Sunday, April 7, 2013

Past Deadline: Do You Need a Cat Scarf?

Here’s the latest Past Deadline, published March 28/13.
Do you need a cat scarf?
 I have inadvertently taken up knitting. It’s because I need more things to occupy my time. (Not.)
Back about a million and a half years ago, my Nan taught me how to knit. She also taught me crochet, rug hooking, needlepoint and baking. She was talented. I miss my Nan.
The baking definitely stuck with me, needlepoint eventually morphed into an interest in cross-stitching, but the rest kind of fell away.
Many years later I came to regret my abandonment of knitting. You may recall me writing in the past about a beloved knit toy that had been passed on to Boychild from my brother. My Nan made “Ducky,” who is bright yellow with an orange beak, for my brother. It must have been almost 30 years old when Boychild got him, and over the years he required some, shall we say, maintenance.
On several occasions my bestie, Cindy, has knit odd-shaped “patches” for me to then sew onto Ducky’s thin, worn areas. Over the years he has acquired, essentially, an entirely new patch-worked skin (see above).
Recently, Girlchild has expressed an interest in learning how to sew. This is another skill that has fallen away. I haven’t touched a sewing machine since about Grade 8. I can manage buttons and can sew patches onto things, but beyond that I need to turn to others. My dad, actually, is the sewing machine expert in the family, while my mom is the go-to-person for hems.
Girlchild asked about knitting. I suggested we bake. No, she wanted to learn how to knit. Ask Cindy, I said.
So, sure enough, when Cindy and her gang were over for supper last Friday, Girlchild ambushed her. Cindy was glad (or seemed glad?) to oblige.
Fortunately I still have a craft bag filled with long-neglected items, including samples of abandoned knitting and several balls of yarn (particularly yellow for duck repairs).
I found two sets of knitting needles. I grabbed one seriously warped pair and said, “You’d better teach me, too, because if you’re not here and something goes awry, I am going to have to deal with the Wrath of Girlchild.”
And so began the great knitting projects: cat scarves. MacGregor, our indoor cat, has been coveting a knit scarf for years. (Ahem.)
The next day we trooped off to the craft store to acquire a couple of pretty balls of colourful yarn, along with a set of larger, wooden needles that might work well for small, learning hands. I managed to cast enough stitches onto the new needles to commence a third project: a blanket for a small stuffed toy.

The new projects.
The new projects.

I see dishcloths in my future. Seriously.
Over the last few days I have been able to rescue a few stitches and come up with creative excuses when mistakes are made in the knitting of cat scarves and toy blankets, such as: “That’s a peephole” and “We can cover that with some sort of fun patch.”
MacGregor won’t mind. I’m sure of it.
Girlchild wouldn’t let Cindy leave the house until they had scheduled another knitting lesson. I will be attending, too, since I have to learn how to cast off once these scarves and blankies reach their desired length.
The good thing is, when our crews get together, which usually happens weekly, her boys and mine can all go off and do guy stuff, and Girlchild, the lone female kid in the bunch, can bring her projects and we three ladies can convene the Knitting Club. After all, the world is sadly lacking in cat scarves, toy blankets and dishcloths.

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