Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Special blog appearance: Donna Druchunas

Charcoal is not a companion animal snob. In fact, so gracious is the black bun that he has invited Donna Druchunas, author of the newly-published Kitty Knits: Projects for Cats and Their People (Martingale 2008) to make a special appearance today here on Go Knit In Your Hat.

You may recall that Donna guest-blogged a few months ago, when she released Ethnic Knitting Discovery and before that, upon publication of Arctic Lace, a book inspired by the knitting of Inuits and other Native Americans living in the Arctic. She has also written The Knitted Rug
and blogs here.

Donna's latest book was inspired by her kitties, and includes items for cats (like cat beds and toys), items for people who love cats (like these cute kitty socks)

and items for the cat-lover's home. In honor of this cat-themed post, I shall liberally spinkle throughout adorable photos from my archives of Kute Kitteh Fotoes.

GKIYH: Tell us about your first cat, Donna.

Donna: My first, first cat is a sad story. When I was about 12, my sister and I talked my mom into letting us get a cat from my uncle. My mother acquiesced, but she wouldn't let us keep the cat in the house. We also didn't know enough to get her fixed. So our little kitty lived in the garage and outside, and killed too many birds to count. Then she got pregnant. My mom really didn't want a cat at the time, so we ended up giving her to a friend who had a farm. I hope she lived out a full and happy life there.My first cat as an adult was a member of the family. We got Kittens when he was only about 4 weeks old, not really old enough to be taken away from his mommy. But they owner was going to have him put to sleep if we didn't take him, so he came home with us. He was my best bud, and would ride around the house on my shoulder, and sleep in my briefcase. He only lived 3 years, and died of congestive heart failure with absolutely no advance symptoms. I still miss him!

GKIYH: How many cats do you have now? Tell us about them.

Donna: I have two cats right now, but will have four in a couple of months when my mom moves in with us! My two cats are Uno and DeeDee. The both came to us from the humane society. DeeDee came after another of our cats died of cancer, and Uno came when I went to the humane society with someone else to help them pick out a cat. Uno stuck is foot out of the cage and patted me on the head as I was walking by, and I knew right away he was going to come live with us. It was mid December, so I went home and told my husband, "I found what I want for Christmas!" We went back the same day and filled out the paperwork to adopt Uno.

GKIYH: Do you have other pets? Are you partial to cats as opposed to, say, dogs or hamsters? If so, why?

Donna: We have no other pets right now, although I'd like to get a fish tank with fancy goldfish. Is that really tacky? I think they're beautiful and they would also entertain the kitties. My grandmother always had goldfish in a tank in her kitchen, and I think they'd remind me of her, too. I am not sure why I love cats so much more than other animals, but I do.

GKIYH: What inspired you to create a book with this theme?

Donna: An accidental discussion where I was complaining about all the dog knitting books that had come out over the past few years. I am pretty sure that more knitters own cats than dogs, but no one in the publishing industry had figured that out!

GKIYH: Did you road test the kitty items on real cats?

Donna: It's impossible to keep knitting away from my cats. They don't eat yarn, thankfully, but they do like to test out everything I'm knitting. They love the toys, especially the felted balls with the bells in them, and my mother's cats have used the cat beds so much that they are totally smushed!Speaking of the toys and beds, I'd like to mention the eyelash yarn that I used on those. This is only appropriate for older cats who do not eat strings! Some cats like to eat strings, and kittens are especially prone to this. But it's very dangerous to let cats eat threads or strings, because they can get tangled in their intestines and cause injury or even death. I did put a warning about this in the book, but I want to point it out here because we have to make sure to keep the safety of our kitties our first priority! The projects I made with eyelash can be made with faux fur yarn or plain by simply leaving out the carry-along yarn.

GKIYH: What is your favorite project in the book and why?

Donna: Well, there are a lot of projects that I love. I am sure several people will ask me this question, and I'm going to try to answer it differently every time! I designed the Men’s version of the Scandinavian Kitten Fair-Isle Sweater with my husband in mind. He doesn't wear a lot of sweaters, and he wants everything to be pretty plain. I knew he would never wear something with a blatant cat design, so when I saw these little Scandinavian kitties, I knew they'd be perfect for him. He wouldn't even realize there were cats on his sweater, but I would always know! Thanks so much for letting me visit your blog to talk about my book and cats. There's nothing better than cats & knitting!

The Beu would heartily agree with that...


mindy said...

Welcome back, Donna. Looks like a fun book- gotta do those socks. Thanks for the guest blog.

(and thank you, Charcoal, for inviting her)

Anonymous said...

Am I going to have to start talking about Benoit Bourque again? Selma?

Carol said...

Does he have a kitteh? or, rather, un chat?

Bridget said...

Thanks to Carol and to Charcoal for the guest visit - this was really interesting to read. I won't have to buy the book, because I will be surprised if I don't receive it as a gift from friends or family. I can just hear them now "The perfect thing - cats AND knitting!"

Love the kitty pictures. The Beu would approve I think ...

Anonymous said...

I am deeply sorry to have to say I don't know.
But he does have a lovely smile.

Anonymous said...

OMG, thank you, charcoal, for alerting me to this book!

my steven and meredith will most certainly approve of my purchasing this item, esp. if it contains toys! yeah, right, cause I have nothing else to knit at the moment...

Anonymous said...

Hobo thanks you for including her photo on your awesome blog again!
xo Hobo's Mom

Dani said...

I just read some stats that said more people now own cats than dogs. Yay! Loved your visit with Donna.


Donna D said...

Hi Everyone, cats rule! Enjoy the book!