Blog tour: Kitty Knits, with a guest appearance by our ancient cat

posted in: Books, Creativity, Knitting, Serendipity | 13

Donna Druchunas has a new book out from Martingale Press: Kitty Knits: Projects for Cats and Their People. I’m part of the blog tour, and we’ve been asked to talk about our cats. Ms. Bit will thus be making quite an appearance in a moment, but right now here’s what the book looks like, and I have a small story to tell about how part of it came together.

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As Nomad Press, I publish some of Donna’s books—those that are on traditional and ethnic knitting and that don’t (so far) require color printing. (Nomad may be able to do color in the future, but currently doesn’t for both environmental and financial reasons. So we’re glad to see Donna’s work that needs color coming out from other presses.)

Anyway, that lovely pink sweater on the cover was threatened with not being in the manuscript for this book, for several reasons. So I ended up helping Donna tech edit the pattern (she was at one of those "I’m tired of looking at this" stages we all reach) and then, when the project was at risk of being cut because time was running out and there was no model garment, I volunteered to knit the body. Another knitter did the sleeves, and Donna assembled the pieces and added the trim and embroidery. It’s not at all my style or color of sweater, which made it fun to knit.

It’s nice to see it (1) finished and (2) looking so fine there on the cover.

For the work, Donna swapped me a outdated but still perfectly useful digital camera so I could play with getting this blog started. I’ve since gotten a different camera that doesn’t store its images on 3.5-inch diskettes, but by being able to use that one (which Donna’s husband Dom used to take the Alaska photos for Arctic Lace ) I learned that I did like doing the pictures and the blog.

Here’s another project from the book, being modeled by Donna’s older cat:

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And, finally because the Empress of the Universe always gets star billing, here is our 20.75-year-old cat, Little Bit (who was named before we had any way to know she would stay small, which she certainly did):

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She’s checking out a half-dozen of the felted mice from Kitty Knits. The purple one must have run out of the photo.

Here are all the mice the day before, in unfelted and unstuffed form:

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They’re made from leftover scraps of Brown Sheep wool, Cascade 220, and Lion Brand Lion Wool. (Are they a quick knit? I didn’t have time to make a phone call this week to schedule an essential appointment, but in bits of time that were otherwise semi-occupied, I made these six mice. I threw them in the washer with a load of towels, dumped the whole lot in the dryer, and what came out is what you see, now stuffed and catnipped. They don’t have eyes or noses yet, but they will.)

Want one of these mice for your cat? If you’re one of the first six people to request one in the comments, I’ll send you one. Let me know if you have color preferences, although I can’t guarantee first choices (pink, red, white, greenish-heather, bright blue, purple). 3/3/08 All six have been spoken for! If you missed the opportunity, they are really quick to knit from Donna’s instructions. The shaping is great. They’d be a super project to teach someone techniques with, too (you or someone else).

Ms. Bit likes the mice, but prefers to harrass the dogs. Due to her advanced age, she gets away with more than she used to. She confuses Tussah:

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by coming in right under the dog’s nose to eat the Wrong Kind of Chow:

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Tussah has been taught not to growl, with reassurances that there is plenty more chow for everyone. Note the gray-sock-clad toe tipping the bowl at the perfect angle in BOTH photos. That isn’t me.

The fluff on the carpet and the piles of papers and books are, however, my fault. I’m in the middle of yet another project with impossible deadlines. It got a little messier than usual around here last weekend.

The Empress was not, however, inconvenienced, so all was well.

Naptime.

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13 Responses

  1. I’m sorry, I got distracted when you said “3.5-inch diskettes.” A digital camera with diskette storage? I’m gobsmacked.

  2. Beanie wants a mouse! Any color!

  3. My kitties would also love a mouse, please!

    Yes, 3.5″ diskettes – I have a fully functional older Sony Mavica that uses them and takes excellent photos, it’s just that if you’re taking many photos, you’ve got to carry a huge pile of them along.

  4. Sorry we ended up with the “short” version of the instructions for the pink sweater. That was the decision of the publisher, based on a long discussion between me, my tech editor, and a senior editor at Martingale. It was a trade off between space and detail and we decided since this was an advanced skill level project, that we would have to trust the expertise of the knitters. So knitter, beware! 🙂 Perhaps I should post the long version of the lace front side on my website….

  5. First, I’m looking forward to sending out mice! They’re really neat.

    Second, this is also a Sony Mavica, and yes, 3.5-inch diskettes, and I can hardly fathom Dom’s logistics in Alaska, but it’s a *great* camera and another friend is now using it to experiment with digital photography.

    And third, yeah, Donna, I think it would be good to post the long version of the lace front. It’s simpler than some of the old Penny Straker patterns in terms of working the pattern into the front, but we spent such a lot of care working out the positioning of the lace repeats so they would work neatly with all the sizes that it would be a shame to waste the results completely.

  6. Serendipity – I just came across Donna Druchunas a few days ago on a Google search for ergonomic knitting needles – she got in touch and I now know about her books and recent blogging – what fun and networking!
    What’s a blog tour? Those mice charm me – I imagine a cat (with the addition of catnip) are more than delighted.

  7. A blog tour is a kind of celebration of the publication of a new book. The author visits blogs in turn, according to a schedule, or the blog writers post relevant comments or chat about related topics. It’s fun!

  8. Hey my kitty would L.O.V.E. a mouse and any ol’ colour will do!
    Thanks!!

  9. Kitty Knits looks meow-valous!! Also, my kitties would absolutely love one of your cute felted mice. Any color is fine. Thank you so much. 🙂

  10. If you have a mouse left – my calico kitty lost the one I made for her and I haven’t made a new one yet! Doesn’t Little Bit need a couple for herself?

  11. Phyllis Bradley

    Hey, Deb. Glad I found you, as I’m a big fan. Cats and yarn and spinning all together. Woo hoo! And yes, Fritz, and Millie the Woolsucker, would love a mouse if there are any left. Any color would be nice. Thanks for the offer.

  12. Antone requests a mouse, but wants it known that he is not responsible should the mouse turn up disemboweled.

    He is also very grateful and is lobbying for his own copy of Kitty Knits.

  13. Oh, how frabjous! I must note here that Kissmas cat has made me promise to order a copy of Kitty Knits–just for the mousies. Of course, she got her gang of Purrkins, Mocha, and Jamiecat to surround me until I promised. The Big White Dogs are not amused, so maybe I’ll have to knit a bone for them?

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