Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oh for the life ...

Parsifal has been on a 'poo and barf' watch all day and we finally got a result at about 4.15 this afternoon; a lovely poo (sorry about that but when you think that your cat has an intestinal blockage it is a cause for celebration).  The trouble is that there is either red, disintegrated shoelace on it or there is frank blood and it looks more like blood so I carefully collected it, sealed it into a jar, put it into a ziplock bag and froze it.  It is off to the vet for analysis tomorrow and Dr Sophy has agreed that it is necessary to know because it wouldn't do for him to have bleeding in the bowel.

Sorry about the graphic detains but this blog is my diary of important, and not so important, events in my life and the amount of blood, sweat and tears I have endured over the past 36 hours deserves to be recorded and remembered.

I have GB1 staying with me for a couple of nights because the trains are not running on the Fremantle line for the rest of this week and he would not be able to get to school from his home.  It is only a five-minute walk from my apartment.  He would like to have the babies in bed with him and I thought that wild horses could not have kept them away but they are both out here with me with Parsifal eating up big and toughing Poppy; his usual self again.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Not again ... !

Yesterday Parsifal ate one of my new red nylon shoelaces.  He slipped into my wardrobe when I was hanging something up.  Normally I check before I close it up but I didn't realise that he was in there, didn't check and didn't discover where he was until I missed him.

I don't know why this episode worried me more than all the other things he has eaten so we went to see Dr Sophy who sent us off to Osborne Park for another ultrasound.  He had to be sedated, of course; he was quite aggressive with Dr Sophy and I had to hold him by his scruff while she examined him ...  so the Veterinary Imaging Centre had to sedate him to shave his tummy and now, six hours later, he is really only just waking up.  This worries me because I am not sure if his lethargy is due to the sedation or if he is feeling sick  -  although he ate a hearty dinner.  I'll just have to see what tomorrow brings and if he needs to be opened up.  The trouble is that there was food in his stomach (I wasn't expecting him to have it ultrasounded or I would have removed the food) and they were not able to see if the shoelace was still there.

I have contacted a vet who is an animal behaviorist but we have agreed to wait until the issue of the shoelace is resolved before doing anything to try to modify his pica, although I am not so keen on some of the things which she suggested, such as irritable bowel syndrome.  I wish!!!!!

My take on it is that he resented being weaned and sucks on anything which he thinks looks like a suckable appendage.  I would hate to lose him, I would hate to change him and I would hate to see him medicated long-term.  A backflip to all natural fibre for the term of his natural life maybe?  At least cotton and wool should digest.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I am now the owner of a badly spun, badly plied skein of wool which I will probably turn into an interesting scarf. (That is a take-off of Terry Pratchett's book "The Truth".)

I am having trouble getting the tension, twist and draw right on E.Roberta.  I am gradually getting the hang of it.  There is not nearly the control which is possible with a treadle spinning wheel but I will master it eventually; some parts looked almost respectable.  And I forgot to switch it into reverse for the plying and got myself into a terrible tangle before I realised what the problem was, scrapped the botched yarn and started again.  At least E.Roberta is easier on my knees and packs away without taking up a great deal of space.

I am posting a picture of E.Roberta here and at some stage will post one of E.Emma.  Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tops aren't tops

Yesterday and today I have been working with E.Roberta, trying to get her set up with the best tension for my style of spinning.  That part wasn't too difficult.

What was hard, though, was that I had thought that spinning tops would be easy and bought a kilo of a mix of brown, silver and white tops.( Topmaking mills make wool top, a semi-processed product from raw wool. The process requires that the wool be scoured (washed) and combed and sorted. The longer fibers resulting from the process are called tops, and are in a form ready for spinning.).  I had a great deal of trouble drawing the fibres out; bearing in mind that I hadn't done any serious spinning for over 20 years it was rather a heroic efford and eventually I realised that I needed to divide the tops into its approximate colours and spin with thinner  lengths.

This actually worked and I have filled my first bobbin.  It is not very elegant spinning and it is not very fine but it gets better and I should be able to knit  chunky scarf with the results.  I still have a sample piece of knitting from my very first effort at spinning and it was rather thick and uneven but I made a very nice sailing jumper from the result.  The sample has become Poppy's favourite toy and neither cat seems inclined to eat it although Parsifal managed a mouthful of tops when I wasn't looking.  It got tangled in his teeth and I was able to remove it but the fibres are very fine and I am sure that it would have digested.

I have remembered just how addictive spinning is and can't wait to fill a second bobbin so that I can ply it and see how it looks.

My Windows 8 client didn't turn up on Thursday but I have some notes for her if she comes again.  I suspect that, having been given a start, has begun to work it out for herself ... she is already computer literate.

Monday, July 15, 2013

All that spin

D3 and I met up at Bilby Yarns where I bought 1kilo of blended natural tops all ready for E.Roberta when she arrives.  If I can spin thick enough I will knit myself a bulky jacket to replace the one which the kittens have taken over.  They get quite miffed if I put it on and do their very best to remove it.

I had made a previous visit to Bilby and bought a fleece which I am in the process of combing prior to spinning it on E.Emma since the cats do not seem particularly interested in eating the fleece.  That, of course, may be due to the rather strong smell of naphtha flakes.  All that E.Emma needs is a new drive band and tension it up and I can start spinning.  E.Roberta's agent has predicted that she will arrive tomorrow but I am not holding my breath on that one.  I have already emptied most of E.Emma's bobbins; there are a couple containing yarn still to be plied, an activity which came to a sudden halt when the connection between the treadle and the footman broke.

I am enjoying getting back to spinning even though, at the moment, I am doing the mucky bit with the raw fleece but I love handling that soft, greasy stuff and I am not sure how I will get on with tops.  D3 says that they are very easy to spin and there is no preparation needed but somehow that seems to be cheating  -  simply spinning to knit or weave rather than turning a raw product into something useful.

The weather is horrible at the moment with intermittent pouring rain and thunder and the babies are both stir crazy and are very vocal.  They have been driving me crazy all morning.  Parsifal now sleeps on top of his igloo which he jumps on to squash the top down.  I'd love to be able to read his mind; I've never met a cat so curious and so inventive.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Spinning into the future

Today is my birthday and I received the receipt for an electronic spinner which I have been negotiating for for several days.  I can't call it a spinning wheel because it is not exactly a wheel-driven device.  I have my lovely Ertoel Emma and I intend to keep on using it  -  at this stage anyway, but I am an across the body left-handed spinner and with the treadle on my left side it puts a lot of strain onto my left knee.  However, I have bought a small Corridale fleece and will use Emma for that and start of with tops on the new spinner, an Ertoel Roberta which should arrive late next week or early the week after.  I had refused to even consider an electric spinner before now but this one has a pause pedal for extra control and I can position it correctly for my style of spinning

Fortunately, so far, Parsifal doesn't seem interested in the fleece and wool would probably digest anyway but I'd prefer it if he leaves the spinning alone.

He has taken to shouting when he is using the litter tray.  I am not sure if he is praising his cleverness or if he thinks that I should run and clean away the debris; I suspect that he is announcing that it is all his own work and isn't he a clever boy!

Poppy continues to be a lap-cat and is getting into the habit of jumping up when I am at the computer which plays havoc with my typing but she is so cute that I don't have the heart to discourage her ... mostly.

Today at COTA I had my first client with a Windows 8 computer.  She had previously had an XP which died and, of course, she is totally confused by the new one.  I was able to show her round the apps but the internet kept on dropping out which made both mail and using the address line (which is at the bottom of the screen instead of the top) to navigate online impossible.  I need to sort it out next week  -  probably have to put in the Key again.