Cat Basket finished!

So the test knit worked!  Cat basket in dove grey arm knitting yarn, hot off the needles and approved by Larry.

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This yarn is acrylic, so it doesn’t have the woolly scent which attracts the furbags.  So I placed the basket in a high status location – kitchen table – location is everything – and sprayed it with catnip spray.  Took about 5 minutes for Larry to jump in it.

I’ve only knitted these in wool before, so wondered how the acrylic yarn would perform.  Well, it was perfectly easy to knit with, a consistent thickness, and pretty strong.  Like any yarn, you have to be careful not to split the fibres whilst working.

This particular basket was knitted from the top down, so the outer rim is the cast-on edge.  I used the long tail cast on, to make the edge neat and flexible.  Larry will stretch out in his sleep and flatten the sides, but this yarn is happy to be re-shaped afterwards and the sides hold up pretty well.

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Really loving the dove grey colour and find it goes well with the decor in any room in the house.  Grey is the new white!

I’ve listed the Giant Wool Cat Basket, and the pattern, on my website Knittingrev.com, and in my Etsy shop.

The pattern includes 2 sizes, and 2 methods.  You can work top down, as in the grey basket, or from the centre outwards – see white basket below.  If you work from the centre outwards, you start off with 6 stitches, and your cast-off edge is the outer rim.  You might prefer the look of this.

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For both methods, the basket is worked in the round, on circular needles, using the magic loop method.  There is no seaming – hurrah! – and only 2 ends to weave in.

Arm knitting yarn and 25mm circular needles from Woolly Mahoosive.  Many good suppliers for extreme knitting also on Etsy.

 

Cat basket in progress

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For a knitting pattern to be successful, it has to be thoroughly tested.  Just as important, it must be easy to find the tools and materials needed to make it.

My giant wool cat basket is knitted in the round.  I’ve always made it using large 20mm doublepins.  Back in 2012, you couldn’t buy oversized doublepins anywhere, so I asked my Uncle to make some for me.  Many cat basket orders later, and a change of wool supply, I am still happily knitting these on the oversized doublepins.

Since then, extreme knitting has come on in leaps and bounds.  There are lots of giant yarns available from specialist suppliers, in both wool and acrylic.  You can even get giant circular needles for making those eye-popping blankets and throws.  But you still can’t get giant doublepins.  So how was I going to make my pattern appealing to knitters, if the tools for the job were not available?

Then I discovered the Magic Loop method.  This is how you can knit even the smallest circumference on any length of circular needles.  I tried it and found it really simple.  I knitted the whole basket this way and it worked a treat.  Then I knitted the whole basket in reverse – from the outer rim to the centre.  That worked too!

Next is to test knit the basket again, using 1kg of easily available arm knitting yarn.  Step forward Dove Grey acrylic from Woolly Mahoosive!  Let’s see how the basket knits up with this yarn…watch this space!

So many ideas…so little time

Ideas are like buses.  None for ages, and then several come along at once.  Each one requires careful research into materials and methods. I have made a start on the knitted cat.  But there’s a long way to go before I am happy with my design. I have been making my brain ache trying to design a construction which involves fewer pieces to sew together, whilst giving a satisfying result which is not too awkward to make up. This is a work in progress. I found this yarn in my local yarn shop:

 

which said, ‘Knit me into a cat!’ So I snapped it up, and it’s waiting in the stash for me.

I also want to start selling finished items rather than just the patterns for my designs. As my time is limited, these items need to be simpler in design so that I can make them fairly quickly. There are some beautiful soft cotton yarns which I’m very drawn to….and I ended up ordering 12 balls of this:

Beautiful organic cotton in gentle colours. Yum!

I have done lot of pattern research recently and have knitted several swatches of reversible stitches. There’s no wrong side! How cool is that?

Any of these would look stunning as a scarf, in the right yarn.

Meanwhile, my extreme knitting project is on the back burner, awaiting some extreme circular needles. I couldn’t find any for sale in the UK that were big enough. So I asked my uncle. He is a very skilled carpenter, so turning some wood to the correct size, shaping the ends and attaching them with plastic piping is well within his capabilities. He very kindly agreed to help me. So, as soon as my new circulars are ready, extreme knitting is back on. Can’t wait for that!

Happy knitting!

Till next time,

L x