Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Words that shape us

Words matter even though one often hears sayings like: They are just words… as if they don’t mean anything.

The world is full of words, good ones and bad ones; they build sentences loaded with good or bad intentions. I am not going to talk much of the subject but while I have been knitting and embroidering my cats, this thought has been on my mind a lot. I am not sure if these thoughts have taken me anywhere or if I have been able to make sense of these ponderings, but this all goes back into my early history and since my history is getting close to 60 years (in two years), it has been interesting to listen to the words that I heard many decades ago. (Old people do go back to their childhood years a lot and part of it must be memory skipping along its own paths and part of having a lot more time to intentionally dwell on different things.)

Our worlds are shaped by all the words we hear during our days and no one can say, which ones are going to leave the biggest imprint. If only there were more sweet ones than rough ones and if only we remembered the sweet ones.
I am sure most of you are familiar with “The tall book of Mother Goose” and her nursery rhymes. How many of you still remember some of those? Or other nursery rhymes from other books? I am sure most countries have their own collections of loved children’s rhymes and you are familiar with them and love them. Our most beloved poems are by Kirsi Kunnas and I loved and love them dearly and they might be the ones that carry my girls back to their nursery. (Kirsi Kunnas did also the Finnish translation of the Mother Goose book.)
When emotions (good or bad) are mixed with words, they will stick to your mind as if put there with the strongest of glue. Since nursery rhymes are loaded with good ones, one has heard them cited by dear, loving adults mostly, they will go to your mind and stay there forever. Those words pop up quite randomly in different occasions and they bring back many happy hours.

My January this year was very cold and long month and I was not in a happy place at all. I kept hearing these words in my mind: “Dear mother, what shall we do? As we just lost our mittens.” (“Rakas äiti, mitä teemme? Miau, miau, käsineemme äsken kadotimme?”) These are the words from the Finnish translation of the poem of “The three little kittens” from the Mother Goose book. You might remember that the English version does not have that phrase: Dear mother, what shall we do? but that is how the Finnish translation goes. 

When in trouble, we turn to Mom and these words surfaced from the memory. Then I remembered the poem of the three little, sad kittens. Although the mother is quite stern in the poem and now that I took out the book and read it all over again, I am not sure just why I kept remembering this, and I don’t remember what I thought as a child (I wonder if I had just lost my mittens and thus felt the pain of the kittens) when I listened to the poem, but those words echoed in my mind in early January and they made me craft my kittens.
(Mr Cat got hold of this one and I must make her a new nose.)
Nursery rhyme from distant memory rings in my mind and I knit kittens more than fifty years afterwards. I have not made mittens to my kittens and I am not sure I will. The shape of these kittens is close to a black toy cat that my grandmother gave to me in that same decade. The shape is quite close, but the old black cat had plastic eyes and nose and the face has no resemblance to him; I called him Mikki. After very unhappy coincidence I ended up giving him away. I was heartbroken after the event even though the cause was good, and I missed that cat for a long time. 

Inspiration is a big word and somehow does not feel fitting regarding these little cats. The process was listening to the words and seeing the images, and after a quiet string of different needle maneuverings, in the end I had a woolen cat(s). It was just watching the vivid memories come to life.

The three little kittens, they lost their mittens,
And they began to cry,
"Oh, mother dear, we sadly fear,
That we have lost our mittens."
"What!   Lost your mittens, you naughty kittens!
Then you shall have no pie."
"Meow, meow, meow."
"Then you shall have no pie."

The three little kittens, they found their mittens,
And they began to cry,
"Oh, mother dear, see here, see here,
For we have found our mittens."
"Put on your mittens, you silly kittens,
And you shall have some pie."
"Purr, purr, purr,
Oh, let us have some pie."

The three little kittens put on their mittens,
And soon ate up the pie,
"Oh, mother dear, we greatly fear,
That we have soiled our mittens."
"What, soiled your mittens, you naughty kittens!"
Then they began to sigh,
"Meow, meow, meow,"
Then they began to sigh.

The three little kittens, they washed their mittens,
And hung them out to dry,
"Oh, mother dear, do you not hear,
That we have washed our mittens?"
"What, washed your mittens, then you're good kittens,
But I smell a rat close by."
"Meow, meow, meow,
We smell a rat close by."

Therefore,  I also had to make cats with pink hats, because words, they do matter.
(I just love these woolen pants; they have real pockets, I just need to think of something to put in.)
Wool with you,
PS. This blog has turned into a cat factory. So far, I have 9 and I don’t feel like I am done quite yet. Hope you are not getting bored.


  1. Haha! I do recall those nursery rhymes. Baa Baa black sheep have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full. One for my master, and one for my dame, and one for the little boy who lives down the lane.

  2. I think your kitties are absolutely charming. More please!

  3. Keep them coming! They are adorable. Loved reading what brought you to creating these lovely kitties.

  4. Yes, words matter. Yours are beautiful, thoughtful; thank-you for some sanity.

  5. Your cats are wonderful! And your blog always brings a smile to my face, like the visit of a dear friend. So, I don't believe I will get tired of the cats, or of whatever you choose to make and write about -- thank you for sharing with us!

  6. My favourite one, still, is 'the owl and the pussycat'. 'They dined on mince and slices of quince which they ate with a runcible spoon'. (There is no such thing apparently - just a wonderful made-up word).

  7. I've always enjoyed the Mother Goose nursery rhymes, and can remember at least the first parts of them.

    I for one am unlikely to ever get tired of your cats!

  8. Words shape thoughts, and thoughts shape actions. Words surely DO matter. I suspect that hurtful words can do more damage than most physical hurts.

    I love your cats, and I love the pink ears. You may want to leave the damaged nose alone. Someday when Mr. Cat is no longer with you, you will look at that nose and remember him..... :-)

    1. sandra03:10

      I agree. The damaged nose is perfect! Also, I love the cats. My grandma would have LOVED the cats. She would have exclaimed over every tiny detail, and then she would have figured out how to make them herself. She would have called them Puss-puss & stood them among the plants on her windowsill. :)

  9. Yes words matter. I enjoyed this post about words and how you came to make the kittens. I am allergic to real cats but I love your little kitties. My favorite nursery rhyme is "Wynken, and Blinken, and Nod, one night, sailed off in a silver shoe . . ."

  10. The words definitely matter. So do our actions. That said, I had the very same Nursery Rhyme book. When I saw your photo of it, I wasn't sure because I cannot read Finnish. But when you mentioned the English title and opened the book to "Three Little Kittens", I remembered my own copy. Thank you, Lene. Yes, at 60 plus, I think of past things (sometimes). By the way, your created cats are wonderful.

  11. Marie15:09

    First book, i really read with my older's daughter.
    In french, it's a delight to tell the story.
    I still have tempo in the head.
    I so often read it, i could do it without turning a page.
    I wasn't allowed to change only one word of the text. ;-)

    Happy kitties knitting!

  12. Inspiring words, thank you. Never will get tired of cats, keep them coming.

  13. Not bored! Every detail of these kittens is adorable, but the pants (with pockets!) take them over the top.

  14. Ellasewknits04:01

    I had forgotten that nursery rhyme! I think I still have the English version of the same book. The picture is so familiar.
    I love your beautiful kittens.

  15. I love these cats! They are so happy and joyful. Just the thing one needs in the midst of winter.

  16. Oh, I had the same book with the same pictures in English when I was a child. (I'm 73)! I just love your cats. Thanks for the memories this morning.

  17. I have mixed feelings about many of the nursery rhymes and tales that I knew by heart as a child. I had mixed feelings about them even then.
    I love everything about your little cats :)

  18. Your kitties as always are delightful, and your words eloquent and insightful! I patiently wait and hope that you might make the pattern available. First the sweet pussy hat and now those adorable are killing me with the cuteness 🐱🐱🐱🐱🐱

  19. There is no way we could ever get bored. <3

  20. Thank you for the pink hats. I wore one as I marched in WashingtonDC. I have never been in a more positive environment. Everyone was hoping for change and protection of our rights

  21. Anonymous13:28

    That kitty needs a penny or a pretty stone or shell in his pocket. I'd say a jelly bean, but that might get sticky, if it got damp. Maybe a bead. Something a young kitten would love to play with and save. Your posts are a delight! RCD

  22. Thank you for brightening my day!

  23. I love your knitted kittens and the connection to the rhyme! words do make a big impact on us, words from others to us and also words we have said to others.

  24. Anonymous04:12

    Oh I have loved seeing the kittens and the details are wonderful. I'm sure I had the same book in English (and I'm your age) which is tucked away somewhere I think. As for the pockets, perhaps they need a wee little hankie?
    Chris S in Canada

  25. I am new to your blog. These kittens are wonderful. Any chance if there in a pattern for purchase?