the perils of making it up as you go along

A month or two ago I made a post about all the things I wanted to make for the newest addition to our family, the kitten. It is now past Christmas break, and only a few things actually got done. No biggie. I have the rest of Twinkle’s life to spoil her.

Anyways, I talked about wanting to make her a cat bed that was somewhat cave-like, so that she could hide in it, and I did the thing! Sort of. Ish.

I feel like my attempts were doomed from the beginning, given that A) I’ve never attempted anything like this before, and am not sure I will after, and B) I wasn’t working from any sort of logical pattern at all. (Also, C) I was working entirely from stash, and stash turned out to be extremely mismatched in color and somewhat variable in weight.)

This is made out of about six skeins of Lion Brand Homespun and two skeins of Loops & Threads Cozy Wool. Both of those are super bulky. Then the base is half a skein of New Zealand wool I got at Goodwill ages ago, which is only bulky weight. Also one of these loop things from JoAnn, the intended purpose of which I don’t actually know.

(I wanted to put a picture of the loop right here, but mysteriously, I couldn’t find it on the JoAnn website. Where did it come from, where did it go.)

So, for starters, I crocheted a really big circle. Three times. Because the first time I couldn’t get it to lay flat, and then the second time I couldn’t get it to lay flat either. Third time was the charm (sort of, but I told myself that once it was finished it would flatten itself out). I went around and around until it looked sort of big enough for an adult cat, and then the kitten sat on it and it clearly wasn’t big enough at all, so I went around and around for some more.

The rest kind of baffled me even though I was the one doing it, honestly, but it went sort of like this:

  • Crochet around the base. Attempt to incorporate the loop by doing a stitch around it each row and then turning. Fail.
  • Frog back. Crochet a bunch of stitches around the loop and then, using same thread, start crocheting around the base.
  • Crochet all the way around.
  • Realize that you can’t do that, and you actually need to decrease where the loop stands perpendicular to the walls, or there will be too many stitches.
  • Decrease by three stitches at the corners.
  • Realize that’s too few.
  • Decrease by four stitches on subsequent corners. Realize this makes the previous rows act strangely bulgy. Do not frog. You have come this far, you refuse to go back now.
  • Do this for about ten to fifteen rows. Get suddenly scared that doing this for the entire cat igloo will result in the back being slanted funny, despite not having any real basis for this fear. Stop doing the thing.
  • Begin to crochet only on the wall stitches, turning to go back and forth.
  • Discover that the bulky yarn is going to collapse on itself due to its own weight no matter what you do. Ignore this fact in favor of relentlessly continuing onwards.
  • Get fed up after another 20~ rows, and, even though you have the space and skeins to make the igloo taller, start counting your stitches to calculate your decreases. Discover you don’t have an even multiple of six (the circle constant).
  • Fudge by decreasing several times in a row in some places. This creates weird puckers. Disregard, keep going.
  • Decrease evenly by six until the hole in the top closes up. Sew in all your ends. Pretend that you haven’t created a saggy abomination. Present to cat. Pray desperately that cat appreciates your efforts, because no one else will.

  • Thank the universe that at least the cat loves you, even if yarn doesn’t.

BRINGING HOME A BABY

Okay, not a human baby.

twinkle1

My family is bringing home a kitten from Gentle Touch Ragdolls on the 9th of December; her name is Twinkle! Naturally, even though I’m not going to see much of her living in the UW dorms, I have to spoil her rotten. Obviously. Look at that precious face. How can I not shower her in gifts.

I’m thinking a handful of cat toys and a bed. Just for starters. Next Halloween, when she’s all growed up and big, I’m gonna start making some stupid-cute kitty costumes.

cat-toy-collection

From top to bottom, left to right: Meelai’s Easy Peasy Catnip Mouse Toy, Selina Kyle’s Catnip Bunny, Hanna Breetz’s Quack – Knitted Duck Toy, Lion Brand Yarn’s Door Hanger Bouncy Cat Toy, Nina Shimizu’s Roly Poly Cats, and Maz Kwok’s Bouncing Rainbow Jellyfish.

I’m thinking some normal mice and bunnies, and some laced with catnip. The roly poly cats would be excellent vessels for jingle bells–even if they’re too big in worsted weight, working them in sock weight or substituting this pattern will make them good for giant jingle bells. The ducks are technically dog toys, but I think they’re cute, and being of a more elongated shape than the other toys makes them good candidates for bunny kicking–that thing that cats do where they roll on their back and kick whatever they’re grabbing with their hind legs. This is usually done in play, but it’s an adapted defensive/aggressive behavior designed to disembowel the opponent. Cats are great.

Finally, maybe one door hanger with catnip and one with a jingle bell? Maybe crinkly paper, instead? An extra long one for playing one-on-one? The possibilities are endless.

I also wanna make sure the little twinkie is comfortable, so, pet beds:

pet-beds-collection

From left to right, Hanne Katajamäki’s Nest, Iona van Deurzen’s Cat Nest, and Cris Porter’s 1 Skein Pet Bed.

I love the first one, Nest, and it’s certainly the most popular pattern, but it also seems poorly supported, and a lot of the finished projects seem to collapse in on their kitties. Cat Nest has a wireframe opening, so it’s sturdier, but it’s also more bowl-shaped than cave-shaped. And of course, the 1 Skein Pet Bed is simple, cute, and easy, but in my experience whether or not a cat will go for a flat mat is totally hit and miss.

I’m going to have to go home before Christmas and get my bulky yarn, which I didn’t bring to college because it takes up a lot of space and I don’t use it as often. After that, I think I may have to do some wire engineering and combine Nest and Cat Nest to make something sturdy and cozy.

Currently, my shopping list includes:
  • Catnip
  • Jingle bells
  • Crinkly paper? (Might snag some wrapper somewhere instead.)
  • Some piping or wire for bed construction
  • A basket. This has nothing to do with kittens, but my finished items are starting to pile up in odd places in the dorm and I need somewhere to put them all. Gimme a bit longer to get over the midterm hump, and I’ll have a post up showing them off.

There’s so many things to make for cats, Twinkle might be the only one getting Christmas presents this year, to be quite honest. Sorry, fam.