Recently a fellow Toronto Etsy Street Team artisan asked if I could make a cat bed for her two cats. New challenges keep things interesting, so I accepted.
Based on the diameter (15″) and height (4-6″) I was given (great usage of 2πR from math of the old school days), I calculated the circumference and, based on my pattern for a basic toque, the number of stitches needed. Something totally new like this, and of this size, is always a bit of a crap shoot, however.
Here’s a shot of the work in knitting progress:
Once I had finished knitting it, I felted it with some dryer balls (I often form dryer balls and get them set for felting and then wait until I have a hat or something else that needs felting as they help with the agitation). It took well over an hour in the machine (90 minutes, I think) to shrink down to a dense and thick fulled fabric. (Oh, and if you decide to follow the link above to wikipedia’s explanation of fulling, I use soap, not urine. Just in case you were wondering.)
After it was fulled (and yes, it’s about 15″ in diameter!), I rolled it in a towel to get the excess water out, and then it was time to block it. However, I don’t have a designated cat bed block, so I had to find something in my home upon which to block it. It needed to be round, and rather large. I ended up using a big plastic storage container with a thick towel wrapped around it. I’d rather use something that is firm all the way around, but sometimes you’ve got to use whatever is available on hand:
After setting it up on the block, it was time to leave it alone. I know I’ve said it before, but that’s the part I hate. It’s usually 48 hours minimum to dry anything on a block, depending on the season and humidity. Here it is, blocking, bottom up:
And today, finally, I pulled it off and had a look to make sure it would stand up and that it looks okay. It worked!
So I sent the photos to the client, posted a custom listing on Etsy, and it’s to be delivered tomorrow. (That’s the only downside to something as big as a 15″ wide x 4″ high cat bed: shipping could be astronomical, especially in this country.)
There are a few things that I might do differently next time, but all in all I feel good about the finished product, and the client is happy. Now we just need to see if the cats like it, too. Here’s hoping!