Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When Bad Cats Happen to Good Knits

Up 'til now, our cats have been pretty good about my knitting.  They generally don't harass me while I knit, they don't attack the yarn balls, and Branwen has had only one needle chewing incident.  Sure, Jericho used to dive into my knitting basket as soon as I walked away from it, but since he passed, we've been pretty incident free.  Until this weekend...

It all started with a string toy.

You know, those long strings of felt attached to plastic rods for teasing cats.  After his catnip mouse, this is Arty's favorite toy.  Unfortunately, he also has a tendency to inhale string like spaghetti, so we had to put it up, out of his sight and out of his reach.

I don't have a picture of Arty's string swallowing--safety being the more important issue, but this is kind of what is looks like (except Arty is black).  Yes, the facial expression is accurate:

I order to prevent such scenes as this, we wound the string toy tightly and put it on top of a high book case in the living room, hoping that we would be able to reach it, but Goofy Kitty would not.  About a week ago Little Arty decided that he could and would not wait until regularly scheduled play time for access to this string toy.  He climbed up onto the arm chair and made a tremendous leap onto the top of the book case.  I think it must have looked something like this:

We found him the next morning, completely wrapped up in the string with a guilty look on his little face like "what?  I was being helpful and entertaining myself."  We immediately put the toy in the coat closet, where there is no chance he can get it.

I don't think Arty really understood what happened to his string toy because he suddenly became a lot more interested in jumping onto this bookcase.  There wasn't anything up there that he needed or wanted, but he continued to search for his lost the same place over and over.

Unfortunately for us, this is also where we (used to) keep our winter accessories--scarves, hats, mittens, etc.  We put them all in a big basket on top of this bookcase, so they would be out of sight of the cats, but not out of our reach.  I did not have enough foresight to realize that Arty was not going to stop jumping onto that bookcase and eventually something bad was going to happen.

It did.

I mean, just look at the mischief in his eyes:

One day, Arty gave up his quest for the string toy and opted instead to explore the contents of this basket.  He then found himself the finest, most complicated, most labor intensive project in there. And ATE it.

Can you guess what it was?

This one:

You remember my post about how difficult and complicated Estonian lace is and how important lifelines are? If I didn't know better, I would guess that Arty must have read it because my beautiful Laminaria now looks like this:

That stupid cat ate ALL three corners at least 12 rows in.  I looked and I really don't think there is any way to fix it--if I pull back that far, there is a very good chance that the whole thing will unravel.  I almost wish he had done this when it was still a WIP, when I still had lifelines in.  Now, the lace makes it next to impossible to throw a lifeline in.  Completely ruined.  Sigh. 

Moral of the story: no matter how well behaved your cats are, your knits are still in danger.  Lock them up!

Happy(er) ending: Feeling a little down on Monday (Valentine's Day is not my favorite), I went to my LYS on my lunch break and bought myself a replacement skein of malabrigo lace "from Arty."  He owed me another one, right?  I will still have to put the effort into another shawlette, but that's half the fun anyway.  It probably won't be another Laminaria, but hopefully it will come out just as beautiful.

Next time: Sneak preview of my blankie-in-progress for Vicki's little girl-in-progress




Megan said...

OMG *HUGS* I am so sorry. That's pretty much the worst knitting story I've ever heard.

I wish I could even put a spin on it. But...I can't imagine how that stings. Cats -- they're too cute to stay mad at long, but they can really infuriate you!

Carly said...

This is such a bummer. I would be heartbroken too!

Christina said...

oh no!!! the animals must have it out for us, because my aunt's dog ate my mostly-finished hat last weekend too. :( And I mean he ate pretty much the entire thing-- there was no way of saving that one or the rest of the ball of yarn either. Thankfully the needles were metal so they're just a little chewed but still useable.

Were you able to fix your shawl?

Froalabeast said...

No, unfortunately I was not able to fix it--it is a goner. The good news is that I now have a new skein of malabriga and am in the market for a new shawl pattern.

I'm so sorry about your hat Christina!! How is your current hat coming?

Christina said...

:( That's so sad!! I'm sure your next shawl pattern will be even more amazing than this one was!

I finished that hat-- it turned out quite well actually! Now I've started on two new ones. I think I like having a couple projects going at once. It certainly helps reduce boredom!