Wednesday, August 26, 2009

T-Shirt yarn rug

Well, I finally finished my back hall rug made of t-shirts. Because it was going to be used for a utility area where the big dogs thunder through to go outside, I didn't bother cutting the t-shirts into nice strips, I just tore them into about 1 1/2 inch strips. First, though, I cut off the bottom edges and set them aside. I pulled off any peeling plastic from iron-ons that I could, those that I couldn't I cut the shirt off even below. I left stains that didn't come out in the laundry, paint, printing, bleach marks, and any color unevenness, they just added to the design as far as I was concerned. I didn't worry about the weight of the shirts, I figured it would be pummeled so much a few ripples wouldn't matter.
To keep it from having huge ripples from uneven "yarn" sizes, every so often I added a row of two of a stretch double knit salvaged from an old stained house coat of my mother's (the light blue in the closeup) as well as a few other double knits. Those I cut into roughly 2' wide strips because they were so light. I just cut the material in spirals, and if there was a corner, I didn't bother rounding it. I also fudged the number of stitches, adding one here, or skipping one there. I didn't mind ripples, I didn't want waves. I used a single crochet and a Q hook. When it was as big as I wanted, I used the set aside bottom edges of the shirts for an edging all around.
It took a lot more t-shirts than I thought it would, in order to finish it and keep it a free project, I had to beg for stained and tattered tees from co-workers. That worked too well I fear, because now I have a stash of tees to make something else out of. It seems that everybody has tattered and stained tees laying about, and this way they can get rid of them guilt free.
If you decide you want to make a rug out of t-shirts, and you want it to lie flat, you need to cut your yarn evenly. There are several ways to do this, and some good video tutorials on the net. The way I do it if evenness matters is to use a quilting guide , the kind with the square measuring marks, and a rotary cutter. First cut off the bottom hem and across the chest just below the arms to make a tube. Slip the guide into the tube and line up the bottom edge of the material with one of the lines. Make an angled cut across 2-3 squares and up to the width you want your yarn so that your leading edge has an angled point. then cut across at the measure you want, 1, 1 1/2, 2 as many times as you can fit. Turn the tube of cloth and continue the lower cut around, angling it at the ends to join with the next strip so that you have a continuous strip. With careful cutting you can have very even yarn. Roll it into a ball, giving the yarn a good yank to stretch it. As it rebounds, the edges curl in, making a very neat, round yarn. When you have finished your rug, paint the back with latex to make it slip resistant, or you can coat it with rubber cement. Because nothing short of gluing the rug down will hold it in place with these dogs, I did neither, but it really doesn't slip underfoot at all.
BTW, the cut off parts of the shirts shall not go to waste, I am cutting them up to make a rag rug. When I get that done (in however many years from now) I'll let you know how that works.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jet is not afraid of dogs

As these pictures of Jet the kitten and Chico the big dog show, Jet is not afraid of dogs, either. In many ways this kitten is ready to be adopted. The only thing holding him up is that he still has to be pulled out from under the cabinet yet when loose. He is ready for a home with a person or family who has a lot of energy and also understands (or is willing to learn) what a not instant kitty really means.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MORE exciting yarn news

While at the thrift store finding the future dog blanket (below post), I found three other afghans and instantly knew that I wanted to use them for a wedding ring afghan. The top picture shows the balls of yarn I ended up with once I frogged (ripped it, ripped it), or unraveled it for those non-crocheters out there. The afghan they are sitting on is another buy at $1.50. Large enough to completely cover one and in perfect shape. I never liked harvest gold and avocado before, but this one I like. I think I will keep it. The other three afghans were $1, $3 and $.75. Now if I ever finish my UFOs (UnFinished Objects) I'll make me that quiltagan. Of course, if I make it, I'll probably just have to give it as a Christmas or wedding present, it would be too pretty to suffer the slings and arrows and other unmentionable onslaughts of living in a rescue household. At least if the picture in my mind is the quiltagan that I make it will be.

While frogging the one with the fringe, I learned a new stitch. It works up very quickly. I have seen it before, but I had no concept how it was done. I'll set it down here, and if anyone knows the name of the pattern, please let me know. If there is a designer out there who deserves credit, let me know so I can give due credit for this simple, quick and pretty pattern.

for pattern stitch using american convention: foundation chain multiples of 20+ 13 *double crochet 10, chain 10* repeat from *to* across, always start and end row with 10 double crochet. Repeat rows til desired length, single crochet down closest side, don't cut yarn and secure stitches so they don't pull out.
Now the tricky part to explain. I wish I had thought to take pictures, but it was only by taking it apart that I understood it. The chain 10s make a ladder of chain 10 rungs. Starting at the bottom rung on the first ladder, pinch the center and pull it up behind the 2nd rung . Pinch the center of the 2nd rung, bring it through the pinched center of the 1st rung, bringing it behind and behind the 3rd rung. Done right, it twists them all together and the top one holds the lower ones together. If you let go of the top twist, the whole thing falls apart quicker than a run in a cheap pair of nylons. At the top of the ladder pin or tie the last twist so it can't come loose. Do all the ladders this way. Pick up yarn, single crochet in 10 foundation chains, *[single crochet in 3 foundation chains, skip 4 foundation chains (which forms the loop), single crochet in 3 foiundation chains], single crochet in next 10 foundation chains * Repeat from*to* across. Single crochet up side. Single crochet in tops of 10 double crochet, *[single crochet in1 chain, flatten pinched loop with finger, single crochet in 2nd chain while also going through 5th chain (near side top of loop) single crochet in 6th chain (far side top loop) also going into 9th chain, single crochet in 10th chain], single crochet in tops of 10 double crochet*, repeat from *to* across. Fasten off.
I hope I described the stitch well enough for someone to try it. If anybody tries it, let me know how it works.

EXCITING find, if you like yarn, that is

One of the things I love to do is cruise the thrift shops for things to remake. I found another thrift that I just love. I'm always on the lookout for yarn. I don't know why, when my mom died she left me a huge metal cabinet full of yarn. It just seems I can't find the exact yarn I'm looking for in all my stash, and I'm too cheap to buy new skeins and can't justify it anyway. This place didn't have any yarns, so I wandered over to look at blankets, needing another for one of the dog crates. Lo and behold, there was this beautifully organized rack of knitted and crochet afghans in wonderful yarns. I found one that though big and thick was badly felted, perfect for a dog to use, but I didn't want to spend more than $10 and typically around here a full size afghan costs $30-$60. I looked at the tag anyway and the price was an amazing $1.50.

Update on Jet and the found Yorkie

Well, Jet has sure settled in. Last night when I was holding him, he discovered the pleasures of tickle-tummy. Then he washed my face. I could just hear the "tsk-tsk, people just don't groom themselves properly, I guess I'll just have to take care of that for them". Today he was lounging on top of his hidey-hole, watching me. He loves to snuggle and is already head butting me.
We have taken to calling the little Yorkie that we found Missy. This morning, she decided to start showing her true Yorkie self and take over the canine pack. I wondered how long it would take. She started with walking behind the other dogs and lifting her leg to pee over their pee. When they came in, Chuck was still snoozing, so Chico, the big American pit decided to go back to bed and jumped up to lie on Chuck's feet. Missy jumped up beside him and just looked at him. Chico sighed and moved over to the doggy bunk and she settled into his spot with a self-satisfied smirk.

Friday, August 14, 2009

This week we found a dog and caught a kitten

This little Yorkshire girl just walked up to our door last Saturday (August 8th, 2009) and just asked to come in. She's very sweet, looks and acts like she was well cared for at one time. We think she understands English, though no commands we have tried, but we live in the heart of a Hispanic neighborhood, so we can't be sure. Her hair is terribly sunburned and her feet were burned by the pavement and she was full of cactus and burrs. She has no microchip. If you are missing a yorkie, or know someone who is, please email me at She already has an interested adopter, so if you want someone to adopt, please adopt one of the cats we have available. (Read Ebonetta's story below.)


This little boy was caught last night, after midnight August 14th, 2009. Five minutes after we caught him, Chuck held him and I examined him. This morning he was purring for his pictures. Believe it or not, he is actually a feral kitten. He was born in the junkyard across the street. A few weeks ago, we were taking the garbage out, and he was sitting right there on the porch. Behind him were the two spayed cats we call The Aunties, with what can only be called encouraging expressions on their faces. He looked at us a long moment, but decided not to come in at that time, thank you. But he was very curious, raising his neck like E.T. (if you're old enough to remember
that) and trying to see inside the house. As soon as we caught
him this morning, we took him to a secure facility, which we
call the bathroom. Right away, he was looking around and
putting his paws out to touch things. We have had a few other kittens this bold, and I think they are too curious to be afraid As you can see, he is unafraid. We think he will be ready for
adoption in about three weeks.

Wave for the camera, Jet

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Recycle art Lamp

Take some pretty tins and some old lamp parts...
An old shade and some paint, on top place a small glass globe to shine...
And you save
space in a landfill,
have a pretty space
to set your drink
and a nice light to
read by.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ebonetta's pictures

Hi, Ebonetta here. Daddy calls me Netty, but Mama calls me Squirrel because she says that when I'm leading her somewhere I look like a little squirrel flicking my tail. I'm looking for a new home, not because mommy and daddy don't love me, but because they are trying to rescue as many starfish as they can, (a whole litter is out there waiting for their turn) and I'm ready for my own place. I wouldn't mind having my brother Onyx with me, he gets scared easier than I do and I could hold his paw, but I'm always up for adventure and I could live without him, as long as I have someone willing to play with me. I get along with dogs and cats, and even babies. I'm clean and not destructive, I've been fixed (though I'm not sure what was broken) and mama always says I have the perfect kitty manners. I do have a big strike against my finding the perfect forever home, though. You see, I used to be a feral kitten. Don't know what a feral is? A feral is a domestic cat, bred to be a house cat but born in the streets. Sometimes our mothers were someone's pet, sometimes it was our grandma, but a feral isn't born in a house. People sometimes call ferals wild cats, but a wild cat is something like a lynx or lion that was never bred to be a house cat. Anyway, the two older cats my mama calls the aunties brought me and my brother to the house we now live in and told us to walk into this little cage for a treat. The door shut, and we were trapped and a few minutes later mommy and daddy came out of the house and carried us inside. I can tell you, we were plenty scared, but the aunties had filled our heads with wondrous stories, and within a very short time, we found out how great snuggles were, and then how fun playsticks are and mousies and even the dogs and cats made great toys for us. Momma says we aren't "instant kitties" and she thinks that if I find a good home, I still will hide for a bit until I know the people I move in with. I think she's wrong about me, though I'm sure my brother will be like that. Me? I'm brave enough to let daddy's grandbaby pull my tail, and I don't even scratch him for that. I can't imagine anything scaring me. I said I had a few strikes against me, and momma says a biggie is that I don't like to sit on laps. I am just not a lap cat. I like to be near you, I like my ears and belly rubbed and if you ignore me, I will pat you to get your attention, but I don't like to sit on laps. I have too good of manners to squirm if you pick me up, but I'll get off as soon as I can. But I think not everyone wants a cat all over them all the time hugging them like my brother does, am I right? It doesn't mean I'm not affectionate or anything, some people don't like to be hugged, some cats don't like laps, that's the way I see it. And speaking of seeing, I keep my eyes open as wide as I can so I can see a gnat move from across the room, not because I'm a nervous Nettie in case you wonder when you see my pictures. I'm always alert for things to go play with.
So, if you can see it in your heart to give a little black kitty like me a forever home, please let my mommy know. She says she won't let me go with just anyone, there are adoption procedures to follow, but I just know you are perfect enough for me, and being perfect, you won't find adoptions hard.
Love, Nettie.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

First time blog

This is my first blog ever, so be patient with me, please.
I named this blog starfish after the famous Starfish story by Loren Eisley from his book Throwing Stars. In essence, the story relates a person on the beach at low tide watching a young person picking up and throwing starfish back into the ocean. When asked why throw the starfish into the ocean, the answer is to save them. But there are miles of beach and thousands of starfish, they can't all be saved, you can't make a difference. The youngster picks up another and replies "It makes a difference to that one."
That's what my husband and I try to do, make a difference to one at a time. We do TNR (trap, neuter and return) for a small colony of feral cats that comes to our house. Anytime we catch a kitten or a tamable cat, we tame them and put them up for adoptions. Tamed ferals are unique, they are not instant cats, but they can bond as strongly with you as any cat born and raised in your home. If you are interested in adopting one, we have some available, as well as some adult fosters that were never feral, and some we are about to catch for taming. As I go along, I intend to post their stories and pictures.
But this blog is also about other interests, such as crafts, Christmas, stories, crochet, knit, recipes, even video games. You name it, I've probably got an interest in it, or at least an opinion, so let's see what happens down the road, shall we?