A Purrfect Kitty Afghan

My newest published project is a Purrfect Kitties Go Round in Tapestry Crochet in Afghans for All Reasons and All Seasons, by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. This project starts at the middle and spirals around to the edge, so the cats were designed up-side-down so that they would appear right-side-up on the finished afghan.

Tapestry Crochet Kitty Afghan and Book
Purrfect Kitties Go Round in Tapestry Crochet

I was inspired to write the following while I was tapestry crocheting this piece:

     Round the moon they go 
               twelve in a row 
                         then two by two 
                                   black as night 
                                             into the light.

Tapestry Crochet Cat Afghan
Detail of
Purrfect Kitties Go Round

After I sent the afghan to Jean, I emailed her, “I just realized that my cat motif afghan for your book might felt nicely since it is tapestry crocheted with Lion Wool. I’m not sure what will happen because I have never felted a large flat circular piece. In fact, it might turn into a shallow bowl since the stitches usually shrink more horizontally than vertically. If you would like to see what happens before your book goes to press, to possibly include a photo if it felts OK, then please send the afghan back to me right after your photo shoot. I can then send it back to you if it turns out for another picture.”

Her response was, “Good heavens! You would risk ruining that spectacular piece? Yikes! We will certainly return it to you, and if you want to felt it, that’s up to you. It won’t matter for the book as we would not be giving felting instructions anyway. If it turned into a bowl it would make a nice kitty bed!”

Felted TC Purrfect Kitty Afghan

The lumpy, oval shaped felted afghan after steam ironing it several times.

I washed the afghan three times, but it just wouldn’t felt evenly! My repeated steam ironing would not shape or flatten it. So I brought it to the local dry cleaners, who were able to flatten it a little more with their large press, but it is still not flat – definitely not worth the $26 pressing charge!

Pressed Felted Kitty Afghan
The afghan after being industrially pressed at the dry cleaners.

Am I sorry that I felted it? Well, I learned that a large circular afghan will probably not felt flat, but I needed to sacrifice a big piece to learn this lesson. A smaller afghan would probably felt fine – especially if the yarn is not doubled on the single crochet border. In fact, I think a smaller piece with a bolder motif would make a nice coaster, placemat, bathroom rug, or pet pad. I dare you to beat me to it!

11 Responses to “A Purrfect Kitty Afghan”

  1. penny says:

    so sorry about the felting woes… It could be the white… I’ve heard white doesn’t necessarily felt right… which is why i’ve not tried it.

    Very gorgeous afghan though…

  2. Kathy N says:

    I think it’s lovely not felted! I’ll have to find this book simply for this afghan – love your tapestry crochet patterns.

  3. I have successfully felted the same white yarn before, so I don’t think that was the problem. I think the afghan was just too big. It did felt into a nice, heavy cloth, though, that has possibilities if done on a smaller scale.

  4. Judy says:

    Oh, I love this!!
    How big was the “before felting” ghan?
    I would have done the same thing, though – wanting to see what happened when it was felted. That’s the only way we learn more about our craft.

    I’m going to order that book right now – it’s been hanging around on my Amazon wish list too long!

  5. Ellen says:

    The muted, tweedy effect after the felting is lovely!

  6. It was a 69″ diameter circle before felting and felted into an oval that averages 42″ across after three washings. My felted bag at http://www.flickr.com/photos/14714525@N02/1695742101/ was tapestry crocheted with the same Lion Wool and washed once – and yes, the tweedy effect is great! I washed the afghan more than once because it felted very unevenly into a very shallow bowl with wavy edges. The repeated washings made it a bit more even, but thicker. It might have felted better in a front loader.

  7. Doe Arnot says:

    Ohhh your’e so brave Carol. Would I have found the courage to felt a project like this? Maybe after a couple of vodkas.
    Lovely design.
    Got my copy of interweave crochet yesterday, takes about 6 weeks to arrive from publication. The diamond scarf looks great with the boucle yarn peeping through, like a piece of woven fabric.

  8. yarnorgy says:

    My decision to buy this book was sealed when I saw your pattern! Fantastic!

  9. Ann says:

    The before felting and after felting of the kitty tapestry are both very beautiful!

  10. […] (Edited to add: UC comment: You can read more about this afghan and Carol’s experiment with felting it here.) […]

  11. Sherry Mason says:

    I purchased a book with this afghan pictured, because I wanted to make it. Then it turned out the instructions were NOT in the book. Ms. Ventura was nice enough to tell me where I could get the instructions (by purchasing another book), but I feel the publishers were misleading me.

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