Monday, 17 July 2017

One Over One Done

I finished the stitching. I just noticed I have a couple of stitches to finish crossing.
Yesterday, Skip and I went into The Big City to see the musical about Carole King, "Beautiful".
The performances were excellent, particularly by Chilina Kennedy, a Kingston ON native, who played Carole. Particularly impressive was her piano playing and that of others on the stage. Such good memories are evoked by hearing the tunes she co-wrote with her first husband, Gerry Goffin. It's remarkable that her first big song,  was produced when she was only 16 years old.

Thanks, Skip, for that excellent birthday present of tickets to the show.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Another One Over One

I started this little ornament last night.
It was a freebie from Gitta's back in 2007, A Blue Ribbon  pattern "A Star On Top' designed by Belinda Karls-Nace.

I don't have all the colours so am doing some substitutions. I screwed up some of the spacing as I was watching TV (a couple of episodes of the Great British Baking Show that I had PVRd) so I've picked out almost as much as I've stitched. And that's hard to do when stitching over one thread.  It is a 53 x 56 stitch piece, stitched with one strand of floss over one thread on 32 count linen.

Population Explosion

Yesterday I had 5 pupae and 5 larvae in various stages of development. This morning I found 3 eggs and this larva which I'm guessing hatched a couple of days ago.
Then this afternoon I went looking for more eggs and found 9 more (possibly 10 - I'm having trouble keeping track.

I have relocated all the pupae that were in containers to the top of the caterpillar castle. Basically, I peeled their silky attachment off whatever they were attached to

and stuck them on the roof of the caterpillar castle. The masking tape didn't work well so I sewed them on. They'll be fine there and hang there once they're hatched and their wings are strong enough for flight - usually several hours after emerging from the chrysalis.  One larva at the back is going to pupate in a few hours.
It is possible to determine the gender of the chrysalis but I haven't really had a good look.

With all the new eggs I've found, I've had to put them in various containers. All the pupae and big caterpillars are in the castle. Each little larva will be in its own container until it's big enough not to eat other little ones.
The open containers each contain a milkweed leaf with eggs on it. I don't have to worry about them crawling away until a day or two after they've hatched. I'll know when they're about to hatch when I see the black dot at the top of the egg. There are 23 or 24 monarchs altogether as of now.
I still go out several times a day and check for more eggs or larvae. I'm not sure what my maximum capacity could be. Every larva or egg I find could be one more that makes it down to Mexico to begin the 4 generation cycle all over again.

My biggest concern will be finding enough fresh milkweed to feel the larvae after they hatch.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Ornie Rerun

The weather has been craptastic these past few days so I've had lots of time to cross-stitch. I finished the 'Silent Night' ornament yesterday while binge-watching "The Handmaid's Tale".
Despite the smallness of the project, there's a LOT of stitching and beading. All the stitching is with one strand of floss. All the beading was done with 2 strands and as I mentioned in a previous post, I went through the bead one way (/) and back through the other (\) which makes the beads lie horizontally.
With some nifty Christmassy fabric or music note fabric as a coordinated backing, this will make into a really nice ornament.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Stitching Update

I finished the last bit of the 'fruit' in the tree last night. I think I'll put my name and the date on either corner at the bottom and then get an 8" x 10" frame for it. It would easily make into a cute pillow, too.
I finished this little one stitched one over one and need to put my initials on it somewhere, then do a nice ornament finish.
This one was stitched a long time ago and I just unearthed it. It's a Lizzie Kate design from the 2002 Just Cross Stitch (JCS) Christmas ornament issue. I plan to stitch it again over one thread to make an itty bitty ornament. This was stitched with DMC colours substituted for the Gentle Art Sampler Threads (GAST) called for in the pattern.
I have stitched this Silent Night ornament a couple of times before. It's from a JCS ornament issue from over a decade ago. The beads aren't Mill Hill but are a good substitute and seem to be accepting the non-beading needle quite well. So far I haven't had any beads that had too small of a hole.
The beading is going slowly as I was stitching it in a reclining position and had to carefully pick up and put down the beading tube every time to add a bead. I'm also crossing through the bead both ways so it stays in a horizontal position rather than slanted when stitching it only one way. I'm also correcting the incorrect second flat position in the clef sign in the pattern. (I'm picky about stuff like that.)

I may even have a previously stitched one of these kicking around that I can also finish. This particular one will be a gift.

Casa Oruga (Caterpillar House)

I was really busy at Casa Oruga yesterday. I found two more larvae on our milkweed,

one pupated in the 'Caterpillar Castle' after wriggling its last skin off,

two pupated on the lid in the 'Bug Bottle',
and left their last skins on the bottom of it,
the egg hatched,

the larva I thought was dying seemed to have rallied and after bringing in, rinsing, and drying off fresh milkweed leaves, I had lots of poop to clean up.

 The other larva on the ceiling of the 'Caterpillar Castle' is preparing to pupate.
It was still hanging there this morning
and when I checked 90 minutes later...
 The little hatchling is growing fast and has already doubled in size from yesterday.
If they all make it to adulthood, I could be releasing 11 monarchs this year. Fingers are crossed.

I'm going to have another look on our milkweed plants in the garden today for more eggs or larvae.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Found Some More!

I found another larva this morning on the milkweed in the garden and a egg! The egg should hatch in a couple of days.
It's the first egg that I've found this year and there may be more. I need to have another good look in the same area as monarchs usually lay several eggs in the same general area in the same general time span.

The larva that I found is about 5 days old. I left it on its leaf and tore around it to bring it inside. I added another juicy one to encourage it to eat.

I do rinse the leaves off that I bring in from outside and dry them. I also rinse the 'milk' off the cut area and either wrap it in wet paper towel, rest it in residual moisture in the jar, or put it through plastic wrap to sit in water.

These three larvae are really making short work of this cluster of leaves I brought in yesterday. One of these caterpillars isn't doing so well. Yesterday it looked like all its skin didn't shed off as pieces of it were still attached. It spent most of yesterday lying on the paper towel on the bottom of the 'Castle' so I put it on a fresh leaf. It lay there for the rest of the day - not moving much or eating. Then this morning, I found it with these other two. There is still some flaky loose skin attached. Time will tell if it thrives and makes it to the pupa stage.
This one is working on its own.
There is lots of frass to clean out now as they are eating and pooping a lot more.
I now have 4 different containers on the kitchen table and three jars with milkweed leaf clusters in the Caterpiller Castle. There really isn't any rhyme or reason to this. I am just experimenting. From past experience, I know to isolate the eggs and keep them on their own until after the larva has hatched and it's about 1/4" in length. Then it's big enough not to get eaten by the others.

The eldest larvae should be pupating any time now. They're getting really big. Soon they'll climb to the top of their enclosure and begin attaching themselves in preparation for shedding their last skin and making a chrysalis.