"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Thursday, January 30, 2014

All Fox's Fault

Well, not all Fox's fault. It's also umintsuru's. They recently tatted Iris Niebach's "Annalisa" doily together, and I was so taken with the design that I had to buy the book and make it for myself. I'm a quarter of the way done now.

Both of them said they did a lot of untatting as they worked on this, and I can certainly see why. I've done a fair amount of that myself so far-- a couple of times because I used the wrong shuttle, and once because I missed a join. It's a gorgeous design, but one thing is clear: Iris's brain does not work like yours and mine. She is an absolute genius the way she comes up with these incredibly complex patterns that are worked all in one pass. I'm enjoying the challenge of this very much, but I can only concentrate on it for short periods of time.

I'm using Olympus thread size 40 in color M12. This lovely delicate colorway was rather difficult to capture with the scanner; I'll try it with the camera next time. And of course anyone who's tatted with Olympus will know that their size 40 really tats up like somewhere between a 20 and a 30, so this will be rather larger than the ones the other two made in size 80. It's a delightful thread to work with, though, smooth and flawless.

I also complete day 8 of the TIAS the day it was released, but didn't get around to posting it. Still no idea what we're making.

My heart goes out to Crazy Mom. Anything at all you need, Sandra, just post it on your blog and your tatting buddies will take care of you.

Finally, Squijum.

As you can see, he is quite back to his normal self. Except that the allergy treatments aren't working; in fact, he seems itchier than ever. Next week he'll be going back to the vet for some more extensive testing to find out if it's something other than allergies.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 7

Here's day 7 of the TIAS. This is a good one. Usually I can make some kind of guess, even if it's a completely silly one that I know can't possibly be right (actually, I don't think I've ever been right). But this one has me well and truly stumped.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day 6

Here's day 6 of the TIAS. I actually tatted it yesterday morning after I got home from work, but I couldn't manage to stay awake long enough to e-mail it to Jane, let alone post it here. It is starting to take on a different shape from the first bit, but still clearly related to it. That 6-ring flower must represent something, but I have no idea what. I doubt if I'll have any new guesses till I see how they join together.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

TIAS Day 5, and Squijum Update

Here's day 5 of the TIAS.

This bit seems to have similar shapes to the first segment, but coming at it from a different direction. I really have no ideas at this point, although I will say that I think the best suggestion so far is a sailboat; days 1-4 made one side of the sail, we've now started on the other side, and the mast will join up between them. But Jane says we're not even halfway through yet, so a lot could change.

As for Squijum, I honestly don't know whether he's getting better or worse. On the one hand, the huge bald patch on his back is starting to re-grow some hair, at least in parts of it. On the other hand, I've found some new patches on his legs. So I took him back to the vet on Thursday, and we've started him on cyclosporine, an immune suppressant. Unlike that fatty acid supplement, this is a "real" medication, so it's important that he get the full dose every day. This means I have no choice but to hold him down and force it into his mouth, which is not fun for either of us, although of course he gets a treat afterwards. The fatty acid is still working OK in the yogurt.

He went through several days where he was very withdrawn. He would just stay in one of his hidey-holes all day and not come out for cuddles or playtime, although he was still eating normally. He would let me come and pet him, and would even purr and lick my hand, but he wouldn't come out and sit on my lap or show any interest in his toys. Happily, this has passed and he is back to his usual self.

I really hope the cyclosporine works and he can stop being itchy all the time. I also really hope he doesn't have to be on it forever.

And now he is agitating for his dinner, so I had best sign off and go fetch it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

TIAS Day 4

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that what we have here is a triangle. What that triangle is a part of all depends on how you rotate it. It could be an ice cream cone, a dunce cap, or a ski jump. But the final shape will no doubt be completely un-triangular, and I await the next installment with bated breath.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

TIAS Day 3

Here's day 3 of the TIAS. It now looks like the beginning of a bird. The rings from day 1 are the eye, the split rings are the beak, and the chains are the top of the head. Yes, it definitely looks like a bird. Which means, knowing Jane, that it will turn out to be a radish. Actually, come to think of it, the split rings could be the pointy part at the bottom of a radish... oh, dear.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

TIAS Day 2

Here's day 2 of the TIAS. It's way too early to have any real idea of what it might be, but I do like the suggestion somebody had that it could be the foot, and now leg, of some sort of reptile or amphibian.

Great news! Squijum is now regularly taking all of his medicine. I switched brands of yogurt. It was that simple. I also throw about half a dozen Greenies treats in with the yogurt and medicine, and he eats it all up. He doesn't necessarily eat it all at once, so if it were something like an antibiotic or a thyroid med or anything else that would need to be taken all in one go, I would have to come up with something else. But this is really just a food supplement, so little bits at a time is fine, as long as he eats it all eventually.

Monday, January 6, 2014

TIAS Day 1

Like a few other people in Tat-land right now, I'm just not feeling it. I've been knitting (sorry, still haven't taken a pic), but haven't, as Fox says, felt the muse for tatting. So I decided to do Jane's TIAS, which started today. Here's day 1:

It looks like a violet now, but of course it won't by day 2. I'm using Lizbeth Grape Splash in size 20.

Squijum seems to be doing a little bit better. He was mad at me for a couple of days for making him go to the vet (it's really the car ride he hate more than anything-- once we get there, he's very well-behaved, and the vet is very good, able to get a needle in and out of him before he knows anything is happening). He started speaking to me again on Saturday, and by yesterday he was even asking for hugs again. Even despite his avoiding me for two days, he's seemed a lot more relaxed than I've seen him in a while, so I hope this means the itching is subsiding.

I am having a hard time getting him to take his fatty acid supplement. In the past when I've had a liquid medication to give him, I just held the syringe down in front of him and he would take it in his mouth (because he puts EVERYTHING in his mouth) and I could squirt it in with no problem. Well, he must really dislike this stuff, because that only worked once. Then I tried putting it in his food and he simply didn't eat for two days (another contributing factor to his anger, no doubt). So now I'm mixing it in yogurt, one of his favorite treats, and he does sometimes take some of it. The next thing to try will be tuna juice, but I hope I don't have to resort to that. Me being a vegetarian, Squijum is the only one in the house who will eat tuna, so I would have to give him the whole can, or else throw it out. The occasional can of tuna is OK as a treat (or an apology for taking him to the vet), but it's not good for cats to eat lots of canned tuna all the time-- too much sodium and not the right nutrient balance. So buying cans of tuna just for the juice really would be a last resort. For heaven's sake, the supplement is made from fish, he ought to like it, why can't he just eat it???? It's enough to make me start tearing my hair out too.

On the upside, with a bit of further thought, I may possibly have identified the cause of the allergy. I remembered that his symptoms first started shortly after I got a new bedspread. I washed it, of course, but it's made from a microfiber material that I've never had in the house before. Microfiber is supposed to be hypoallergenic, but that doesn't mean you can't be allergic to it, and I sure can't think of anything else. So I've taken the bedspread off the bed to see if he gets better. I really hope I'm right about this, because it would be nice to have such an easy fix.

And if anyone else knows a good way to get a medicine inside a cat, I'm all ears!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tiny Tats, and Poor Squijum

The laundry is not done until it has once again been covered in cat hair.

Speaking of which, he had to go to the vet today for this:

He's been licking himself so much he's pulling the hair out. The vet says the usual cause for this is allergies, so she gave him a steroid shot, and I have to give him a fatty acid supplement twice a day. Luckily, it's in a liquid form, which he usually takes pretty easily. The shot takes effect within a couple of hours, so he should be feeling better already.

I did a little bit of tatting, too. I made some pretty stitch markers for knitting. They're not for me, but for my cousin, who is an avid knitter and has been working on designing some new business cards for me (for my harp teaching/ performance).

All of these designs came from the book Tatted Earrings and Things by Heather Johnston, and they are all tatted in Lizbeth size 40. From left to right, they are "Swirl" in color 185 Arctic Waters; "Cascade" in color 164 Blue River Glades; "Peppermint Twist" in color 137 Berry Burst; and "Sparkling Waves" in color 165 Grape Splash. They were all very quick and easy to tat; in fact I spent more time choosing threads and beads than tatting.