Knitting A Salve for the Heart: The Tale of Ms. Kitty

Ms Kitty
Introducing Ms. Kitty

On Monday, when I wrote about the joys of handmade toys, I had no intention of actually knitting one of the little cuddlies whose pattern I was offering to all of you. I thought, what a cute pattern…but I have Serious Knitting Projects to work on, so no chance of me casting on for one of these guys. No way. I have sweaters to knit, and a scarf for orphans, and socks for a friend. I did not need another project on my needles. And I certainly did not need another stuffed animal in my life, as my bedroom shelves are filled with the little beasties.

But here it is Wednesday, and here I am putting the finishing touches on…a knitted cat. I don't know what happened. I was fine until I got home last night, and then…what? How did I end up knitting this darn cat? And why aren't I writing the post I had all planned out yesterday afternoon about Serious Knitting Things?

Because last night, I finally faced the fact that the little pewter urn on my table held the ashes of my beloved fifteen-year-old kitty Amber, whom we had had to put to sleep two weeks ago. I looked at that little jar, thought of my sweet-and-spicy little green-eyed calico, and felt compelled to Knit Something Right Then And There—not just any Something, but A Something that would express the joy of having Amber in my life, and my grief at her sudden passing.

Amber Pinknose Wiseheart
Amber "Pinknose" Wiseheart

So I knitted a cat. Totally on impulse, all in one night. She's a purple kitty, perhaps as a nod to my childhood Cowie (who despite my best search-and-rescue efforts, remains hidden in the basement, no doubt still giggling, despite all of your pleas for him to come out and have his picture taken).

I brought the pieces to work with me today, and have been stuffing and seaming them on breaks. I stopped by the local bead store at lunch to try and find the perfect shade of green crystals to use as eyes, and I found some little amber beads, as well as a heart with the OM symbol on it, and a charm that has a pawprint on it, all of which I'm slowly incorporating into Ms. Kitty. As I sewed her body closed, I added a handful of a sage/cedar/lavendar mix and a pink polymer clay heart bead I had made, one with a sparkling crystal in the middle.

Now here's the fascinating thing: Ms. Kitty seems to be a magnet for my coworkers. Everyone who stops by my cubicle picks her up, asks what yarn she's made of (Tahki Bunny, which was the softest purple yarn I could find at home), and, before setting her down again, each person without fail gives her a little pat or a little hug.

I did not intend to knit a cat. Rather, I think that this purple kitty has in fact knitted me, knitted me back together a bit after a loss of a small being with a very large and courageous heart.

Sometimes we knit. And sometimes our knitting knits us.

Several of you mentioned you were knitting for new tiny family members…We have a really beautiful book of adorable patterns for both Mom and Baby: Natural Knits for Babies and Moms: Beautiful Designs Using Organic Yarns by Louisa Harding. The free pattern this week, Knitted Cuddlies pattern is excerpted with permission from this very wonderful book.

Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily.
  She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.


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173 thoughts on “Knitting A Salve for the Heart: The Tale of Ms. Kitty

  1. Sometimes life throws odd little balls at us. I had my kitty put down today and it really hasn’t hit me yet. I’m looking for a project. When I learned to knit last year it was because I needed something to take my mind off of having had my dog put down.

  2. omigosh, you made me cry. I just lost my calico Samantha and I can’t imagine a more fitting memorial than a from the heart knitted kitty. I will start today…

  3. Sandi, My love and best wishes on the loss of your Amber. We had to put down our beautiful dog of 15 years, Kyah, about a month ago. I still expect to see her every morning when I get up. We’ve planted a Japanese Maple in our backyard in her honour, and should see some leaves on it soon (it’s almost Spring here in Australia). Ms.Kitty is beautiful – please give her a hug from me.

  4. Sandi, what a lovely cat & yr heart, too.
    We had to put down my first goat this Spring & I wept as I hadn’t since my Dad died. Unconditional love, beyond compare, whether cat or goat or dog or my childhood stuffie: Woofie-Toofie, a wolf who finally was stolen away & tossed into the dumpster. Jennifer

  5. I volunteer in a cat shelter and have an elderly cat gentleman of my own, so your loss really resonates with me. Knitting is meditation, and it can help smooth so many of life’s rough spots, just a little.

  6. Thank you very much for sharing this story with us. I got the sniffles! It’s beautiful to see something like knitting… well, be transformative, and help us become better people.

  7. Sandi- I lost my sophalina just a month ago. your story made me happy and weepy. Not having a knitted kitten at the time, house plants to visit (where I visited her ailing self in the bedroom) helped too.

    I’m liking knitting daily!

  8. Sandy, you write beautifully! I’m a dog person, but your story almost made me miss the last cat we had!

    I like the knitting info I get from you, but I love the way you write!

  9. I just read about Ms. Kitty, Sandi, and I’m so sorry you lost Amber. I was casting on for yet another pair of booties and I had just said to my roommates, “What would I do without you to talk to?” They both just looked at me, but that’s what cats and dogs do best. What would I do, indeed, without my furry friends and my needles… now I will add a knitted friend to the household. Thank you for your story, and for this magazine.

  10. OMG, so sad. So sorry for your loss. I feel your pain.
    She looks JUST like Gracie, a stray on the brink of death who found us in our back yard. Makes me think I’d like to try to knit a calico…brown, white, black to match our Grace. I believe her spirit would be knit in the hottest Diva pink I could find. (She rules the other two cats, dog, and bird!)
    Thanks for sharing your loss. I’ll give all the critters extra pats tonight.

  11. My heart goes out you! I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you in my thoughts. If it is any comfort, your work here brings joy to so many people. Reading your posts is like visiting with an old friend.

  12. Oh, Sandi…. I know exactly how you feel! I lost my beloved Maxwell, ny ferret boy, back in June. His ashes sit on my desk in a small wooden box, but his absence from my day is huge. And just last week, we lost little Zoe ferret as well. Two urns on two desks…please let it be the last of the year!

    I’m glad your knitted kitty has brought some peace of mind. I’m about to start a little elephant in a magazine I got a couple months ago…maybe we’ll all find some peace for our losses as well.

  13. A well loved cat stays with you forever…and a cat well loved sends other cats to you. Sometimes they are live and furry, sometimes knitted…but they ALWAYS come.

  14. The couch is piled with half done projects, and what did you do, but make me want to make something else. But that’s what Knitting does, it binds us together one stitch at a time, thirty patterns at a time, joys and sorrows together. I for one, appreciate your sharing, it enriches my day.

  15. I am thrilled with the stuffed animal patterns! Our Charity Knitting Group at Church has knitted dozens of stuffed animals and have donated them to a shelter for battered & abused women. Each child that enters the center is given a teddy bear or other stuffed animal for his/her own. So, your new patterns give us some new & different things to do. For us as well as for some deserving children, stuffed animals is indeed Serious Knitting!!! Luanne

  16. Sandi- So sorry to hear about the loss of your kitty. I had to put down my almost 13 yearn old dog last fall and my heart still breaks. I am glad you found such a special way to commemorate your special friend.

  17. Now I want to knit a kitty- just because your story touched me so. I am currently owned by 14 cat people and they and I greive with you at your loss, and rejoice with you at the wonderful memories and the healing that knitting brings.
    I love your site- its’ refreshing to have someone who is a REAL person, not just an artist or designer sharing feelings as well as wonderful knitting ideas.

  18. We knit. What do knitters do for ourselves or others in times of emotional need? We knit. We feel better and others feel better. Isn’t knitting great? i love knitting and my knitting friends and my knitting communities!! We knit!!!!!

  19. Looking forward to return to sweater knitting topics. Did you publish the finalized dart instructions for the Hot Tomato top? Also, looking forward to seeing your finished Bonsai top – especially on would be nice!

    Again, thanks for the great work.

  20. I thought this was a lovely write up! I lost my special kitty 8 yrs ago. Now I think I really want to knit up a ginger kitty to remember him by… maybe a black and white one for my mom too to remember her mittens! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  21. Such a sweet story about knitting your kitty. Sometimes we do things like that, wonder why, and then find out that they give us great comfort. Kitty picture is adorable. I printed the patterns the other day!

  22. As the committed “person” to three cats and two dogs, I want to add my condolences, Sandi. What a touching story!

    This may seem somewhat off topic (it would take too long to explain why it isn’t – suffice it to say that it relates to making something comforting for a particular person in need), but I’m looking for a pattern I saw a while back and can’t remember where. It’s for a family of knitted mice, each with very sweet outfits. I thought it was in a back issue of IK, but can’t seem to find it, so maybe it’s somewhere else – maybe someone else would know? Thanks!

  23. Writing is difficult with tears in your eyes. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I’ll hug my little calico a little tighter tonight and think of you. I think your knitted cat is a beautiful tribute and hope she brings you some peace. It seems to be working for others!

  24. How inspiring! I too was wanting to knit the kitty – I had two pass a way, one was 15 yrs old and the other a 2 yr old black cat. Last Oct we adopted a 3 month old Calico – gorgeous – precious! Arent’ they all. I too was debating whether to knit a kitty or not as I have a sweater in progress, a pair of socks, and too many shawls casted on -….but your story and how your kitty evolved or how you the kitty evolved you – has made me want to search for the perfect fiber to knit one in. Thanks!
    Vanessa in Upstate NY

  25. My sympathy to you on losing your furry baby. My current love is a tiny dog and she means the world to me. Losing her would be heart-wrenching, so I think I understand.

  26. Dear Sandi, I too am so sorry to hear about your cat, I lost my best friend Darby, a sheltie this past spring and I understand. Your purple cat is so happy and friendly looking, thats why eveyone likes it. I am in awe for although i have been knitting for years, I am not very fast! I did finish a hat last night! Mary L

  27. I lost the greatest love of my life, babochka, last fall. So I definitely hear you. She was 17 and a very grumpy old cat, but I loved her with all my heart. She was the best cat I knew, and we had such an amazing relationship. Sometimes knitting is the only right thing, isn’t it?

  28. I’m so sorry for your loss, but what a beautiful story. Perhaps a little of Amber’s spirit flowed through your heart and fingers into your knitted kitty. What a beautiful tribute to your loving companion.

  29. Thank you so much Sandi. We lost our fluffy bunny fur Arthur a few months ago and I just finished knitting a kitty for him. Glad to know I’m not alone in such things.

  30. The kitty is wonderful. And I wanted to offer my sympathy–I lost my 16 year old cat this spring–it is very hard to lose an old friend. Also wanted to mention that knitting bears for the Mother Bear Project is a lot of fun, and people respond similarly to the bears. Lots of ooos and ahhhs.

  31. It was pretty eerie to discover this project this evening. We just lost our almost 15 year old Maine Coon Cat, Prairie Fringes, on Monday this week. Among all the wonderful traits of this beautiful 12 pound cat was her fondness for wet wool, and finding it her duty to “Press” sweaters/shawls while drying.
    I miss her terribly, but she is in a better place and with all the fur people noted here and they are discussing the great benefits of living with knitters.


  32. The tears rolled down my face as I read your post today about knitting Ms. Kitty. How wonderful for something as simple as knitting a stuffed kitty and adding all those special touches to be the very thing to help you past your grief over your cat’s sudden death.

  33. Who says that knitting is just an old fashioned activity for crafty old ladies? Non-knitters cannot comprehend the emotions that go into a blankie for the new baby, a perfectly putrid pink sweater for the little niece who has her little heart set on that “softie” yarn, or the beautiful afghan made stitch by stitch for the new bride with so much hope for the future. No one I know knits just to add to their wardrobe, it is an extension of their heart, their love, and often, their prayers. Thank you Sandi, for sharing your heart with us.

  34. I lost my cat of 14.5 years and I can’t stop crying. This was an awesome article and one that is really touching. I have very Serious Knitting to do, but I think I need to knit a little brown kitty so that I think of Buckaroo Bonzai every day. Love this article.

  35. I have never been much of a pet person, well at least not until I started dating my husband. He told me in the very begining of our relationship that if I ever asked him to choose between me and his cats that it was really nice knowing me. Spoot and Maceo were the first animals that I truly fell in love with. 18 months ago we had to put Spoot down. She had some form of cancer and even with treatments her life was not going to be the same. We too have her in a beautiful inscribed urn in a place of honor next to a picture of herself. I am tearing up as I write this. I think I may just cast on a little kitty of my own. My deepest condolences for your loss.

  36. This was a beautiful post — truly touching, since two of my cats passed suddenly this past year.
    A little while ago, I knit my dog (aging, creaky, with various maladies yet still as sweet as can be) a big rectangular swatch of Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky Naturals and felted it. As I left home for grad school, worrying as I always do when I leave him for extended periods that it’s the last time I’ll see him alive, he brought out the square and sat, chewing it, for me to see.
    Thank you for your words.

  37. I am sorry to hear about your cat’s departure from this realm. I understand where you are coming from, and think that your purple Ms Kitty is a cute tribute.

    I wish I had a pattern to knit (or crochet) a ferret, as I would love to make a tribute in memory of my departed ferrets, and all the foster ferrets.

    If anyone has such a pattern, please let me know.

    Thanks Debra

  38. Hello Sandi,
    Thank you for sharing your story about Amber and how knitting Ms.Kitty teaches you so much. It touches my heart! Knitting is indeed a journey and I’m always surprises at all the lessons that come along the way. Thank you for doing such a great job! Take care! Josephine

  39. Those of us who have had our lives blessed by our furry companions are so lucky. Thank you for sharing your story and Miss Kitty with us. Now it’s time for me to download the pattern and see about starting my own Miss Kitty.

  40. Hi Sandi,
    I am so sorry about the loss of your dear little one. My DH and I had to make that decision for our sweet Toto, a Cairn Terrier, almost 2 years ago. I saw your post and immediately tears sprang up in my eyes as I realized your pain. I know I found great comfort in my knitting at the time as well. I didn’t knit anything profound, but the peaceful rhythm of the familiar gave me some comfort. I hope it helped you too.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Becky P.

  41. Your story is really charming. I think we have all had heavy hearts and I’m glad that yours found an outlet. Your cat is fantastic. I can’t believe how many extras and doodads you have added to make her so special.

  42. It’s interesting that you chose to knit this in honor of your kitten. I have the same plans for some cashmere yarn that I’ve had for awhile, also to honor the memory of my calico that passed away last weekend. Thanks for the final push in the right direction.

  43. Hi, I just lost my kitty of 12yrs. We are having to move soon, so it’s not so bad, as she would find it hard to adjust. I wanted to tell you that I liked the Cabled Aran by Cathy Payson in this Fall’s issue. I had some undyed Fisherman’s wool, that worked to gauge and started it on the 9th of August. I modified it by making it in the round, making steeks to cut open the neck and arm openings. I added some short rows to the back. The sleeves were picked up at the armholes and knit down. I love this sweater! It is cute and modern and a quick knit. I plan to dye it, but don’t know what color or dyeing method to choose yet. I have a real cute sweater to start the Fall season.

  44. I think you knitted cat did what flesh and blood cats already do, find their owners. Cats pick their owners, we don’t pick them. This little cuddle cat knew you needed someone.

  45. I downloaded your Cuddlies pattern yesterday because I have a little redwood box in my studio that holds the ashes of my beloved kitty Inky, who died 6 months ago and who still holds a huge amount of my heart. And I have a lovely little niece who loves her daddy’s cats and for whom I knit many things. And now I will be knitting her a Cuddly Cat to heal my heart and to bring her joy on her 2nd birthday in a couple of weeks. Thank you for this wonderful little pattern, and I am so sorry for your loss. I know how it feels.

  46. I never realized how many other folks there are that retreat to the comfort of knitting during painful or stressful times. When my father passed away, I knitted a sweater while sitting with him. When my father-in-law passed away, I knitted whilst sitting beside his bed. When my beloved dog was put down, I knitted socks. In each stitch there is a gentle loop of “closure” if you will, that helps soothe and heal hearts that hurt.I have always found peace with my knitting and probably always will!

  47. What a touching post, Sandi. You left me quite teary. Thank you for sharing from the heart. I think I’d like to knit a little stuffie as my next project (which I think is Serious Enough Knitting).

  48. Sandi – after reading other blogs and newsletters I think I can say that KD is so wonderful because of YOU! Your honesty, genuine interest in people and delight in the little things is infectious and refreshing. It’s what makes the difference between an informative news board and a rallying point for a community!

  49. As rescuers of needy cats and dogs, my partner and I have had many fur friends share our home over the last 10 years. Each one has been dearly loved no matter how short their time with us has been, and each has inspired a tribute to their life. Some are needlepointed, some sewn fabric stuffies, and some are knitted. All fulfill a deep seated need for a tanglible reminder of the love they engendered. Other stuffies have been created for human children, to help them through the rough spots of childhood, a fibre embodiment of the love of one human for another.

  50. My condolences on the loss of your kitty. I, too, lost my calico kitty, Cleo, two weeks ago. She was 16 and I had to make the decision to send her to “kitty heaven.” It’s so very hard to do that. I’m sad for you and for all who’ve had to make that decision…..Carol

  51. Judging by my own tears at your cat tale, I may have to knit a couple of cuddly kitties too…. My calico Koshka has been gone almost 2 1/2 years (after 16 with me), and her tortoiseshell sister Katje nearly 1 1/2 years (after 17 with me). As a friend had pointed out, sometimes our longest relationships are with our furry friends! I have two younger kitties in my life, but Koshka and Katje will always have special places in my heart. Thank you for your story!

  52. Sandi, I too have lost many animals, but what really got my attention was how the kitty was affecting your co-workers. I knit for abused babies and children, usually a bunny with a tag that says “bunny needs a hug, or some bunny loves you”. I think this will be added to the list with an appropriate tag. Linda

  53. Your post tonight brought tears to my eyes. I lost my cat Huckleberry last month, she was over 18 years old. It wasn’t sudden, but hard none the less, especially since I couldn’t be with her at the end. I too have been thinking about knitting the kitty, maybe that’s why. Thank you for sharing and spurring me on to follow my thoughts.

  54. The Tale of Ms. Kitty touched my heart, as did the last comment how “sometimes knitting knits us”. How true!
    We are fortunate to be knitters and have healing powers in our hearts and our hands.

  55. I simply wanted to thank you for this one. I, too, had to say goodbye to a certain furry critter I love a week ago. She was 19, and feisty to the end.

    I love the idea of knitting a cat in her memory. In fact, I’m sitting here with yarn in my lap and needles in my mouth, about to start.

  56. I’m certain that you’ll be getting a lot of responses to this tender and personal story. Please let me add my thanks to the pile. At certain times the most important personages in our life have fur, four legs, and these really, really big hearts. They soothe our nerves and accompany us right through all our life battles. Unfortunately, like so many other important things, they must also step into our hearts and memories. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I am glad to hear that she was obviously well-loved while she was here. Thanks for sharing her story with us – grief is better borne by a community of friends – we get it.

  57. Debra C wished for a ferret pattern—and I want second that request! We are owned by 9 (plus three who’ve crossed over without us) ferrets! For the ferret lovers here, you can see pics of my ferrets (when someone who can take decent pictures gets a good one of them), my knitting (on occasion) and much rambling on these topics at my blog: — if someone finds a ferret pattern, drop a comment there for me, PLEASE! *smile* Thanks!

  58. Thank you for such a touching story. I love your ending about how our knitting sometimes “knits us”. That is so true. In writing and sharing your story, you have in turn “knit” some others, who you will never know.

  59. Getting the knitty daily posts is like getting a letter from a good friend. What could be better? A friend who tells great stories and who also knits! Thank you Sandi!

  60. Earlier this morning, I had to put my beloved cat Tanuki put to sleep. He too was a warm and wonderful friend. I have been grieving tonight and then saw this wonderful kitty pattern, and I agree that sometimes we need “knitting.” Thank you for this timely, for me, post.

  61. A beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    While I hope you don’t have further sad happenings (although they do come, as part of life), I do want to let you know that this type of post (sans a loss or untoward event), ie, a not-so-numbers-heavy and technical-knitting-issues-heavy as recent posts have needed to be given their topic, ie, a, well, a more “bloggy” than “I’m the interface between y’all and IW” type posts (which are GREAT, too, and not necessarily “un-bloggy”, but in this KD thing, as it has developed, such things reflect more of the “work” side of your life , and today’s post, other aspects; when I say your life, life = knitting life, and of course this IS IW’s site, but given the way KD has created a community, a cameraderie, given the way that, I think, the “bloggy” nature of something like this, if it goes as blogs sometimes do, and sometimes surprises us (and you, even, sometimes!), and touches us, and makes us laugh (not with today’s post, but with the chant of “bust.darts.bust.darts!”, etc., as well as your sense of humor that we’ve seen . . . . it enlightens, it teaches, it creates, it shares, it mourns, it brings together . . . . .

    Sorry for the huge run-on sentence, there, I probably didn’t close the thoughts, and I KNOW I didn’t close all the parentheticals (here, just in case )))))! hee hee.

  62. Thanks, Sandi. For bringing YOU, the, for me, best part of Knitting Daily, to this great environment you’ve created here.

    I know it takes time to get a new person up to speed, when they start/started in that new position to be an extra pair of hands, there, on KD . . . . .

    There isn’t this team of people with a bust dart tutorial at the top of their list to get it done and out to us; Sandi is there, and she’s had other people tech-editing(ed) it, but Sandi is also probably pulling various results out of the bust data, as well as all the comment “data” in recent weeks, as well as setting up for (and encouraging, again, the “Corset Gals”) shooting photos of a variety of people, in the 1824 Blouson (and maybe one or two other Summer IW Knits ’07 tops?), picking the photos that show w hat’s needed best, editing them as necessary (ie, my digicamera leaves more of the processing up to the user, than some cameras do, so finalizing tweaks of the photos to get them as sharp and true as possible, all the knitting she’s doing, of course, grieving a loss, a personal life (I hope you still have one, with all this KD stuff going on lol!), probably doing some of the coding/html etc. on KD, especially when setting up Measurement pages, Corset Gals pages, etc. . . . three posts a week, some of which probably need some fact- or technical- checking/lookup in a book or two, just to confirm something she is pretty sure she’s right on, but wants to doubly make sure is right, or is required to check on by her bosses before she publishes a post, . . . . . there’s probably WAY alot more involved that I have no idea, but, not that she’s wonder woman, but I’m sure glad she’s got the “job”. I put that in quotes, because although it seems daunting, so much of it is so easy for a knitter to be enthusiastic about!

    Anyway. I’m sorry for your loss, Sandi, and again, thanks for your beautiful writing and experience.

  63. Dear Sandi,
    I lost my cat on 8/13/07, and so your post hit real hard. She was one of my best friends for almost 18 years, and I feel her loss greatly. But you made me smie. So thank you very much. i have never knitied toys let alone an animal, but I think I’m going to try. Thanks again.

  64. Thanks for the story of knitting “Miss Kitty”. It touched me especially because my vet is coming here in the morning to euthanize my Frostiana, who is 13 and in renal failure. Knitting a cuddle kitty of my own might really help. I’m truly sorry for your loss – they really do touch us, don’t they?

  65. So very sorry to hear about your Amber.I have 2 dogs, an I’m always knitting bits of them in with my projects. Sometimes knitting takes on a life force of it’s own and as you say it knits us. It’s a kind of magic.Purple Kitty is a great tribute to that magic.
    Best wishes

  66. Hi Sandi
    Your post today made me weep and weep. For you, and Amber, and my cat Baby who died years ago but is still alive in my heart…. and for my cats in my home country that I miss so much, and for my elderly Mehitabel here who needs daily kidney medication and is my salvation….. thank you.

  67. Hi Sandi,
    I’m crying again with you and for myself. We lost our Cookie a month ago and I miss him like mad. Think I will knit a cat for myself. I’ve always found crafts of anykind a solace for a wounded spirit and right now a cuddly seems like a capital idea.

  68. Sandi, I’m so sorry about your beautiful Amber kitty. Knitting is a great comfort, and your tribute to your furry friend is perfect. Sending *hugs* your way.

  69. I read your newsletter every day, but never take the time to send my own comments. This time I just have to. Your article touched my heart. My dog Maxx is 14 and not doing well and I just can’t stand the thought of not having him here. Your story helped me to realize he will always be in my heart. Thank you.


  70. Just wanted to thank you for the lovely story. I actually started knitting about 5 years ago, right after my brother’s death. It had been sort of a standing joke between the two of us that I always gave him socks for Christmas. For some reason that thought stayed with me and I was determined that I was going to learn to knit socks. So I took myself down to the local craft shop, picked up a booklet on socks, and some yarn and needles. I reknitted that first poor sock easily 20 times before I got it right, but I did it! And now I think of my brother Wes every time I pick up my knitting needles.


  71. Oh Sandy, you made me cry – right here at work! All of us who are blessed by the love of a special animal experience this heartbreak sooner or later. It comes with being a pet parent. We just have to love them while they’re with us and remember them when they’re gone. My thoughts go out to you. Damn, I’m crying again!

  72. Thank you so much for this post. I inherited my MIL’s yarn stash and came across some yarn that she had bought to make me an afghan with. I have been unable to find anything to use it for. Now I have the perfect thing. She had lost a kitten when she was a little girl and was so upset for so long that she got the nickname Kitten and it stuck with her the rest of her life. Thank you for helping me find the something I needed to find some personal way to honor her and her love of needlework.

  73. I know how you feel losing a pet, it hurts so much but the purple kitty is adorable. My secretary’s grandchildren (2 and 6) lost their father in a car accident so i decided they should have a knitted kitty to hold on to, so once again a knitted item becomes a hug for someone who needs one.

  74. Dear Sandi,
    Please let me add my thanks to the pile of responses to your tender and personal story. At certain times the most important personages in our life have fur, four legs, and these really, really big hearts. They soothe our nerves and accompany us right through all our life battles. Unfortunately, like so many other important things, they must also step into our hearts and memories. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I am glad to hear that she was obviously well-loved while she was here. Thanks for sharing her story with us – grief is better borne by a community of friends – we get it.

  75. Dear Sandi,
    Thanks for your post today. I have the have to projects also the shawls, socks, the baby caps and sometimes I forget to take time and make the items that are calling me. The sheep, the cats and the hedgehogs. So thanks for reminding us all to allow ourselves the time to enjoy our knitting as well as finish our current projects.
    In Stitches, Betty

  76. My heartfelt condolences on your loss. My husband and I share our home with one teenager and seven cats — and sometimes it’s a toss-up as to which is the greater handful! May your good memories of Amber, the support of our online knitting community, and the plush & purple “Miss Kitty” continue to bring you comfort as you heal from your loss.

  77. Dear Sandi, Thank you for sharing your grief and beginnings of healing with us. I have lost 4 pets in the past year and a half – the most recent being August 6th and have a chronic kidney failure cat that requires constant care. I am going to knit a memorial pet for each one – it just feels like the perfect tribute. Thank you for posting Amber’s picture too – what a beautiful girl! My thoughts of healing will be with you.

  78. Sandi,
    Your sharing this moment with all of us has helped heal many. I’m not sure if it’s true about meetings our furry friends “on the other side of the rainbow bridge” but they all have made our lives more enjoyable.
    Thank you,

  79. I’m so sorry you lost your little furry girl; we lost our Thai Shan on August 6th. A lilac point Siamese, and the sweetest, kindest cat I’ve ever know. Just today my husband & & were discussing his marker (yes. we purcahsed a plot for him in a pet cemetary.) It seems to me that knitting one of these little creatures would be a good idea, too. He loved knitted toys; we buried his favorite with him, a green knitted snake.


  80. Sandi,
    What a blessing you are! You have taken one of the difficult moments in life, of which unfortunately can be many, and turned it into an opportunity to share your tender heart, make something positive and uplifting, which is the epitome of a grace filled life! Blessings and comfort to you from someone who has lost too many loved companion animals.
    Juli in NM

  81. “Sometimes we knit. And sometimes our knitting knits us.” Sooo True. I wonder if you expected this bucket of tears from readers. For a full year after I lost my Gram…she had taught me to knit…my knitting knitted me back together. I think it still does…I’m just less aware of it.

  82. Oh, Sandi, what a lovely, lovely post! I’m so glad you let the Serious Knitting go for a day or two — this is much more important. Big yarny hugs to you and Ms. Kitty — and what a lucky kitty Amber was…

  83. Sandi, I’m delurking to share in the joy and sorrow that memories and the physical objects with which we imbue them create. Ms. Kitty is a magnet because your co-workers (and all your readers I might add) can feel the magic and love you knit into her. I now wish to knit little kittens for each of my special ones I have lost over the years. May we all feel such power in our creations. Well knit, madam, well knit. -Laura

  84. The comment about a ‘well-loved cat stays with you forever’ is so very true. Your post about Amber has obviously touched many readers, thank you for that.I’ve had many cats over the last 4 decades and loved them all even the ones who bit me. I shall be knitting a cat this weekend methinks.

  85. Well, when I saw the Knitted Cuddlies patterns, and even when I read your post about the kitty, I had no intention of knitting a toy animal. But then I thought about my friend Karen who was diagnosed with cancer on her kidney last week and will be having surgery to remove it on September 6th. I just downloaded the pattern and will begin one today. Animals, even knitted, can bring comfort for many kinds of losses.

  86. God, me too. Sweet-face Norman died suddenly last month after 14 years with me. I always loved that he smelled like a very good woollen sweater. Sincere sympathy goes out to you Sandi, with thanks also for the great work you do here.
    Jennie, Toronto

  87. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt post! Through tears, I read your story and realized once again how we as knitters, weave our lives and love into our stitches. And thanks to you, we knitters have this warm and welcoming community where we can share our lives with others who understand our sorrows as well as our joys. Warmest hugs!

  88. First, I’m sorry for the loss of your beloved kitty. As a long time cat owner, I understand the trauma of loosing one. I crochet as well as knit and have crocheted small teddy bears for years from a pattern I got from Woman’s Day magazine in the 80’s. It’s great fun to make them from differnt yarn and see what personality they take on. I have given them as gifts and made them for church bazzars. I haven’t made one in awhile and now I will have to raid my stash and see what and who developes. Eva

  89. Wow, what an outpouring of love and wellwishes. I too have lost kitties. My Harley cat was first about 5 years ago after being with us for 9, then my sweet calico Spook at 15, then her tortois shell sister Squeek just last year after being with us for over 19 yrs. I may just have to create my own litter of knitted kitties as I find myself teary eyed once again. My heart goes out to everyone who’s ever lost a furry friend.

  90. Allright, you got me. So I am sitting at my desk at work this morning weepy about the loss of a dear friend whose life celebration was just last night and up comes up knitted kitty post. I know what I will be doing tonight when I get home. Petting my live cats and knitting a new friend. Thank you, Sandi!

  91. Sandy: Many condolences on the loss of your beautiful kitty, Amber. Having recently lost a cherished kitty, it was surprisingly uplifting to read about your creation of Ms Kitty and the reaction she is causing among your friends and colleagues. The good feelings are just reverberating over the ethernet. Thank you for giving all of us Ms. Kitty to hug and as a rememberance of our beautiful pets.

  92. Our pets play such an important role in our lives. Thank you for sharing your loss with all of us. I believe there is some soon to be lucky kitty out there just waiting for you! I like the addition of the lamb pattern tot he site – now – we need a good goat pattern. I have searched high and low for one with no success. Goats are far more intelligent and comapnionable than their reputation would suggest. Any good pattern ideas?

  93. Sandi, I am sorry for your loss. I’ve never knitted an animal,but I am inspired by your story to knit a dog for a colleague who just lost her dog. Does anyone have an “easy” pattern for a dog?
    Thanks,Sandi, for sharing your story.

  94. Ah Sandi, I know exactly what you mean… on all fronts. I have a very rickety old lady kitty who seems often to be with me on just a day to day basis. Everytime I enter the house to check on her I still find her big green eyes looking for me, but I know its only a matter of time. She’s over 18 and can hardly walk but she still hobbles outside to get some sunshine and do what old kitties do outside. Love Miss Kitty, she’s perfect.

  95. Knitting provides us all with such personal yet universal experiences. Thank you so much for sharing. I shared your initial thoughts about such a ‘frivolous’ project and will start on my ‘Smudge’ version this afternoon.

  96. Sandi

    This article about Mrs. Kitty knitting you prompted me to renew my expired subscription and did so touch my heart — Will look forward to sharing time with you through your posts and wish you a blessed life — already know that you enjoy the ride. Thanks again
    Rae in Illinois north of Chicago

  97. Oh Sandi, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your kitty. I have been there, several times, as I am an animal lover and have had lots of “Hairy Children” as my husband calls them. It is so very hard to lose a pet. Each one has their own special little personality and they bring us so much joy. I’m glad you followed your knitting instincts and knit that special rememberence that also aided in your healing just a bit.

  98. Oh, this one made me cry!! I am so sorry to hear about your loss. We lost a furry family member recently, too, and we are nuts about our animals around here. It’s funny how maybe it doesn’t sink in right away, but instead, at odd moments when you find yourself expecting them or just missing them — you look in their favorite chair expecting them, or see a shadow pass. Uff. They are so wonderful, but when they go, cause so much pain!

  99. I love your knitting daily site, have enjoyed every issue. haven’t felt compelled to comment till now. you touched the heart of knitting with your post about your kitty. knitting is healing in our hands, cause we can be still with our hearts at the time. we need that in the busyness of daily life. thank you for sharing your heart. keep us in the loop.
    pam klingele

  100. Sandy–I saw the title of this post and said, “oh no.” I knew I’d be crying. I “lost” Seymour, cat extraordinaire of 19 years, also known as half my life. (And I cannot knit as much as I want, because knitting actually ruined my wrists! But I still read about it and buy yarn.) I loved your post and all of the comments, too.

    To the person who has yet to grieve: I cried terribly when the S-cat died, but then was somewhat numb for about two weeks, until I was at work and changed my calendar to a picture that reminded me of him. It will come.

  101. Hm. I thought i was the Unfinished Objects Fairy! (Maybe it’s like the Tooth Fairy, there’s at least one per household). I would suggest a poll on the subject, but i am not sure i want to know my actual numbers…

  102. Years ago, a dear friend who is a Carmelite nun, gave me a crocheted ‘brown nun’ when I was moving away from the area. This little lady has been all around the world with me and my family and has given unstinting love and comfort for almost 30 years! Never underestimate the power of a Cuddly…

  103. So sorry to hear of the loss of Amber. I lost my beloved Persa last Thanksgiving. Knitting is medidtation but it’s also medication as well. It’s addictive and habit forming but it’s clean and usefull. I hope all who ahve suffered medicate themselves well with much knitting.

  104. {{HUGS!}} Blessings to you!I got teary eyed reading your post. You are so right about the knitting…it’s been a hard year…I need to be knit…thanks for the insight! Off to find my needles…

  105. {{HUGS!}} Blessings to you!I got teary eyed reading your post. You are so right about the knitting…it’s been a hard year…I need to be knit…thanks for the insight! Off to find my needles…

  106. What a touching essay! I was just saying yesterday, a new kitty is probably looking for me right now. (Couldn’t deal with adopting a new friend after my own sweet calico passed away 3 years ago.) Anyway, it’s my nature to be a gadfly, not a butterfly: I’ve noticed that the dolls in the photograph are 2 cats & a rabbit. Bears have round ears–unless you include the red panda, a.k.a., Chinese bear-cat. I think they’re part of the racoon family.

  107. I’m so sorry about your loss of Amber! She was beautiful.

    I lost my father less than three weeks ago, very suddenly. He was healthy, and only 67, so it has been a real shock. Knitting has been my therapy so far. Even though I’ve not knit anything specifically for his memory, I still haven’t finished the socks (Waving Lace Socks from Favorite Socks) that I was working on when he died. They have become “Dad’s Socks” though, and have helped me to start to deal with the loss of my dad.
    I too have lost furry loved ones, the last one less than a year ago, and I find this knitted kitty very appealing. I think I’ll have to knit this little guy/gal too, in remembrance of the kitties I’ve lost, and even in remembrance of my dad. He loved animals, and was such a sucker for my cat Maia!

  108. lovely. lovely lovely lovely. that was a beautiful post. little did we know when we were signing up for knitting daily that’d we’d be blessed with what you have shared even so far. kudos to you!!

  109. Sandi, Amber was a beauty. So sorry for your loss. I’ve always immortalized my kitties in the form of a small needlepoint cat-shaped pillow. They all sit together in a basket as cats do. The next time I will knit a kitty. It will be a good rememberance of all the “help” I receive as I knit with a cat in my lap. I don’t own a bammboo knitting needle that doesn’t have teeth marks and I don’t mean my teeth!

  110. My eyes are welling up with tears as I read your Ms Kitty post.
    How well you have captured the way our animal companions knit and weave themselves into our intimate daily experience. (I have to take turns with our feline companion to use the bathroom sink. She will ONLY drink out of the sink faucet and will surely let you know if it is her turn! How many times have I been anxious about brushing my teeth and making my morning bus when she horns in on the sink time!) And how dearly missed they are when they leave us.
    Ms Kitty is a wonderful tribute to your beloved Amber “Pinknose” Wiseheart!
    Thank you for sharing your knitting with us.

  111. these are three wonderful animals and already have knit 5 bunnies and 6 kats and 2 teddies. WANT MORE ANIMALS PLEASE!!!! I make these for the neo-natal unit at SeattleChildren’s Hospital and these are awesome for the kids. Thanks a zillion

  112. I’m so sorry, Sandi. My orange cat was put to sleep two years ago, and his ashes are still sitting in my sewing/knitting room because I can’t do anything else. Thank you for the patterns–my sister-in-law is pregnant, so mine will be sans buttons.

  113. I’m so sorry for your loss. The small fur babies in our lives are exactly like family. They in rich life and expand our hearts in unmeasurable ways. I am so glad you have had such a dear one in your life.I will hug and pet my fur baby with extra awareness tonight. You are in my thoughts and heart as I go about my day.

  114. I, too, lost a kitty this year. 17-year old Molly was with me her whole life, from when I was single and living in Boston to now, with 2 little boys and a husband, living in Michigan. She was a loyal and loving pet, and I still miss her a lot. I think perhaps I will have to try knitting a kitty for our family. Thank you for the inspiration and sharing your story.

  115. I read your post just before I went home from work. It tugged at my heart, as I have two furry kitties at home myself, plus two dogs (who are afraid of the cats). I am sorry for your loss, and I’ll say what I always say for condolences:

    “The heart stops briefly as someone dies/ a quick pain as you hear the news & someone passes/ from your outside life to inside. Slowly the heart/ adjusts to its new weight, & slowly everything continues, sanely.” — Ted Berrigan

    I am glad you created Ms. Kitty in loving memory of your calico friend. Knitting is about love, after all, isn’t it?

  116. Sandi – this so touched my heart. My sympathies to you. My 15 year old cat (David) has just been diagnosed with cancer and I’m so sad for him. I believe I’ll have him help me pick out a pretty yarn to knit a kitty cuddly. I pray it will be a comfort to me and to his “brother kitty” – Simon.

  117. You could add catnip to the stuffing and give it to a new kitty. Actually, your post made me cry. I learned to knit in a round about way b/c of my cat Clark who had feline diabetes. He “introduced” me to cat people online and then I saw the cat beds on this page and decided to learn to knit:

  118. I could have used that pattern when I lost my kubla after 20 years. She ran under the wheel of my car and I held her as the vet put her to sleep. It made me smile to hear about Ms Kitty and how she helped you. I think I will make my own Ms. Kitty in memory of my beloved Kubie.

  119. First off, thanks so much for knitting daily. You inspire me with your wit and wisdom and warmth. Sorry about Amber. Your story struck a tender spot for I had to put down my 13 year old calico, Scalawag, in June, 2006. She came to us the day our youngest daughter got married. I think sometimes angels come in animal form!

  120. I’m so very sorry about your loss and those of the knitters who have commented. I’ve had to be the one to take 4 of our beloved kitties to the vet for the final trip and gosh it’s hard. But still, their deaths were easier than the sweet boy who died in front of me with all my attempts at keeping him alive futile.

    Our pets are our children and those without them cannot understand the tie we have. But these beloved companions will find us in the end and welcome us to their homes – I just know it.

  121. This was the most touching thing that I have read about losing a pet. I, like many of the other people who have commented, have also recently lost a cat. I think had I read this back then, it would have helped me through such a rough time. I will definitely be knitting a memorial cat of my own.

  122. “I think that this purple kitty has in fact knitted me, knitted me back together a bit…”

    I hope you’re happy: you made me cry. Thank you for the sweet/sad story. I’m going to make kitties for my great-grandkids for Christmas, and hope they’re as lovable as yours.

  123. Sandy, I was so touched by your post — and all day today, others’ posts have moved me to smiles and tears. Truly, our human fabric — our interwovenness — is equal parts of joy and sorrow. Perhaps we feel our connectedness even more in the sad times. My purring black kitty Boo is in my lap right now, and I’m giving him a kiss in honor of all the big-hearted knitters out there. Thank you for sharing your stories with the rest of us. (Surely one of us can *create* a ferret pattern? It will be my next challenge.) — Renee in Philly

  124. Sandi, I’m so sorry to hear about your “Fur Person”, Amber! Your story was beautiful, as is the picture of Amber. Best wishes to you, and thank you for sharing your story with us.

  125. The Natural Knits book has been my absolute favorite out of my knitting library…and I have quite a library (ok obsession). I have knit several of the patterns out of it and they always come out so cute! I was especially please to see one of the patterns featured here… I haven’t knit the cute animals yet, but after seeing a few variations on the kitty I think that will have to be my next project!!!

  126. So sorry about your kitty. We had to put our Koobie Frisco down also about two weeks ago. He was 11 and just the best. I understand your loss. Miss Kitty is adorable, will have to make a black one with green eyes to remember my Koobie (which stands for kitty boy) by. My other three kitties miss him too.

  127. My daughter, Emma, has cherished “mama bunny” since Preschool – Mama bunny traveled back and forth in her backpack to school for 3 years, and has been slept with ever since (she is now 11). Mama Bunny is so worn she lives in a small pillow case. I have just finished knitting her a new bunny from the Knitted Cuddlies pattern. It can’t replace Mama Bunny – but it felt so wonderful to be knitting something else that might become a lifelong friend!

  128. I started my first yarncraft project (a crocheted square) when Selkie, my kitty companion of 12 years, was ill. She crossed the rainbow bridge a month later. Yarncraft has stayed with me – I’ve added knitting to my list of skills. Perhaps love of yarn is one of her gifts to me.

  129. Sandi, Sandi, I’m so sorry you lost your Amber. I know she’s chasing mousies and spiders in kitty heaven with all our lost kitties… you’ve inspired me to knit a kitty too.

  130. A little slow on the uptake here, but when I first received Wednesday’s post it was 8 pm (EST) and having just put the kids to bed, thought I’d just skim for pictures. I’m not a cat person (very allergic), so when I saw Ms. Kitty and the picture of your beautiful Amber, I thought, “Oh, maybe if it were a dog…” It’s Friday now, and after reading today’s post, I just had to read Wednesday’s. (I do read them all, eventually!) OK, Sandi, now I am weeping. Your piece is so touching and you did get it right: knitting sometimes knits us. My sincere condolences.

  131. I knit because I breathe and I breathe because I knit…
    I have come back to it after years away, and I am so very glad.
    I will admit I have a number of different projects going on, but that’s how I like it…it’s a fun way to have knitting diversity in my life – one day I’ll work on an aphgan, the next day a scarf…and after the major end-of-the-year holidays, I want to learn to knit socks!!
    Thanks to Knitting Daily for being here, and for all the great inspiration.
    Peace, Carol

  132. to add…I have a cat – Fred, a true joy and lovely companion. I’m sure he and Ms Kitty would have had a blast together! Sorry for your loss, but happy for all the wonderful memories you have…Cheers, Carol

  133. Immediately, I recognized the furry friends from Louisa Harding’s book. I have the book, and have made many items from it. Just want to let everyone know that it is a fantastic book, clever patterns without being ultra-trendy. The patterns are well written and fun to knit.

  134. My mother knitted baby booties for me in 1941, frogging the fine, hand-knitted gloves she received from her mother for her 18th birthday in 1933. I used them for my two daughters. The booties are very worn now, so I carefully undid them and knitted them again in the same pattern and with the very wool, adding another very fine yarn for renewed durability. This time they are for my first grandchild. It is just a pair of booties – but they carry more memories and and meaning than most things in life. That is why I love knitting. Laura

  135. I HAVE A COW PATTERN! — for the reader who was looking for one!
    I am at the tail-end of knitting a pig right now–for a daughter who is much too old for a stuffed pig! But it is from a Debbie Bliss 1993 book called “Kids’ Country Knits.” The book is still available on Amazon. Debbie offers some cute sweaters, as well as patterns for sheep, cows, pigs–in two sizes (hand held and big enough to cuddle!)– some little hens, and even animal booties (pigs, ducks, and bunnies!) I have also knitted the sheep from the book– his name is Ramses and he has been much loved for over 10 years by my older daughter. Happy Knitting to all! Tina

  136. I too recently lost a furry companion, our beloved orange and white tabby George disappeared from our lives after 9 wonderful years. Our nest was too empty without him so we brought home Bob the bob-tailed orange cat from the animal shelter. Now I’m headed to my yarn stash to find the perfect yarn to honor our lost friend in knitted form. Thanks for your sharing your story and I’m sorry for your loss.
    Marsha M

  137. Oh Sandi, thank you! Now I know just how to help with missing my little cat, Poulet. And the special touches you added make it so warm and personal. Bless your lovely Amber, and you, Sandi for sharing…Kate

  138. Sandi – and all others who have been owned by a cat – thank you for the wonderful memories. So sorry to hear of Amber’s departure for the Rainbow Bridge, but remember, she will be there waiting for you. The first of our 3 furkids joined us when our daughter was 6. Tommie was smart – before he was a year old he had sorted out Jen’s 9PM bedtime, and would sit at her feet until she gave up and went to bed – we never had to tell her. When she went to college, he was lost for a bit, then took control of my late-night sewing, making sure that I was never up past 1 AM. She was 21 and on her own when he developed a tumor, but was home the weekend before he left us. Holding him while his friend the vet helped end his suffering was without a doubt the absolute hardest thing ever in my life. That was 6 years ago, and remembering still makes me cry. His lovely inlaid box sat on the living room windowsill until we sold our house last year, at which time he went with Jen to her new home. While the neighborhood is different, he still has the place of honor on the living room windowsill, in the sun.
    Since then one of his housemates has joined him, but the last of the mouseketeers is still with us. Spock, our beloved Maine Coon, was just diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and is scheduled for radioactive iodine treatment next month. She is 13, and with this treatment will be able to stay with us for a long while yet. She isn’t all that excited about the prospect of living part-time in the RV… No matter, her place in our bed is assured, and we have agreed to maintain a single-cat home for as long as she is with us.
    Amazing how we allow ourselves to be totally dominated by these creatures.
    Apologies for the lack of brevity – now I need to find my kitty and give her a big hug.
    Best to all – Sharon

  139. Sandi, I just read your Ms. Kitty post. I now have six cats as my “Otis” (17+ yrs) passed away on 08/18 and I picked-up his ashes this past Monday. I then proceeded to crochet a teddy bear hat for a niece, even though I have a ton of scarfs to make before 11/11 for a fundraiser. I have a knitted kitty my grandmother made for me many years ago and these reminded me of her. She and my mother (both dec’d) taught me needlework; I read somewhere that these skills and our creations are legacies of love. Maria

  140. What a wonderful way to honor your late owner! I was once owned by a jet black siamese mix named Mandu. She loved hand-knit sweaters! Two weeks after we lost her (she lived to a ripe-old age of 19!) I knitted my first white sweater; I call it my Mandu-fluff sweater, and my family knows just which one I’m talking about.

  141. I love knitted and crocheted toys. But when I lost my precious chocolate-point siamese at 17 years of age, I started making small cat blankets and donated them to the local vet hospital to give with every kitten and cat they found a forever home for. The first day, after putting two blankets in with two kittens, to my surprise when I turned around, the little calico had scrunched and curled up on the one with aqua and peach granny squares surrounded by white. I made 75 of them before moving out of the area. I’ll get busy again soon when I find the box with yarn amongst all the unpacked boxes in the garage.

  142. What a touching story!

    Pets are such beautiful additions to our lives. It is dreadfully difficult when they pass away.

    I am pleased that your knitting brought you comfort.

    Sending you a big hug — from one pet lover to another.