Knitting A Salve for the Heart: The Tale of Ms. Kitty

Ms Kitty
Introducing Ms. Kitty

On Monday, when I wrote about the joys of handmade toys, I had no intention of actually knitting one of the little cuddlies whose pattern I was offering to all of you. I thought, what a cute pattern…but I have Serious Knitting Projects to work on, so no chance of me casting on for one of these guys. No way. I have sweaters to knit, and a scarf for orphans, and socks for a friend. I did not need another project on my needles. And I certainly did not need another stuffed animal in my life, as my bedroom shelves are filled with the little beasties.

But here it is Wednesday, and here I am putting the finishing touches on…a knitted cat. I don't know what happened. I was fine until I got home last night, and then…what? How did I end up knitting this darn cat? And why aren't I writing the post I had all planned out yesterday afternoon about Serious Knitting Things?

Because last night, I finally faced the fact that the little pewter urn on my table held the ashes of my beloved fifteen-year-old kitty Amber, whom we had had to put to sleep two weeks ago. I looked at that little jar, thought of my sweet-and-spicy little green-eyed calico, and felt compelled to Knit Something Right Then And There—not just any Something, but A Something that would express the joy of having Amber in my life, and my grief at her sudden passing.

Amber Pinknose Wiseheart
Amber "Pinknose" Wiseheart

So I knitted a cat. Totally on impulse, all in one night. She's a purple kitty, perhaps as a nod to my childhood Cowie (who despite my best search-and-rescue efforts, remains hidden in the basement, no doubt still giggling, despite all of your pleas for him to come out and have his picture taken).

I brought the pieces to work with me today, and have been stuffing and seaming them on breaks. I stopped by the local bead store at lunch to try and find the perfect shade of green crystals to use as eyes, and I found some little amber beads, as well as a heart with the OM symbol on it, and a charm that has a pawprint on it, all of which I'm slowly incorporating into Ms. Kitty. As I sewed her body closed, I added a handful of a sage/cedar/lavendar mix and a pink polymer clay heart bead I had made, one with a sparkling crystal in the middle.

Now here's the fascinating thing: Ms. Kitty seems to be a magnet for my coworkers. Everyone who stops by my cubicle picks her up, asks what yarn she's made of (Tahki Bunny, which was the softest purple yarn I could find at home), and, before setting her down again, each person without fail gives her a little pat or a little hug.

I did not intend to knit a cat. Rather, I think that this purple kitty has in fact knitted me, knitted me back together a bit after a loss of a small being with a very large and courageous heart.

Sometimes we knit. And sometimes our knitting knits us.

Several of you mentioned you were knitting for new tiny family members…We have a really beautiful book of adorable patterns for both Mom and Baby: Natural Knits for Babies and Moms: Beautiful Designs Using Organic Yarns by Louisa Harding. The free pattern this week, Knitted Cuddlies pattern is excerpted with permission from this very wonderful book.

Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily.
  She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.


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