I hope you all had a lovely end to 2019 and an equally lovely start to 2020!
With all the energy and verve I can muster I am welcoming in this new year with a positive outlook peppered with a decent amount of inspiration and a heavy dose of commitment. I have a lot new of ideas and a ton of unfinished WIPs to tackle and am determined to (try to!) finally catch up with myself this year.
There have been several reasons for a lack of productivity in recent months. The most fun one being the ongoing care of my three beautiful kittens – really more in the category of small cats these days. In the last few months they’ve grown from this…
Even though they’re growing up they still get into lots of trouble. They love digging up plant pots, climbing curtains, legs (ouch!), and bookcases and generally getting in the way, particularly if yarn is involved.
My purr babies are now 6 months old and it’s been plain sailing with two of them. The smallest one – Lyra – had special needs that we only noticed when she was weaned and it has been very challenging to get her to grow. After lots of vets visits and a few tests she was diagnosed with ‘persistent right aortic arch’ where some of the her blood vessels ended up in the wrong place while she was still developing in the womb resulting in her oesophagus being very constricted just below the base of the heart which caused all the problems with eating and swallowing.
Getting her to stay strong has been very time consuming, but I was up for the challenge and fed her a tiny amounts of liquid gruel every hour hoping that some of the food would trickle through to her stomach before she could throw it up. I even crocheted her a little sling with two leg holes and handles at the back so I could hold her upright while she ate, and for 10 minutes after each feed to help it go down, without risk of squeezing the wriggly little madam too hard.
We were told that she wouldn’t survive without an operation to correct her condition, so that made the decision to go ahead very easy. I hated having to take her to Bristol – about an hours drive – but knew that the Small Animal Hospital at Langford would be the best place for her to have such a rare and specialist procedure done.
My heart broke to see her looking like one of the cast of Prisoner Cell Block H.
But she slept peacefully most of the way while holding my hand with her tine paw so I hope she wasn’t too traumatised. To cut a long story short the operation was a great success. They snipped away the constricting vessel and checked for normal dilation of the oesophagus and after a few days she was well enough for us to visit. Here we are at the hospital having cuddles.
The hardest part was leaving her again but the staff were fabulous and she seemed quite content to head off back to the ward with them when our hour was up. Being the awesome trooper that she is she continued to do well and we went to pick her up the next day >happy dance<.
Her stitches were a proper fright-sight but she had some good pain meds and we were instructed to start her on a diet of pate consistency food, fed from an elevated position to begin with. All meals stayed down splendidly which was a joyous thing to us all! She was so happy to be back with her sisters and her street view, but most of all was delighted to scoff down some real meaty looking food for the first time in her life. But, oh, that bald patch 😕.
Home comforts are plentiful around here and we made sure she had lots of love, warmth, fine food and cosy nooks to aid her recovery.
I am over the moon to tell you we now know for sure that the operation was a great success, and, while she’ll never have a fully functioning eosophagus she has enough motility there to get plenty of mashed up wet food into her stomach, evidenced by the fact that she is growing again and is lively and thriving since coming out of hospital. At the last vets visit she actually weighed more than her sister Luna – but not more than Loki who is turning out to be a very long legged and solidly built girl!
With the weight of Lyra’s health problems taken off my mind I endeavoured to enjoy the rest of November and the run up to Christmas, though I developed a tooth abcess which put a bit of a blight on things. Amid the pain, antibiotics and eventual extraction I worked on a teeny tiny rehash of my Teeny Tiny Snowman pattern for inclusion in Qing Fibres advent calendar.
I added a few stars and some round beads to create a Christmas dangler that showed off two of their lovely yarns – Hero Suri (deep blue fluffy) and Rambutan (variegated).
Katt from Qing Yarns handsomely rewarded me for my efforts with a few skeins of their Pond yarn. I immediately put it to good use making the Vine Lace Scarf by Marin J Malchior from my favourite go-to tome ‘Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders’ and so I have another WIP hanging around 😯 Oops! This one is good for car journeys as the repeat is small and easy to remember and I only need one ball of yarn at a time so I’ll be adding a few rows whenever the road calls.
We decorated the house on the 1st of the month as is our tradition. No big tree this year due to the monkey-like antics of the kittens, but I pulled in a small pot-grown conifer from the garden and put lights and trinkets on that. They couldn’t really climb it but they did their best to make off with as many baubles as possible.
An American magazine called Annie’s Crochet contacted me about featuring two of my Halloween Longlegs dolls in their 2020 Fall edition. It was rather strange to be working on such an out of season project but it was enjoyable and not too taxing. Perfect for the Christmas run up, which is always such a busy time with non-work related things. I took my time re-writing the pattern to suit the magazine style and remaking the dolls to send to Indiana for the photoshoot.
I even did some of the donkey work during Christmas visits to relatives.
It’s always nice to have a bit of colour to feast the eyes upon with so much grey tarmac all around!
Eventually they were labelled up and sent off to their new home. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they look in the magazine later this year.
So with all commissions done and dusted and Christmas presents bought and wrapped, everything was going exceedingly well until Christmas Eve when I succumbed to a vomity bug, which rapidly went around the whole family, each day striking down a different victim, until Christmas week was over. Oh well, such is the way the cookie crumbles. I came out of the holiday season 4 lbs lighter so that was something to smile about at least! I still got plenty of ‘just for fun’ crochet done over the holidays. I’ve been methodically working my way through this 100 snowflakes pattern book by Caitlin Sainio.
I’ve had this book sitting around for a few years but never got around to having a go until now. It’s been a fun project to snuggle up with. Pyjamas, kittens, crochet – the dream team.
Despite the kitten curiosity I made all of these and pinned them out on one of my foam tiles to be blocked, though the pins proved to be a temptation for little paws and had to be removed from sight once they had discovered them.
Aren’t they so pretty?! It’s my ambition to make every one from the book, maybe for this year’s Chrsitmas window display. Plenty of time left yet to get the other 89 made!
I finished crocheting my poncho/cardigan/shawl/cape/cloak. Not really sure what to call it to be honest, but I do know it is very warm and brightens up the winter days when the heating is on save mode (AKA off).
It was just waiting for the tassels here. I spent an hour or so cutting lengths of yarn and attaching them at the row ends and it really did make a nice difference to the weight and swish of the garment. Well worth the extra time it took and the extra hassle of fighting Luna for the yarn ends.
After all that ‘helping’ Luna has staked a partial claim to the finished garment and often likes to snuggle in the generous folds of the granny stripes.
We can keep each other warm this way. She was purring so loudly when I took this photo, and I would have been too if it was humanly possible!
I have a raft of new Christmas patterns that I never managed to get out in time. Here’s a close-up peak at one of the characters.
I got carried away making so many tiny ornament sized characters that I didn’t have time to write up the patterns for them in the end. I’ve shelved them for now but will be getting back on with finishing these festive designs a little later this year – in plenty of time for Christmas 2020 I hope.
In the meantime they make a very good overspill cat bed for when Loki needs a little bit of space from Luna.
There are plenty of other patterns for me to finish writing and checking over the coming weeks and true to my New Year’s resolution to clear the back log I’ve started with a Yeti pattern. Maybe it will work a charm and bring us some snow, We haven’t had a single flake this year in Worcester (apart from the ones I crocheted). Not so unusual in itself but sadly missed all the same.
Eustace the Yeti and I will be thrilled if we get to enjoy even one white-out snow day before the spring!
January 24, 2020 at 2:14 pm
what a lovely article!
so pleased to hear that Lyra is now on the road to recovery, and a nomrla life, after surgery, and months of TLC. All three sisters look beautiful, and I can well believe how they must be keeping you on your toes.
Your crocheted cardie/shawl looks gorgeous – is that your own pattern design?
And love Eustace the Yeti !!
January 24, 2020 at 4:22 pm
Oh yes it’s a big relief that Lyra is going to be fine. You fall in love so quickly with them and when they come to depend on you so heavily it’s hard not to get very emotionally involved.
The cardishawl (perhaps that’s what I’ll call it from now on!) isn’t completely my pattern. The idea came from a magazine a few years back but I have had to change it quite a bit to make it fit. Glad to hear you like Eustace the yeti. He has a cousin callled Boris the Bigfoot – same pattern just made in shades of brown. I’ll post a pic on the next catch up post 😊
January 24, 2020 at 2:16 pm
Your ponch, cape, etc sounds facinating. Will wait impatiently for the pattern!
January 24, 2020 at 4:25 pm
Thank you it was fun to make! It isn’t completely ot my pattern though, I found it in a magazine a few years old. But I did make a number of changes to make it fit better and used my own colour scheme. It’s basically two large granny triangles joined down the middle so would be fairly easy to improvise!
January 24, 2020 at 6:39 pm
You do seem to have gone through it but your kitten/cats are beautiful and Lyra is so lucky to have you for a mum. Your work as ever is stunning. Best wishes for 2020 & can’t wait to see more lovely projects from you
January 26, 2020 at 11:36 am
I feel lucky to have her as well, she is such an affectionate little thing. All the best to you too for 2020!
January 24, 2020 at 7:34 pm
Wow. What a not so fun ride you and Lyra have been on… I am glad to hear that she is doing better though.. Love the little ‘sweater’ you knitted for her and the rest of your projects are fur–tabulous .. =^-^= …
January 26, 2020 at 11:41 am
Her little sling was such a boon, and she wore it so patiently. So glad she no longer needs it though!
January 25, 2020 at 7:40 pm
So glad your baby is doing well now. They are all so adorable. My four I haven’t had since kittens and haven’t had a kitten in many years so I forget how much work they are so young. They are true joys in life. I love your array of projects as well. Keep calm and crochet on. Crochetapy.
January 26, 2020 at 11:45 am
I have had cats as adults in the past – depending on what was neediest at the animal shelter – but it has been extra special to raise these three madams from kittens. They are so lively and such a pleasure to watch their antics while my older cats snooze away most of the day! Crochet is definately therapy for me. I’d be so lost without it!
January 25, 2020 at 11:28 pm
Thank you for the great newsletter! I sure hope your kitty is well and her fur is growing back now. You took such good care of her! I love your designs. Dying to make a Yeti! Maybe you’ll get snow yet? Snow is extremely rare here in Houston, TX.
January 25, 2020 at 11:45 pm
I could not fine the Yeti pattern on any of the pages. Are you going to sell that pattern? Love it!
January 26, 2020 at 11:52 am
We still hold out hope for snow, sometimes we have had some as late as April so you never know. Lyra’s fur is growing back very fast now, so nice to see her looking all fluffy again! I’ll be finishing up the yeti pattern today and tomorrow so it should be up on my Etsy etc. real soon.
February 1, 2020 at 4:39 pm
I’m so glad your kitty is doing better, they are all very cute. Congrats on the commission.
February 14, 2020 at 7:16 am
In the Wesley the Wise Owl pattern it says to use mid brown for the ruffle. I think that is a typo. Should it be grey?
February 14, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Hi Marsha, the ruffle for the bottom of the body is made in mid brown. Maybe you are looking at the ruffle at the bottom of the head? That one is made in grey, but as far as I can see on my copy that is as it is written in the pattern. I hope that helps and that you are enjoying making the owl!