Fight and Flee

There wasn't much time for sewing yesterday. I left home pretty early to have breakfast with Erik. After that I ran a couple of errands and picked up some groceries...although no food for meals...just stuff from my list. I make that distinction because I'll have to go back tomorrow for more. It's not bad. I haven't purchased groceries for meals since December 29th. Not bad, eh?

After I got home I spent a little time on my quilt binding. I've turned the first corner. If you've been reading this blog for very long, then you know that turning the first corner means I've barely gotten started.

It was a bit of a rough day with Thing One and Thing Two yesterday. It's been two steps forward and one step back since the get-go, and yesterday was a one step back kind of a day. Each time that happens, I gain a little insight. Here's the thing: Maggie is so vulnerable and timid that she flees at the most minute provocation.

And Smitty is always up for a good game of chase. So when Maggie flees, he can't seem to help himself. He just has to run after her...which makes her run more...which makes him chase more...and on we go.

The squirt bottle is pretty much permanently attached to my shooting arm now, but I don't like it. Honestly, I don't think Smitty wants to hurt her, but she'll never get comfortable in the house if he's always chasing her. It's hard to feel very good about punishing Smitty for what he does naturally, but it's also hard to feel very good about isolating Maggie so that she can settle down. 

This morning has been a little better. Smitty gave chase first thing, and got a good squirting for it. After that, he went up into his He Man Woman Hater's Clubhouse, and he hasn't been seen since. I'm sure he doesn't understand why he's in trouble all the time. Maggie has had a chance to explore the house in peace, but that will all change once Smitty shows his face again.

We're still working on it, and all of your support and suggestions are very much appreciated. Patience, patience, patience. It's all we have available right now. That and stitching.

Today I have a day at home. My housework is finished for the day and it's raining out, so it's a perfect day to sew. When I finished stitching the upper dormer on the latest Gingerbread Square block,

I decided to move my hoop so that I could fit more of the left side of the design into the hoop. Here's where I'll pick it up tomorrow.

Next up is to work on Section 3 for A Quiltmaker's Garden. This was published in 5 sections in Quiltmaker Magazine in 2012 (I think). I started the first section in May of 2013. Here's how the quilt will look when it's all finished.

Section 3 has a total of nine blocks that are fairly complicated piecing puzzles. The first block is the paper-pieced watering can circled in the image below.

I did that one this morning. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate paper piecing? The first thing I did was to cut the 2nd piece too short. That was okay because I just took the seam slightly deeper when I sewed the watering can to the spout. Right away after that, I sewed piece 5 onto the block before sewing piece 4, meaning I had to take it out and start again. Finally (and happily), it was finished. The handle on the watering can is fusible applique.

Quilters are always so helpful, and sure as I'm born, one of you is going to send me a link to a tutorial about paper-piecing. Let me make this perfectly clear: I know how to paper piece. I've even taken a class...and read a book...and done plenty of it. But knowing how to do something and liking to do it are two completely different things. For example, I know how to get the hard water stains off my toilet bowl too. That doesn't mean it's my first choice of a thing to do on a sunny afternoon. So anyway...paper-piecing. It's the technique I love to hate, but I do love the outcome when it's finished. Had I known how much paper-piecing was involved in this quilt, I probably wouldn't have started it. But I know the quilt is going to be fantastic when it's finished, and so I soldier on.

Today I'm hoping to get quite a bit done. Before I can cross this one off the to-do list I need to make the two butterflies circled in the image below:

The five roses circled in the lower right-hand corner in the image below:

And the bluejay, circled in the image below.

Thankfully, the remaining blocks for this section are all traditional piecing, even if it is going to be complicated.

And with that I'm off to eat some lunch and continue sewing and convincing my two felines that we'll all be a lot better off if they can learn to peacefully coexist.

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Kaisievic said...

Ooh, good luck with the cats and your quilt project is so gorgeous, Barbara, please do persevere despite the paper piecing!

Lee Ann L. said...

It sounds like Smitty is a prey driven cat. Abby Gail is also prey driven and chases after my Gracie, a tripod. I rescued Abby at 4 weeks of age; so, I was able to train her on the "timeout" method. She is extremely intelligent and needs to be entertained often. I have trained her to do some tricks. She recently jumped Gracie from behind and I immediately said "timeout" and she knew right away what she did wrong and headed for the closet (her timeout spot). It gives Dan fits of giggles when he witnesses her doing this. Anyway, timeout gives her time to return to a calmer self.

I do try to give her play time and boy, she needs lots of it as she is a very high energy cat. We know she has Abyssinian in her ancestry and we suspect Bengal also in her ancestry due to her freckling in her coat. Both breeds require lots of play time because they're high strung cats. Why or why did I rescue this cat? But, I'm glad I did because she helped me live during a very dark time in my life -- she gave me a reason to keep on keeping on.

Anyway, it might be having play sessions with Smitty in the morning and evening which might reduce his need to go after the other cat in the household. I use a feather wand and/or teaser wand which gives them chance to hunt / stalk / jump which is what Abby needs. Don't know about Smitty though. Just a suggestion.

Kate said...

Ditto Lee Ann's feather wand - but with both of them, maybe? So they start to see each other as someone to play with instead of chase with? Creamsicle was timid for about two weeks with us, then I think she figured out that CC is an idiot, so it was easy to take the Alpha Cat spot. And then the kids were home for Christmas break and she had to get over being timid because there was always a kid wherever she wanted to go. And then in the last two weeks, she and CC decided to be all Thelma and Louise. They kick my older son out of his room every morning so they can sleep on his bed.

Kate said...

Ahh, I meant to add - over break, the kids spent a lot of time with the feather toys, which helped Creamsicle not be timid, and showed her that CC was fun to play with, instead of just smacking her around then running away.

Debby said...

We have had several cats we have had to introduce to one another over the years. It takes LOTS of time. Pam Bennett-Johnson's books and website have been tremendously helpful. http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/. I even had her come over for a consultation once because we had adopted a semi-feral who had displaced aggression issues. It took a year, but he is great now.

Vertical space helps, as do hidey-holes for the timid kitties. Pam's book Cat vs. Cat helped us a lot. We are currently trying to integrate two cats we brought back from Greece in a fit of insanity. Every cat has his/her "safe" place and that works out best for everyone.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Not advice from here - patience and time. Mine sill have an occassional 'who's the boss' battle after 4 yrs.

crazy quilter said...

I think the kitties are making some progress. Smitty just dos not understand the hard life Ms Maggie has had. Hopefully she will overcome her shyness and he will settle down and understand her. You are right pack your patience every day and before long this will just be a distant memory. Your paper piecing is looking quite wonderful. Wish I had your great embroidery skills . Enjoy your day!

DeeDee said...

Kate, we have two cats and one of them has only been with us for a few months. He's still a baby, only about 8 months old and the older of the two gets so frustrated with him! But we have done the same thing - played with both of them at the same time with a Cat Dancer and it has helped tremendously. It also helps in our house that the older cat fights back if she's unhappy being chased. She's definitely the alpha kitty.

Dana Gaffney said...

That first picture really shows how beautiful that glitter thread looks against that blue, gorgeous! I know the trip is looming, but I do believe things will get better as Maggie feels more secure, she's been through hell so it's all about time and comfort and yes patience.

Auntiepatch said...

Paper piecing takes patience and cat piecing takes patience. They will work it out when they are ready. The Queens have always been the Alpha Cats in our family. As soon as Maggie figures things out, peace will reign. Just give them time and love.

Kate said...

Hopefully things between the kitties have been a bit better since this post. They'll figure it out eventually. I'm with you on the paper piecing. It's not my favorite thing either, but you suffer with it to get the results you can't get any other way.

quiltzyx said...

I only dislike paper piecing for the first block I'm doing usually, until I get the hang of it again - HA! But your watering can looks just fine to me. I've done a few where my piece was too small & I didn't realize until I folded it the right way after stitching. I just added another teeny piece & sewed it on to fill in and away I went. BUT, the PP I've done are basically the same block over & over too, so it was easy to get into a routine. I don't know that I'd feel the same if they were mostly different ones like in your pattern.