Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One Fun Household Chore

In my house changing the sheets on the bed is good for a laugh. The cats have always thought of it as playtime. First Emily loves to chase whatever is moving when I'm trying to remove it. Then she loves to get underneath any layer that I'm putting on. Midnight liked to sit on top and bat Emily as she scooted underneath. It's really hilarious when three cats are playing at once. I don't have a camcorder but here are some examples of what I mean from the web:

Fortunately I don't have this problem:

It was a lot of fun writing this post. I've found my cats don't participate as actively as some cats, meaning my sheets may last a little longer.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas With The Trimmings

Midnight enjoying the lights.

This year I changed the theme of the tree entirely when I decided I wanted a natural tree.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Periwinkle Sheep Yarn

Karin Maag-Tanchak is the fiber artist behind The Periwinkle Sheep. For a while she had a lovely yarn shop by the same name in Albany, New York. I wasn't the only person sorry to see it close. She hand dyes yarn in lovely colors. I bought at least one skein of her sock yarn. I still haven't knitting it, so I can't say how it wears, but I do know it's very soft.

This week I was very surprised to learn that I was one of the winners of her Perwinkle Sheep Whim drawing. I won the Periwinkle Sheep Silver Lining fingering yarn. The previous Friday I had attended the Heritage Spinners' Christmas party, where at times I sat next to Karin. She told me to enter the drawing.

I usually do not have any luck with raffles, drawings or grab bags. This Christmas party was no exception. My number was 2 and the gift I chose was a bag of two tone Romney fleece and a hand felt kit for pumpkins. I don't spin, I have no overwhelming desire to have felt pumpkins and orange and avocado are not colors in my wardrobe. It was the type of drawing where the person drawing after you could choose a gift that had already been chosen by someone. I tried very hard to interest people in what I had. I was only successful at giving away the Romney roving. However, a young woman seated near me chose hand-knit catnip mice and neither she nor her mother had cats. She very nicely gave me the mice for my cats. And somehow a friend arranged it so that I traded the pumpkin kit for a skein of Periwinkle Sky Sparkle, a lovely denim blue.

I could not see using that pretty sparkly yarn on socks. The Periwinkle Sheep sells yarn at the Troy Market, so the next morning I went to the market to the stall. I decided to buy two different purple sock yarns to complement the Silver Lining Wink. I thought the colors would help the lighter blue and the sparkle stand out. Somehow it follows that I would win one more skein. When it rains, it pours. However, the Silver Lining Wink looks lovely with the other colors and I envision knitting a shawl in graduated stripes out of the yarn. I'll also have fun planning what to to with the left over yarn.

Is it Christmas yet?

Here are a few photos.

Emily has always liked this set of felines dressed for the holidays.

One winter I was so busy at work dressing the plush cat as an angel was about as far as I got with Christmas decorations. Emily became enamored with the angel cat and enjoyed snuggling with it.

Midnight enjoys the holiday in a more prosaic way.

Molly looks like an angel here, doesn't she? I had to train her and Emily not to wrestle near or under the tree. I never cured her of the habit of diving behind the tree. The lower branches all got flattened. She only stopped out of boredom. I wonder if she'll start again once the tree is decorated. At least she's entertaining.

I don't know what it is with me, but I'm never prepared for Christmas when it comes. Once when I said this, my mother laughed and replied she didn't know why because it was the same time every year. It may have something to do with my allergies and that it takes me twice as other people to get things done.

And then things just happen. I had a stomach bug the beginning of this week. Three-quarters of the lights on the tree wouldn't light. A woman whom I met earlier this fall called me. She's been without a job and wanted help getting something to give her grandchildren for Christmas. I'm just surviving right now and have no experience buying presents for children. I contacted some friends whom I thought might help. Today I have to make 3 hairpipe necklaces for the children. I'll have to deliver them today or tomorrow.

Telecheck called me last night to tell me I owed them money and promised to call me repeatedly until it was paid. I never received any notification that there was a thing wrong with my purchase from Amazon. Amazon's process broke down and got me into this mess. Three days before Christmas it's not nice to be treated like a criminal and threatened with harrassment. I was too upset to work (currently I work from home) and decided I had to do other things to work it off.

I worked on the Christmas tree mess. I had stopped with a nest of wires and bulbs a short way down the tree. I discovered that there was a mini extension cord inside the prelit tree and the unlit strings were fine, just disconnected. I don't know if one of the furry children is at fault or not. I had started to take the strings off from the top down. Taking off the lights off a prelit tree is difficult. They were very well wrapped around the branches. I plugged in the strings to stop myself from taking off more than I had to. Fortunately I had only taken off the top string. By taking off the top of the tree I could free that. It's all untangled and waiting for me to put it back on. It seems to be a long string for the top.

As usual I am feeling overwhelmed and not sure if I can get through everything. I've made a list and checking it twice, hoping to get the most important things done. I hope all your preparations are going better than mine.

The cats seemed entertained by my travails. They enjoy the lights on the tree and the decorations, and of course getting new toys.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

I thought I'd share some favorite Christmas photos this week. Emily has been a ham since I've gotten her and she's featured in many

Midnight and Emily both enjoyed the fresh Christmas tree that I cut myself. Emily wasn't even a year old yet.

This was the most beautiful tree I ever had. To my mind, this is what makers of artificial Christmas trees should be aiming to copy, not dense furry pyramids.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

28-Row Scarf

I have a lovely winter dress that I wanted to knit a scarf for and I've kept changing my mind about what I wanted. I finally decided on flirty and colorful. A possibility of wearing it this month made me think of what I had in my stash. I decided on this yarn from Plymouth:

With that mind, I decided on this pattern:

I liked how the swirls made bulky yarn flirty.

Now I've reached the part where I start the rib, and I've decided that I want to do something else. I'm currently going through my small library of knitting books and found several candidates in Volume 2 of the Harmony Guides.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cold Weather and Warm Lava

The cats seem to be cold tonight. Midnight is staying in the heated kitty bed. Molly is in the tent, and Emily is sleeping on the toilet in the bathroom where the heat from the hot air register blows on her.

I wanted to do some work at home so I turned the lava lamp on to help entertain the cats if one woke up. I hadn't watched one in ages. Does anyone recall the remake of the movie Flubber with Robin Williams? I think the animators were inspired by lava lamps.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A feminine vest

I love to wear vests. Not only are they practical in the Northeast United States, they're also an artistic statement, an article of clothing that helps bring the top and the bottom together. As my friends can tell you, they can also make a fun statement. On eBay I found a vest made out of a cat print based on a '70s design. I don't think I'd be far off in saying the style was similar to Milton Glaser. The reason I know is that I bought the matching wrapping paper in the '70s.

My problem with knitted vests is that the style tends to be masculine. Jean Kaori has designed a beautiful lapel wrap vest. In the photos on Ravelry she shows that when the vest isn't closed the lapels drape gracefully. I bought the pattern the same day I saw it, which is very unusual for me these days. Last night I unraveled a vest I had in progress because I'd rather use it for the lapel vest. I'm going to make one change to the pattern. I don't want to have to wear a belt with it and I don't like vests that won't close, so I'll add a loop and button to it. I don't think that'll be distracting.

Do Cat Like Lava Lamps?

Midnight gets very bored during the winter. It doesn't help that she continues to reside only in the living room. When the porches were being replaced in the apartment complex, she had a lot to watch because the construction crew set up a workshop in our parking lot. After she ate in the morning she'd sit in the window watching the men. It was a long project and I could hardly believe it when it ended. (It would probably be the only time in my life that I was late for work because they were cutting the porch off my residence.)

I'd like to make her days more interesting. I don't like being bored either. At first I thought she might like to watch an aquarium lamp, but it occurred to me she might figure out quickly it's just the same old view. I bought a cat video for her and even after 40 plays a cat can figure out it's the same old video. She used to like a cartoon screensaver from Millanimation with funky aquatic creatures on it, but I'm using my computer during the day and I'm not buying her one.

The other day it occurred to me that she might find a '70s style lava lamp interesting. It's colorful and the wax is always moving and it never looks the same way twice.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Emily Is Learning

My cat Emily was the runt of a little of seven kittens. I adopted her when she was six weeks old. She wasn't properly socialized when it came to other cats, but in her situation maybe it wouldn't have worked. It seems what she learned was "get off me" and "get away from me."

This spring her older sister Midnight developed arthritis. The way I found out is that she began hissing and growling at her sisters as they tried to play with her. Midnight retreated to the living room where she spends her days now. She feels much better now since I began giving her feline arthritis supplements.

Her sisters miss her and want to play with her. Molly has worked out how to play with her. As Midnight sits on the arm of the sofa or the ottoman, she'll play pop-up kitty, jumping up to bat at her.

Today was a big breakthrough for Emily. She saw that Midnight was down on the floor and went toward her. In the past she'd keep batting at Midnight trying to get her to play with her and Midnight would feel cornered and get upset. Today Emily approached her older sister more slower and just batted at her once. I praised her well for being good. I'm very happy that she's learning how to get along better with her sisters, and me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

We're Featured!

My cats in their photos have been featured by Wendy's LOL-Spot. I am so thrilled! This came about because I had this one photo of Molly that I couldn't think of a cute caption for, so I asked Wendy. It seems she found my photos inspiring. Thank you very much, Wendy, for your clever captions and your kind words. Please go and visit her clevel work featuring my cats.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Cats

My oldest cat knows me quite well. One Christmas not too long ago I bought a silly animated cat decoration. It was a plush cat angel that played music. As Midnight watched me open the box, her expression clearly meant, "Oh heavens, what has she got now?"
Regardless, Midnight likes Christmas. I recently bought a realistic looking chipmunk ornament and hung it on the tree. She ran over it and patted it a couple times. She seemed disappointed when it didn't move and she bounced away.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Spring Mist Vest

I have the vest knit from Sliver Moon's Spring Mist yarn almost done. I need to sew the seams and knit the edgings.  One hank of yarn was hand-painted a little differently.  I alternated yarns as I knit the garment and you can't tell there was a problem, can you?  Cold weather has arrived here finally and is prompting me to finish up some projects.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Drying Rack Walkers

I have a cat that likes to hang out on my wooden drying rack.  Its uppermost layer is a shelf with seven rungs.  Emily loves to lie on it, with or without clothes.  I think she rather likes it when there's clothing on it, wet or dry. 

This evening I wanted to hang up the laundry I had just done.  For some reason it didn't occur to me to remove the dry sheets I had on the rack still.  Emily decided to stay lying across the rungs and play keep away.  She struck at me with her paw when I tried to remove a sheet.  I used her favorite cat treats to lure her off the rack.  As soon as I removed the sheets, Molly climbed up there and sprawled across the rungs. However, her sister Molly doesn't like the treats.  She watched as I hung up wet clothing, but she wasn't as resolute as her sister and left as I hung clothing closer to her. 
The next week when it was laundry time Emily was back on the rack and hopped right off as soon as I had the treat bag in my hand.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cats' Help

The cats helped wind my yummy yarn into balls.  Molly is still fascinated by the yarn swift.  She decided to sit inside it.  Needless to say, winding up balls of yarn takes a while here.

Emily had to run over and start kneading the yarn madly:

Molly has always liked winding yarn into balls.  She participated a little more actively when she was little.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Long-Time Desire Fulfilled

I am so excited!  I finally get to start knitting this yarn.

The colorway is Spring Mist by Kay Ten Kraft of Sliver Moon in bulky weight yarn.  As soon as I saw it at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival last September, I grabbed it, no thinking needed.  Unfortunately she didn't have enough for my project, a vest, but she said she could dye some more for me.  Today Kay told me it was difficult to do.  I think that was because when she created it she was using up dyes and didn't really pay a lot of attention to what she did.  I hope she did this time because many people have commented upon the color.  If she dyed more, she should do well selling it.

To obtain the yarn, I met Kay at a marvelously funky and comfy coffee place called Roaster's Whim between Alps and West Stephentown, NY.  It's in a non-descript ranch house type building in the country behind an old family burial plot.  There's only a painted coffee pot on a post and a sign along the driveway that reads "A Sign."  Inside there's a large fireplace surrounded by over stuffed sofas and chairs.  There are assorted tables and chairs accompanied by books and magazines on shelves.  Baked goods and coffee carafes are on the left, serve-it yourself on the honor system.  At the end of the large, high-ceilinged room is a stage, inhabited by a few paintings, a vintage sofa with pillows and a bright paper sculpture of a bird in the window.  The baked goods are as good as home-made.  I greatly enjoyed the black currant iced tea and bought some dry to take home.