generally lying about feeling slightly sick (stupid cold) and the bunnies did not get their normal amount of free roaming time they normally do. This on top of spending friday in their cage in a friends house = 2 unhappy bunnies.  Being the lovable buns they are, they aired their 'grievances' by display all kinds of affection towards each other, like in the above picture but just not to myself or J. 

They turned their back on us when we tried bribing them with raisins (oh yes, you have to bribe a bunny for some love sometimes) but no dice. We tried sitting on the floor with their favourite toy (a cardboard box we turned into a bunny house) nope still nada. We tried kale and basil and nothing not even a slight binky. Our bunnies are telling us that we hoomins i.e. the food and space vendors are failing. It has been two whole days now...TWO and I want some bunny love people!!!! At this stage I'd even take a clothes nibble.

I have even tried custard creams and rich tea biscuits and nothing :( 

Today is not a happy bunday for me, lets see if my buns turn a corner this week  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Loom Day!

Today, Sunday the 15th of April was Loom Day and for me I have been waiting for a long time for today. For my 30th birthday (which is in May) J asked me if there was anything that I would like. I was thinking hummm spinning wheel and J said no we don't have the space so jokingly I said loom and he said "huh, erh ok I guess" Those where the famous last words.

We looked online to see what was available and I love Ashford products and I was looking at the knitters loom that folds but it only goes to 20 inches and I was thinking 'Well if I get a loom I'm probably going to want to weave not just scarves but cushion covers and more textile home things out of my stash' so in the end I decided on the Ridgid Heddle 32 inch loom. Mostly because we were thinking that it would fit under the bed (and just in case your wondering it does!!)

Loom from the box

I very nicely asked Lisa in This is Knit if I could order the loom and two weeks later I was bringing home my loom. It was meant to be, prefect timing as I was at my lowest with everything going on. As soon as I got home I shoved the furniture in the living room aside and ripped open the box. The above picture are the contents of the box and 45 minutes later I had this beauty:

32 inch loom fully assembled
I have absolutely no problem recommending an Ashford loom. It came with very detailed assembly instructions, weaving patterns for 4 types of loom and for some handspun yarns, a buyers catalogue for wheels and looms and most importantly a card with the name and photo of the person who packed and made my loom! Another lovely touch is on their website Ashford have a series of tutorials on how to use their products so you are not left with a wheel or loom that you got as a present and can't use.

Saturday evening I set up a warp with Silk Garden Sock which you can see in the picture below isn't it beautiful!

Silk Garden Sock
It was so addictive J had to have a go (I know it was my present but J was fascinated with how it worked)
J Weaving

Sunday I sat in my PJ's watching T.V. and just wove. I used silk garden as both the warp and weft yarn. Now at this point I would like to say that I mis-calculated *ahem* the amount of weft yarn I would need. I had assumed that I had 400 meters of yarn but silk garden is 300 meters. So I ran out of yarn with about 50 meters to go ( I had taken into account the waste from the fringe process), so I dived into my stash and found some pure hand spun wool that I inherited from a friend's mum. It was perfect!
Scarf pre - washing
I finished weaving after about 3 hours, I wasn't weaving constantly. I stopped for lunch and tea breaks but I was pulling a scarf off my new loom pretty soon after I started!. I let it soak in warm water with a little bit of conditioner and out came this beauty below. I am thrilled with my loom and my new scarf! The silk garden was a perfect choice the texture is amazing and the colour changes are subtle and light. I can't wait to try another colourway.
Scarf post - washing

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Textile Thursday - L. Hogan Batt #5

Textile Thursday - have a peek at the fibre I'm using this week....  

L. Hogan Batt

Today's post is going to be a little different in that I want to share with you my experience with L. Hogan's  No Rhyme No Reason Batt #5. I am fairly new to spinning and I have been encouraged by a large number of knitters and spinners here in Dublin to learn. Most of all during Laura's visits to the spinning groups and the shop, I was entranced by her colorways in her rovings, but lets start at the beginning. 

Ashford Roving
I knit a lot and was toying with the idea of rovings to learn how to spin. I started with the Ashford silk and merino roving  which  was smooth and the silk content allowed me to learn how to draft  quite easily. You can read more about my experience here

Corridale Homespun. 
I moved on to some Corridale I also got at This is Knit while I was suppose to be tidying skeins, the blue colours in the roving started to beg me to take them home. You know that kind of begging where it looks at you from its nestling place on the shelf and no matter where you go, you can feel it looking at you. By the time my shift was over it was almost screaming "I'll never find a good home if you don't take me...." So I said "fine in my bag you go then" (with more than a little encouragement form Lisa) and off I went.  I got home and before I had dinner I was spinning this fibre, I spun all 50 grams in one night and I was hooked. 

Merino Roving by FiberArtemis

I started looking at some hand dyed roving on Etsy and I found some beautiful options like Waterlily and the Merino Roving as you can see here but I wanted to support Irish craft and on Etsy that leaves very little choice. 
Waterlily by NalaniYarns  
As soon as I clicked the option, I was kicking myself for not remembering the Spin in Sundays. I have seen jumpers / accessories knit out of Laura's spun roving and all of them have been mesmerising. I had a browse through her shop and found that she had some batts up for sale. This was great, I don't have a huge amount of experience and I didn't want to jump into buying a huge amount of roving so the batt was a good choice. I ordered it and it was in my hand the next day (which is amazing because it was Good Friday) so I was up to a great Easter start. 

L. Hogan Batt

Laura's roving has some amazing colours and with some Angelina thrown in for an added sparkle. I thought I was going to have a challenge as these batts Laura carded herself are called No Rhyme No Reason for the sheer randomness of fiber and colour in each batt. As it was detailed on Etsy, each batt is unique and some batts could be very textural due to Wensleydale locks that she dyed and threw in. However spinning this batt was fun, I loved watching the colour ways form before my eyes and depending on how you separate the batt you could even get some colour repeats spun too. I loved working with this so much I even have some of Laura's Blue Faced Leicester in my stash now too (along with a huge amount of her sock yarn, yes I have a problem)

If you are interested, check out her shop on etsy here and I'm going to tempt you with some roving just because I can. :) Have a great weekend. 

Batt No. 6
Batt No. 4

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Where's your head at?

I have been feeling very apathetic of late, I have lots of different things on needles, hooks, and spindle along with 'work' knitting that needs a few finishing tweeks to patterns etc so I was thinking what if I put it all together in a blog post and try to figure out where my head is at with the help of you lovely people. 

On the needles:

Paulie Cardigan
This is Paulie by Isabell Kraemer which I am knitting in Malabrigo Violetta Africana and Laura Hogan's sock yarn in Jewell. The idea of this project was put in my head by Jewelandarlin' in TIK. I personally prefer not to work on small needles but this project is amazing. I think it's the combination of Addi metal needles (I usually use wood/acrylic), yarn choices and a relaxing pattern that has hundreds of projects on Ravelry.  These two yarns ended up sitting together in my special sock yarn drawer and I loved them together, but I just could not find a pattern I liked enough to knit. Enter Jewelandarlin' and a very impressive Ravelry list and I decided that Paulie was worth the effort. 

It's a perfect TV project and after the raglan increases this just really knits itself. The combination of the Malabrigo and L. Hogan yarns make me feel like I am knitting a rainbow into a cardigan. I'm loving everything about this knit. First of all the small size actually fits me, usually I have some math and alterations to do before I can knit but this project was a breeze and complete 'switched off' knitting. The pattern is written very clearly and you can just keep knitting until you have a garment as long as you like. Most of all this is a free pattern on Ravelry by Isabell and I have to respect anyone who puts up a garment pattern as well written and sized as this for free. For those of you interested I bought the Malabrigo yarn at This is Knit and I was lucky enough to get Jewel during one of Laura's Sock Club's. If you havnt joined one of these sock clubs it is well worth it and I can't recommend it enough so head on over to her Etsy shop for more info on up and coming clubs (convo her) and yarns for sale.
Fit Well Socks
Next on the needles are fit well socks by Amanda Cathleen Morgan.  For those of you who know me personally from knitting groups, work and out and about, you will know I hate knitting socks. I made the mistake recently asking John what he would like knitted for him and well, yip he chose socks. So I said the usually 'OK' and put it on the long finger. Next came a phone call from my nana asking if I had gotten some Eskimo yarn for her so off to the constant knitter I went. I spent a bit of time here playing with yarn and I came across some Lang Jawoll superwash. It really didn't take a lot of encouragement to give this a try.It comes with reinforcement yarn for the heel and toes and is super soft to touch. 

I love how this yarn is knitting up, the plying of a light and dark singles allow me to just use a simple knit stitch and it looks amazing. The knitting pattern by Amanda Morgan is simple easy to follow and is a great introduction to cuff down socks. These in fact are my first cuff down sock (I have made 3 pairs of socks total in my knitting life) and I found this blissfully easy to follow. The only problem is that I chose to knit on a 3 mm needle.The gauge on the yarn suggests 2.5 - 3.5mm and I really don't agree. I think this yarn is best suited to the 2 - 2.5 mm needle and I'm using clover dpns which are not as pointy as I would like for this project they keep snagging in the yarn. If I had thought about this before casting on I would go back and knit on a smaller needle. The sock however is coming along nicely and I like the yarn and how its all coming together. Now lets just see if I stick with it......

On the hook......... 

 Treble Cross Crochet Blanket

On my crochet hook at the moment is the treble cross crochet blanket by Bernat Design Studio. I only learned to crochet this year and I was looking for a project to practice my tension and some crochet stitches. After trawling through Ravelry, I found this blanket. I rummaged through my stash and found some huge balls of Robin Aran that you find at the knitting and stitching show or Hickey's on Henry street. Perfect for practice, its not too expensive and its soft enough for an aran weight to use as a blanket. This is my break project. I use it when I just can't knit any more. I imagine this will be the project that carries me through to winter but I don't mind.

On the spindle......
Corridale Homespun
Ok so on, well ok off the spindle I have some Corridale homespun which is just gorgeous. I am so proud of this! I spun this all in one evening on my drop spindle. Its pretty evenly spun (for me) and I love the sheen of the fiber. I tried to ply this yarn but I much preferred this as a single, on plying this yarn it took away from the beautiful dying and I know plying adds strength but I am going to knit this quite tight. It will grow up to be a hat for J  but I havn't found a pattern I want to knit for him so I will have to get my graph paper out and I just don't have the time at the moment to design and knit him one. I set the twist and this little skein is going into my stash for just a little while.

L. Hogan Batt

And finally on my spindle at the moment is a batt from Laura called no rhyme no reason (mine was batt no. 5). I love this roving, though I'm not an expert with roving I just know what I like the feel / look of. The Angelina adds some sparkle to the fibre and so far I'm spinning a very 'bespoke' yarn that is going to have a very special project all of its own. Laura still has some batts left in her shop here  and these would be great for a wheel or for felting. I am however waiting on a loom that will be my 30th birthday present (I can't hold in the excitement eeeeeeeeeeeeek) so I think this may be a woven scarf for ME!!!!!!!!!!!

All of these projects are active while I'm working on patterns of my own. I find I need the break to let my head sit or wind down from the thought process. At the moment I'm just a little bit run down from knitting and life in general. We are between looking for a new home which means relocating AGAIN and we only just settled in or sorting out buying (pipe dream really) on top of J just getting over his operation and getting back to work and of course working for me (though to be honest I just play a lot with the yarn :) ) I guess at the moment I'm just tired of saying everything will be ok and carrying on regardless of what life has thrown my way. It's time for a coffee, bunny cuddles and some strategic woolly contemplations. Feel free to add links to what your up to at the moment in the comments section. I could use the cheering up :)

Happy Bunday - Happy Easter

Happy Easter
Wishing you all a very happy Easter!. ............

Well that was the plan except genius here forgot to press 'post' to schedule this blog post. So I really hope you all had a wonderful Easter break, with lots of bunnies (chocolate of course), flowers and some R &R.

See you next week.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Bunday - The New Bun

10:00 am

10:05 am

10:15 am

10:30 am

10:45 am

10:55am BONDED

11:00 am
See you next week! - B & N