Saturday, February 16

Chez Chippy: Cat Cave Under Construction

If I didn't have a sweet kitty who wants his own crochet nest, I'd be tempted to turn this into a boho tote, or a big round area rug. I LOVE the touches of mohair and alpaca, and the color blending (which looks richer in person than in photos.)
Bottom and side edge of cat cave.

Chippy Cat loves alpaca and wool, so I'm using up chunky scrap craft store yarns that have some alpaca, mohair, and wool content, and incorporating wool roving occasionally. Most of the time I'm crocheting with two strands of different yarns held together. The solid deep burgundy yarn is thicker, so I used just one strand of that (until I ran out.) 

This started out as a simple wintertime TV crochet project. I was deeply inspired by photos of "Nest" ("Pesä") -- a cat cave crocheted by Hanne Katajamäki. I'm changing two things (besides the yarn): I made the cave opening higher up because I think Chippy will want to nuzzle in and nap below the line of the opening. 

I also plan to add a round crocheted sleeping mat of the same yarns. It will be a removable insert so that I can wash it.

Cave entrance is coming along.
Bulky squishy yarns, random color and texture blending, casual stitch increasing and decreasing: fun and seemingly simple. I've learned a lot from this simple project though! Had to rip out several rounds when I began the sides, because 3 - 4 rounds of the sides (when I stopped increasing) still sat like part of the base, making it much bigger (and yarn gobbling) than I wanted. 

Also, I did some rounds with turning, some without turning, as I pleased. After ripping out to make a smaller base, I switched to turning for ALL rounds, because it came out thicker, stiffer, more structured. See, I rarely do hats or round-bottom totes, or projects in all single crochet, so...learning this stuff now.

Even so it's still a bit on the saggy side. Probably when I cover the top it will cave in a bit. My son assures me that Chippy will love this even more :-) 

I thought using two strands of chunky yarns held together and crocheted tightly would be stiff enough. I see from photos of someone else's project that theirs is saggier, even though the stiff Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn was used throughout. Looks like it was crocheted in spiraling sc (no turning for any rounds)? 

Hanne's structured (and wildly inspiring to me!!) pale pink one at her Eilen Tein blog is made from a yarn that now makes me think that crocheted fabric strips would be crazy-stiff!! But not touchable; however ... crocheted t-shirt strips could be both. 

I also realized late that I could have done a "clothesline crochet" type maneuver. I'm seeing fresh ideas for this old basket weaving-like crochet technique of single crochet stitches {UK: dc} over a rope, such as cotton clothesline, that coils in the round. Really, I'm doing the closest thing to a covered basket, which is more sculptural; not so much a hat or tote type fabric.
For specific yarns used, see its Ravelry project page.

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