Sunday, 29 December 2013

Seppo's Sunday Best

We are delighted to have our first ever guest blog post, written by the extremely clever colleague of Äiti's, Anne Linna, who made Seppo's jumper. She has her own blog, with loads of amazing stuff on it, in particular this post about producing yarn.

The Seppo’s jumper project – from a pile of cat hair into a knit garment
When I first received the cat hair I was amazed how some of the fibers were surprisingly long. I wanted to start with those. Ginger and black.
First I teased the fiber a bit and then started blending it with wool. Usually I use the drum carder to blend my fibers but since cat hair is so fine and relatively short, I decided to use hand carders instead.

I blended the ginger hair with white merino wool. But the black hair was a bit more of a challenge. I wanted the yarn to be the same colour as the fiber – not darker or lighter. But the natural black wool that I have was totally wrong, too dark and too brown. I had some dyed gray wool, but that wasn’t quite right either. So I tried blending both black and grey wool together. That was a success, so the black cat fur was blended together with black (=dark brown) and gray Finnish wool.
The undercoat of a cat is extremely fine and soft but quite short. It is also very warm. The yarn made out of it has a nice angora-like halo. To make the yarn fluffy, soft and lightweight yet durable I decided to make it a two-ply yarn. So first I spun two fine single strands with my Louet spinning wheel and plied them together.

From the wheel I winded the yarn in to a skein (I use my niddy-noddy to do this). 
Now it was time to wash the yarn. You have to be extremely careful not to felt it so basically you just put it in a lukewarm water bath with a mild detergent and let it sit there for a while. When you rinse it you should use the same temperature the whole time and not move the yarn around too much again to avoid felting. After washing the yarn I hung it to dry with some weight pulling it down to settle the twist. From the skein the yarn goes into a ball and then you’re ready to knit!
To know the gauge you need to knit a small sample. After that it’s quite easy to count how many stitches you need for your knit work, in this case the jumper for Seppo. I drew a pattern from Seppo’s old fleece jumper and modified it a bit to suit him even better. And then I just knitted ahead and increased or decreased my stitches accordingly as I went.
People ask me often how long does it take to make something like this. It’s really hard to say because you do it over a period of time bit by bit. Sometimes you have an hour to spend, sometimes the whole evening. And once you get going you lose track of time and you don’t count the hours because is so much fun! But to try and give you some idea about this project I’d say that the carding of both colours took about 6 hours all together. Spinning the two yarns took about 8 hours and knitting probably 2-3 hours. And this doesn’t include any planning…
This was such a fun and exciting project! I enjoyed it a lot.

And Seppo loves his jumper! Thank you so much Anne.


Sparkle said...

Wow! We were facinated - and really impressed - by Anna's description of what goes into making yarn and a sweater! She did an amazing job at every step!

Angel Prancer Pie said...

All we can say is "Wow"!
We love the fact that he is wearing something natural next to his tender skin and he looks so debonair in it!

Great guest post from Anna.

Just Ducky said...

Mum agrees with Anna, once she starts knitting or cro-shaying, the time can just got by. People ask her how long to do a bbaby blanket, maybe 6 feetsball games!

Katnip Lounge said...

This is just totally fascinating! I love to see things made from beginning to end. I've started crocheting again, maybe I should start saving the Horde's fur for something! How many grams of fur did Anna use?

Gigi said...

Wow. I can barely sew a button onto a shirt, so anything about sewing or fabric/yarn-making seems like quantum physics to me! This was amazing--and Seppo looks so sweet in his new jumper. He's the only Sphynx with cat fur!

dArtagnan Rumblepurr/Diego Hamlet Moonfur said...

Aww!! We just love this guy, and his little sweater is too cute. How amazing to see how it's made!

The Swiss Cats said...

Amazing ! Cat wool ! What could be better for Seppo than a cat jacket made of cat wool ? Well done Anna, we're impressed ! Purrs

Tama-Chan, Benny, Vidock, Violette, Ollie, Hotesse & Heloise said...

Absolutely amazing, and very clever! There is a place in Prince Edwards Island, called the Belfast Mini-Mills that does such projects.

And Seppo looks very handsome in his "family" jumper!

The Chans

Kari said...

What an amazing project beginning to end. Anna is obviously very knowledgeable and very, very talented. The sweater looks perfect
on Seppo, the colour, the weight of
the yarn, everything!
Love to all.
p.s. Many of the parrot rescues make pleas for skilled knitters to make sweaters for abused birds.

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

That was very interesting. There is so much that has gone into making Seppo's lovely jumper.