Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Moments and Situations

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Dear Kay,
I’m not going to sugarcoat this: this Belinda wrap I’m making for you has not been without its challenges. It may be the easiest lace pattern on earth, but let me tell you, there have been moments on this project.
Moment No. 1: To make the second half of this shawl, you pick up stitches along one edge of the first half, then knit the same stitch pattern perpendicular to the first half. Straight needles make the constant sliding-up-of-stitches much easier than futzing with circulars. I never, ever, wever use straight needles. I gave away all the ones I used to have. But I discovered in my nest of knitting one pair of size 6 wooden needles given to me by a really nice person, and I took a moment to think of what great luck it was that the only pair of straights I had happened to be the right size.
This went well enough, until I started knitting the first row, at which point I noticed that this Hand Maiden Lace Silk was catching, microscopically, on every single stitch. One tiny filament, a tuft, a little bitty snag, on every stitch. Unbelievable. My needle had a tiny, tiny imperfection, the sort that wouldn’t have been a problem on any NORMAL yarn. But this silk stuff is very literal about things, and that minuscule catch was going to slowly drive me to crochet.
Moment No. 2: OK, I thought. I’ll go buy some more needles. That went well enough, until I was coming home from New York, and had settled down in my middle seat next to a talker and a texter. (She texted ferociously until the flight attendant pried it from her clammy fingers.) I reached into my bag, itching to get at my knitting, knowing that solace and bliss awaited me, only to discover: one needle.
It’s very likely at the security checkpoint at La Guardia. When that guy re-ran my bag (overlooking, by the way, the wicked metal tapestry needle in my coin purse!), I just know the needle slid right under the conveyor belt. He did not seem sensitive about my needles. He may not have even been a knitter.
The Good News: When I got home, itching even more, I realized that I still had one good needle left over from the imperfect pair. So frugal. (Ha.)
Moment No. 3, and 4, and 5 etc.:
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This is an ongoing problem.
Avian Situation
There’s big drama going on about a foot outside our den window:
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Three of ‘em, lurching around like bad animation. They’re eating the absolutely most disgusting stuff you ever saw. This morning, the mom robin made an umbrella over them when it rained.
Love,
Ann

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73 Comments

73 Comments

  1. Love the face of moment 3,4 and 5 (etc…)it just just screams “MINE!!!!!!”

  2. Love the face of moment 3,4 and 5 (etc…)it just just screams “MINE!!!!!!”

  3. Ha, the cat is all “Go ahead and TRY to pull this out from under my butt!”

  4. The birds are wishing they had little shawls, the pinless kind of course;)

  5. I’m guessing Mama Bird is pretty grateful that the cat is obsessed with Belinda instead of the babies.

  6. Stop posting cartoons of your cat and just show us your real cat!
    Funniest-faced cat EVER. How do you stand it?
    LOL!
    Kay

  7. What amuses me is how unaware my indoor cat is of the upset he is causing the birds out the window. The birds wake me up with their distress, but the cat is just sitting on the sill, tail switching back and forth.

  8. The kitty just wants to “help” make the shawl for “Aunt” Kay, that’s all!

  9. “Lurching around like bad animation” may be the most perfect descriptive phrase I have ever read. Though the pic you’ve posted makes me think less of bad animation, more of “The Dark Crystal.” “Lurching around like those weird birdlike creatures in ‘The Dark Crystal’,” however, lacks finesse, brevity, panache, and a bunch of other French-sounding fancy words.

  10. Thank you for this morning’s first laugh about the bird babies’ diet.
    Yesterday when I removed our Kitty Boy from the cashmere sweater I’d left out to dry, he stuck a claw in it as I was lifting him just for spite. Since you didn’t mention chasing your cat around the house, brandishing your mismatched needles, I’m guessing your kitty has more respect for expensive yarn than mine does.

  11. That cat+knitting=problem picture is *priceless*. Hee-hee!

  12. That cat kinda scares me….

  13. Oh, the bird babies are hilarious! Thanks for the llaugh.

  14. My god! How do you dare turn your back let alone knit with cat in the house? What was that robin thinking building a nest within miles it? Ooh, I need a nice cup of tea and little calm down now ;)

  15. Why do so manyof us knitters have cats? Really, we know they dis’ our knitting and yet we persist in serving cats as we persist in our knitting. We’re just enablers.
    St.Louis Beth

  16. I saw you, Kay! Ann, gosh, can’t you use an emery board and a little wax on those gorgeous Lantern Moons? Maggie Righetti in Knitting in Plain English says to always keep an emery board in your knitting bag for a snagged nail or needle. I am addicted to my Addis but I am collecting Lantern Moon and Harmony needles because they are so darn pretty.

  17. I’ve seen that cat before….oh, yeah, Celia on ANTM, that’s her!

  18. Oh, I feel your pain with the silk. Had wound a hank of sea silk on a ball winder the other nite, and you know how occassionally you’ll get a hiccup in the wind and you’ll get that little tight wrap about the core after you’ve started to make the ball? Well, after a mere 6 rows, the yarn stuck. To all parts of itself. From 8:25 pm to 2:35 am I made it into a hand wound ball. Have to remember…wind silk carefully!!! (Couldn’t leave it half way done because of, you guessed it, the cats.)

  19. That cat is NOT to be messed with. Very handsome, and definitely in charge.

  20. Those birds look suspiciously like my brothers (and their wives) on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter… waiting for dinner to appear on the table.

  21. This is why I have doors I can shut and if need be lock when I’m working with something really nice. My kitty has a fairly cosmopolitan palate when it comes to knitting she wants to destroy and I can’t guarantee that even the cheapo acryllic is safe!

  22. Moments 3,4 and 5, how I know them that look well!

  23. Love that cat’s face. And the birds are precious.
    I’m starting my first laceweight silk and size 6 needles project. A definite learning curve.

  24. looks as if kay has found
    the key under the door mat
    my porch light is always on

  25. ok I’m not a cat person – but that cat could win me over – the attitude is perfect. :D

  26. I am scared of your cat.
    MY 3 cats, on the other hand, took on next door’s yappy dog today so I reckon they could give your a run for his / her (?) money :0)

  27. Ann, your Belinda is just the umbrella that Kay needs from the rain in her life right now. It looks beautiful!

  28. I have had very good luck with taking a very fine emery board to a snaggy bamboo needle.
    If by some unhappy circumstance a repo man ever shows up at your door — or a would-be mugger or a terrorist or even a really greedy trick-or-treater — that cat can take care of them, no prob.

  29. I am laughing at the comment that the baby birds are like brothers (and wives) at the holidays… I suffer from the same in my family (although I am teaching my little ones to help put the food on the table).

  30. Just three comments. For that wood problem, sand paper followed by wax paper. Solves those little imperfections every time. Second, Ann, I cannot believe you didn’t call us and have us search the security lost items room (like they have such a thing) at LaGuadia. Third, wait til you get that puppy almost done. It’s hot, hot, hot and as I recall Belinda gets bigger, bigger, bigger. Did you really want to knit on Belinda sitting next to Ms. Texttalker anyway. Personally, I used my little baby plastic needles on the plane and worked on my square which took up a lot less room. Oh I guess there’s a fourth thing. Dogs sit on knitting too. It’s not just a cat thing.

  31. Ann, I am reading these latest blog posts as love letters (of a sort) to Kay, and they are wonderful. What a great friend you are. All my best to Kay.

  32. Dear Ann,
    I hope I have a friend like you when things get tough. And I hope I’ll be a friend like you when things get bad. And the pic of the baby robins is just perfect-o.
    XO,
    Maryanne

  33. Ann, thanks for this beautiful reminder that life is strong, and continues all around us, no matter how profound our grief. Cats keep sitting on knitting. Baby birds keep eating disgusting stuff. Spring colored leaves keep popping out. I hope Kay sees this and finds comfort in the images and your lovely writing.

  34. I Love Your Cat!!

  35. Wow, the kitty looks really defiant!

  36. that is a cartoonishly evil cat. His eyes seem to follow me…
    And the baby birds! Reminds me of my kiddlins when they first started on solids. Of the NON regurgitated-insect variety, of course. Although human baby food isn’t really that much more appetizing, is it?

  37. You are an outstanding writer. Your posts, pictures, wit, and poignant observations are the highlights of my day.

  38. You are an outstanding writer. Your posts, pictures, wit, and poignant observations are the highlights of my day.

  39. Love the robins!

  40. Yeah! Birdcam is back!

  41. How do you make a cat look like Edward G. Robinson?

  42. So the wrap will come with some extra white fuzzy bits. Perfect. I’m sure the kitty is trying to pass on some love.

  43. The four baby robins on our deck left the nest yesterday. The mom and dad were just beside themselves in the yard as those babies flew down and then hurried to the safety of the nearby woods. My world stopped for a moment as I watched them go.
    I love your writing Ann, I’m thinking of you each day Kay.

  44. I have some of those baby birds on the ledge outside my window too, though mine are pigeon babies. One time they were making a lot of noise I leaned out to see what was going on, and one of them had his head down his mom’s throat. or vice versa, I can’t remember. I closed the window really quick, since it looked like I was interrupting a private moment.

  45. I think my cats are reading your blog. I swear, I never had an issue with cat-laying-on-project until they saw that picture…within minutes I had one on my latest pair of socks. Usually they just try to attack it, but now they are staking claim.
    And if that isn’t the cutest darn face on earth, I don’t know what is.

  46. Here’s the question: Why is kitty sittin’ on the knittin’ when there is a ‘birdy buffet’ just out side the window?
    Must be a special cat, indeed! (perhaps EZ in another life…?)
    LoveDiane

  47. Those three little birds may be driving you nuts, but…aren’t they just the epitome of spring?! Love ‘em.

  48. I love the cat photo! That’s exactly what I see every time I go to block lace, although I can’t imagine the temptation to lie on wet yarn…

  49. That’s the most disapproving cat I’ve ever seen. “Wrath upon any who try move me!”
    Perhaps people who make cat beds need to be told that cats actually want delicious lace?

  50. That is one of the most expressive cat faces I have seen in a long time. And yes I am glad that cat is busy with the wrap rather than with catching little birdies.
    Thank you for keeping up the posting. You are a trooper. And such a good, good friend.

  51. wow, our cat used to do that too. Dog only sniffed the knitting. That said, being a very frequent flyer, lucky for the tested that you couldn’t find the needle. It often takes everything I have not to stab someone doing that.

  52. It appears that your cat heard you refer to using mohair in the project and assumed you needed just that…. mo’ hair. Those cats, they are such givers.

  53. I am always impressed with knitters picking up stitches around their lace shawls. I am still not ready to make that leap.

  54. I love my name, but it is hard to be named after the dumbest birds on earth. Last year we had a robin on the ground in the garden and one in the mailbox that gets used every single day.
    Very low on the IQ scale.
    And your cat.
    Oh my word. That’s something to behold.

  55. Such an intense time, and you brought out the best of it with this post. New life, warm smiles, and a thorough laugh at the cat and the baby birds.
    We had a family of woodpeckers bore out a hole in the siding of the house on the second floor and build their nest between the wallboard and the siding. Immediately opposite my then-eight-year-old sister’s head on her bed at night. She would wake up at the crack of dawn to emphatic cries of “Cheep!!!”

  56. As far as ongoing problems go, that is a rather fabulous one!

  57. I positively choked up on your last line. Choked. Up.

  58. The cat is so funny! Its like he knows exactly what he is doing is naughty. Too funny- sorry about your knitting challenges, I guess we all have them. ha ha

  59. Somehow I think we all needed Ann’s post today.

  60. I love that line, “he may not have even been a knitter.” Oh, that just cracked me up!

  61. Reason 3, 4, and 5 has a cousin in my house! But the expression on the face of yours? Priceless.
    Ah. New spring life. Perfect.
    (((Hugs)))

  62. wow…that belinda is looking like the colors that remind me of my first and (so far) only trip to the ocean. manhattan beach probably isn’t the best example, lovely as the experience was, but the subtle net color and watery colors are delicious. those birdy babies are precious. i tossed some red wool out under our huge pine tree and into the bushes in the hopes of seeing it in a nest this summer. thanks for sharing your beauty.

  63. I generally disapprove of cat photos in blogs, but that one is priceless. Kinda reminds me of that baby Franklin photographed, with the hood.
    And I must say, “lurching around like bad animation” is going into my mental stockpile of Best Descriptive Phrases Ever. Just want to keep saying it over & over…
    You rock, Ann.

  64. Obviously your cat is king!

  65. Ann…thank you so much for keeping us real and keeping us connected to you and Kay during this traumatic time in Kay’s life. Your gentle spirit and humor is so welcome right now, and so very, very appreciated…thank you again…

  66. Ann, I love your cat. LOVE. The look on his face is priceless. If he could roll his eyes, no doubt he’d be doing that while shaking his head. He knows he’s so much better than his station in life. HEE!
    Kay, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

  67. Love the birds, wish I could see the robin umbrella! I currently have birds feeding out of the cat food dish, not very picturesque….I admit. Thanks for posting the babies! My cat food eating Brazilian cardinals are almost all grown up, I will miss their greedy cheeping.

  68. Loving you guys and thinking hard on you both. Ann, don’t take this the wrong way, but your cat looks like Oscar from Sesame Street and although I am not a cat fan (allergies)I am diggin’ your cats.

  69. Thank you for the photo of the cat staking its claim to your knitting! It really made me smile. My cat is more the type to try to nonchantly sidle closer and closer while I knit, watching the wiggling free yarn for a long time before she bites it, if I’m not paying attention. Cats + yarn = fun.

  70. Kitteh is trying to tell you something.

  71. that is one disapproving kitteh! (but still adorable!)

  72. Re: Linda’s latest ballband dishcloth
    Why WASH the dishes? just sweep ‘em under that thing and get back to KNITTING!

  73. we’re gonna need a bigger sink….