Remembering Cat Bordhi
September 24, 2020 1:25 AM   Subscribe

"Knitting has the most marvelous ability to free up the knitter as a human being, while masquerading as innocent knitting": Clara Parkes and Sarah White write about the knitting designer Cat Bordhi, who died this month.
posted by paduasoy (23 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
I’m not a knitter, but/and I love the Moebius strip cowls she designed. Wow. Thanks for sharing.
posted by eirias at 4:15 AM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

I never got to meet her, but I live and work in the knitting world she helped craft. It is truly a better world, filled with kind and sharing people (not exclusively, of course, every subculture has its assholes—but the knitting world seems to have a much lower share proportionally than I’m used to). Cat Bordhi is one of the big reasons why that’s true. It’s a lot to live up to, but Cat believes in us, and that’s something!
posted by rikschell at 5:46 AM on September 24, 2020 [5 favorites]

Almost every Cat Bordhi pattern I've knit starts out with a feeling of "wait what? what even are these instructions?! this is bonkers, this will never work!" followed in due course by a reverently breathed "sunuvabitch, will you look at that" as something utterly amazing emerges.

She taught me to look at things in a different way, and not to be bound by This Is How It's Always Been Done.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:08 AM on September 24, 2020 [13 favorites]

Oh no! Her mind worked in such a gorgeously bizarre fashion! I agree with Mary Ellen Carter, knitting Cat Bordhi socks was like watching an expertly crafted farce, all violations and escalations on violations, with every detail tied up perfectly at the end. I will miss her.
posted by apparently at 6:20 AM on September 24, 2020 [3 favorites]

I feel like Cat's career trajectory was a real model for a lot of the great independent designers and teachers working in knitting today. I am not close enough to that world to know that for sure -- someone could come along and say, like, no X, Y and Z came first, and I wouldn't disagree -- but a lot of the great teachers I have met really seemed to love and admire Cat.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:49 AM on September 24, 2020

posted by dlugoczaj at 6:52 AM on September 24, 2020

posted by augustimagination at 8:34 AM on September 24, 2020

posted by corvikate at 8:40 AM on September 24, 2020

posted by LobsterMitten at 8:45 AM on September 24, 2020

I bought Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles waaaay back in the day, and it took a bit of fiddling, and faith, to follow the instructions but in the end her technique allowed me to finish my first pair of socks. I had previously knit one sock and never completed the mate, so it was nice to work on both at the same time.

I pretty quickly discovered I did not like wearing hand-knit socks, and switched to the magic loop method for making arm warmers or glovers at the same time. I don't think I've made any of her other patterns but I always appreciated the break-though she helped me have.
posted by See you tomorrow, saguaro at 9:03 AM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Her Moebius cowl pattern is a marvel and my cowl is hands down my most worn piece of knitting.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 10:15 AM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh no! Hers was one of the first designer/innovator names I encountered when I first started knitting. I am sorry to hear she is gone.

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:20 AM on September 24, 2020

I haven’t knit a Cat Bordhi design, but always admired them for how bonkers-clever they looked. Her mind and humor will be so missed.

My first major exposure to Cat came through this blog post by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee: it involves felting a Napa cabbage.
posted by angeline at 10:30 AM on September 24, 2020


I use her two circular needle technique for knitting very small circumferences all the time. DPNs? Haven't needed them for nearly 20 years. Truly a life-changing shift in my knitting flow.
posted by lovecrafty at 10:46 AM on September 24, 2020

Wow, I've been knitting for decades and had never heard of her until now. I'm delighted for the introduction to what is obviously a very cool knitting brain, and am sorry to hear of her passing.

posted by TheCoug at 12:32 PM on September 24, 2020

posted by DebetEsse at 2:16 PM on September 24, 2020

posted by ugf at 11:33 PM on September 24, 2020

posted by andraste at 2:16 AM on September 25, 2020

posted by camyram at 4:52 AM on September 25, 2020

posted by like_neon at 5:20 AM on September 25, 2020

Cat is my aunt. Thank you for posting this.
posted by melodykramer at 7:50 AM on September 25, 2020 [5 favorites]

*sadness* A great knitting name. I too loved the Moebius cowl.
posted by Pentickle at 7:26 AM on September 27, 2020

I took a sock knitting class with Cat Bordhi years ago. It was fun to see that little bit of the workings of her brilliant mind. And I kept knitting socks with that method for a while (it was from "Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters" and involved a cardboard template of the sock recipient's foot -- so smart!).

posted by liet at 12:10 PM on September 28, 2020

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