Remembering Oakley

I was going to wite this post yesterday. It didn’t want to be written, but better late than never:

Two years ago yesterday my beautiful gentle  Oakley made an assisted trip over the rainbow bridge. He was fifteen years old and had lived a good life.

I still miss him

a lot

So maybe I have a problem

Knitting and crochet seem like such innocent pursuits, don’t they ?

but nobody tells you about the dark, hidden underworld

where yarn purveyors tempt you with luscious colours and textures

and diabolical designers break your resolve with their tempting designs

the stash grows

the magazines

and books

and computer printouts

and PDFs on your eReader

and then when you think you can sink no lower, an evil temptress a friend introduces you to the even murkier sub-culture of the testknitter.

It seems innocent enough at first

“Who would like to knit up this pattern for me and let me know if there are any changes that need to be made ?”

“You get the pattern ahead of almost everyone else, and free … all you need to do is knit it up by such and such a date, post a picture and give me feedback”

What nobody tells you is how damn addictive those test patterns are.

Perhaps I should’ve realised with that first test for YarnMadness’ Baby Bolero when I made three of them before I could stop myself

or maybe when I jumped straight into her Baby Bubble vest.

or how much I agonised over not being able to fit in her current temptation

but this week I really discovered the depths to which I had sunk


It’s just one little lace shawl. Where’s the harm in a little bit of wool? and silk? and cashmere ?

Well, I have to tell you that this seemingly harmless pattern [ which is totally logical and well written I hasten to add ] has nearly driven me to the brink.

January 17 – I cast on and power through the first repetition of the lace, only to have one of the flowers mysteriously fall apart in my hands

NOTE TO SELF: when executing multiple increases into the same stitch [ make 4s and 7s ] it’s not enough to pack those 7 stitches on there. You need to make sure that you catch each and every one of them on the next row. Miss just one and kablooey!

January 19 [ I think ] start over again after pulling out about 3000 stitches.

I resist the temptation to hit the Bailey’s bottle … or the Valium [ score one point for me ]

Knit obsessively until lace is finished, retire to my virtuous bed and arise on the morning of

January 20 to discover that one of the resident felines has managed to drag it off the needles and has redecorated the livingroom.

Attempt to calm jangled nerves with another quick hit – these adorable knitted and felted slippers by Anne-Lise [ravlink to pattern]

January 21 –  cravings temporarily assuaged so it’s back into the shawl


no pile of wool,silk and casmere is going to whup my … ahem … rear.

I am aware that shawl knitting during a week long heatwave is probably not the sanest of pursuits [ see notes above re the addictive nature of testknitting ]


SO worth it

and greater love hath no DD than that she model woolly things in the middle of a searing hot day.

She’s at it again!

Sophie here.

I just wanted to show you the sort of abuse we have to put up with here, Chez Catsmum as Silly Season approaches.

I mean, seriously, is this any way to treat a dignified, elderly lady ?

and as she is an equal opportunity tormentor of small animals, the grandkittens didn’t escape her tender ministrations either:


Our Weekend: The Princess Bride Version

“Westley: Who are you? Are we enemies? Why am I on this wall? Where is Buttercup?
Inigo: Let me ‘splain.
No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

So this is me summing up this past weekend in pictures:

Friday night visitation from Tara, with extra tasty spinning goodness. Nadie is using her osage orange spindle with some navy/purple/jade sliver from the magic backroom at BWM. Tara is using her Trindle with some gorgeous stuff … was it camel/bunny /silk maybe?

Sumi decided to ‘ help ‘

After a chilly ‘is it really spring’ night, we woke up to:

I produced some of my world famous ‘OMG-we-have-visitors-coming-and-no-decent-biscuits’ amaretti [ and my equally world famous ‘ What’s-in-the-fridge-and-pantry-that-I-can-turn-into-soup’ Soup ]

Sumi spent some quality time in the garden with her dog.

Shar and Toni arrived from Melbourne via  Bendigo Woollen Mills [ which for the uninitiated is 40 or so kilometres past my place ] so a slight detour … but hey! … all’s fair in love, war and the pursuit of a yarn bargain.

which brings us to sunday which was spent


blowing bubbles by the dam

more Nadie spinning – and trying to get an accurate picture of same

there was also the finishing of one long term project, some dyeing, and the starting of something new

but that’s for another day

Like there weren’t enough cats round here already

I can’t remember what I was actually looking for – probably doing that typical web browse where you just click on from link to link and end up a universe away from where you started – but one day back in 2006 I found a pattern for a totally cute [ but never cutesy-poo ] crochet cat.

You all know how i feel about cats, right ?

Only problem was that the directions were in Japanese. I don’t read japanese.

Still I printed it all out in the hope that one day it would be used

Fast forward a bit, and I discovered that the designer had a charted version in English

so that got added to the file too

and that’s pretty much where it all stayed until last month when, engaged in my regular perusal of the library database, I discovered that amineko is now a book, and one was on order.So that was me #1 in the reserve queue !!

Oh frabjous day!

So far this week I have:

crocheted the bits of two-and-a-half amineko[s]

The little mauve one is an anonymous BWM 8ply wool on a 3.5mm hook

The darker blue stripey one is Yarn Bee Worsted Wool  [ an unplied singles ] and a 4.5mm hook

Number 3 – when it grows up – will be the denim blue one in Sirdar Denim Sport Aran … a lovely soft cotton blend yarn. Very nice to work with.

Number 1 has been stuffed, sewn, suitably embellished

and has already been instructed as to his/her/its position in the feline hierachy

obviously Neko is not particularly worried.

A very laid-back feline indeed.

I wish the same could be said for Bear

who is not impressed

and how did you spend YOUR day ?

A largish part of mine was spent repeatedly washing and rewashing  … by hand … in a babybath [ well, okay, it’s actually one of those large plastic utility tub thingies, which we originally bought to hold ice for drinkies at Nadie and Chris’ engagement party  a couple of years ago, and have since repurposed as a dawg bath ] but nevertheless, hand washing … with soap and copious amounts of Napisan …well supported …  and not forgetting the bending-and-kneeling [ lots and lots of bending ], my late mother’s 1950 lace wedding dress which one of the resident felines had obviously decided made an attractive alternative to any of the somewhat-in-need-of-changing litter trays.

Given its age, and the fact that it obviously hadn’t been drycleaned post-nuptuals, and given that for several decades it was stored in the home of a pair of heavy smokers, I fully expected it to disintegrate when it hit water, but, other than the revolting brown colour of the first several rinses, the lace coat seems to have survived intact.

The boned and corseted strapless moire taffeta dress that went underneath was probably never intended to touch water, but at this stage , I think dry cleaning chemicals would be just as bad if not worse, so flushed with my first success, in she went.

The jury is still out on that one.

I’ll let you know tomorrow.