annettemarieprice's projects
cat pod
This project is an UGH!
Frogged
November 22 2014
no date set
Project info
cat pod
Knitting
Bastet the Cat
Needles & yarn
960 yards = 8 skeins
Patons North America Classic Wool Roving
3 skeins = 360.0 yards (329.2 meters), 300 grams
Patons North America Classic Wool Roving
2 skeins = 240.0 yards (219.5 meters), 200 grams
Patons North America Classic Wool Roving
3 skeins = 360.0 yards (329.2 meters), 300 grams
Notes

11.24.14 I’ve been seeing these felted pods for cats online. Some of them are truly works of art. I decided to try making one of my own for my cat Batty, who is obsessed with boxes and crawling under the covers and basically staying as warm and cozy as possible at all times.

Most tutorials I found called for assembling loose pieces of wool roving into the desired shape and then felting it by hand. But I wanted to knit this, of course, and I thought I could probably then do the felting in a washing machine. I found a couple people who had taken the knitted approach successfully, including Olivia Sherwood, so I decided to give it a try.

I started by just felting some swatches made from some stash Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica, just because I have never felted before and I wanted to understand the process better.

Doing felt swatches turned out to be a whole evening’s project! My first attempt was a complete fail. First, I knit two swatches up, using different gauges to see what the result was like:

swatch A

  • initial size: 3.5” x 2.25”
  • looser knit on 17 US
  • final size: 2.75” x 1.75”
  • ±78% of original

swatch B

  • initial size 3” x 1.75”
  • tighter knit on 15 US
  • final size: 2.5” x 1.25”
  • ±83% of width and ±71% of height of original
  • this swatch is also thicker than swatch B, which may be desirable

So when I first went to felt these swatches, I was using the stovetop boiling method. Did not work. At all. Nothing, despite an hour of boiling them. I read up a bit more on felting and realized that instructions that tell you to throw your piece in a pot of boiling water are leaving out the crucial agitation component of felting. Maybe some fibers will felt just by sitting in some boiling water, but at this point I feel confident in asserting that Manos del Uruguay’s Wool Clasica does not.

What wound up working was this: I heated water in a teakettle, then poured it into a bowl with the swatches. Then I removed a swatch, rubbed at it furiously with a silicon oven mitt — this kind, which has ridges on the inside, for better gripping. When each swatch cooled as I worked with it, I would throw it back in the water and work with the other one. Each time the water grew tepid, I replaced it with more hot water. The hotter the swatch, the better it felted, I noticed. Based on a blog post I’d read, I also “shocked” each swatch a couple times in cold water from the tap. Not sure if this did anything. Nonetheless, after 20 minutes or so, I had two nicely felted swatches! Cool.

Now I just need to sort out my knit piece dimensions so I can cast on.

12.10.14 Here are some notes on the dimensions of this piece:

25-35% shrinkage affects dimensions as follows:
30” diameter > 18” result
15” opening > 9” result
35” tall > 18” result

I picked up some Patons Classic wool roving during Joann.com’s Cyber Monday sale, in light gray, dark gray, green and aran for this project.

01.04.15 Fussed all weekend on this. Did several prototypes in miniature (see photos of items done in bright pink). I cannot wrap my head around where to place the decreases for the best shaping. I would like the opening to be at an angle, so that the cat can walk into it easily. So the sphere needs to be partially flattened on on side to make this happen. I may need to run this problem by some knitter friends and see what they advise.

I also did another swatch in the correct gauge with the correct yarn, in the aran color. I still need to try felting it to see how much it shrinks. Obviously I should do this before I get too far along with the knitting! I think I will just throw it in the laundry with a load and see what happens.

03.04.15 This project has been on hold while I finished some birthday gifts for January. I actually finished knitting it in early January except last few rows, but I immediately found myself scrutinizing the final product. I have decreases that are perhaps too sudden and frequent and am getting a great deal of puckering. For a visual on what is happening, take a look at the hot pink 3” sample I knitted up. That puckered shape is what I want to avoid. Instead I am going for something closer to the 1.5” samples: a nice, smooth, rounded shape.

So I am going to frog back about 25% of the length and start the decreases earlier in order to make the transition smoother and more gradual. I really thought the way I was doing the decreases would be a nice smooth transition, but nope!

But I think Batty will love it, so it will be all worthwhile.

10.29.17 I pulled this out to work on it again, since it’s getting chilly out and Batty is constantly in my lap — which I like sometimes, but it makes it hard to get things done!

I didn’t refer back to my notes here — whoops! — so I missed the part about wanting to frog back. It’s fine, though. I wound up washing it about 4–5 cycles with jeans and towels for friction. Then I did one cycle in the dryer on high heat.

A lot of advice about felting says to be very careful with using the dryer to felt, because it can go too far very quickly. This is such a massive piece, however, I think it would be hard to go too far very fast with it. After it got too late (we have a shared laundry in our building) and I wanted to just take a break, I let it dry and shaped it a bit, so I could assess.

At this point I’m fairly happy with it, but there are spots where it could be felted more and I would be fine with it being smaller. Right now it could fit 1.5 cats. So I will do a little more felting.

A note about this roving: when felted, it gave off this weird, papery stuff. It was pretty freaking annoying to deal with, frankly. It was akin to accidentally doing a load of microfiber towels with a piece of paper or tissue in the wash. At first I thought I had actually left a tissue or something in the pocket of my jeans, but after a few cycles it was obvious it was actually coming out of the roving during the felting process. The more it felted, the more there was. Everything else in the load was actually mostly free of these bits of shredded material.

Also, because it happening during the felting, it was really embedded in the felted material. It was a total PITA to remove. I alternately picked it off, used a pill remover and even resorted to an old beard trimmer.

I googled this issue and found nothing about it. On the contrary, people seem to love this material for felting. Bottom line: I won’t be using this brand of roving for future felted projects, no.

After I was done working with it, I showed it to Batty and she found it mildly interesting. face_with_rolling_eyes smile Of course! But our two orange kitties are semi-obsessed with it. They like that it’s made from another animal’s fur, they find the texture and scent quite fascinating. To my nose it smells fresh and woolen, but to them it seems to have a captivating aroma.

Anyway, the orange kitties were playing in and around it and right now Buttercup is lying on top of it now, so it seems to already be a hit. heart_eyes_cat

02-17-2019

I didn’t even frog this, I just threw. it. away. Catharsis!

viewed 11 times
This project is an UGH!
Frogged
November 22 2014
no date set
About this pattern
Personal pattern (not in Ravelry)
About this yarn
by Patons North America
Bulky
100% Wool
120 yards / 100 grams
annettemarieprice's star rating

5122 projects

stashed 3107 times

  • Originally queued: November 21, 2014
  • Project created: November 24, 2014
  • Updated: February 17, 2019
  • Progress updates: 5 updates