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Dear Kay,

Two cheerful items to report, then a piece of very sad news.

Item No. 1: A Finished Cowl

I don’t mean to brag, but this Breton Cowl almost cranked itself.


I had a good time fooling around with Round 7 of the contrast-color welt, which is the one moment in this project that requires a bit of aim. I wrote up my method for picking up the correct stitch each time over in The Lounge.

The recipient of this Giftalong cowl is actually someone who modeled for us: the divine Judy of Judy’s Chickens, a food and garden blog that gets richer and deeper every day. Deeper as in: the most recent entry is about a visit to the Cold-War era Kennedy bunker in Palm Beach.

Here’s Judy, out in her magnificent garden with Comet, wearing a Breton Cowl like it was made for her.


Which, being a sample, unfortunately wasn’t.

Which led me to go home and cast on a Breton Cowl that was made for her. Never have Velvet and Raspberry seemed so happy on a person.


The finished cowl looks indistinguishable from the sample except that it was made by me and not Susan Mitz, our intrepid sample knitter.

Don’t tell Judy this is for her. She’s so distracted, having just become a grandma, that she won’t even see this. She’s over the moon about that adorable baby.

Item No. 2: Knitting Along to Moby-Dick

When I started the Moby-Dick Big Read a few weeks ago, I knew I wanted to knit something from White Whale, Volume 1, Ann Weaver’s brainy, beautiful collection of patterns based on the novel.

In the interest of speed, I’m going with The Castaway, a hat inspired by Pip, the cabin boy on the Pequod. Pip hasn’t come into the story yet for me, so this hat makes for excellent foreshadowing.

I’m sure it’s a hat Pip would have gone for: bobbly bits, a little contrast.

Lizzyfaye‘s Castaway Hat on Ravelry.

I’m using my Daughter of a Shepherd Hebridean DK yarn, as dim and dark as the north Atlantic.


The contrast color is Jill Draper Makes Stuff, a skein of her single cormo/alpaca/angora yarn, Beacon.


You can dive into Moby-Dick Big Read with us at any time. The Lounge has all the details. It’s a quick read. Seriously! If you listen while knitting, it goes like a dream. Discoveries from various readers so far: 1) it is hilarious in many places; 2) the varied narrators make each chapter a new experience; 3) some of the chapters are four minutes long, making the novel seem shorter than you might think.

Item No. 3: Beloved Elliott

Now for the sad news.

Monday was just awful. Elliott the fluffy wonder cat died, and I still can’t quite believe it. He was just here. It was so fast, and tender, and final.

I know how much everybody loves their pets—be sure to give yours an extra Scooby Snack whenever you can.


He was really, really good at landing on the handknits. He understood.




  • I’m sorry.

  • Sorry, Ann. And thanks for the Big Read. A squeeze of the hand for Elliott’s good fellowship, xoc

  • So sorry about your kitty, they sure do wind their way into our hearts.

  • My condolences about Elliott. We lost our beloved cat Caroline last year and there’s still a gap where she was. Cranky, cantankerous, moody lap warmer. But oh how she loved it when you pulled the working yarn over her head to continue on stitching. She had a penchant for scarves.

    Godspeed Elliott…

  • I’m so sorry about Elliott. It looks as though he had a lovely life, one well worth celebrating.

  • I’m so sorry for your kitty. Years ago we rescued a kitten that had fallen into the walls of my inlaw’s house when mother cat had gotten into the attic of their 100+ year old house to give birth. We named him Wally. That is when I found out that I was allergic to cats! After 5 years of taking Allegra, he developed cancer. The kids loved him, but I really was indifferent about him,after all he caused me years of suffering, he would attack and bite me whenever I walked by, and he would plop his butt on my knitting leaving his long black hair on my project so I could sneeze some more! Yet I cried like a baby when we had him out down. RIP Elliott.

  • I’m as sorry as can be for your loss. I’ll play a big long wailing guitar riff then scream “ELLIOTT LIVES!” at the end.

  • I’m so sorry, pets, especially cats for me, are a huge part of life and their loss affects us for a while. Elliot will be sorely missed.

  • I have also lost pets and I have found some solace in the thought that they lived good lifes. Reflect on how loved and well taken care for Elliott was and what a happy life he lived in your care. This for me makes the pain more bearable. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  • So very sorry to hear of lovely Elliott’s passing.

  • I’m so sorry, Ann. Our fuzzy friends have such an important place in our hearts.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about Elliott.

  • So sorry to hear an Elliott. We lost our beloved Angelo the Wonderdog earlier this year and it is just heartbreaking. But we know he lived a charmed life, and I’m certain Elliott did as well. Sincere condolences.

    • I’m sorry for your loss of Elliott. I’m not cat person but I enjoyed his blog appearances. A big hug for you…

  • So, so sorry to hear about Elliott. Hugs to you and all who loved him.

  • Hugs! Sorry about Elliott.

  • hugs to you & your family on the news of your furry pet’s passing. we know he’ll be missed.

  • So sorry to hear about Elliot. He will be missed.

  • so very sorry for your loss.. knitting helps, maybe he inspired you to create a new pattern in his honor?

  • So sorry to hear about your dear Elliott.

  • Oh Ann, I’m so sorry about Elliot. Please give Kermit extra hugs for me.

  • So sorry about Elliot.

  • Sorry to hear about your cat, Ann. He was sure fluffy, wasn’t he?

  • Dearest Ann, I am going to act soooooo surprised when you give me that gorgeous cowl. Love you!

  • Very sad news and I’m so sorry for the loss of your furry family member. I loved all of his pictures through the years.

  • My condolences. The consequence of loving our animal companions is that we have to lose them, and it’s always heartbreaking.

  • So, so sorry to hear about Elliott, he was the best non-human knitwear accessory in your lovely photos over the years and you must miss him. Hopefully cat heaven has tons of squishy piles of handknits so he’s been well trained to get first pick of the merino.

  • Ann, condolences on Elliot’s passing. Sending prayers for comfort and peace.

  • Where people are complicated, pets are simple. I’m so sorry you lost yours.

  • So sorry to hear about Elliott. My thoughts are with you.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about Elliott 🙁

  • I am so sorry about Elliott. May he rest in peace.

  • Sorry about Elliot. It’s terribly hard to lose a pet, because we love them so much.

  • So sorry for your loss, Anne. If it’s any consolation, Elliot is probably hanging out with my husband, a great animal lover, and our bunnies, wherever the great beyond may be

  • I’m so sorry about Elliott.

  • So sorry to hear about Elliott!

  • My condolences, Ann, to you and the family, including Kermit, on the passing of your beloved cat, Elliot. He was a magnificent kitty and had such a unique presence. We will miss him here. ❤

  • Ann, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Elliott was such a handsome cat. Give Kermit extra love. He will be missing his friend. Elliott is waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge with my kitties where there are plenty of hand knits for naps.

  • Oh….such sad news at the end of such beautiful knitting projects. I’m so sorry for your loss. XO

  • Oh, Ann, I’m so sorry about Elliot. It’s always hard to lose a pet, and when it’s fast, it’s even harder. And damn the finality of losing loved ones. Many hugs to you.

  • Amazing how our small pet friends have such a huge presence in our life. Thank goodness for that. I am thinking of you.

  • Our pets become part of our souls and when they are gone they are part of us forever ❤️

  • So sorry. These little furballs do indeed worm their way into our lives and hearts.

  • So, so sorry – losing a furry family member is awful. Thinking of you all and giving all my non-human family members extra strokes tonight x

  • Good bye Elliott

    I have no handknits that are not threaded with a little, or a lot, of cat hair. I have had to say goodbye to a couple of my knitting companions in the last couple of years, and it is so very hard.

  • Ann, I am so sorry. Elliott always had such gravitas in the photos, but it seemed like really he was a big softie. He must leave such a big hole in your heart – take good care.

  • I’m so very sorry about your dear Elliott. What a beautiful kitty.

  • Oh, how sad! I never knew Elliott, but I’ve known cat-related grief. I feel for you.

  • Oh so sad. So very difficult to lose a pet. They bring us so much joy and love. Beautiful Elliot. You were loved and will be missed.

  • I am so very very sorry about Elliott. Losing a pet is so heart-breaking and leaves such a void in our lives and in our hearts. He was very loved and will be missed. Hugs <3

  • Awww…so sorry that Elliot is no longer with us. RIP, flufy guy.

  • Oh Ann. I’m so sorry you lost your Elliott.

  • Ann, my condolences to you and all who knew Elliott on his passing. I know his loss will be deeply felt.

  • I’m so sorry about Elliott the fluffy wonder cat – it’s amazing how big a hole these fuzzy things leave behind.

  • my heart goes out to you for the loss of your dear Elliott. He will still be with you; just be aware of those shadows you see out of the corner of your eye.

  • What a terrible time to lose such a trusted companion. My sympathy.

  • So sorry to hear of the loss of your furry family member

  • Ann, I’m so sorry about Elliot. Sending you a ghost hug….you can’t feel it, but you know it’s there.

  • I’m so sorry about Elliott.

  • I’m sorry for your loss. Our pets are cherished family members. My girl loved to sit close quietly while I knit and only played with the yarn when it was resting. God speed Elliott.

  • I’m sorry, Ann. We’ll keep picturing Elliott landing on all your handknits.

  • My sincere condolences on the loss of your pet. May you happy memories console you.

  • Oh, I’m so sorry. What a beautiful boy he was. *hug*

  • So sorry Ann. Losing a pet is so hard.

  • Losing a furry friend is never easy, condolences to your family and Kermit. Our 18 yr. old, Caffeine, is developing senior cat problems (aren’t we all?) – I’ll give her some extra hugs today.

  • Oh, Ann. WHAT A CAT. <3

  • Heartfelt condolences on the loss of your furry friend. Elliott’s fur was gorgeous but you could tell there was so much more to him than just beauty. How is Kermit holding up?

    • Thank you, everybody. You remind me of how much joy our pets bring us. Kermit is hanging very close by, I have to say. Wish I could talk him through it all. Our shared language is Treats. He is getting a steady stream of Treats, let’s just say.

      • Treats in Crisis! They help. I’m so sorry that Elliott is gone.

  • So, so sorry to hear about Elliot. He was truly a magnificent creature. Every time you posted a photo of him I had the same thought: That gigantic cat should be playing Old Deuteronomy on Broadway.
    On a happier note, I’m so glad to be able to pass on the Judy’s Chickens blog to my sister, who also raises chickens—and paints them and other barnyard animals ( She’ll be thrilled to find a kindred spirit.

  • Oh Ann. I’m so sorry to hear about Elliott. I lost my beloved Fluffy (who looked a lot like Elliott) in January after 17+ years. It is so hard.My thoughts are with you and his other humans. (I only lasted eight weeks without feline supervision and adopted Clementine from the shelter.)

  • I’m really sorry about Elliot. It is so heart-wrenching to lose a pet.

  • So sorry, Ann – Lost my beloved Corgi on Sunday. Too fast and always too soon. Hugs to you and yours

  • I am so saddened to hear about Elliott, Ann. We too are cat lovers, and lost our beloved Lilly very suddenly in the fall. However it happens, it is deeply felt, because they are part of the family. I will cuddle my remaining cat in Elliott’s honour.

  • Dear Ann, I’m so very sorry to hear you lost Elliot. I know first hand how tough that is.
    Like Elliot, one my two cats, Oliver, has lots and lots of fur. Close friends call him ‘The Fluffer’.

  • So sorry to hear of the lovely Elliott’s passing. His fur will live on in the house for years as a gentle and fitting remembrance.

  • My heart goes out to you Ann on the loss of your precious little Elliot. How fortunate you both were to have shared a beautiful friendship.

  • Aw. I’m sorry. That must hurt.

  • Oh, beautiful, enigmatic Elliott. I am so sorry, Ann.

  • I’m so so sorry to hear about Elliott. I will be giving my kitties a good snuggling in his honor.

  • The New Bedford Whaling Museum (part of our National Park service) runs a Moby Dick Marathon every January, where they read the whole book from start to finish. (It takes 25 hours.) It’s a neat event, and there are always knitters in the audience.

    Here’s the listing for the 2017 event:

    • Best museum ever! Enjoyed many field trips there as a child. Loved climbing through the half-sized replica of the whaling ship. Best local yarn store was nearby in Padanaram Village.

  • I am so sorry about Elliott. He truly was a beautiful boy on the outside, as well as on the inside.

    You may get me to listen to Moby Dick, yet! A feat indeed.

  • Crying for your loss.

  • The colors for your castaway hat are divine!!
    I’m so sorry for your loss! I hope your wonderful memories help ease the pain of your grief. Pets give us so much, sometimes even more than human family members. Their unconditional love and attention without expectation is truly amazing.

  • So sorry about Elliot. Everyone who has had a great pet can empathize. I love that picture of him on the handknits. He’s regal and he owns it. Also the one of Judy, Comet and the Breton cowl makes me smile.

  • Dear Ann,
    I am sooo sorry to hear that Elliott died. My dogs have always been part of my heart; I know that’s how it is with cats. Wishing you peace, and tears when you need them

  • Big hugs. So sorry to hear about Elliot.

    I am also loving Moby Dick for all the reasons you listed above. Although I’m having to listen to almost every chapter twice so that I catch everything. It’s really wonderful though. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rest easy, Elliot. Thank you for sharing his wonderful fluffiness with us all. <3

  • So, so sorry

  • So sorry. Been there. No one understands the handknits like a cat.

  • Sorry about Elliott .. they have a way of knitting themselves into our lives.

  • Elliott! Oh Ann, I am so very sorry. Poor Kermit. Poor you. (Big hugs.)

  • I am sorry about Eliot. It’s like losing a brother sometimes, losing a cat.

  • So sorry about Elliot! Peace Ann!

  • Oh Ann, I’m so sorry. Safe journey, Elliott. You were the fluffiest.

  • I am so sorry about Elliot. Those kittehs — really, any pet — sneak their way into our hearts. Our two cats, Hannibal and EnEsch (the latter named by my then-middle-schooler after the drummer in a German punk band), disappeared within a few weeks of each other early this fall. Hannibal was the best cat I have ever had in 67 years of being owned by felines. (We blame the angry neighbor but have no solid evidence.) I am holding out for a pair of black female littermates; since I am on the board of the county humane society I think I could have first dibs if a pair appears…

  • I’m so sorry. Elliott was a glorious cat, and I will miss him classing up the handknits with his wondrously furry presence. All my sympathies to Elliott’s humans, and to Kermit.

  • Ann, I am so sorry that you lost Elliot. It is always sad to lose a member of the family. Remember the wonder cat whenever you wear one of your fabulous hand knits! I lost one of my two cats unexpectedly recently. I am giving my other cat lots of extra cuddles these days. As a result, his fur is embedded in my current knitting project!

  • Beloved cats do wrap their fluffy paws around our hearts, don’t they?
    I’m so sorry you and your family lost your dear Elliott.

  • So sorry to heat about Elliott. Losing a pet is hard. They are so good to us. Hugs from our home to yours.

  • So sorry about Elliott. It sucks when pets pass. Hugs to you.

  • Oh, Ann. My heart goes out to you. Kitties are always at the ready to help with the knitting, be it in blocking, winding balls, testing a yarn’s potential for coziness — all the things we knit for, but they have a different understanding of. May your memories sustain you, and I’ll bet you have a small book’s worth of kitty cat/knitting stories to share. Hugs and sending love, as it is all that can assuage the pain.

    Your pal,

    Natalie, a Stopover KAL survivor who has finally reached the point where the sleeves are incorporated into the rest of it (once I knit a second sleeve). I’m in denial and am on a rant of möbius knitting, and about to start on the cowl from Presto, so wonderfully modeled by Olive.

  • Farewell Elliot! May there be plenty of slow, fat mice, small flightless birds, sunny spots, and squishy garter stitch knits for kneading and napping on your side of the bridge.

    So sorry for your loss. Thanks for giving Elliot a good home.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. He was a fabulous knitwear model and beautiful to boot.

  • I’m so sorry Ann

  • I’m sorry for your loss Ann. They leave furry holes in our heart when the go.

  • So sorry about Elliott!

  • So sorry for your loss. I lost my own sweet kitty on Labor Day weekend. Thankfully I had four days off to bawl my eyes out in the privacy of my own home. (I’m tearing up even now as I think about it.) He was black and white like your Kermit, and I confided in him for over 17 years, for things like family troubles, unhappiness at work, and well…boys. He had discriminating tastes. He appreciated a good pork chop as well as a delicious sugar cookie, and of course, he enjoyed “helping” with my knitting. I teared up the first time I ate a pork chop without him. My other kitty uncannily resembles Elliott. She is constantly working me for treats since he’s been gone, and I nearly always oblige, because it’s just the right thing to do, isn’t it?

  • I’m so sorry about Elliott.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about Elliott. Hugs!

  • Huge hugs re: Elliott. Furry family members are just as huge a part of our lives as human ones, IMO.

    And I might just join you on the epic read! It’s been years since I read that book.

  • Very sorry to hear of Elliott’s passing. Sending love to you. Holding my dear old Simon a little closer.

  • My condolences on losing Elliott.

  • And our Mudita, a sweet little tortoise shell, passed away Thursday early morning. She was old but healthy – until all of a sudden the kidney disease overwhelmed her.
    Yes, time to start over on a new year, though probably too much to ask of any New Year that it not bring sadnesses…

  • Ann, I am so sorry. Our fur children are family. Our 14 year old calico, Abby passed this time last year. We still miss her and smile at the memories we made with her. Sending hugs and understanding

  • You have my sincere sympathy in the loss of Elliott. I know from experience how losing a beloved pet feels, and I will pray that you will find comfort to get you through the adjustment.

    It will take time.

  • Lovely writing, balancing between joy and sorrow! Peace in the New Year!

  • I’m sorry that I am only reading about your loss this morning. I always chuckled to see your Little Man in photos. He was destined for your blog. Such dignity. It is hard to lose a companion and I send along my sympathies.

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