Nine Lives

Here’s my question for the day: is it a truth universally acknowledged that cats have nine lives? Do they have nine in Nepal? Norway? and Namibia? or are some cats short-changed? If so, there must be a cat commodities market somewhere, where the better endowed cats can sell a few futures for a quick buck. Or not

The reason for my musing is this cat – a gorgeous Persian who hails from Japan – so perhaps I should ask her.

Or rather, the reason for my musing is the problem I had trying to make a portrait of this cat. It is not the first time that I have struggled to capture a feline in one go.

Is this a cat thing?

The loss of the portrait’s first life was perhaps the fault of the picture I chose – a false start that went on a little longer than false starts are meant to; it was more of a false start, insincere middle, and heading towards a dishonest end, really.

There was a long day of snapping needles (two or three – which isn’t normal) just to get to this stage, where the clunkiness of the appliqué was still so annoyingly present, that I abandoned hope, and pinned it on the wall of lost causes:IMG_1117I started again that night, and cut out the cat in cream this time, in case building up the colour worked better than toning down. That fair puss is still waiting it’s turn on the window sill, because next day, I decided it wasn’t my sewing, it was the photo that was wrong.

Two lives lost, and on we go: ‘Tomorrow to fresh woods and photos new’
Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 20.54.49

I decided to work from light to dark this time, to see if that would help.IMG_1145

I think it did:

But the needles were still snapping to the left of me and needles were snapping to the right of me, and the whole thing began to feel as ill-destined as the first. The Liberty print has only so much it can take, before it starts to grumble, well, crinkle, really, and yawn and stretch under the weight of stitches going into it. And then the delightful teapot print gave up the ghost, pulled and puckered beyond all bearing.

And this is what I was left withIMG_1262Yes, well, in the clear light of several days later, I can see it’s not perhaps that bad – those tiny little snags of thread one millimetre out of line – but at the time, it felt nearly catastrophic enough to have done with the whole thing and start again.

The poor puss spent another night on the wall of shame, and I paced up and down, wondering what to do. IMG_1282This is not, I should be said, an extremely energetic activity, as one step takes me from one side of the available floor space to the other, but it was enough to get the creative juices flowing.

I can’t remember what life we are up to, but here goes, another fresh(ish) start, and another, and another:

Until I had, finally, to plump for one set of prints. And here it is, done.IMG_1368


I really do love where it ended. I’m not sure changing the prints make the most difference – though certainly their not being battered and snagged makes me much happier – but I think moving the whole thing down, so that the tail drapes over the edge of the portrait, like the cat, draping herself over the back of the sofa, captures more of her lazy elegance. Well, it does for me, anyhow.


And yet, and yet, the story didn’t end here, you see, but I’ll save the next life for another day …




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