On the black cat patrol

Just mounted on the wall I face when I’m at my work table: a digital reproduction of the famous Zwicky Cat poster by Donald Brun (for the Zwicky silk thread company in Wallisellen, Canton Zürich), and a postcard Amanda Walker sent me because it reminded her of the cat Kurniau (what cats say in Estonian — it’s a purr and a meow) from the Zwicky household in Columbus OH many years ago:


I’ve posted the Zwicky Cat image before, and about Brun. To come here: about the source of the framed poster (the Wee Blue Coo company in Edinburgh); about the fuller version of the poster, in which a cat may look at a cat icon (as Kurniau seems to be doing above); and about another entertaining Brun poster that I came across while searching for a copy of the two-cat version of the Zwicky silk thread poster.

Wee Blue Coo. Yes, ‘little blue cow’ in Scots English. The company sell(s) posters and cards — some Edinburgh-oriented, many decidedly cute, some just striking. Their logo:


While writing up material about Zwickys and Switzerland, Kim Darnell happened upon a extraordinary sale offer on digital copies of the Brun poster, and so here we are.

The two-cat version. I’ve posted a version of this, on sale at a gallery in NYC, as caught by Amanda Walker (again): in my 3/20/11 posting “Zwicky-cat in NYC”. Without the gallery-window extras:


The Nomotta wool/yarn poster. Among Brun’s advertising posters, this was one that initially baffled me:


Nomotta appears to be a brand name, for yarn/wool, presumably, and that appears to an Alpine huntsman shooting down a four-winged creature. Ah, Nomotta is a playful invention: ‘no moth’.

Some effort then brought me to “Nomotta mothproof sport(s) yarn” — the huntsman is indeed shooting down (clothes) moths —  produced by the Schachenmayr firm, whose website tells us that the company was founded in 1822 but cagily fails to tell us where it’s located. That left me wondering what sport(s) yarn/wool might be and puzzling about the advertising slogan Die Motvrye Wol — which I was trying to understand as something playful in German, until I realized that it might be in Dutch, with the vrye bit as the equivalent of German frei ‘free (from)’. So: ‘That Moth-Free Wool’. (I don’t actually know any Dutch, but I know a little bit about it, so I wondered: shouldn’t that be Die Motvrije Wol? Well, yes, but apparently Y is a spelling variant of IJ. Whew!)

Eventually I discovered that the sport(s) in sport(s) yarn/wool is a technical term in the knitting world and has nothing directly to do with sport(s); it’s the name of a weight (and thickness): sport-weight, or fine, yarn lies in between super-fine yarn and light worsted, or DK (double-knit), yarn. Some Schachenmayr Nomotta yarn in this range:


So if you’re into working with yarn (and can read Dutch, or at least piece it out), you’ll appreciate the poster in #4. In fact, even after all that labor expended in understanding #4, I still found it funny (and I’m not a yarn person).

What remained was discovering where the Schachenmayr firm is located. It seems that Schachenmayr is now just a brand name of the textile division of MEZ Crafts, a division headquartered in Herbolzheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and that this was formerly the European Crafts division of British Coats PLC Group. Another trip into the ever-shifting wonderland of business ownership and management.

[Added 7/16. Having searched for information about and images of yarns, I’m now being offered yarn on-line from various advertisers. Gorgeous deep purple cashmere yarn, in particular, and, on eBay (for $23.99 for 4 1-oz. skeins of) lavender Nomotta mothproof sports yarn:


Apparently the stuff is no longer made, so if you want some, you have to search for on-line sources.

I worry some about what, exactly, makes the yarn mothproof.]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: