Of cats and wool

I’d welcome advice on a problem. It’s perhaps not the largest problem in the world (climate change, anyone?) but it’s haunted me for about 20 years.
Imagine those wavy lines that indicate the story is moving back in time, back to the late 1970s…
I had my first real job, living away from home for the first time in Jasper, Alberta (some of you are green with envy :-) for a summer. I hiked every free day, but there was nothing to do of an evening bar hit the bar (anyone else remember cocktail bars? Rusty Nail, Mmmmmm) and I was doing this to save money for tuition fees. The library allowed me to borrow *one book* per week. When I found myself reading the labels in my clothes I realised I had to find something else to occupy my mind: I decided to learn to knit. I bought a large quantity of what was then extremely expensive good cream acrylic (they had no wool), a pattern for a large and complex aran afghan, a pair of knitting needles, and a cable needle. My boss showed me how to cast on. The afghan was knitted in strips and sewn together. By the time I finished about a year later (my husband-to-be helped cut and knot the fringe) I knew how to knit and everything I’d learned was recorded in those strips, together with memories to cherish. I loved that afghan and displayed it proudly draped on the back of a chair/bed/sofa everywhere we lived. I love cats, too, and of course when we could, we acquired some. Siamese, they were, Aquila and Nyctea. Beautiful, intelligent, and Nyctea chewed wool. Some cats do this, but I didn’t know that until I caught her eating a sweater one day. A couple of days later it occurred to me that she might not distinguish between acrylic and wool by taste… you guessed it. I was heartbroken. After ascertaining that there were at least two holes, big ones, ragged ones, I stuffed it into a black plastic bag and didn’t look at it again.
The bag moved house with us, it travelled from closet to cupboard, and I couldn’t bear to look at it. Until about a fortnight ago. We’re really short of cupboard space in this house.

Dyson is such a soft-hearted cat. He wouldn’t dream of chewing wool; he’s just trying to cheer me up…
There are at least 6 holes. The largest is about 4″ long by 3″ wide. These are ragged-edged holes in aran stitches, cables and so forth. I can weave stockinette if I have to, but I can’t bear to think of the time I’d need to spend unravelling fringe to get yarn to spend even longer (aeons, it would feel like aeons) weaving that in pattern even if I could. So. What do I do with this? It’s big enough to cover a double bed. It hurts to look at it now; I remember my sorrow and anger at that cat, now long dead and still sorely missed. I plan to (eventually) knit something similar but different one day, so I don’t think I want to keep it. I could bin it, but what a waste… Someone, somewhere must need or want something like this. If Afghans for Afghans were operating in the UK I’d patch it properly, somehow, and donate it. Is there something similar here?


2 thoughts on “Of cats and wool

  1. Joanne

    Sarah, it was super to hear from you on my blog! Here’s a suggestion–make throw pillows out of your afghan. Measure your pillow, say it’s a square… Use a sewing machine to stitch a long rectangle out of a nice bit of the afghan. Then, carefully cut the afghan (ouch, I know) outside of the stitching, so that it won’t ravel. Fold up the rectangle like an envelope, with the back parts overlapping a little, so that the pillow slips in but the knitted fabric covers the opening usually. You can do several pillows this way, making sure to stitch up all the rectangles before cutting anything. then you just throw away the cat-ruined parts. Let me know if you need more guidance–but your afghan can definitely be saved and made into something beautiful and useful.


  2. sarah

    What a good idea. I must learn to see the box so I can think outside it :-) Several of the cushions/pillows on the sofa are beginning to look tatty and I’d been thinking about replacing them. The aran might work well… I’ll try it. I like the idea of resting my head on an aran pillow and remembering my youth and that idiotic, loving cat.Thanks, Joanne!



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