Archive for the ‘pets’ Category

Weaving Marathon

Yesterday was a 12-hour weaving day – winding warps, tie on to the previous warp, wind on, weave weave weave the next piece for the wall-hangings I am doing for the show at Confluence Gallery.  I felted the first one on Wednesday and it turned out OK!  I was so uncertain it was even going to work.

These are actually a kind of double-weave, each color is woven separately but they interlace.  I am using Shetland 2-ply yarn (the kind you would knit a Fairisle sweater from) – I bought a big mixed bag of colors from a friend at the knitting retreat a couple of years ago at the stash reduction sale.  So I had a lot of colors to choose from and it wasn’t expensive, so risking completely ruining it in an experiment seemed OK.

Encouraged by the way the first one turned out (about 30-40% shrinkage) I went ahead and wove 2 more.  One is blue/green and the other is black & white (with some greys).

Here’s the Black & White before felting:

These are so open and delicate I have to start off with just a soak and then a careful swish in hot water and detergent, using some plastic spoons I use for dyeing:

After about 15 minutes I shocked it with cold water, then back to hot tap water and detergent and using my hands in rubber gloves.  Once they started holding together I transferred them to a table and the setup I used years ago for a nuno felting class:

The blue mat is spa cover material and has a waffle texture on one side, which provides just the right amount of rubbing and friction to continue the felting.  Then you use a “water noodle” (flotation device) to roll the package around.  Sprinkle on some hot soapy water and roll – and roll – and roll.  Take it out, rinse, check, roll some more.  It took a total of 2-3 hours to get these down to where I wanted them (from initial soak to final rolling and rinsing).

But I needed to get the weaving and felting done this week before I leave for Orcas Island and spinning camp with the fabulous Judith MacKenzie – bright and early tomorrow morning.  I am not done with these pieces yet, they are going to be embellished.  I will be working on that part while gone next week, then do the final assembly when I get home.

The show opens March 5 and here’s an article from the Methow Arts website about the show, with a wee small blurb about me and my friend Sara Ashford.

It was an absolutely gorgeous Methow day today – sunny and clear, with many skiers out on the trail across the fields.  Sadly, we were not among them.  But Pushkin came downstairs and grabbed some sun on the back of the sofa:


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Beautiful Snow

We had the predicted big snowfall a couple of days ago.  We had at least a foot of new snow here at the house, and it was snowing hard when we got up Wednesday morning.  It is almost up to the bottom of the Loki sculpture:

and here’s the buildup on the carport roof and in the driveway:

Rick needed to get out so he could go finish installing some cabinets, which fortunately he had transported to the client’s home the day before (because she is up on a ridge and he needed the truck and utility trailer to get them up there).  We weren’t sure when our friend Chuck the snowplow guy was going to show up, so Rick went to work with the snowblower.

Of course, that brought Chuck along – he had been up since 4 am plowing people out!

We got a fair amount again on Wednesday night, enough that we had to ask Chuck to come again yesterday.  I have been organizing a progressive dinner for our community association for this Saturday, and we will have 26 people here for the salads and main course that evening, so we are trying to keep enough space cleared for people to park!

This morning we went out for a nice long ski, about 2 hours.  The trails are in great shape.  We did a couple of loops on the other side of the Twin Lakes road, one of which had great views up the valley, and wouldn’t you know it – I forgot to bring the camera.  Sorry!

My sister asked about the cats, and I realized I haven’t given a Pushkin update for while.  We got him past the urinary tract infection last fall, but he is getting pretty elderly and we have to give him daily subcutaneous fluids now to keep him hydrated (progressive kidney failure, we have been through this before with previous cats…)  But he is still with us and he and Teasel spend most of the day curled up together.  She adores him.

I have been doing a lot of weaving, and  plying up my grey Corriedale handspun singles into the final yarn, and working out a true spiral top hat using short rows, to teach as a class, but no pictures yet – I will post when I have some finished items!

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We returned from 6 days on the Coast last Sunday, and our dear friends who are currently living in Southern California joined us here for 3 nights before heading back south.  We celebrated a 59th birthday:

They brought their 2 new cats, Tatti (a Maine Coon, still an adolescent and a big, sweet girl) and the Siamese kitten, Neko.  I’m not sure why my best picture of Neko was taken when she was asleep, because that was rarely the case!  She was very playful and hilariously entertaining.

There was only one “moment” when Tatti sneaked upstairs past our barrier and encountered a hostile Teasel (our female Bengal cat).  There was a lot of hissing, screaming and scrambling around.  We raced upstairs to find Tatti cowering in the bathroom, little fluffs of Tatti fur on the landing, and Teasel puffed up to about 3 times her normal size.  No harm done, though.

Rick and I went out for a fairly long ski on Monday which took us onto the Winthrop Trail and a view back down to the house:

Since then it has turned really, really cold – but clear and beautiful, especially in the mornings.

The carport is finished and we have both trailers (the Aliner travel trailer, and Rick’s utility trailer) and both our vehicles safely parked out of the snow now:

carport finished Dec 30, 2010

While away on the Coast, I finished the fourth of the swirl top hats.  This time I used a mosaic pattern from Barbara Walker’s Mosaic Knitting for the band and I am quite pleased with the result.  The yarns are Noro Silk Garden (the one showing color graduation) and Rowan Kid Classic in the same dark brown I used on the first hat.

And this week I warped up my small loom with a new scarf warp colorway that I had prepared before we left for Christmas.  I have finished the first 2 of 4 scarves I will get from this warp, and am working on the third one today.

Autumn warp with eggplant chenille weft

Autumn warp with black tencel weft

Tonight we go down to Twisp to join a group of friends for potluck dinner and ringing in the New Year at the Methow Valley Inn.  Safe travels to all who are similarly out and about tonight, and Happy New Year!

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Not Quite Dead Yet

A subtext to the ongoing life saga around here, the last couple of weeks, has been the illness of our elderly cat, Pushkin.  We know he has kidney issues, and has been picky about food for quite a while, but all of a sudden he pretty much stopped eating and drinking.  I took him in to Dr. Gina Pastore at Winthrop Veterinary Services.  Now that we have moved, it is only about 2 miles away.  I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Pastore.  She got her 5-year degree at the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, practiced small animal medicine in Vermont for 3 years, then moved here with her husband for job and family reasons.

She initially thought he might have a kidney infection, and started him on amoxycillin.  His blood work came back with readings off the chart for kidney function.  He did not really improve for a week and we had some really bad days.  Then this week we had a followup appointment and she was able to get a urine sample, which turns out is loaded with bacteria.  So he has a really bad urinary tract infection which was not susceptible to amoxycillin.  They have to culture the bacteria in the lab and try different antibiotics against it before we will know what the final treatment will be, but meanwhile we have him on her best guess, and he does seem to be responding.

Eating and drinking water and showing a bit of interest in life around here again.  So maybe we can pull him out of this and get a few more miles out of the old fella, after all.  It reminded us both of the line from Monty Python & The Holy Grail:  “I’m not quite dead yet!”

Rick and I have had cats for the last 40 years, and Pushkin is right up there with the best of them!  So laid back, confident, and friendly.  A true friend.

Pushkin in 2005

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Alfred, Lord Venison

Just a quick post with a picture of Rick’s “pet” deer, Alfred.  He gets a name only because we can easily tell him apart from the other guys – he has 2 prongs on one antler, and 3 prongs on the other.  He was hanging out in the shade by our house the other day, so I took his picture.

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It’s been an upsetting couple of days around here, but all is well now.  We went over to the coast for the weekend and as it turned out, our little Bengal cat, Teasel, got outside while we were packing the car etc.  We didn’t find out until Saturday night when we checked our voice mail messages.  Our neighbor had seen her in their yard and called to see if it was ours.  Yes, and she is an inside cat.  She doesn’t know the outside of this place and her new neighborhood.

But we couldn’t come home early due to business and personal obligations on Monday, so we didn’t get back here until 8:30 pm.  Called and walked around until it got dark.  Nothing.  She hadn’t been seen since around noon on Saturday.  There was a HUGE thunderstorm and downpour on Sunday evening, we were told.

Got up yesterday and walked around even farther away, calling and looking in empty sheds, etc.  Nothing.  Made up flyers and started handing them out to houses even farther away.  It was my birthday and not a happy one.  Pushkin also very upset with all the “kitty kitty” calling outside…

But this morning Rick had a new idea.  One of the houses out behind us had lights on at night, but he began to think no-one was actually there.  So we went on over and there she was.  It turned out they were here last weekend, and they put a plastic mesh up all around their porches when they leave – to keep the neighbor’s cats out!  She was inside the mesh and couldn’t get out.  When we found her, she had crawled alongside some construction lumber on their porch with the mesh fastened down next to it, and looked like a salami in a net bag.

But she is home, a few pounds lighter and hungry, but no harm done.

Teasel, as pictured on "LOST CAT" flyer

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Not fooling!

It is snowing here today.  A fine thing for April Fool’s Day!  The birds, many of whom have been returning the last couple of weeks, seem a little glum out at the feeder:

Brrrrds at the brrrd feeder

Brrrrds at the brrrd feeder

It is continuing to snow, building up on the roof and covering the ground, but not sticking to the road.  The temperature is hovering right around freezing.  A good day to stay inside!

I finished up 6 more shawls this week.  I have now taken this warp setup off the loom and am moving on to another project.  Our guild challenge this year is “Overshot” and I have been reading my books and thinking about it and am prepared to, well, take a shot at it.  More on this later.

Forest colorway, matching handpaint wool for weft

Forest colorway, matching handpaint wool for weft

Sagebrush colorway, matching wool handpaint for weft

Sagebrush colorway, matching wool handpaint for weft

My own handpaint wool boucle, brown alpaca weft

My own handpaint wool boucle, brown alpaca weft

Mauve colorway, matching handpaint wool for weft

Mauve colorway, matching handpaint wool for weft

Citrus with cream alpaca weft

Citrus with cream alpaca weft

Paua & Arctic mixed, black alpaca weft

Paua & Arctic mixed, black alpaca weft

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