January 6, 2006

This is your brain on Cat Bordhi

A while back, my Mother-in-law ran into Cat Bordhi while she was at Mecca Baadeck Yarns. Cat was very, very charming to Carol, took time off from the retreat she was teaching and gave Carol a signed book to bring home to me and all in all seemed like a very nice, normal person. Carol's experience isn't the only one either. I've met a whole bunch of people that have met or spoken to Cat Bordhi, and not one of them was lead to believe that the woman was a danger to herself or others, and no one has suggested that she is the adult child of an alien experiment, no one used the phrase "one skein short of a sweater" and nobody even vaguely suggested that we should form a petition to take her pointy sticks from her.

That's why, having started Cat's thrummed mobius Wednesday night, I am surprised to discover that Cat is absolutely out of her ever-loving mind. Brilliant, clever, genius likely....but make no mistake. That woman does not think like an ordinary person. I think she melted a small part of my brain with her pattern. Check this.


This is how you cast on...(well, this is sort of how you cast on, I mean, I'm not going to show you the whole thing because that would be really mean to Cat. Buy her books or the pattern if you want details.) you aren't getting the full effect here without the sound of me whining about "not getting it", the stunned look on my face as I tried to figure it out, and the garrulous cackle of glee when I finally got it and danced about the yarn shop.

No sooner did I have that figured out than I was stumped again trying to figure out how to knit the first round. Denny helped me
(she's knit two of these)


Note the triumphant "I'm smarter than you today" look on Denny's face. I persevered (my apologies to all at Lettuce Knit for the unladylike language that was necessary to accomplish that first round) and got this.


Dude. That's messed up. That's like that time in University when the guy didn't tell me what was in the orange juice. That's like some kind of psychedelic sixties freak out knitting. That's....that's...
I'm getting a grip. I followed the pattern for a while (up to the point where I need to start increasing and decreasing and I got that feeling that part of my brain was liquifying again) and I got this.


This is so wild and crazy that I can scarcely breathe. If looking at this doesn't give you a little hiccough of knitterly butterflies and a sense of the expanding wild universe, then maybe you need me to diagram it. (If you already feel dizzy, then you totally get it and should skip this next part.)

The red line traces the path of the needle and the yellow dot marks the tail...the place where I began.

I tell you this. I don't know a thing about Cat Bordhi's personal life. Not one thing, but I promise you this. She has time to think. She probably gets to take baths without interruption and in all likelyhood, lives in seclusion with nothing but mountains of wool and nests of circular needles around her. Cat Bordhi should be working for the UN, securing world peace and figuring out renewable energy sources and why we have three kinds of screwdrivers.
Cat Bordhi is a smart cookie.

Should you decide to knit this, (and I think you should, if only for the utter delight and breathtaking depth of personal triumph when you figure it out.) I offer the following tips.

1. Go to your happy place. I recommend a yarn shop where you can be surrounded by other knitters who will support you and share your crushing defeats and eventual thrilling success. If you have no such yarn shop, then my second choice would be for you to lock yourself in the bathroom with a couple of candles and a towel stuffed under the door to reduce distractions.

2. Don't think too much. It doesn't help. Become one with the knitting and simply do as you are told. Don't try to understand what's going on, just let it flow over you. Become one with the knitting.

3. Get a drink. Maybe three. Anything that will let you let go and stop trying to grasp the process. Vague drunkenness will help you trust that all will become clear with the fullness of time.

It's been a long time since something kicked my arse and challenged the part of my knitting brain that thinks it knows it all.
All hail Cat Bordhi, genius knitter and alien queen. Pass the screech. I'm going to go knit Orenburg lace to give my brain a rest.

Posted by Stephanie at January 6, 2006 4:10 PM