If you’re Rhinebeck bound, we would love to see you at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night. Details here.

Rugging and Felting With Film Stars

Aw, Ann!
Your last post touched a chord. As I was PhotoShopping my way through the 83 images currently stored on the KayCam (mostly touching still lifes, mostly of knitting), this snap of Hubby’s 50-year-old shoes, resting on one of his mother’s bookshelves (otherwise laden with pseudo-feminist literature of the 70s), seemed like a pretty good answer to fretting about the papoose-driven life. The memory, nearly faded, of the days when we worried about getting the papooses into our life, comes back once in a while when I feel like my sole raison d’etre is picking up the cold, ketchupy Tater Tots they leave in their wake. But now that the papooses are, for the most part, doing the driving, life seems as it should be. Surprisingly lacking in can’t-miss meetings in the South of France, but as it should be. I am sure that those whose lives are driven by porpoises feel much the same; they wouldn’t trade the slippery guys and their wacked-out language of clicks and barks for all of Cannes.
By the way, to this day Hubby doesn’t take very good care of his shoes.
Lacking sufficient attention span to finish up more important projects (like that woolly cardigan I know you’re despairing of ever seeing), I have fallen back on my Comfort Knitting: square stuff and felted stuff.
Have I bent your ear yet about Maysville Rug Filler? I love this stuff. A yarn so thick and absorbent, you could attach a skein of it to your Swiffer and mop the floor with it. It knits up soft and squishy, in bright washable colors, on big needles–I use 17s. Last year, when I first discovered Maysville, I whipped up a little 2-skein bathmat in garter stitch. It is still in use, and after months of wet feet and frequent washings in the lousy machines in our basement, it still looks OK. It’s a homey, happy little bathmat.
My inner fussbudget didn’t like that it tends to get flattened down, and that the selvedge edges tend to stretch out of shape. So, I gathered together some skeins of thick cotton/acrylics, Artful Yarns ‘Dance’ and Lang ‘Filo’, and experimented with knitting a strand of one of these along with the Maysville mop stuff.
My second line of defense was to avoid selvedge edges altogether by doing my rug–you guessed it–Log Cabin style, which results in all four sides being cast-off edges.
The best part? On a lazy pajama Saturday, you can knit a thick n’ squishy rug over two cups of coffee and be done by noontime. Here’s the proof:
Stage 1: All-pink center patch. (First cup still warm.)
Stage 2: Yellow log-cabin frame. (Thinking about a shower. Nah–knit some more.)
Stage 3: Wa-freakin’-la! (Although I think I pulled a muscle working the No. 17s.)
This made the most delicious, squooshy, yet firm, little bath rug ever in the history of bath rugs. OK, so it’s a little bright. We’ll put it in a spot that’s in need of major perking up. The main thing is, it was fun to knit.
In other Comfort Knitting News, I continue to try to make the perfect felted tray and/or bowl. The idea is, it would be nice to have something to dump the keys and coins in, that would protect the tabletops and at the same time, quietly announce: “Mommy’s Crazy.”
I have achieved only modest success:
These are both in Noro Kureyon. I knit garter stitch bottoms that seemed about the right size, picked up stitches and knit up the sides in the round. What can I say? They’re an Acquired Taste.
Film Stars Department
I exchanged after-school pleasantries with a Minor Sitcom Star. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got.
Love, Kay




  1. You gals crack me up! And as much as I’d like to make it to Cannes, I’m glad to be still in those first five years with my slippery porpoise (who turns THREE next week). Take a look at my critter crochet when I next post — it’s made with vintage rug yarn. I still have tons, so maybe some bathrug knitting is now in order! (Or I can ship it to you with my May square(s) . . .)

  2. Morning! I’ve never been to Cannes but judging by my downstairs neighbour who throws the phrase ‘Cannes darling’ around like pearls before swine (I think I’m the swine…) it lacks a certain amount of sincerity, not to mention a sense of humour about itself! As other commenteers have implied, surely your purpose is to keep us all amused… What, you mean you want something more? Hhhhmmm, not sure I can help – I haven’t managed to find the purpose of life yet, or a porpoise either for that matter! It’ll just have to be indulgence then, and having a laugh!
    By the way I think the tutu shawl is really pretty and I’m coveting a felted tray!
    Love your tray felting by the way Kay – have you tried decreasing several stitches in the couple of rows before you cast off? Might make

  3. Maybe I sould READ my comments before posting them!!!! Sorry about that…..

  4. Well, I’m between porpoises right now. (waiting for the big B day when my porpoise will be undeniably present!)
    But, as far as my job was/is concerned, I’m not sure I want to go back to it. The best bit about the travel I had to do (I did go to the odd conference or course in the wider realms of Europe & Scandinavia) was the nosing around the cosmetic aisles in duty free as there’s a dearth of high-class cosmetics in Cornwall. The worst & overriding bits were the lack of sleep (that’s going to get familiar again soon!); the fact that I was going to a city I’d have liked to explore with hubby, but he wasn’t there & there was no time to look around (I went to Copenhagen & didn’t get to see the Mermaid statue, for instance); I had to be on my bestest behaviour & be terribly nice to colleagues & customers throughout the day & then into the evening when all I wanted to do was get back to the hotel, get my feet up & knit.
    Those so-called porpoise-filled lives aren’t necessarily what they’re cracked up to be.
    Since being home on maternity leave (for all of a week & 2 days!)I’ve managed to get more knitting done (yeay – finished Rogue & the baby’s blankie is coming on a storm – I’ll start Shaded Diamonds in a day or two depending on when his nibs decides to put in his appearance) and the house does look more presentable than it has ever done. I’m meeting friends without needing to rush off to do something else & hubby & I are definitely eating better, more wholesome food.
    Time is the key thing here, and using it in a way that feels right to you – do what makes your heart sing & if you can work it out so that it helps pay the bills, then so much the better.
    Sitting around in Pj’s knitting squishy bath mats is a worthwhile activity, even if the rest of the family look at you as though you’ve just stepped down from Mars!
    (only 5 days to go until due day!)

  5. Love the bathrugs! Do you think it would work if I quintupled the dishrag yarn? Have you thought of knitting with strips of old terry cloth towels? (It sounds like I just did.)
    I can’t promise I’ll report back soon with rug results because I’ve happened on a new passion–an ersatz porpoise–spinning. No, I don’t mean that masochistic group cycling exercise, but spinning wool fleece into yarn. I’m so bad at it the results are perfectly charming. I promise a May square in Cristina-spun.

  6. Kayyyyy, I like the diminutive size of your felty boxes. I think if they get too big, they start to flop on ya. That miraculous striping effect is very cool, too.
    How big is the little bath rug? Need to put a nickel in the picture for scale. The log cabin construction is the perfect solution to the selvedge edge problem.
    I love your Lewis-n-Clark journey-of-discovery attitude. Jump in there, mix it up, and see what happens. Hey! A bath rug!
    Jo–Ah, so great to hear that you’re so close to the arrival of your porpoise. It sounds like you’re having a wonderful pre-partum week. PLEASE have Hubby send up a smoke signal when the baybee arrives. Or just email us between contractions.

  7. Where do you get that Maysville yarn? My Weekend Cotton crochet rug has turned into a bath bag instead! I need to get going on some patchwork rugs! Also, what resources can you recommend for picking out colors for log cabins? Any great online sites of great examples? or books that you like? Thanks! Annhb ps Virginia has been rolled up and stashed in the armoir – never to see the light of day again!

  8. Yay – we are on the same vibe Kay ! Don’t tell Lis but I’m about to start a felted cushion tonight. I promised her I wouldn’t start anything new until I’d finished some other stuff but I’ve just realised that a colleague retires in exactly one month and I KNOW she would just love this cushion so I have no choice ! And no will power, clearly.
    Felted bowls, mmh. Just don’t try eating out of them – unless maybe porridge, it’s probably solid enough.
    Heather x
    ps How can you bear to think about standing on that gorgeous rug with wet feet ???

  9. Kay…I wanna know where you got the Maysville rug yarn too. You said that you used 2 skiens–how big of a rug does that make? I’m lovin it–something else to log cabin now that I’m no longer afraid.

  10. I *love* the rug idea. That sounds like a fab-o project for the summer days. Must do something besides scarves in the those sweltering months.

  11. Where to get the Maysville Rug Yarn? I’ve heard that they may be going out of business. This time when I googled ‘Maysville Rug Filler’ I got fewer sources. Here in NYC, we have Rita at the most wonderfullest store in town, Downtown Yarns, who stocks it right on the shelves for $6.50. There’s an internet art supply place called ‘Dick Blick’–if you can stand to shop at such a place, they have it for $5 something a skein. Two skeins make a roughly 18 x 24 inch bathmat. I used one skein for each of the color bands in my Log Cabin Bath Mat. It doesn’t go all that far, being as it’s so thick.
    I like the colors better when I knit along a strand of something else to give it a bit more depth. I also like the firmer texture this gives. I’m going to post in the Found Objects a wonderful crocheted flower mat Rita had in Downtown Yarns today, along with a photo of the shelf that shows the colors she was stocking. The flower mat is amazing. Like a corsage, writ large. Extremely large. I love this stuff and I’ll be sorry if they’re really going out of business.
    You get used to standing on it with wet feet. That’s another nice thing about Maysville–it’s hard to take something that looks like a mop all that seriously. Now, Weekend Cotton–that’s fer uptown folks! xox Kay

  12. Finished Log Cabin bath mat is 20 x 24 (inches). Perfect for in front of the tub. Any bigger and I’d have needed circulars to hold the stitches. (Just bought circular #17s today, so Watch This Space.) K.

  13. Kay, in re rectangular shawls:
    Cheryl Oberle has a few great ones in her Folk Shawls book including one with a stitch called “bird’s nest” that looks going-out-for-the-evening friendly.

  14. Cristina & Kate, I was thinking about doing a narrower version of the ‘box lace’ shawl in Folk Shawls. (You know me, I [heart] Boxy.) It looked easy, which is key.
    Rita’s version used random stripes of different colors of the Euroflax, with a dash of some kind of print in there as well. It looked tres cool, but I’m not in the mood for such a long stocking stitch slog. According to Rita, the Euroflax goes a long way (over 200 yards). I’ll believe I can get a shawl out of 3 skeins when I see it. Xxx Kay

  15. Kay..when you get some time could you post a semi-pattern for the bathmat? Sorry but us anal retentive newbie knitters need it 🙂
    Thanks bunches

  16. i have been dreaming of felted bowls for months now.
    once i get my brand new set of denise needles (have sworn that no way am i going to buy more individual needles) i am going to whip up the most beyootiful ones (heh, heh)
    based loosely on the skullcappy things that i affected in 2nd year university, which were pretty straightforward to knit: 120 or so stitches on 5 dpns, knit for 10 cms or so, then decreased equally over the crown every 2nd row to make a nice flat circle on top.
    any suggestions for good yarn for felting? the woman at the yarn store around the corner from my house just looked down her nose at me and flitted her hand vaguely in the direction of the Lopi. i tell you, there needs to be a change in management at la tricoteuse in montreal! i cannot believe how unhappy this woman is to be a yarn supplier!

  17. Kelli Ann– Re: Felting Yarns: I love felting the Noro Kureyon, because of the Intense! Striping Action. I believe that many of our more experienced American Felters out there use a ton of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky. It felts, oh BOY does it felt, and it comes in a lot of great colors, and there are lots of patterns written for felting it into bags and such. And finally, I am going to try Manos and Cascade 220, both of which seem totally feltable to me, but I have not tried yet.
    Sandra, When not under the influence of my Friday Night Aperitif, I will post a little set of instructions for the Maysville Bath Mat. If you’re impatient, search for my ‘Log Cabin’ instructions a couple of months ago. Start by casting onto your Number 17 needles 12 stitches in the Maysville (or Maysville plus a sturdy Knit-along strand), and then follow the Log Cabin blanket instructions until you have 4 strips surrounding the center patch. That’s all there is to it. Instant Rug.
    Happy Weekend everybody, xox Kay

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