Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Home Fiber Festival

I see there will be yet a third fiber festival this fall, this time in Springfield, Mass., within driving distance.  I can't afford to go to that one either.  It's not just buying yarn, although that's inevitable.  It's being surrounded by lots and lots of color.  It feels so good!  In a yarn shop it's difficult not to feel obligated to buy something.  A fiber festival is as close as I can get to being invisible and yet soak in all the color as long as I want. 

It's not like I need the yarn.  Here are a few photos when I was trying to do something cute or artsy.  My cats were too well behaved to comply.

This is only a small part of my stash.  Only one of the yarns was knitted, then it was tinked.  Some of my stash goes back to when I first discovered fiber festivals, sometime between 1990 and 1996.  Sometimes I was too busy to knit.  When you live by yourself and work full-time, you don't always have much time to knit.  Then later I became too sick with allergies to knit.
In between it was too difficult to knit.  See this kitten?
It was too hard to knit with her when she was younger.  After I took out my knitting, she would swoop in, grab the yarn in her mouth and try to run off with it.  After rescuing the yarn three times it was just too wet and yucky to knit with so I'd have to put the yarn away.  I had to wait until she was three years old before I could knit again.  Other than this and putting away all the knitting tools, including the circular knitting needles, I haven't had much trouble with her since.  I think that's pretty amazing. 
I have several projects waiting to be finished.  I should have a finishing weekend.  It's not that I have Startitis exactly.  Last year I was knitting sweater vests.  Several times I would be approaching the shaping where you have to pay more attention, so I would start another vest to take to the knitting group because I didn't want to make mistakes with the other vest.  You can see how you'd get in trouble if you keep doing this.  You can also keep in trouble if you don't keep track of what pattern you used and what size needles.  Sometimes I used a pattern for more than one yarn.  From now on, I will at least put a piece of paper with the knitted pieces with that information until I come back to it. 
I also have stash yarn I have to convert.  I've become more sensitive to fibers since my allergies have become more prominent.  Some of  the yarn I have might be beautiful but it's a little too itchy now.  When I started buying yarn it was difficult to find and afford the softer yarn.  Now it's much easier and I have to let go of some of my stash so I can buy it.
I'm pretty excited my last post got a comment from Love and Hisses!  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kitty Bunk Bed

Love & Hisses' photo of Loony Jake on the doll bed reminded me of the Kitty Bunk Bed, and I discovered I never shared the story. 

One hot morning in early July I passed a sign for a yard sale and stopped on a whim.  I found this nice, old, wooden doll bunk bed.  It was made in the late 1940s or 1950s.  It was in good condition except for the stain you see in the photo.  I thought it might be a nice thing to keep my plush animals in.  I did not figure on the cats.  Of course they had to check it out immediately, but they also had to get in it. 
Attending a flea market later on I saw another bunk bed almost identical to it, but it was painted. A woman around sixty years old was reminiscing about having one like it and the price was about her age in dollars.  I paid five.
I hadn't even gotten the bed into the living room before Emily climbed in it.

Midnight's fur looks so shiny in this photo.  The straw on the floor below her is his sister's playtoy.

Emily in particular fell in love with the bed.  She would allow only two plush animals at the bottom of it. 
As you can see from the second photo, the platform was not made for healthy ten pound cats.  Within a week I came home from work to find the top one had given out on Emily.  A friend cut out two new hefty platforms out of plywood and I bought new hardware to hold them.  The original supports hadn't been varnished and they disintegrated when I removed them.  Unfortunately I messed up putting in the new platforms and I still have to fix them.  However I have an electrical tool that heats rubber stamp ink for an embossing effect and it turns out it heats up glue to remove it.  Isn't that lucky?  I should have a glue heating session soon, as soon as I locate chisel to scrape the glue away.  I know my cats would love to be able to sleep in the bunk bed the way they want to again. 
I figured I probably wouldn't be the only cat owner using doll furniture for her cats and now I know I'm not.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Black and White Cats in the Kitchen

I happen to have black-and-white cat kitchenware in my kitchen, mixed in with the vintage flower dishes, sugars and creamers.  Cats and flowers go together in my mind since growing up my cats always enjoyed the flower gardens.  My collection started when I found a Boston Warehouse black-and-white cat canister at a flea market in Rhinebeck.  The separate sections together make up the shape of a black-and-white cat lying down.   Then I discovered there was a matching cookie jar and tea kettle.  Here's a photo of a different cookie jar I got from ebay:

I did deviate to buy this tabby clock, but she holds flowers.

Recently from Woodenwimsie on Etsy I found this paper towel holder:

I think it belongs in my kitchen, don't you think?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Husband Who Didn't Like Cats

My cousin G. once told me her husband didn't like cats.  G. and C. had a few cats living indoors and out, and I thought maybe C. was just a considerate husband.  He seems a pretty nice guy generally.  Then G.'s parents had to change apartments and they couldn't keep their cats.  G. and C. took the three cats in.  I think the total number of cats inside now is 12, even though their entire house would probably fit in the living room and kitchen of my apartment.  C. must be very considerate I thought.

A few years ago G.'s father passed away and I drove down to the funeral.  I met C. by his father-in-law's casket.  C. started telling me cat stories!  He works nights on the railroad and leaves saying he has to go make cat food money.  Before he leaves, he makes sure all the inside cats are inside and that all cats have food and water.  He also told me about his favorite cat.  A man who doesn't like cats has a favorite?

The second story evolved through bits and pieces of information.  C. has a large building in back where he keeps the old cars he likes and an old airplane.  There's a loft inside.  When my aunt and uncle were moving, C. asked his wife to ask her parents for any old pillow, towels or blankets that they didn't want anymore.  G. asked why.  C.had scrounged up some old armchairs to put in the loft of his workshop in back.  The soft furnishings were to put in the chairs in the loft so that the outside cats could come in and stay warm in the winter.  Since when does a man who doesn't like cats scrounge up cat furniture and bedding?

I have a theory.  G.'s father was pretty much a loud-mouth red-neck.  He thought it was funny when his uncontrolled and neglected huskies killed and ate a kitten.  He had two sons who took right after him.  Another son  told me that verbal abuse was pretty common in the household.  If I were C., I would keep my thoughts about cats to myself too.  But C., I know.

A Friendship in Black and White

Visiting a friend's home for the first time today, I heard a funny story.  The couple had two black-and-white cats and recently they took in a lovely tortoiseshell-and-white pregnant stray (all the kittens found homes).  A skunk lives in the backyard in a woodchuck burrow.  The black-and-white cats and the skunk are friends.  They hang out together and the skunk flushes out rodents for the cats to hunt.  He even comes over to check out my friend's husband when he's outside.  The husband thinks the cats want the skunk to come inside with them.  Every time they come in for the night, they form a line with the skunk in the middle.

I wonder why the attraction.  Is it because they are the same color?  Could the skunk have been raised by a cat?  That's not unheard of.

We are all wise to nature here and know about Eau de Skunk and keeping our pets' shots up to date, but we can't always figure out inter-species friendships.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Swedish Bird Mystery

Recently at my knitting group someone was giving away a collection of knitting booklets.  I took one because of these socks.  I like the little birds.  The booklet is 0115 Idehefte, Sandnes Julehefte.  It was distributed by Swedish Yarn Imports and the copyright belongs to SandnesGarn of Sandes Uldvarefabrik SS.  The booklet is in English and the socks are designed for my shoe size. 

I assume being in a Swedish knitting booklet the bird is Swedish and I don't know what species it is.  Offhand I couldn't find anything on the web to tell me.  However, my knitting group also has a member from Sweden.  I'll have to take this with me to ask her what bird this is.

It's getting closer to that December holiday, you know.


I've done a little investigation.  I think it's possible the bird is supposed to be a European bullfinch.  See the photo below:

It looks pretty close to me.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Beautiful Kitten Litter

Here is the litter the sleepy kitten comes from.  There ARE eight kittens and it looks like only ONE is not a calico.  I tend to like calicos and tortoiseshells.  Did you know that three colors in cats is sex-linked?  Most are female; 1 in 3,000 are male, and usually sterile.  Tricolor males have the feline equivalent of Kleinfelter's Syndrome and have an extra X chromosome.  Female calicos or tortoiseshells can be thought of as half-orange because they have one orange color gene.  An orange female can must have two orange color genes.  A orange male cat needs only one orange color gene.  Each calico or tortoiseshell is unique because the coloring and pattern are determined by conditions in the womb.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sweet, Uber-Relaxed Kitten

I can't get over the trust the little kitten has.  I hope nothing ever happens to destroy it.  The litter of kittens is so big!  Eight cow and calico kittens I think.  I wish I could be there with them right now!  What fun.
There is another video of the EIGHT kittens when they were younger, but Blogger refuses to find the right one.  [I do not like this new way of embedding videos, no, I do not.]

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Sweater Finally Underway

I think it was 2008 or earlier when I bought the pattern for Artful Yarns Broadway Trimmed Top:

It was approximately the same time that I bought some Park Avenue Printed yarn, the blue-green no. 136 color, from the Lily Chin Signature Collection at a deep discount from Webs.

The contrast band was tricky because my skin is more sensitive now and the pattern called for a fuzzy yarn, and most natural fiber fuzzy yarns have mohair that is too itchy for me.  What I ultimately set my heart on was Great Adirondack Caribou Yarn in the Birdsong colorway that it was just discontinuing.  Thanks to ebay, I found it in fingering (?) yarn. I kept finding it listed as different weights.  All I know is that if I knit 2 strands together I get exactly the gauge I need, and that's all that counts.  The Birdsong colorway is a hand-dye of green, blue, violet and plum.  The green in the colorway is almost the exact shade of green in the Parke Avenue Printed yarn. 

Within the past year and a half I started to knit the back of the sweater.  It begins with a ribbed lace stitch.  I recently took it to my spinning and knitting group because it was the easiest thing to find.  Tonight I just had to knit for a while and I ended up being able to knit the contrast band in the back.  It looks so pretty knitted.  Too bad it couldn't be fuzzy, too, but the two yarns look so nice together.  Now I wonder how long it will take me to knit the rest of the sweater.