Cats and knitters* share a mystical superpower: they can suss out yarn anywhere, whether hidden behind walls of lead or at the bottom of a bargain basement sales bin. This attraction to long fibrous materials harks back to sunnier days when hanks of yarn grew on trees and children fell asleep when put to bed. Or maybe it’s a throwback to the days when we needed to hunt wool in the wild, tracking the crafty little fibers, and capturing them before they could get away and warn the others.
Cats think everything is a toy … or the enemy. They approach a ball of yarn with stealth worthy of a World War I infantry patrol. Their whiskers twitch and hindquarters shiver before pouncing on the unwary acrylic. Their victories depend upon how much yarn there is to unravel or chase around the room. Cats know when the babysitter’s bag contains mixed skeins or all the same yarn. Then they go for whatever is most convenient, closest to the mouth of the bag, not digging for the most rare or costliest fibers. The cat wages war on string from racial memory, an animalistic urge without sense or reason.
Exploiting her superpower to the max, the knitter, however honed her yarn sense, will seek out the hand-dyed, single lot, rarest fibers. Her war is personal: acquire the most you can and die happy. Today, yak, alpaca, angora, merino, silk, and bamboo replace yesterday’s limited choices of Wintuk and Sayelle. The size of her stash trumpets victory. Prizes won at the Battle of Rhinebeck and war trophies from the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival campaign embolden the warrior’s stashing efforts. She with the most yarn WINS!
With different types of approaches, cats and knitters acquire their desires by stealth, persistence, and sheer dumb desire.
Yarn. Ya gotta have it.
* “Knitters” includes crocheters, too.