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Math4Knitters, Crafty Living: Show 66

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Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Sacrificial Sweater Cat Beds are an easy, quick project for spring.

Math4Knitters, Crafty Living, Show 66

Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I started with two thrift-store sweaters.
Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
I sandwiched one of the sweaters in dryer sheets as I ran it through my sewing machine. This kept the machine from jamming on the floats in the sweater.
Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
Travis claims his bed.
Lara Neel - The Journal Gazette
This is the second bed. I left the lower hem unpinned, which makes for a larger, more square cat bed.

This week's show includes how to make a super-quick cat bed (or two) and a chat with Margaret Fisher, known on Ravelry as Vanduki.

Two Cat Beds for $5.89? Yes, Please.


How To: Make a Sacrificial Sweater Cat Bed

It's spring cleaning time at my house, which means less time for knitting. Am I the only one with a list of "things I'd really like to knit, but don't have time to knit"? Two things on that list have been beds for The Boys - our two cats.

They are both large cats, and both have long hair, so they shed a lot. We were using an old, fake-fur jacket of mine as a kind of rumpled-up bed, but it's really huge and difficult to wash. So, when the cat hair stuck on it reached an impossible-to-remove level, I had to throw it out.

I may, someday, find that everyone in my home has enough socks, I don't want another sweater, and no major holidays are approaching. Then, I might knit a cat bed. Until then, this solution will do.

I think of it as the Sacrificial Sweater, but it could also be a Revenge Sweater (as in, someone didn't appreciate/left a sweater at your home while they were busy making sure that the door didn't hit their backside on the way out). Or it could be a Why Did the Gauge Swatch LIE Sweater Solution. Choose your own adventure.

It's a pretty simple idea. Take the sweater, turn it inside out, put it in a zippered pillowcase. Run it through your washing machine on the hot water cycle, then dry it to oblivion. The sweater will felt, shrink and become a thicker fabric. Or it won't. I had two thrift-store sweaters. One felted, the other didn't. It turned out not to matter much either way, except for a few details. The felted bed's fabric is just a little more plush and cozy for The Boys. The other one is still very nice.

Leaving the sweater inside-out, sew along the seams for the sleeves, and mark a line across the chest of the sweater, just below whatever neck line it has, and sew across that, too. Turn the sweater back right-side-out, leaving the sleeves tucked along the edges of the body.

Just a note. If, like me, a sweater you have chosen to use has color-work and does not felt, you might have to take precautions to keep the floats on the back of the sweater from snagging on the foot or in the feed-dogs of your sewing machine. I sandwiched the knitting in old dryer sheets when I sewed that sweater and it worked very well. I think the cats like that bed even more because it smells like fresh laundry.

You can leave it like that, and it makes kind of a squarish cat-bed that is raised slightly on three sides. It's perfect for my larger cat. For the other sweater, I took a very large safety pin and used it to bunch up and secure the lower hem of the sweater. This made the resulting bed a little more round and cozy all around.

I'm sorry that the photos this week aren't of higher quality, but The Boys claimed their beds as soon as they were finished, so they already have a dusting of cat hair. When it gets to be too much, I will simply turn them back inside-out, put them in their zippered pillowcases, and wash them again. The felted one will get even more cozy and felted. The other one will probably remain unchanged. I'm curious to see what happens to the dryer sheets.


Margaret was very charming and put up with my inability to pay any attention at all to my notes. I wrote about her book a few months ago.