Friday, 25 January 2008

Say It With Mice

Nothing says "thanks for giving us a gorgeous cat" like knitted cat nip mice. As ever, my photography is poor - but you can get the idea. I found the pattern on someone's blog somewhere - not one I regularly read, but they took about 10 minutes each to make. I modified the pattern slightly to make ears.

I've stuffed them with teddy bear stuffing - in the middle of each ball of stuffing is a cat nip heart, so they turn cats orgasmic. At the very top of the picture you can see a black triangle - George's ear - and the white blur by the purple mouse's tail is his paw, shortly before he pulled it out of the picture. The cats home are now only getting four meeces - George has claimed Mr Lilac as his own. They look a bit shabby in this picture (particularly the seams) but I wasn't being that fussy with them, and they actually look pretty cool in the flesh (or wool). I'll be sending them to the Milborne (Milburn?) Animal Centre together with a letter and picture of George this weekend.

Speaking of George - I finally got him to sit still long enough to pose for this picture (he is so lovely I'm sure it will eventually be part of his supermodelling portfolio). He's starting to settle in now - having spent most of this week under our bed, today he's been prowling around and napping in his own bed. Right now he's motoring around the living room after Mr Lilac - proving that missing a leg doesn't hamper his fun at all.

The yarn I bought for clapotis (and subsequently started knitting place mats with) is now destined for greater things. Reading up about the yarn on the internet, apparently it felts really well - so I'm knitting a simple bucket bag which I'm going to try felting in the washing machine. Currently about 75% through it - pictures next time.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Seven Between Us

Phipps' owners came forward on Friday, and so he was returned to his rightful home. We know we did the right thing (and the owners themselves were very, very grateful), and since we took him in we knew it was a possibility that his owners would be found, but it was still really heart wrenching to say goodbye. A few tears were shed (after the owners and he had been dispatched with smiles and waves) and P and I got straight on line Friday night to get numbers for our local cat rescue places in an effort to adopt a "cat of our very own that no one can ever take away".

So Saturday morning I made some tea and got on the phone. I rang several cat protection places in our area, whose websites were begging for kind owners for their rescued cats. And I have to say, in all honesty, I have never spoken to such a bunch of sanctimonious, patronising women in all my life. I realise they have the best interests of the cats at heart but apparently no one in the world other than them have ever owned or perhaps even seen a cat before. No one wanted to help us.

Eventually I got through to our local branch of the RSPCA and spoke to the first useful person I'd spoken to that day. He direct us to the Millbrook Animal Centre in Chobham, and advised as they were very busy it would probably be best to go and see them in person as they haven't always got time to answer the phone. So we did just that.

We were interviewed about our suitability as owners, and about our house. We explained were were after an indoor cat as we don't have a garden and our flat overlooks a pretty busy road. We then had a look at the cats needing rehoming picked one who was perfect for us in our situation. A very nice lady from the RSPCA came round the same evening to check that everything we'd said was true (and that we were who we said we were), gave us the green light and we picked up our cat yesterday.

His name is Boyz, but we thought that was a bit ghetto for a cat living in rural Frimley Green, so we've renamed him George (not terribly dissimilar in terms of how it sounds). He is 6 years old, gigantic (he's 10 inches from the back of his neck to the beginning of his tail), 5.5 Kg and VERY vocal. He's also very special, as he's only got three legs (he lost one to cancer a month ago). He's still finding his way around, but he's very affectionate (and demanding of cuddles every five minutes!). He is also a diabolical genius - whilst he can hop around and get up on the furniture perfectly well when it suits him, he is not adverse to lying pathetically on the floor mewling until someone picks him up and puts him where he cannot be bothered to go himself.

Our family now has 7 legs between us, and we're very happy about it. This is not a cat blog, although he will now feature from time to time (and there will be a photo when he's more settled). Back to knitting next time. Needless to say, as a thank you to the people at the RSPCA (and more importantly for the other cats) there will be some cat nip mice knitted and in the post.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

My New Familiar

We've acquired a cat. P works in a record shop in Godalming, and this cat turned up one day and stayed. He has no collar. He appears not to be chipped. P has had no response to the poster he put up in the shop window, and no response since we reported him to the local vet. When a poster appeared in the town centre reporting a missing cat, P called up - it's not this guy. He appears to be a stray - in fact, some of P's customers have reported seeing several ginger cats around the area, which suggests it might be an abandoned litter (or someone's cat has had a litter that the owner doesn't know about!). He's about 4 months old (he's small and quite fluffy, so I don't think he's quite a full grown cat yet). We've brought him home so he's got food and a warm place to sleep while we wait to see if someone's going to claim him.

Needless to say, I've fallen head over heels in love with him. He's hilarious - he chases everything and falls over stuff and chews P's hair. We've called him Phipps - after the character in Ripping Yarns who is famous for escaping from everywhere. On 2nd February (3 weeks away - giving his owner, if he has one, ample time to get in contact) we're putting a collar on him and getting him checked out with our vet. Then he'll be our official Cat.

In knitting news - there isn't much I'm afraid. I bought yarn to make Clapotis. I swatched. The gauge was right, but the yarn wasn't - it's just too stiff and scratchy (getting the correct yarn for any American pattern is a nightmare, so I aim for best match). I worried about it for a while and got about 60 rows into Clapotis. Then I relaxed, and ripped the whole thing out. I have decided to use the yarn (which is very lovely 70% wool, 30% alpaca in bright red) to make placemats - we've got some el cheapo silver placemats which I wanted to replace, but with red knitted under-placemats, they'll have a new lease of life. I have made nearly 1, I want 4 (as our table seats 4). It's a basic moss stitch pattern, and it's perfect for the yarn and for how I want it to look at the end. I'm not sure when they'll be finished... Knitting is now an extreme sport with a cat about...

Friday, 4 January 2008

Goodbye to Christmas

Naturally, my Christmas rocked. All of it was spent with friends and family, my husband spoiled me rotten (and I him), and we got some really nice things for our house from our relatives. There was much food, much carolling, more alcohol than I care to remember just now... just the way Christmas should be.

The Twilleys was not forthcoming. I went to my parents' place on Boxing Day, equiped (just in case) with all the relevent needles and pattern for the Twilleys Cardi, convinced that the yarn would be in one of the boxes with my name on it. Sadly no - the parents could not work out the weight of yarn I was after, but bless them forever for trying. My mother did knit me a scarf - one of those eyelash ones, it's gorgeous and the colour (burgundy and green varigated) is so festive. I hate knitting with eyelash yarn - I find it doesn't behave itself - Ma had bought me the yarn to knit it myself, but I must've mentioned I hate knitting with it, so she did it for me. It is my first hand knit gift, and it's so lovely - I like it all the more that I didn't have to do it myself!

My mother in law got me a knitting doll. It made me chuckle, just because of what it is and how it looks, but it actually has a practical application for making i-cords. So everything I knit from now on will be adorned with i-cord!

Now I'm thinking about the next project. I haven't picked up any knitting at all over Christmas, so I think a larger project would now be in order. I do have a sock and a boring black glove for P on the needles (having managed to knit the other glove in 2 days...) I'm trying to get my head around the pattern for Clapotis - it's one of these things everyone needs to knit at least once. I won't commit to buying yarn until I have had a go with a swatch...