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As I try to turn my WIP's into FO's, I find that my knitting progress often goes backward instead if I'm not pretty careful around my daughter and cats. My darling knitting-destroyers work in shifts. When my not-quite-2 year old toddler is in bed, the cats are active lap hunters and when the cats are hiding from "the grabby, noisy one", my daughter takes over. So here are some tips for knitting around these little anti-knitters.

Use Circular Needles

Straight needles are just too tempting for cats to bat. And they also seem to be pretty fun to pull out of the knitting and run with -- panicking Mommy. Circular needles don't have things sticking out to bat and pulling them out of the knitting is more than just a grab and run maneuver. Also, if you have to drop your knitting and run to your toddler's aid, it is very easy to tug on the needles to help keep stitches from dropping while you are away from your knitting. Most importantly (though I'm not sure if other toddlers do this), when being divebombed on the couch while knitting, circular needles do not provide the stab danger that straight needles do.

Keep your yarn in a bag while you knit

I use my KIP (Knitting in Public) bag most of the time at home. It's just a messenger bag with big handles that hang comfortably on the wrist while knitting the yarn that is contained inside. This is great for balls that aren't center pull so that they don't go bouncing all over (making it look more like a cat toy) and it follows the always useful "out of sight, out of mind" rule. It also gives an extra obstacle for the grab the yarn and run tactic that either toddlers or cats can use.

Don't leave your knitting unattended

Aside from the obvious dangers of leaving pointed sticks lying around, your knitting can be destroyed in the few seconds you spend cleaning up whatever mess your darlings have just made. And the tug of war for the yarn and/or project that follows isn't going to help matters.

Keep yarn needles, scissors and other notions in enclosed containers and out of reach

I currently keep my stitch markers, yarn needles and scissors in the zippered pocket of my KIP, but my toddler may master the art of zippers any day now, so that is changing. Keeping them out of reach is definitely inconvenient, but avoiding the dangers of pets or children swallowing these items more than compensates for it.

Take "Attention Breaks"

If you are fighting with your darlings over play rights with the yarn, they are probably jealous of the activity taking your attention. Keeping a book nearby to read to your child as a distraction will often satisfy the real reason she is messing with your knitting. A friend suggested I keep a small ball of yarn for my cats to play with, but one of them (Loki) likes to swallow as much yarn as possible. A horrible tummy ache and painful expulsion follows. So the other (Thor) doesn't have the luxury of fun, stringy toys. (By the way, naming your cat after the Norse God of Mischief and Evil is not recommended for those looking for a sedate, trouble-free companion.) I find a grooming brush is an excellent way to appease feline intruders.

Overall, knitting is an excellent activity to do while taking care of children. You don't need to focus completely on your work (unless it is lace) and it is pretty easy to give the majority of your attention to the one who deserves it most. Also, you are setting a good example for your child and you might just end up with someone you can share your DIY crafting with when he or she gets older.


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