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Kitty Knits Blog Tour – Welcome Donna Druchunas

February 28, 2008

KnitMe is proud to have Donna Druchunas stopping by today to talk to us about her new book, Kitty Knits! Welcome, Donna!

We are quite fond of cats here at KnitMe and frequently have kitty pictures. Here are photos of Donna with her two cats, Uno and Deedee.

Donna: Hi Prudence, thanks for hosting a stop on the Kitty Knits blog tour! It’s very exciting to be here.

KnitMe: This book is a slight change of emphasis from your previous books that highlighted ethnic knitting traditions. Did you set out to do a kitty book? or did you suddenly find yourself with a pile of designs for items with/for cats, and think they should be a book?

Donna: This book came about because I was jokingly complaining to a publisher about how there were so many books of knitting for dogs, but not one of knitting for cats! The editor I was speaking to asked, “But cats wouldn’t wear sweaters, would they?” I had to laugh, and then I proceeded to list about 20 projects that could be made for cat owners who knit. And the answer was, “Let’s make this into a book!” So I started making sketches and swatches, and working up a whole book proposal.

KnitMe: I am making the carpet bag – but I don’t needlefelt. What might I be able to do to pick out the crisp edges of the cat as nicely as in the book photo?

Donna: Needle felting is incredibly easy and the tools are inexpensive, so you might want to try it. You just lay a piece of wool yarn or fleece on top of the felted bag, and stab it over and over again with the felting needle, until it’s all stuck down. To speed things up, you can buy a felting needle tool that has four or five needles all together in a holder. Of course, the needles are very sharp and can be dangerous if you have small children in your home. Other options: you can embroider stem stitch around the edge of the cat, or glue down a few strands of yarn to outline the design after the bag has been felted.

KnitMe: Do either of your cats have a “wool problem”? do you ever face this sort of thing?

Donna: Uno, the big gray cat in my author photo, likes to attack balls of yarn. He’s especially attracted to the center-pull skeins and when he was a kitten, he was able to find yarn no matter where I hid it. Sometimes I’d wake up in the morning and find yarn in the middle of the living room floor, and when I picked up the skein, I’d wonder where it came from because I didn’t even remember having that brand or color. The two things they can’t resist are smelly raw sheep fleeces and any kind of angora. I have to keep those locked away securely in a closet. But for the most part, my cats leave my knitting alone, which makes me very happy. I’d hate to have to worry about them chewing up a lace shawl that I’d been working on for a year!

KnitMe: Do you have a personal favorite design from the book, or a single one of the designs that sort of kick-started the whole idea of the book?

Donna: The projects are all so different, it’s hard to pick one favorite, but I am partial to lace, the Peruvian Cat Lace Scarf is one I like a lot. I’m especially fond of it because Dorothy Reade created the chart for the Peruvian cat motif, and she was involved in helping get the Oomingmak knitter’s co-op in Alaska off the ground in the 1960s, so that ties together two of my books that otherwise would seem to have nothing in common. That’s why I also included the Peruvian colorwork chullo, to show a more traditional project made with a design from the same region.

KnitMe: I was happy to see that you have items done at a variety of gauges and using yarns that are not luxury-priced or hard to find. Did you have any guiding set of ideas that drove your choice of yarns?

Donna: I wanted to make it easy on myself, so I worked exclusively with Plymouth on this book. They have a great variety of yarns, from wool and acrylic basics, to novelty yarns, and luscious fibers like alpaca and cashmere. Other than that, I just wanted to make a variety of projects that would appeal to all different knitters. Instead of just making what I like, I tried to think about what other knitters might like, too. In my design work, I’ve learned that I don’t have to love one of my designs for it to be successful. Sometimes editors and readers absolutely love a design that I almost didn’t submit because I thought it was so-so, and once (only once so far!) my favorite design in a batch of submissions was the one that the editor absolutely hated. So you never know!

KnitMe: What are you working on now – and I mean that in two ways, what are you knitting and also what might be coming along for future book projects?

Donna: Right now I am knitting a lace stole using Black Bunny Fibers laceweight merino. Carol Sulcoski is the genius behind Black Bunny Fibers, and she is also one of the authors of a book called Knit So Fine that is coming out from Interweave in a few months. I tech edited the book, and fell in love with several of the projects. They’re all made from fingering and laceweight yarns, so it’s a nice break from all the chunky knitting books that have come out over the past few years.

KnitMe: Thanks for visiting us here at KnitMe! Next week I will have a completed kitty carpet bag, and also a start on another kitty project!

Donna: Thanks again for inviting me to stop by your blog as part of the Kitty Knits blog book tour!

Tomorrow’s stop on the Kitty Knits blog tour: Pearl the Diabetic Cat.
* * *
Wasn’t that fun? Kitty Knits can be found wherever knitting books are sold!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sam permalink
    February 28, 2008 11:29 am

    What fun! Thanks to the both of you for doing this, and I look forward to getting a chance to look through the book. I’m sure my four cats and I are going to love it. 🙂

  2. February 28, 2008 3:38 pm

    Now that was a lively, entertaining and informative interview. Thanks!

  3. Jan permalink
    February 29, 2008 8:56 am

    Thanks for an interesting look at how an author thinks and works. Love the kitty going fleece-diving!

  4. February 29, 2008 8:27 pm

    I love the pictures of Donna with her cats! Thank you for doing this, it was fun to read! I would never have thought there are 20 things you can knit regarding cats, so I will have to check out the book!

  5. March 2, 2008 8:24 am

    Hi Everyone, thanks for the notes. I had a bunch more projects that didn’t fit in the book, including a bunch of stuff for children. My mother keeps saying “Do Kitty Knits 2!” but we’ll see.

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