Saturday, October 24, 2009

Clever Cat Bed

I’ve mentioned before that the cats have been after me to provide them with some adequate sleeping equipment for some time now. This past spring, when I was cleaning up the house, I took all the fur-covered rugs and blankets and hid them away to be laundered. Then summer came, and I didn’t think the cats wanted to curl up on wool afghans. I think I was mistaken. There must be something unappealing about smooth upholstered furniture. I guess they need to nest more than I realize.

Last weekend, I came up with a new cat bed that I thought was quite clever. I was trying to straighten up the laundry area in the basement, when a blue plaid wool mini skirt popped to the top of a pile. Where did it come from? I can’t remember – either from a thrift store, or a free box at a rummage sale, or it was given to me by someone who knows I can use wool material for weaving.

The skirt had a short back zipper, and a lining. I realized that with some simple sewing, I could have a new cat bed pronto.

I took out the bottom hem of the skirt, and turned it inside out and sewed a new seam across the bottom. Then I turned it the other way, and sewed the bottom of the lining shut. My plan was to top stitch across the top of the skirt, which lacked a waistband. I would leave a small gap where the hook and eye closure was.

Unfortunately, the skirt top was too bulky to fit under the sewing machine presser foot, and after a few failed attempts, I gave up, and just whip-stitched the top closed with a doubled length of sewing thread. This worked very well, and I got quite a feeling of satisfaction from doing the hand sewing, which made me wonder why I don’t do it more often. The zip opening was too small to fit a pillow form through, but my plan was to use loose stuffing. Somewhere, I have a pillowcase full of second cuts of raw wool that I thought I’d wash and use for stuffing. Could I find it? No.

Rooting around in the basement, I found the next best thing. I’ve had a particular ball of space dyed roving for over 15 years. I got it in a swap at one of the local Spinners and Weavers meetings. At the time, I didn’t know any better. However, I soon realized that whoever dyed this roving had half felted it. I couldn’t draft it no matter how hard I pulled. I didn’t know if there was any way to save it, but I hung on to it anyway.

After messing with it for a while, I realized I could pull it apart widthwise, instead of lengthwise. So I pulled tufts and tufts, and stuffed them into the cat bed. I kept checking to see if it felt hard or lumpy. It didn’t seem to, so I used the whole ball of roving this way. It took half a day for the cats to notice it, but now it’s the best new thing on which to sleep. I’m sure it will be warm, with all that wool. And I can pull the stuffing out for easy washing. All in all, a good project: recycling, making do, and above all, keeping the kitties happy!

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