Thursday, February 28, 2008

Relax with Kitty Knits!

Treating diabetes in our feline friends can be very overwhelming and stressful, particularly at first. And even as you get into a routine, random, unexplainable spikes and worries can cause we caretakers to freak out occasionally. It's important to remember to breathe and take time for yourself. Do things that calm you. I can think of few things better than needlework. Recently, I took up crocheting and it is just a fabulous way to relax. Next I am taking knitting lessons and I can't wait to try patterns from the fantastic new knitting book
Kitty Knits by Donna Druchunas!

Donna has some of the most adorable projects for both you and your cat I've seen. I asked Donna a few questions and she very graciously granted a little interview:

So, have you always had cats?

No, actually. We had a cat for a short time when I was a kid, but usually we had dogs. I got the first cat that actually belonged to me just before I got married in 1990. His name was Kittens (mostly because we never got around to finding him a real name), even though he was pretty big. Since then I’ve always had cats. I can’t sleep without them walking around in the bed.

How did you come to live with Uno and Deedee?

Before I had Uno and Deedee , I had Sparkles and Tipper. They both died of unrelated cancers a few years ago and I was lonely. Both of my current cats are adopted from the humane society.
Deedee (picture right, Donna and Deedee) was a tiny, scrawny thing when we found her waiting to be adopted. She was really timid and afraid and it took her a while to relax after she moved in with us.

When I found Uno (left) a few months later, I’d gone with my mom to help her find a cat, and Uno stuck his paw out of the cage and patted me on the head when I walked by. I went home and told my husband that I’d found what I wanted for Christmas! And we went back and adopted Uno that afternoon.

You have some really lovely patterns! These are just great. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I don’t know. I just like to make things up. Since I love cats, I am
always looking at pictures of cats and buying things with cat motifs on them. So when I decided to work on this book, I just started making little sketches of projects that I thought would be fun to make and to have. I also wanted to make a range of projects using different techniques, so there’d be something for everyone, instead of just using my favorite techniques.

Do the cats every bother your work? I know mine like to use my beds before they are even done. Sugar loves to watch the yarn move ever so slowly. Pearl is just irritated I am not paying attention to her.

My cats love to lay on UFOs! Fortunately they don’t bother my yarn any more. Uno used to use balls of yarns as attack toys when he was a kitten, but he doesn’t bother with that now that he’s older. They also love to sleep on the rugs I made for my first book, The Knitted Rug. Their
favorite yarn is mohair, so I made them their own mohair blankets a while ago, to match a sweater I was working on. I was going to include the patterns in the book, but there wasn’t enough room and we decided to cut it because the other projects were much more “cat” intensive!

Uno and "The Cat Afghan"

So is this a kind of departure for you from your regular work on knitting? What are some of your other patterns based on?

Most of my other work is based on inspiration from historical or cultural textiles from other parts of the world. It was fun to take a departure from that on Kitty Knits, but you’ll see that I did include a few pieces that follow that theme. The lace scarf includes the Peruvian cat motif designed by Dorothy Reade, who was very influential in the development of the patterns used by the Oomingmak knitters in Alaska, as I discussed in Arctic Lace. The chullo cap is also based on traditional Peruvian designs. And the Scandinavian colorwork sweaters are based on traditional knitting patterns as well.

Deedee and Felted Catnip Mice

How long have you been working with yarn?

Pretty much for my whole life, although I did take a break from knitting and crochet for about 20 years (from 15 to 35)! I am glad that I learned to do so many different things when I was young, because that makes it easier for me as an adult. I can go back to things I learned a long time ago and explore them in more depth without having to start learning the skills from scratch. I really admire new knitters who come to this craft with no childhood background using knitting needles! Getting grown up hands to learn how to make stitches is no small feat.

Thanks again for inviting me to join you for the day. It’s been a pleasure visiting your blog.


Scruffyetc. said...

Hi, Karen!

Just ordered this book - I'm so glad you posted your interview! (Even thinking about getting the rug one, too...)

KIC said...

Great. Pass the link on to friends who might be interested!

©Hotbutton Press said...

Great tip on the mohair - I have enough to use with a worsted for at least one cat bed, maybe two.


Donna said...

Hi everyone, thanks for the notes. Have fun with the book. I don't know why cats love mohair so much, but I got tired of them sleeping on my sweaters (I love mohair because it's so warm and light weight), so I made them their own mohair blankets!

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