Thursday, August 23, 2007

Knitting With Cats

Or perhaps it would be more acurate to say knitting around cats, because cats do interfere with your knitting. So here are some simple rules I have found that help me cope with catly interference.

1. Your cat loves you, and he will express this love by laying on you while you are knitting. Especially if he can manage to lay on the yarn ball and or a strategic corner of your project making it neccessary to move him before finishing or starting a new row. There is really no way around this one. Your cat has the upper hand here. You love him, and would never lob him across the room for snagging your very delicate and complicated lace shawl. He will also feel free to sleep on any pattern, book, or charted design you're working from. Making it neccessary to shuffle the cat from your knitting, off your lap, off your pattern, off your working yarn ball and hopefully off your couch. He may or may not get the hint at this point. Sometimes I resort to locking him out of the house or briding him with catnip.

2. Your cat loves your yarn, especially if it is expensive or impossible to replace. If you bought a silk/mohair yarn on a special trip to Portland for half price, because they don't make that size skein in that colorway anymore, that is the yarn your cat will want to make his very own stuffy. Fortunately this problem has a simple solution. Bag it, box it, or stick it in a cupboard. If you have an open work basket, shove it under an endtable or lock it in a closet. Never under estimate the yarn thieving abilities of your average cat, or you will wake up with yarn balls strung a round your dining room table, into the living room and down the hall to the laundry machines. Ask me how I know.

3. Completed or semi completed knitting projects make perfect cat beds. If your project is complete and just needs to go in the wash this isn't as much of a problem. If your project is still on the needles and becomes you cats favoritest place to sleep, there by knocking stitches loose, and making you swear a blue streak as your try to pick them all up again, it's more of a problem. But then you really can't blame the cat for sleeping on afgans you made for sleeping on in the first place.

4. As far as your cat is concerned yarn is a toy. You love yarn. You love the way it feels, how it flows through your hands and on to the needles, the texture, the color, and even the smell. So does your cat. Only he likes to bat it around your whole house and pack it around like a dead rat. If you're very unlucky he also likes to eat it, or at least chew on it. How do I know this?
I have yarn loving cats, all four of the little beggers. Pixel, Crystal, and Bugaboo all love wool. I cannot even count the number of times I have had to start a new ball of yarn because they've gnoshed through it, usually in mid-row, usually while the little darling was laying on my lap. Sentry, on the other hand, likes cotton. Only he likes to eat it. Now actually digesting yarn is bad for cats. It won't go through and you have to have the vet surgically remove what ever won't pass. This scares me a bit to think that my yarn could kill my cat, so when I see him snacking and he has a big ol' strand of yarn hanging out of his mouth I pull it out. I once pulled 2 1/2 yarns of dishrag cotton, dripping kitty spit and all slimy, out of him mouth. Yuck. I do not have pictures of this and I don't ever want to do it again. I keep my cotton locked up now.

5. If you blog about knitting your cat will become obsessed with walking on your keyboard. The picture says it all. It once took me five minutes to figure out that the reason a page wasn't loading was because he was laying on the esc key.
6. Who ate my double points? Cats have a hard time resisting wooden needles. Who can blame them, so do I. I however, do not chew on the ends. I now have two sets of double points that used to have five needles a piece and now only have four. Darned cat. Again the solution is to hide them from your cats. I have special bags for my needles and after they're bagged I put them in the cupboard. So far this has worked, because I'm a needle snob and I'll be damned if I'm going to use aluminum needles because of the cats.
I hope you've found these rules helpful. Or at least entertaining. I'm sure there will be more catly interference with my knitting and I'll need to come up with more rules. But my cats and I have reached an understanding and if they claw up my shawl while I'm blocking it I refuse to be responsible for my actions.


Mad about Craft said...

I love cats and all of the cats I have had have loved my knitting. My present cat, Molly, loves the dangly end of yarn left from casting/binding on and pointsof needles. I have been known to have to file then needle smooth again to get rid of her teeth marks. I still love her.

Anonymous said...

I love cats, and yours are cute!

bluenile08 said...

Ain't it the truth, Ruth! I am new to knitting and have found I get more, em, company when I'm knitting. I was first knit project I have planned is for a beautiful lilac cashmere scarf for a dear friend...who is allergic to cats. Do you have any thoughts on how to knit this thing without making it a carrier of allergens to my buddy?Thank you! from