Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Crying over Knatti: part 2

There was of cause no miracle to be had. On monday morning, Knatti was even worse. It was painful to see him suffer and painful to feel like we abandoned him when he needed us near him the most. While I grieve that he had to die, what breaks my heart is feeling that he spent his last days detached from his safety, from his family and home. Someone pointed out that we always die alone, even if we're surrounded by loved ones, but Knatti also suffered his last time alone and that pains me to think of. We were of cause there when he got that final, lethal injection that stopped his heart, but those were just his last minutes. When he was so ill I don't even know if he fully understood that we were there or if he was too ill to be comforted by our presence.

Logically, I know we did the only thing that could be done to try and save his life, but it doesn't change the fact that with the outcome being what it was, this left him very alone in a strange place, subjected to needles and pains without us, those who should protect him from everything bad and soothe him when in pains, for what in a cat's mind must have been a very long time. I can't undo that, I can't turn back time. I can't even persuade myself that it was the right thing to do, the only chance he had, as I can't ignore how that decision determined how his last days became.  And I don't want anyone else to try and persuade me.

And regardless of how he died, there's also another thing: he derserved more years. He wasn't old. He was the kindest of cats, who never harmed anyone who got into fights. Life is unfair, that's just the way it is. And Knatti's short life is just one more example of that. Had life been fair, he'd still have most of his years in front of him. He died too young. That's the long and the short of it: he deserved more years. Many more years.

I posted photos of him in the last post, but missed this one, which shows how sweet he was. It's Knatti with his new baby brother sleeping by his side. He always was the kindest, the one most likely to accept new kittens -- even when they became older, more mischievous, and wanted to play (which includes things like ear biting, which often render them a slap by the adult cats, but not from Knatti). He placidly accepted them, even when more wild than the other big cats, including their moms, found tolerable. Maybe it was only fitting that he got a grave beside some of the youngest kittens in our cat cemetary.

To end this post, I've picked out a few of the pics we took last week when Julle and Knatti came with my sis and I up in the hill. Of all cats, those two are the ones that appreciated our forest walks the most. They loved tagging along (Julle, of cause, still does), not least as they got us to themselves. Two peaceful cats that otherwise are pushed aside by the tougher ones. So in a way it's fitting that the last images of him is in a place and a situation he enjoyed so much. Never in a million years did I on that day think it would be the last time I sat with him in my lap, watching the sunset and stroking his fur on a beautiful, quiet summer evening.

Oh, sweetheart...

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Crying over Knatti

It feels like this blog way too often becomes a place for me to cry over cats. This time it's Knatti, sweet, shy little Knatti who has always been the most peaceful of our cats. He's still alive, though just barely hanging on, but unless a miracle happens, there's nothing more to do than take that horrible decision pet owners sometimes have to face.

Knatti went missing earlier this week and while we tried to tell ourselves he was ok, we did worry sooner than we would've with many of the others. Partially because Knatti almost always come in to us 2-3 times a day and is around the house at night, more or less regularly, and partially because he's had a history of sensitive stomach so we want to see him (and feed him) as often as possible to make sure he's ok. I haven't counted, but he was gone at least 48 hours and some more before suddenly turning up yesterday afternoon -- in such a bad condition. I've never seen a cat so dehydrated -- sure, they can be gone and come home dying, but this has happened so, so fast! -- he was in a horrible state and I don't know how he managed to make it home to us. He refused to eat or drink and there was nothing else to do, but hope the vet was in on the biggest summer holiday of the year.

The verdict was grim from the beginning: he was in such a bad state that the vet feared the kidneys were gone and that nothing could be done to help him, but put him on IV to give him a chance. Today I spoke to the vet and the news were just as bad as yesterday. Worse. The treatment hasn't worked (so far), he's not showing the improvements he should be showing at this poing, and we were told to discuss letting him go. He'll stay one more night -- and I'm so sad to have to leave him in an unknown environment for so long, being ill and probably feeling unsecure in this place with new people, new smells, new animals. After all, he came home to be near us and this is how we repay him, leaving him somewhere he doesn't understand -- somewhere that in the end can't save him. I want him at home, in bed where we could comfort him and soothe him. Unless a miracle happens now, tomorrow will be his last day.

(To make matters worse, all mom can go on about is the vet bill, which I'm paying solo, and questioning if we can afford it. If she had her way, Knatti would've been put down already yesterday to minimize both vet costs and the number of cats we have.)


That above is the newest pic of Knatti I have here. Have taken a few more just a few days ago, but they're on my sister's camera. Below are a few more pics, which I've shown on the blog before.

Evening addendum: I couldn't sleep well last night and when I did I dreamed of Knatti. Knatti being scared by thunder during the night, us trying to get to Knatti but being unable. Then I woke early and spent most of the morning feel sick and worried, with a big lump churning in the stomach. I tried to distract my mind during the afternoon, perhaps even try to hope for that miracle. A late miracle, but not too late. Now it's almost evening again. Last night I was at least partially able to fall asleep in the evening from the shock of seeing the state Knatti was in, the emotional turmoil, but also from feeling he was in the right hands (even if the verdict was negative already then). This night I don't know how to sleep, know that tomorrow we'll have to decide Knatti's fate and there seem to be only one thing to do. Only hours left -- and he'll spend them alone, so far from us and we so far from him.

The hardest part right now -- especially now that it's soon night -- is that he's at the vets still receiving treatment, one more dark night away, and my heart is breaking because I can't shake off the feeling that he's feeling abandoned and alone, perhaps being not just ill but scared in that strange place without familiar faces or scents (he has a blanket from home so I hope it's a tiny comfort). Facing the fact he'll most likely die very soon isn't easy, but as long as it isn't happening right now I can push it away. Right now I'm crying over him feeling abandoned and frightened by all that's happening: the illness, our taking him to a strange, unknown place and not coming back. I want to hold him in my arms and soothe him and tell him everything's going to be ok. Heck, if possible I would've told the vet I'd spend the night on the floor next to him. Not only can't I make him healthy, I can't even give him comfort because I'm not with him. It just hurts so much thinking of him so alone and uneasy. He doesn't know what's happening to him, where he is, where we are, if we'll even come back. It feels light he was lightyears away from me when he should be at home, safe. If not from illness so safe in the sense of being wrapped in love, familiar surroundings and a peaceful athmosphere.

It just pains me to think that we can't give him that now. We try to give him something else, a chance to live, but it's such a slim chance that it's hard to not just see the unease and ordeal we're putting him through by leaving him at the vet's for treatment this long. I don't want him to worry, to be scared or feel abandoned tonight. It must seem like forever to him since we left him, since we (in his eyes) left him, dumped him, never to return. He came home because he wanted to be near us, to have us help him and we did that by removing him further from us -- in distance and time -- than he's ever been.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Happy Midsummer's eve!

Hope you're having a lovely midsummer's eve and weekend!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Thinking of making a needle book and maschma

I feel like I tend to blog about things I'm thinking of doing rather than showing the results of what I have done. Partially it's because I procrastinate, partially it's a matter of not having the time to do it so I'm stuck just thinking about it and partially it's because I write to try and sort out things I hesitate about. Writing about it sorts out the thoughts -- at it gives you motivation to produce a result once you declare to the world what you are about to to do as well as it's an opportunity to ask others for input.

If you follow this blog you must have noticed that the idea of a needle book and thread storage have come up. Last time I mentioned making a maschma, for example. This post is about those thoughts once again.

I've been thinking of making a needle book for some time now, but never come up with a good design. Because I have both beading needles and hand embroidery needles it's also a matter of whether to make one book for all the needles or make two separate ones. Right now I'm thinking of doing one just for my beading needles as they make up 80 % of all my needles (and most of my embroidery needles are collected in one place anyway as I bought them in a silk ribbon embroidery collection -- the big yellow package).

Being a tool junkie extends to needles too: I have at least half a dozen of needle packages, not including a zip-lock bag of collapsible-eye needles, DIY wire needles and a big-eye needle. There's the regular long beading needles in size ranging from 10 to 15 (!), sharp bead embroidery needles, ballpoint bead emboidery needles and curved needles. Have I forgotten any now? Regardless, right now I just put all the needle packages in the organza bag, having tied them together with a string through the holes at the top (most packages have a hole, if not I punch one).

But what about the threads? The main reason I stick with this organza bag solution is that it all fits in it, all my needles and all my beading threads, and it's easy to carry from one spot to another. It's just that they're all jumbled, I'd like a bit more order. Just as with my seed bead storage dilemma, it's a question of finding a good, cheap -- and easy to carry -- solution that can accomodate different shapes and sizes as I use more than one type of beading thread. There's the K.O. spools, but also carded thicker K.O. thread and smaller bobbins (One-G etc). Plus a couple of big spools of YLI jean thread and medium-sized spools of a Gütermann thread I use for bead crochet.

It's still easyier to find the right thread so I'll make the needle book project a priority over this: removing the needles, the organza bag might be as good a solution as any with the amount of beading threads I have.

But my ideas doesn't end there...

Apparently, one thing that's become popular among embroiderers in Sweden recently is making a marsma or maschma; a small embellished roll or tote for emboidery paraphernalia (needles, scissors, threads), probably of sami origin, one might call it. And I think it might be very useful for me as a seedbeader too as I like to bead in couches, beds and everywhere else where I can't take my whole bead stash with me. So one of my newest ideas is to sketch a maschma with room for a couple of tubes or flip-top boxes of beads, one or two bead thread bobbins and a pair of scissors. (Did I forget something?) So far I haven't figured out the design or even what material I want to use. And partially I procrastinate because I love to embroider, but don't really enjoy sewing.

To illustrate what a maschma looks like, here's a screenshot of a picture googling I did in order to find some inspiration for my beader's maschma. Click on it for the full size.

Looking at the pics I'm thinking that with the right material it could double as a small bead mat too. I rarely use bead mats (hence why everything here has a few stray seed beads embedded in them), but they can be useful so why not? I like things with double -- or more -- purposes. A bit like the Helen Gibb kit for a needle case with bead pad [which not longer is available on her website so no pic to show].

These are some of the things I'm thinking about while working -- it might not be a fun or wellpaid job, but at least I'm free to think, sketch ideas in my head etc while I'm doing it. Not that I always think of beads and stitching, of cause, but it's a recurring theme most days. I might not be showing many finished items as I'm focusing on other things right now, but I have so many ideas buzzing in my head. If only I could cure my bad habit of procrastinating...

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Finally, some cat piccies!

I could've shown you some pics from the garden as I've taken a few, but it feels like ages since I did a cat post so here's some pics of Ubbi that I took this afternoon. Blurry once as he was in playful mood, running up and down the branches of the small ash tree.

Challenge WIPs

So... I tried keep up with Heather Powers' Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge, but because of the schedule it ended up being in the middle of a busy period so this far, this last week of the twelve, I've only finished a few pieces and have a few WIPs that's somewhere between finished and barely started on.

One piece that's finished or not depending on how you look at it is this circular thing.

Inspired by Heather Kingsley-Heath's books on albion stitch (which I reviewed here), I wanted to make something with inspiration from etruscan jewellery for the week 9 assignment "ancient history". If you google etruscan jewellery, you'll soon find a lot of circular pendants and earrings and it's those designs I had in made when making this piece.

The design is very simple, partially because I didn't follow any pattern so this was just a first test. At first, the design ended with a row of picots, but while it looked very pretty it didn't feel etruscan. All etruscan designs I saw had a clean cut edge. So I added a final row of beads, which I really screwed up, getting the bead count wrong so it doesn't lay flat as well as having to back engineer the thread path, making the thread too visible.

I'm hoping the next version will look better.

The second assignment I'm working on is the week 8 colour palette inspiration challenge. For it, I picked out a random palette that caught my eye. It happened to be this one from Pattern Pod (from this pin).

Not my usual type of colour scheme, but still not too out there. After looking through the bead stash and deciding I would have to start focus on my favourite techniques even if they're slow (I often stick to stringing and simple wire wrapping in short challenges in order to be sure I can finish it in time, but many times it just ends up with me being unhappy as it isn't my forte). In this case it meant hand embroidery and I have just the perfect colours of cotton floss of the palette. Finding a silk sample, I even found some grey to use.

Now... That's as far as I've come... I have a design -- flower with light yellow details for a small round brooch or pendant -- but haven't started embroidering it yet.

The metal component you can see in the first pic was just something I took out as the colour combos in this old WIP is roughly the same as in the palette and the floss -- which made it a good fit for the extra challenge of the week, which was to make two pieces using the same palette, but with different proportions between the colours.

Apart from that I'm also working on a few jewelry redos as per the week 5 assignment, but they haven't come very far either. I'm just creating WIPs at the moment -- and dreaming of starting a new big project, but feeling it'd better be left until after the harvest season is over. There's also other ideas like making a maschma/marsma that'll have to wait a bit -- though that's mostly a matter of procrastinating because I'm not that fond of sewing. Embroidering -- yes! Sewing -- meh...

Monday, 2 June 2014

Snapshot from the garden

Oh, I haven't forgotten my dear little blog, it's just that I'm busy at the moment. As are many who are in one way or another involved in agriculture this time of year. So this is just a short note to say I'm still here and I hope to get time to blog soon (I have a few things I want to show). Until then, here's a photo from the garden taken a few days ago. It's pretty wild and unruly this year for obvious reasons and a few unexpected ones, but that's how I like gardens anyway so I'm really enjoying it. Even when the grass on the lawn is taller than a  cat's tail (you should see them jump through it when they're in a hurry, too hurried to walk through the jungle).
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