Problem: Cat in the Basket

Basil, in the knitting basket, complains about having her picture taken.

I haven’t worked on the Eris cardigan for weeks now, mostly because Basil has taken up residence in my knitting basket, and loves to sleep right on top of the cardigan in progress. I’ve known for months now that I wanted to make something especially for her to lie on, so I didn’t want to go through the trouble of ridding the basket of all its cat hair until I was ready to give her a bed of her own. Yesterday, I was ready.

I started by measuring the basket and making a diagram.

I knew I still wanted to keep my knitting in the basket, just putting something over the top of it for Basil to get her hair all over. So I figured that I would make the bed 2.5″ deep, half the depth of the basket. I had a bunch of grey worsted wool yarn that I bought very early on as a knitter with the intention of making a sweater from it. Having realized that neither the yarn nor the pattern were very interesting, I dumped the project a while ago, figuring I’d find something else to do with it. This would be a perfect use for it. To move the project along and get it done in one day, I decided to hold the yarn doubled and made a very quick and dirty swatch on #11 needles. After doing some math, I cast on 53 stitches, ready to make the bottom of the cat bed/basket liner.

I worked 50 rows in stockinette. I considered leaving the knitting on the needles and just continuing around the corner to make the sides, but by binding off and picking up on all four edges of the bottom, I’d end up with better defined seams. I picked up 53 stitches in the same 53 I had just bound off, and worked on around the outside of the rectangle, picking up 36 more stitches on the two short sides, and 52 stitches along the other long side. I placed markers at the corners, and worked 12 rounds.

To follow the angle of the basket sides, I increased one stitch on either side of each marker two times, adding a total of 8 stitches on rounds 5 and 9. After round 12, I bound off. I steam pressed the bound off edge to keep it from rolling, and then folded and pressed each side in toward the bottom, to give it definition.

Basil was not happy when I kicked her out of the basket to vacuum and lint roller the cat hair out of it. I put all the knitting back in the bottom of the basket and then put the liner on top of it. It took her a little coaxing, but Basil eventually came back to her nest, and seems to like it there just fine. She started napping in it right away yesterday evening.

Hooray! No more cat hair on my knitting!