Aw look! One pattern, 364 versions of the MDK New Ancestral Christmas Stocking.

Sabotage!!!!!!!

catblocking1a.jpg
Dear Kay,
At this point, my Rowan Pearl sweater is done and undone. I am slogging through the sleeves, which are nothing but an endless series of leaning cables–a real pair of soul suckers if anybody’s looking for a Lenten discipline. In the interest of Doing Something Else To Cut The Tedium, I decided to get ahead of the game with a stout, boot-camp style blocking of the fronts and backs. You know: a multi-day marathon to get these curling pieces of stuff to behave. At least until I take the pins out.
You know how satisfying this is to me, even as I know that blocking is akin to setting your hair in rollers. (Did you ever set your hair in rollers? I never got the hang of that.) I pinned, stowed the mess in my Blocking Chamber aka under the bed, and left all that moist Rowan Wool Cotton to dry until I finish the sleeves.
On one of my security checks, I noticed something odd:
catblocking1.jpg
At one corner, a bunch of pins were loose. Weird. I could see one or two coming out, but a batch of them? I stuck them back in, figuring I’d somehow kicked them out, or that the mighty, glacial force of drying Wool Cotton had popped the pins.
I believed this until late last night, I noticed something very, very suspicious. Kermit was lurking around my blocking board.
catblocking4.jpg
He wasn’t sitting on my knitting, as he usually does. He was . . .
catblocking3.jpg
quietly and carefully yanking the pins out of my blocking. He was totally vandalizing my knitting, trashing the place! I can’t believe that my cat hates my knitting!
Love,
Ann

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102 Comments

102 Comments

  1. So funny you managed to get a picture of him actually doing it! Whenever my cat does anything funny or cute and I try to take a picture, he immediately assumes that “What are you looking at, human? Go, fetch me some food, and a cashmere blanket” look. You know the one.

  2. Maybe he just can’t wait to see you in the gorgeous Rowan-ness of it all :0) (OK, even I don’t believe that.)

  3. I just spit coffee all over my computer…laughing…how did you ever catch him. Momentary lapse on the cat’s part…

  4. Oh, I’m pretty sure that’s cat love, not hate. The kind of love that could entail a massive vet bill, of course, but maybe that’s another way they show their love–by preventing us from squandering our discretionary income on frivolities?
    That’s a spectacular looking sweater-to-be!

  5. That’s hilarious! My cat likes to annoy me by sleeping on my knitting, but I never thought that cats were smart enough to go and purposefully pull pins out. Hmm… I guess I’ll have to keep a closer eye on my pet. :)

  6. That’s hilarious! My cat likes to annoy me by sleeping on my knitting, but I never thought that cats were smart enough to go and purposefully pull pins out. Hmm… I guess I’ll have to keep a closer eye on my pet. :)

  7. I had a Malamute that did the same thing. She would also pull the pins out of a pin cushion.
    The cat doesn’t hate your knitting. The cat loves your knitting and wants to liberate it for himself. He can’t curl around in it if you block it flat. :)

  8. I had a Malamute that did the same thing. She would also pull the pins out of a pin cushion.
    The cat doesn’t hate your knitting. The cat loves your knitting and wants to liberate it for himself. He can’t curl around in it if you block it flat. :)

  9. Will the next post be about winning a cat? How bad is it that the kitty pulls the pins out? Maybe you should use a hammer to set those pins in…

  10. Love it – as soon as you said some of your blocking pins had come undone, I immediately suspected cat involvement! (can you tell I have two myself?)

  11. My cats always yank my drinking straw out of my cup; not nearly as dangerous as pins, but still… I wonder if they just have issues with vertical objects and feel a compulsive need to “fix” them.

  12. Well-meaning Soapbox Alert…
    I’ve seen this funny-but-dangerous behavior before. Prevention strongly recommended! – a pin caught in a cat’s teeth for even a split-second can result in a frenzied panic, and things can quickly go downhill (and down gullet) from there.
    But, hey, the sweater looks gorgeous! And the lenten suggestion made me laugh :)

  13. He was *helping* you! Somebody stuck pins in your cat blanket, I mean sweater. Of course you would want them removed.

  14. My cats love pins almost as much as my knitting. If I leave my pin cushion unattended, they pick out the pins and leave them all over the place!

  15. I use to have a cat that would chew through string when I wasn’t looking. At that point, I was big into friendship bracelets and I would come home to all the little strands of embroidery floss chewed off about half an inch from the project.

  16. OMG OMG
    Kermit has a gift. I could use a pin-puller-outer when I’m basting quilts.
    See how he does with safety pins. This could be big.
    Kay

  17. My Calico is a pin puller. She has always been attracted to shiny things. As a kitten she swallowed something and blocked her intestines.
    We were all surprised it was not an earring.

  18. Yep, my Poe does the same thing! Not only does it mess up the knitting but I worry that he’ll hurt himself with a pin or leave one for me to step on later. Gotta keep the door closed while blocking/drying. Which of course results in intense kitty curiosity about the closed door. ;)

  19. I have an anti-knitting kitty too. Anti as in it’s taking time away from what you could be doing for me.
    In addition to trying to pull the pins off the blocking board (generally as I’m in the process of doing the pinning), he will if I’m not catching his obvious signals to let him out, check the level on the food bowl, etc…. He will grab the ball I’m working from and try to take off with it. He has also sat on the strand between the ball and the project and bitten it in half. Your Kermit has much to learn when it comes to knitting havoc.
    Opie also fancies himself a poet and likes to knock down the poetry magnets from the fridge.

  20. I have never trusted cats.

  21. Oh, careful with the pins! Silly kitty. Mookie has “helped” me block a shawl before, too. I still need to re-block it…

  22. My cat Thomas does the same thing. When I first got him it took me a while to figure out why I kept finding the quilting pin I used to mark a place in my weaving kept showing up elsewhere. I have to be really careful where I hide pieces being blocked.

  23. That is Bobo, only clad in black instead of orange fur. That freaks me out to no end. Clearly blocking in a room with a closed door is the only way to combat his fascination with the pins!
    The only alternative is embracing the curliness of the stockinette — and picking Bobo’s fur off the “blocked” article when it’s dry.
    PS — the Gottelier book is FANTASTIC.

  24. Good kitty! I used to have a sox cat that looks very much like yours. Your photos made me really miss him! I truly believe that the black and white kitties are extra intelligent and agree with those who said he just loves your knitting. Give him a cat Greenie! Hugs, Jo

  25. i’m convinced he’s trying to help you.
    You love the knitting,
    so he’s loving the Helping.

  26. This is amazing! I had a cat once who loved shiny objects. He would steal my pins and needles all the time. I’m pretty sure he stole my quilting thimble as well, but if he did, he had an excellent
    hiding place! Even when we moved out, it did not turn up. He was a hunter and a stalker, and my pincushion was his prey!

  27. He doesn’t hate your knitting; what he hates is blocking. “Set those pieces free!” is what is going through that little kitteh brain.
    Not that he is doing it just so he can bat them around into proper kitteh bed condition, mind you. He is just really, REALLY into liberating those bits of knitting that you have impaled.

  28. My orange tabby, Simon, does the same thing. Just make sure you find out where he’s stashing the pins. It’s a good way to step on one in bare feet!

  29. HAH! My cat used to do that, but she didn’t look nearly so cute at it. Hilarious. Love the photographic evidence. I got my cat to quit by shooting her with a super-soaker once or twice, but it made a heck of a mess… up to you if the cure is worse than the disease.
    Good luck.
    HAH.

  30. May cat Oz would do this when I was sewing. He would slowly siddle up to where I had carefully pinned the pattern to the fabric and then gingerly pull a single pin out. He would then tilt his head back (still holding the pin in his teeth) and wiggle his head like a charmed snake. It was the most bizarre thing I ever saw.
    I miss that cat. He made sewing interesting.

  31. As soon as I saw the first picture of the yanked-out pins I thought, “does she have a cat?” Then, as I scrolled down and saw the last pictures I almost busted my sides laughing. I’m so good at guessing things that are related to cats.. ;)

  32. Cats can be a real pain can’t they! One of my cats pulled a load of pins out of my bobbin lace pillow once and left them on the floor next to it! I never leave it on the floor uncovered now!

  33. Cats can be a real pain can’t they! One of my cats pulled a load of pins out of my bobbin lace pillow once and left them on the floor next to it! I never leave it on the floor uncovered now!

  34. Obviously Kermit has read Elizabeth Zimmermann and is trying to get you to stop wasting your time doing the knitting equivalent of rolling up your hair. (Which, yes, as a matter of fact, I used to do, in the days before the Lady Clairol hot rollers.) (Mind you, I never did rag curls, or tissue paper curls. I’m old but not older than the 20th century. Just brush rollers. Each one had a little pick to hold it in place. They had a very distinctive, not unpleasant smell: Dippity Doo and Aqua Net.)

  35. This is the very, very favorite game played by my cats. They have even translated their skills, and now also enjoy pulling the pins out of my pincushion.

  36. The Meezer loves to draw my attention to her when I’m sewing by carefully teasing pins out of the bags-in-process and tossing them onto the floor where they “ping” – b/c she KNOWS I will hear them, jump up, pick up the pins, and then spend a few minutes scratching her ears…
    I’m impressed you got that photo!
    (((hugs)))

  37. This reminds me of my most expensive sweater. As I pinned out my Rouge for blocking my cat came up and ate one of the pins. ATE IT! Right in front of me! We took him to the animal hospital and he had to have surgery to remove the pin. Thus making that sweater the most expensive sweater I own.

  38. He doesn’t hate your knitting, he loves your pins.

  39. Kermie Kermie Kermie, pins are not good for your innards!!! What a funny guy. I hope he didn’t eat any of them, though. Not a good idea. :)

  40. Last time I blocked something, I very cleverly (I thought) placed a large beach towel over my piece to keep the cats off…only to find, come morning, that it was a rumpled up. They had tried to burrow under it!

  41. Ann,
    You mentioned knitting & cat in the same post. I hope you are ready for a deluge of comments. I remember having my hair set in rollers as a child. Then I got to sleep on them. One of these special occasions was for, wait for it, a party of my Mother’s feminist group! I am so not kidding.

  42. I can has your pinz?

  43. OK, that’s funny. Thanks for the laugh, I’m having a horrible day and that made me smile. :)

  44. kermit is removeing the pins
    so you will not hurt your self
    when you are a bed
    i am haveing madi gras all year long

  45. No, he just loves pins as does my cat. I can’t leave a pincushion or loose pins out anywhere or he will pull them out, scatter them around and nibble on them. Cats. Weird.

  46. He is helping you out- perhaps he thinks that it is time for you to unpin the sweater. Clearly he doesn’t realize that it has to DRY first! (I too am amazed that he let you take the picture. And don’t let him eat the pins! That would be terrible.)

  47. That darned cat! Who needs opposable thumbs?

  48. My cats pull the T pins out all the time- I have to lock my blocking in a room by itself!

  49. My cats pull the T pins out all the time- I have to lock my blocking in a room by itself!

  50. I hope this is not too long for a post, but one of my closest friends sent me these diary excerpts this morning. Aside from the fact that they are laugh out loud funny, I think the address the whole cat thing.
    Excerpts from a Dog’s Diary…
    8:00 am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
    9:30 am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
    9:40 am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
    10:30 am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
    12:00 pm – Lunch! My favorite thing!
    1:00 pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
    3:00 pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
    5:00 pm – Milk Bones! My favorite thing!
    7:00 pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
    8:00 pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
    11:00 pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!
    Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary…
    Day 983 of my captivity…
    My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets.
    Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.
    The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.
    Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a ‘good little hunter’ I am. Bastards.
    There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of ‘allergies.’ I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.
    Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow — but at the top of the stairs.
    I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released – and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded.
    The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicating with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now…

  51. Interesting! I read another blog post today about a budgie who picked up a needle and started stitching on a cross-stitch project.
    Maybe cats feel they are grooming the knitting by removing the pins?

  52. I think he loves your knitting and wants to roll in it. Our old cat, may she rip, loved to sleep on my blocking board. With knitting or without.

  53. It’s probably his way of getting back at you for not knitting him a sweater too!! You just have to laugh though don’t you. It’s one of those I wouldn’t believe it if you didn’t see it with your own eyes!!!

  54. It’s probably his way of getting back at you for not knitting him a sweater too!! You just have to laugh though don’t you. It’s one of those I wouldn’t believe it if you didn’t see it with your own eyes!!!

  55. It’s probably his way of getting back at you for not knitting him a sweater too!! You just have to laugh though don’t you. It’s one of those I wouldn’t believe it if you didn’t see it with your own eyes!!!

  56. I knew it was one of your cats. Congrats on the photographic evidence. I regularly put my little girls’ hair up in sponge rollers. They love it!

  57. Eep! I look at that and see a very expensive surgery waiting to happen. He needs to be shut out of that room until the process is complete. Doctor’s orders.

  58. This is my first laugh in 3 days, as I have been at home with an infant with an intestinal virus (not funny at all). This is amazing. I had a cat steal and hide a ball of Habu (which she later returned…months later), but never as direct sabotage as this!

  59. That’s Laugh Out Loud Funny!

  60. He’s a cat, he’s just doing his job, keeping you in line.

  61. Cats love pins. He probably doesn’t even “see” your knitting other than something to shed on. I had a cat once who stalked and killed every pincushion I ever owned. You couldn’t even leave the sewing drawer cracked. He’s pry it open and there would only be sawdust, some shredded red fabric and pins everywhere. Just make sure the pins aren’t swallowed.

  62. I love that Kermit, the cat formerly not photographed secondary to hiding under the bed and fearing people, has come out of his hidey hole and is helping you with your knitting. He’s got talent, that one. Perhaps a bit of catnip would help distract him?

  63. I had a kitty who used to do the same thing! I was afraid she would swallow one.

  64. Hmmmm…the IWW symbol for sabotage is a cat. After reading this post and the comments, I understand why!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabotage

  65. It’s the wet wool. Your cat is attracted to it and wants the pins out of his way. The other day I washed a couple of sweaters and laid them on my bed to dry. I knew my cat would sit on them, he loves the wet wool. But one was made of that unspun Icelandic wool you can get from School House Press. It has a strong “sheepy” smell even though I’ve washed it several times now. The smell is particularly strong when wet. My cat was actually licking and biting it. He normally scurries off when reprimanded but in this case he was very annoyed and actually growled and tried to hold his ground when I moved him.

  66. I used to have a German Shepherd who would turn on the outdoor faucet with his teeth (to get water, I guess). But he wouldn’t turn it OFF.

  67. I am averting my eyes from yet another “cat-near-handknits” photo, but just had to suggest that you might want to move your Blocking Chamber to a spare bedroom that has a door which may be kept tightly closed. Sneaky, inquisitive cat, that Kermit!
    Mary G. in Texas

  68. I can totally relate. My dog expressed himself vividly with my yarn stash! http://www.spareroomknits.com/2009/02/carnage.html

  69. fucking cats.

  70. That bright tomato red of your pincushion is a great contrast to your blue/gray sweater. Is the cat actually using his mouth to pull out the pins or is he trying to scratch his chin on them and and they end up getting knocked out?

  71. Great Kermit photos — he sure is one funny cat! As much as nuisance as this might be, at least it comes with a good laugh.
    Hope you’ve locked away the blocking boards. I was at the vet yesterday and it’s a sober reminder to see someone with a pet emergency saying “whatever it costs, save him.” Tell Kermit that as much as your blog audience thinks this is amusing, he needs to find another hobby. It’s not easy being feline.

  72. Our cat Spock also loves pins. Cats are evil. Mind you, I love them dearly.
    Spock likes to wake us up in the morning by knocking things, one at a time, off our bedstands. Pill bottle: WHACK. Reading glasses: WHACK. Pencil: WHACK. iPod: Noooooo! Don’t touch my iPod! I’m getting up! I’m getting up!

  73. Kermit does not hate your knitting… he simply loves your blocking pins.

  74. My first thought was that Kermit was reincarnated from Anna Makarovna, and perhaps thought that you had knitted two sweaters simultanously, in the round. Pulling the pins could have been an attempt at revealing the “second” sweater.
    I now, however, totally resonate with Avice’s take on the situation.
    Anxious to see those sleeves,
    LoveDiane

  75. Kermit must have taken lessons from my kitties. One of their fav toys is my pin cushion- if I leave it on the sewing table they will knock it to the floor and bat it around. I keep telling them that pins are not their friends but do they listen -NOOOOOOOO!

  76. Kermit doesn’t hate your knitting, he’s helping! He wants it loose from the blocking board so he can sit on it and make it all lumpy like cats like to do. He looks like he’s very careful!

  77. I believe those pins sticking up go against his sense of tidy order. He’s remedying the problem! LOL!

  78. Kermit doesn’t hate your knitting, Kermit loves pins! I asked Terry, and she confirmed that she goes after my pins because she loves pins. I suspected as much, because she’s as much interested in them whether they’re in the pin cushion, in sewing, or in knitting. Maybe a cat-free zone for blocking?

  79. Honey, he just thought it was all done and he was helping you get it off the board. Really.

  80. My black-n-white cat does the same thing!!! I have to really be careful with blocking stuff… I’m sure it’s some sort of cat conspiracy–up there with how they chew grass OUTside and then wait til they get INside to throw it up. :)
    Good luck finishing the sweater!

  81. I’m sorry, but why is Kay still trying to wash off her eyebrows? That line has me pretty curious.

  82. I’m catching up on 2 wks worth of blog reading, so I just went through the comments on the tea & knitting contest. You’ve GOT to go to the PG Tips website http://www.pgmoment.com/ and watch the video. HILARIOUS!!

  83. First off, your knitting looks p-e-r-rfect! I’ve never seen garment pieces on a blocking board, what a great visual tutorial! Finally, you have one smart cat, I wouldn’t know whether to be mad, amazed, or both!

  84. My cats love to pull the pins out of the tissue patterns pinned to my sewing. They pull out the pins and toss them about with great abandon. They also like to sharpen their claws on the tissue. I have learned to keep the sewing-in-progress protected from the cats.
    I loved your photos!
    Blogless Mary Lou

  85. Love your cat caught in action! I have an elastic-cat. Never leave elastic sitting on sewing table cause he will find it and walk around the house with it dangling from his mouth…so funny.
    Love your sweater!

  86. Lovely sweater!!!

  87. Busted! That is an incredible feat, to pull out pins one by one.

  88. I had a cat once did that with pins a pin cushion – I think I finally figured it out – to them it’s like plucking the feathers off of a bird, which they will do before they eat it. If only we could find a way to harness the behavior! The sweater looks great.

  89. I had a cat once did that with pins a pin cushion – I think I finally figured it out – to them it’s like plucking the feathers off of a bird, which they will do before they eat it. If only we could find a way to harness the behavior! The sweater looks great.

  90. Every cat I’ve ever had did that. They all pulled pins out of pincushions and blocking boards obsessively. One would even pull the pins out of fabric as I pinned pieces together or handsewed it – luckily he was smart enough not to bother with that when I was using the machines. Strange creatures. What on earth is the evolutionary advantage of…pulling out pins? To annoy the big people?

  91. But I love the blocking boards!!! Where did you get them? We don’t seem to have anything like this in the UK.

  92. there’s a reason i make felt, rather than knit…

  93. I am sure you counted and made sure that all of the pins were accounted for. You really, and I mean really don’t want to know what the cost would be if he happened to eat one. Nicky is down to six lives from the eight he started out with. Wonderful picture, I can never catch mine when they do something. Perhaps, it’s because I am just struck dumb.
    PS – Nicky said to say that he was just trying to liberate the sweater pieces. They make better beds when they can be scrunched up first.

  94. Wow, what a smart cat. I just love his name too

  95. Like others, I’m amazed you got the picture, and thankful–it’s great. Luckily, no pin-obsession in our house, just the usual “lying full length across pattern instructions” and “batting at/chewing on end of needles or crochet hooks.” Also loved the dog/cat diary comment. I, too, have been catching up on previous posts, and can’t believe Kay never saw “A Thousand Clowns.” Some of our favorite family quotes came from that movie, and when I’m in a quiet neighborhood I always have the urge to yell “All right campers! Everybody up for volleyball!” The movie seems slow in this day of “blink-and-you-missed-it” but it’s worth a look.

  96. a ‘la LOLcats:
    Oh hai, I’m just correcting your mistakes…
    He’s just proving that some cats like the yarn in a ball (process kitties) and others are fonder of the knitted matter (product kitties).

  97. And this, among other reasons (like yarn vandalism), is why I want a craft room when we finally buy a house. That and a larger than galley kitchen, please.

  98. That is so funny…and very typically cat-y.

  99. What book is the Rowan Pearl in? I think I need it.
    Susan
    Sumartin1@verizon.net

  100. Might I suggest some sort of blocking wires. My good friend did pay a massive vet bill for a cat that helped keep quilt layers liberated by eating the needle. It happened very quickly, and then they were off to the emergency vet. Worst of all, it was her daughter’s cat. She was only cat sitting!

  101. Have you ever heard of a train of knitters??? leaves from dover, NJ and heads into the city on the 8:00 train??

  102. Have you ever heard of a train of knitters??? leaves from dover, NJ and heads into the city on the 8:00 train??