Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Wednesday Whys

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 3:50 pm on Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I’m still worn out, but feeling better. On the other hand, yesterday I woke feeling unrested because of some unknown factor that affected my moods; today, I woke unrested because electricians were in the apartment above ours installing a new hook-up for an electric dryer, and they were hammering before 9 a.m.

Gryphon works second shift (3:15 to midnight), and we don’t normally wake up before 10 a.m.

Which leads to this first Wednesday Why…

Why, after living here for over two years, with a landlord who, while not a friend, is certainly a friendly acquaintance and a rental office within a block of us that we are on good terms with….

Why, after all this time, does the office still never remember to let us know ahead of time when something like this is going to happen?

It’s not like we’d tell them “you can’t have work done when we might be sleeping.” But it would have worked a lot better today if we’d known ahead so we could have taken steps to make the day smoother. If we’d been told there would be workers making noise this morning, we could have turned in for bed earlier last night, and set our clocks for an earlier hour so we could wake up on our own terms.

We could have avoided being jolted out of bed by the sounds of ongoing hammering in the room above ours.

We’ll be stopping in to the office again to let them know and to reiterate our request for advance notification. They’ll tell us once again, no doubt, that they’re awfully sorry and they’ll try to remember for next time.

Anyone want to take bets on how well that will work?

Knitting Knews News

(Yeah, that was too cutesy for me the instant I typed it.)

In spite of feeling so off yesterday, I did eventually relax enough to work on several knitting projects. The Sock Project saw some attention first, and I managed to knit a couple of inches of the foot on a new pair. I then picked up Wearable Hug #14 and worked for a while on that.

Today, I’ve put in some time on The Pirate Project and the Ladder-yarn Shawl. Both happened in the same 99:99 segment, though, and the I don’t feel like the shawl has had a fair amount of attention yet. So it’s going to get an extra 99:99 before I move on to another knitting project.

As you can imagine, hardly anything picture-worthy among those items. I mean, do we really need to see photos where you’d need a measuring tape to tell the difference from the last picture?

I didn’t think so. So, considering that I’m so frequently hopping from project to project these days (while still feeling very satisfied by my knitting overall), I’ll be saving pictures for noteworthy status changes and Finished Objects.

Just Too Cute

Just on a whim, I Google’d “knitting rat”, and look what I came up with:

http://knitting.livejournal.com/500242.html

A rat in a handknit sweater! There’s even a button to hold it closed. Isn’t that just adorable?

You can see it now, can’t you? Here are Gryphon and I rapidly moving towards having a pair of rats, and I thought all I’d be knitting was accessories for their cage – a hammock, snuggle pockets, and the like. But now, I need to think about all these leftover bits of sock yarn and the like and knitting sweaters…..HMMMMMMMM.

And while we’re at it, here’s a blog called knittingrat that I discovered when I first searched for knitters with rats…check out these pictures of Vincent in a Booga Bag.

Can you see now why we’re going for rats as our pets of choice?

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Nashua Area Knit Groups, Mar 22 – Apr 2

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 12:09 pm on Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Group Report

Thursday night at Panera saw Bea and I knitting away until they almost threw us out of the place at 9 p.m., that’s how relaxed and comfortable we were.

Friday night’s SnB-NH was just Patrice and me, and that’s okay. We had a great conversation, just about lost track of time, and quite enjoyed ourselves. But it does seem that there is precious little interest in Friday’s outside of the two of us. We’re going to continue to get together there on alternate Fridays when Patrice is available, but this gathering is going to be removed from the official SnB-NH calendar after the end of the month. It could be reinstated if the Friday meeting catches on with others.

The monthly Eats, Knits & Leaves group (second Monday of the month at Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH) has now established an online group at Yahoo!, the better to make announcements to the membership, discuss knitting between meetings, and communicate with each other. You can join this group by visiting it at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eatsknitsleaves/.

Knitting Groups for Wed., Mar. 22 to Sunday, Apr. 2.

Remember, you can also view these events (and more) at the SnB-NH calendar at Yahoo! Groups.

Please note: where phone numbers are given for “Info”, that is the contact phone for the location, not the knitters organizing the gathering. Since none of these events are officially coordinated by the host sites (except as noted), if you reach someone by phone and ask them about the knitting group, they might not have any clue what you’re talking about.

Wed. Mar. 22

SnB-Chelmsford, MA @ The Java Room, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ginger Ale Plaza, Rte. 110, 14 Littleton Rd., Chelmsford, MA

Info – phone: (978) 256-0001

Thurs. Mar. 23 –

Knitting Around, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Panera Bread, 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – e-mail: fiber AT folkcatart DOT com

Sun. Mar. 26 –

SnB-Nashua @Panera Bread, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – phone: (603) 821-6021

Wed. Mar. 29 –

SnB-Chelmsford, MA @ The Java Room, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ginger Ale Plaza, Rte. 110, 14 Littleton Rd., Chelmsford, MA

Info – phone: (978) 256-0001

Thurs. Mar. 30 –

Knitting Around, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Panera Bread, 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – e-mail: fiber AT folkcatart DOT com

Fri. Mar. 31 –

SnB-Nashua @Panera Bread, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – phone: (603) 821-6021

Sun. Apr. 2 –

SnB-Nashua @ Borders Books, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. 281 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua, NH

Info – phone: (603) 888-9300

Folkcat’s Plans?

I will, of course, be at the Knitting Around meetings on both Thursday nights. And I’ll attend all the SnB-NH gatherings that happen at Panera Bread as well.

Happy Knitting!

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Tremulous Tuesday

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 1:46 pm on Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I’m having one of those days. I woke up feeling unrested, though I could swear I slept. It’s taking me forever to feel like I can deal with the world. And I have a vulnerable and shaky feeling as though I just woke from a nightmare that I don’t remember having – nearly four hours after waking up.

This is the sort of day that I’ll sit and do nothing but watch episode after episode of The People’s Court on the Tivo. Only People’s Court has been in re-runs for several weeks, and I have none to watch. Maybe I can make do with Cosby, Full House, Golden Girls, and Bewitched from the Tivo’s Suggestions recordings. Those feel like comfort food television.

It’s a little difficult to relax so far because Gryphon is doing his usual Craft Circle Tuesday cleaning blitz. Days like this, the endless barrage of fussy little noises as he putters about makes my skin crawl. There’s not much for it but to endure until he leaves for work, though. Once he goes, I can make the house as quiet as I need.

It is, in fact, Craft Circle Tuesday, which means that later on my friends will be arriving for our weekly crafting and hanging out. But that’s okay – it’s a low-key gathering that’s been going on for years, and they don’t have any expectations of grand service or spotless house when they show up. And I’ll have an opportunity for a couple of hours of complete control over the noise levels in the house before they get here.

Not sure what there will be to report for knitting tomorrow, but we’ll see.

I’ll be okay. These things always pass. It’s just so hard while they’re here. Thank ghu that I have Gryphon – he always understands and does what he can to help.

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Monday Melange

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 5:22 pm on Monday, March 20, 2006

melange, (noun), odds and ends: a motley assortment of things.

A fitting description for today’s post, I think, since there really is no theme for it more coherent than “things that Folkcat and Gryphon did this weekend.”

First of all, there’s a bit of a change near my knitting chair:

WIP - Rat Cage
New Home Under Construction

Gryphon and I are in the process of making our home ready to welcome a pair of female rats to the family! What you see above is the beginning of the cage that we’re building for them to live in – when they’re not out playing with us, that is. The arrangement isn’t quite as cramped as it looks, that’s mostly the angle I took the picture from. The cage is actually a comfortable distance from my chair, yet still close enough that I’ll be able to bond easily with our girls whenever we get them.

We looked at the cage options available in pet shops and online, and decided to do this right with a purchased cage would be prohibitively expensive. Our online research, however, revealed that rat fans often wind up building their own cages. Gryphon and I both have good skills at manipulating hardware cloth, so that’s what we’re doing.

Ultimately, this will be a three-story luxury rat condo, with a flip-top roof, a drop-down drawbridge door, and plenty of ropes, ramps, and ladders to climb. I’ll be knitting and felting a hammock to hang in one corner for the rats to snooze in, as well as tubes and pockets for them to cuddle and play in.

The second story will have a wheel to run in, while the third floor will lead to the hammock. At ground level, there will be a hidey-hut of some sort, and a litter pan (did you know that rats can be litter-trained?). I still need to work out where food dishes and a water bottle will land, but the cage is plenty roomy for them.

This weekend, we went on a research trip to see what the animal offerings are at some of the big box pet stores in our area. Conclusion: if we wind up going to a big box store for our rats, it will only be because PetCo has small animal adoptions on Saturdays, and we may wind up being able to adopt a pair. Otherwise, PetCo had very healthy looking rats that you could even buy at different age points (noted as Small, Medium, and Large), but because of the breeder they work with, they get almost exclusively Pink-Eyed Whites – known in the rat fancy as PEWs.

Mind you, all that means is that the rat has pink eyes and white fur. It makes no difference to the animal’s personality at all. But the thing is – I really, really don’t like the look. I’m not really creeped out by the pink eyes, it’s just that I find them aesthetically very unpleasant to look at.

The big box competition for PetCo, PetSmart, didn’t have any rats on display the day we visited, though I’d have to say they had the largest selection of hamsters in different species that I’ve ever seen before. Gryphon and I might have been swayed by the little Dwarf RoboHamsters if it weren’t for the fact that we’re firmly set on having rats.

Just as another sign of how happy the small animals at PetCo seemed to be, Gryphon and I were quite charmed by some mice in one cage that were having a grand time on the wheel. Their cage had a large enough wheel that three of them could ride at once, and ride they did – up and over and everything! I just had to take some pictures and try to capture it…

Wheel Mice OneWheel Mice Two
Wheelie Fun Mice

Bottom line regarding our ultimate rat acquisition is this: we’re going to keep checking with the PetCo’s in the area to see what they get for adoptable rats in weeks to come, probably even starting this weekend. If the right pair of girls come to us that way, so be it! If not, then when we have everything in their home ready, we’re going to visit the local independent pet store, Family Pet in Nashua, where they had lovely rats in different colors. Healthy, happy looking ones that they breed right there. Overall, we’ve always been impressed with all the animals we’ve seen at Family Pet, whether fish, fowl, or furry.

Who knows when the new additions will arrive? We certainly don’t! But I’ll be sure to post pictures when they do!

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about pet rats and the fun that you can have with them (as well as advice for their care and well-being), I’ve been finding the pages at The Dapper Rat extremely helpful and informative. From basic rat information to toys and games, they’ve got it all – check them out!

Knitting!

Yes, this is a knitting blog, and I did knit some this weekend. I worked a bit on several different projects, and I also finally started one I’ve been wanting to get to – Gryphon’s Burgundy Sweater Vest.

WIP - Burgundy Sweater Vest
Back Waist Ribbing – Done!

Trust me, that’s far from the only knitting that happened. But I did swap between a number of ongoing projects that I’ve talked about before, and none of them have really reached a picture-worthy stage yet. So we’ll leave it at that.

Otherwise, I’m making good progress on The Pirate Project. I’d show you, but it’s a secret for the Booty Swap, and we don’t mail our packages until the 31st. With Gryphon’s help, though, we took pictures to use in the pattern. Here’s a hint:

Iron William Flint
Half a Pirate – Better Than None?

And that’s all you’ll get to see of that for now. I’ll bet you can guess, but I’m not going to tell you if you’re right or not and there’s no prize for it. <grin> Stay tuned, after the first of April I’ll be doing a full reveal as well as posting the pattern as a free download!

The 99:99 Report

Last week I stepped up the challenge on my exercise program, marching a full thirty minutes on each of five days (split into two fifteen minute sessions). That’s the final goal for my ongoing workout! I did it readily enough, though I have to tell you, a full 15 minutes at a time does start to stretch my patience a bit, too.

What I’ve found is that the workout is difficult enough that I’m very, very tempted to say “I’ll just wait a little longer before doing that.” But it’s not so difficult that I’ve managed to actually talk myself into procrastinating. I’ve maintained my self-discipline, and I’ve just done it every day that I was supposed to.

Additionally, the 99:99 plan – combined with a very organized project list – continued to help me make a lot of progress on many different knit WIPs, as well as some beadwork, computer work, and generally cleaning and organizing. I’ve searched all my life for something that would help me to just do the things I should, and somehow this simple little plan with a digital kitchen timer is making it happen.

Since the exercise has reach goal levels, I’m going to discontinue the regularly weekly Monday 99:99 reports. No point in saying every week “I did it again,” is there? So from here on, I’ll only report on the 99:99 plan when I feel that there’s some significant result, change, or failure to bring up.

Thanks to everyone who has been following my progress – your support has made a world of difference!

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Finishing is Knitting, Too

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 4:22 pm on Friday, March 17, 2006

When I wrote about sorting through my stash, one of the projects I mentioned finding was a cardigan knit from Lion Brand Homespun yarn. All the pieces were knit, but no finishing had happened beyond that.

Today, I dug the pieces out of the storage tub I put them in, and laid them out to examine.

Homespun Sweater Pieces Laid Out
Homespun Sweater, All Laid Out

The pattern is from the book The Learn to Knit a Sweater Book, which features simple sweaters knit from Lion Brand yarns. My main motivation for buying this particular book was that the patterns are all for sizes up to 3X, which means they could actually fit me when they were finished! Not easy for a person of size to come across.

This is the first pattern in the book, called the World’s Easiest Cardigan. Truthfully, it was the only one I thought I’d have any use for – everything else is fairly heavy knit, long sleeved sweaters, and I just would never wear them. This cardigan, however, I thought I would use as a jacket alternative in mild weather, which we have plenty of here.

The cardigan is constructed from five pieces – three rectangles in various sizes for the back and front, and two trapezoids for the sleeves. It’s a very simple, boxy construction. The bottom ends of the front pieces fold up and form built-in pockets. I’m not sure how I’ll like those – I have my doubts about how well they’ll stay shaped after some wear.

Today’s progress on this sweater consists entirely of finally weaving in all the loose ends from knitting it. Next time I pick it up, I’ll actually seam it together.

And Now

I’m off in a little while to Panera to have some dinner and knit with SnB-NH friends for a bit. Hope I see some of you there!

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Ceci N’est Pas Vert*

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 12:19 pm on Friday, March 17, 2006

Colors as Labels

I tend not to be a follower. I actively avoid most causes or clubs, especially those that choose to associate themselves with a particular color, or combination of colors, as a symbol of support.

The problem I have with colors as group symbols is simple. People see you wearing the color, and assume that you are associated with the group, whether you are or not. Because of the color you wear, you become labeled by them. I don’t like being presumed to be a member of a group – or a supporter of even a worthy cause – just because I happened to wear a particular color.

I grew up in Syracuse, NY, home of Syracuse University and the Orangemen athletic teams. Wearing orange, especially combined with navy blue, meant that you were a fan. Wearing orange if you didn’t happen to be a fan often induced strangers to start a conversation along the lines of, “How about that game last night? Didn’t the Orangemen do great?”

Red and purple was once a passionate color combination, frequently used in Valentine’s Day marketing by stores that wanted to have a more modern approach to the holiday. Now, you can’t use the colors together without being assumed to be a Red Hat Lady.

Even causes that are otherwise quite worthy can be tainted for me by a declaration of a color association. There’s a women’s heart health campaign that declares a particular day as “Red Dress” day. Now, I’m not suggesting that anyone could be against better heart health awareness and care for women. But I fear wearing a red dress on that day just by chance becomes an open invitation to others around you to spend the day talking about heart health with you.

Hmm…maybe that’s the real issue. I don’t want strangers to presume they have a common bond with me – or that they can think they know something about me – just because I happen to wear a certain color. I am a private person. Most people won’t believe this after seeing some of the bold things I do for Knitting Around and such, but I’m quite a shy person. I much prefer not to have casual chats with strangers when I’m out running errands.

So I avoid wearing colors that I have heard are associated with certain things on certain days, because I fear that they will be considered an invitation to conversation by strangers around me.

What’s My Point?

This is really all a case of the sort of self-examination I find myself doing when I want to explain my position about something in my blog. I want to be sure I have some clue why I feel the way I do before trying to tell you about it.

And the reason it comes up today is simple. I’m not Irish. (If you must know, my mother’s side of the family is Swedish with a little French, and my father’s side is Scottish via French Canada.) I don’t believe in pretending I’m Irish. I’ve never enjoyed situations where one is called upon to pretend to be something they’re not just because “everyone” does it.

All my life, since childhood, I have actively avoided wearing Green on St. Patrick’s Day because of it. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those who choose to celebrate the day by pretending to be Irish, by eating corned beef and cabbage, drinking green beer, or dancing a little jig while they listen to the Clancy’s or the Makem’s.

But you know that if I happen to wear Green that day, everyone will presume that I’m participating at that level. Mind you, I’m not beyond having a Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s or something like that. But the things I like about the Celtic culture, I will enjoy all year long, and not in a concentrated dose on a single day in March just because it happens to be “Everyone is Irish” day.

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun concept, and for those who enjoy the excuse for a party, by all means go celebrate in any way you like. And if your upbringing actually has you celebrating it as a Saint’s Day, or as a serious celebration of your heritage, then even more kudos to you for defying the American Pop Culture rendition of the day!

It’s just not for me. So you won’t be finding me wearing green today, and I won’t put on a “Kiss me, I’m Irish” button, and I won’t play any of the Celtic music we have here in the house.

Though I may still have a cup of green tea at Panera tonight.

*Ceci N’est Pas Vert – trans. “This is Not Green”. A nod to Magritte and his painting, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”.

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March Madness – Eats, Knits, & Leaves

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 1:30 pm on Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mad as a March Hare – supposedly, the term comes from the fact that rabbits at this time of year get all excited at the beginning of breeding season.

I don’t know what that has to do with the madness that seemed to infect us knitters at the monthly gathering of Eats, Knits, & Leaves, but we definitely seemed to be a bit more manic than normal.

Eats, Knits & Leaves March 2006 Gathering
Clockwise from bottom left: Pat, Bea, Vicky, Patty, and Beth (with back to camera)

Certainly, we all seemed normal enough. We arrived with totes and bags in hand. We gathered around the table. We chose from the delicious herbal teas, brought as usual by Danielle of The Cozy Tea Cart in Brookline. We sat down to a marvelous selection of M&M Brownies brought by Vicky, and yummy shortbread cookies with jelly from Patty.

We pulled our work out of our bags, and began knitting.

The Ladies of Eats, Knits, & Leaves Knitting Away
Busy Fingers – but doing what?

At least, some of us did. But what the heck is Beth up to, there in the center back of the picture? Let’s take a closer look…

Beth Twists Another Balloon
Balloons?

Yes, balloons. Turns out, Beth is what’s known as a twister, a person who creates art from balloons. She decided to share her art with us this month, and was that ever fun! Beth created a personalized wrist corsage for each and ever person at the table, carefully choosing the balloons to go with their outfits.

Pat Shows Off Her Wrist Corsage
Pat Shows Off Her Corsage

She talked about some of the parties and fairs she’s performed at. It’s a lot of work to make a piece of balloon art, and unfortunately, when you’re doing a children’t party, they really want to see you make it right in front of them. So there’s no preparing a bag full of balloon animals in advance. Beth must about twist her fingers off at a large party!

Thank you, Beth, for sharing your art with us!

Eats, Knits & Leaves – the Group

At the meeting, I discussed with Vicky, who has handled all the correspondence and e-mail reminders for us, the concept of streamlining the communication process by setting up a Yahoo! group. I also presented the idea to the whole group.

The general consensus was that it sounded like a good idea. We’ve become close enough as friends to want to get in touch with each other about projects, yarns, and other matters in between meetings, and there’s been no one easy way to get in touch.

Until now. I have created the group Eats, Knits & Leaves at Yahoo! Groups. Pop over to that link and you’ll find the home page for the group. Somewhere on that screen will be a “Join Group” button – click on that, and follow the instructions to sign up. You can choose to receive all messages in the form of e-mails, or opt to not receive e-mails and instead read the posts online.

Having a Yahoo! group gives us a calendar of events that can send out automatic reminders of meetings; a place to post pictures of meetings, projects, and whatever, a spot to share files; the ability to create a poll to solicit opinions from members; and a page for links to our favorite web resources. Plus, you won’t ever have to find a specific members’ e-mail if you want to reach them, and you can post a question to the group as a whole if you like. Group members just send a single e-mail to eatsknitsleaves@yahoogroups.com to get in touch with everyone!

I’m impressed with how we’ve come together as a group, just since last fall. We have a solid core of regulars, and we see new faces almost every month. Here’s hoping we have many more years of knitting together ahead of us!

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Small Progress is Still Progress

Filed under: Beading - Confessions of a Chantraphile — folkcat at 4:29 pm on Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Not a lot to report this week. I can, however, still say that I got a solid 99 minutes of beadwork in the other day. Granted, most of that time was spent picking up packages of beads off my work table and putting them away, but that’s an essential task if you want to actually have room to make the beads into something!

After clearing space, I did actually work on making some more beaded stitch markers. I’ve been selling them at a slow but steady pace – a package here, a package there, to people at the knitters’ gatherings I go to. The stock is starting to get a bit low, so I need to spend a few sessions restoring the supply.

And all of that is why there are no pictures this time. You’ve seen photos of my workspace both messy and cleared. You’ve seen pictures of the beaded stitch markers in abundance.

Once I get a session or two of stitch markers made, I hope to pick up the bead embroidery again. That should produce something worth taking a photo of!

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Nashua Area Knit Groups, Mar 15 – Mar 26

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 4:23 pm on Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sorry to be getting this up so late today – I think I’m coming down with something, and it’s making me very slow.

The Group Report

Sunday afternoon at Panera saw the usual large crowd of knitters – some old faces, some new. Talk was lively, and at least a few onlookers were very enthusiastic about the yarns and projects we worked on.

Monday’s gathering of Eats, Knits & Leaves at Toadstool Bookshop was a good one, too. We even had entertainment and souvenirs! Watch for my full report, with pictures, to come soon.

Knitting Groups for Wed., Mar. 15 to Sunday, Mar. 26

Remember, you can also view these events (and more) at the SnB-NH calendar at Yahoo! Groups.

Please note: where phone numbers are given for “Info”, that is the contact phone for the location, not the knitters organizing the gathering. Since none of these events are officially coordinated by the host sites (except as noted), if you reach someone by phone and ask them about the knitting group, they might not have any clue what you’re talking about.

Wed. Mar. 15 –

SnB-Chelmsford, MA @ The Java Room, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ginger Ale Plaza, Rte. 110, 14 Littleton Rd., Chelmsford, MA

Info – phone: (978) 256-0001

Thurs. Mar. 16 –

Knitting Around, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Panera Bread, 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – e-mail: fiber AT folkcatart DOT com

Fri. Mar. 17 –

SnB-Nashua @Panera Bread, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – phone: (603) 821-6021

Sun. Mar. 19 –

SnB-Nashua @ Borders Books, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. 281 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua, NH

Info – phone: (603) 888-9300

Wed. Mar. 22

SnB-Chelmsford, MA @ The Java Room, 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Ginger Ale Plaza, Rte. 110, 14 Littleton Rd., Chelmsford, MA

Info – phone: (978) 256-0001

Thurs. Mar. 23 –

Knitting Around, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Panera Bread, 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – e-mail: fiber AT folkcatart DOT com

Sun. Mar. 26 –

SnB-Nashua @Panera Bread, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. 590 Amherst St., Nashua (Rte. 101A near Target)

Info – phone: (603) 821-6021

Folkcat’s Plans?

I will, of course, be at the Knitting Around meetings on both Thursday nights. And I’ll attend all the SnB-NH gatherings that happen at Panera Bread as well.

Happy Knitting!

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F is for Folkcat

Filed under: Knitting — folkcat at 12:27 pm on Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Once upon a time, there was a woman named Jenny. Jenny lived in New Hampshire, and she liked to do things on the computer. Keep in mind, this was a time when the Internet was around, and people went on the World Wide Web to do things, but there were not yet any blogs.

Jenny liked to play a computer game called The Sims, which allowed users to create their own content (clothes, houses, and such) and to offer it to other people to download. It was also, at times, a tricky game to play effectively.

So she could be in touch with what the coolest new downloads were, and to learn helpful tips from other players, Jenny joined something called a Usenet Newsgroup that was all about The Sims. Newsgroups (which still exist, but are called “Google Groups”) were a way that you could post one message to a whole bunch of people who were interested in the same thing at the same time, and anyone who was signed up to the group could answer.

The group was useful, and eventually she found a few other groups like it that also talked about The Sims.

One day, Jenny was reading new messages from one of the groups (alt.family-names.sims), and realized something. There were an awful lot of people in the group who, like her, were named Jenny, and it was starting to get hard to tell the Jennys apart. So she decided to do something about it.

The Rest is History

And that’s how it all began. If you do a search of Google Groups for “Folkcat” and sort it by date, somewhere at the bottom of the 26th page of results you’ll find this: the very first post that I made using the name Folkcat, to the newsgroup alt.family-names.sims. Time stamped 12:00 AM, Fri., July 7, 2000:

Aack! Another Jenny! This just won’t do….it just won’t do.

I’d been thinking about this anyway, what with the profusion of “cats” among
the goddesses here in Valhalla. In real life, I collect folk-art cats. So
from now on, call me…….

FolkCat
Simming in NH

And so, FolkCat was officially “born” on July 7, 2000. As you can see, I originally capitalized the “C” in the middle of the name. Sometime over the years that changed to lower case.

FolkCat quickly became my regular online identity, and the concept soon took on a life of its own. Sometime within the following year, I created this, my first painting on canvas:

The First Folkcat Painting
F is for Folkcat

Rembrandt I’m not, but I conveyed in my own, primitive, folk art style the idea I was after. As you can see, FolkCat is a bold, adventurous cat, who’s not quite entirely connected together. No two parts of her are the same color, her head floats a little separately from her body, and of all things, she’s a cat with wings.

Computer-drawn FolkCat
A Sleeker, Computer-drawn FolkCat

I really liked what I’d come up with in the painting, and decided one day to do a simpler version that could serve as a logo for my artwork. So I sat down at the computer with Corel PhotoPaint and came up with the version shown above, which I came to call the Flying FolkCat.

Folkcat in the Big Little Bead Store Logo
New Identity, New Version

The Flying Folkcat was used in the first incarnation of my bead store, when it was called Folkcat Art – Where Beads Take Wing. I changed the name within the first year, though, because people kept thinking we sold folk art. *sigh*. Under the new name, The Big Little Bead Store, I did a new version of Folkcat where she’s standing on her hind legs, looking invitingly out at the viewer and pointing out the store name with one paw. (The colors are off in the image above, they should be more like the Flying FolkCat.)

Over these years, the name Folkcat became synonymous with me. A philosophy of ultimate freedom developed from the image. Think about it, after all – a cat with wings. The independent, do-whatever-the-hell-she-wants, mind of a cat. With the wings to get to anything, anyplace.

You just try to stop her!

And Now

Folkcat has definitely taken on more meaning as my alter-ego. When Kat with a K was recently interviewed on New Hampshire Public Radio about Team New Hampshire and the Knitting Olympics, she mentioned my project and called me “Folkcat”. This was officially the first place I was called by that name in a mass-media venue.

Recently, Gryphon and I stopped to check on our geocache, and some other folks walking in the park saw my license plate in the parking lot – which, of course, read FOLKCAT. They were geocachers who had just found our hidden box. So imagine my surprise, as we’re walking in that little patch of woods, when I suddenly heard a shout of “Hello! Folkcat! Thank You!” And that was the first time I’ve been called to by the name Folkcat in public.

And the Future?

With this blog, the name of Folkcat is getting out there a little more each week. Who knows where this will go?

For now, at least, the mystery of “what’s a Folkcat, and why is she calling herself that?” has been revealed!

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