KEWAUNEE - Colleen Sternitzky knits Packers hats for cats, and that is that.
They get a laugh right off the bat, unless, of course, you’re the cat.
“Oh, people giggle and say, ‘Oh my God, this is just adorable.’ That’s the typical reaction,” said Sternitzky, a fiber artist who creates under the name Eldamar Arts & Crafts. “They say, ‘I don’t even have a cat and I’m buying one.’”
She started making them a couple of years ago, after a friend gave her a book about cats in hats.
Colleen has done other patterns, including an alien-inspired one with a third eyeball on an antenna, but her itty-bitty kitty hats in Packers colors have quickly become a favorite. The ones she brought to The Holiday Sale Nov. 18-26 in an old grain mill in downtown Denmark sold out the first weekend.
“It’s hard to keep them in stock,” said Sternitzky, who has been knitting for 50 years. “They just fly out of the baskets when I make them.”
They’re crafted specifically for felines, who don’t always have the array of green-and-gold fashion choices that bandana-, sweater-, jersey- and even letterman jacket-wearing canines do. Then again, cats aren’t exactly the good sports dogs are when it comes to game-day dress-up. They prefer au naturel.
The hats have ear holes, which if you’re a cat about to be subjected to a photo shoot, is big. Cats are not fans of having their ears smooshed, Sternitzky said.
She knows how temperamental four-legged models can be. She and her husband James share their home with three of them, Kitzu, Kiki and Hoshi. For the last seven or eight years, they have been sending out a Christmas card with the cats in matching hats. One year they were reindeer, one year snowmen.
“They aren’t terribly thrilled about it,” Colleen Sternitzky admits.
This year’s season’s greeting features the trio sitting angelically all in a row wearing their handmade Packers hats and capes. It only sounds like a Christmas miracle. Actually, Sternitzky says, each cat was photographed separately and then carefully placed together using Photoshop.
Cat owners are fully aware that even the coolest, most laid-back of cats probably isn’t going to lounge around in a hat, but they do make for a funny photo.
“People picture their animals in them and they can’t resist,” she said.
Sternitzky, who is known for her natural fiber knit critters ranging from zebras and lions to cats and various breeds of dogs, uses acrylic yarn for the Packers hats. She can whip one up in an hour and sells them for $5. She’s had people improvise and put them on their Chihuahuas, but so far no requests to do them in the team colors of rival teams like the Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears.
“But that was in my mind maybe for next year,” she said. “I think I’m going to have some models, like if I could get a big, burly Persian to model a Vikings hat.”
Now that’s a cat in a hat Packers fans just might turn their nose up at.
Getting your paws on a hat
Eldamar Arts & Crafts is participating in the Christmas market from noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at Thumb Knuckle Brewing Co. near Luxemburg. Colleen Sternitzky has limited availability of her Packers cat hats before the holidays but plans to make more after the first of the year. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.