Fancy felines: Beginner crafters practise skills by purrfecting regalia for cats

·2 min read

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect — or is purrfect?

Either way, filmmaker Shelby Mitchell-Adams from Akwesasne is taking it to heart. As a newbie to beadwork, Mitchell-Adams dedicated her first big beading project to her family's new kitten.

The cat, named Anna, now has a beaded floral vest.

"Everyone knows that I'm not really a beader; I just wanted to make something," laughed Mitchell-Adams.

Mitchell-Adams only recently started beading, but said the activity has been important for the whole family.

"This is a good fun thing for us," she said.

"I started beading first, then my daughter who used to bead and put it aside started beading again. It's a cool, fun thing for us to do together, then the cat jumps in and knocks our beads all over the place."

Submitted by Shelby Mitchell-Adams
Submitted by Shelby Mitchell-Adams

Along with the vest, Anna has a small lacrosse stick. The family are fans of the traditional Haudenosaunee sport.

"When the kids play with her, it just adds another traditional element for her to play the game since we're huge lacrosse fans.

"Our cat is pretty easy going. She lets us dress her up. Even her lacrosse stick, she plays with it and looks like she's doing lacrosse moves with it. It's so funny to watch."

Mitchell-Adams took the cat in after she was found abandoned on the side of the road.

"We're not cat people, and I never thought I would take in a cat but now that we have her, she has brought so much joy to our household. We love her so much," she said.

"I would suggest everyone take in a cat, it will change your life for the better."

Mitchell-Adams isn't the only beginner crafter who is practising new skills by making regalia for cats. Sydney Calf Robe, from the Onondaga Nation, is new to sewing.

"The reason I got into sewing is because I've been depressed. I wanted to do something, to try and focus on something else instead of staying in my room," she said.

Submitted by Sydney Calf Robe
Submitted by Sydney Calf Robe

Calf Robe's mother encouraged her to start sewing new regalia for the Haudenosaunee midwinter ceremonies. She's practised making many things, including a couple of ribbon shirts and skirts for her cat Ramona.

"I'm just experimenting with all different kinds of things. I was just trying out a ribbon shirt. I made a pattern to fit my cat for it, just thought it would be funny," she said.

"I've sewn quite a few things, for myself even. They're not the best but I take it with more pride because I have potential of being a good sewer some day."