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We’ve been back about 10 days now and I’ve been trying to catch up on everything. There was a lot of work waiting for me when I returned (which is good, because 3 weeks in Europe can be a huge drain on your pockets!), as well as plenty of email and blog feeds to read. So that’s my excuse for not blogging until now. (It’s weak, I know!)

We visited London, Belfast, Rome, Venice and Florence. We met some very lovely people: some old friends, some new ones who were welcoming and helpful. We walked our feet off, got lost in museums, went underground, flew around, slept in an airport, dawdled in cafes, watched a play, a musical and a concert, knit on the world’s largest tea cosy, got duped, had a complete stranger give us his entry tickets free, had pizza for lunch and dinner, ate Chinese cuisine in London and Thai food in Rome, drooled over dessert, fell in love with a car (and a people), met a TV personality, gawped at a Bollywood star, window shopped, celebrated a birthday…

Some of our pictures are here.

The common thread throughout the journey and my personal highlight were the cats we encountered. First, there was Fergus in London

With Fergus

Then there was Mystery Cat (we never discovered where she came from or who she was) in Belfast

Visiting cat

Then there were the three lovelies in Rome*! (Yes, two of them are male, but they are still lovely).

Here’s Puddy (Paddington)

Puddy Tat

Max with Puddy

Max and Puddy Tat

And a glimpse of Sunshine at the bottom right corner

Bribing the cats for a photo-op

That smile on my face says it all, really.

* Names changed because somehow that’s how I think of them.

The last three we spent quality time with and got to know as much as they would allow us. Puddy is a big sweetie and the only one who’d let me pick him up. He didn’t like it much, though, so he’d emit a feeble ‘meee-ew’ and I had to let him go. Max was the most gorgeous, with a glorious mane which made him leonine, except he had a yellow streak as large and would flee if you so much as looked at him directly in the eye. Sunshine was good at pretending to be aloof and spent most of the night jumping around the house.

The trip started really well, because we gatecrashed Cindy in Bangalore and it was there that the whole “wonderful hosts and yummy kitties” thing began, with Cindy’s two felines. They were quite talkative and carried on a conversation throughout the night and although we didn’t get any pictures of them, Cindy’s promised me a few of their kittenhood. Yes? Please?

Funnily, though, most of the other cats we met didn’t say a word. Only Puddy with his ‘mee-ew?’ and occasional yelpings when he suddenly found his toys around the house.

There was a notice in Venice’s St Mark’s square for a black kitten lost (young and affectionate…), and it rained cats…and dogs in Florence. I spotted a cat who could have been Puddy’s Italian twin in Trajan’s forum, and a calico lady in a whiskey distillery in Ireland. So happy.

I know I ought to be telling you more…

Ok, let’s see.

– we nearly missed our musical (Chicago in London) because the husband was so fascinated by the displays at the Imperial War Museum he never came out (obviously he did, eventually, but I’d given up on him and left to reach the theatre on my own)

– loved the Tube (again!) (ooh the information!)

– took (and missed!) budget flights between London, Belfast and Rome

– slept at Heathrow airport in a cafe (see above)

– watched The Mousetrap and Chicago in London, and a baroque music concert in Venice (with costumes!)

– went to I Knit on two evenings, one of them when knitting was taking place on the world’s largest tea cosy (I added my bit!)

– as we were walking towards the Colosseum in Rome a gentleman returning with his grandson gave us the tickets he’d bought and then discovered didn’t need

– I spent too much for glass souvenirs in Venice (but, oh, the colours!!!!)

– the desserts in Rome were… words fail me. flaky. melting-in-the-mouth. inspiring. amazing. My mouth is watering at the memory.

– the Italians are such fun! And I wanted to pick up one of the Smart cars and bring it home with me, only we fell slightly short of the thousands of euros that would have cost

– I ambushed journalist Thomas Kielinger on my way to Chicago and spoke to him. He was looking for a restaurant, the poor man

– on two consecutive mornings we saw Ajay Devgan shooting a song for a film. Sans his wife, though.

– on our last day in Rome we celebrated the husband’s birthday with dinner at an interesting restaurant, which ended with everyone in the place singing the Italian version of Happy Birthday for him and the other person there celebrating, while they blew out their candles on their pavlovas. A great finale. Thank you so much, Carla and Ben!

After the scintillating response (not) I had for my last couple of posts, I took a deep breath and realised (besides almost hyperventilating), what a dull blogger I’ve become. (Some people might think otherwise, but I’ve taken a voice vote here and you can’t change my mind).

My blogging has flagged partly because I’m frequenting Ravelry so much and partly because I’ve been travelling. I find it more difficult to blog outside of home, somehow.

Anyhow, I’ve got to confess to not having set foot in either Crochetville or Knittyboard in several months now. At the former I find myself recognising fewer and fewer people, and at the latter I was always too intimidated to post most of the time anyway. Ravelry and Google Reader remain my sole social entree into the yarny crafts.

In great news (I think), I met and played with a kitten on Sunday at the Hyderabad home of a cousin, with no sneezing whatsoever!!! Maybe it proves my alleged allergy to cats is much exaggerated, or something, I don’t know what. Here is pictorial evidence:


Please note the poor thing is scared and pointy-eared, and freed itself immediately afterwards. I suppose I was overwhelming (like a binge-eater). But it did let me scratch its ears later. Just not a hold-y, cuddly type, I suppose. It is thus far nameless, but is a she, about 3 months old. More photos in the same set at Flickr. I am on my phus-phus (allergy steroid nasal spray), maybe that helped.

It is my not-so-secret ambition to adopt two kittens, one ginger striped and the other black tuxedo and name them Lola Kutty (viewers of Channel [V] will know who she is). One could be Lola and the other Kutty. Or both together could be Lola Kutty. The only thing stopping me is uncertainty of what will happen to them when I travel.

I am test knitting a pattern for Jacqui. Unwittingly I chose almost exactly the same colours of a similar fabric garment I have to knit this in. So predictable. Bought the 100% acrylic (of course, what else?) yarn in Hyderabad before returning to Vizag. Here’s the yarn: (and yes, it is every bit as scratchy as it looks)

100% acrylic Chocolate100% acrylic cafe latte

The pattern so far is nice and simple and if I were a faster knitter I’d be zooming along. I jumped on it because I was dying to do some brioche knitting and this pattern has some. It’s a long way to go before I get to it, though.

In other news, we are loading our luggage this Saturday and will be flying to Cochin on Tuesday. From what the husband tells me, the quarters are cramped, with bad roads, little running water and not enough storage space. Then he loses his temper because I ventured to say that nothing of what he’d told me so far made me look forward to moving. Apparently he’s given me too much information. Whatever.

Since I live in cyberspace so much anyway, hopefully it won’t take too long to get online again.

I was googling for a photo of Ginger, the cat who stowed away and was mistaken for a turkey (How?!) and found this list of comments. Absolutely hilarious.

ETA: Did you know about The Infinite Cat Project? Wow.

Julie has a sort-of-meme going about where she learnt knitting and when and what she did with it. Here’s my story.

I sort of learnt to knit from my mother while in school (class 6 or something). We had a subject called Craft and we did one of everything for that. That’s where I learnt crochet (my mom can’t crochet). There were assorted embroidery and sewing projects and things made with crepe paper, ribbon, spangles, plastic dolls and umbrella frames (not the lifesize ones, there used to be smaller toy size ones – I always think, ‘What a bonanza for the small shop near the school gates where we always bought these things!’) and things with sponge and cardboard and matty cloth and embroidery floss and yarn…you get the idea. Anyway, in one of the classes we were supposed to make baby booties. In actual fact, my mom made them for me, from the Fleisher’s book I referred to in my last post, in a nice shade of yellow. I wonder what happened to them. I’ve made the same ones since at least a couple of times.

After school, I didn’t knit much until I reached JNU in Delhi and had the cooler winters. Plus my sister had a baby (my niece). So I got the Fleisher’s and needles from my mom, and bought my yarn in Munirka and made a drop stitch shrug which was supposed to be for a toddler or older child, but given my materials, turned out ok for a baby. That might also have been the time I made the cardigan I showed in my last post. Or wait, I think I made the cardigan first, and then when my mom went for my nephew’s birth I made the drop stitch shrug. Shrug. My sister alleges I made my nephew another sweater, in grey and white, but I can’t remember. As I increasingly feel, my brain is turning to mush. I am not able to remember what I did less than 10 years ago.

Apparently I also made a sweater for a cousin’s baby. There was also this horrendous (with the benefit of hindsight) yarn that I bought to try and make something for myself. One product of that was a bulky vest (I doubled the yarn and shrunk the needles to what I had available). I shall dig it up one of these days for a bad photo shoot.

Then I took a hiatus again from knitting, but stayed with crochet in Bombay, turning out lots of doilies and runners and things, including a set for a neighbour’s new baby (actually that was a knit set, again from Fleisher’s). But in Bombay I also had the distraction of libraries, so I had other avocations, as my mom would say.

We came to Vizag in October 2004 and finding precious few sources of books here, I’ve taken up knitting and crochet with a vengeance, and been building my yarn and pattern stash madly. Also this blog. Here ends the first lesson.

Seeing as this is such a dull and pictureless post, I shall direct you to this YouTube video I was sent to by Debbie. (I tried embedding the video here, but my credit with the WordPress guys doesn’t extend that far). Enjoy! It’s a good thing we have a slow internet connection, or I’d spend all my time watching other people’s cats. Thank you Debbie, it cheered me up.

ETA: Trying embedding this again.

ETA!!!: I misguidedly and mistakenly have given the impression that the video above is mine. I must beg everyone to please forgive me, the video belongs fully to its creator, TerriShea at YouTube. I’m sorry for the deception, but regular readers will know I have little compunction about “stealing” cats! This will get me into serious trouble one day. (Not that I don’t wish this particular kitten was mine… and a million others).

hide and sike 2

Originally uploaded by petit babycakes.

Dishcloth #3

I don’t use dishcloths actually, but I find infinite satisfaction in having a Finished Object™, and one, moreover, which uses stitches/stitch patterns new to me. And I find that cotton yarn has this wonderful definition in it, which makes the stitches stand out. Over at the Dishcloth KAL, they’ve announced prizes for the three top (as in most prolific, I suppose) dishcloth knitters. The top two are pounds of dishcloth cotton and the Mason-Dixon knitting book. Sigh. While I covet both wildly (imagine the miles of dishloth-y things that could be made with a pound of the stuff!!! and that baby kimono…on second thoughts, maybe the cotton is better.) Anyway, I fall way, way behind in the counts 😦 That’s ok, I’m still having fun putting off other work making just as many as I can.

So here’s two more.
Dishcloth #3

Dishcloth #4

The regulation details about these:

Yarn: Caron Cotton Tales (white) and Rio from Reynolds (pink), both 100% cotton. I can’t find websites for either yarn. Caron must have discontinued this cotton and perhaps Reynolds is one of those rarities, a brick-and-mortar-only company (Do they still exist in the US of A?). I just got to a Reynolds site and there is no mention of this yarn at all. The Rio yarn is made in Brazil. The Cotton Tales is plied and softer than the Rio.

Needles: Oh dear. I don’t remember now. But I think 3.75mm Pony straights.

Pattern: Kitchen Cotton Dishcloth and Woven Dishcloth, both from the Dishcloth Boutique
Time: I’m slow.
Size: 7.5″ x 8″and 7.5 x 9″ square

Extra: #Nothing, really. Oh yes, the imaginatively named Kitchen Cotton cloth is fully reversible. Which you have to love about a piece of knitting or crochet.
Ok, the eagle-eyed among you might have spotted that spiky purple thing in the background behind the pink dishcloth. That is yet another project I have started. It’s a free Bernat pattern and although I am making it for a boy, those are the colours in stash and that’s what I’m using. *insert mulish look* Using stashy acrylic, it’s coming out way bigger than I think it’s supposed to, but my friend says her baby is big, so that should be okay. I got to just after the armholes decrease and then inexplicably stopped.

What I find hard to understand is why this cardigan was designed in pieces instead of making it one piece up to the armholes and then splitting it up. Funny. Especially when you think that in crochet making things without seams is so much easier (and you don’t even have to resort to circulars/dpns etc) as you only ever have one stitch to think about. I read somewhere that having seams makes garments drape better or something. Is that true?

And then you could just pick up at the armholes and make the sleeve downward with decreases rather than upwards with increases. What a pain (working upwards, I mean). Of course, never having designed anything myself, I am not in any way qualified to comment. But I’d really appreciate not having a zillion seams to sew at the end of what is supposed to be a quick project. Not to mention the number of ends that will have to be woven in. 😦

Anyway, before I go, I’d like to clarify that the possiblity of yarn from Russia that I mentioned last time is not a continuous stream (I wish!) but a one-off offer. And I haven’t even written back to the friend yet.

Also, a confession of crime: I steal cats. Yes. All those photos of cats you see on my blog are stolen from their lucky owners. Well, the photos are stolen, not the cats themselves. But yes, Your Honour, I plead guilty.

To distract you from my nefariousness (I hope that’s a word), here is a picture of the nice spike stitch back:
Spike stitch cardigan

which I might decided to undo and start afresh, this time adding in the front panel stitches to either side, which shouldn’t make that much of a difference, since we turn the work at the end of each round anyway, so there shouldn’t be a jog (jag?) of any kind. Let’s see. The idea is that the friend’s baby will have a sweater for this December.

My cat, Sabrina

Originally uploaded by flower12859.

Stolen cat content for this week (or fortnight or whatever).


Originally uploaded by Lumi_.

And no one will condemn you either 🙂


Originally uploaded by mad.marken.

I stole this for this week’s cat. Amazing flexibility these cats have!


Originally uploaded by inbal_w.

Ok, it’s only a photo, but I couldn’t resist this one. (S)he looks good enough to eat 😀

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