Friday, January 31, 2014

Getting to some hand quilting...

     Just about ready to make this blog known. It's probably not going to be daily, more likely hit or miss for a while until I get used to doing a journal of sorts. Today has been spent tidying up the blog and learning about using it. Several posts have already been made since I opened up this blog. I've done some editing to them and might add some more photos to Gypsum's brush post. Hard to believe that he's been asking for a daily brushing since last September. Even I look forward to it and miss it when I'm gone for the day.

      I do want to make this a journal of quilting and the cats so will start off right now with my current projects. I'm in the last stages of a wall hanging made from charm squares I "won" on the RJR Fabrics Facebook page. It must be ready for my guild's quilt show in 3 weeks. Glad it's small as I've been slow at working on the hand quilting. Then I'll need to get the binding done and label made and a hanger tube for the quilt show. My plan today was to work on the quilting. fat chance that's going to happen since I'm here typing!

The quilt top is full of cat hair as Rainey used it for a sleeping spot for a few days before I decided I really needed to stop her from doing that. Will probably have to use the old tape method for cleaning off the cat hairs. It does not interfere with the quilting though as I can remove hair as I come across it.

   I also have a couple of other quilts in progress, both workshop quilts. One will also be in the show but it's needs are little, just a label and a hanging tube. Oh and there are some others that have needed finishing for two years. One needs a backing, then quilting, and the other needs quilting. I think both of those will be on the agenda for after the quilt show. Both will get done this year. After all, one is a wedding gift for a wedding that took place 2 years ago and they have already had their first child. The other was promised to my grandson. Have to hang my head for not getting that done two years ago as the cats have not made it easy to baste and quilt for the past year. Darn, then I think of the ufo's from YEARS past. There's a backlog there too.

Cat Hair on Quilts

If you have cats, you have to deal with cat hair unless you have an exotic cat breed that doesn't shed.  It gets on quilts, rugs, table tops; clings to mirrors, walls, etc...  Yet many quilters have cats and cats love quilts.  They are one of a cats favorite things to curl up on, dig under and in general, leave cat hair on. My cats are no exception to that rule.

For the most part, I try to keep my unused quilts stored in pillow cases and in a room the cats can rarely access.  For my hanging quilts, a few yells have kept them from climbing them more than once or twice and luckily, no visible damage that I've been able to find but the cat hair still clings to them.

 These cats are my first that have been wall, door, curtain, blinds, & quilt climbers. A few yells when caught in the act has curtailed that for the most part, however they still try to climb my design wall.  Lots of pock marks in it to mark how high they each have reached.  They have seemed to find it more fun to climb than anything.  I found that I eventually had to keep it filled with projects but even those they have tested as I've found bent pins, blocks on the floor or skewed on the wall with some blocks needing repair!  A couple of the culprits have turned their attention to climbing the trees when I let them outside so I don't see the design wall being used as often.

When it comes to cat hair though, that's another story altogether.

What do you do to control your cat's hair on your quilts?

How do you remove it?

You may leave your answers in the comments below.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Brushing the Cats:

Gypsum loves to be brushed.  So much so, that he comes into the computer room several times a day and begs to be brushed.

I use a special brush.  It didn't cost too much in today's prices and can be found at Walmart for around 7 or 8 dollars. I haven't checked the pet stores for their prices on this type of brush.  It's a plastic type brush with soft, thick bristles of a type of a bendable plastic. The tips are again coated with another layer of a plastic that thickens the tips and rounds them out.  It almost acts likes it's massaging their skin as I brush their coats and all my cats love it.

Here's a picture of Gypsum begging seriously for that brush to start doing it's work.
I bought the brush a year ago but didn't really start trying to brush the cats until last summer.  Gypsum took to it the best, quickly setting up a routine that I had to follow through on.  The others like it, too, but not enough to set up their own daily routine.  Gypsum hasn't skipped a day since the middle of last September -- unless we're out of town for a day or two.

It took them a bit to learn what the brush was about.  At first they didn't want it to touch them so I didn't get more than a stroke or two down their back before they'd move out of reach.  I'd wait a few days then try again.  Soon they realized what it was doing and how it felt and they decided it wasn't so bad after all and really did feel good.  They particularly like being brushed around by their cheeks and the top of their head, then I can move down their back and sides.  It took a little longer before any of them allowed me to brush their bellies, and even then I can only get in 1 or 2 strokes before they turn over or move on ...or grab my hand in rough play.

Since I don't have any long haired cats to brush, I can't tell you how well this brush works on long haired cats.  I'm only using it on short haired cats who really don't need much brushing at all since most brushing is aimed at keeping long hair from tangling and creating mats.  I've had long haired cats in the past but never this type of brush.  I think I used a comb at that time.  However, this brush does help some with the shorthairs constant shedding.

If you've never brushed a cat, it's most pleasant for them if you brush in the direction their fur is growing, normally front to back.  I occasionally will "back-brush" them, ie, brush in the opposite direction as this can catch some of the loose fur that is still clinging.  They barely tolerate this, so finish with the normal direction.

About Gypsum's routine:  He usually comes in soon after his breakfast, walks under my chair, gets between my feet as I sit staring at the computer, and looks at me.  He'll then give me a meow if I haven't noticed him yet.  If that doesn't work, he'll sit on his haunches and reach up and gently grab my right arm with his paws.  If that does't work, he'll pull down on my arm.  That usually works.  Then I start brushing and he starts purring and rubbing and positioning his body for the spots he wants brushed.  This will continue for about 5 or more minutes or until 1 of us tires.

Later in the day when he comes in, if he's not too serious about a brushing, he'll just come in, sit between my legs and meow.  If I don't respond immediately, he leaves and comes back later.  He's fast about leaving, too.  I will think it's only been seconds since that last meow and when I turn around to look for him, he's not in sight. 

If I stop when he thinks he's in the middle of a brushing session, he will do the routine in the picture above, grabbing my hand, "kissing" it with a lick.  If that isn't enough, he'll start "love nibbles", those tiny little nips with his front teeth.  That usually sways me as those little nibbles can turn into slightly stronger nibbles that have some pressure in them!  He will be purring the whole time.  Sometimes I will stop the brushing and just give his body a total massage.  He loves that, too.

Sometimes, Butch will come in while Gypsum is being brushed.  He'll want to be brushed, too.  He's not into a daily routine but when he does want that brush, he'll push Gypsum aside.  His brushing will last up to 10 minutes if I can last that long.  He prefers to get on the table next to me for his brushing and rolls around in ecstasy as I brush his entire body.  Of course, he purrs constantly and louder than Gypsum while this is going on.

Diamond and Goldie are not on a routine of any sorts, maybe once a week.  Both like their head done for the most par; the body, not so much.  Rainey rarely will sit for more than a couple of swipes of the brush but then she's also  not heavy into being petted either.

There is an album on Rainey's Cat Daze page on Facebook of the brushing routine that Gypsum goes through if you'd like to see more pictures.  Just click on photos, then albums under the header photo.  It's titled "Gypsum likes the brush."

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Cats on Quilts

If you view cats on facebook, you'll come across pages that talk about Caturday.  Many pages ask their viewers to post pictures of their cats on Saturday -- on quilts, or quilts about cats. So, here's your introduction to my 5 current Cats on Quilts (even though this is not Saturday!).

Rainey and Diamond on my first quilt

Goldie, all ready for Valentine's Day.
Butch  during a July 4th photo shoot.

Diamond, not really wanting me to sew!
Rainey  came to us  September 8 of 2012, a stray found by our neighboring friends. She's now about 2 years old since we don't know her birthday.  We had been without any cats for about 10 years so were happy to have a cat again.

 Rainey is a Character Cat.  She's a diva type, noisy when she wants to be and grumpy when she wants to be but still quite sweet. She's also very observant of her surroundings and where she wants to be and learns quickly.  She does not like to be touched by the other cats except when she is totally ready for it.  It's taken her quite awhile to even let them sniff noses with her even though she watched them grow up. Rarely does she allow Diamond to groom her. At the moment, Diamond is the only one that she allows that priviledge.

Goldie came along 6 weeks later, on October 24, 2012, quite pregnant and wanting a new home.  She found us on her own and at the right time as she dropped those kittens 2 hours later, after we got her situated in her own private room with all the food she needed and fresh water.  Her age is unknown but she appears to be older than Rainey.  Though she appears to be all black, she does have some white spots on her.  We named her for her golden eyes.

Butch, Diamond, and Gypsum are Goldie's babies, born a little over a year ago on October 24, 2012.  There were 6 in the litter and 3 of those are now in other homes.  They were all relatively healthy, beautiful little kittens.

Butch, the black and white is a lover and also a Momma's boy.  He nursed on Goldie until he was about 5 months old and she finally decided enough was enough.  Butch has a nub of a tail, and the stubby body type of the manx breed though we don't know who the father(s) were.

Diamond is my sweetheart.  She's taller than her Mom, Goldie, and built like Butch but her tail is a few inches longer with a bend in it that causes her tail to look like a little flag when she's holding it up.
She's a tomboy though and doesn't mind getting into scuffles with her two brothers.  She can out leap either of them with twists and turns like a ballerina.  She resembles the Manx breed in her body build and the Snowshoe Breed in her coloring.

Gypsum this past autumn.
Gypsum is a beautiful seal point.  He looks like a Siamese but definitely not a pure bred.  He is most graceful and a wonderful "gentleman".  Never demanding but he does know how to get his way if he really wants something.  He's the largest of the 5 cats now.  Has a full tail that he controls quite well.  He loves to be brushed and comes in to the computer/sewing room several times a day to be brushed, gently asking, first with a little meow, then a gentle grab of my arm with his 2 front paws.  If that doesn't work (I'm busy typing), he'll sometimes pull my arm down and give me some gentle nibbles on the hand.  Who can resist?!

Both Gypsum and Diamond have pale cream eyes with hints of blue/lavender.  Their pupils reflect red while Butch, Goldie, and Rainey with their yellow/orange eyes reflect green.  Sometimes I'll reduce the red-eye in photos so they don't look so scary.

You may view more stories and photos of my cats and their escapades on Facebook at Rainey's Cat Daze page.


 It's been awhile since I've had a blog and things have changed, so a little history about my past -- If I can keep it "little" HA!  I'll be experimenting for awhile 'til I get used to this program so you might see many changes along the way.

     My past.  I started out with a small website back in 1998 where I posted the quilts I had completed previous to that time, then added some pages about my other interests which I probably won't post here since I have a major website already about them and links to them through my facebook personal page. I still have my copies of those first pages so will incorporate those quilt pages into this blog as I see fit. Those first pages were kind of like a blog, before blogs came to be, in fact, my main website was almost bloglike as I created pages to match my experiences in those fields at the time. I usually spend my winters updating those pages, when nothing else is "pressing" me.

   That gets me to this blog.  As the title suggests, the focus here will be on cats, my cats specifically, and cover areas that my FB page about them, doesn't.  As previously mentioned, I'll also be posting about my quilting experiences, going back to where I started from on the web to the present.  If you've ever had cats, you'll understand their affinity to quilts, particularly NEW quilts, or quilts you are working on.

Maybe I'll even eventually be sharing or selling some of my original block patterns if I can get back into the swing of doing that.

  Now, where does the Texas part come into this.  I also love nature, specifically wild flowers.  My location is north central Texas so there will be posts about the local wildflowers.  It's hard to imagine the number of different wild flowers that grow on my little spot of Texas.  I am still amazed after living in this spot 7 years.

Time to sign off on this post as there is quilting to be done today!