Cat tales

GargoyleCatEvery morning for the past few weeks, as soon as I sit down at my desk, Nutmeg comes tearing into the office, dashes up the cat tree, and then proceeds to flail around wildly on the top of my desk. Occasionally a little head peeks (often upside down) over the edge, but primarily the only way I know she’s there is the sound of her sliding around on the wood.

At some point she then decides it’s time to see what I’m up to, so then I look up to see a fuzzy little gargoyle peering down at me.

I’m not sure why the top of my desk has suddenly become the best place to play in the morning. But when one lives with cats one learns that it’s really pointless to ask ‘why’. And at least if she is flailing around being cute up there, she is *not* gnawing on the corner of the ledge over the window. No, I have no idea why she does *that* either.


Rosie-closeupSo – an update on Rosemary and her weird mouth hole.

I took her to our regular vet on Wednesday, as per the instructions of the emergency vet. They’d faxed over all the info so our regular vet would have a heads up, and he was, I think, prepared for something really awful. But he opened her mouth and peered in and seemed more than a bit surprised that it wasn’t as bad as he was expecting.

We still have no idea what caused the hole in the first place. She had a bunch of teeth extracted back in November, but it’s not anywhere near where those came out. It is most likely a fistula, although he doesn’t think it goes all the way through to the nasal cavity (and after being extra snuffly and sneezy the few days prior to the vet appointment = because when one’s human is nervously Googling oral-nasal fistulas, and oral abscesses, and oral tumors (for the love of all that is holy do *not* Google oral tumors!), it is important to try to work in as many extra symptoms as you can just to mess with her head, after all – she’s no longer doing that either). The sides of the hole look smooth and clean – no sign of infection at all, so clearly the antibiotics have been doing their job. And bonus, he said it looks as if it’s actually trying to heal up.

So – current plan is that she gets to finish out the 10 days of the antibiotics (which isn’t any fun for us humans because Reasons that you really do not want me to go into more detail on, although I will say that i am SO VERY GLAD WE DO NOT HAVE CARPET), and we’ll keep an eye on it, but right now, the news is all good. Phew.

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Bonus Round

So yes, I know that technically the month of daily dishcloths was supposed to be over as of yesterday. But I woke up at about 5:30 this morning, worrying about Rosie and the weird hole in her mouth, and so I went upstairs to check on her (she demanded food, so all was as usual), and then sat down on the couch and stared at the remnants of my cotton stash. I started working on another boring garter stitch square (this time with stripes), but then realized I just couldn’t do it. Not more garter stitch. So I ripped it all out and started over and noodled around until I came up with something a little different. Each pattern repeat reminds me a little of zipper teeth, so I have dubbed it Zip It!

Zip It - 2 color

(I would like to point out, for the record, that what you see here includes the VERY LAST of the teal yarn. Let the cheering commence.)

Once that was done, I scribbled some notes and stared at the cluster of tiny little balls of yarn still remaining and I thought hmm, I bet this would work great with scraps. And so then I knit up Zip It! number two.

Zip It - multicolor

I’ve been working today on firming up the pattern for the thing I spent most of yesterday on (including an awesome photo shoot with some very accommodating friends), but that isn’t quite ready to share. So instead I wrote up the Zip It! pattern, and uploaded it to Ravelry, and have made it available for free. You can download it via Ravelry here.

And with that, I believe I am finally done with the dishcloths. Grand total for this little personal challenge: 32 dishcloths.


Boy oh boy, if I ever need to do some serious cleaning, I think I’m now ready.

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Black hole

I spent most of the day knitting. I had grand plans to get the taxes done and give the house a thorough cleaning, and while we did scrub down the kitchen and unearth the floor and all the surfaces in the office, we didn’t do nearly as much as we were planning, because….I spent most of the day knitting. And while it involved cotton yarn, it primarily wasn’t dishcloths.

I will reveal the thing later, once I get some good action shots. No, it’s not another goofy video, although one grey cat is involved, tangentially, but you will just have to wait to find out.

Things were going along smoothly until this evening, when Richard went to let Rosie out of her room (because she is on a self-imposed wet-food-only diet, we feed her in a room away from all the other cats so that they will not hoover up every bit of her food and leave her none), and noticed blood in her water bowl. Again.

Back up a bit. A week or so ago I’d noticed that the water in her bowl was tinged faintly red, and there were a few drops of dried blood on her heating pad. Naturally concerned, I flipped her over and opened her mouth to peer around inside. She had a whole bunch of teeth extracted a couple months ago, and I was concerned maybe there was some kind of infection or she’d bitten her tongue, or something. But I didn’t see anything, and she was acting normal (well, as normal as a 16 1/2 year old cat acts). So we decided to just keep an eye on her.

This time, however, it wasn’t just the blood in the water bowl. When she came out, she hopped up on my lap and I noticed immediately that her mouth was ringed with blood. I gently swabbed away what I could with a Kleenex and pried her mouth open, and that’s when I saw that there was a big hole in the roof of her mouth.

Here is where I note that this cat gets pilled twice a day (and is super easy to pill) and so I am looking inside her mouth a LOT. That hole definitely wasn’t there this morning.

So…we stuffed Rosie into a carrier and dashed off to the emergency vet.

I wish I could say that the verdict was a definite ‘oh, this is X, and here is how we treat it,” but alas, no. They verified that yes, there is definitely a big hole in her mouth, full of grossness that might be pus or might be necrotic tissue; they can’t really quite tell without a more invasive process like a biopsy. The vet did indicate that if she’s eating and drinking (which she is), then it obviously isn’t causing her any pain. It might be nothing more than an abcess, or it could be a something-or-other fistula (between the mouth and the nasal cavity) or it could be a tumor. We really don’t know at this point. All we know is that she has a big hole in the roof of her mouth.

The vet sent us home with some antibiotics, so that if there is any sort of infection, we can get started on clearing it up. We’ll schedule a visit with our regular vet at some point this coming week, to run more tests and see if we can narrow down the cause.

In the meantime, Rosie was squawking imperiously for food shortly after we returned home, and proceed to start inhaling it as soon as I put the plate down in front of her. So clearly she isn’t as bothered by this thing as we are. And for that I am grateful.


In between noodling around on the other project, I did whip up a dishcloth. It’s a plain garter stitch cloth because I didn’t much feel like trying to track down a pattern. Please note presence of Rupert toes at top of picture.


And then, after we came home from the vet (shortly after 10pm, which is normally when we go to bed), I was pretty wired, my brain buzzing with all the ‘what-ifs’ for our elderly cat, and so I sat down and knit up another one. This one is based on the White Birch pattern. I say ‘based on’ because I could tell right away that there was absolutely no need for the garter stitch border, of which I am so not a fan, so I simply left it out.


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Goodbye Mr Spock

I did not grow up watching Star Trek. In fact, my first exposure (beyond seeing The Wrath of Khan in the movie theater, with which I was extremely unimpressed as a teenage girl) was The Next Generation. So unlike the classic Trekkie, I prefer Picard over Kirk. And watching the original series as an adult, I admit I did more than a fair bit of cringing at the camp, and at Shatner’s acting.

So I do not have the same connection with Spock that a lot of nerds in my generation do. I came to him as an adult, and not as a quiet, bookish, awkward kid. But that does not mean I loved him any less. He showed up from time to time in TNG and it didn’t matter that I didn’t always have the classic Trek backstory to draw from; his character appealed to me just the same.

I know that people get older and eventually they die, but for some reason, Leonard Nimoy was one of those people who just seemed like he would maybe stick around forever. The New York Times has a wonderful obituary; an overview of an amazing man. He will be greatly missed.


It seems a bit awkward to follow that up with a dishcloth, but, well, the month isn’t over yet. Also it’s teal AGAIN, so you get double apologies.

Dishcloth-Granite Stitch

Yes, I know this looks suspiciously like crochet, but it is actually knit. This was made using the granite stitch. I have no idea why it’s called that – maybe because it’s got ridges, like a mountain? Or something? Eh, who cares.

(Possibly I might be a little done with dishcloths. And teal.)

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Dishcloth-a-oh let’s face it, we’re all about the Llama Drama

So in case you were not aware, there was a Very Exciting Event that happened today that lit up the internet. No, I’m not talking about the fact that the FCC approved Net Neutrality (hooray for the FCC!). I am, of COURSE, talking about the two llamas that escaped in Arizona, and then led a whole lot of people on a wild chase reminiscent of the Keystone Cops. The Twitterverse was glued to its monitors as all of this played out in live, streaming video. I am not sure which was more fun, watching the llamas loping through the streets, or reading the tweets. This was one of my particular favorites (because okay, yes today was *also* all about the FCC’s ruling, llamas not withstanding).:

Really, this is what the internet was MADE for. Damn, but I do love living in the future.


Today’s dishcloth was made using a stitch pattern from a recent test knit I did. I adore this stitch pattern – it’s easy to do and requires minimal thought (well, okay, remembering to knit the interior color on the back row instead of purl it might require a *tiny* bit of extra thought), and it creates a really neat looking fabric.


I did mention how much I loved this color combination before, right? I loved it so much I then decided to whip up a second dishcloth, using the same two colors and exactly the same pattern, except….the colors are reversed.


Think I prefer it with the darker color as the border, but either way, I love it.

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Dishcloth-A-Day: Day Twenty-five

On the way to work this morning I passed a woman riding her bike, and it was very hard, as we both pulled up to the same stoplight, for me to not roll down my window and ask her if she was just an idiot, or if she had a death wish. She had a helmet. Of course, it was dangling from her handlebars and not actually on her head. To add to the fun, she had earbuds on and was not paying much attention to the cars passing her by, or anything else for that matter.

I suppose I have to give her credit for at least *stopping* at the red light – I’ve seen far too many cyclists go zooming right through (apparently unaware of the basic law of physics that says when a large, heavy metal object collides with a smaller, organic object, the larger heavy object is going to win EVERY SINGLE TIME). But still. Why even bother with a helmet if you’re not even going to wear it?

Damn kids, get off my lawn. Or something.


Today’s dishcloth was made using the Diagonal Scallop stitch. Sorry, it’s teal again, because this is the color that will not die.


I like this stitch. It gives me Ideas.

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Dishcloth-A-Day: Day Twenty-four

Today’s dishcloth was made using the Double Woven stitch.


Interestingly, it’s almost exactly like the linen stitch I did earlier, except that you slip two stitches instead of one, so the effect is very different. Ah, the fun of playing with yarn.

Four more days. I am in no danger of running out of cotton. Sigh.

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Dishcloth-A-Day: Day Twenty-Three

Sitting here at my computer, I heard a thump (the telltale sound that some cat (my first guess is the culprit was Sherman, because it usually is) was on the kitchen counter where he knows he isn’t supposed to be), followed shortly thereafter by a strange swishing sound. I sat here for a moment, trying to figure out exactly what he’d managed to get hold of this time, and then a small procession of cats charged through the office at top speed, led by Sherman, who had my measuring tape in his mouth, the entire 4 feet of tape trailing along behind him.

I will go rescue it in a few minutes. After I finish writing this up. And also after I stop laughing.


Today’s dishcloth was made using the rank and file stitch. No clue why it’s named that. I really had fun with this one. It’s not too horribly fiddly, and it’s easy to memorize, and the cloth it produces is extremely thick and squishy; so much so that I could see this thing easily doubling as a hot pad or potholder.


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Dishcloth-A-Day: Day Twenty-Two

It’s always kind of fun when the group in which I sing shows up in the news. Capitol Public Radio went out to one of our educational programs this past week and did an interview and write-up.

Here’s one of the songs we did (part of a collection of 5 madrigals for the information age). I freely admit that that set of 5 songs was my favorite of the concert.


Today’s dishcloth is made using the Linen Stitch. You will notice that once again, I’m trying to make a dent in the massive stash of teal (seriously, where did all this teal cotton *come* from?).


Astute knitting readers may also notice that apparently I goofed on one row in this and likely slipped the stitches with yarn in the back instead of with the yarn in the front. Likely I was distracted by cats or something. Yeah, let’s just go with that.

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Dishcloth-A-Day: Day Twenty-One

A couple amusing anecdotes from yesterday’s trip to Stitches:

  • While I love knitting, I really do not enjoy seaming at all, to the point where it is not uncommon for all of a project’s pieces to be completely done, and then to have them sit in a bag, untouched, for weeks or months, because I am procrastinating on the seaming.

    This works fine for my own personal projects, but not quite as well when it’s a test knit. As three of us were doing one of our meanders around the market yesterday, I noted that when I got back to the table, I needed to finish up the seaming on a project, and then added that they should feel free to nag me about it. Everyone laughed, we kept on wandering, found the things we were hoping to find, and then headed back to the table, where both of them promptly looked at me as we all sat down and, in their very best Mom voices, said sternly “you have seaming to do!”

    (yes, I did get the seaming done!)

  • I did a sample knit for A Verb for Keeping Warm, for Stitches. They needed a quick turn-around so they shipped me the yarn, I whipped out the project, and then I shipped it back, completely forgetting to take a picture of it. That was a couple weeks ago.

    ArtesianI went to their booth with the express intent of taking a picture of the finished object. Except it turns out there were three of them and now I cannot quite remember which color I made. I know it isn’t the cream one, but was it the lighter olive or the darker olive? I think it was the one on the right. But maybe it was the darker one? I do remember it was some shade of green….


Today’s dishcloth uses the raspberry stitch. It was a bit fiddly, but at least it’s a good pattern to use with my seemingly never-ending supply of variegated yarn.

Dishcloth-Raspberry Stitch

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