rusty hinges and whirligigs

October 3rd, 2009

I had a breakfast knitting meeting with the ortho man the other day.

I brought my needles, he brought his.  I am getting these injections in my knees… the are derived from chicken combs, which is just disturbing first of all.  Then they HURT. LIKE. the HELL, second of all. I just finished my third week of one in each knee.  Now I am to wait another 4-6 weeks and hopefully they will bring me some relief from the pain that is my knees.  If anyone has a positive tale to tell me about Synvisc, I’d be happy to hear about it!  Let me have them!!  I am ever hopeful.

What you see above is about halfway of the most adorable little Whirligig Shrug from the Weekend Interweave Knits Magazine.

It is really fast and super adorable.  I am making it out of a merino/tencel mix handspun that looks like this–

I am really liking the way it is coming out… I expect to finish it this weekend.  I want to also make the Cottage Lace Cardigan in that issue as well– my plans are to try the Jacob fleece that is waiting to be spun and whip up a nice chunky single with it.  Here’s the cardi–  I think it will look smashing in jacob!

The big news today is an upcoming guinea pig wedding!!  That’s right– Panson is getting hitched. Tying the knot. Embracing the ole ball and chain.  Stay tuned to meet the gorgeous bride– Ms. Punkin’Pie and the coverage of their wedding.

ps– The girls are making the gowns– should be a day to remember!

How to build a cage for a guinea pig with super powers.

September 18th, 2009

Oh the joy that is guinea pigs.

Dear Esme got some friends this summer.  The girls in my life are thwarted in their quest for normal pet-gratification.  See, we have asthma here, and allergies, and housecleaning issues, plus their parents are just plain mean.  No cats, no dogs.  We do have Hedwig the cockatiel, and Esme the gypsy hedgehog and now a trio of wonder-pets known as cavies, Cavia porcellus, and the unbearably lovable species guinea pig.  (Click for a wiki that tells amazing facts about them.)  They keep different hours from Esme, so she doesn’t much bother about them.  Hedwig on the other hand is M.A.D. about them– and I’m not talking the quirky british “mad” either! Anyway….

We adopted them from a person who could no longer keep them.  I only meant to take 2, but could not leave the 3rd family member behind.  I am so glad because he has turned into a great friend for this husband I happen to know– who thought he was probably way too grown up for a guinea pig. :)

Meet them!

Ms. Daisy

Frida Kahlo

Mr. Panson

They are pretty awesome.  Very sweet natured and they make the best sounds.

So after a bit of research online, we thought maybe they should have bigger homes.  Apparently GP’s need a lot more room than most commercial cages provide.  So we found some great information on building something called a C&C cage.  The c’s are for “cubes and coroplast”.   It turned out to be a really fun and relatively cheap way to provide the piggies with a happy-pig sized home.  We even built little Esme one and she is also loving her new larger sized home.

An “extra large” cage from petco is approximately 30″ x 30″ and will cost you well over $100.  MOst of the ones sold are not extra-large.  Guinea pigs will put up with living in small spaces, but they are much happier with more room to play. The minimum cage size recommended by cavy experts is 7.5 square feet for one animal and 10.5 for 2.    We built a double decker cage, with space of 28″ x 56″ roughly 10 3/4 square feet each cage.  The girls live downstairs, with Panson (the bachelor) up in the penthouse.

The directions on the above link are so great that I recommend you look there for the specifics.  Plus they have a bewildering photo gallery of the many architectural wonders that people create and send in.  Very inspiring and entertaining!

The cubes you can get at Target or many other places…. They are meant to build storage shelves and run around 12-15 dollars a box.  It took four boxes to build our monstrosity plus Esme’s cage.  The coroplast is a little trickier.  It is not especially hard to find if you live near any kind of sign shop.  It comes in a 4 x 8 foot sheet and costs around 30 dollars.  It is really easy to cut– and you assemble the “tray” for inside of the gridwork using just packing tape!  It was easy as lego.  We added some zip-ties just for a little overbuilding reassurance.  Again, super cheap.

In progress…


with a new fleece technique and some doozied up hammocks.  Fleece is a great alternative to the mess and cost of more conventional beddings.  I am really happy with how it is working out and they seem to like it too.  Again, we also switched Esme, and she totally digs burrowing around in the softness.

The piggies were so happy!  The super clincher on having a cavy is this wonderful thing they do called “popcorning”… it is a sort of seizure of happiness.  Here is a cute look at someone elses piggies demonstrating:

All in all, the not-really-a-pig experience is really great.  We would have sought them out long ago if I’d known what great pets they make.  They are great with the kids, snuggly and hilarious!  They are available at pet stores, of course– but there are MANY MANY in shelters, rescues and on places like craigslist.  A good source for inspiration and helping out an animal who may really need a home is  Please check one of these sources if you are considering one!

I leave you tonight with my crazy child’s latest design– superhero capes for cavies!!


Get your orders in now!

Now that we have survived 2 weeks of the germs involved in returning to school and retail, I promise some knitting/spinning content next!  PLUS phase two of giant mushroom construction– that project also fell under the germ-spell.

More soon!