Winter is a great time to knit - yes, I know I do it all year long almost daily, but still winter with its short and over all darker days feels like the perfect time for a mug of hot chocolate, good music and curling up on the couch with some knitting needles and beautiful yarn. It is calming, relaxing and peaceful - exactly what I have needed over the past few weeks.
I also love cats and when I found this cat hat I knew that I had to try it out. The pattern was originally written in French, is very detailed and confused me at the beginning a little bit. However, I tried it out and followed the instructions to a T, and while knitting it the pattern became clear to me. The special thing about this pattern is how the tails are worked - they are not knitted within the pattern but are kind of three dimensional and stick out. This it how it looked when I got started and had just finished the tails:
As you can see, they stick out, but when you continue in the pattern they are eventually attached to the cats' bodies. Quite clever!
After I was done with the kitties the hat knitted up really fast.
The yarn was beautiful to work with, a blend of 70% merino wool and 30% mulberry silk by Cascade Yarns.
I loved how the cats turned out. And an idea started to form in my head. Why not take the cats and put them on a sweater? Not any sweater, but a sweater for a very special little girl with whom we spent a day at the Sacramento Zoo at the beginning of January. Last year I knitted this sheep cardigan for her and she wore it many times. This time I decided to knit a sweater for her.
I found a basic sweater pattern and did some math how to incorporate the cats. It really wasn't rocket science. I chose a soft and very beautiful pure superwash merino wool by Malabrigo - this is my all time favorite yarn - whereas the cats are knitted with 100% superwash wool by Cascade Yarns (another favorite).
First I worked the back, then the front and - other than in the instructions - I sewed both parts together by using the three-needle bind off which leaves no visible seam. The sleeves were knitted directly to the sweater by picking up stitches; not my favorite technique, but it worked. There were a lot of kitties on this sweater and I had to pay close attention in order not to mess up the pattern.
When the cats were done it was a straight stockinette stitch and the sweater was finished. I didn't put whiskers on the cats because I thought it too much on this already busy pattern. All I had to do was to block it and then pack it up and send it on its way.