Knittin’ for the Kitten

So yes, I DO know how to knit.  It’s just been awhile – a LONG while – since I have.  But when I was cleaning out my “work” tote bag (a bag full of random documents that I haul to and from work without any particular rhyme or reason), I found a pattern for a knitted, felted cat bed.  The Kitty Pi!  I decided it was long past time to make one for my kitten, Taz, who loves nothing more than stealing skeins of wool from my stash to play with.  Kitties love wool and they love small, soft places to sleep.  Perfect!

Happily, there were three skeins of blue variegated wool in my stash, Marvel by Joann’s Sophisticates Collection, which satisfied the yardage requirements almost exactly.  It had originally been $8 a skein and I’d gotten it on clearance for $1.57.  Such a deal!  (And I don’t think it matters that I have no conscious memory of purchasing it.  I really don’t.)  Marvel  is a bit odd, as it consists of a few inches of extremely thin fiber (like a pencil lead) followed by a few inches of thick and fuzzy (about the diameter of a Chap Stick tube).  This resulted in a soft fabric with large “bumps” on it in a diamond shaped pattern.  Quite interesting!

Alas, those bumps were slated to be reduced to nothing more than an intriguing texture, because after knitting what looked like a ski cap for Paul Bunyan, I popped it into the washing machine with very hot water, a tiny amount of soap and a bath towel and let it agitate for about half an hour.  This both shrank and stiffened the Pi, and allowed it to be shaped while drying.  I used the bottom of a tall, cylindrical laundry basket, which was the perfect size.  Interestingly, the top edge of the Pi turned out ruffly, which I did not expect!  This was probably due to the thick/thin quality of the yarn.  Also, for any knitters who may be reading, I made the Pi “backwards.”  The original pattern has you start with four stitches and increase until it’s huge.  Since I don’t like increasing, I started from the “huge” and worked my way down, just like knitting a hat.  I used size 11 circular needles, cast on 144 stitches, knit until two skeins were gone, then began the decreases (k2t), eventually switching to four double-pointed needles, until I had about eight stitches left.  Pulled the tail through and tied off.  When you’re going to felt, it doesn’t have to be perfect!  I noticed later where I had dropped a row of stitches (apparently they fell off the back of a double-point), so I just pulled the loops up and tied them off with another piece of yarn.  Sloppy?  Who cares?  It’s gonna be felted!

Unfortunately the Pi still wasn’t dry after two days.  Perhaps I hadn’t squeezed out enough water, but I didn’t want to warp it.  I put it outside in the sun to speed the process along and that did the trick.

After bringing it inside, I set it on the carpet next to my computer desk, picked up Taz and put her in it.  She backed out of it immediately, freaking out!  Silly me; I didn’t give her time to check it out thoroughly first.  But within 30 seconds, she had crawled back in, given it a good sniff, then curled up for a nice rest.  I think she knew it was made just for her!

The picture isn’t the greatest because there wasn’t sufficient light in the living room, but I didn’t want to use the flash and make her eyes look all red.  So you’ll just have to imagine how she looks in focus.  🙂  She loves her Kitty Pi!

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