Mad Cat Baskets are finally here!

Whew! It’s taken me long enough to finalise this design, but here it is.  Listed and live on Etsy and Not On The High Street.

I’ve even updated my profile to show them off.

Mad Cat Baskets in 5 funky colours

Mad Cat Baskets in 5 funky colours

After getting to grips with the quirks of t-shirt yarn, I’m really enjoying working with it. Many, many hours of working and reworking and unpicking and re-calculating have gone into these five cat beds. Because the yarn is totally unreliable – could be super-chunky, or just a bit chunky – each basket comes out a different size.

Yellow with pink n purple 2

But they will all comfortably accommodate a small or medium-sized cat.

And Herbie, at a push.

All tucked in!

All tucked in!

Till next time,

L x

Purple and yellow cat baskets

Some fab new colours have arrived from Hoooked Zpagetti.

New arrivals

New arrivals

So far I’ve made a purple basket

Herbie purple basket 1and a yellow one. But Herbie has chosen purple.

Herbie purple & yellow basketI love the bright colours and how the light makes the giant stitches pop out.

Herbie purple basket closeupMore colours coming soon – and a cat cave!

Till next time

L x

Uncle Herbert is pretty in pink

How about a shocking pink knitted cat basket?  I think so!

Herbie pink basket

The basket is normal-cat-sized.  It’s just that Herbie is BIG.  Still, he’s happy to model for me.

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The pink basket is going to be part of my new range of cat beds in all the colours of the rainbow.  I’m using upcycled t-shirt yarn, and it has many little quirks.  One of them is that each cone of yarn is a slightly different thickness. Which means that every time I start a new basket, I have to assess the thickness of the yarn and decide whether to use a double strand or not.

On the plus side, the range of colours is glorious and never-ending, so inspiration is never far away!

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Oh, and Monty likes the pink basket too. But he kind of flattens it.

Monty pink basket

More yarn, bigger baskets!

Till next time,

L x

Knitting and Me are Back On

I knitted my cat basket in t-shirt yarn. It turned out much better than I expected.

photo 3

I have had this cone of t-shirt yarn on the shelf for more than 6 months.  I never thought it would work. T-shirt yarn is quite floppy, not stiff like the semi-felted wool I was using before. That’s why I thought it would never work as a basket – the sides have to stand up unsupported. But I was wrong. The sides stand up beautifully.

Until Larry came along and curled up on top of it.

Larry flattens the new basket

Larry flattens the new basket

It was good to get Larry’s seal of approval.  But I have to make an adjustment. The new yarn is thinner than the semi-felted wool, so the basket knits up smaller. Larry is using the entire basket as a pillow.

Time to make a bigger basket.  Here goes with the next size up. I’ve got just enough t-shirt yarn left to make the medium size. This works out a lot better for Larry.

Larry in the medium basket

Larry in the medium basket

The t-shirt yarn is delightfully easy to work with, maybe because of the generous stretch it has. Fortunately I can use the same set of doublepins I already have. Most exciting of all, t-shirt yarn is easily available in every colour under the sun. Wow, how exciting is that?

I went online and ordered a load of fabulous colours.

Knitting – me and you are back on!

Till next time,

L x

 

 

Knitting again!

Such a long time since I picked up the needles. Crazy busy few weeks in the day job since January.

I had the pleasure last weekend of knitting a bamboo flute warmer for a musician friend. The size was 60 cm long by 3 cm diameter. So I knitted a long, long rectangle, eyelets at one end, and sewed it up.  I added a double ribbon drawstring and a few beads. It was simple and quick, and my friend loved it. I thought, how I’ve missed knitting!

Now I have a few days off the day job and some space in my head for other things. I finally got the t-shirt yarn out which I ordered ages ago, and cast on using 12mm needles.

photo

It looks OK! But does it stand up?

photo 2Yes it does!

I see potential. Could this be the start of a new range?

Till next time

L x

 

Sold the last cat basket!

The very last cat basket I have is a size Small which I made a while ago and sent as a sample to Anthropologie.  They didn’t go ahead in the end, which was just as well, since the wool has been permanently discontinued. So they sent the sample back to me and it’s my very last one.

Then today my boss announced she has just reserved a new kitten in the local rescue centre – a ginger and white cutie – to keep her older cat company. Could she buy a cat basket for him? A pleasure that my last wool basket is going to a home where I can see it again! The kitten is going to be called Jimmy – how adorable is that?

In case my own cats are disappointed, I’m sure I could pull together some scraps and offcuts, maybe undo a couple of smaller prototypes, to fashion the very very last ever basket to keep them happy too.

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Herbie would appreciate it.

Till next time,

L x

No more giant wool in the UK!

This week I got a great order for TWO medium cat baskets from a lady in France (thanks, notonthehighstreet.com!)

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I realised I was down to my very last cone of giant wool and this order was going to use it all up. I contacted my supplier to place another order, and was shocked to find out the the wool is no longer available.

I contacted the only other supplier in the UK that I know of (who were more expensive), and sure enough they told me the same thing. This yarn is discontinued.

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A google search yielded nothing remotely like it. Which didn’t surprise me because it was hard enough to source any kind of giant wool in the first place. One of the suppliers helpfully sent me some samples of their undyed yarn. But their thickest offering, a soft wool roving, was not even in the same ball park as the giant wool.

So with great sadness I will fulfil my last order for extreme knitting cat baskets this weekend.

Unless anyone out there can recommend a supply?

Till next time,

L x

A Love Affair with Wool

One of the reasons I fell in love with knitting is the wool. The texture, colours, feel and even the scent of pure wool were very appealing – and still are. When I was little I used to go and stay with my aunt who was a spinning and weaving teacher. Needless to say she always had a wool-related project to keep me amused. I remember sitting in her garden one summer’s day, handling some raw wool fleece. My job was to loosen the fibres by tossing it into the air, teasing it out, and letting the air in. I loved the feel of the wool under my fingers and the scent of lanolin it left behind.  To this day, handling pure wool is happily evocative of those times.

The giant wool I use for my baskets and cat caves is not that far removed from raw fleece. It’s had minimal processing and still retains its characteristic aroma. I had a lot of fun devising my giant wool baskets and my cats love modelling them.

So I was thrilled this week when my extreme knitting cat baskets were featured on the Ovis-A wool blog.  Many thanks to Katherine for the mention!

Ovis-a.com is a new site which aims to promote and celebrate British wool and wool designs. From their Facebook page – “The overall ethos is to promote a forward thinking and contemporary way to showcase British Wool products, using a directory and showcase service.”  They are also on Twitter.

This is a great idea and I wish them all the best with their venture!

It's not finished yet, Herbie

It’s not finished yet, Herbie

Till next time,

L x

A Basket for Lightning

This week I received an order for a medium cat basket via the January sale in Not On The High Street.

Larry gets comfortable

Larry is my model

The lucky recipient’s name was Lightning! What a wonderful cat name.  I can only imagine him (or her) whizzing around the house before flopping into the giant wool basket (hopefully) for a nap.

I had great fun printing the label.

Basket Label Lightning

 

If only I could actually knit the basket like lightning….

I had some good news this week. The people at my temporary workplace asked me to stay another month. They think I’m doing a good job for them. I enjoy being there. Thing is, I’m on a pretty lousy hourly rate via an agency. And the agency has messed up just about every aspect of the payments, timesheet, and client care. So I said I would like to stay, but only if I could make a direct arrangement with the company. That way I would be paid more, and the agency would be paid less. The company agreed. They were more than happy to dispense with the agency, having had such bad service from them.

However, it turns out that the company’s internal bureaucracy made it impossible for them to contract directly with me for only one month. The procedures were just too long-winded and complicated. This was very interesting to me. I have never worked in a big organisation before so have never come up against this sort of issue. But the nice people at the company came up with a compromise – to continue via the agency, but to up my hourly rate by quite a lot. Yay for me! Unfortunately it also means that the agency gets more money, not less. But there’s no way around that for the time being.

We went out to dinner to celebrate. There is a super new Sri Lankan restaurant up the road. They do cocktails! I ordered a Queen on the Bridge, which is Bombay Sapphire gin and champagne, with lime juice and fresh mint. Then a fab bottle of rioja. I got a little bit drunk. It was good!

Till next time,

L x

Fishcloth makes a comeback

Just had a last-minute surge in orders for the Fishcloth dishcloth.

Fishcloth

Fishcloth

Pink, purple, and blue. Not quite enough blue cotton so quick order on ebay to stock up. These are going to the US so will have to get my skates on and get them shipped.

Another Cat Cave is also being despatched tomorrow for a lady in Buckinghamshire. The needles have been quite busy!

Cat-Cave-with-Label

The other thing is, that as of Monday I will be officially self-employed! Not as a knitter: that remains a very absorbing sideline. But as a fine art publisher! Scary, but exciting, with lots of potential. My new website has just gone live with a selection of artwork, and many many more pictures to follow.

Hoping your pre-season preparations are going well!

Till next time,

L x