Monday, January 25, 2016

Requiem for Velma

Darlings, it's been a couple of weeks since my last blog. I apologize. I've been in kind of a funk lately. My beautiful tiny black cat, Velma, died in her sleep early in the morning on January 8th.

I'd had Velma and her sister, Roxie, since they were tiny baby kitties. When I brought them home, they each fit in my cupped hand. I was there when they learned how to purr. Velma saw me through eleven and a half years. Four apartments. Five significant others.

Around Thanksgiving, I noticed that she was developing some growths on her chest. Around Christmas, I saw that those growths were impeding her lung capacity. Through it all, she ate, drank, played, and snuggled just like always. But I knew I had to do something. I was waiting for my first paycheck after our holiday break from the opera to take her to the vet. She had other plans. My roommate, Sarah, woke up first that morning. She went into the kitchen and saw Velma lying on her side under the kitchen table. On a normal morning, Velma would bounce up when someone entered the kitchen in the morning to see if there was kibble or fresh water to be had. This time Velma didn't move a muscle. Sarah came into my room and said, "Dawn-Marie, wake up sweetie. Something is wrong with Velma." I got up quickly and dashed to the kitchen. I touched Velma's cold little body. She was gone.

Sarah and I surmised from Velma's position that she hadn't suffered. She was lying on her side, all four legs extended, tail curled gracefully behind her. It appeared that she had gone to sleep and simply forgotten to wake up. The silver lining is that Roxie got to see Velma. Got to know that she had died, that she hadn't just gone away and not come home. She got to mourn Velma as Sarah and I did. Roxie was disconsolate that day. She was listless and occasionally let out a mournful caterwaul. I was scared that she would never be my happy, silly Roxie again. Thankfully, in the past couple of weeks, Roxie has learned to love her only child status.

Velma was the alpha cat. However, she was a savvy alpha cat, allowing the physically dominant Roxie to believe that she was the alpha most of the time. It was beautiful to watch her machinations! Roxie played checkers while Velma played chess. When We moved into the Barbie Dreamhouse, Roxie stayed in the cat carrier for so long that I worried that she was sick (She wasn't; she was just chicken!!). Velma, on the other hand, sprang out of the carrier to find out what new adventure she was on. She explored every inch of the apartment and rubbed her face on everything, claiming it as her own.

Velma loved gyro meat and french fries. She loved ice cream -- the cow milk kind, not the coconut milk kind, thank you very much -- and was rather disappointed with me when I went vegan. She loved yarn. Oh, how she loved yarn! Roxie lost interest in yarn very early in my crochet journey. But Velma was obsessed with it til the very end. One of my favorite pictures of her was one I took just over a month ago. I was crocheting in bed and she fell asleep in the middle of the skeins of yarn. I captioned the photo, "My shop foreman, sleeping on the job!"

Velma had just this summer discovered the joys of iced coffee. I tried to shoo her away from my glass, but she just kept sneaking back to lap it up. Just what I needed, a caffeinated cat!!

Velma was a beautiful, funny, nurturing little weirdo. My world got much smaller when she left me. I took comfort in the fact that she died on David Bowie's birthday. And then Bowie died two days later. But that's another story for another blog.

That's all the news for now. This week's Stitch 'n' Bitch is Thursday at 7pm at R Public House. I hope to see you there. They make a mean vegan pizza. Until next time, Peace, Love, and Yarn!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Stitchin' and Bitchin'

Hi, sweeties! Happy Thursday! I hope you're all kicking major butt in your chosen endeavors in 2016.

Tonight is the first Stitch 'n' Bitch of the New Year. People are often very curious about the term Stitch 'n' Bitch. No, we're not a bunch of bitter old broads sitting around and knitting our enemies' names into our work like Madame Defarge. We do a lot more laughing than bitching, actually. It rhymes, friends! It just rhymes! No, I didn't make it up. Debbie Stoller has a series of knitting and crocheting books called Stitch 'n' Bitch. So I lovingly appropriated the term. Yes, we will teach or advise if you've always wanted to learn to knit or crochet, or if you're a neophyte and need some guidance on a project. No, you don't have to knit or crochet to hang with us. We don't discriminate. People draw, fold origami, do bookbinding, quilt, cross-stitch, or just sit and chat. All of these things are totally acceptable.

Years ago, when I started my Stitch 'n' Bitches, it was just my beloved Matt Andersen and me working diligently on our projects. Matt is deaf, so he can't talk while he knits or crochets -- he must choose one or the other! So when other hearing people joined our merry band, they were surprised at how quiet our Stitch 'n' Bitch was. I had just grown accustomed to stitching in silence. (People who know me well are laughing at the prospect of me doing ANYTHING in silence!) On the rare occasions when Matt is able to join us, I do a LOT more bitching than stitching. In sign language, of course!!

Tonight's festivities are at Rogers Park Social, 6920 N. Glenwood. The merriment begins at 7:00. Please feel free to join us if you're in the neighborhood!

Here's a picture of my very talented friend Victoria and me crocheting at the Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest in August.
That's the news for now, my darlings! We'll see you at Social if you're able. Until next time, Peace, Love, and Yarn!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy 2016, my darlings! I hope your holidays were filled with laughter and love. Mine most certainly were, and I'm looking forward to a brilliant, creative, and joyful new year.

Stitch 'n' Bitches are making a triumphant return in 2016! If you have a portable craft that you like to play at, please join us for crafting, socializing, and imbibement. You don't have to be a crocheter or a knitter -- we don't discriminate. We've had pen and ink artists, illustrators, bookbinders, quilters, cross-stitchers, and even loved ones who don't craft and just want to hang out! We'll be at Rogers Park Social, 6920 North Glenwood, this Thursday at 7:00. This will mark the return of our first and third Thursday at Social, second and fourth Thursday at R Public House, 1508 West Jarvis. For more information, join the Facebook group, Rogers Park Stitchers.

These fine establishments are also the homes of my Tipsy Craft Circus neighborhood craft markets. We'll be at R Public House in March and September, and at Rogers Park Social in June and November. If you or someone you love is an artist or crafter who wants to sell their wares in a fun and laid-back environment, please get in touch with me for details on those events. 

I'm working on some new projects and building inventory so I can take my Etsy store live again. It's been dormant for an embarrassingly long time, and it's time to make things happen in the online market arena. Here are a couple of my new items that I'll be selling on Etsy.
These are my harpist gloves. This yarn is so delicious and soft, and my best friend Sarah says they make her feel kinda tough when she wears them!!

This is the prototype of a coffee cozy I designed. I sold a bunch of these for Christmas gifts!! They were a very popular gift for teachers.

I'm also excited about learning some new stitches this year to up my crochet game. I was inspired by my dear friend Victoria to learn the primrose stitch, and it was life-changing! Now I want to learn more specialty stitches. And when I learn them, I'll share them with you.

That's about all the news for now. My goal is to publish two posts a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, so we'll see you back here on Thursday. Meanwhile, Peace, Love, and Yarn!