Even after four years of lessons from a dear friend and regular get togethers with a knitting group, I call myself a novice knitter. But the new book Knit Your Own Cat: Easy-to-Follow Patterns for 16 Frisky Felines by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne has me tempted to move beyond my typical “rectangle only” pattern rule and into the realm of knitting adorable felines.
Launched as a follow up to their first and very popular book Knit Your Own Dog: Easy-to-Follow Patterns for 25 Pedigree Pooches, takes knitting to a new place, beyond the simple scarf or sweater. While I’ll admit that I haven’t yet started work on my new feline friend, I am happy to share the following interview with co-authors Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne. Enjoy!
Q: Sally and Joanna, thank you for one of the most fascinating books to cross my desk in months! Could you begin by please briefly introducing yourselves and your families to our readers?
Sally: I’m married to Geoffrey and have two teenage children, Abigail who is 19 and at university and Gabriel who is 17 and is at school. I live in Bath in the west of England with a Whippet called Lily and a Red Burmese called Lumio.
Joanna: I live on the South Coast in a delightful town called Brighton with my husband, Orlando who is a composer and we have two boys. Daniel has been working in Australia and is now travelling, Milo is at London University.
Q: What prompted you to write Knit Your Own Cat and what will readers find in this book?
We were prompted by the reception that we got for Knit Your Own Dog, we wanted to carry on writing knitting books and cats seemed an obvious next step. Unlike the dogs book, there are less cat breeds in this book, but we have several different poses, so for instance we have a British Shorthair, both standing and curled up, and a Black Cat prowling. As before if you are a fairly confident knitter you can mix and match our patterns to make your very own cat, for instance a curled up Persian, or prowling Siamese.
Q: As a novice knitter myself, I am wondering how realistic is might be for a knitter who is not advanced to tackle the patterns in this book?
The very good thing about these patterns is that they are quick to knit, as the finished cats are about 14cms high. As a novice knitter it would be sensible to start out with something one coloured, or even a kitten, which is even smaller, and work your way up to the more complicated ones. In our introduction we do give a list of easiest to hardest, to give you an idea of which order to work through them. The knitting techniques used are all fairly basic. They are fiddly to sew up, as they are small, but again it doesn’t take long. There are excellent sites like ravelry where you can get hints from experienced knitters who have made them.
Q: As businesswomen and entrepreneurs, what prompted you to take your passion for knitting to the level of worldwide exposure you have gained? What do you think are some of the secrets of your success?
We love the idea that we have “worldwide exposure” I’m not sure it feels like that from where we are sitting. but it is quite surreal and very exciting to be contacted from all over the world by people making our patterns. I think we are just delighted that a simple idea of ours should have also captured the imagination of so many people, after all it is pretty eccentric, the idea of knitting your own pet, but it seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people.
Q: What words of wisdom would you have for any woman who desires to turn her passion into her life’s work?
Start small and grow you business slowly, , have fun, try and sell something that people might actually want. Don’t expect to make much money.
Q: For those who aren’t yet knitters, what is the best way to get started?
There are very good films of how to knit on Youtube, I think to do it quietly on your own, dropping the needles and stitches in the privacy of your own home is a good way to start. Otherwise knitting groups are very helpful to new knitters, it depends on your level of self-consciousness.
Q: What do you hope readers and knitters will get gain from enjoying Knit Your Own Cat?
A great sense of satisfaction when you make each one. Everyone’s cat has it’s own personality, so don’t expect it to look exactly like the photographs, your cat will have it’s own distinct look. We would also like knitters to play around and alter the patterns and colours if they feel confident to do that, some people even scale them up to make life-sized versions, just have fun with it.
Q: Any plans for future books? Knit Your Own Elephant, perhaps?
Well funny you should say that, we are thinking along those lines, we’ll keep you posted.
Q: How can readers learn more about your work and follow your projects?
We have a blog on our website muirandosborne.co.uk, we have also just started a facebook page, Muir and Osborne, and we may be tweeting as well, when we can work out how to do it.