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

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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

 

Cat Cave with personalised label

I just finished a custom order for a Cat Cave and a 14 x 10 inch basket.

The customer’s name was Merlin so I made this special label for him. Too cute!

Personalised label

Personalised label

This is going to be his Christmas present.

Cat-Cave-with-Label

And the basket is for storing all his toys!

14 x 10 in basket

14 x 10 in basket

What a lucky cat Merlin is!

The Cat Cave in all its glory can be viewed on Not On The High Street, along with the cat baskets and other extreme knitting goodies.

I am also adding some cats and knitting-related fine art prints in the coming days!

Hope all your pre-Christmas plans are coming together,

Till next time,

L x

 

Cat Baskets at Cool For Cats UK!

I was totally thrilled last week to find that Kathy at Cool for Cats UK has devoted an entire blog post to my extreme knitting cat baskets.

Kathy is a cat lover extraordinaire.  She volunteers at the animal rescue charity CHAT in London, and also works in a Cats Protection charity shop.  Her blog is full of great stories and product reviews.  I’m really flattered that she chose to feature my cat baskets and wrote about them so well.

It's not finished yet, Herbie

It’s not finished yet, Herbie

Thanks again Kathy!

Till next time,

L x

Cat Cave coverage in Your Cat

I found out today that my Cat Cave in giant wool is being featured in the October issue of Your Cat magazine.

This is my first ever press coverage and I’m absolutely thrilled. They have done wonders with my picture and I love what they have written. ‘Knitty Kitty Cave’ is great!

Cat Cave in giant wool - or Knitty Kitty Cave

Cat Cave in giant wool – or Knitty Kitty Cave

It looks like the Cat Cave may be my bestseller, so I really should think about making one which is Maine Coon sized….

Till next time,

L x

One Year Anniversary

Hello all,

Sometime in July 2012 I started this blog. I am a little bit late with the anniversary but I wanted to briefly review the first year.  Eagle-eyed followers will have noticed I have changed my logo and header. I was dreading doing this as I remember struggling with it for hours when I first set up my blog. But I managed to change my header in two ticks, which just goes to show how much I’ve learned in my first year.

My focus has changed from cupcakes and patterns, to extreme knitting: big and bold baskets, bags and containers. But my original cupcake design is still doing well, and it makes a cute picture, so I’ve kept it in my new logo.

I am very excited to have opened a store on the fantastically re-branded and re-launched notonthehighstreet.com. This is a great opportunity for me, and it couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment, as my day job is coming to an end. Exciting and terrifying times are ahead, as I find myself back in the job market after 20 years of continuous employment post-degree, with a regular salary for all that time (no career break). I don’t really want to re-enter the corporate world, but on the other hand my OH is already self-employed, so there are some difficult decisions to be made in the coming weeks. I feel excited and completely terrified at the same time. But change is good for us, and it’s about time I experienced some change, that’s for sure.

IMG_2765

I knitted a cat basket with a hood, to make a cat cave or cat pod.  As it’s based on my smaller basket, my cats are way too big to fit inside. Although Monty tried… he really tried to coil himself in, but he just ended up rolling it over onto the roof and tumbling out….oh if only I had filmed that, it cracked me up. So I got the two Shelf Cats to model the new Cat Cave for me.

Till next time,

L x