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“What do you do with your homely hand spun…”

August 11, 2005

“…felt a homely cat bed!”

This is what happens when you have too much old hand spun hanging around, and spend your evenings perusing the Barbara Walker Treasuries. I was looking through Volume 4 when I came across her directions for a short-row hexagonal pinwheel. Hmmm…I thought. Pretty soon, I was gathering up all the bits of natural, purples and pinks that I have. I figured out a rough formula, given the percentage that knitting generally shrinks when felted, and using Walker’s guidelines for circumference, I started knitting. After completing the hexagon, I picked up around the edge, did a purl row to give good definition to the corner, and knitted up the sides in a random stripey pattern. I did an applied I-cord bind off in a wool that I was reasonably sure would felt a little tighter, hoping that it would curve the edge in a bit, and threw the beast in the washer to do its thing.

Given that I had different grists and types of wool, I wasn’t sure how firm a felt I would get. It came out pretty well, though the sides were not as tight as I would have liked. Hmmm…I thought again. With a thrift store fabric remnant, and some combing waste wool, I made a bolster. It fit around the inside of the bed perfectly. Yay! Without further ado, The Homely Catbed:

And the sheepy aroma from the bolster is very attractive to Miss Emma:

It was a silly, whimsical project, but all in all, I’m pretty happy with it. The other two cats now stare at me accusingly, so I guess I’d best get busy making a couple more.

Some very lovely friends gave me an even lovelier gift last night: my very first Hebridean fleece! The sheep itself can be seen here:, and here is what they brought me:

and a close up:

I’m still trying to decide how to process this. It’s a smallish fleece – no more than three pounds, I’d guess, so I’m afraid of losing a great deal to waste. I’ll probably scour it myself, but might send this one off to be carded into roving. There are several processing companies that I’d like to try out, and this seems a good opportunity.

Here is the fleece that I won at our local St. Distaff’s Day spin in this last January:

and a close up:

I tried to send this one off for commercial processing, but it had weak tips, so the processor just scoured it and sent it back. She believed it to be a CVM fleece, and who am I to argue with her? It’s very soft. It still seemed fairly dirty to me, so I gave it one more scour. I got a quite a bit more mud out of the tips, which should help. I’m hoping it will be dry enough by tomorrow to start combing. I’ve run samples through both my two and five pitch combs, but again, waste will be an issue, so I’m going with the two pitch on this one.

How long does a fleece fume high last?

13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2005 11:28 am

    The pictures of the bed pre-cat and full o’ cat are just charming, Sam!

  2. August 12, 2005 1:31 pm

    So – stop saying you can’t design. That sure looks like a design to me – and a better one than someother people have blogged.

  3. August 12, 2005 2:24 pm

    That’s a mighty fine looking cat bed and Miss Emma looks incredibly pleased. The good thing is, the next 2 beds don’t need to be as big.

  4. August 12, 2005 3:14 pm

    That is adorable. And the cat looks so happy. I love how the spiral came out.

  5. Jen permalink
    August 12, 2005 3:26 pm

    That Emma is one lucky cat! I’m hiding the picture from Kismet and Lilybelle, just so they don’t get any ideas (Meow… how come Emma gets a nice bed and we don’t? Meow)

  6. Melanie permalink
    August 12, 2005 4:03 pm

    Miss Emma looks blissful in her new bed. Adding the bolster is just inspired. The spiral bottom is a great idea. And, mmmmm, fleecy goodness!

  7. vanessa permalink
    August 14, 2005 9:01 am

    miss emma looks snug as a bug 🙂

  8. August 14, 2005 9:40 am

    That is the queen of the cat beds. Emma is a lucky cat!

  9. August 16, 2005 12:06 pm

    So, I am thinking that Emma is one lucky cat…a cat ring with a slightly sheepy smell? Oh my…built for sweet dreams of field mice. It is really great, Sam. I think that you have a winner there and should submit something like that to spin-off or Knitty. This beats Sadie’s purloined fruit box for luxury, that is certain. :o)

  10. Sam permalink
    August 16, 2005 1:15 pm

    Thank you, everyone! It was a fun knit, and I do appreciate everyone’s very kind comments. 🙂

  11. Cathy permalink
    August 19, 2005 2:05 pm

    Very nice! The hexagon was very clever. I really like the bolsters and may have to steal that idea for my kitties’ wimpy beds.

  12. August 19, 2005 3:52 pm

    I don’t think that it is a homely cat bed at all! it works perfectly.

  13. Peggy permalink
    August 20, 2005 1:50 am

    Love it! My girls thought Miss Emma looked as happy as a cat can be. The bolster idea is great. What a lovely pin wheel design.
    After looking at how Kim Hargreaves combines knitting with silk bows and such, I’ve been motivated to find ways to combine knitting with fabric. This is a winner.

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