Writing Projects Gone Weird: or, Saturday, I Knit A Cat

KnitCat Stares at Nothing
KnitCat Stares at Nothing

The migraines and vertigo are back with a vengeance, and I’m stuck in horizontal mode (laptop propped on lap and lying down as I write this, in fact).

KnitCat Naps
KnitCat Naps

So Saturday, I dragged out some cotton string (a very nice German variegated yarn), and needles, and did one of the few things that doesn’t make me feel worse when this gets as bad as it is right now.

I knitted.

I’m doing this odd secret project on my day off—a writing project so weird when I first explained why I was knitting sweaters for balls of yarn, my husband got this look in his eyes that asked “do I commit her, or grab the kid and run for the hills?”

And this project calls for a cat.

KnitCat watches Mad Men
KnitCat watches Mad Men

A tiny, agile, clever cat.

So I got out light-gauge florist wire and narrow green florist tape and built an armature. And then I knit around the armature, ripping back when anything happened that didn’t look like a cat, filling with yarn stuffing as I went.

KnitCat looks Regal
KnitCat looks Regal

No pattern, no picture, no guidelines—I remembered my various cats over the years and worked from that. It took me about ten hours over the course of the day to finish him.

KnitCat hears food hit a bowl
KnitCat hears food hit a bowl

When I was done, I showed him to my husband and son, who had seen me knitting around green armature all day, and who hadn’t seen anything particularly catlike in the blob I was making. Both of them were a little creeped out by how much of a cat he became when I started posing him.

I was a bit, too. I hadn’t expected scrap yarn and wire to turn out quite so well—and now that I see him, I’m getting a feel for his character and the role he’s going to play in my secret project.

KnitCat fights the Mighty Husband
KnitCat fights the Mighty Husband

So what’s this project? Well, it’s fiction, but it’s about writers and writing. And KnitCat is a good representative for what I’m doing. Beyond that, I’m not ready to say anything, except this project will be available for free—it’s my playtime—and should be a nice complement to other things I’ve created to help writers.

KnitCat leaves to search for adventure
KnitCat leaves to search for adventure

As for other things, even though I’m currently bedridden (well, couch-ridden) I did manage to get work done on both TalysMana and the HTTS Walkthrough. I’m doing the plot outline for The Emerald Sun.

And I’m hoping I’ll at least be able to sit up at some point this week, so that I’ll be able to do the Hotseat interview for the Walkthrough.

Anyway… have you ever done anything as weird as knitting a cat to get to the heart of a story?

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148 responses to “Writing Projects Gone Weird: or, Saturday, I Knit A Cat”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    Knitcat is very cute, I want one! Sadly, I’m lousy at knitting.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Knitcat is part of a much larger world that got subsumed in migraines and overwork. I still have him hanging around with his friends, and will someday, I hope, get to tell his story.

  2. bcuerden Avatar

    Your process sounds like a methodology called a/r/tography. A stands for artist, r stands for researcher, t stands for teacher, and the graphy is the written part.

  3. WandersNowhere Avatar

    KnitCat is bloody adorable. I absolutely love that you don’t just write, you create in other fields to explore aspects of the worlds you’re going to write about – I do that too.
    The weirdest thing I’ve done for fiction…hnnn…tough call. There’ve been a lot of weird things but it’s down to either coming up with a major villain’s distinctive voice during a high school drama production of Faust, or designing a language for a race of dinosaur people with my lips stretched back over my teeth because they don’t have lips and can’t use any sounds that require them like ‘m’ or ‘b’ or ‘p’ or ‘sh’ (and that one’s your fault, Holly ๐Ÿ˜€ Language Clinic FTW)

  4. mitzim Avatar

    The cutest little varigated Sphynx I’ve ever seen!

  5. someone Avatar

    I can’t see the pictures =^(.

    I see the captions, and hyperlinks overlapping the captions that seem to link to jpg’s, but if I click on them, I get a file-not-found error.

  6. Kayelle Allen Avatar

    Loved your little kitty! I kept looking at the pose of him walking, and something about it bothered me. I Googled “how do cats walk” and found out what it was. Cats walk like elephants — which sounds very weird at first, but fits with your story — they put both left feet forward, then both right feet forward, etc. Most 4 legged animals walk with diagonally opposite feet moving together. Cats and elephants are the only animals who walk by moving both legs on the same side at the same time. I found the info in several places, but Purina had a Q&A section that explained it very well. But the pic of him on his back with his belly being tickled is purr-fect! I’m in awe of your knitting talent, as well as your inventiveness.

  7. Amazing Blair Avatar
    Amazing Blair

    Whoops… I accidentally de-knitted one of my cats and ended up with a ball of yarn. Any advice?


  8. K.D. Avatar

    WOW. I’m jealous. Idk how to knit pass the basics, let alone free knit and come out with something that looks like something.

  9. Alan Avatar

    I recently found your site (I was looking for some pointers on creating a map for something I am writing). I saw that you offered a newsletter and a free writing course, so I did a little research to be sure I had found a legitimate site/person. I was pleased to find that you have co-authored a book with one of my favorite authors: Marion Zimmer Bradley.

    I have since signed up for your news letter and your free 7 week course, I then proceeded to explore your site. When I saw this post, I was tickled with your creativity and found the idea of your impromptu project intriguing. I showed this to my 11 yr old daughter, and she loved your KnitCat. We both found it to be very much like our cats.

    I will have to show it to my wife. It would be cool to have more details about this, as it would be fun to make our own KnitCat for my daughter. As I think about it, my 17 yr old daughter would probably like this too (she is the reason we have and love our cats, despite my original objections)

    Thanks, and I look forward to completing your course.

    1. Alan Avatar

      Hi, me again. Needed to correct one thing in my previous comment. “. . . have co-authored a book with one of my favorite authors: Marion Zimmer Bradley.” Actually, I found you have co-authored books two of my favorite authors: add Mercedes Lackey to that comment!

      ๐Ÿ˜€ thanks, Alan

  10. SMV Avatar

    Holly, you definitely are multitalented! He grew a personality with every pose. Can’t wait to hear how he’s related to your project.

  11. S D Miller Avatar

    Children’s market?

    Or horror. But maybe nothing as obvious as Chucky.

  12. SL Avatar

    SUPER KITTY!!!! Love your idea and the execution is fantastic — how did you do the armature? GREAT JOB —

  13. Rona Avatar

    I think the Adventures of Knit Cat has some real possibilities for thechildren’s market!

    Hope you’re feeling better!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Lol. This is for grown-ups.

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