Reader (Viewer?) Request

I saw my friend Melanie yesterday. She looked at me sternly and intoned, “More Milo.”

Who am I to deny Mel?

El Milo

(Ruffled from digging his paper-ball toy out from under the sofa)

El Milo

(Juggling said paper-ball toy. Seriously, this cat has enough toys to stock a big-box pet store. But his favorite toy is a crumpled receipt).

El Milo

(Playing Prisoner of Zenda with John’s new bicycle wheels).

Hope you’re satisfied, Mel.

It Must be October

Frantically busy? Check.

Crossing as many fingers and toes as would still allow us to get on with normal human activities in order to mystically help the Red Sox? Check.

Hauling out sweaters with glee as the weather is finally chilly? Check.

Making more of them? Check.

Sweater in progress

Gratuitous cute cat photos featuring Milo in unlikely poses? Check.

Cute cat in unlikely pose


Stitches Weekend Roundup

Thursday evening: Milo gets his first fire in the fireplace. Fall is really here! (FINALLY.)

First fire for Milo

Friday: Wake up at six. Run around like an idiot. Drink coffee. Pack. Load car. On the road by just after eight. In Baltimore by ten (the first ten or so miles only took a half hour… I hate route 270).

Sit for a few minutes congratulating myself that I got to Baltimore Penn Station in time to not make Daisy wait (I hate making people wait – especially when I am picking them up from something. There’s something really anxiety-producing for me about arriving somewhere and having nobody there to meet you – even if you’re sure, really sure they’re on their way. By the same token, I hate thinking that I’m inflicting that kind of agitation on someone else.

Daisy arrived in good order, found me (“I’ll be the one waving like an idiot next to a grey Jetta”), and off we went. Being the good photographer I am, this is the only photograph of The Entire Weekend.

Daisy - on our way to Stitches!

(What can I say? I knew I was going to be hauling fiber – I didn’t feel like hauling a camera also.)

We head over to the Convention Center (Daisy, by the way, either has a touching faith in my knowledge of Baltimore streets, or she’s a very good actress). Taking a deep breath, we plunge in to the hum of Stitches East. Despite the fact that it was Friday and the scrum really hadn’t started to form yet, Daisy had that look in her eye pretty early – you know the one: “Oh. My. God. Colortexturefiberpeoplestuffgoingon…” I noted Kaffe Fassett sitting at a signing (looking a bit dazed himself, poor man), and pointed out Brandon Mably as he whizzed past us. Daisy said, “Oh my god – I’m not even taking in the people.” I told her it was pretty much the same for me the year before. Learning to filter at Stitches takes some practice.

Daisy however, was as game and cheerful a companion as a person could want at Stitches. We were well-matched in many respects: we liked to look at the same things (but gravitate towards different colors – I to my usual green, Daisy to her favorite purple. When you’re selecting a hunting partner for Stitches, it helps to have someone whose color preferences lie at opposite ends of the color wheel). We both hit the blood-sugar wall at the same time (this is key – one would hate to drag an unwilling party away from the fun; but by the same token, one would hate to have a companion growing ever grumpier and grumpier in hypoglycemia’s iron grip). She was resourceful and organized – when the people at the non-selling Malabrigo booth gave us mini-skein samples of laceweight to take away (the first hit is free…), she located an envelope and noted all the Malabrigo-selling booths so we could reconnoiter effectively.

We both hit the wall reasonably early on that first day, and headed off to the hotel to spread our new loot over bedspreads and let our brains spin down a bit. Again, we were nicely matched. We were both tired from a long day, and Daisy had booked a suite hotel with a little kitchenette. I brought what I thought was soup (turned out to be curry – yum anyway) from our freezer and bread I had made the night before. A bottle of wine, some Malabrigo swatching and an episode of Doctor Who on my laptop made for a relaxing, geeky evening in. Daisy finished a Mr. Greenjeans sweater for wearing the next day.

Saturday: Celebrity Extravaganza. Daisy, among her many talents, is a WordPress expert (and has been invaluable help in getting this blog over its initial technological bumps when I transitioned from iBlog), who helped Wendy (yep – that Wendy) when she transitioned her blog from Movable Type. Wendy had graciously invited both of us for breakfast, and after completely forgetting that the Baltimore marathon was being run yesterday (and having to ditch the car further from the waterfront than we had intended), we trekked over to her hotel and I was privy firsthand to the Wendy and L-B show. What a delightful pair. You know how some good friends are really exclusive and you feel like an eavesdropper or interloper when you’re around? Well, Wendy and L-B are absolutely not like that. They’re inclusive and funny and fun. I figured we would have breakfast and then all go our separate ways, but I was lucky to be wrong. We spent our entire day with them. Wendy and I had each other’s respective number in about five minutes, Wendy affirming that yes indeed – that 50%-off Debbie Bliss cashmere at WEBS was in fact green and the lights in the convention center were weird (we were right, Wendy – it’s sage-celery, even though it looked grey in the convention center light), and when Wendy plucked a ball of dark-green quiviut off a shelf and mused about another color to go with it, I handed her a ball of lighter green and suggested knitting them together to get an interesting depth of color (in terms of $/volume, I think that’s my enabling zenith – I believe I can retire now).

Funniest moment? When Wendy from the Yarn Barn saw L-B’s badge and asked if she was “the” L-B as Wendyknits Wendy stood just to the left and behind her. I silently waved and pointed at Wendyknits Wendy until Yarn-Barn Wendy caught my eye, saw Wendyknits Wendy and her mouth flew open. We all agreed afterwards that L-B was officially the celebrity in the group, and Wendy was a vastly successful publicist.

Most staggering moment? Meeting Eunny Jang and hearing her say to me, “I recognize you from Ravelry!” (Note: if you’re going to an event like Stitches and you wear your “Print o’ the Wave” stole, not only will complete strangers say nice things about your work, but you may get the chance to say, “I’m sorry – this is tacky, but I may never have the chance to do this again,” and hand it to Eunny herself. She was gracious, as one would expect. I only feel slightly foolish in retrospect.)

It was over all too soon and I only got us slightly lost getting back to the car and up to the train station. Daisy made her train (which then promptly broke down outside of Philadelphia, getting her back to her family horrifically late, but we had so much fun I don’t think she has any regrets).

Sunday: Stash cataloging, blogging, laundry, and wondering when I’m ever going to knit all the gorgeous stuff I have.

Sorry to subject you to the tour of the inside of my head

I’m just hoping yesterday’s mental peregrinations made sense to somebody.

Because I’m not completely heartless, I shall give you a long-awaited glimpse of that superstar of the animal kingdom, Monsieur Milo leChat. His covetous approach towards my Sea Silk stole was not a one-off, it appears. The current project, John’s “Cobblestone” sweater from the latest IK is also a prime favorite with him (is it the color? Does he just like blue? It is a nice shade for a redhead).

Such a helper

John often terms him a “funny little creature,” and this is very true. He has a very un-cat-like willingness to be moved about – so much so, that when he curled up in the sweater-in-progress and I needed to be elsewhere, he didn’t object when I bundled up project and cat and deposited the whole shebang in the knitting bag.

Can you believe him?

Sweet, no? How about this one – cuter, since it contains 100% more Simon than the other:

Yep, still cute.  But this time, with 100% more Simon

(yes, he’s still wee, our Milo). 

Lest you think Milo is completely slack, he does have his moments of wild activity. For instance, he seems to have inherited John’s passion for soccer. Here he is rooting for the German women’s team:

Milo - rooting for the German women's soccer team

Oi, Milo – you make a better door than a window, fella!

Once Upon a Time…

There was a wee forest creature named Gordon.  He was a Woodin, and he was lost.  Somehow, he had come out of the deep forest and landed on a porch in the suburbs.  He tried to adapt, but sitting in a potted geranium wasn’t the same as climbing the high forest oaks.

Woodin rides the geranium

Without another Woodin, he felt very alone.  Knowing that other Woodins are always attracted by a game, he thought he would cover his eyes and pretend that he was starting a round of Hide-and-Seek.

Woodin playing hide and go seek

“One Mississippi, two Mississippi…”

But he didn’t hear the familiar sound of other Woodins scurrying for a hiding place.  He was still on his own.

“Pssst!  In here!”  Gordon looked in the window of the house, and there was the furry orange face of a tabby kitten.  “When they open the door, scoot in!”

Gordon was slightly wary, he had heard other Woodins discuss the dangerous animals that lived inside and outside of human dwellings.  But he was lonely, and the fuzzy face looked kind.  Taking advantage of an open door, he hurried inside and looked around for his new friend, who was sitting a few feet away, at the top of a sofa.

“It’s okay,” said the kitten.  “I’m teething, but you don’t look very tasty.  I just thought you looked a bit lost out there and might want a cozy place to stay.”

“Are you sure?” asked Gordon.  “I have heard that cats can be cruel.”

“Well, that’s true of anyone,” said the orange tabby.  “But my name is Milo and you are welcome to stay with me until you can find your own people again.  I get fed lots of kibble and have plenty of toys, so I have no need to bite you.”

And so, Gordon hopped on the sofa, and Milo curled his tail around him.

Milo and the Woodin

“Hey,” said Gordon, “Would you mind not sniffing me like that?  It makes me think you want me for dinner, no matter what your previous assurances were.”

Milo and the Woodin

“Sorry,” said Milo.  “I was just thinking you smelled like something familiar – you may want to meet my human mommy.  She may be able to help you find some friends.”

…to be continued…

Autumnal Felinity

We’ve had the loveliest weekend here.  It’s suddenly Fall: cool, dry, sunny and gorgeous.  I’ve made bread, and I’m wearing a homemade sweater and homemade socks, so I’m not sure I could be any happier (well, a fire in the fireplace would also do me some good). 

The cats have been mellow, also, enjoying the open windows and the fresh air they bring.  Simon and Milo are beyond detente, and on their way to a lasting peace.

Milo may look big, but he's still less than 1/2 of Simon

I caught Dash in a peaceful moment in front of the sliding door, enjoying the setting sun’s rays.

Sunshine on my gray fur makes me happy...

And Milo – sweet Milo had a perfect Miss Lulu Kitty moment on a sunny windowsill.

Milo's "Miss Lulu" shot

Damn, but I love Fall.

Warning: Cat AND Knitting Content Below.

Milo continues his streak as a wee charmer.  He’s cuddly as all get out, has an endearing “squeak” instead of a meow, and keeps us laughing with his playful antics.  All around, a good cat.  We’ll keep him.

He also (so far) is more interested in lounging in knitting bags than grabbing yarn with teeth and claws.  I consider this a good thing.

More bag nesting

Last night, he brought his cuddliness to a whole new level, though.  As I sat knitting the edging on to my “Print o’ the Wave” stole, he decided to investigate.

Je vous presente - Milo et le soie de la mer!

No, he wasn’t biting yarn or cable of needle (at least not much, and he could be gently dissuaded from continuing when he did), but he did decide that Sea Silk was his nest of choice (I gotta hand it to the cat – he’s got good taste in yarn):

Hmmmm.   Seasilk!

Soft paws working busily (he snagged not one stitch), he purred and delved until I was helpless with laughter:

Milo dives into the Print o' the Wave Stole

At this rate, I’m NEVER going to finish the edging!

Holiday Weekend with the Invalid

Milo had his first rabies shot on Friday, so spent yesterday feeling low.  He didn’t want to be held, didn’t want to be on laps, didn’t want to eat very much.  He seemed to feel like he had flu – occasional feints at normal activity, followed swiftly by relapses into glassy-eyed apathy.

He’s much better now.  He’s been racing around and bouncing off the furniture since early this morning.  He’s now curled up on John’s lap, purring like a steam engine.  This photo was taken earlier this week, but it’s pretty perfect in its representation of his current state:

The Love that Dare not Speak its Name

Ratty – would you care to dance?

From Milo

Pssst.  Can we talk?


You know my human mommy has been running for about two months, right?  Well, she says she’s not in training for anything, but she is going to be doing the 2007 AIDS Walk in Washington.  She’s getting pretty close to her fundraising goal, but she’s not quite there yet (and if I know her, she probably wants to exceed that goal, not just meet it).

So here’s the deal: if you can, would you support her on her walk (she’s walking so she can do this with friends who don’t run)?  I understand if you can’t (kittens don’t have a lot of disposable income either).  If you do donate to support her, I would be perfectly willing to make you laugh by lolling in your lap:

Doing his best to crack John up (and succeeding)

Or I could jump on your back and lick your head:

When kittens attack

Whatever works.  We’re all in this together, right?

Two thousand-yard stares


— Milo

Bite… not me.

Milo has entered The Age of Teeth.

Anyone who has raised a kitten knows that there is a time when everything – a challenge, a caress, the coffee table – is approached with tiny fangs bared. The fur of Dash’s tail probably hides a hundred battle scars by now, souvenirs of a tiny tiger flinging himself bodily at his three times larger foe and letting loose the baby teeth of war. Taming The Bite is a key part of kitten raising in my book – little teeth are eventually shed in favor of big teeth, and as much as I don’t want to get bitten by little teeth, I want to get mauled by big teeth even less.

Luckily, Milo is far from the most vociferous of the kittens I have raised (that honor went to Sebastian, my only other orange kitty – in all other respects my gold standard cat, but in the matter of Little Teeth – well, he used to get “time out,” papoosed for long minutes in a blanket or towel until he calmed down sufficiently to re-enter society without perforating it). However, the blissful repose of stroking a tiny, warm, purring body is often broken by the sting of tiny needles on fingers or arm.

We shall persevere, though – Milo is a wonderful addition to our household (no matter what the folks who think we’re daft to have three cats and a dog may say). And Dash really seems fond of him, even when he’s zooming sideways around the living room, only stopping long enough to fling himself bodily at the grey big brother.

Emulating his big brother