Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Concerning Furry Foundling Felines and Festive Fibre Fun

I'll have to do a quick update.  If I wait until there is time and enough to write a full-length posting,  it will be Tibb's Eve before I get round to it.

Felines first, for I know that's what you want to know.  Last time I introduced you to the small and beautiful Maine Coon cross, Mishka.  Well she is no more.  Not a topic for discussion, let's just throw unpleasant words like 'minor road used as a freeway by hasty commuters' and 'wild kitten born to explore pastures new' and leave it like that.

A day and a night of tears and self-accusation and tough questions like 'do I deserve to have a cat if I can't care for it?' and DH had had enough.  He hauled me into Cork, to the local rescue centre.

'No, we don't have any kittens' said the young man firmly.  I buried my face in my hands and DH looked at him hard.  'Well, you could look at these pictures on the wall if you like.'  More sniffles, more hard looks.  'Well, you could come in here and look at these cages I suppose.'

A long room with all kinds of cats stretching and clawing and meowing in separate cages.  One serene mother with a new litter, a splendid tabby tom pawing the bars imperiously, a couple of battered animals that had definitely seen better days.  I wandered down to the very end, to a cage in the corner that appeared empty, and peered half-heartedly in.

A huge pair of eyes, like emerald green lamps, looked back at me.

As my eyes adjusted to the dimness, I saw there was a very very tiny black kitten behind the lamps.  It was scared, but courageous.  A finger through the bars was approached timidly, then rubbed against, with the beginnings of a tiny purr.

'That's it' I said instantly.  'That's the one.'

The young official objected.  This kitten had only just come in, it had to be checked out, vaccinated, its papers stamped.  'Friday at the earliest.'

Now he was on the receiving end of two hard stares.  Then I remembered the persuasive technique and reminded him of how much all that officialdom would cost.  'We'll take him straight to our own vet.  Save you all that outlay.'

'Well... I don't know.'

I tucked the kitten inside my jacket and headed for the door, pausing only to leave a contribution on the counter towards the centre's sterling work.  DH smiled comfortingly and followed me.  As we got into the car, the young man rushed out after us with the kitten's papers.  A single sheet with a fuzzy picture clipped to it and a number.  'Just mention Cat 303 if you need to call us.'

Cat 303.  What a start in life!  A mugshot and a number.  He curled up quietly in my jacket all the way home and soon found a comfy warm spot of his very own, with toys in case he was lonely.

His official name is Wolfgang since he considers himself a bit of a dangerous lad, but he's been Pollywog from the moment he arrived.  You know, those wriggling long-legged black creatures you find in ponds?

Of course it wasn't long before he started tormenting Sophy Wackles, who, though she pretended to be annoyed, was secretly overjoyed at having someone to play with.

And things went along very happily.  Pollywog was not allowed out of the house at ALL.  Not until he's a lot older and calmer.  I would love to see him climbing trees and exploring bushes, but I never want to go through that road experience again.

As kittens will, he grew and got more playful.  Soon nowhere was safe in the house from his marauding paws and explosive bounces.  'Needs a companion to play with,' I said to myself.  Not to DH yet - need to take these things carefully, don't you?  But I did mention it in the end to Animal Whisperer In Chief, my friend Eileen, who runs a boarding kennels and can speak, soul to soul, I verily believe, to any creature under the sun.

'Funny you should say that,' she commented.  And immediately unfolded a story that would raise the hair on your head.

That very morning, she recounted, a friend had taken a lorryload of cattle into Cork and had brought them to a large barn on the outskirts.  While his mate unlocked the lorry doors and started the cattle down the ramp, this man went ahead to open the barn doors so they could rush straight in.  There, in the very centre of the vast empty concrete floor, sat a smidgen of a tiny grey tabby kitten.

'He couldn't delay,' explained Eileen.  'He could hear the clattering hooves behind him, so he simply rushed over, picked it up and shoved it in his pocket and got out of the way.'

Later he tried to find its home, but with no success so, as everyone tends to do around here, brought it back to Eileen.  'It's in the car with me now, would you like to see it?

Would I what?  Was this a gift from the gods or not?

Baby Podge was so very young that he needed all of Eileen's expertise to get him to normal eating and drinking habits.  But at last he was fit and able and came home to join Pollywog.  And what a party they've been having ever since!

I worried for the first couple of days, since Polly seemed to be doing most of the trouncing and Baby most of the shrieking, but Eileen counselled calm, and sure enough the little warrior was giving as good as he got.  He would scream, Polly would back off, and Podge would double his fists and dive right back in.

Now we have one big happy family.  Baby has notionally been christened Amadeus to go with Wolfgang, and once he loses those roly poly curves we will have to stop calling him Podge for his everyday name.  Suggestions welcomed.

With all this excitement, the festive season sort of crept up without my noticing until I started getting requests for those special shawl kits again.  So I had to haul out the Victorian skein winder and all the huge containers of yarn, and start making up a few.  So far I have created blues, purples, greens and pinks, or Sea Cave, Connemara Twilight, Forest Path and Wild Rose to give them their proper titles.

Here is Connemara Twilight in its handy case.  Must get those which haven't already been booked up on eBay before too long or we'll miss Christmas altogether!  Time, time, we need more time.  (You'd think they changed the date of Christmas every year, wouldn't you, the way it always seems to catch us on the hop!)

Somebody asked to see that lovely old skein winder again, so here it is, busily working on the Wild Roses kit.

These aren't just for shawls of course.  They're ideal for those Jane Thornley-type vests, wraps, whatever.  Anything that needs lots of lovely different textures and fibres and shades to create a unique work of art.

As if there wasn't enough to do, there is also the Advent Scarf knitalong, started by Zemy on Ravelry.  These engaging events mean you get a different pattern by email every morning and work a section of the scarf.  In the end you have a wonderfully varied scarf which also serves as a sampler and reminder for future projects.  This year Zemy has chosen cables, which is great fun.


Here is mine so far, worked in scarlet alpaca.  It's a coned yarn so will soften and plump up considerably when washed.  It's lovely to wake up each morning and wonder what new variation is waiting!

There was a nice pink shawl completed before the Advent Scarf started.

Got the idea for this when pulling on a dark winter coat to go out.  I realised that something bright pink peeking out from underneath would add just that flash of colour one needs in winter.  It's much the same as my Ruffled Shawl a la Duchesse, but I blocked it into points for maximum effect.  And used yarn from the stash too, yay!

Working on several gift projects too of course but won't show any of them here.  Suffice it to say that both hand-knitting needles and the knitting machine are in full use. 

Actually I remember distinctly my mother getting us to sew up sweaters for our cousins on Christmas morning because she had only just taken them off the machine the night before.  That and preparing the turkey too - how did she manage it all without flipping?  Nice to know I have inherited the last-minute gene.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful kittens! I'm so glad these two have joined your household. Our cats have always loved and snuggled with our dogs, too. Lovely to look upon a peaceable kingdom in one's own house.
-- Gretchen

Vicki Thauvin said...

Name for Podge? Con for Conductor of Troubles Poor Wolfgang is his puppet. LOL Beautiful furry family. Lovely kits and colors!

Ruth said...

Wolfie and Amadeus. What a pair. Does Sophie Wackles get to join into the fun? They are adorable. I'm getting an urge, but only an urge. Post lots of pics, and I'll feel my urge on your kitties.

Angeluna said...

Your mother had a knitting machine? Wow, it's genetic.

Adorable furries. Personally, I like Podge and Polliwog just fine.

Lynda the Guppy said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, but I'm so happy to hear about your new additions!

Sorry, no suggestions for names. I always struggle to find the perfect name for my own animals. Funny story, though. Mom had 2 cats, both of which I named. They needed "R" names and it started with Rajah and Indian names, as India is close to my family's heart. After that came Rikki Tikki Tavi. When the last cat came to her, we struggled with name, and both mom and I thought on it for a day or two, and finally I had it! I called her right away and said "I have a name for her!" Mom said SHE had a name, too. Turns out...we both had the same name. Rani. And she's quite the little princess, too. LOLOL. said...

Ah, Jo, your animal losses (and gains) over the last year have brought both tears of joy and heartbreak, but you continue to carry on brilliantly and for that, I am always so thrilled to see a new post from you. Many warm wishes for a joyous Christmas and New Year to you, DH, Sophie, Amadeus and Wolfgang from my currently furr-less household.

Fujiyamamama said...

What adorable little kittens, they look to be a very happy pair!

Sally said...

Oh, Jo, Podge and Pollywog are quite acceptable names for those adorable furpeople! I wouldn't change their everyday names at all! I've always wanted a black kitten...

A shawl kit.....hmmmm, you know how much I love knitting shawls....might need to get one!

Happy Christmas, dear friend. And hugs from across the pond.

Kathleen C. said...

I love the photo of the three of them curled up together in the bed. A happy family for Sophy. And a very happy family for the two little ones.
Podge and Polliwog are wonderful names (love the alliteration) but perhaps too casual home-in-your-PJs like? They're wanting proper public receiving-the-nobel-peace prize (for building peace between dogs and cats) names huh? Well, if Polli is Wolgang, I think Podge little round head in the one photo reminds me a bit of Beethoven... so Ludwig? Or perhaps, as Podge isn't terribly frowny, maybe Johann (Bach... who wore a very fuzzy wig)?

KiniaCat Crafts said...

You know my heart goes out to you through rain and shine.
Thank you for the update. I'm tickled that your household has grown and I strongly suspect there's a lot of romping to smile over {I'm particularly fond of the picture of the 3 fur-lings sleeping together}.

Handsome Wolfgang looks and sounds like my Gryphon (Grr for short) and your Podge-tabby has lovely stripes and a sweet face!
Names. Hmmm. You've already picked some splendid ones - formal and not so formal.
{grin} I have to wonder how many names Sophie Wackles has had?
Please have a Merry Holiday Season.

Unknown said...

I am so sorry for your kitty loss! But those two little furballs look like they'll be all sorts of adventure.
As for nicknames, I refer to one of my parents' cats as Brucical the Seussical. I generally go for the most ridiculous thing I can think of, and then rhyme it.

Roggey said...

So glad to 'see' you again! I'm not much of a cat person, but those are lovely kittens. So glad the family is complete!

Anonymous said...

My condolences on the loss of your kitten. After living with cats for over 40 years, this current pair is the first we've kept as solely house cats. Sunny windowsills, screened in windows in the summer, some catnip (catmint) in pots, and they are happy and safe. Madeleine

Anonymous said...

Baby Podge will tell you his Own Name when he is ready.

Gwyndolyn O'Shaughnessy