#47 - Tara, the cat, & Knitting Mp3

Knitting and the death of my sixteen year companion, Tara the cat, are the subjects of my discourse here.

Tara always had an opinion about just about anything. From a cat's point of view, of course, and she was not loathe to express this opinion vocally, sometimes very vocally. Tara was a world class complainer, telling me where to get off at on many, many occasions. Not perfect, she was picky about her food, she was very affectionate, a loving companion and I miss her very much. Here's a poem I wrote in 1987 about cats and I dedicate it on this occasion to Tara.


What a particular miracle is a cat,
Wrapped in particolour,
Softer than milkweed down and warm,
Resonant with purring hallelujahs.

What a moving miracle is a cat,
Claw-pawed or kneading softly,
Kitten shadow wrestling or ice-eyed hunter,
Walking the fence between the wood and the tended corn.

What a sleeping miracle is a cat,
Belly up, paws half staff,
Eyes serenely closed
Breathing careless breaths - but step near and in a flickering,
Alert in readiness to fight, to flee.

What a loving miracle is a cat,
Leaning towards affection,
As to a source of sustenance,
Dearer than milk,
As if lacking it were death
And drawing out in response
A human love forgetting gulf of species
Head to head the minds respond
Each to its nature and together.

© Sonia Brock 1987

Fur is so comforting. Cat plumpness (because they like to eat) is wrapped in warm fur and purrs. It's a comforting thing to have a cat beside you, interested in whatever you are doing – from its own point of view. To have something to care for is <pause> important. It is important to think not just about yourself but about another living being who relies on you for everything: sustenance , shelter, love and <laugh> brushings. The w-h-o-l-e nine yards. Rest in peace Tara diddle, Tara the cat.

The same week that Tara passed on to her reward, my sister and I went down to the Humane Society where I picked out a lovely, lovely cat. She's a tortoiseshell mix with a wonderful temperament and she's a 'talker'. My new cat, and I are bonding very nicely. I still miss Tara but Smokey is filling that cat-sized hole in my life.

My new cat Smokey is a 6 year old Tortoiseshell, very muscular and friendly. (She just climbed up on me and gave me a back of the neck massage while I was watching TV).My sister thinks Smokey has some Siamese in her because she's got a skinny tail, the squeaky hinge voice and she's very smart. Smokey got out the front door onto the patio and went walkabout, in the rain, for some time. She was back, however, in time for lunch which shows that she knows where she lives already . Hunger is a strong draw.


My comfort during this time of stress has been knitting, rediscovered after a longish absence. I now have 4, even 5 knitting projects on the go. I'm knitting dishcloths with knit and purl designs of small beasties on them. The one I'm working on right now has a centre design in the shape of a cat and there's one on the workbench with a knit and purl contrast to create a leaping dolphin. Then there's a mystery dishcloth from a Mystery Dishcloth of the Month from a Yahoo forum. We receive 10 pattern rows at a time and try to guess what it will turn out to be.

Purses are my current obsession. I've knit several purses and felted one a mossy green variegated pure wool. I got the wool on eBay. You knit an item to be felted bigger than it's shrunken size on larger needles then put it in the hot washing machine cycle for 15 minutes with some heavier washables to cause some agitation. It comes out smaller, thicker and denser You pull it into shape and set it to dry. This process is also called fulling which is “A finishing process in which the woven or knitted cloth is subjected to moisture, heat and friction causing it to shrink considerably in both directions and become compact and solid. In heavily fulled fabrics both the weave and the yarn are obscured, thus giving the appearance of felt.”

I knit it on bigger needles. Took a while and people kept saying “What are you knitting. Is it a scarf?” because a bag when you start knitting it look an awful lot like a scarf.

Another purse I've been knitting on circular needles is a sampler of various patterns, mainly moss and seed stitch. It's finished now and would suit as a hat but I'm creating I-cord on a knitting knobby which is one of those spool knitters with 4 pegs that creates a long hollow tube of knitting. You work it by putting loops a yarn over the pegs and it creates a nice strong cord. When it is threaded through the loops the bag will have a very Victorian or 1920s look. Nice.

I'm addicted to wool now and have started to accumulate a pretty fair-sized stash. Stash is an important word if you are into any kind of crafting. I have a collection of stashes from various crafting adventures: beads, cloth, glues, paints and now, wool

During this time of grief I have comforted myself with wool more expensive than I usually buy. It helps, as does the moving meditation knitting is.


© Sonia Fricker Brock 2006

I can be reached on the web at    http://www.soniabrock.com

Feed: http://www.soniabrock.com/Podcasts/chatham1.xml