Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cat fights and aprons

The process of introducing Amalia to the rest of the household is rough. Rudy and Callie came out to sniff at her carrier when I brought her upstairs. She hissed, they hid under the bed. Eventually, I let her out to explore. She cried, they skulked and hid under the futon. They came out, they hissed, she hissed, I got scratched, everyone howled, and the dogs started barking furiously downstairs.

Today we skipped the hissing, and Rudy and Callie went straight to hiding. Amalia paced around howling at me. She doesn't understand why I'm not sitting down and making a lap. After she got ejected from my lap at the sewing machine, she got even by finding the most annoying place she could be at the moment.

No matter how it looks in the second picture, I am not actually ironing the cat.

I relocated her to a pile of quilts-in-progress. She stayed happily for awhile. Eventually, I returned her to the garage so Rudy and Callie could feel free to come back out for awhile. I'm really thinking that Amalia may need a home with someone who isn't already besieged by loving animals that want to be in her lap. If anyone knows of a good potential home for a very sweet lap cat (vaccinated and rapidly recovering from the flea-induced skin trauma), please let me know by emailing mkmorrow at

Yesterday I hung out with Nancy. She's been sewing super-stylish aprons, so I finally got off my butt and made one that I've been meaning to sew. This is the Clothespin Apron by Mary Mulari. It's a fun pattern, although I had a bit of trouble squeezing it out of the yard of each fabric that the pattern called for, I think because this fabric isn't really 44" wide - more like 42" washed, and you need the extra 2" to cut the neck strap. I just pieced the neckstrap. The apron is completely reversible, and the contrast band on the bottom edge is pockets.

Here's a close up of the fabric. Chickens!


Thursday, July 26, 2007


After a spell as "Wumpus," kitty became Amalia today. We named her for Amalia Rodrigues, the fado singer. I took her to our regular vet today for further analysis. Her skin is really clearing up, so the regular vet agrees that it was probably flea dermatitis. She got vaccinations and more dewormer, and has been cleared to meet the other household pets.

However, I've pretty much been at work since then, and Trent wasn't feeling brave, so that hasn't happened yet. I'm expecting chaos. Stay tuned. I'll try to take some quality pictures of cats puffed up and hissing.

Meanwhile, I've limped through another week of work. I enjoy the actual classroom time, especially since I have a pretty good batch of students, but the grading and committees are killing me. My self-evaluation for my annual review was also due this week. I hate writing that damn thing every year. I always sound like a pompous ass to myself. "Allow me to enunciate the myriad aspects of of my exceptional performance and my diverse accomplishments. Also, give me a raise."

I've been getting a bit of sock knitting done while sitting with Amalia, and I pieced another 4 double wrench blocks last night. I had originally intended to make a crib quilt out of those blocks, but I'm really digging them, so I may just keep going.

I'll try for a more colorful post this weekend.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The tale continues

I called every vet in town looking for a regular vet that was open on Sunday. VCA Crown Hill, Green Lake Animal Hospital, and Northeast Veterinary Hospital all have regular Sunday hours, but they were all booked solid. I gave up and took kitty to the emergency vet (which also happens to be the closest vet to my house, conveniently). It's a good thing the trip was short, as kitty was none too happy about the transport and wailed.

Two hours and a large chunk of change later, here's the story. Kitty is female, perhaps 3 - 6 years old, not spayed (please please please don't let her be pregnant), FIV/FeLV negative (yay!), radically underweight, and has a vile skin condition. The most likely cause of the skin issue (responsible for all those scabs and bald patches I could see last night) is flea dermatitis. The vet dosed her with Advantage for the fleas (not that we could see any, but she's black) and de-tapeworm stuff. I've got antihistamines to try to calm the itching, and antibiotics to fend off infections in the raw spots. I'll be sure and update y'all on how well administering these meds to the cat goes, since I'm sure you can use a laugh.

We'll take her to our regular vet at the end of this week to see how she's doing. If de-fleaing and the antihistamines don't start to help the skin problem, we'll have to have more tests done. Meanwhile, she needs to be kept separate from Rudy and Callie and the dogs, so she's currently living in the jumbo dog crate in the garage. I go hang out with her and knit. She wants to be a lap cat, as you can see.

Here's a pic that gives you a sense of her skin problems (the flash makes the bald spots stand out.)

Kitty needs a name, since she's going to be with us for awhile and I don't want to get stuck on "Kitty." Trent likes Wumpus. I was thinking Neko, after singer Neko Case because kitty has an impressive set of lungs. Then I remembered that neko is also the Japanese word for cat, so it's still sort of like calling her kitty. Any suggestions?

Oh, and Harry Potter
Before I got totally derailed with cat rescue, I was going to post about the acquisition and reading of the last Harry Potter novel. Here's the condensed (but illustrated!) version.
11:53: arrive at Ravenna Third Place Books.

11:55: find the end of the line, which was winding through all the bookshelves.

12:15: line turns corner into home stretch.

12:30: Mischief managed, head home.
3:00 am: Bleary eyed, go to bed.
11:00 am (approximate): recommence reading.
5:00 pm: finish reading. Feel satisfied, and much less bummed than I did at the end of book #6.

(Incidentally, am I the only person in the whole world who likes the 5th movie, the one that's freshly out? I really enjoyed it, but several people whose opinions I generally value thought it was purely wretched.)

Cat tales

I've been seeing a little black cat around our house. At first, I thought it belonged to our next door neighbor, because I'd see it sunning itself on his patio. But a few days ago, I noticed that the kitty was desperately thin and seemed to be wandering. Last time I tried to feed her, she had scampered by the time I got out with the food.

Tonight, Trent and I came home from a friend's going away party at about midnight. As we were walking up our driveway, I saw the kitty huddled by a neighbor's garage. This time she was still there when I came out with food. After a brief moment of shyness, she quickly got friendly with me, and was curled up on my lap ten minutes later when Trent came out to see what I was doing. Like the other members of my family, I have a rescuing gene. I couldn't leave her out in the rain and risk not finding her again.

She's been living rough. She's scrawny, and has some scabs and bald patches. But at least at one point in her life, she was someone's kitty. We've temporarily lodged her in the big dog crate we have from when we were fostering Briscoe, and I'll get her to the vet tomorrow to scan for a microchip and get her checked out. Stay tuned for pictures (although black cats are damn hard to photograph).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Look! More sewing!

This is a shirt for Trent.

I've started piecing another quilt (the block is called double wrench).

I did get some spinning done. I finished spinning and 2 plying 8 ounces of Crown Mountain Farms superwash roving in the color "Heat Wave." It's nice roving, and I got massive yardage out of it (1,000+), but I've decided I just really don't like spinning superwash. But here's a skein:

I'm trying to get back in the swing of things at work. Classes are fun so far, but I'm having trouble getting off the nocturnal schedule I go on when I'm off.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Yet more sewing, and back to work

I finished a baby quilt (batted and backed, quilted, and bound). I don't have a recipient in mind for this one.

I also assembled most of our future quilt. This is more or less made from the first pattern in Karla Alexander's latest book, New Cuts for New Quilts.

As soon as it cools off enough that I can bear to deal with a giant pile of fabric, I'll add the borders and start to consider how I'm going to back and quilt this sucker. I frequently have moments in which I think, what the hell am I doing, making a large quilt? I'm clueless and kind of inept. Of course, there's a certain advantage to that: there's not a chance in hell that this thing is going to be heirloom quality, so it can get used and washed and covered in cat hair without too many regrets.

Oh, and I made another new skirt. This one is McCall's M5431. Here's an arty shot of the pocket, since I couldn't be arsed to hang it up and try to get a decent full length shot:

I'm planning to wear the skirt to my first day back in the trenches tomorrow. I desperately, completely don't want to go to work. I'm sure I'll get back into the swing of things and not actively feel like I'm being tortured, but it's hard to imagine that right now.

Incidentally, Seattle's temperatures topped out at a record-breaking 98 today. Trent reports that the thermostat inside our house registered 88 at one point this afternoon. I abandoned ship at around 1:00, when it was 83, and went to Ballard to visit the Quilting Loft and see the new Harry Potter. It's a good movie, and it was fun to see it with the matinée crowd, but that's not why I went. Let me just say: 153 minutes of air conditioning!

Friday, July 06, 2007

More sewing

The valance and pillows that I made arrived chez Camera Obscura and are now deployed in the niece's room. (The walls are going to be repainted red, which will make the valance look better.)

In the last couple of days, I've pieced a screamin' bright baby quilt. (Worth noting in regards to the baby quilt: I am not pregnant, nor do I have any plans to become pregnant. But people around me keep having babies, and small quilts are fun to make without a lot of commitment.)

I've made Trent a shirt:

I've made a skirt for me:

I've also been slowly working on a big quilt for our bed. The cats were extremely helpful during the part of the process where I laid out blocks to decide on an arrangement.

I continue to be madly, deeply in love with my Bernina. The buttonholes rock, and it sews on buttons (which don't come off when you pull a thread, unlike commercial garments).

Vacation is wonderful. I really don't want to go back to work.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The blog returns from holiday

I didn't set out to abandon the blog for an extended period. But I had to survive the end of the academic term (grading, ugh). Then I decided that for the first week of my vacation I was only going to do what I wanted to do, except for the bare essentials necessary to keep the household together. That translated into a lot of sewing, because I got a new sewing machine.

It's a Bernina Aurora 440 Quilter's Edition, purchased from my friendly neighborhood Bernina dealership. I love Bernie. She's fabulous. I've made placemats and napkins for my mom for a housewarming present.

I've made a baby quilt, and I charged right into the free motion quilting. (For perspective, the total baby quilt is about 40 x 40".)

And today I made a handbag. This is the Veronica bag from Lazy Girl Designs. This is a GREAT pattern. It's clearly written, illustrated with actual photos (with the bag's parts in different colors so you can tell what's going on), and very smartly designed.
There's been some more sewing, but that's what I've got pictures for. I made a valance and a couple of throw pillows for my niece, Camera Obscura's daughter, but I mailed them off without photographic proof. I'm sure Camera will post photos of these project in the redecorated room.

I did finish making socks for Jenine (Perkster of the comments) out of Tofutsies. I loved knitting with this yarn! I was afraid it would be stringy like some cotton yarns can be, but it was nicely plush and soft.