Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Kitties!

Calliope and Myst

Myst Gives Calliope a Wash
We've been adopted!  Last week I saw three kittens on the deck.  Two were calicos and one was grey and white.  When I went out to investigate further, I saw a large calico cat run off the deck.  The darker calico tried to follow, but the mama (so I assume) swatted her away. One calico was darker, one was mixed with white like the mama and I couldn't determine whether the grey and white cat was male or female  He/she was the shyest of the three. 

Against my better judgement, I brought the kittens some dry food.  They ate it down like they were starving.  After their meal, they scampered off the deck and disappeared.  I assumed they were littermates and the large calico was their mother.  I'd never seen the mama or babies before, which means absolutely nothing.  There is another neighborhood bordering ours and a certain amount of undeveloped area, so animals come and go.  I was concerned for the kitties, though.  There is a busy street bordering our neighborhood and quite a variety of predators around, including red-tail hawks. Although our neighborhood is quiet, the area isn't all that safe for young animals.

That night, I peeked out on the deck and there were the kittens, curled up in an empty plant pot on the deck table.  I left them to sleep.  The next morning I looked out and they had already gone.  But that night they were back again.  Or so I thought.  I took them more food and discovered that only the darker calico and the grey and white were in the bowl.  I haven't seen the lighter calico since the first day nor have I seen the mama cat.  We decided to take the two kittens in, but keep them in solitary confinement until we knew more about them.  We discussed taking them to SCAT - the local cat rescue association, but I just couldn't do it.

We took them to the vet Friday morning and had them checked over.  They each received a clean bill of health and got their first round of vaccinations.  We brought them home and introduced them to Ming.  He's not all that pleased, but there's been a remarkable absence of hissing and spitting.

After a family discussion - that being two hours on the phone with my daughter at college - we named the calico Calliope and the grey and white kitty Myst.  Calliope is Greek for "beautiful voice" and it fits her. She talks more and louder than our resident Siamese!  Calliope was also Homer's muse for the Odyssey.  Myst fits the grey and white kitty as she's a little more retiring and slips in and out like a mist.

So Myst and Calliope have joined Ming Miao as the resident rulers of the household.  For the most part, they're getting along.  Ming is just beginning to think about playing with the interlopers.  At least he hasn't attacked them!
And I did manage to get two Cat Nap Mats crocheted for them!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finished Socks, Started Socks

George's Philosopher's House Socks

George's Philospher's House Socks - Take 2
I finally finished the second version of Cat Bordhi's Philosopher's House socks for George.  He went through the first pair I made for him in about a week, so I repurposed a semi-felted aran-weight yarn into replacements.  The yarn was a bit too thick and stiff to work on size 5 needles, but I did it anyway.  The yardage was a bit short for the complete cuff, so these are about six rows too short.  However, they fit and George loves them and that's all that counts!  I have two more skeins that could become socks for him as well, but it might be awhile before I tackle that yarn again!

Quiet Evening Socks

Quiet Evening Socks - in progress
 I'm sure there's some reason why I need to cast on a pair of socks as soon as I finish another pair.  Even though I have plenty of other work on the needles, I just seem to have this insane drive to KNIT!  These socks were in the latest issue of Creative Knitting.  It's not like I need another sock pattern or a lesson on knitting toe-up.  I've been doing that for quite some while now.  And I'm going to change this pattern anyway and use one of Cat Bordhi's arch expansion / heel choices.  But there's something about the colors and the name.  It reminds me of Carly Simon's song of the same name.  This is a simple lace pattern that's easy to remember and rhythmic to knit.

Back to the Artist Trading Cards
Maybe I'm knitting to avoid making the next round of ATC's that's due next week.  I can't figure out how to do what I want to do and it's frustrating me.  I've noticed a strong tendency to do something else when I don't want to do what I know I should do!  So I'd better get busy and do what I know I should.  It'll make me much happier.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Finished Dia de los Muertos and Survived Yarn Crawl

Hill Country Yarn Crawl 2010
Well, it's been busy around here!  The 2010 Hill Country Yarn Crawl crawled its way through the Columbus Day weekend.  For someone with no retail experience, an event like the Yarn Crawl is an eye-opener.  It was busy.  It was crazy.  It was exhausting.  And for the most part, it was fun. My favorite part was acquiring a cocobolo Turkish spindle from a "crawler" who has just started making them.  She's quite an artist and I joyfully bought one of her samples. The next day, I brought it with me to the shop to give it the acid test.  I'm pleased to report that it's a delightful companion while walking around the store helping customers find their yarn.

Dia de los Muertos 2010

Dia de los Muertos 2010
And after a major push last night, Dia de los Muertos is finished.  I love seeing the differences between how I think a piece will be when I start and how it actually turns out when it's finished.  I planned on using yellows, oranges, reds, and magentas with black.  I made my first flower cane - yellow and orange marigolds.  I made a few tiles in magenta clay with calaveras (skulls) set in them.  And then the piece decided to be different.  I wanted to have an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, so I located a source for the images. While I was researching her and making the image tiles, I noticed that her robe is almost a turquoise blue with gold stars.  And then it clicked and the piece went from bright, warm colors to blues, greens, purples and turquoises. The last space, above the blue tile with the red moon on the left, refused to accept anything.  Everything I tried looked wrong.  I've learned to trust that when that happens, there's something that wants to be there and if I listen, it will tell me.  So I listened and in hopped one of the marigold cane slices.  So one of them did get to be on the piece after all!  This morning I glued it down and found a green glass leaf bead to go with it.

I've also re-learned to trust the creative process.  There's a frustrating point at which the piece just will not work.  I've quit the process many times in the past when I've reached this point.  It doesn't seem to matter whether the piece is polymer clay mosaic icons, term papers for school, paintings, costume designs or music compositions.  I always get to this point.  From talking with other artists, I believe it's a universal experience. But, if I keep with it, this frustrating point is always the turning point and then the piece resolves and does so relatively quickly.  It always amazes me.  Attempting to analyze it, I think that point is the breaking point from where I thought the piece was going at the beginning and how the design is actually turning out.  Sometimes the end result is very similar to the original concept, but sometimes it's almost unrecognizable.  But the important thing is to always trust the process and stick with it.