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!

Giant Wool cat basket pattern

Following many requests over the years, I’ve decided to release the pattern for the Giant Wool cat basket.  Here is Larry modelling one.  He’s pretty good at cat yoga.

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I’ll be working on the pattern over the next few days, making sense of my many notes and different versions.  I’ll also include the Cat Cave – that’s the basket with hood.

Hope everyone is keeping well in these strange times!

Best wishes, Louisa x

I actually knitted something!

It’s been so long and I’ve missed it!  There’s nothing like a deadline to make you start browsing patterns online.  A friend’s baby is due in December and it was just the nudge I needed.  I found this adorable jumper by Hennie on Ravelry – the Very Hungry Caterpillar based on the children’s book.  How cute is that, I thought.  I love how the caterpillar goes from front to back; the leaf is a pocket and I found a ladybird button in my stash which was just the right size.

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There was an option to work the caterpillar as intarsia or as applique.  I opted for intarsia although I’m not very good at it, but luckily the messy bit is at the back.

Another good thing about this pattern is that there is absolutely no seaming.  Front and back are worked in one piece, shoulder seams are joined by kitchener stitch, and the sleeves are pick up and knit in the round.  I had never tried kitchener stitch before – a method of grafting two ‘live’ edges together, to create an invisible seam.  I found some very good instructions on Craftsy and managed pretty well, with a bit of concentration.

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The caterpillar’s face and little legs were embroidered on, which is something I’ve not done for a long time.  So actually this little jumper involved several different skills.  But it was a real joy to knit from a pattern, and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labours.  Can’t wait to give it to my friend!

 

 

Giant Knitting Cat Baskets here soon!

The new yarn is on the needles, and the cat basket is in progress…

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Wow this yarn is even better than I expected.  It’s bigger and thicker than the yarn I used for the original baskets.  And it knits up fine using the needles I already have.  So I don’t have to order a load more knitting needles to be custom-made in bigger sizes.

I have amended my pattern slightly to accommodate the thicker yarn.  I was a bit worried that I hadn’t maintained an even thickness and twist on all of it.  After all, the wet felting was a bit of an experiment.  But working the yarn, it doesn’t seem to matter.  There is enough twist and felting to give it a bit of structure.  In fact, I think it performs even better than the old yarn.

 

It’s easier to get a flatter base.

It’s softer, less like rope.  More like a big, squishy soft strand.

It’s got that characteristic, fleecy scent.

The stitches are massive, with loads more visual impact.

And….the cats love it.

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It’s not finished yet, Monty.

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