Sunday, 30 May 2010

Matings and babies

Well, I have now had 9 a.pernyi emerge, six males and three females, so the poor girls are having a busy time! I've got eggs from two observed pairings and another taking place so I sincerely hope some cats will result.

My s. ricini are growing quite fast now and so are the Giant Atlas and Emperor caterpillars. No movement from the Great Peacock eggs, but there's still time, and quite honestly as we get to this stage every year with caterpillars everywhere, all needing LOTS of food, I wonder why I do it...because I just love them, is why. I am supposed to rearing them because I want the silk, but actually the pleasure and fascination of watcching the egg become the cat, the cat grow from a tiny beastie to a giant, then the cocoon spinning and finally the gorgeous, gorgeous moth really makes the silk a wonderful bonus!

And speaking of spinning, in addition to the rest of the stash I now have about 30 Blue face Leicester fleeces to deal with.....

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Spring has sprung

Well, after what seems like months of waiting for something moth-y to happen, I gave in and ordered some fresh cocoons and cats. Today some a.pernyi cocoons and s.ricini cats arrived in the post, all well. The cats are now happily ensconsed on some privet branches in wet Oasis foam and are chewing merrily away.

Two of the a.pernyi were emerging as I opened the package, both males and both, sadly, have not manged to pump up their wings so were destined to a merciful end in the freezer. Whilst contemplating this, a male and female emerged in the pop-up cage, so I transferred them to the mating cage into which I had put the two damaged males. I left them in peace for a bit, and having just looked at them, see that mating is already taking place but with the female and one of the badly deformed males! How he reached her from the far side of the bottom of the cage (actually a collapsible fly guard for food) to where she is at the top of the cage is one of life's mysteries. Photos later!

I await more fresh stock in a few days and am feeling very chuffed with life generally - we have a new hive of bees after the disastrous year we had last year (DH collected them last night with a fellow apiarist and they are from the world famous Buckfast Abbey apiary), I've got caterpillars and moths again, and I have just bought 45 Blue Face Leicester fleeces from a local farmer. Most of them are destined for friends to share, so it isn't quite as bad as it sounds....anyone want to know what I'll be doing for the next few months?!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Janet's Naturally Dyed, handspun, handwoven rug

At last!

The leaves are beginning to arrive at last so I shall be taking my Robin Moth cocoons out of the fridge today. It is a bit chilly still, but they will be inside so fingers crossed for some of both sexes and some caterpillars!

I thought I would show you this rug, woven by my friend Janet. She dyed all the yarns at a workshop I ran, using Pure Tinctoria dye extracts, and spun the yarn herself. I'm very proud of her!