Wednesday, March 21, 2007

That Darn Cat - Again

Continuing the "Weird Cat" chronicles: Saturday I went to a local yarn shop and fell in love with a big skein of overdyed merino wool yarn. It's soft, and it's gently colored red, blue, yellow, green, and brown. It makes me think of an old circus poster. I bought the skein, and two solid-color balls (I'm thinking of knitting a scarf of mitered squares). That evening, with the help of a friend, I wound the skein into a ball. You've seen it done, if you haven't done it yourself: The friend puts two hands through the skein while you pull the yarn off and wrap it around your fingers to start. I put the ball back into the plastic bag it came in (with the two other balls) and went to bed. Sunday morning I came into my office to boot up my computer – and found the beautiful overdyed ball in the cats' water bowl, which is a goldfish bowl. The wool was saturated with water (and possibly a little cat spit, too). Another ball was partially unwound all over the office floor. The third ball had escaped to hide behind a door and so was intact.
I know it wasn't an accident that the ball went into the water bowl because some months back, Snaps would take the balled-up socks out of my shoes and drop them into the water bowl, too. (I lay out my clothes on the night before I head out for a very early morning session of water aerobics.) About the time I began to learn not to put the socks where he could get them, he quit doing it.
I suppose I should be grateful he doesn't drop them into the toilet.
I unwound the ball to drape the yarn over a towel rack to dry, and it seems none the worse for the experience. But that darn cat!
I'm doing some research for my next book. I love doing research. I learn so many interesting things, and often an interview will translate into a scene in the book. Once in awhile I'll gain a new aspect that will re-write the whole plot. Right now I'm looking into Buddhist reliquaries; that is, objects containing a sacred fragment of the Buddha's body or something he used, such as a garment or scroll. Yesterday I learned that every single relic of the Buddha is fake, because it never occurred to Buddhists to take an interest in relics until the Buddha had been dead for hundreds of years – and he was cremated, besides. Still, since he lived six hundred years before Christ, some of these reliquaries are very, very old. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has a large Asian section, and it has a Buddhist reliquary about nine or ten inches high. No indication of what it contained – or contains. It looks something like an elaborate hand bell. I am thinking my reliquary contains a scrap of cloth purported to be from the Buddha's robe. I spoke with a woman at a different museum who told me what the fragment might look like. So it was a fruitful day.
I will have a marvelous give-away for the book signing for Thai Die: Thai silk floss! This is a unique product, because Thai silk manufacturers don't sell Thai silk except as fabric. But a friend who has a business in Thailand persuaded a silk factory to set aside a spool of silk thread for sale to me. I have to buy the whole spool, two kilos of it which, when you consider the extraordinarily light weight of silk is an enormous amount. I don't know yet what color it will be, but I've already talked to Denise Williams, who designs the counted cross stitch patterns for the back of my books, and she is excited to design a pattern that will use a yard or less of this silk. Then I will give away that amount of Thai silk thread at book signings. Of course, the pattern will work just fine if the stitcher uses ordinary floss, too. But this is looking well down the road. The book won't come out till late 2008, probably. If I can get it written.


Deborah P said...

Hey, get that book written! I love your Betsy Devonshire (I'm not with my books-did I get that right?) series.

Then, please come to Birmingham, Alabama for a book signing. What a great giveaway!

Monica Ferris said...

Birmingham . . . sounds nice! What a great winter get-away a tour of the south would be. I've been to Savannah in March, some years back. Hit it just right, the weather was perfect. Gee, I could go to New Orleans and Atlanta, too. Looking out my window at the raw, wet, cold weather, that is sounding better and better!

FloridaSuzie said...

The book sounds fascinating, can't wait to read it! I'm ROFL over your cat dunking your beautifully dyed yarn in his water. One of our cats does the same thing, she puts her most beloved toys in her water bowl. Evidently, Snaps found the new thread quite impressive.

Monica Ferris said...

Your cat does that, too? I thought Snaps was unique! Do you have any idea what it's about? Are our cats part raccoon? He loves me to turn on the faucet in our bathroom for him to play in and drink from -- is that part of it?