For Cats, By Cats

Cats love yarn and wool – it’s a fact.

Depending on the age and personality of your little feline friend, they may choose to interact with your (their) yarn or wool differently.

Dexter – our oldest and the only boy – likes to snuggle up with roving, wrap it around his paws and body, and left to his own devices takes about ten minutes to look like “Mummy-Cat”, running around the house with a fluffy train reminiscent of Princess Diana’s wedding dress.

He knows exactly where I store everything, and each time I open a specific wardrobe or closet, he’ll storm into the room knowing he has an opportunity to sneak inside and swim around in piles of wool. It starts off as cute, then gets slightly annoying, and then I realize I’m just jealous that I don’t have enough wool to roll around in just like him. One day . . .

Yarn is where Dexter’s interest begins to wane and Suki, the baby, gets involved. Dexter could care less about a ball of yarn I’m knitting with or my baskets upon baskets of yarn stored in my studio. Suki, however, lives for chasing yarn tails around the house, pawing at my working yarn, or cuddling up inside one of the baskets. Oftentimes, since she’s such fabulous ginger cat, she’ll blend in with the yarn and I won’t realize that she’s stuck in the studio until she wakes up from her nap and I can see her pawing at the glass door so she can be let out.

And what about Mila? Well, she prefers finished objects. Mila is a lap cat, but will only sit on a blanket or other piece of warm, fuzzy fabric. In the summer, we’ll blast the air conditioning just to get it cold enough to justify a lap blanket – Mila will just meow until you place it on your lap so she can have a seat. In the winter, she’s most content – there’s plenty of knitting in my lap when she’s ready to sit down, and while it makes turning my work difficult sometimes, I’ve really gotten used to it. Once I place the work down on the couch to step away though, all bets are off. She’ll cuddle with a WIP and gets really angry when I attempt to pick my knitting back up – I tell myself it is the universe’s way of telling me I should take some time to tidy, clean, do laundry, etc., and entertain myself until she’s done.

I appreciate the predictability and balance. Dexter isn’t interested unless I’m spinning. Suki only cares about yarn when I’m winding it from a skein into a cake, and Mila doesn’t really come calling until the project is big enough to lay on, which takes a while. All and all, there isn’t a lot of cat interference in my fiber world, and I know I’m blessed.

This all changed with Pagewood Farm’s Plumes. Wool AND feathers is the catnip of the fiber world for my feline children, and as happy I was to finally utilize the yarn (it’s been sitting in my stash for over a year) and make a fun, warm hat for Mr. Joseph, it was a battle to keep all three cats away from it long enough for me to get anything done.

Mila was chewing on the feathers from yarn still wound up in a ball, Suki was busy pawing at my working yarn, and Dexter decided to rub up against the back of my neck (I tension my yarn there), sniffing away obsessively at the wool. The only conclusion I can make is that a collective of cats is responsible for designing Plumes. If a representative from Pagewood could confirm this, it would be appreciated (and please put a warning on the label).

I literally had to lock myself in a room to finish this project. Only a few feathers were lost in the process, and I’m very happy with the finished look:

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Plumes will be my first pattern on Ravelry. I’m writing it up, and looking for test knitters, so if you have a skein lying around (one skein and a complimentary chunky yarn will be enough yardage to makeup to two medium/large sized adult hats) or would be interested in investing in the materials to test knit this hat, please feel free to either message me here or email me: tandemknits@gmail.com.

I’ll be looking for test knitters through the month of March, with a pattern release slated for the first week of April. Yay!

In the meantime, it’s back to the blanket border knitting for me. Happy Friday, everyone!

About Hunter Liam

Hunter's grandmother had him making buttons and threading her sewing machine at the age of three. Ever since then, he's been obsessed with making things with his hands as a form of creative expression.Knitter, spinner, designer, writer, photographer, dancer . . . or just a creative soul with ADD.

The Knitter’s Energy Drink

I’m up to my elbows, eyes, and ears in baby blanket knitting this year – I’m going to politely ask that all of my friends and family members stop reproducing at such an alarming rate (have you guys never heard of board games?!)

Between new arrivals and birthdays, there’s an entire brood of toddlers and babies that require knits from Uncle H., and I’m afraid I may need to call in for reinforcement or (gasp) buy something commercial to fill in for the work my hands can’t keep up with (I’d actually never let this happen – thank you, coffee and Adderall).

I started a tradition of knitting blankets for all of my pregnant friends with the birth of my nephew a few years ago, and this Spring will bring two important arrivals within six weeks of one another: my friends (cough – bosses – cough), Michael and Val, will be expecting their first (a boy) on March 17th and the newest family addition, my niece Mylah Grace, will be born at the end of April.

For some reason, I decided that fingering weight baby blankets were going to be my thing in 2014. I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea – I guess I’ve been knitting heavy winter Aran and worsted weight garments for so long (and exclusively for baby knits), that I wanted something a little more . . . airy, but still warm and soft.

I still have Michael and Val’s blanket on the needles (alpaca with llama, it’s scrumptious but warped between four sets of circular needles, so pictures will come once it’s off the needles this weekend), and have yet to start Mylah Grace’s yet.

Each time I sit down to knit lately, I keep reminding myself that the blankets are most important – it’s my sincere hope that 30 years from now, these babies are handing them over to their own babies as heirlooms that some guy made “way back” in the 2010’s.

As much as these thoughts warm my heart and fill up my crafting gas tank, I struggled last night to finish the border on V&M’s blanket. It’s one row and 600 bind offs away from being completed, and I couldn’t bring myself to do more than a dozen or so stitches every hour before passing out with it in my lap last night.

I woke up this morning to the perfect motivation – the energy drink I really needed last night, but one that came just in time to fuel the finishing/designing I want to get accomplished this evening.

I wish people shared these types of photos more often, but here is baby Cole enjoying the Artson blanket a designed and knitted last summer in all his beautiful glory:

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The blanket is certainly doing everything it was intended to do, and I’m so happy to see such a wonderful moment captured forever.

The added bonus? The blanket made a cameo into the birth announcement pictures, too:

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These pictures have gotten me all wound up and ready to knit. Moms and dads (or any gift receiver, really) take note: send your knitter some photographic love – it’s a great way show your appreciation for their work, and allows a glimpse to just how much you’re enjoying the garment or article we’ve made.

 

 

About Hunter Liam

Hunter's grandmother had him making buttons and threading her sewing machine at the age of three. Ever since then, he's been obsessed with making things with his hands as a form of creative expression.Knitter, spinner, designer, writer, photographer, dancer . . . or just a creative soul with ADD.

An Unexpected Find

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Joseph and I were determined to find the 4WD drive button I mentioned in my last post. We didn’t find it. I’ve given up, and started to just cross my fingers that we don’t see another significant accumulation of snow this year.

On a positive note, I did find the knitting needle I lost during our Thanksgiving road trip (I thought it had fallen out of the car at a rest stop somewhere in upstate New York):

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Generally, I would have been ecstatic. There are plenty of lost needles or notions that I have donated to the universe, and I really liked this particular part of needles – they worked well with chunky wool yarns since they had a nice “slippery” quality to them, and were the perfect size for quick-knitted infinity scarfs. That, and I’m a little bit a Scrooge sometimes, so I didn’t really want to have to spend the money to replace them.

So, what’s the problem? Well, we found the needle about two months after I did the massive cleaning during my winter break from work, and the other half of this set is sitting in a dump somewhere outside of the city of Chicago.

This just confirmed why I never through a single out of a pair of anything away: socks and knitting needles always have a way of turning up. I’m reactivating my hoarding and procrastination button – the one time organization and productiveness appear in my life, they’ve reeked havoc.

I’m sure at some point another size 15 needle will disappear, and I’ll be happy to have a back-up. Right?

About Hunter Liam

Hunter's grandmother had him making buttons and threading her sewing machine at the age of three. Ever since then, he's been obsessed with making things with his hands as a form of creative expression.Knitter, spinner, designer, writer, photographer, dancer . . . or just a creative soul with ADD.