The internet ate my brain...

But that is okay, since I will never need to think again! Prompted by a comment from my ringneighbor, the esteemed laurie from Crazy Aunt Purl, (who is kind enough to read even though there is no personal information! Sorry! Not really worth the blogstalking effort!), I started hunting the internet for more clues about Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi Shawl, which was the original inspiration for Wendy's Kitty Pi Bed. I confirmed that my original shaping was the same as EZ (work even double the previous number of rows, then increase in each stitch). I knew before I knit the original giganto Kitty Pi that the shaping was only approximate, and would get worse with size, but thought it would felt out okay. And in a relative sense, it was okay - it's only a cat bed! But the outer part was wrinkly (too abrupt a change at that size), and the decreases should have been spaced out farther - plus with the Noro, the striping changed drastically at that point.

But, I actually like math, so I was looking forward to making a nice formula for the kitty pi. Unfortunately for me, everything that is possible in knitting has already been done, and now people have blogs to communicate them... and doubly unfortunately for me, I'm pretty good at finding information on the internet. So, I present the already worked out formula, from Rudbeckia at Learning Curves; lots of knitting! and math! check it out. I can't get a direct link, so I'm quoting here (check out the original post, on June 26, for the justification):

And so I present my method for knitting a circle that lies relatively flat, or at least as relatively flat as something knit entirely in stockinette can be:

CO some stitches on dpns. Join for working in the round.

Rnd 1: k, inc 4 sts relatively evenly spaced
Rnds 2 - 4: repeat rnd 1
Rnd 5: k, inc 5 sts relatively evenly spaced

Repeat rnds 1-5 until circle is desired size, switching to a circular needle as desired.

Perfectionists may choose to inc 4 instead of inc 5 in rnds whose number is divisible by 100.


The reason that the increases are linear (i.e. inc 4.19 sts every rnd) is that the number of sts is a linear function of the circumference, which is a linear function of diameter, which is a linear function of the number of rnds. As a knit stitch has height:width as 2:3, the number of sts to increase each rnd is 2&pi(2/3). For some other stitch, multiply 2&pi by its height:width ratio to determine how many sts to increase each rnd in order to knit a circle.

And for the order-of-magnitude back of the envelope scientists, myself included, increasing 4 sts each row works just fine. It's just a cat bed!

I have yarn left for one more Kitty Pi! I've done one with Wendy's method, which will be the control, and use the other half of the yarn for the new method. Yes, I'm a geek, why do you ask?

Is this one mine, too?


Is this one mine, too?
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
Savannah checks out the gigantimungous kitty pi bed. Or perhaps area rug. I was considering trying to felt and block again to get a bit more side, but since the cat this is going to is big on sprawling, perhaps an area rug is just as well. The sides are puckered a bit, so if I did this again, I would just increase every other stitch, or perhaps two out of every three stitches.

Upper right corner: piece of Savannah's Kitty Pi. Lower left corner: sadly, not gifts for my SP. The bag contains an extremely ugly plastic plaid tablecloth from Target, to be used as a guide for blocking the DNA scarf.

(Someday, someone is going to tell Savannah that is not all about her. And really, I don't want to be there when it happens. In the meantime, the FO column keeps the score: cats 6, humans 2.)

St. John's Cross take II


Charity knitting
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
All work and no play and all that... too tired for a proper post, so here is the charity scarf as it stood at 2:30 pm Sunday. No energy to lay it out, photograph, upload, etc. It is now 8 rows of garter stitch away from binding off, where it has been stalled for the past 24 hours.

I've also re-felted the giant humongoid kitty pi bed, and am hoping that the sides don't end up as wrinkly as last time. I might have tried too many decreases on the sides to get them to stand up, or I just might not have a felting form that is large enough. It is over the 12" pot surrounded by two layers of towels, which doesn't stretch it quite as much as I would like.

Monster bed


Kitty Pi Bed 3
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
Here is the 3rd Kitty Pi. I had 4 rounds of 216 stitches left, plus the bind-off. I optimistically thought I could get through both the scarf and the kitty pi, and brought the shadow shawl to work on, but ended up with about 50 stitches left to bind off. To be fair, the Baby Monkey eyelash is difficult to work with. I was about 20 stitches short on the Baby Monkey, but I don't think it will really matter on the felted cat bed. I might have been able to squeeze in one more round from the Big Kureyon, but that would have been pushing it. That means I pretty much planned out using the three skeins exactly, so yay me.

The Kitty Pi that Ate New York


The Kitty Pi that Ate New York
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
Okay, not really, but it is monstrous. After the first Kitty Pi cat bed felted down to "my cat" size (7.5 lb) rather than the intended cat size (22 lb), I decided I needed to rework the pattern a bit for a (much larger) cat. The extra rows (12) I put into the "straight" section of the first Kitty Pi didn't do much good, since they ended up on the sides (along with about 5 rows directed in the pattern!). I decided that I needed to increase another round (to 288). Based both on where the sides started in the first Kitty Pi, and on the internal logic of the pattern (knit as many rows that you knit straight before increasing), I put the increase after 24 rows of the "knitting straight" section. I then did 15 rows before starting the decreases. (I also put in an extra round of decreases in an attempt to give the sides a bit more stability). It is currently on the last row of the decreases, with the fun fur starting immediately after. The amount of yarn used so far is 2 and 2/3 skeins of Noro Big Kureyon, with 5.5 rows remaining to be knit.

Kitty Pi with cat filling


Kitty Pi with cat filling
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
Yup, I think it belongs to Savannah now.

Adventures of a felting virgin, part deux (Or: Honey, I shrunk the bed!)


Fels Naptha
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
So, after the trama of non-felting in part one, I went in to Borealis for triage. And I learned the secret ingredient for felting was...

Continue reading "Adventures of a felting virgin, part deux (Or: Honey, I shrunk the bed!)" »

Well, what are you waiting for?


Well, what are you waiting for?
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
Go on and felt it, then!

WIP it baby, WIP it good


Kitty Pi, take two
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
Went in for help on Thursday, got over the blocks in three(!) projects. So all of the WIPs have been gettin' a little lovin'. More later -- unfortunately knitting and blogging are somewhat exclusive. The progess has been updated in the sidebar, and here is a pretty picture to tide you over.

A letter to Kureyon

Dear Big Kureyon,

You are so pretty. I am in love with your crayon-ey goodness. When I am with you, I forget all about the knots, the vegetable matter, the refusal to felt. All is forgiven.

Love,
thomasina

FO?


FO?
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
The Kitty Pi bed after "felting" and blocking. Upon further inspection, it is really just the white that didn't felt. This wouldn't be so bad, except for the bad join in the skein between pure white and pure green in the center of the bed; the purl stitches are really obvious. Still planning on the triage route this evening.

Adventures of a felting virgin (or: I hate to see what google will send my way now)

Stupid Kureyon!

Kitty Pi cat bed, post

I washed the thing five times, for a total of 40 minutes, and it still wouldn't felt for me. The bottom is felted, but in the white parts and sides the stitches are still distinct. I'm going to let it dry and see how it looks, and go in for triage tomorrow. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Continue reading "Adventures of a felting virgin (or: I hate to see what google will send my way now)" »

Completed Kitty Pi bed before felting

It took almost 2 skeins of Noro Big Kureyon -- there are only scraps left. The eyelash was a real pain to knit in; the eyelash wanted to stay on the wrong side, and it was very slippery on the addi turbos. The binding off was nearly impossible -- I probably should have switched to my new wooden straights for more traction. And I think the bind-off is too tight. Even with the majority of shrinkage occurring in the r rather than theta direction (or row rather than stitch direction), I still might end up with trapezoid sides. Should be an exciting adventure tonight!

I'm fickle, so sue me.


I'm fickle, so sue me.
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
After all the angsting about joining the stripes going in the same direction, I didn't like the look with the missing stripes. I decided the "bolide impact" look would work better, and unknit about a row and a half, cut the yarn(!), and spit spliced to the center pull. So everything turned out all right in the end. Here, we are about 10 rows past the join (just above mustard yellow / white stripe in the middle of the pink).

The diameter seems to measure 22" (11" radius), no matter how much I knit. I know it is difficult to measure, but it shouldn't be that difficult. At most, though, it is currently 24-25", even after an extra six rows. Which means I'm going to do another extra six rows (42 total instead of 30).

1 skein into the Kitty Pi bed


1 skein into the Kitty Pi bed
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
This is how far 1 skein gets you. From cast-on to the last set of increases is about 1/3 skein, and then the remaining 2/3 gets 26 rows in the knit straight portion. I was hoping that the very small cat would only need one skein (about 24 rows / 22" diameter), but obviously she will need a part of the second also. After 27 rows (and just starting the next skein) I am at 22", while the pattern was at about 28" unfelted after 30 rows. Cobie's bed needs to be bigger; I am shooting for 34" unfelted for a 17" felted bed. 36 rows? 42? we will see.

The first ball off my new ball winder


First ball from my ball winder
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
I think it came out pretty well! Color order aside... I decided that it was best to ball it in the direction that it seemed easiest to get the yarn from the hank, which turned out to be opposite to the direction I wanted it. I could have then reballed it in the other direction. I didn't because I figured that since I won't be using the entire skein, it would be better to take the yarn from the outside and leave a nice ball afterwards. Of course, this is outdated thinking, because I could have just reballed the remnants -- d'oh! I am considering cutting, reballing, and spit splicing, but probably won't, since cutting a working thread on purpose seems wrong.

Unfortunately, the two colors I need -- white and green -- are the ones with only two repeats, not three, and they are towards the middle of the skein. So the join will be scarce on white (at the tip of the last skein) and the green (just at the start of the new one). Normal faulting! -- removal of stratigraphy. Or perhaps strike-slip, smearing it out. In any case, we are not to the sides yet, so it should not matter that much.

Reasons to ball skeins before starting -- better color planning. Though if I had flipped the first skein, I would have ended up with a double section of pink/black, no matter which direction I did the second. Reasons not to skein -- cannot return extra skeins.

Kitty Pi Bed


Kitty Pi Bed
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
15 rows past the final set of increases (144 sts total). Transfered from #11 Brittany DPN to 24" #11 Addi Turbo circulars.

I guess I don't have to worry about the transition between the white and the next skein color; there was a break between the white and green on this skein, and the transition is more abrupt than I would like. I realized that I do want the striping to continue in the same direction, so that is something I will have to pay attention to; I will have to think about whether I care about repeated or missing colors.

PS: When I was thinking about the directionality of the yarn, and the resulting pattern -- I thought about it in terms of thrust faulting (repeated stratigraphy) and bolide (e.g. meteorite) impact (overturned and repeated stratigraphy). Yes, I am really that big a dork -- did you ever doubt it?

Kitty Pi bed yarn, take two


Kitty Pi Bed 2
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
This is the yarn for the second Kitty Pi bed. (What, I couldn't just buy yarn for Cobie without getting some for Savannah, too). Especially after I found a fun fur (on sale!) that complements the Big Kureyon exactly. I emailed my sister the color choices, but I was pretty certain which one she would pick. I cast on and did the first row, and updated the blog with the neutral color scheme, while waiting for her to retrieve her email (oh, those wacky people on dial-up!). (This is after having already wound a skein of neutral at the LYS). She likes both color choices, but until she settles in and decorates, the neutral will provide more flexibility, which is pretty much what I figured.

Kitty Pi Bed started


Kitty Pi Bed 1
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
Halfway between 72 and 144 stitch increases. This is my first yarn that is meant to stripe, and it is fun seeing the different colors come off the needle. The color contrast is very subtle, however, so I hope that felting will increase the contrast. White is coming up next, which should be quite different. Since I have to join two skeins, I'm already thinking about how to do that -- I'm ending on a very white section, so I'm assuming a dark color would be an obvious problem.

This time I got the topology right, and am knitting on the front side of the DPN (as opposed to the fingerless mittens, where I am knitting on the backside, and backwards). I understand the joining process better, and now understand why it is so easy to twist stitches when adjusting the DPN so that the working area is in the front. I only had to start over once, and that was because I cast on too loosely the first time (a good habit in general!) and didn't want quite such a gaping hole in the bottom (I'm assuming that the little hole that is there now will felt over, especially after I weave in the end). It is so much pleasanter to knit on the near side -- it isn't even the knit vs. purl, it is the way the work falls and position of the needles. I've also learned to do the kfb / bar increases (I'd only done M1 until now). And I fixed a problem where the needle slipped out. When I put the stitches back on, I accidentally did a YO increase at the end (which then got the kfb treatment of the rest of the stitches). Sadly I unknit back around to confirm this was the problem, because I was worried about dropped stitches and laddering, but I think I will have more confidence in the future.

Kitty Pi Bed


Kitty Pi Bed 1
Originally uploaded by thomasina.
Yarn purchased for the Kitty Pi bed. My sister's cat, Cobie, is having thyroid problems, and since they just moved to a place without carpeting, he needs someplace soft to lie on. (Sick cats tend to delay things like purchasing area rugs). We just lost two family cats in the past few months to old age, and Cobie is the last cat left from when we were together as children. I'd like to do something nice for him, so I've dropped all the other projects to work on the Kitty Pi bed (free pattern from Wendy Knits!).