Oh, no, it’s Friday the 13th—are they coming out of the drain?
The scene that greeted me in the bathroom this morning, and I missed a few! And Bella was in the sink.
I just wish I’d had my camera with me first thing when all eight were on the bed. This may have me stashing my camera on the nightstand.
Both photos were shared on Instagram first thing.
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National Yarn Day, October 13
What is sweeter than a senior tortie cat sleeping on a freshly-finished shawl?
As someone who has been a yarn or threadworker for all my life, I can’t pass up National Yarn Day, even though it was yesterday—and my cats celebrate along with me because my family of felines have indulged in my yarnworking for just as long, inspecting and testing out every single project! Here is a collection of my favorite photos of my tortie girls testing the integrity of my crocheted project, and even a few black cats mixed in.
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The Best Bed, 2011
…is a crochet project mom just finished. Just after I added the last piece of fringe to my new crocheted shawl, Cookie stepped onto it, rolled it up into a comfortable pile, and took a nap.
Professional Crochet Tester Cookie is hard at work, as you can see. Not only must my crochet projects be tested while I work but also when they are done. And repeatedly. And by as many cats as possible but especially Cookie and Kelly.
It also must be assured that no item I’ve created be used until it has cat hairs embedded in its weave.
This shawl is now ready to meet the public. I am so grateful for all my assistants.
The Cats in the Hat, 2010
Both Kelly and Cookie put one of my hats to the test—before it’s even done!
Every crochet item I make must be tested by at least one kitty, especially Kelly, my Lead Crochet Tester. This means it must be subject to the following activities as appropriate with the shape and size of the item: walked on, kneaded, climbed into, climbed underneath, smelled, tasted, slept on, slept in, carried off or fought over.
Kelly generally tests items for sleepability, and this alone involves most of the items above. She did try to fit herself into it in various ways, but only succeeded in getting all four legs in it and crouching in it. The hat flunked Kelly’s sleeping test, though it was fun to sniff and walk on.
Cookie was actually the first one to step into the hat, but she was distracted by the crochet bag. Not to be outdone by Kelly, when Kelly was done with her testing Cookie got back into the hat. Cookie usually tests for bathability, how comfortable the item is for having a good bath. Again, the hat flunked Cookie’s bathing test.
Perhaps this means I get the hat all to myself? No, it can always be smashed down and slept on by a pile of cats! I took it away to finish it before this happened.
Mom’s Crochet Bag, 2011
Cookie nestles into several skeins of various yarns and a few odd scraps and test patches in the bag, nice and soft and warm.
I think of this as my crochet bag, the one I use for larger projects, but I’m apparently mistaken because every one of my cats through the years has immediately recognized it as a cat bed as soon as I open it.
Cookie will move quickly for something she wants, but she will spare no effort when she sees the crochet bag; I have seen her nearly run to get to it and crawl right on top of any cats who may already be in it. She doesn’t care how much yarn I pile on her while she sleeps; she acts as if she doesn’t notice and just nestles in farther.
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Kelly, Lead Crochet Tester, 2010
Whenever I crochet something, Kelly can hardly wait for it to be big enough for her to knead and settle down on. I got up to take something out of the oven and when I turned around she had already made herself at home on my partially-finished project. You can’t hear it here, but she is purring mightily. Perhaps it’s because the yarn nearly matches her eyes.
Kelly refused to give up her claim to my partially-finished legwarmer, so I let her give herself a full bath and purr on it, the true test of a crocheted item’s worth and durability, until she finally grew drowsy and gave a big yawn. Since I was making two of these I simply started from the other end of the skein and began the second one.
Other feline members of the household also enjoy crocheted items, but they don’t make a profession of testing them out as Kelly does, they take the easy route and simply curl up for a nap.
Kelly entered my home at about age four, but at probably 16 she has barely changed a hair in all these years, always looking like a young kitty, slender and graceful and very, very vocal. I can see her pupils aren’t as dense black as they once were, but her irises are still vivid clear green, not showing the striations usually seen in senior cats’ eyes.
Cats LOVE crocheted items. They probably love knitted items as well, though I crochet much more often and I notice that many of my online crochet friends have images of cats on their blogs and websites and as avatars for their online identities, and even have feline-oriented words as part of their online names and e-mail addresses.
This must be good stuff if Kelly finished her bath, rested a while, then curled up on it. I’d guess it meets with Kelly’s approval.
P.S. Even after I finished these and wore them around the house in winter, I had to leave them out on the bathroom floor for Kelly to sleep on them, even in summer. I’ve put them away now when I’m not using them, and I think of her each time I get them out.
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Crochet Testers Working Hard, 2011
Good thing I finished this top at just the right moment! My crochet testers were ready to get to work.
Mr. Sunshine isn’t a typical tester, but I think his mom is trying to soften his man-cat edge a little. Cookie is always ready to participate in anything I do, and at one point I was crocheting around her. Apparently it passed their rigorous testing because they slept on it for several hours.
Of course, Kelly, my lead crochet tester, gave it a test when I began the project. If it had not passed her test at that point I certainly would not have continued.
What is it about cats and crocheted things?! And people who crochet and cats?! We must be a natural combination.
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A Little Dose of Afternoon Sweetness, 2011
From August 16, 2012:
I have a video to share of total sweetness in a kitty. You might remember that Kelly was my Lead Crochet Tester, and that she immediately occupied anything crocheted in any form—under construction, headed for the wash, being worn by me, it didn’t matter, when Kelly saw crochet or felt it under her paws it was Kelly’s bed right away.
Even before I lost Kelly last weekend, and even before I knew she was developing any illness, I was compiling all the things she’d done that inspired me and were just simply the cuteness of Kelly, which I always called “the full Kelly effect”. I always described her as timid and shy, and indeed she was, but when it was just her and me and she felt safe, her little personality was almost too much. Still photos caught her beauty, but I really needed a video of Kelly being Kelly so you could see and hear her little greeting and her quick routine of running a few steps, a quick downward cat and upward cat ending in a balletic stretch of her right then left hind legs in turn, pointing the toes far out behind her, each move bringing her one step closer and eliciting another Kelly word, such a performance.
I was never successful in that because my little digital camera, which I use for video, wasn’t up to the task of following Kelly. But I did manage to get her on video one afternoon last August, just about exactly a year ago (in 2011), offering to test some crochet work for me. I walked into the studio to spend a little time with her and work on my crochet project, and when she saw me she got up and did her greeting, then when I sat down and pulled out my crochet she purred and walked all over it. So I decided to video her in this, set up the camera, turned it on, walked back into the room and offered her the crochet work. She didn’t talk for me, but she was extra sweet and accommodating with my silly projects and I thought I’d share it. My crochet didn’t quite pass the test, but Kelly let me slide, this time. Just try not to be put off by my silly high-pitched voice!
You can also click here to watch Kelly the Crochet Tester on YouTube.
I have no idea what she smells on it, but I was in the kitchen right before I went upstairs.
You can see she is on the windowsill in the studio, right in the spot where I managed to get my favorite photo of her. I would have been one failed photographer if I hadn’t gotten at least one photo of her here; this was her favorite place in the house, on this windowsill, from the day she arrived, and I had plenty of opportunities to photograph her, and did.
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Daily Sketch Reprises: Lucy’s Love of Yarn
Above, the very same yarn bag you saw Cookie tucked into in today’s Daily Photo, and even some of the same yarn!
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The Ball of Purple Yarn
Lucy was six months old when Stanley was in his last few months, and I decided to pull out my yarns so that I’d have something to keep my hands busy in the time I sat with Stanley during his last weeks. The first time Lucy met “yarn”, I thought by her reaction—big round eyes, puffed tail, stiff legs, big interest—perhaps there was a squirrel hidden in the box (it had been in the attic).
Apparently Lucy had a special love for yarn that she had for no other toy ever, and really did go digging in my yarn bag and pull out the purple yarn from all the other colors, and played with it. I took it away from her, knowing yarn can be very dangerous, even fatal, to cats if they eat it. I kept my yarn bag buckled and actually put that ball of purple yarn in a box and folded the flaps shut so they wouldn’t be able to open.
But I returned home one afternoon to find purple yarn rolled out all over the house—I mean all over from the basement through the first floor, up the steps, even over my bed and into the bathroom, the whole ball was unrolled, and Lucy was sitting in the middle of the first floor looking very excited.
“I chased and chased and chased it until it went away!”
These will be illustrations for the book I’ve written about Lucy. Of course, it also taught me another lesson about kittens that I’d forgotten—never doubt the ingenuity of a developing mind! Just like children, they’ll figure out how to get something they want, and they may not always make the best decisions. Because she loved the ball so much, I rolled it up and stitched it so the yarn couldn’t unravel, except for a long tail with I crocheted into a chain stitch, much safer to play with, and she loved it just as much.
And just a few notes on this illustration—I really need to change some of the colors–too much yellow! I had also drawn in her slightly open mouth in the original sketch, but painted over it for this color sketch. These illustrations are by no means done, but they are my process for finding my palette and style, the text, and all the details of Lucy that I’d sketched out three years ago. It’s starting to come together in my mind, but not yet on paper!
Below is what I envision to be the cover of the book—Lucy with her beloved ball of purple yarn! And I still have that ball of yarn, carefully tucked into a corner of that crochet bag.
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We all love my studio window, a big, old, battered metal-framed casement about 4′ x 4′ on the second floor looking out at the spruce, maple and river birch in the front of our house. I call it the “tree house” as we watch the weather and light change and spend time with all the tree-dwellers in the neighborhood above the street. Giuseppe was watching Mr. Cardinal singing his spring song on this particular afternoon and I watched the light and images reflect on his eye and admiring his profile.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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