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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Foster Kittens Update

Sorry I haven't posted in a week but things have been pretty busy around here. I wanted to share an update on the foster kittens. They are growing and becoming more and more friendly by the day. Little Magpie follows me everywhere wanting to be picked up and snuggled. Raven is finally over his fear aggression and comes running to see us, too. He loves to be snuggled and loves to play. They're getting very adventuresome and spend plenty of time each day wrestling and tumbling but they still sleep quite a bit, too. Here are some updated photos of the kittens.
When they first met Uncle Munchkin they wanted to nurse.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Foster Kittens!

When I took Barbie, Kenny, Krissy and Jellybean back to the shelter last Monday I told them that we needed a little break. Just enough time to get my bathroom scrubbed clean and the carpet cleaned before we took in more foster kittens. Fortunately I got the bathroom cleaned last Tuesday and we got the carpets mostly clean. I got a call from the shelter this past Sunday; they had two little feral kittens that had been caught at the children's ARK in nearby Green Mountain Falls and they needed a foster home for them. We dropped everything and ran to the shelter to get there before they closed and picked these little babes up. One is black and white and the other is solid black except for a little bit of white on the chest and the tummy. I decided to call them Raven and Magpie (I'm sure you can figure out which one is which!) I think Raven is a boy and Magpie is a girl but I'm not good at sexing young kittens so we'll have to wait a bit to see if I'm right.

When we picked them up Raven was hissing, spitting and swatting at everyone. I put on my leather gardening gloves (but only after he nailed me - literally - and got me good on one of my fingers) and picked him up. He was scared but finally relaxed. Magpie was curious and outgoing from the very beginning. I tried to feed them some gruel made of organic rice baby cereal, powdered milk replacer and meat baby food mixed with warm water. They had absolutely no clue how to eat out of a dish. Crap...two bottle fed kittens! I fixed a bottle for them and they drank eagerly. Okay, more work but at least they were eating.

Monday morning Magpie came to greet me and Raven dove for cover. Once Raven figured out that I was the chow wagon, he decided I perhaps wasn't nearly as bad as he first thought I was and he came to get his share of the bottle. I continued to try the gruel only I started offering it to them on the end of my fingers, which Magpie immediately started to eat. Raven would eat out of a spoon! Hooray!

Yesterday morning they came out of the cube much faster and eagerly ate the gruel - off the spoon and then out of the dish. Yippee! Progress!! After eating they both climbed into my lap and played then snuggled with me.

This morning they both came running when I went to feed them and they eagerly lapped up their breakfast out of the bowl. more bottle feeding!! They are curious and playful and I am amazed at how quickly they came around. Of course, they are probably no more than 4 to 5 weeks old so they are at the perfect age for weaning and socializing.

When I was looking at Magpie Sunday night I thought she might be a polydactyl cat with an extra toe on her right front foot. After I inspected it closely on Monday I discovered that she only has 3 toes on that foot - two of them are melded together with only one toenail growing out of it. It makes her look like she is giving a Vulcan greeting - "Live long and prosper!" Because of this malformed foot (and perhaps due to their young age) Magpie is kind of tipsy and clumsy but when I read about polydactyl cats it said that it is common for them to have some difficulties learning to walk when they are kittens. I figured it would be the same for her. Look at her foot (the one on your left) and see what I'm talking about.

But they're healthy, happy, playful and curious little kittens and I am sure somebody will love little Magpie even with that unique little foot! She has amazing energy and such a loving personality who couldn't fall in love with her?!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What's on the Spinning Wheel

Before I show you what's on the wheel right now, I want to show you how the Tuscany custom yarn turned out. I was amazed at the yardage I managed to get out of this roving! I ended up with a 3.8 ounce skein with 403 yards of yarn! I had a bit left on the second bobbin that I Navajo-plied (basically you ply the yarn back on itself) and ended up with 0.3 ounces and 32 yards. The customer wanted 400 - 450 yards of a heavy fingering weight yarn and I dyed up just over 4 ounces in the hopes I would be able to spin that into the required yardage. I love it when a plan works out! The customer was thrilled with the finished yarn and it shipped out on Friday.

And on the spinning wheel now is a merino/tencel roving that I dyed up in a colorway that I called "India Spices" - deep orange, aztec gold, brown and burgundy. It is spinning up nice and thin and is looking incredibly rich. I'll post pics of the yarn when I have it done. I am spinning this up for a friend who loves to crochet and she fell in love with this colorway. The finished yarn should have incredible drape and luster to it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On the Wheel, Kitten Update, Etc.

We're still staying busy here at the ranch but I wanted to share some updates with you.

First, the foster kittens went back to the shelter on Monday. It was very difficult for us to say goodbye to these gorgeous kittens. Jellybean was the most difficult to let go this time. She has adjusted well to life in the shelter, although the little feral kittens were terrified of their new home. They were spayed and neutered yesterday and I'm hoping they find their new furever homes soon.

Uncle Munchkin was extremely upset that I took his babies away. He came into my office and peed on my chair and then spent hours roaming the house calling for the kittens. I promised him that I would get more kittens for him to care for soon - but he's still mad! Here's a photo I snapped of Munchkin and three of the kittens lounging on the bags of fiber in the bathtub. That's Barbie tucked under Munchkin, Kenny with his head over Munchkin's leg and Jellybean lounging in her favorite sunny side up position behind. Krissy was in the cube on the floor snoozing at the time.

I am in the middle of a custom dye/spinning order right now. I'm spinning up superwash BFL into sock yarn. I have finished spinning the first bobbin - half of a 4 ounce braid - and will get started on the second half hopefully today. If I can get 400 to 450 yards out of these 4 ounces I'll be done with the job but if not, I'll have to dye up another 2 ounces to get the required yardage for the customer. This colorway is called "Tuscany". I love the rich earthy colors in it!

Here is one 2 ounce braid along with the other braid stripped and ready for spinning.

And here is half of the first bobbin on the wheel

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy...No Rest for the Weary!

Things are still crazy busy around here lately but I have gotten quite a bit of fibery fun squeezed in over the past couple of weeks.

Finally finished spinning the Zinnias merino roving. It took me two weeks (of spinning off and on, not hours at a time!) to get the first half of the roving spun fine and smooth so I decided to Navajo-ply that bobbin and I spun the second half of the roving thick and thin bulky and plied it with a coordinating cotton thread.

I'm knitting up the N-plied yarn (the bottom skein in the photo) using a dropped stitch pattern to make a long scarf. 

Then I'm going to use this yarn as fringe on one edge of the scarf, which will make it almost like a shawl. This Rainbow yarn is tailspun Teeswater locks spun by Esther at Jazzturtle. 

And the finished scarf/shawl should look something like this
Except I may not cut the tailspun yarn to make fringe, I may crochet it along the outside edge of the scarf instead. I'll have to play with it to see what works best.

Tomorrow I'll try to post what's on the wheel right now and what's waiting in the spinning queue. 

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!