The tree is naked

I had to happen, and it has. A moment of panic has snuck its way into my glorious sense of peacefulness around the holidays, and this morning I had a minor freakout and revised the spreadsheet, adding a few items, and moving a few items around, and then we went and bought a tree.  It’s sitting in the living room now, completely naked and awaiting the time to trim it, and I hope that’s tonight, because I think having a brightly lit, sparkling tree in the living room will do a lot to make me feel like I’ve got a grip on the season.  Realistically, it’s only one small item off the list, but it’s a significant one.  (A few wrapped gifts to put beneath it would really help, but that’s just crazy talk.)

What did Luis hang today?

Our little Lou has had a love affair with our cat Millie for some time now.  When he arrives at our house she’s the first thing he looks for.  He runs around the house, calling her name (which comes out “Mi-yee”) and filling his pockets with cat food so that when he finds her, he can try to buy her love. Millie, who’s an older cat with good manners, does not return Lou’s love in any way, shape or form, and as a matter of fact (and despite the bribes) hightails it to a secret location the minute he comes through the door.  Lou doesn’t perceive this as rejection (which it totally is) and instead views it as challenge.  He and I go for a hunt for her, and when she’s found he gives her his pocket cat treats, watches her eat them, and squeals with delight.

If a cat could roll her eyes, Millie would.  I try to help her out by limiting Lou’s access to that one brief interaction, but it has done nothing to dim his love. Mi-yee is significant to Lou, and so she went on his calendar, and surprise, surprise, it’s what he picked today. I love watching his wee priorities revealed in his choices.

millie 2014-12-04

I toyed around with the idea of a knitted cat (this pattern was high on the list) but I had a specific idea about how it should look, and felt turned out to be the better answer.  Like with the truck, I cut a cat shape out of felt. (I can draw, but if you can’t you could trace something from here – just be nice about not stealing art, make sure it’s a free image.) I embroidered the top layer, and then sewed it to the back one. (That hides the mess on the wrong side.) A smarter crafter would have embedded the hanger in the seam, but sadly, I am not that crafter. I sewed it to the back.  If know not many of you will want a Millie for your tree, but wouldn’t any representation of the family pet be sweet? (There’s some free patterns here.)  By the way, I had trouble with the mouth, so I left it off. No harm, no foul.

Gifts for Knitters, Day four

Dear Non-knitter who loves a knitter,

This one is not for all knitters. There are knitters who have a big attachment to project bags and project baskets, and this isn’t for them. This one is for knitters who like to knit from yarn wound into balls – and would like a little more control over said balls. (It’s also mostly for knitters who like to sit in one place while they work. If your knitter trucks their knitting all over creation eighty-four times a day, they might not be into it. These knitters may want a yarn bowl.  Yarn bowls are – well, they’re bowls, but bowls with a notch or swirl cut into it to guide the yarn, and they’re handy for keeping yarn from rolling all over the place when you pull another length free. The yarn sits there, tidily, without rolling under the couch and collecting every little bit of cat hair or dust that those of us with a less than heroic commitment to vacuuming appreciate.  There’s all sorts of them. Some are ceramic, some are ceramic with birds on, (this one has birds too) some are wood, and (rather excitingly, for those of us who love wool) some are felt.  If you’re handy, and you have a dremel, you could make one for your knitter. They’d love that. You should pick one that suits your knitters home and taste, and frankly, the size of their balls.

55 thoughts on “The tree is naked

  1. Darling little kitty! You’re giving me ideas for next year, Panic hit here, too, but I have thus far resisted adding more projects by yoga and being unable to disturb sleepy, snuggly kitties (can’t reach anything but current projects). Good luck!

  2. Yay! I see that he has his priorities very well in line for a cat lover. 😀

    And yes, gift givers for yarn bowls should take into consideration the size of the balls.

    Katie =^..^=

  3. Seeing Luis’ choices has been so much fun! I’m inspired to make something like this for my nephews. I wish they were younger though so they would have more fun and ignore my “rules.” Also, I’ll have to make all the ornaments Star Wars. Not the end of the world but decidedly less Christmassy. At least I know (going by their father’s predilections) they will never out grow the theme.

  4. My almost-four-year-old cousin loves her auntie’s cats. She likes to express said love by getting down on the floor and meowing at them (not that well, just yet) or by running after them as they run away. She’d love a kitty ornament.

  5. Pingback: The tree is naked | Yarn Buyer

  6. Yes, getting the tree up would be nice. First, though, I’d have to get it down, from the attic in the spidery garage, down the little scary ladder. Oooofff. Sometimes I think we should go back to a real tree.
    Love the gifts for knitters, and “What did Luis hang today?” – but especially, I love the Harlot’s naughty mind! “Size of their balls” – heh heh heh! 😉

  7. Man, I’d love to have one of those wooden yarn bowls if they were large enough to hold ball or cake of 100g of worsted-weight yarn. Wish maker had specified whether measurements were inside or outside dimension.

  8. My husband gave me one of those bird bowls for Christmas last year. They are great! Unfortunately he broke it less than a month later.. But I was still proud of him for picking out such an appropriate and beautiful gift. I’m pretty sure it fit a 100g cake.

  9. Of course, for those that are on the move, I have seen some yarn bowls by Danware that have an attachment to fit in the cupholder in the car, you know, assuming you have another cupholder for your coffee as well. Definitely one for my wishlist anyhow!

  10. I am resisting the Christmas ornament/Advent calendar making by reminding myself that I have Christmas gifts to knit. Unfortunately, my boss does not look kindly upon me knitting on company time…and one of the gifts is a surprise that needs to be knit out of sight of the recipient!

    Luis is setting the right tone with Millie by looking for her regularly and feeding her. Many years ago, I had a skitty little cat, Lindy, that had been dumped at the local dumpster. She chose me when I came to the shelter (she did not generally get close to people, but she came up to me and stuck to me like cat hair!).

    At the time, we had close family friends who visited regularly. Their daughter, Katie Q, was fascinated by Lindy, and stalked her relentlessly. As time wore on, Lindy would at least stay visible for Katie Q, and Katie Q would either read to her or sketch her. On Katie Q’s last visit before she and her family moved to Texas, Lindy came up to Katie Q and allowed her to love on her.

    It would be their last meeting. Lindy died several years later, before Katie Q and her family returned to Virginia.

  11. I am so totally charmed by little Lou (who isn’t, really), and the story of his hunting for Millie has me completely smitten. As a lover of kitties and of sweet little children I must say, your choice of anecdotes – along with your particular turn of phrase – has really turned and iffy day into something sweet. Thank you, once again.

  12. I love the story of Luis and Millie. My great nephew Tristan loves my grumpy grandpa cats. He calls them “mews.” The minute they hear his voice they run and hide as well, although if they get caught they are as patient with him until they can escape.

    I love your Millie ornament. Thanks for the tip about the cat drawing site.

  13. I am attached to project bags but I use my yarn bowl to store the ball of yarn I am thinking about currently. So pretty, so soft, what to knit with you?

  14. Ah yes, the size of their balls! You knew it would be something we’d all love and you went for it. You go girl!! Balls said the Queen, if I had them I’d be King!!

  15. Campion, then gato. Lou, we have different priorities kiddo. (I love that this is essentially a forced rank of many things. It makes my organizey heart sing.

  16. Aww! Poor Millie! Having had or known several cats, I know exactly where she’s coming from. Lou shouldn’t try bribing her with her everyday kibble. Instead, he should try her favorite only-once-in-a-while cat treat (even if it’s people food) or a fresh catnip toy. As an example, my first cat would go apes**t for turkey, a brand of soft-moist treats called Pounce, or said catnip. Give my cat one of those and he’d be your best buddy for the rest of the day or evening.

    As for the tree, the solution is: Daughters! Yes, have them come over and decorate it. Provide good food and favorite beverages. If it is a real rush job, go easy on the ornaments. A lot of lights and bushy tinsel garland can go a loooooong way.

  17. I love the yearly list of gifts for knitters and tell many of my fellow knitters and non knitters about it. I love my handmade wooden yarn bowl that my aunt helped me buy from my LYS via a Chritmas gift certificate! My cat also loves he has chewed the rim and stolen the yarn I was using at the moment and ran like hell..Addi has 24 karat gold covered needles for sale. I’m so tempted to buy them for myself. I hope everyone has a bright and joyous Yuletide!

  18. I don’t know which made my day more…the kitty, the felt bowls, or the phrase “less than heroic commitment to vacuuming”. Thank you.

    • Another Bernard 🙂 My mother in law had a Bernard cat and would have had a great laugh at him on the tree. I am loving the ideas for gifts.

  19. “What is Luis hanging today?” is completely lovely, as are your ornaments. My favorite cat/child interaction was our old cat Toscanini (he was so elegant!) and my oldest as a just-crawling baby. When the baby saw the cat, he’d start towards him – the cat would lie there until the baby was almost close enough to grab a handful of fur, then run another 3-4 feet away and lie down again. Baby would head toward cat, of course, and the cat would relax until danger was near. Repeat.

    And I love my yarn bowls. My favorite is from but she only sells at craft shows these days.

  20. Yes, sometimes I have really big balls.

    I do love my yarn bowl, given to me a number of years ago by my super sweet husband. It came with Malabrigo in it although I’m not sure why he (and the sales assistant who knew me well) picked a color that would be dreadful for me. Actually, it was perfect for him so he got a new winter hat.

  21. Could you share your family’s special skills to keep a live tree moist for so many weeks?
    Our family tended to pick up our tree just a few days before Christmas and even then it always dries out quickly. We have radiators not central air.
    Enjoy the weekend!

  22. While I do like to take my knitting places in tote bags, I also love my little yarn bowl. Mine is ceramic and it is so pretty and colorful that I like it eve when it’s just sitting around, empty. 🙂

  23. Tree? Up and decorated? Mine’s not even bought yet. And to speak to minimalism, this year it’s going to be a tabletop version. Perhaps even a Norfolk Island pine. The person in my life for whom I would move heaven and earth to have a tree for won’t be home for Christmas this year, so minimalist decorating it will be. The swag’s on the door, though…right above the pumpkins from our Fall display.

  24. I love love love your gift suggestions. 🙂 Having a tree decorated helps, that way you can look at it and remember you’re getting stuff done. 🙂 Happy knitting.

  25. I do hope that Luis’s mom checks the pockets of his pants before she puts them in the washer. Cat food would not be a good find in the washer. ( I had a flashback to a Christmas Eve years ago. I forgot and hurriedly washed & dried a load of the kid’s clothes when there was a crayon in a pocket. Need I say more? The only upside was that I found the best permanent dye ever.)

  26. I have, on occasion found my ceramic yarn bowl to be helpful when I’m winding a cake and halfway through, it turns into a hot mess, so I must wind the second half by hand and then I want to rewind the whole thing again….I just set the half hand wound ball in the bowl and start winding again. magic. 🙂

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