Milo and Neko chan

It’s been 15 years here on the blog and almost just as long Milo the cat has appeared here and there. I went back and searched posts (he started appearing in early 2008) and found many photos and mentions that even I had forgotten about. He has been a steadfast companion all this time and during this past year he even insisted on making appearances on zoom too. It was with a heavy heart that we had to put him to sleep a couple of weeks ago. I was just too sad to post about it and even now… we miss him dearly.

On an upbeat note, we got our second vaccination last week and all was well-even without any side effects at all other than a sore arm for one day. May 5th will be our two week mark. I am hoping that more and more people choose to get vaccinated so we can begin to congregate more and see fewer people fall ill. I’ve barely seen my nearby grandson who will turn two next month this entire year. I know many of you have also missed seeing dear ones. While people in many other countries are literally dying for a vaccine, people here are saying “no thanks, I’m good”. Astounding. Here in LA, even the police are only 50% vaccinated (while having access for months now) leading one to believe they are choosing to remain unvaccinated while working with the public! Even Japan seems determined to have a summer olympics against all reason with only a 1% vaccination rate and rising infection rates.
And India! Such suffering…

Ok…moving on.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been going through some of my collected Japanese fabrics as well as cleaning out a cupboard or two. In one of the cupboards I found an old hand stitched cat doll my grandmother had made. It is so basic, yet with a lot of personality. Made with what looks like a cotton toweling and red thread it seems to have been an exercise in hand sewing practice. The face and her name are drawn on with a (now faded) marker of some sort. Interestingly, in one place where the stitching came undone the material that was used to stuff the piece was showing. It is stuffed with women’s nylons. Since nylons were not available commercially to women until around 1940, I had to reassess who/when this little cat was made. So either my Nana made this for my mom (maybe a class?) or my mom made it and for some reason my Nana’s name was written on it for identifying purposes. My mom would have been around 10 in the early ’40’s. Nana was born in 1901. Both Nana and mom loved cats. This little guy is probably about 80 years old…

Back to the fabric sorting/organizing and I wondered…what if I made a little cat based on Nana’s cat? So I did. What if I made one for my grandson with some photos and a story? What if I made a pattern and a kit with instructions using some of the Japanese fabrics I have? And so it is… a quick and fun little project for a child or just the child inside us all. Added to the shop here.

19 thoughts on “Milo and Neko chan

  1. jklarsonfiberart

    Dear Glennis, My sympathy goes out to you on your loss of your marmalade friend. I love the concept of memorializing him with the cat pattern. When I looked at it, I was tempted to buy the pattern and kit. Reason overruled because I already have enough indigo and authentic yuc and other Japanese fabrics to make hundreds of them. I have one concern, the tail is way too short and thin. All my cats (in 79 years), have a tail as long as their torso and as wide as a leg for balance. It is usually in an upright position when moving about. I know that this is a mythical and happy cat, but her tail needs to be a little longer and wider. I would even put a little wire in it to give it a way to position it. I look forward to every one of your posts and appreciate your musings and ideas. Last time I ordered Shibori ribbon scraps from you, the texture was entirely different, not the shiny silk. Is it possible to get the original ribbon? Where can I find it? I live in a condo like rental with great water views in Gig Harbor, WA. I am being forced to move as soon as the Covid moratorium is lifted. The rental prices in the Seattle/ Tacoma area have risen so much that I am basically priced out of the market. I may have to ask my brothers and sisters to take me in. None live in Wa, so Palm Desert, Houston or Paso Robles areas are where they live Sent from my iPhone

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    1. shiborigirl Post author

      Janet! Thank you ever so much for your warm reply and suggestions in regards to the pattern. I actually did think of putting a wire into the tail but for these I didn’t as I am giving them to my grandson who will be two very soon. I didn’t want any anything that could be a safety issue for a child but one could certainly add a wire and on a future one I will do so! The length of the tail could of course be altered as desired-another good suggestion! Did you know that in Japan many cats have short tails? In the Edo period (1603-1867), there was a folk belief that cats with long tails like snakes could bewitch people. Cats with long tails were disliked and there was a custom of cutting their tails. It is speculated that this is the reason that there are so many cats in Japan with short tails nowadays, because natural selection has favored those with short tails. I don’t know if this is true but when we lived there we had a cat that we adopted with an abbreviated tail!
      I know you have all too many fabrics from the shows as you always purchased the best of the best whenever you visited my booth. I have your email and I will send you a pdf of the pattern so you can use up some of that stash! You know I have a place in my heart for Gig Harbor as we lived in a little white clapboard house on the hill up from the little pier there when I was born. It was a little sleepy fishing town way back then and my dad had a houseboat there we could see from the front window. I don’t know if they owned or rented it (probably rented) and they ended up buying a little house over on Wolachet Bay where we moved to when I was about 3 or 4. My memories of that house on the hill are still clear even though I was very small. Gig Harbor (like many places) has become a spendy tourist area driving out many long time residents. If you do move, please keep in touch. Paso Robles would be my pick for the weather… xo

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      1. Lover of anything CAT

        Kasuko told me that they buried the cat’s tail under the front entrance to the house for good luck. I don’t think she was a fan of cats. Maybe she was just pulling my tail!

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    2. shiborigirl Post author

      One more thing Janet- the silk I was using for the ribbon before (the silk satin) is no longer available! So I experimented with many types and weights and this is the best of what I have to choose from! I’m told it is no longer being woven in China like it was before. When I contacted several mills myself they would say they had it and then when I received a sample, it was not at all what they said.

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  2. nancydas

    Hi glennis. I haven’t died in indigo for quite some time. Can you remind me how I have to prepare the fabric? As I recall silk requires nothing. But cotton might require an alum treatment? Thanks Nancy

    Sent from my iPhone

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  3. Nancy

    Glennis~ So sorry for you beloved cat. Also, so fun to see the old kitty inspire some new ones. Milo lives on in your heart and the hearts of those who knew and loved him. Congrats on your shots 🙂

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  4. Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

    Thank you for sharing your pictures and memories of Milo – so right to honor and remember him with this pattern.

    As for the nylon stuffing of the toy cat you thought your grandmother had made: might it be a replacement stuffing, to re-fill the toy in its later years? Perhaps the toy *is* as old as you thought.

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  5. taichi2012

    Sorry about your beloved cat. What a nice way to memorialize him. I bought the kit and look forward to some hand stitched fun.
    Wow–I just realized that was 10 years ago that we were on the Silk Study Tour after Fukushima. I have kept in touch with Nat all these years. Lovely memories.

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    1. shiborigirl Post author

      That was (like each one has been) an amazing trip. It was touch and go with the Fukushima accident and since there were very few tourists that year we were so warmly welcomed. We also had one trip where we had to deal with the bird flu outbreak. I’m hoping Japan gets it’s act together re Covid by next year!!

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  6. Susan Joy Clark

    Hi. I just happened upon your blog. I liked seeing both photos of your cat (sorry for your loss) and the fabric cat you made. How clever to do a little photo shoot for your cat doll. It is hard to lose a pet, and I hope you will be consoled.

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  7. Shirley Miller Kamada

    Milo is beautiful / handsome. I’m so sorry for your loss. I am sure he was warmly welcomed across the Rainbow Bridge and is happy, while waiting for you, there. Shirley

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