Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Thank you for your help on the subject of Zite. I knew nothing of the take-over by Flipboard, although even I would have begun to suspect soon that something was seriously wrong with Zite, not just summer doldrums.

I used to have Flipboard, on the first iPad, the one that disappeared. James installed it for me. He’s a keen user. I’ll set about getting it again. 


I moved patiently forward with the Tokyo yesterday. I should finish the current big stripe today and at least start the little, punctuating one. I think I should do another big one before I stop — that adds up to a complete pattern repeat. The Tokyo is the least fun of current wips — that’s a reflection on the knitting only, the fine yarn (two strands held together) and the mohair fuzziness. The result is going to be both beautiful and cozy and I greatly look forward to wrapping myself in it, in the winter to come. And I remain desperately grateful to you for the gift of it.

So it’s particularly important not to let it languish in the excitement of pressing on with the other wips.

There’s an interesting pattern in Loop-d-Loop for a “Child’s Geek Spiral Pullover”. The text says that the Fibonacci series underlies the arrangement, and refers to an article in the Fall ’03 issue of IK. I must see if I can dig it out. It set me thinking of Debbie New, and those wonderful socks on the cover of Knitter’s book “Socks Socks Socks”, and Debbie’s own utterly wonderful book, “Unexpected Knitting” in which the socks reappear.

I got it down from its high shelf. There is a vast amount in there that I couldn’t even think of attempting — I felt my age, turning the pages. I’m sure I couldn’t do those socks. I might just be able to manage an ouroborus jacket or labyrinth sweater, and it would be fun to try. I always enjoy the book.

But the little Loop-d-Loop sweater, in worsted-weight yarn, might be manageable. All I need is a great-grandchild.


I am beginning to worry about how much she bites, when in mad-cat mode. It’s meant in fun, I’m sure, but she’s three months old and it’s time she began to settle down. She will leap at one sometimes, several inches off the floor, all four limbs extended outwards like a cat in a horror movie. 

I am told that you can train a cat not to do things, in extremis, by spraying water in its face. My sister taught her cat not to walk on kitchen work surfaces that way. I am afraid to try it on Perdita because there are two elements here — I want her not to bite me, but I want to deter her only from biting, not from me. 

I’ll start by hiding all the toys people have given her which might possibly contain catnip. If I can live without Weston’s Vintage Cider (because of its incompatibility with rat poison), she can make that sacrifice. 

A nurse in my husband’s ward offered me cream for my arm the other day, mistaking the bite marks for an ugly rash. I suspect the effect of Warfarin makes it look a bit worse than it otherwise would.


  1. First, she needs regular play sessions - best toy to get (or make!) is a feather or strip of fur or something, tied to a string which is connected to a stick. That way she plays with the toy, not with your hand or your feet. Playing will wear her out and reduce the fiddlepaws instinct that they all have, and will also give her the attention she's asking for. An alternative is a ball that she can chase.

    Or, take a shoe box, cut a few holes in the lid and sides, put a larger-than-the-holes toy in the box, tape the lid on, and put the box on the floor. Every cat I've seen with what my family calls a "busy box" absolutely adores it and will spend literally hours playing with it.

    I have trained my cats to understand and 99% of the time obey the word "no" or a sibilant hiss. She's going after something in your lap? Tap her on the nose the second she starts, and say "no!" It doesn't take more than a few repetitions. My cats sit on my lap, watch the yarn go past their noses as I knit, and go back to sleep, because they learned in a week or so as kittens that yarn was not for them.

    If you are petting her and she starts biting or clawing, remove your hand and walk away. All cats get over-excited, but if you learn to read their body language you can cut off the adoration session before the teeth or claws come out.

    1. Ellen1:28 PM

      I once had a cat who responded to my hiss by hissing back; it became quite an argument. She also hissed at things which annoyed her, like something placed on her bed by seems to have a lot of meaning.
      I agree that she need playtime and toys. A vet told us to just push our kitten away, as a mother cat would do, if she bit, and in time it worked. Ditto for the yarn. Many cats will start chewing and swallowing yarn, leading to a bowel obstruction which can be quickly fatal, so you should not let her think yarn is a toy. Both of my cats sit with me as I knit, in 99% of the time they will leave it alone.
      Whatever Perdita decides she likes to play, you should nip the biting in the bid right away, she's old enough to learn, and all those little bites can be a source of infection for the humams.

    2. One of my two frequently "sasses" me when I tell him no - chitters at me as if he were chirping at birds through a window. He complies but complains at the same time, and says "it's not FAIR!"

  2. I agree, the short sharp "NO" works just as well on kittens as it ever did on toddlers. Then give them the glare of death until they sit down and start washing their whiskers...or in the case of toddlers, pretend they didn't do it.

    I also never played with any of my cats with string or anything that vaguely resembled yarn. Knitters' cats need to learn this early on, the yarn is not for playing with!

  3. I do the biting=no play, but you have to give them an yes also. (If there's enough right things to do there's less room for wrong things, after all!)

    I'd do playthings on a string tied to a stick (supervised only-one of my cats decided to take up string eating as a 2 year old-WTH?) Anything from feathers to bits of paper or strips of plastic bags. Even small stuffed toys yanked around are fun. For throwing toys I use small stuffed toys, plastic bags knotted up solidly, ping pong balls skitter wonderfully, and plastic lids flicked all zippy across the floor.
    And since I'm in helpful(?!) advice mode, Perdita is probably too young for catnip to have any effect. I've heard the reaction kicks in sometime around puberty. I think she's just doing normal kitten hyperness.

  4. I learn a lot and also am entertained when I read your blog Jean and the comments. Joy to you and all your followers and their cats and kittens.

  5. We had a cat that was a mean drunk on catnip. He had to sleep it off before he was sweet again.

  6. It might be fun to do some clicker training with Perdita. Teach her some things you want her to do. I second the idea that biting means the play stops. She wants to play; she'll figure it out quickly if what she wants stops.

    Since you probably don't have a clicker, you could use a cacha cacha row counter if you have one. I just click with my tongue or give a sharp 'Yes!" when training my dogs.

  7. Oh, a link for some clicker training ideas with cats:

  8. My Lester showed no interest in yarn. He would snuggle calmly beside me and never touch my knitting. But leave an Additional-Turbo circular lying around and he would go wild -- wrestling with the cable and gnawing on the brass tips. He had very good taste in needles!

  9. A spray bottle full of water has a pretty quick effect without hurting the cat, and my cats have always remained very affectionate.

  10. Oh, I forgot, a good toy for a playful cat is a laser pen. They will chase that beam for a long time, and you do not become tired using it. There is also something called a weasel ball that will move around on its own.