Being productive?

So all 3 cats have ‘had a go’ in the new giant wool cat beds.  They don’t need much persuading, especially if I place the bed in a high status location, like in front of the radiator or on top of the piano.  Uncle Herbert was pretty happy about his snooze here.

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Early on in lockdown I got a bit frustrated with being being unproductive, when I suddenly had all this time on my hands.  There are lots of articles in the news about how to use this strange gift of time, if you’re not doing your day job.  Some people even suggest that, hey, don’t feel under pressure to be productive, just enjoy your unproductiveness, you’ll never get another chance.   Well that didn’t sit well with me.  So after doing all the obvious lockdown activities like clearing the garden and re-acquainting myself with home baking, I refreshed this blog and set up knittingrev.com.  Time well spent!

Then, over the last 2 weeks I’ve been focussing on my art print business, Go To Design.  Wow, it really needed a re-vamp.  I have a website but most of my sales & traffic is on Etsy, Ebay and Amazon.  It’s been great to have the time and the head space to really think about the images I’m listing and adding new ones.  Categories, tags and descriptions have been spruced up, and 150 new images are now live, with another 100 to come.

I select images based on well known artists who are out of copyright.  I have to decide which artworks would make a good piece of framed wall art.  I get such a buzz when one of the new images sells!  It’s not always the image I would expect.  For example, floral still life pictures aren’t the greatest sellers, but this one sold straight away.  ‘Peonies, 1920’ by Charles Rennie Mackitnosh.

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To take a break from all this at-the-computer time, I am doing a Zoom pilates class but best of all I get to walk Meggie and Badger 3 times a week.  The weather has been sunny and the bluebells are glorious right now!  Here is Megs in our local woods, with her happy collie face.  She’s the most beautiful girl in the world!

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I can’t mention Meggie & Badger without giving a shout-out to The Cinnamon Trust.  I am a registered volunteer with them, and they do the most amazing work to help the elderly and terminally ill to keep their pets.  They celebrate and promote the special bond between people and their companion animals, recognising the benefits to physical and mental health.  Taking the dogs for a romp through the woods is a joy and a wonderful mood lift!

Hope you are all keeping well and finding ways to get through,

L x

 

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!