…and they’ve been well and truly road-tested by all three crew members. I think we have the seal of approval.
It was useful to make two baskets. One came out a bit tighter than the other, and that turned out to be the best one. This is because, over a few days’ constant use, they stretch. So the looser basket has ended up a bit on the floppy side, and the tighter basket is just about right. Also, as I knitted the base more tightly, the sides appear taller.
The crew spent hours lounging around in their new beds, which enabled us to take lots of scrumptious photos of them. My partner is a professional photographer (thesheffieldlens.com) – I am sure you can tell which are his pictures and which one is off my iphone!
I am excited to make the next batch. I might try a different colour, or at least, a different sheep….
The new yarn is on the needles, and the cat basket is in progress…
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.
It’s not finished yet, Monty.
Knitting with super chunky oversized yarn in the UK just got a whole lot easier!
At the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate (on till Sunday) I met Andrea of the superbly-named Woolly Mahoosive. Giant merino wool and 2 acrylic alternatives are her speciality. All the yarns are super-soft and come in a range of gorgeous colours. They are for knitting on massive 25mm – 40mm needles. They are also perfect for arm knitting!
Check out the display:
See the ginormous chunky wooden needles with signature cubed stoppers? They are beautifully made from tulipwood and rosewood, and come in different lengths. These needles are just what I was looking for when I started extreme knitting. There were none available commercially at that time, so after I got lucky on ebay with a pair of wooden 25mm, I had my uncle make me a set of double pins and circulars in 2 big sizes.
So how did Andrea get hold of this array of giant knitting needles? Does she have a helpful relative beavering away in a workshop? No, she made them herself. Yes indeed. Having no experience of woodwork, she informed herself, got hold of the equipment and set to work.
This kind of initiative and dedication is truly impressive. Their prices are utterly reasonable too. Bloggers, I would urge you to pop over to Twitter and give them a follow. They deserve it!
My head is now popping with ideas about what to make with these fabulous yarns. Inspiration – that’s what the Knitting show is for!
Till next time
In preparation for the arrival of the Great Wheel, my studio workspace was due a revamp. Time to get rid of the pile of cardboard boxes and containers where I stored my yarn collection.
The OH redecorated the entire room and built 15 cubbyholes into the alcove.
I realise the yarn collection is quite modest by most knitters’ standards, but I confess there is an overflow in my wardrobe…
Till next time,
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.
Herbie would appreciate it.
Till next time,
No luck with the search for a new giant wool supply.
I was in London last week doing a trade fair with the new day job. It was a high-end gifts trade fair and I took one of my smaller knitted baskets with me as part of our exhibit. It was a great talking point. I had the chance to meet various buyers from textile mill shops and visitor centres – the ideal people to ask about the supply of giant wool. Sadly, these people who were in the know told me that they did not know of anyone who supplied it. One lady recommended the company I had used before – who have now discontinued it.
So I think I really have to draw a blank!
But then a very helpful lady from Not On the High Street suggested t-shirt yarn, and sent me some pictures. I hadn’t heard of t-shirt yarn before, but it appealed to me because it’s a waste product of the textile industry, therefore I would be ‘up cycling’. It also comes in all sorts of fabulous colours. I found some videos online of people cutting up t-shirts into continuous strips to make the yarn DIY-style. So I had a go myself with an old t-shirt, and found that it knitted up quite well.
I’m feeling inspired….am now sourcing a good supply…watch this space!
This week I got a great order for TWO medium cat baskets from a lady in France (thanks, notonthehighstreet.com!)
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.
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,
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
Till next time,
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!
This is going to be his Christmas present.
And the basket is for storing all his toys!
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,
Arachnophobes look away now…..
It’s the scary spider cupcake. Perfect for Hallowe’en.
Pattern available on Folksy, Etsy, Craftsy and Ravelry.
The Spider Cupcake
It’s not really that scary is it?