Cat Knits

Our Joey is big on sleep.

I greatly admire how cute he can look when he’s asleep. Here he is on Mark’s lap (his favourite place for being cute) a few weeks ago.

…and here he is, deciding that muck on his face can wait until after his nap for cleaning attention. Did I mention that Joey is very relaxed?

It was always only a matter of time before my appreciation for the cat began to ferment into some sort of knitting-related inspiration, and so it was that last week – after spotting an intriguing, cat-themed fairisle creation on Ravelry – I acquired for the princely sum of 1p on Amazon, my very own copy of Melinda Coss’s 1988 book of cat-themed knitting patterns, Cat Knits.

This book is amazing.

I love this gormless moggie, with its cuddly paws all akimbo and big, surprised eyes. I especially like how the pretty ginger tabby that clearly inspired the design seems to be studiously ignoring it in this photo below:

In fact, throughout the book there are many such incidents featuring mildly disdainful felines on or beside the knitted offerings designed in their honour. Here, for instance, we see the lovely ginger tabby again, this time beribboned in a tartan bow, and contemplating a true testimony to THE POWER of 1980s knitting. THE POWER involves 1. popular culture reference(s)* 2. bobbles 3. intarsia GALORE 4. plenty of black and 5. at least one knitted area designed to resemble animal-print.

I also quite like the blurry photo below, and Mark and I wondered how long the photographers had to wait for this black and white kitty to acknowledge this pillow:

To me, this feline nonchalence is absolutely typical of cats. I know full well that even if I spent many hours concocting the ultimate knitted intarsia testimony to our Joey, the best I could hope for is that he might sleep on it and maybe shed some little furs on its surface. Other crafters know this.

As well as the amusing depiction of human/cat relations exhibited throughout ‘Cat Knits,’ there are some designs which remind me of Jane Garton’s ‘Wild Knitting’ in terms of humour and playfulness. I love this spilled milk even though – as Mark rather uncharitably pointed out – milk doesn’t pour quite like this in real life:

I also like very much the fun involved in this sardine-tin design; on the back of the sweater those silver, knitted sardines you can see here in the tin below have become fish skeletons because the tortoiseshell cat has eaten them all.

I must admit that I am very taken with the scrunchy brickwork texture and the grumpy expression of the cat in this cardigan:

However, I think that I need to be further along in my weight-watchers journey before I could seriously consider placing a giant, rotund fishbowl motif across my arse.

My pick of the book is this fairisle sweater, as I think the shapes of the cat motifs are particularly graceful and the palette shows unusual restraint for knitwear from this period:

Overall I think the book effectively demonstrates what can happen when you acquire five cats. Cats have a habit of wheedling their way into your heart with their charming ways and causing you to venerate them at all opportunities. Ancient Egyptian societies made carved effigies of their kittys; in the 1980s, themed tea and egg cosies were more the thing:

Luckily Joey has exhibited his usual characteristic disinterest in my doings lately, and so he has no idea that I have been reading this book and absorbing its influence. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure that even if I do some up with some Joey-themed knits, he will have the good grace to put it down to my foolish human sensibilities and continue life in an unaffected fashion, mostly sleeping, relaxing, and being cute

Kitty links:

Joanna Lumley’s documentary, Catwoman

Radiolab’s parasites special, including interesting focus on toxoplasmosis

Unicorn costume for kitty (srsly) – Rav link

*This sweater is one of two featured in the book that celebrate CATS – The Musical

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