Maintaining Cat Bordhi’s legacy
Cat Bordhi was one of the most creative people we’ve ever known, and one of the most generous.
Many people know her creativity through the patterns and unique ideas that she sent forth into the knitting community. Not as many know about her exquisitely crafted bears or the prize-winning young adult novel she wrote.
Her generosity burst forth in her teaching, in school systems where she helped the curriculum come alive and lose its confusion for students, and then in the fiber world, where she came up with inventive ways to teach not only skills but an approach of joyous experimentation and discovery.
Throughout much of this time, Cat experienced cancer. She held it off with her characteristic enthusiasm for many years. We lost her in the fall of 2020, as the covid-19 pandemic was upending multiple aspects of our lives.
Cat’s clear-sighted awareness meant she knew that she would be leaving us, and she knew she had built a legacy. She knew that legacy would need an attentive guardian, and she asked some friends to be its guardians. Chief among those guardians is her good friend, Val Curtis, who bravely agreed to continue maintaining Cat’s website, original works, patterns, and books and to do everything possible to make sure the knitting community has ongoing access to the incomparable and valued resources Cat had generated over so many years. Cat asked that her daughter, Jenny, and Val come to an agreement that they both felt was fair with regards to compensation and they did. They, too, are dear friends. Jenny used to be Val’s next-door neighbor and their boys were babies together.
As organized as Cat’s public presence was, behind the scenes that abundant, inventive spirit left more good stuff than we have seen yet, things that need to be shaped into shareable formats. In some cases these need to be made out of scraps and crumbs that Cat left behind: enough to work with, but not enough to make that job simple or straightforward.
Preserving Cat’s legacy is a job Val volunteered for and has taken on with alacrity and dedication. But to do this, she needs our support: emotional, for sure, and with an appreciation for her time and effort, and skills (which, as Cat knew, are plentiful). She has played many roles in Cat’s absence to keep the community afloat. This has ranged from emotional support to Cat’s beloved friends to keeping the spirit of Cat’s Silent Knitting group via bi-weekly Zoom gatherings and developing Test Knit groups to piece together patterns that are almost complete.
While Val has felt the love, kindness, and creativity of Cat’s community, a number of us would like to make more widely known and acknowledge the yeoman work she has done in maintaining that community.
Val is not Cat. NO ONE is or can be Cat. But with fortitude and a generosity akin to Cat’s, Val—with the support of everyone who has benefited from or will benefit from the resources that Cat left us, in every form—is willing to do her best to keep Cat Bordhi’s spirit active and inspiring our work and lives. That “best” is remarkable, and those of us who know the work Val has put in behind the scenes are both grateful and amazed. Val has published a bit about her background with Cat here: https://catbordhi.com/about-this-site/
This letter comes as an appeal from many of Cat’s friends and associates: let’s all pitch in and give Val the appreciation her work deserves. Let’s also make a team effort to keep the magic going, to the best of our ability.
This is how we all can honor the treasure that Cat was.
Amy O’Neill Houck