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.

159 thoughts on “This is your brain on Cat Bordhi

  1. That looks wild. My brain is begging for the chance to play with it!!! (Ugg booties to finish first, brain.)
    I’m enjoying the romp throught your archives, and think you need to write much longer books. LOL
    Hugs, Aubrey

  2. I’ve looked at her books, then quickly put them back down. I can’t jump off her cliff just yet.

  3. Oh yeah. Cat’s Moebius stuff is way cool. Wait until you do an applied i-cord edging on the thing and you go and go and go and … end up where you started with the whole thing magically edged.
    I’ve made a couple of Cat’s Moebius baskets, bowls, and one “Feline Bliss Bed”. I think I need to make another one of those because sometimes there is a mad scramble of cats as the two of them both try to get to it first!

  4. I am going to Cats Magical Mobius Festival in Newport, OR April Fool’s weekend. And Cat herself taught me the MCO ot my LYS in September. I totally agree, she is a lovely woman.
    By the way,Steph, that colorway looks delicious. What’s it called? Did you know Colorsong yarn is in Philomath, Oregon? I could drive there right now! (Except this little thing about having a paying JOB)

  5. Holy crap. I think my brain just short circuited and has shut down. Anyone have a fuse? I am not that accomplished a knitter, nor is my happy place that happy. Yet. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  6. …woW
    !ti ees I won ,hcteks eht rof sknahT
    …daeh ruoy dloh uoy woh ni lla s’tI

  7. I had the same feeling when I first knit one of her scarves. It’s a trip alright. The cast on is kind of like making a Clones Knot in Irish crochet which you wouldn’t know since you don’t crochet but I thought I’d put that out there anyway.
    I’m not following how you would go about knitting a thrummed moebius, though. You’re talking thrums like the thrummed mittens you made, right? Wouldn’t the thrums show on half the scarf?
    Yes I think it’s safe to say that her thinking is a little perpendicular to the rest of us. That’s why I bought all her books. I would never have come up with those ideas on my own.

  8. My Denise circulars have gone into the witness protection program which is silly since my brain just leaked out of my left ear and is oozing down my sweater. I’m going to go stare at shiny objects for a while.
    Loving the yarn by the way. Can we get a colorway?

  9. That does look really cool. I’ve been wanting to try one of her mobius things for a while!
    There is a cure for liquified brain…wine. It seems counterintuitive, but it works 🙂

  10. A true mobius is definitely one of the coolest things ever. Now I am going to have to follow in the footsteps of others with the following question? Thrums? In a mobius? That has me more confused than that cast on did the very first time…there must some equally maddening, brilliant, and extraordinary method of disguising the furry backside?? There has to be…

  11. I first came across this method of knitting a moebius in Knitter’s magazine….a very long time ago. Perhaps 1985 or thereabouts. I attribute the original idea to Rita Buchanan (tho of course genius can strike twice). Rita has been a personal heroine of mine ever since! Knitting a moebius this way is a real trip!!!

  12. What is that color you are using?? Beautiful. I planned on someday knitting a boat but the thrummed mobius seems like a good place to start!

  13. The only moebius’s I’ve ever knit were those times I’ve twisted my cast row when joining in the round.
    Been fascinated with the concept since I was a kid and read a sci-fi story about moebius strips and alternate realities. There were lots of twisted strips of paper floating around our apartment for a while.

  14. Stephanie, I’ve done a similar m�bius scarf (with a provisional cast-on) with …ok, this is nuts, and it was all my idea, what was I thinking?… mohair. I find it’s best to sit on a bench in Central Park (somewhere quiet) with a bracing cappuccino beside me and let the knitting just take over. For fun I finish off the edge (the long continuous, never-ending edge) by binding it off with a 4-6 stitch (stitch count depends on the fullness of the lash) i-cord in a fun and colorful eyelash yarn.
    There. I gave away my pattern. Enjoy… if you dare!
    Three scarves here:
    And one, with snaggle-toothed model, here:

  15. COOL!
    I mean, how the heck am I, a mere mortal knitter, ever gonna do something like that?
    Think I’ll have to try though. Definitely.

  16. Okay. Don’t you LOVE how patterns like this make your brain melt, how you can’t think when you’re starting out because of the bending-the-laws-of-knitting-physics that happens, but then it makes sense and suddenly you’re thinking a lot about the next thing and how it works and what you can do with this and so forth?
    And most importantly, I had zero interest in this technique until you blogged this. Now I see it fits into the above-described category of knits and know I need to do it. (The Annie Modesitt Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style is similarly cool. Not so brain-warping but still super cool. Now I’m thinking of much more interesting shawl designs than ever previously imagined [by me]).

  17. Whoa. That’s just … whoa. Obviously, my brain has completely derailed since I’m talking like a teenager.
    Wait … with thrums?
    I think I need to lie down for a bit.

  18. how did you ever get to be so damn funny? gawd stephanie, you’re hilarious. thank you again and again for making me laugh on this otherwise dismal day!

  19. Oh. My. Gawd. I am so getting me one of those. Screw rent! Must Knit!
    (Hey, at least it will keep me warm when I’m living in a cardboard box.)

  20. Oh, yes – I remember my mobius well. i had to tear it out – cast on too many and it hung to my waist!! re-did it, but not totally thrilled, so i “felted” it – another “happy accident” oh, but as soon as i master socks – i’ll be back to mobius knitting… the drinks help. i recommend a cosmo or 6.

  21. you too??? Why is everything online making me want to run out and buy one of Cat’s books right away so I can knit a mobius?
    Ok, so maybe I should place the blame for my mobius craving where it ought to be: I BLAME MR WIZARD!!! If it wasn’t for my love of mobius strips I would have no desire to put myself through the confusion that is mobius knitting… (if it wasn’t for my childhood love of Mr. Wizard’s television show, I would probably settle for a seamed mobius scarf, LOL)

  22. I’ve knit about 3 rows (rounds? curlicues?) on a cat bed just because when I saw the pattern I thought “How does that work?” and then I had to try it. Good luck!

  23. ok, now i’m intimidated. i wasn’t until your post.
    i’ll stick to making a mobius with paper, scissors and glue.

  24. I’ve think I’ve seen this concept explained somewhere online by a mathematician, using mathematical symbols. No, I would not tell you where, even if I could remember. It was in the part of my brain that melted.
    Meanwhile, inquiring minds want to know: the sweater or the scarf?

  25. I just cast-on for one of her bags from the Second Tresury of Magical Knitting and it was just something else! I am past the cast-on and knitting the strap and it’s really another something else to think ahead to how the bag will come out of it and how she figured it out. Like Elizabeth Zimmerman, her mind thinks in 3-D or 4-D or some other -D, you know? When I first learned short-row shaping for knitted toys I felt the same way – I cannot wait to see how this turns out – knit, knit, knit…

  26. I recently started a blog on Yahoo and posted the following on Cat Bordhi. As soon as I get some real (as in not free) blog software I’ll send you all the link. In the meantime, here’s my take on Cat Bordhi:
    “For those of you who have not yet entered Cat Bordhi’s world of Magical Knitting, it really is a wonderful journey. I saw her novel on display at Gene Ann’s in Barrington and bought it along with yarn, of course. Once I got home, instead of plunging into the yarn I plunged into the novel. I lifted my head once to order all of her knitting books. Then I read the novel again. It is a wonderful adventure rooted in forest and earth and mystery and would appeal I think to boys as well as girls.
    The real magic is that her knitting books have the same joyful quality throughout. Even her Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. When I saw that she was giving classes at Yarns by Design Fall 2005 Seminar I signed up for every single one. I was not disappointed. First, she taught middle school for years. You can tell. She teaches beautifully. She’s very clear and can very quickly adapt her teaching to the needs of a particular student or situation. Second, she brought tons of wonderful projects to share. Each one had a story, how it came about, what variations you may want to play with, how it led to something else. Every project was a journey and it was so inspirational. By the end of the day three I felt I could knit anything. Third, her books are self published. Now I have a production background and am very sensitive (read snob, snob, snob) to poorly produced books. Her books are GORGEOUS. The writing, the photography, the layout, the instructions. A Treasury of Magical Knitting and A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting are gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. So much so I’m hoping against hope that I can attend her class on Self Publishing for Knit Designers next year.
    Here’s the real gold. When I told her I wanted to take her classes because of that joyful quality I found in her books she said something to the effect of “the knitting and the books have proven a really good container for what I want to do and be.” That one statement articulated what I had been feeling for so long. That what I was doing for a living was not the right container for me. Now of course she probably didn’t say that exactly but the damage was done. I was illuminated. And am now looking for the right container for the rest of my working life.”
    P.S. Number 11 addis and approximately 220 – 250 yards of yarn and you can make the coolest (FASTEST) “scarves” imaginable. Those first two rows though are so unlike anything you’ve done that it’ll will take you a project or two to trust it. And don’t forget the containers. I made the cutest “grassy” basket.

  27. Holy Mother of all that is Wooly…
    I saw that new kit on the Colorsong site the other day. I grokked that it would be ‘interesting’. I failed to grok that it would be mind-bending.
    Hmmm… wonder if I have any leftover holiday money? 🙂 (I’m doing the Silk Vee in Paris Evening, and just ordered the Bias Shawl in Paris Afternoon to go-with.) Maybe I’ll wait and see if Stephanie is successful first!

  28. I made a m�bius scarf for my mother three Christmases ago, when I was getting back into knitting. It used the same cast on, and I used moss stitch so it would be reversible. At the time I didn’t realize that what I was doing was so difficult. I just did it. I guess the old saying is true: “Sometimes you don’t know what you can’t do.”, because I just dove in without thinking, and it turned out beautifully. (But I like your reaction better… love those Ah-Ha! moments!)

  29. Wow, I learn new words as well as new knitting techniques. Staggered in after making glancing blows at the backyard lawn with a push mower and saw MOBIUS. Hunh. Thought I hadn’t hydrated well enough…

  30. Um, wow. I wondered how complicated that would be. One of my greater achievements in life up to this point was the fact that I passed Calculus. When I finish a mobius, I will feel the same way.

  31. “be surrounded by other knitters who will support you and share your crushing defeats and eventual thrilling success”. Hm. Really. Well, I don’t know where you were, but the place I went to Wednesday night had a knitter who strongly resembled you attempting her first Mobius cast on, but I seem to recall the rest of us circling like vultures over a dying yak to see if you’d make it. Punctuated by Denny’s cackles. (ok, except for Megan. She was soft an soothing and nice.) The rest of it’s a little fuzzy for me ‘coz I’d been led to the Alchemy wall. Still having happy thoughts about the Alchemy wall…
    oh, and I think it may be time to hold an intervention for S.Kate. I’m starting to worry about her…

  32. I made the “Rhythm Wrap” from her first book last year, and I was amazed that she came to my blog and made a nice comment about it when it was finished! I was thrilled. I have other projects in the queue from that book.
    And for weeks I went around and taped paper rings together and try to make nonknitters agree that it was cool. Other than my friend’s mathemetician husband, I got a lot of blank stares.

  33. LOL that’s how I felt when I started my mobeius scarf. Couldn’t work it out and finally decided to just let it go and see what happened. Casting off was quite the experience as it grew and grew and grew. Wow! Made her felted bowls for gifts. They work up fast.
    happy knitting.

  34. Just before Christmas, I saw someone at a yarn store knitting one of these and she told me the store is having a class on that soon. I intended to sign up but forgot in the yarn frenzy that ensued. Thanks for the reminder – I’ll have to find out if they’ve still got room.

  35. Does anyone remember Suzi Hodges? She was a mathematician/knitter, from Berkeley. I believe she taught this or a similar moebius scarf at Stitches in ’98 or ’99 in St. Paul. Cat is fab!

  36. Looks great. You’ll get the hang of it. It does make my mind all woozy at the start, but in a nice way!
    I love making these things. I’ve made, what, 4 mobius scarves now. It was my crack knitting for two weeks when I got the book. All that lovely Noro to use!

  37. Thanks for the flashback to exactly my mental state when I did the moebius cast on and started to knit. While I knit the moebius band for lip/edge of a felted cat bed, my brain would periodically short circuit and I would have to stop and gape at my knitting for a while. And heck – I love the concept of the moebius. I even wear a moebius ring that I had made for myself years ago. But knitting one – woah. Dude.

  38. My public library has her books. I checked them out and then returned them. It is crazy knitting indeed. I am not overly inspired by moebius knitting but I would love to knit a treehouse, check out the pictures of that on her website. She was out here but I couldn’t afford the workshops:( I read her novel though and really enjoyed that and am looking forward to reading the next 2 in the trilogy.

  39. One of my knitting goals this year is to attempt lace..I think I’m a long ways from a mobius….would send my little brain into shock. I remember just READING the mobius pattern made me dizzy.

  40. It’s really a “trust” thing, isn’t it! I did mess my SECOND one up when I had the needles crossed twice on the cast on…. Then I made nearly a dozen short ones that I call my “fiber necklaces” – with beads, doncha know.
    I took them to a boutique for before-Christmas sales, but you really need to show people why the twist is there and demonstrate how sweetly they lie around the neck…
    Her cast off is a thing of beauty – not the I-cord one but the super-stretchy one.
    (My first post – have been enjoying your blog for almost a year, but the mention of the Mobius was what brought me out of lurkdom. I’ve made perfect strangers pull out a piece of paper and tape so I can show them a Mobius!)

  41. Welcome to the magical world of the moebius!! You got the fever, Harlot, or soon will get it. Wait until you do an I-cord edging around a knitted basket and start making little pockets, pouches, protustion and other growths into your moebius objects.
    I am into double digits with moebius baskets and bowls and can’t stop!! Life has not been the same. They released (or admitted, i forget which)me to/from the insane asylum since moebius knitting has entered my life.
    (But then, according to your own words, I am a few sheep short of a flock)
    Happy moebius knitting

  42. You should try making a moebius strip with paper, then carefully cut it in half along the length. Really really disturbing.

  43. I don’t know. I’m still not convinced this is an experience I want (need?) to have. You’re going to have to try harder. 😉

  44. Cat Bordhi is one of the coolest ladies to walk this planet. Have you read her YA fantasy novel? It’s good, too. As is the book she wrote about the socks on two circulars. As is everything else she writes.
    I tried to explain this in a comment right after I went to the first Moebius class (in February, I think) – but I guess you have to actually *SEE* it to believe it.
    You know what she does in her classes? She shows how to do the cast-on with her eyes closed. Behind her back. Turning around. WHILE HOPPING ON ONE FOOT.
    Can anyone fail to love this woman?

  45. I had to laugh when I saw your post as I had spent the summer learning this on my own (yes, by myself) and was so proud when I came out on the winning end. I love making her felted purses. Talk about cool!!! You are right though, Cat really turns knitting inside out.

  46. How freaky! I just researched this today and bought the first Treasury. Guess I know where I can go if I have a question 😉
    Thanks for sharing.

  47. Several months ago I was in my LYS and talking to the owner and mentioned that my next goal was to try Cat’s Moebius cast on. I was going on and on about how neat it was and how fascinating it looked and the owner said, “Dorothy, turn around say hello to Cat.” There she was, standing right behind me! And yes, she is lovely and charming. And she lives on one of the islands near mine. Having said that, I still haven’t done it, but now that you have, I guess I should too! That is, after I finish your Snowdrop shawl (check out my blog – well, later this evening).

  48. I got a copy of this book before Christmas, because I’m determined to knit a moebius scarf for my dear mother. I’ve played a bit with the cast on (trippy), but couldn’t get much farther than that without buying new needles. I need a pair of those super long needles. DH didn’t believe me until I showed him the cast on row, and told him how I’d be knitting it in the round. “Ah,” says he. “I see.” Hrmph. I got sick almost immediately thereafter, and have been busy playing catch up at work ever since getting well. Oh, when, oh when will I have the chance to go get my 60 inch size 4s? That would be the question of the day. As soon as I do, I’ll be right there knitting magically with you, Stephanie!

  49. Besides practicing on a swatch, the first thing I ever knitted was Cat’s Purl Ridge moebius scarf. Self taught! You see, I didn’t know any better to think how strange the whole thing was. 🙂

  50. Welcome to the magical world of the moebius!! You got the fever, Harlot, or soon will get it. Wait until you do an I-cord edging around a knitted basket and start making little pockets, pouches, protustion and other growths into your moebius objects.
    I am into double digits with moebius baskets and bowls and can’t stop!! Life has not been the same. They released (or admitted, i forget which)me to/from the insane asylum since moebius knitting has entered my life.
    (But then, according to your own words, I am a few sheep short of a flock)
    Happy moebius knitting

  51. Welcome to the magical world of the moebius!! You got the fever, Harlot, or soon will get it. Wait until you do an I-cord edging around a knitted basket and start making little pockets, pouches, protustion and other growths into your moebius objects.
    I am into double digits with moebius baskets and bowls and can’t stop!! Life has not been the same. They released (or admitted, i forget which)me to/from the insane asylum since moebius knitting has entered my life.
    (But then, according to your own words, I am a few sheep short of a flock)
    Happy moebius knitting

  52. Rats. They would have to have a colorway that I would actually wear, wouldn’t they? Because I don’t have any choice about making this now. My hands have decided that they cannot handle any of my little needle projects anymore, and I’ll kill myself if I have to knit more clogs.
    Amazon has shipped your books to me, Stephanie. I can’t wait to settle in and read them all at once.

  53. Can you believe this was one of the first books about knitting that I ever bought, way back when I first started? (Okay, fine, so it was only a few years back, but I’m making up for lost time now.) Imagine thinking that this knitting thing would be a code to be broken -anyway-, and then finding -this-.
    I totally loved all the moebius stuffs, though. Now I need to get yarn to make that octopi-looking bag/hat in her second book. Mmmm.

  54. There’s nothing like knitting a M�bius strip to turn your mind inside-out. I’ve knit a couple of them and am still amazed at how work. I mean, it was easy in school to take a strip of paper, turn one end over, and tape it to the other end. But to knit one from the cast on? August F. M�bius would be proud.

  55. I had a similar experience watching someone cast on and start knitting one of those. There were about 5 of us sitting there, going ‘Wha.., but I don’t understand…, how?’. Must try it myself some day.

  56. The mobius scarf was published by Pricilla Gibson-Roberts in Spin-Off (or was it Knitter’s?) about 10 years ago. I don’t know if PGR “unvented” it, but it’s not original to Cat. I don’t mean to imply that Cat is not a brilliant knitting genius, but you should give credit to earlier sources…

  57. I’d like to say something intelligent about this, but after spending 1 1/2 hours in a restaurant restraining one almost 7 year old boy from bouncing off the banquet seat and looking at one 11 year old girl doing her diva act, and listening to the 8 year old speak her own language called “Emish” I have no brain cells left, and since I’m allergic to most wine, I can’t replace them that way…will Cuervo work?
    The only moebius I tried to knit was EZ’s and I almost expired of boredom before I decided that the yarn wasn’t suitable for what I was doing anyway and frogged it. Good luck.

  58. Rachel, never worry about Skateycat — woman who can bend the alphabet to her will is someone you want on your side. (Polyjuice potion and Philosopher’s Stone are a finger-snap to someone who can reverse the alphabet. Don’t start worrying until the Lord’s Prayer appears reversed.)

  59. Cooool!! I gave myself an extra week off work and that’s been one of my projects! I had to start it twice because all I have to work with is gleanings from several years of occaissional Knit-U discussions, but I’m rolling with it now.
    Working with some yummy alpaca laceweight, I thought at first I would just work in stocking stitch, but that made the starting line too obvious. Between that and the fact that I twisted all the stitches in the first row (no clue it was simpler than I thought it could be!) I frogged the first 2 inch wide effort and started over, purling the plain rows in the lace knitting.
    As someone said, the knitting is a lot wider than might be assumed: when I pulled the needle out of the first effort it stretched out like a Slinky toy! Gave me a chance to reduce my stitch count guess by 20 percent. Will do a lace edging to finish the edge and hope for the best.

  60. I have to disagree with Rachel – I think with the exception of Denny (who yes, was indeed cackling) and Megan, the rest of us were watching you starting off absolutely fascinated 😉 Me, I still don’t quite get it, but the look on your face when you did was priceless *lol*

  61. Hey! I struggled over a similar pattern I found at the yarn shop, but then found a better one on the internet. It was certainly mindbending tryong to grok the process, but once on the needles, it became a Zen exercise: what happens, happens. I just hope it’s wearable. Otherwise the cats have something else to nap on during the day (dirty stay-outs).

  62. Must go to yarn shop, must get Cat’s book. I picked it up last time, then thought better of it (pre Christmas, not up to the challenge) but I’m thinkin’ the time is right. Though looking at yours did produce a few “What the @#$%???”s, and that’s WITH a glass of wine! Keep us posted!

  63. I bought that kit after seeing a picture on here a few weeks ago. I went to a LYS today to pick up the needle. I think I am going to have to have some aspirin nearby as I try that cast-on.

  64. Having attended the Baddeck Workshop, I can tell you that Cat certainly thinks on a different level than the rest of us schlubs.
    Even weirder was figuring out a way to do a Moebius that was stocking stitch on both “sides”, even though a Moebius has only one side. (That pattern is for sale in kit form as the “Laurel wrap”… end of sales plug)
    I think my head just exploded.
    I now use the cast-on method anytime a provisional is needed.

  65. It’s not that it helps if you don’t think too much; it helps if you don’t think at all. Just buy her books, follow her directions with unquestioned faith and you can turn out something spiffy. As my first project I did a Moebius bag for an art teacher friend of mine and she was blown away. I’m jealous of Carol for such a grand treat. I love it when authors turn out to be fabulously cool in real life. Kind of like you, Stephanie (in the dizzy haze of Maryland Sheep & Wool)

  66. HA! I did one of those and and and … after I finally got it cast on (WTF?!!) and then I was knitting and it was all going great and it was just so cool and it was getting to be almost done and then omg and then MY NEEDLE BROKE and ALLLLLLLL my stitches were everywhere and I swore and I cried and I tired to save them but they were all dead a mess and I had to start over from the beginning.
    Worst day of my life.

  67. Now I am completely pissed off that I didn’t come to LK Wednesday night.
    Next week. My husband has ordered me to attend. He says I need to get out more. Mwah ha ha ha ha ha!

  68. For the love of wool, now I have to try one of these! Someone in our Guild was knitting one of these on Tuesday, and it was hard to keep my eyes off it. You’ll have to come and compare one night. I can do vague drunkeness, thanks for giving me a reason.

  69. Funny that you should write this today when I’m wearing my most magical moebius scarf. I went to Cat’s first annual Magical Moebius Festival last April in OR and had the most marvelous time. It was two days of moebius bliss. She is indeed a rare and wonderful person.
    It is really amazing just to hear her before-knitting talk about the moebius and what you can do with it. I had figured out the CO before the weekend, but was so glad to meet her and see all the incredibly gorgeous samples.
    I came home from the weekend so energized I ended up making about 6 of the little baskets and moved on to the trifold, nesting trio and kitty bed. I’ve also been teaching the technique at my LYS since last summer. It’s been so much fun. You can see some of my examples on my website and you can see my trifold bowl on the V & A website where they have the share your knitting section. (

  70. Ahhh…it is clearer to me now. It was the wine; or rather, the lack of. Next time I try to cast on the Cat Bordhi method, I need to have a glass (or two?) of wine. 🙂 Thanks for the info.

  71. I could say that the babies have eaten my brain,(there ARE large chunks of 1995 that have gone bye bye, I know there are…) or that I’m too tired or that I’m still reeling from publishing my 2nd book or that I have to give finals next week and still have stuff from the second week of school I haven’t corrected–all of which would be sadly true, but not the reason I’m not even going to look this fabulous looking technique up… the absolute truth is that I’m bach-bach red footed yellow feathered pecking corn on the porch chicken. Oh, I am so not ready for that… but I bow down in admiration that you are…

  72. hey, too cool!
    my mother (a distinctly non-knitterly person with a penchant for web-surfing) discovered cat bordhi’s website and bought me and my wife (knitters both) three – count ’em – THREE! cat bordhi books for christmas (the first two treasuries of magical knitting and the socks on two circular needles one [did you see that? socks on TWO CIRCULAR NEEDLES!]).
    i am so glad to see someone embarking on this path before me – i am on my way to the knitting stores this weekend to pick up my inaugural pair of addi-turbos to cast on my first moebius scarf.
    i hope that i will have as much success as you, steph!

  73. i have done a moebius, myself. my cast on was a bit different, but the results are the same. and man, it was a trip! i striped mine, and it was so much fun! the fun part was showing people where the needle was in the scarf. mine ended up being big enough for me to drape around my shoulders, but that’s ok, lol. what fun! and the cast off, oh my. keep it up stephanie!

  74. I’ve been moebii-ing for a couple of months now and it’s just so waaaaaaaaay cool. I can’t stop. It’s addictive. Why knit things in boring old ordinary shapes when you can knit them in moebius shape instead? I now wear moebius scarves nearly every day for every purpose, and can’t stop thinking about what yarns and stitches would work well for them… And once you get the hang of that cast on (the MCO), it’s easier than anything you’ve ever done in your life. I don’t think I could do it hopping on one foot — but I don’t think I can do much of ANYTHING hopping on one foot. I can, however, do it while speaking in Italian about politics with my in-laws, which strikes me as a similar comparison. And I was even counting stitches! (and what a pretty scarf that turned out to be, too…)
    I’ve been using my Denises (with the 40″ cord) for all of my moebii, and they’ve worked out great. I like the flexibility — using the smaller needle on the left can really make things fly.
    Cat Bordhi is a topological goddess. And a really nice person, too.

  75. Oh, and….
    if you want addictive, try knitting moebius scarves out of Kid Silk Haze!!! Mwah ha ha ha ha!
    (I recommend garter stitch with a few eyelets — and in Cat Bordhi Moebius Land, garter stitch means that you knit one row and purl the next…)

  76. I love moebius strips. Try doing a search for a klein bottle hat… I’m not sure if it’s better to do it before or after your brain has resolidified though. 😉

  77. What I find to be the craziest thing about making a moebius, is that when you are done knitting this totally bizarre thing…? Frustration, cursing, confusion, pining for cocktails, and bathrooms with candles…You will want to do it all over again! Possibly even immediately. (love your blog…thanks for making me laugh on a regular basis)

  78. I know JUST how you feel! I was lucky enough to take a class at my LYS in the mobius technique and it was absolutely bizarre and then it was magic and then it was uncontrollable giggles and then awe. And now I cannot get my mind and hands to cooperate to do it again. But you’ve inspired me to look once more and wield the circs without fear…

  79. woohoo my kids go back to school on Monday… one day before yours, Any later and I think we’d have had fatalities.

  80. Many thanks for this post. If your experience has been tested and your arse kicked and badly bruised by this piece of knitting, I can warn the people I know who have this on their “to knit” list about its demanding nature.
    Cat is going to honor us Hoosiers with a visit. Sometime in June, I believe. She’s scheduled to appear at my friend’s quaint shop out in the cornfields. I for one, know what I’m going to ask her.

  81. Just started my first mobius basket, had the same feelings with the cast on. This is just too cool, very magical indeed!

  82. The Mobius thingy is on my “to conquer” list this year, especially after Cat was so gracious to me (I got signed books, too). I trust her, and I trust your tips. ‘specially #3.

  83. I took a class last year and got one of her books and made a mobius basket! The cast on was very strange I thought but once you get going it is a pretty cool thing!

  84. The cast-on for the moebius (I did a basic one) threw me for a loop at first…
    (oh God, I swear that was no pun intended – realized it as I ws typing it)
    …but it truly is a marvel! My main winter scarf is a basic “knit for a few rows, purl for a few” made out of Malabrigo – I love it! It’s a scarf! It doubles for a warmer neck! It even covers my head and neck when the wind is howling and I have my hair up and no hat!

  85. Since I’m writing comment 107 (or possibly 110 by the time I get it written!), I’ll take the risk of repeating what someone else has probably already written: As some of the wise women on the knitted lace list like to say, “Knit what the pattern says, not what *you think* the pattern says.” [Of course when you do this and the pattern turns out to be wrong, it REALLY melts your brain.]

  86. LOL. When I knit this back in November I felt like I was going insane and I swear I had to cast on 8 times before I figured out I really was doing it right. It just looks so messed up. If you just try -not- to think about how it works everything goes much smoother. It’s pretty wicked once it’s finished though and I’d probably knit another one.

  87. A lurker no more…. Taught myself Moebius knitting using Cat Bordhi’s book and love it! Once you get into the rhythm of the cast-on, just go with it. Stephanie, as usual, is right (#2); don’t think about it. And #3 doesn’t hurt, either! Used Cherry Tree Hill’s Silk and Merino DK (Winterberry) and it is really pretty!

  88. Wow. That’s just crazy. You knit both sides at once. The inside and the outside. But they’re all connected so there is no inside or outside really. Wow…

  89. So,(i swear i’m not bragging here) am I the only one who wasn’t confused by the pattern? Maybe my brain is just screwy, but I’ve never had a problem with visualising in 3 dimensions.
    (ducks and runs for cover)

  90. I got her book when I was a very novice knitter (not so very long ago), so I didn’t know how truly bizare this thing was. I just followed the directions, la la la, hmm hmm hmm, knit knit knit and ended up with the coolest scarf ever. Well, to me anyway.

  91. Thank you, thank you for this post. It could not be more timely. I have a dear friend who decided that she might like to *try* knitting — and *begin* with some or another moebius pattern. While she is indeed brilliant and would probably prove me wrong, I just don’t think this would be a good first time knitting venture.
    I made one of Cat’s baskets. It took me several times to get the hang of it and I mine required an inordinate amount of sewing up of small holes that just as magically appeared, but I loved the process. I want to knit more of her stuff, but frankly have not had the time for knitting that involves such brain gymnastics.
    Now that I have the Yarn Harlot behind me, perhaps I can convince my friend to start a garter stitch scarf instead…

  92. Don’t think; just knit. Don’t think; just knit.
    I’ve done a klein bottle hat. There’s a guy who has them made and sells them off his site, but he doesn’t have the pattern for sale. But I haven’t tried doing a seamless moebius. For those who are trying to wrap the thrumming part, there are no two sides to the item; eventually both sides will be done.

  93. I just received my kit for this and my superlong circular needles, and just as soon as I finish weaving in the ends on a pair of socks I completed last night I will be casting on! Will be checking back here for progress reports, tips, hints, and support. I hope it will help that I have a very, very poor sense of physics!

  94. Hi Stephanie, I’m sure I will never be a good enough knitter to try moebius, but you’ve inspired me to complete a sweater I started last year for my daughter. Somehow, halfway finished, it got stuffed into my closet IN OUR DOG’S OLD PLASTIC WATER BOWL. I have apologised to it for that unspeakable indignity and will finish it soon!

  95. Huh… I JUST got back from the yarn store having purchased her mobius capelet pattern. I wasn’t too concerned about starting it until I saw your experience. And since I have NO ability to handle alcohol I can’t even knit it while slightly drunk. I’m scared.

  96. I bought Cat’s book too; I wanted to make a moebius for all of those cold days at school. But I couldn’t figure out the cast-on, and neither could my knitting teacher who has been knitting for 50 years! Eventually we figured it out and the end result was a beautiful lime green wool moebius!

  97. I’ve done several moebius scarves with a backward-loop cast-on, followed by a long round of knitting with a dp to get the stitch untwisted and over to the other end of the circular. After that, it loosens up and knits quite well. The scarf works so well under a jacket or coat!
    The instructions are out there on the Web if you look, and so is the Klein Bottle hat!

  98. As we’d say out in Berkeley, CA (where I go to school and where the 60s…and the fun! never really end…), “Dude…that’s like…Whoa! Like, dude! Totally!”
    And indeed, words can barely express the coolness of it.
    That some downright righteous knitting, Steph!

  99. I have made a scarf awhile back from EZs instructions, but all these comments have inspired me to go out and get Cat’s books; nothing like knowing a group of enablers 🙂

  100. I remember seeing the moebius scarf in a Vogue magazine eons ago and was fascinated by the idea. It was credited to Elizabeth Zimmerman. I made my first one then and people were blown away by the concept. Especially if they watched me knitting it. I still love them for quick easy scarves. I don’t bother with long dangling scarves anymore. Having thumb through Cat’s book, I would say she has taken the concept to new levels.

  101. Well, thanks a LOT! I haven’t started thinking about knitting goals for the year yet, and now I have a new apparently impossible one!(grump grump ;~) ) Although I must confess that reading your entry, Steph, had me mentally add the books to my list of “books to buy eventually”. After reading the ensuing hullaballoo in the comments….I simply must do this. Soon.
    You and your troop together are an irresistible force.

  102. i made a moebius last year- (photo’s here last photo on page 1 continued on page 2)
    i didn’t have Cat’s book, but i thought about it, and (just from the small bits you showed) it obvious, I figured out the same cast on–well –almost the same. her’s might be better–i used 2 cirs’s (one the proper size, the other, and size that is smaller)instead of starting all the stitches on a single needle) but the end result is the same. (totally invisible beginning.. i actually had a rocket scientist (NASA) impressed..
    they are great fun aren’t they?
    i plan to do another this year, (soon!)
    I still don’t have her book, (and my tight budget mean’s i most likely won’t ever have it) but she is amazing.

  103. I have before me a kit for the thrummed mobius.. I have been eyeing it and awaiting a patch of time to begin. You are my leader.. I am crazy about you.. thanks.

  104. That looks really neat. But I have an off topic comment. I was watching Restaurant Makeover last night and was very surprised to see the Harlot, her Girls, Ken, Hank and I imagine that was your sister’s bar they renovated…Did I miss the post about this? I was kinda in shock that I recognized you and then seeing little Hank made sense. BTW….the meatless Shepard’s Pie looked yummy and the reno turned out great.

  105. I haven’t attempted the Moebius yet, but I hope you’re right about the environmental influence – since Ms. Bordhi lives on my own home island, maybe I’ll be able to wrap my brain around this craziness more easily!

  106. wow that’s crazy. I’ve been meaning to one of her books and try it out…but when I look at her cast on directions in the book at the store…I always feel a little whoooosy. Some day…some day. lol It makes me a little scared that it kicked your butt though.

  107. Grok. Wow. I haven’t heard that word for a long time.
    The scarf is awesome. I will have to knit it just because I’m an SF fan at some point.
    Interesting question of how much knitters think either two-dimensionally or three-dimensionally. Does this seperate the lovers of intarsia from the sock knitter? Hmmm … a thought to ponder.

  108. Stephanie;
    Congrats on winning QueerJoe’s KNIBBIES (knit-blog Awards) in not one, but TWO catagories! woooohooooo! You GO, girl!

  109. Thanks for coming and reading my blog and leaving a comment…that really meant a lot to me!
    Now that I’m more mentally alert (really?) I might even buy this book and give this a try.

  110. Well, I braved it out and cast on with some acrylic this morning to try it out. Had no problem so went with the good yarn. I had to rip it out at least 3 or 4 times before it seemed to be right again. Fun, fun, fun. Can’t wait to watch your progress on it.

  111. You need to come to Portland to her design workshop in April to play with us! The technique is wild, isn’t it – why let her have all the fun? Come on, you know you want to – fleece artist will have a whole booth there…

  112. Your reasons are the same as mine for wanting to knit Debbie New’s Labyrinth Jacket one day! She’s another amazing woman whose mind works in mysterious ways.

  113. I’ve got Cat’s books and have knitted one of her moebius scarves. The sense of achievement when you have grasped the idea is fab – also that sneaky sense of superiority!
    Just make sure you use a long enough circular needle to make manipulating the stitches easy.

  114. (no, no) Nanette… Cat Bordhi’s website does not give the first 25 pages of her book, it gives the first page of each of 25 chapters, and it does not give the cast-on method. One page shows a couple of tips about planning pattern repeats.
    Moebius scarves seem to come along every few years. Shoup did it in 2001, Gibson-Roberts in 1995, no doubt others have done it just for fun and never publicized it. I think at this point it’s a classic. Cat Bordhi seems to have come up with the most potential uses for it.

  115. I completely agree with your thoughts on the moebius. My first attempt had me knitting round and round, knowing that I was following the directions properly, but just not being able to comprehend exactly what I was doing! But it is certainly a wonderfully lateral way of looking at the moebius. Mind you, with my first one I misread the initial instructions, and my scarf ended up twice as long as it should have been – oh well, I just wind it round my neck twice, and it’s beautifully cosy. But I can truly recall the feeling of awe at such a great method!

  116. After deciding that Cat Bordhi’s brain is very different and that she has much time on her hands, I’ve had much fun with Cat’s moebius books: baskets, scarves, trifold bowls and cat beds. It’s really quite amazing how quickly these projects knit up. The scarves are a terrific quick gift. I have discovered that you need at least one cat bed per cat. The first one, that felted on the small side, often gets called the kitty coaster and is the current favorite of two cats.

  117. This is why I (and the rest of the world) adore the Yarn Harlot: not only does she bring us wonderful news, projects, and tips from the world of knitting, she writes addictively, amusingly, and charismatically about all of it!
    Hello and lots of cheer from a new knitblogger!

  118. I love Cat Bordhi. I have both treasuries and have knitted a whole bunch of moebius things. The first time I did one, I didn’t understand how to count the stitches and ended up with a moebius scarf that was bigger than me (i’m 6′). Cat even taught me how to knit socks on 2 circs.
    But I will admit to feeling all super smart when showing people my moebius knits. And no one gets how awesome they really are.

  119. I have created several Moebius scarves and a great wrap called Gran’s Hug from Nature Speaks Knits. Like a poncho in appearance, the hug allows more freedom for your arms.
    For friends who just don’t get the Moebius cast-on, I cast on and get them started.
    I also love Cat’s book on knitting socks on two circulars.

  120. I haven�t tried the moebius (didn�t seem challenging enough in pictures � clearly I�m mistaken.) But I had to abandon a reversible double-knit hat by Melanie Falick last week because I couldn�t get past the cast-on. A tubular cast-on with alternating colors of yarn in the round?! It looks so cool in the pix in Weekend Knitting, but it�s clearly still too ambitious for me. I�ve only been knitting a year, so I decided to tackle my first colorwork sweater instead. La, I finished the back panel of the Lopi Fair Isle cardigan this weekend. (My first attempt at working directly from the chart instead of writing it all out.) Turns out the sweater on the model has multiple errors in it, but I got it right! Conquering a pattern is such a good feeling.

  121. oh well CRAP. I’m SO incredibly sorry for the false hope I spread regarding Cat Bordhi’s sample pages. =(((
    I looked at the online sample, saw the page numbers. Looked in the book here at what was on those pages numbers and thought “WOW”. I didn’t even think that the page numbers online and the page numbers in the book were DIFFERENT PAGES. =(
    Totally MY BAD. =( Boy when I screw up, I like to screw up big.
    I’m sorry everyone. Ten lashes with wet sock yarn for me.

  122. I whole heartedly agree. I attended her one-day workshop at L. K. Yarns in Halifax and fell in love with her designs and style of knitting. I’ve since taught a few of my friends how to make moebii.
    She has this amazing brain and not only can she conceive these things but she knows how to explain them in about 1,000 different ways.
    And she is totally down to earth and personable. To make this as short as possible, I can’t say enough good things about Cat.

  123. Isn’t it fan-knit-tastic?! My daughter did have to enter kindergarten so I could count on the peace and quiet required for learning the cast on. I have shamefully knit this in front of new knitters just to blow their minds. It will be the longest moebius tube in history because I have to keep showing off. :-b Have fun!

  124. I Love Cat’s socks on circulars method (sorry Steph, to DPNs for me!), except the part where she has you move some stitches. I see the reason to do it, I just don’t like her method. So I devised my own and just keep on knitting. My oldest who just left for college in icy cold eastern Washington, contends that it doesn’t get really cold over there as long as I am knitting something for him to keep his toes, fingers or head warm. SO I have been doing ALOT of socks!
    I have both of Cat’s Moebius books, but have not yet attempted a real piece yet. I bought the needle I need and have the perfect practice yarn. I want to get to it soon, because that little moebius basket woudl look just darling with some Weekend Knitting Flower-shaped Chennile washcloths and hand made soap in it (along with a lavender wand made by my MIL). But I have at least three pairs of socks and one quarter of an afghan to do before I can get to that!

  125. I have been reading your blog for a long time, but never commented. I totally agree about Cat. I almost got to take a class from her once, but had other obligations. I have made several mobius’ and also taught a class at the LYS. It keeps you befuddled, doesn’t it? My next thing will be a shoulder strap bag, I just have to find the time to do it. Keep p your wonderful sense of humor. I look forward to your blog each day as well as your books.

  126. I have heard about mobius and said *maybe, one of these days*.
    I know you have three teenage girls, husband and cat(s)all in a small house. And you have your deadlines to write books, etc. And you knit all these baby blankets. But, if you have time to knit mobius you don’t want my problems.
    There is no way I can take on mobius anytime soon. BTW, I am not into that thrummed part. For mittens and socks I see the point for the mobius I don’t. I hope I can start on my Twisted Wrap soon. vj

  127. Cat also has a Yahoo group that I am a part of and I just started on one of her patterns last week! It was so nice when it clicked. I had been warned not to think about what was going on until several rows into it. I am still wondering what will happen when I take it off the needles! Another magic trick we are in for I am sure!

  128. It took me 2 hours to figure out the Mobius Cast-On. That included an on-line search for video tutorials. And I determined that I thought the video was WRONG.
    All of that to make a cat bed but, DANG, it’s a good looking cat bed.
    Too bad I want to make another. It’s been about a month since I did the last one and I fear I’m going to have to wipe my brain and start all over with the “learning curve” MCO!

  129. I salute you! You are a better woman than I. I bought her (Cat’s) book, she is from the Pacific NW as am I…. well, that was as far as I got. I dust it off occassionally. Guess I will need to pull it out and try again. I need to start drinking more and thinking less I suppose.
    I understand that you will be visiting us in February in Tacoma, WA. Hoorah! Chloe

  130. What is this all about?! I have never seen anything quite like it and there is smoke coming out of my ears just reading this post. My goodess, all I do is sit here with my mouth open drooling. One day I’ll attempt this, one day in the very distant future.

  131. OH I completely know what you are talking about. When I did my first one from her book, my head practically exploded. Me: Seething with jealousy about the genius, yet overcome with gratitude and delight that there are other knitters out there who want to *go there* and turn knitting inside out and upside down.

  132. This is my first visit to your site (don’t have any clue how I have missed it in my internet roamings)and I can’t pass up a comment about the mobius knitting. I started with Magical Knitting and haven’t gotten much farther, but I have learned one thing. Pay attention to what she says, not what you THINK she is saying and just follow directions – it is much harder to unravel than to just persevere. And she has such a quiet offhand way of giving the BEST clues. Such as: If you are using Denise needles, put a smaller needle on the “left” side, it makes that first round a LOT easier. And then just TRUST, TRUST, TRUST, overthinking just gets you confused.

  133. I am looking for some help on knitting Cat’s Red Rose Bed…..I have cast on and knitted the moebius band, finished the edges with applied I-cord……….twice! It is when I try to pick up and knit the 200 stitches that I lose it……I end up with way more than the original 200 MCO stitches….can someone who has completed one of these “cat bliss beds” kindly give me some hints as to what I may be doing incorrectly? I have been knitting Cat Bordhi’s moebius scarves for a year now…….and I love her patterns and her dirctions. Thanks for any help.

  134. I started Cat’s Moebius capelet last night….I took it apart 3 times! I felt like I was using a part of my brain from perhaps another lifetime!
    It took me a few tries to figure out the cast on …it was a relief then …I ended up with a mess when I tried to start knitting. I took it all apart and will try again tonight.
    I was elated when I found this message board…I know I’m not crazy!

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