Breaking News! Cat on lap.

Poekie is on my lap for the first time ever:
Poekie op schoot, voor t eerst! Lillepoes moest er ook bij natuurlijk. :)

We’ve had her for … oh, seven years now?
It’s only been a year and a half now that I’ve been living in the city more permanent. In that time she slowly allowed me to share my husband with her.

Particularly the last two months she’s becoming more and more friendly towards me. Not allowed to pick her up but am allowed to cuddle her when she stands close.

And there’s the chair. I think it’s my knitting chair. But she feels it’s hers. Today she’s big enough to share it with me, for the first time ever.

Of course Lillepoes had to join too. And she needs to be some distance from The Big Mean Tortie so my chest it was.

5 december: are you kitten me?

This is the snow leopard I made for my nephew yesterday:
With this gift:

Turned out he got the exact same LEGO StarWars Advent Calendar from his mum!

This is a lovely little knitted cat I got on Saturday from Tineke from Atelier Het Groene Schaep:
tiny knitted cattiny knitted cat
Isn’t it darling? It’s a pattern by Tiny Owl knits

Today the post arrived with gifts for the cats:
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A new scratching post and the purple anti gobble food bowl Luna showed off last week when we baked spiced cat cookies at her house.

These are all the gifts for humans that Saint Nicholas dropped down the chimney. We’ll be taking them to Gouda later today:
Sinterklaas 2016
I still have some poems to write.

If you think this looks like a wooden shoe….
Sinterklaas 2016
you’d be right. It’s a wooden shoe you can hang on the wall outside and fill with peanuts. It’s a bird feeder, Dutch style. It’s a gift for the husband of Lieneke. This one needs a poem desperately!

This box has a picture of a gnome’s hat on it. On top it reads “don’t throw” (in German). I know someone who likes gnomes
Sinterklaas 2016 from Lieneke Bosman

and this is the gift that’s just plain silly:
Sinterklaas 2016
Hee hee hee! She’s going to love it! (I hope)

This is the cat that had to scoot over because I needed room to wrap the gifts. Not pleased.
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This is the colour I got from the Wolop Adventbox: purple!

I’m going to combine it with my supporting grey:

I’m inspired to use a pattern from this book:

This book I got from Sinterklaas a couple of years ago, when Lieneke from Wolop had travelled to Japan with her husband. Japan! Where they love knitting and the Scandinavian style of living.
And also:

Cats in cowls! You are kitten me and I love it.

Hiding from cleaners with Lillepoes, not crocheting.

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Today the window cleaner is here AND the lady that cleans our house every other week. Naturally Lillepoes and I are hiding in the attic:

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Our attic is a great place. It has high beams which are just peeled tree trunks, really. Great wooden structure, all put together with pegs and joints. Not a nail or drop of glue anywhere. Here I keep my art supplies (I used to be an artist before I fell ill in 2008) and a lot of my arty books and inspirations are here.

Over the past few months I’ve put my boxes with fabric here. And some wool. And a wheel or two. I hadn’t been up here for ages because for years I lived in the cabin and there’s a lot of city noise up here. Even when I was still creating art it wasn’t very nice up here, with all the noise. Always have to wear ear mufflers which means I cannot wear my glasses.

But today I’m here and I love it. Over the past year I’ve grown more resilient towards noise. And this is Lillepoes’ and my special place. When she first came to live with us we put her here, to make her feel safe. (She came from a bad home, at 4 yo.) I slept here for a couple of nights and she grew to love me and this attic very quickly.
All these years later she still enjoys being up here and she’s always inviting me up here and spend some time with her.

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It’s a mess but it’s all right. I’m watching a podcast and crocheting on my blanket until it’s safe to go downstairs again. The curtains are drawn because it’s a whopping 30 degrees out there today!

Talking about crochet: a friend of mine offered to crochet me this:

A lalylala pattern called ROCO the raccoon, designed by Lydia Tresselt

I’ve been wanting a Roco for a long time now! It’s been in my queue for a couple of years but I knew I couldn’t make it because you have to crochet these kind of stuffies really tight and I can’t do that with my shoulder impingement. But I kept it in my queue because maybe I could do it in smalls steps or something?

I also wanted to change to colours to mimic Lillepoes’ colours:

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Lalylala is a very well known designer and she has a distinctive style. The patterns are offered in many languages. Her website is here.

There’s a community of crocheters who adore her style and make moderations to her designs, such as mini-versions, which the designer then shares on her site. With the pattern that particular crocheter has made!

My friend didn’t know I’ve been adoring Lalylala’s designs for some time now. She just mentioned she is crocheting a lamb by her at the moment and that she has several of her patterns.

I told her about Roco in my queue and then she offered to make him for me. To which I said “NO thank you” immediately. As a member of the “Selfish Knitters and Crocheters Ravelry Group” (Meaning I create what I want for whom I want. Not because of x-mas or social obligation or because some pedestrian thinks yarn creations are cheap or fast or because some mermaid/hot dog blanket is doing the rounds on Facebook.) I know how much work this is and I feared that just because we were talking about it and just because she’s able to make it and I am not she felt obliged to offer.

We talked on about these patterns and she said that for herself she will be making Dirk the Dragon:

DIRK the dragon / dinosaur by Lydia Tresselt

But the next day she brought Roco up again. She insisted she’d like to make one for me. I started to talk about payment then (150 euros/dollars would be a good starting point for one stuffie) but she wasn’t having it. She then explained, in small words so I would understand, that she crochets for relaxation and that she really wants something to crochet in order to relax. She would like to crochet more of Lalylala’s designs but she has no use for the products, she wants the process. It’s not like I would do her a favour by granting her to crochet for me, no, but she would like to crochet something and then give it to me, especially seeing that I love the design and the work involved. Win-win, so to say.

I got off my high horse and understood and thankfully accepted her gift. And now I’m all excited! I had already the yarn in mind I’d want “Lilleroco” made from and I knew I had to do some study to figure out which colour goes where. But before that we had to figure out which yarn would be good for Dirk the Dragon. (We did agree that I buy the wool for both stuffies.)

 colourway 285, pic by Eki

So I studied the pattern for Dirk and it’s made with Trekking sock yarn with neps. Not cotton, which is usually used for stuffies and amugurimi, but wool containing sock yarn. She loves the colour and the nepps but this particular colour is no longer on the market: Zitron Trekking XXL colour 285. I did find a couple of Ravelers who still have a ball and was thinking about asking them to sell it to me (kind of a social no-no on Ravelry, asking people about stash items which are not marked “for sale” but I was willing to do it).

But first I showed her the various sock yarns that are on the market, including the Trekking XXL, and asked her to crochet a little swatch with some of them. Just to find out if wool yarn will work for her.
We’re both glad she did because she found out she doesn’t like it one bit!

The wool stretches where cotton does not. And Trekking is not soft, it’s kind of scratchy (just like all the sock yarns made from wool such as Opal, Fabel, Regia and the lot).
However I do have some high end sock yarns which are way softer, including one with nepps:

Dutch Wool Diva Diva Sock Donegal Nepps in colourway Statue, I still have some left from my Nurmulito shawl and I could perhaps have some dyed up in a good Dirk colour. But my friend flat out refused to try this out. To her 8 euros for a ball of yarn is expensive. 17 euros is plainly ridiculous!

I don’t think it would have worked anyway. This yarn is a two ply (not round) and the nepps are in brown, white and black where my friend fell for the brightly coloured ones in the Trekking. Plus it’s still wool and stretches.

With all the sock yarns out it was clear there’s not a good yarn, with nepps, in a good colour for her Dirk. In cotton yarns nepps don’t even seem to exist. This cotton, however, does exist:

Scheepjes Stonewashed, 130 m per 50 grams, cotton with a touch of acrylic, shown here in only some of the colours.

For Roco/Lilleroco I had already settled on this yarn because I like the semi-solidness of the colour. When I saw the yarn at Sticks & Cups in Utrecht a couple of weeks ago again I noticed how good it looks and how soft it is. The only reason my blanket is not made from this is that cotton is tougher to crochet with than the Scheepjes Crafter I’m using. And the price.

After our week of searching for good Dirk yarn -I even contemplated spinning some- my friend now thinks that Scheepjes Stonewashed will be good for her Dirk too. The examples others made look promising:

 Dirk and pic by Lezelie

So that will be it then. In a few weeks I will visit Sticks & Cups in Utrecht again and then I will buy the yarn for both Dirk and Lilleroco.

This gives me the time to figure out which colours should go where to make Raccoon Roco into Lilleroco:

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Lillepoes has a black face and black ears. Blue eyes which I’m thinking might be fun to indicate with the little mask Roco is wearing in blue. Her white toes ask for faster transition of the colour changes. The one on the left is the one I’m currently at.

I’m playing with colours again, in my attic, it is lovely  🙂

STOP! PLAYTIME OVER!
THIS JUST IN!

“CAT DISCOVERS CLOSED DOOR”
THIS IS NOT RIGHT!

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THE HUMAN MUST FIX THIS!
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THANK YOU. BYE.

Hello?
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I want to come in again. There’s too much noise and weird cleaning smells downstairs.

Frankly, I’m disappointed in you and the house you keep.
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Weird Wool Wednesday: cats in cowls.

These two pictures are permanent on my desk top:

cat in cowl

I don’t remember where I got the first one from but the second one is a Moebius Cowl by Cat Bordhi, knit by Csteekjes for her cat Genki.

I love the expression of bliss on their little faces! These pictures make me happy 🙂

Because I may have a thing for cats in cowls this came in the mail today:

cat in cowl, by Amuru on Etsy

A felt creation by Amuru on Etsy.

It’s a little pocket friend. To carry with you, as a secret supporter when you have to face the world.

We’re not the best of friends yet…because I don’t like its cowl. It’s a piece of cut off knitwear, no cast on, no bind off, and it’s sewn together. Handsewn though, so that’s love.

felt cat in cowl, by Amuru on etsy
As a knitter, I would like any cat to have a handknit cowl.

I also think its crocheted flower is too brightly coloured to my taste and compared to the shop example:

Such beautiful, tranquil colours! Just like the colour palette that makes me happy at the moment.

My felt cat has a hot pink flower and much blue in its cowl. The contrast between these two is not very tranquil and it distracts me from its lovely face…

This is all a matter of personal preference of course plus limited resources of the creator (she reuses knit fabric) plus monitor display. So I confess readily to being nitpicky and perfectionist.
That’s why my complaints should not be taken too seriously.

That’s also why my compliments on the other hand weigh heavily: The cat is very well made and I’m impressed how Amuru manages to repeat the same cat over and over, of equal quality. My cat looks exactly as the example, same expression.

I specifically researched this skill because I’m always weary when a seller uses the same picture for multiple items. Luckily some people who bought one of her foxes showed their picture and it looked exactly like the shop example. Shop picture and received item:

That’s truely skilfull artisanship and this gave me the confidence to order.

Of course I’m thinking of knitting a new cowl for my new friend. As a knitter, how could I not? And with those lovely examples on my desktop.

Upside down back to front?

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But I love the gradient in grey in the cowl it has and it’s made of a nice soft yarn. I won’t be able to find or make anything comparable. If I knit it another cowl it will have to be different and not refer to this one in any way because it will fall short. That means no handknit gradient soft grey cowl for my kitty…

So I’m playing with this one. Seeing if I can find another way to make it work for me.

Perhaps as a cat bed?
felt cat in cowl, by Amuru on etsy

Weird Wool Wednesday: a knitter’s tea mug

You know my sheep mug:

I use it every day, either at the cabin or in the city. I have one at both locations.
They were given to me by a friend who lives in Lüneburg, Germany:
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That’s Germany in yellow. In grey are the Netherlands, to the left of Germany. To the north is just a bit Denmark. Upper right, under the Baltic Sea, is Poland. Czech Republic underneath it. (we’re now at the grey country in the middle, right of Germany.)
Right lower border shows Austria. In the middle, under Germany, is Switzerland. Left lower border is France. The little country shown in grey at the left is Luxembourg and to the left of that is Belgium. Then we’re back at left upper corner with the Netherlands again. The blue in left upper corner is the North Sea.

Lüneburg is a beautiful city, chuck full of history and fairytales and culture. I’ve been there once, in winter, it was magical.
There’s an impressive heath nearby where a flock of sheep live with their shepherd. They’re moorland sheep of the German breed Heidschnucke:


This looks just like the picture on my mug! The heath in bloom and with those weird long trees.
Heidschnuck sheep is a very handsome breed. And also intelligent. Beautiful ewe:

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Heid = heide = heath and Schnucke = candy. Sweet heath-candy sheep 🙂

My mug supports the flock at Lüneburger Heath.
I’ve had it for years. For as long as I knit, I think…
it was one of the first “knittery” gifts I ever received. Oh, I love this mug! It’s big, it has green on it, it was a gift given at a time I was low on energy and happiness, it reminds me of Lüneburg and my friend and it’s a knitter’s mug.

Right before Advent the mug in the city fell to the floor and shattered 😦

I had to do a lot of internet wizardry to find a suitable replacement and this is it:
advent knitting jultalamod
from a husband and wife team in Bulgaria: Miglena & Miroslav from MMceramicdesign at Etsy.com

A knitter’s mug has to meet a few requirements:
– it needs to hold half a liter of tea (14 to 17 ounces of fluid)
– it must have a handle (we say “ear”)
– it must be higher than wide (I often forget I have tea, it mustn’t cool in a hurry)
– I prefer it to be handmade and directly support the creator
– I love porcelain, more than stoneware
– I love thick glaze
– I like particular colours
– I don’t like comically drawn sheep
– I can’t go out and visit ceramic artists and look for a mug, I’m still house bound. So internet shopping it is.
– if purchased outside of Europe it must cost less than 24 euros (26 USD) otherwise I’ll have to pay a ridiculous amount of import costs
– I don’t trust a handmade mug that costs 24 euro or less, handmades ought to get a fair price

This was the only one to fit the bill. The only one in the whole wide world! Or so it seemed to me, after days of growing a set of screen shaped eyes.

It’s not particularly knitterly but Cat Lady is a close second to Knitter and it met all the other requirements so I’m well pleased.

It’s part of a line of handmade ceramics by a husband and wife company in Bulgaria. It’s well made as judged by Lieneke from Wolop who has a degree in ceramics. The shape keeps the tea hot. It holds 500 ml easily. It’s green, handmade and has a cat.
I like it!

They even do yarn bowls!

And sheep mugs:

Comical sheep….

I’ll keep searching for another mug. A knitter should have more than one mug I feel. For when another knitter comes to visit. And for when you are in a different mood. Or for when I feel more of a spinner than a knitter.

I have one other good mug. It’s not knitterly at all but I love it. It’s my Winter mug:
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It’s a cheapo mug from a cheapo store but it’s big, brown and festive! (oh look at my scrawny claw hand in that photo! That’s my inner witch peeking out, I suppose. I DO have fairytales on the mind these days…)

At Sinterklaas Wolop got a beautiful knitter’s mug from Starbucks. A proper knitter’s mug!

Ooooohooooo!

A cat with a golden collar, playing with green yarn. Lots of volume. High mug. Porcelain, I believe. What a beauty!

I wanted to steal it. Very much.

I didn’t steal it.

Now my New Years Resolution is to steal less (I love resolutions that don’t require any change of behaviour but still give cause to self congratulations) and to go out of the house and meet ceramic artists in real life instead of online. See their products. Find myself another knitter’s mug.
There are some ceramic fairs throughout the year and in 2016 I plan to visit at least one of them. There’s one in Gouda, the city where Lieneke lives. Gouda is traditionally known for it’s ceramics. And cheese. I wonder if it shows functional ceramics or more arty statement things.
There’s another fair in a piece of grassland in the north of the most southern province, Limburg. Someone in the know will enlighten me.

Here’s another knitters’ or spinners’ mug I once had:
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(I gave it away. I saw straight away that it’s too wide to keep my tea hot for the time it takes me to remember I made a cup.)

So there we are. One new knitter’s mug and some beautiful New Year Resolutions. Congratulations all around!

Progress on Handspun Green Vest

I’ve finished the body of Hilja sweater vest. It’s such a happy knit!
I’ve got stitchmarkers, my favourite ones, that go perfectly with the yarn and now every stitch is a joy to look at:

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Sometimes I think that knitting (and spinning) is all about the colours and only about the colours.

That that’s why knitting and spinning fits us, colour crazed beings; in the same wondrous way that cat companionship fits humankind.
Cats identify with their fur, they like it washed, touched, stroked. And we, humans, like to “watch” with our hands. We love to touch things, we have sensitive finger tips, we revel in tactiles/touchables.

Put these two characteristics together in a room and you’ve got two species reinforcing each others’ coincidental happiness.

Throw in a bit of cod for dinner and you’ve got best friends for life who allow all the petting and cuddling you like, as long as there’s a snack at the end of it:
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As humankind is an eye-species as much as it’s a touch-things-species I think that’s why we breed cats in such various shapes and colours, just to please our eyes while we indulge our hands. It’s not something I favour because it does not benefit the cats… but I see how it plays into our eye-addiction.

As far as the knitting goes, my colour indulgence is over, the body is finished. I went on to the ribbing at the neck and arms.
I picked up stitches at the neck and did a 1×1 ribbing (on a smaller needle, 3 mm instead of the 3,75mm):

But I didn’t like how it looked. It’s too…. crude. Too scruffy. Not refined enough to wear amongst city folk.

I thought that a commercial yarn would look better. It would show deliberate contraposition between the handspun and the commercial yarn.

I chose a colour with quite a bit of contrast. I can handle contrast because my darkish hair has quite a bit of contrast with my fair skin and when I mirror this in clothing it makes me look healthy. (Although in 2014 I’ve grown grey from the stress and the contrast in the vest will now be a bit harsher than my own but that’s ok, it may make me look a bit more stern but I’m ok with that. Besides, I don’t have any other good yarn and this is a really nice one, it has some cashmere in it.)

I knitted 2 cm of 2×2 ribbing on the first arm hole and it looks very nice:

So tidy!
And just the contrast in texture with the handspun I was looking for. It seems to say what I want it to say, that its companion, the bodice, is made with a designed yarn. Yarn of a chosen, deliberate texture. Not something a well willing amateur made who couldn’t do any better.

The bind off is Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off done from the wrong side so it gives a nice edge on the right side.

I’m a bit sorry the knitting part is over for the handspun. I really enjoyed it, both in colour and tactiles. Soft wool, silk and vintage glass beads, that’s a high for me.
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Finished: pockets in Pumpkin Ale cardigan

Finally!
I knitted the pockets on Pumpkin Ale Cardigan because it was evident that I was never going to sew them with fabric.

Just a few evenings of knitting and it was done.
I used sock weight yarn, it’s just a tad bit smaller than Wollmeise Twin from which the cardi is knitted. Still a bit more bulky than fabric would have been.

I think my new Crazy-Catlady-blouse-to-be goes nicely with it:

All it took was just a few evenings of knitting:

Knitting was seriously delayed because of having to cuddle and enjoy cats and take pictures and be happy:

Finished: Noro Legwarmers

Each is about 79 cm long. They weigh 130 grams together so that suggests 540 m or 600 yards for the both of them. Knitted on needles 3 mm.

I changed colours every two rows.
At the ribbing at the top I changed every three rows because, with the purling visible at the right side, there’s no solid row of one colour if you change every second row. Looks very heathered otherwise.

I only got to take the one picture and then:

Pip is very present. You see the papers and boxes on the floor, we’re playing in and around them all the time. Lillepoes too!
The three of us watch how “a suspicious creature” (a knitting needle) creeps along the edges of a box. Sometimes a cat pounces. More often I’m sitting there like a fool, moving needles but no yarn.
Yes, I’m pretty much the cat entertainment section at our house now.

To be honest, it takes a toll on me. I have difficulty remaining relaxed and at ease which is so important for my health recovery. My shoulders are tensing up all the time. I worry about Lillepoes. I forget to take my pills.

Whenever I go to the kitchen counter, for my pills or to make a cup of tea, Pip zooms after me like a knitter after Qiviut.
Ack, such whining for food! How much does a kitten eat anyway!? I’m sure he’s about to burst but he keeps insisting there’s room for more.

I spend much time giving Lillepoes one-on-one attention. She needs it, since she doesn’t speak “cat” very well and she hasn’t put Pip in his place. Who is now walking all over her, trying to engage her in play. (This may be a deal-breaker. The rest of this week we’ll see if they both can thrive in the same house. I’m correcting Pip for her when we play, the three of us. I do this in a cat-like manner and hope that Pip associates it with her. Yesterday went ok. But this morning it was kadooph, kadooph, kadooph! all up and down the stairs again. I’m not sure Lillepoes doesn’t mind. She ìs very happy when I tend to her though. And she dóes invite me to play more than before Pip was here. We’ll see. A lot rides on these first few days.)

We had a quiet half hour yesterday evening. She’s wearing her winter coat already. I swear she was watching TV!

Wip en Pip. (many photos)

I filled one bobbin and am spinning the second one:

I knitted quite a bit on Emma cardigan. I did choose the Estonian knitting stitch Echo Flower or Laminaria:

I think it will be beautiful but it does take a while.

On the second Noro legwarmer I knitted a lot:

A friend gave me this lovely WIP-bag to put it in:

Expertly made by Fiberrachel. The colours have washed out a bit on the picture but it’s a lovely shade of green. I love it!

These are my WIPs.
Now meet my Pip:

Last weekend we noticed a scared kitten out in the patch of forest around my cabin. He was scared and he was hungry. So I fed him a bit. After a few days he started to meow back to me and raised his tail in greeting. I felt myself upgrading to MamaCat.
But it was still too scared to come near.

By Thursday morning I’d learned him he’d be fed on the veranda and that it was safe and I’d be in the cabin:

Slowly it grew bolder and bolder. Hunger is such a powerful motivator.



Thursday around noon I was laying on my knees in front of the cat flap and repeatingly offering a few kibbles in a little bowl to him, through the cat flat. Gradually he dared to snatch them from the bowl while my hand was so dangerously close by.

One hour later I had the door open and was kneeling on the threshold (ouch), having my arm stretched out, laying it casually next to the little bowl of food and my clogs.

A little later he found enough courage to press its little wet nose against my hand, turn around and sprinted off into the woods.
First friendly contact was made!
I closed the door and wept a little. So much impressed by its courage to overwin its fear because of a desire for friendliness.


To be recognized as a friendly force by such a scared tiny creature is touching.

Then it went fast.
I again opened the door, still kneeling, and started breaking up the big dental kibble Lillepoes eats into smaller pieces to try and handfeed the kitten.
Apparently I did not produce food fast enough. Kitten stepped over the treshold to help itself to the kibble directly.
I didn’t grab it, I just started stroking it. It seemed to like that! It was friendly. We were having a friendly moment.
Then before I knew it it had ventured into the cabin. It was in the living room!

Flabbergasted I closed the front door. The wild, scared kitten had come in!

Me and some more kibble sat on the ground and we proceeded feeding and petting. The kitten lost more and more of its fear:


Then it surrendered completely, letting go of all the fear and worries it had known for the week or longer it had lived outside:


The fluids welling in my eyes must have been my melted heart 😀
Then it fell asleep on top my feet:

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I was allowed to remove the ticks from its face, there were seven! Including one on its eye lid.

Later on we moved to the couch where he slept for an hour. The kitten started purring and hasn’t stopped since:

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Introduction to Lillepoes went ok. Lillepoes is shy and doesn’t speak “cat” very well. But the kitten was polite and didn’t push. Later on they were both interested in a game of catch-the-knitting-needle-under-the-sheep’s-rug.

In the evening the kitten went unto the litter box and produced a little bit of poo with an odour that left Lillepoes and myself stunned. It was terrible!

That night the kitten slept on the couch, by its own choice, while me and Lillepoes slept upstairs as we are wont to. I went downstairs to check a few times but everything was all right.

In the morning, while Lillepoes talked me through getting up and dressed, Pip came upstairs to say hello. He was again so overjoyed to be indoors and with friendly people, he just does not stop purring.

We went down, all three, with me doing the kitten shuffle where you don’t lift your feet and are very careful. Because hungry kitten is trying to trip you and eat you!

I had not slept much that night, worried as I was, but the early morning was filled with purrs:

Friday morning was spent getting to know the household a bit. Pip already figured out that the kitchen counter is where all the magic happens. And we learned about not biting the hand that feeds you and where the scratching post is.

Then Robert and Poekie arrived. At first Robert was a scary giant but he was loved within minutes of kneeling down. The courage of such a little kitten when meeting creatures of such sizes amazes me!

But Poekie was highly insulted!
She glared at him constantly, cursing like a sailor. Deep growls and hissing snarls. There’s an “aa” sound in them: “hhhiaaaaaaaowrrrr”
I’ve never heard a cat curse out another cat! She had some colourful opinions on Pips existence, the purpose of the air he breaths and the marital state of all his ancestors. It was truly impressive.
The kitten stayed at a distance, politely looking away.

poekiegrowl
Hhhhhhwaaaaaaaaaaaaaarhhhhhh!

Later on we noticed her eyes were not so black anymore. She keeps growling and snarling whenever the kitten moves but she’s been blinking when he wasn’t looking so we’re not too impressed by her theatrics:

It’s going to be fine, we think.

Last night, everybody slept upstairs and it was fine. This morning more growling and purring but it’ll be fine.

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It’s still such a baby:

We did take it to the vet, to have it looked over. It’s healthy. It’s male. It’s 12 weeks old and it weighs 1150 grams.
After the visit he had some little bits of spaghetti stuck to its fur and I grabbed them and showed Robert. He then said the magic word and I did a little song and dance with interesting arm movements and also a little bit of howling of my own.
(the magic word is “tapeworm”)

Now the kitten belly is not so bloated anymore.

Because the kitten is clearly socialized we thought somebody must be missing hem. So we’ve reported it to the national services that deal with lost and found pets (amivedi) and to the animal health services. We also looked at Facebook and Marktplaats (an online market place such as Greggs list) but nobody seems to miss this little dude.

Robert’s been around all the neighbours to ask. And they told the tale that is the most probably thing that happened:  kittens get dumped around here all the time. Multiple times per year. At the industry park in the vicinity.

This enrages us. Pip has been fending for himself for at least a week now and was not doing well at all. Young cats who were raised in a house cannot survive outdoors and they are not socially equipped enough to get people to help them. It takes a true cat lady like myself with days of free time on her hands to get one to trust her and to rescue it. Or it takes observing people like the one horse-owner down the road to notice the kitten and ring the services who will try and catch it to bring it to a shelter. (we only have no-kill shelters in this country)

That’s only two cat-minded-people in multiple square kilometres of lands where busy roads are and water ways and buzzards and owls and martens (“steenmarter”) and ticks and no food and 20 houses with farm dogs and people who do not notice a kitten in distress.
Anybody who needs to get rid of a kitten should just bring it to a shelter. It’s 15 minutes of feeling like an ass, bringing a kitten there, but you leave with 15 years of confidence ahead that the cat is living safe and healthy.

After we heard this story, about kittens being dumped near here often, we allowed ourselves to grow more attached to the kitten. Changes are slim anybody is coming for him. And Lillepoes and Poekie seem to be ok with it, soon. Lillepoes is already taking on the roll of big sister.
That’s when we named him. Only an hour ago, to be truthfully. Because once you name a cat you’re his.

Pip’s already a true cat:

Pip, Purrr in Progress:

Weird Wool Wednesday: knitting granny-style!

You know that I do most of my knitting lying down on the couch, during my daily rests.
pic by Ula Kapala

Most of this lying about I do on some old IKEA futon couch we bought a decade ago. We bought two: one for the city house and one for the cabin. So no matter in which house I am, me and Lillepoes have been lying on the couch daily, covered in wool.

The last few years I kept piling on the fleeces for comfort but this year I had to admit: both couches have become old and ratty. More wool is no longer the answer:
pic by AnnaKika

The other thing I’ve finally admitted to this year is that I am indeed chronically ill and that lying flat and resting several hours in a day is a part of my daily routine, at least for the next decade or so.

The logical conclusion of these two things is: I need a new chair, one to put my feet up. A recliner. A real granny chair. Because knitting is so for grannies, as non-knitters know so well.

So I took my knitting and visited a chair shop and found this:

It has a handle that flips out the foot-part. None of this fancy electronics that will just run out of juice or get all computery on me, either. And did you know these come in sizes? Like a middle aged Goldilocks I tried them all three out for fit. I flipped them backwards and lay there knitting for some time. Size S was my size. I was going to buy one. What colour cover would I like?

The custom is to have these chairs -and most furniture- clad with leather. I don’t know why, leather doesn’t feel nice to the skin at all. I guess it’s good when you’re prone to spilling. I am. But I didn’t want leather. I want wool!

nieuwe stoel stof

I chose this oatmeal coloured woven wool from the Danish fabric specialist Kvadrat. It’s Kvadrat Hallingdale colour 110. This is the same fabric that covers design furniture like the Varier Stokke Peel chair and has the highest content of wool they offer.
Quality and design is the new granny style, baby!

We knitters often meet the assumption that knitting is for grannies. And it’s true, many of my knitter friends have grand children and I’m of an age I could have had them myself, in theory. (I’m 44 years old.)
(I never wanted children though. And I’m infertile anyway.)(Luckily my childfree preference preceded the revelation that I’m physically unable to sustain a pregnancy.)

The notion of what a granny is is changing. At least, I think it is. Or are people still thinking it’s a little old lady in grey and beige slowly crawling down the street?

“I’m just a gran and I’m doing gran stuff”
“Whaaat?”

I don’t care, to be honest, wether people think my knitting or my age make me a granny and that I should behave a certain way. Not that I’m rebelling against their notions either. They just do not concern me either way.

With the new chair I thought I may need a new sofa too.
As a gesture of a new attitude towards my illness. I’m now finally accepting that this is my life, that I am chronically ill. I’m no longer resting on the sofa, waiting to get better. I’m now resting on the sofa as part of my daily routine. It’s part of my life now and instead of the old battered IKEA futon couch that I’ve been resting on for the past 10 years or so my couch should reflect my daily life which I try to live in style and comfort and fun.

Which is why I am writing you this blogpost from here:

My fantastic antique sofa bed!
With handturned woodwork and a new cushion covered in a cow hide. A real Chaise Longue, made in Belgium in the century before last.

It was for sale online at a place two hours from here but with me being house bound I just couldn’t go and check it out in real life. However nobody else wanted it and when the advert expired I emailed the seller and he told me it hadn’t sold and we got talking and he answered all my questions and we both suspected this might just be perfect for me. In the end he also offered to bring it by next time he was in my parts of the country for me to try it out. He did and it is indeed a perfect match!

I’m now lying here like the queen of Sheba, in my friendly living room with a view of the little city patio out back and it’s all wonderful and a bit quirky and made by skilled hands and with lots of wood details and I love it!

This is the kind of granny I am! Quirky and artisan skilled and with love of natural materials and a bit hairy.

On the sofa I keep the black and white blanket I wove. I initially planned for it to be the cover of a back panel so that I could shove the sofa against the wall and I could use it as a proper sofa for people to sit on, with their backs against the padded back panel.

But the blanket is so wonderfully soft and sympathetic that I’ve been covering me and the cat with it. At nine o’clock at night, when I’m winding down before going to bed, Lillepoes hops onto the sofa and me and the blanket. She starts kneading before curling up in a cloud of softness and purring away that last hour before we go to bed.

Last week my knitting chair was delivered:

Style, baby!

Wool grannies everywhere approve:
pic by Sean McGrath
Quirky, with love for natural materials and possibly a bit hairy.

Now I only need to teach Poekie not to scratch my new knitting tools:

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