Sunday, November 29, 2009

Introducing Tomtee

Bob, at Winderwood Farm, has the best kittens.  At least the best for us.  They grow up outside but also on a porch.  They have hunting experience.   They are familiar with dogs, sheep, llamas, goats and rabbits.  We have tried rescuing adult cats from the shelter but our track record is not so good on the dog end of things. Since Basel loves cats we feel whomever comes to live with us should at least tolerate dogs if not cuddle up.

Sparkles, who came from Winderwood Farm loved Basel.  Sally, who came from the SPCA, hissed at Baz forever.  He did worship her from afar but it was not a satisfying relationship either way.

Sparkles has been gone long enough for us to want having another cat around plus the mouse leavings are getting rather evident on most surfaces.   Sparkles kept the mouse, chipmunk and bird population in good control.  I was never a fan of his bird trophies but that's cats for ya.

So last Monday Jim and I made the trek to Naples, NY, about 1.5-2 hours and several lakes west.  We had our choice of quite a few kitties.  I liked a black and white 5 month old girl but Jim thought a younger one would work out better for us.   We finally settled on a sweet 12 week old tiger boy and brought him home.

He seemed fine with Baz and accepting of our house.
The only negative with getting an outside kitty is they have never met a litter box.   This little guy understood and used one within an hour of arriving.

He had an eating problem when he first arrived, probably from trying to jossle with all the other cats and kittens for crunchies.  He gorged and then threw up.  We put him on limited food several times a day and within a couple of days he began regulating his eating by himself.

Tomtee is so laid back, very little of anything scares him, yet he is inquisitive and has travelled all over our house exploring corners and dark crevices.  He purrs immediately upon being picked up.
It took us several days to hear his name since it is so unusual.  We went from Tommy to Bixbee to Timtee to Tomtee.

So far Tomtee has shown no interest in going outside.  Jim thinks he is happy for now just exploring the house, although he does watch out the window at the birds, squirrels and buns.   I expect pretty soon he will learn about the doggie door and we will be able to retire the litter box.  Meanwhile he is so clean it really is no problem.

He weighed in the day after he arrived at 3 pounds 12 ounces.  Two days later he weighed 4 pounds 8 ounces.   Definitely a growing boy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


My gosh, the years go fast. I was figuring out just how long I knew Carl, who is 22, and it is 10 years.  WOW!   Carl looked at me his first day of math in 7th grade and we made a lifelong connection then and there.  Since then we have moved into a mentor/mentee relationship, studied for SAT's, applied for scholarships, gone to college interviews together and talked.   Carl graduated from Ithaca High School as the president of the school's Gay Straight Alliance.   When he attended Alfred he was active in their group and now that he is at TC3 is active again.  Carl has a huge sense of right and wrong manifesting in empathy with those who have grown up without proper parenting and without privilege.  Once he finishes his associates degree this coming May he will be going on to get a degree in Social Work.

So to celebrate both my love for him and stranded colorwork I decided to make him a nice Holiday present to keep his ears and head warm as he walks around town a lot.    While my back brain was working on this idea I was wandering around the internet and happened to come upon this pattern called Fag Hat.  I really do not care for that word and neither does the designer, Fuzzknot. She was very clever in using Morse Code to write it on her stranded colorwork hat as a practical joke for her friend.   Inspiration comes from everywhere.  Thank you.

So I present to you a FREE Hat pattern

This is a simple ribbed edge watch cap with stranded color work people holding hands.  If you go around the hat you cannot tell if the couples are guy-guy, gal-gal or gal-guy.   The letters GSA are knit in Morse Code on the bottom in the rust and on the top in dill.

I used close to worsted yarn throughout.   The blue (MC) is Dark Starz yearling mohair I hand dyed.  One skein easily will make two hats.  I am really reluctant to tell you that the rainbow colors are Red Heart.   Actually I looked a good bit for some rainbow yarn in the correct weight but could not find any.  In AC Moore of all places I found some bamboo/wool in just the right colors and at very reasonable prices considering how few yards of each are needed.
Eco Ways Bamboo Twilight, Cayenne, Dill, Gold, Rust and silk Bamboo Orchid.

The ribbing and top decreases are done with a 16" US6/4mm circ.   The body of the hat on 16" US7/4.5mm circs.

Using long tail method and MC, cast on 108 stitches with smaller needles.  *K2, P2* around for 1.5 inches.
Change to larger needles and follow this chart for where to use which color.  All the white boxes are MC.   The chart will repeat 3X around and only once in rows.

After completing the chart, change back to smaller needles and MC.
Decrease as follows:
*K8, k2tog*
Knit next round.
*K7, k2tog*
Knit next round.
    Follow this pattern until
   *K1, k2tog*,
    Knit next round,

Cut off a length of yarn and thread through stitches with an embroidery needle, securing the end inside the hat.  Then tuck in all those colored ends.

That's all folks.  Very simple hat with some secret coding to amuse.