Weird Wool Wednesday: patterns for Cats in Cowls.

Patterns for cats in cowls is a thing!

The first one is Kitty Cowl by Diana Fang, a free pattern published this year. The second one is Calystegia Cowl by Lankakomero, knit for her cat Tuppo who also has one in blue:

This is The Triangle Cowl for Tiny Creatures by Softsweater Knits:

So many cats enjoying their cowls:

cats-in-cowls-collage

Dogs have cowl patterns too of course:

Free pattern To humiliate the dog by Amoena Online.

Approved by cats in cowls everywhere.

Two days of full time Acrylic.

I have started a blanket. In 100% acrylic. In wonderful colours:

It wasn’t a plan. I have plenty of WIPs. Besides this is acrylic, I don’t do acrylic much, do I? I’m a wool fan first and foremost.

This is what happened: I went to Utrecht on Friday and had a lovely day in the city. I visited a brand new yarn shop started by fellow Raveler Lilirious. It’s called Sticks & Cups and it’s on the Telingstraat 12, Utrecht. (Behind Neude, next to Filmtheater ‘t Hoogt)

 pic by Carla Meijsen

I’ll tell you about the shop another time. For now just know that Lili is a lovely person with a lot of knowledge and enthousiasm. She educated me on acrylic and its uses and she has such gorgeous colours in the shop and I’m still drunk on my colour palette and acrylic is such good value for money so this happened:

 Cost as much as one skein of hand dyed sock yarn!

The yarn is Scheepjes Colour Crafter yarn, a 100% acrylic DK weight with 300 m on a 100 grams ball. I learned that this quality of Acrylic is soft, durable, doesn’t pill and you can throw it in the washer. Other brands can be squeaky or sweaty but this Premium Acrylic is not.

It’s perfect for a blanket that can be used vigorously by me and the cats.
That’s actually how I prefer most of the items in my life, being it house hold items or clothes. I want to USE them, stretch my toes in them, spill chocolate and jam on them, sit in/on them on the sidewalk. Basically I want to live in them.

It’s why most of my skirts are of canvas and/or IKEA curtain fabric. This is why I love Dutch traditional costume. It’s also why the world got so enamored with jeans, I think. Functional items that look good.

The pattern for the flower blocks is free and is called Princess Daisy’s Flower Blanket by Sherry L. Farley:

The petals are a bit bobble-like, they’re really nice. Also the first row after the petals makes a perfect square. It’s a good pattern.

The last two days I spend crocheting and being in love with the colours. Last night I looked at blankets on Ravelry, to learn what tips people have about making them. Soon I learned that weaving in ends and sewing blocks together will take a lot of time, about 30% as much as the crocheting of the blocks takes. Many people sigh at that stage and even abandon their blankets for months and months.

So I spend last evening sewing in the ends of the blocks I have. A tedious job indeed. I’m now weaving in the end as I go. Whenever I cut a yarn I pull the square through the last loop, securing the end. With the next colour I then fixate that loose tail by crocheting around it as I make my stitches. Here I’m fixating the light yellowish yarn with the new grey stitched. The yellowish yarn ended at where I’m pointing:

Ahhh, I’m so enjoying these colours! For the back ground I’m combining different shades of grey, an idea I got from this great coloured project picture from AmyLu:

 pic by AmyLu

She used paid for pattern Sunshine Day Baby Afghan by Alicia Paulson, which also has fat bobble-y like petals and a row to make a round thing into a square but both very different from Princess Daisy’s Blanket.

Here’s what I have after two days of full time crocheting and fawning over the colours:

Not quite a blanket yet….

What have I started? What are the chances this will ever be finished? How long until this goes the way most of my WIPs go??
Should I care?
No. I should enjoy today and how much I love playing with the colours.

Finished: two felted bags.

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wetfelted bag felt pursewetfelted bag felt purse

The shoemaker did a better job. Still a few sharp edges though. Will sand down and treat with leather cream.
As said in my previous post I attached a loose flap onto this bag as its closing because the busy texture matches the texture of the bag. On the top it has two rows of very slow machine stitching:
wetfelted bag felt pursewetfelted bag felt purse

I also stitched around the flap, on the back side, by hand. I’m thinking of cutting a horizontal slit into this because then it will be a secret, easy access pocket on the back of the bag.

On the front is this vintage brooche from Scandinavia, my mother gave it to me when I moved out of the house. I adore it!
wetfelted bag felt purse
Right now it’s just pinned onto the felt but before I start using my bag I will secure it with thread. Multiple strands.

Here are some progress pictures of felting this bag last weekend:

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bagsewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

I took a resist and covered it with locks and pieces of silk, then cover it with white fleece from a good felting breed (mountain sheep/ Bergschaf/ bergschaap). This bag is felted with the outside on the inside.

The whole resist got covered, front and back, and at the top I laid out the flap with the bit of fleece:

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

At the end of the day, just as the rain started, I had two felted bags/sacks:
sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

This is how much the big bag has shrunk during felting:
sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

40%. Just like the text books say.

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Finished: one wetfelted bag

wet felted bag

This is the smaller of the two. I gave it the fleece felted flap of the bigger one.
wet felted bag

wet felted bagwet felted bag
I took it to the shoe maker who attached leather straps. However due to a miscommunication within the shop he did not attach reinforcements on the inside. These straps might tear the holes in the felt.

Luckily this is a small bag, just for wallet and phone and a knitting project. I think it will be alright. Otherwise I might add a lining that attaches to the straps somehow and relieves the tension on the felt. I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes.

wet felted bag

A close-up of the texture of the bag and how well the locks go with it:
wet felted bag

This bag is quite “neat” in colour and texture. It’s all white on white.
The locks are “neat” too, albeit a bit yellow white. Wool yellow white. It’s the expensive Sikko fleece I was so uncertain about.
They go well together.

The other is finished too. It’s bigger, it can hold my iPad and a notebook and a sweater WIP. It has texture too but I used some of the locks of the fleece and they stayed very yellow and even brown and dirty. Its surface looks mottled and quite busy. It was better to combine it with the piece of felt I already had, the one with the beads, as that is quite busy too.

Now I have one “neat” bag and one “busy” bag. The busy bag has reinforcements for the straps. But it’s clear my shoemaker isn’t as invested into felt bags as the leather masters of Dun Hook who finish bags for het Wolbeest.

I would love to show it to you.
However it’s in use at the moment:
wet felted bag

And by the looks of things it’s going to be a while…
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Weird Wool Wednesday: cats in cowls.

These two pictures are permanent on my desk top:

cat in cowl

I don’t remember where I got the first one from but the second one is a Moebius Cowl by Cat Bordhi, knit by Csteekjes for her cat Genki.

I love the expression of bliss on their little faces! These pictures make me happy🙂

Because I may have a thing for cats in cowls this came in the mail today:

cat in cowl, by Amuru on Etsy

A felt creation by Amuru on Etsy.

It’s a little pocket friend. To carry with you, as a secret supporter when you have to face the world.

We’re not the best of friends yet…because I don’t like its cowl. It’s a piece of cut off knitwear, no cast on, no bind off, and it’s sewn together. Handsewn though, so that’s love.

felt cat in cowl, by Amuru on etsy
As a knitter, I would like any cat to have a handknit cowl.

I also think its crocheted flower is too brightly coloured to my taste and compared to the shop example:

Such beautiful, tranquil colours! Just like the colour palette that makes me happy at the moment.

My felt cat has a hot pink flower and much blue in its cowl. The contrast between these two is not very tranquil and it distracts me from its lovely face…

This is all a matter of personal preference of course plus limited resources of the creator (she reuses knit fabric) plus monitor display. So I confess readily to being nitpicky and perfectionist.
That’s why my complaints should not be taken too seriously.

That’s also why my compliments on the other hand weigh heavily: The cat is very well made and I’m impressed how Amuru manages to repeat the same cat over and over, of equal quality. My cat looks exactly as the example, same expression.

I specifically researched this skill because I’m always weary when a seller uses the same picture for multiple items. Luckily some people who bought one of her foxes showed their picture and it looked exactly like the shop example. Shop picture and received item:

That’s truely skilfull artisanship and this gave me the confidence to order.

Of course I’m thinking of knitting a new cowl for my new friend. As a knitter, how could I not? And with those lovely examples on my desktop.

Upside down back to front?

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But I love the gradient in grey in the cowl it has and it’s made of a nice soft yarn. I won’t be able to find or make anything comparable. If I knit it another cowl it will have to be different and not refer to this one in any way because it will fall short. That means no handknit gradient soft grey cowl for my kitty…

So I’m playing with this one. Seeing if I can find another way to make it work for me.

Perhaps as a cat bed?
felt cat in cowl, by Amuru on etsy

Sewing for knitting:

Over the Summer I’ve been sewing my new wardrobe. I had major plans: skirts, blouses, vests, pinafores. All in that colour palette and all flattering my body shape.

This is what I managed from May 1st until now:
Sewing skirts, learning to.Sewing skirts, learning to.

Skirts. Well, one skirt, actually. This is the progress towards developing one pattern that fits me well and has all the features I want (pockets!) and that I know how to make (sturdy seams, pockets, waist band, lining, hem, zipper, zipper seam allowance catching the lining).

I’ve got it down now. I can sew a skirt in a week, I feel.

So last week I finished a skirt in a fabric to compliment the Wollmeise Fliederbusch of my Colors of Kauai cardigan:

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

The idea was to make a bellowing skirt to flatter my Colors of Kauai cardigan, just like these, both from the very inspirational Jettshin:

But I didn’t have enough fabric. And a bellowing skirt doesn’t fit my body shape very well (lack of a waist). But now I do have this pattern that flatters me. So I cut the fabric on the bias and followed my own pattern:

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

Oops, cut it a bit too narrow! Never mind, I’ll just put in a strip of fabric, even if it has to be cut on the grain. Might as well since I’m not sure how well flimsy fabric on the bias can support a pocket so I’ll go ahead and put a little patch pocket onto that strip. There, all done.

Time to fit!
Ah. Uhm.

It seems that without a distinctive flare it doesn’t really work, this sewing with this knitting:

Nice lady, no doubt. But not quite the flair or femininity that Jettshin project photos show.

I don’t know why I thought this skirt would work. I talked myself away from the very goal I was aiming for!

“Yes, I’ll sew a bellowing skirt because that fits Colors of Kauai so well! But I’ll make it without the flare because arguments. Hey, I’ll even cut it on the bias for even more drape and droop!”

Yeah…

Well, the skirt works great on its own. It’s light and lined with pure silk and it flutters around my legs. It’s a nice Summer skirt for the city.

Wearing it without wooden clogs also helps to class it up.

Now I’ve got an incentive to sew another skirt to got with this cardigan. Which means fabric hunting.

But first I’ll try and sew a fitting blouse/dress shirt. I need those to go with the many vests I’m knitting. With any luck I’ll be wearing the combinations before x-mas.

(bag felting went well this weekend! I only want to switch the flaps between the two bags and then visit the shoe maker to get belts attached. So still very much in progress.)

sewed a skirt, wet felted a bag

A fine Summer’s Day at the Cabin.

I’m taking advantage of the beautiful weather and us being one day early at the cabin:
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It’s an unexpected addendum to Wool Vacation 2016!

I’m doing one of the things I wanted to do very much this summer: felting a stylish white bag.
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Using mountain sheep, the same breed I used for the grey bag at Wolbeest’ workshop.

This will be just a small bag. More of a sack, really, because I already have a flap for closing. I felted a piece of sturdy cloth years ago for a swap and I’ve loved the fabric since. It has glitter and beads. For the swap I made it into a pair of oven mits. Wool is excellent for insulation.

The left over bit I savoured all these years and today it may become part of a bag.

If things go really well I might felt a second bag, a big white one A companion of my grey one. With locks. Wensleydale locks. This is my inspiration for it:

From a Russian felt artist called Elena but I can’t find her full name.

But first I say hello to Lillepoes who is on our recliner, underneath the beech tree:
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“Good, you’re here. We have a problem.”

There are lots of things falling from the tree. It’s positively raining nuts!
It reminds me of the squirrels of the comic Mutts, by Patrick McDonell:

Just call me Mr. Butterfingers

So I dragged the stretcher to a safer place. It is time for my rest anyway.
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I tried to sew a hook and bar to my lilac skirt, the one I wore to Münster. But we got distracted because who do we see thrashing about in the beech tree? The squirrel!

What a fine day.

Sometimes a vest is just a swatch.

On closer inspection I don’t like the shape of the back panel of the Grey Flinders, I want the armhole to be more straight, going down from the shoulder. Covering up my shoulder a bit more, for warmth.

So I think this may be just a swatch:

18,5 stitches per 10 cm. 24 rows.

As an alternative for a top down vest I’m now looking at Colors of Kauai by Hanna Maciejewska. It has a nice broad back panel and is a straight forward set up. Prov. cast on, knit down, increase for arm hole. Attach yarn at front and knit shoulder straps. Increases. Nice shape at the centre front.

Actually, one could do this just by herself. No pattern needed. Start with shoulder width for the back, knit down a bit, increase a bit to embrace the torso under the arms.

Attach new yarn at top, knit a strap, increase it a bit at both sides. One side for meeting the back panel under the arm. The other side for meeting the front panel, in a shape you like. I like a round shape for this one.

The trick is to have a feel for when to increase and how much…

Uhmm, I might want to reread my own notes on my top-down Hilja because it sounds as if I’m re-inventing it:

Whut?

nu 86 achter en meteen sluiten als ook onder de armen wordt opgezet en gesloten. Het is nu in the round. Wel nog aan de voorkant eerst 2 x +3 gedaan en toen een shortrow (omdat het sluiten met 14 st aan de WS ging). Bij de shortrow nog weer een extra steek gemaakt.

OMG, I keep such bad notes! In “Dunglish” (Dutch English mess up) and no numbers for set-up? What am I saying? I sometimes do this when it’s a paid for pattern but Hilja by Niina Hakkarainen is a free down load.

Anyway. I now know for sure I like my back panels to be broad. Just like me.

Hilja pattern photo:

 pic by Niina

Hilja pattern has about my white handspun gauge so it is a nice guide for where and when to increase. Ah, this might be a good time to start keeping better notes.

 

Finished: Zauberball socks and more vest logic

We’re back in the city and guess what I knit on the drive over here:

Magic Zauberball Stripe Socks by Tofutrulla

🙂

In other knitting I finished the ribbing around the arm holes and neck of Grey Flinders. Arms were done on 4 mm needle, the same as the bodice. I picked up 95 stitches, about 3 st for every 4 rows. Then reduced the number to 80 in the very first round whilst setting up a 2 x 2 ribbing. Decreasing was done at the bottom and at the intersection with the raglan.

The neck ribbing was done on a smaller needle (first 3,75 mm later on 3,5 mm). That way I didn’t need to reduce stitch count as I added row after row and mess up the 2×2 ribbing pattern. Although I did do this in the bottom left and right corner at the front.

I don’t like how it looks…

You can’t see very well in this next picture but the ribbing round the neck line looks uncomfortably stretched when worn. It isn’t stretched that much but it sure looks that way.

The ribbing around the arm holes looks… untidy.

It took a lot of winging it and just going for it and not thinking too much when I picked up stitches and guessed how much to decrease. I don’t particularly want to frog and experience those uncertainties again. But I do think the look would benefit from a smaller needle size. And the neckline needs way more stitches than I gave it now.

But this was three evenings worth of work! Surely on a handspun vest a bit of irregularity isn’t that bad. Besides, who’s going to notice? People don’t pay much attention to each other anyway, let alone to ribbing on some gal’s handknitted vest.

I’m thinking about things.

While I think I’ve taking the 4mm needle from the vest and put it back into the sleeve of Tangled Vine Cardigan. I need something to knit now that the socks are done.

And I cast on a White Flinders:

In the purple(green) handspun that’s now dry and made into a huge ball, on needles 4,5 mm.

Because why finish one vest first and learn from it all kinds of things to do different in a second version?