My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


What is It About Rowan Calmer?

Most of the time I can plop my knitting down anywhere at home and Lucy ignores it. In fact, the only time she usually shows interest in my knitting is when I lay it out on the floor, either for blocking or to photograph.

But Lucy has taken quite a fancy to the Daily Sweater. While I’d like to think that she likes the design and appreciates the brilliance of Ann and Kay, it is more likely that she has taken a fancy to the yarn — Rowan Calmer.

Calmer is a blend of cotton and microfiber, so I don’t really get its appeal to Lucy. Granted, it is lovely and soft, but in my experience, cats prefer wool to cotton. But Lucy is adamant. Every time I set down my knitting, I come back to find her happily curled up on it. I am now taking extreme measures: putting the sweater in a bag every single time I set it down. No doubt Lucy is annoyed with me over this, but she is too polite to tell me.

I am still knitting along on the body of the sweater and am hoping that tomorrow I will be able to start on the bottom ribbing.

While Lucy was distracted by food, I managed a pic:

Moments later:

There was lots of good discussion of top-down versus bottom-up sweater discussion in the comments, and each method has its advantages. There was a question in the comments about how I seam my sweaters knit in pieces, and do I have any tips or tricks.

When I fisrt started knitting, all those eons ago, I backstitched everything together and things generally looked like hell. Backstitch has its place, for example, on shoulder seams where you want extra strength, but there are other seaming methods that give a more pleasing result. I mattress-stitch almost everything together these days. There is a great tutorial on mattress stitch on Knitty, here, that covers techniques for stockinette stitch and garter stitch.

Meanwhile, Lucy is being inscrutable.

I think she is just biding her time, waiting for another crack at the Daily Sweater.


  1. I think I must be one of the last people on earth to try Calmer. I have one skein of it in my stash; I figured I try it on something small like a hat to start. But if Lucy loves it, I’m sure I will, too. 🙂

    yarnpiggys last blog post..Style vs substance

  2. Having never experienced Rowan Calmer, I don’t know why Lucy is attracted to it either. Perhaps Rowan is slipping a little catnip in with its yarns?

  3. Bootsie kitty loves alpaca silk. Every time she spies my shawl, she suckles and paws at it. OH calls it her shawl mama.

    Denises last blog post..Last of the Quilt Show

  4. Do you think Lucy might be attracted to the sweater by the scent of perhaps a finishing chemical? I worked at a textile chemical company for years and we used fish oil in some of our products.

  5. That’s really funny!
    (The real truth — it was originally named “Rowan Catnip/Kitty Valium”, but Rowan Marketing thought that would limit its appeal, so it became “Calmer”.)

    If it weren’t for the cost, one would be tempted to knit a Lucy blankie from the stuff. Ah, well, perhaps a cat toy from any leftovers?

    Cathy-Cates last blog post..The Pioneer Braid Scarf

  6. I love the Calmer! It’s kind of soft and squishy for a cotton yarn. Maybe Lucy likes the squish factor!

    Loris last blog post..Moving…

  7. Sounds like Lucy needs a Calmer liner for her kitty bed…

    Nepheles last blog post..Casual Elegant Knits – Blog Tour

  8. I love top down sweaters and cardigans…….it is magic to see it grow under your needles…..and less seaming! My cats love any knitting to sit on….I try to keep kitty quilts around to trade when I need my knitting!

    Cindys last blog post..A Trip for Lunch

  9. Thank goodness my dogs don’t mess with my yarn, but it’s kinda cute that Lucy likes to spread her good karma (and cat hair) on your sweater. I’m working on my first grownup top down sweater….so far so good.

    Jens last blog post..A Knitting Music Video!

  10. Your sweater is beautiful Wendy, and Lucy must agree.

  11. My cats go absolutely nuts for any real animal yarn. Alpaca especially! I felted a little ball for them to play with and it’s better than catnip!

    Patricias last blog post..About those cookies…

  12. How do you mattress-stitch a shoulder seam? I’ve tried once and I couldn’t get it to lay right, so I pulled it out and just did a back stitch on it, which looked and still looks awful. I almost want to pull it out again and re-seam properly, but I can’t seem to find any tutorials about how to seam bound-off edges together. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places… I guess it doesn’t really matter though, since it is my husband’s sweater and he likes it, bad seaming or not. I just find it hard to look at the shoulders.

  13. My cat liked to grab whatever I was knitting and pull it out of my hands onto the floor where he could take it to his pillow and lurve it a while. If I was knitting alpaca, he’d actually growl at me to get me to let it go.

    I knit him his own little blanket (a nice circular swirl) which he loved and loved, even dragging it out into the hall, yelling to us it was TV time. Then, blankie went walkabout. Sad sad Badtz. Now he’s dragging skeins of yarn from the knitting basket, socks, anything knitted he can find.

  14. I can only imagine how cuddley she will be when you wear the sweater. *grin*

    Jamies last blog post..Evil does not Pout

  15. Sounds like Miss Lucy needs a Christmas present made of the Rowan Calmer yarn, a new Pi bed or security blanket.

  16. I enjoyed knitting with Calmer. I will be curious as to how you find wearing the finished sweater. I found that mine stretched terribly while wearing. I thought that the elastic quality of the yarn would help the sweater to maintain its shape but it did not. Perhaps the design of the sweater make s the difference. Mine was very fitted. Can’t wait to see the finished garment! It really is lovely.

    kozyKittys last blog post..Live from New York . . .

  17. Calmer sounds like a great yarn and clearly Lucy is a cat of distinct taste. yu can almost see her plotting her next move. I am a huge fan of mattress stitch and wonder how I ever managed without it.

    Allys last blog post..Tour of Melbourne

  18. Maybe Lucy would be interesting in the lovely turquoise Calmer that I’m destashing on Ravelry?! My knitting has never looked so uneven as with this yarn. The stretchiness really throws me off :-(.

  19. I watched a video at my surgeon’s office, showing muscle repair with mattress stitch. Needless to say, I was greatly amused.

    Barbara-Kays last blog post..Knitting opportunities, aka waiting

  20. If I sew up seams I use backstitch and have no problem with the look. Then again I line up my rows and back stitch each row. Pinning helps greatly specially if the edges want to roll a lot. Small even stitches make a very tidy seam.

    Mostof the ugliness with back stitch is that the stitches are way to big. 1 stitch = 1 row means a tidy seam.

  21. Perhaps Lucy just really likes the color? 🙂

    LittleWits last blog post..WIP Wednesday – Love Sweater

  22. I just love Rowan Calmer so I can understand the fascination.

    Tiffanys last blog post..A Finished Blankie

  23. Maybe it is time to knit a sweater for Lucy!

    Beths last blog post..Sing Sing Sing

  24. I have a cat who LOVES anything with cotton. She will ignore most wool, but I have caught her carry ball of Sugar N’ Cream larger than her around the house. She is a terror!

    Cecilias last blog post..Eclipse Review

  25. NewJerseyLaura says:

    Perhaps a Calmer Kitty Bed for Lucy’s Christmas gift?

  26. Well, I guess you know where Lucy will be each time you wear the Daily Sweater!

  27. I am really interested in Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs! I don’t knit sweaters (ever), but I adore socks and mittens 🙂

  28. She really does look like she’s waiting for the sweater to be left alone. By the way, are those paw-indentations on the sweater in the floor pictures?

  29. It’s the microfiber. My cat will eat makeup sponges and those little bath time fun alphabet foam things. I bet it’s the sames sort of smell.

    Elizabeths last blog post..Pumpkin Harvest Pants at K&F Shops

  30. I am always looking for more tips on seaming up a sweater. I don’t really like doing it, because I always feel like I’m not doing a good job. I know it takes practice, but it is hard to feel good about that when you are trying to finish something up so you can wear it out on the town.

    Have you tried doing crocheted seams? I feel more comfortable with my crochet skills, but I wonder if it would make the seams too thick.

    Seanna Leas last blog post..’tis the season

  31. Calmer is awesome and Lucy has the good sense to recognize awesomeness when she sees/smells it.
    Putting the sweater in a bag is working? But she hangs out in your knitting bags anyway, so what is stopping her?

    Ann in CTs last blog post..Must Resist Hat

  32. Maaawwwm! She wants a blankie or pad out of that yarn! LOL.

    Who knows why or how – I can’t seem to find a simple reasoning but when I find one of our pets ‘picks’ a type of fiber – it mystifies me as to why. Recently, I’ve discovered that our dog is a handspun snob.

    farm-witchs last blog post..Like Swimming In A Toilet

  33. Plus, the Daily sweater is bigger than a sock! 😉

    Danieles last blog post..Peanut Butter Taffy and Wheels…

  34. Perhaps it’s that Lucy thinks the color of the sweater makes her look especially fabulous. I had a marmalade cat who only ever lay on knitting that was a color that set off his wonderful orange-ness.

  35. Methinks you need to get another ball of Calmer and knit Lucy her own little landing pad. 🙂

  36. GretchenH says:

    Last month I finished the first sweater I’d knit in decades, and had to sew it up. I checked out all the mattress-stitch instructions, which were great — but I needed a way to hold the curling edges flat. Then I remembered the dressmaker’s/tailor’s “ham” and sleeve roll tucked in my cupboard from when I used to sew. (They’re rounded like body parts, stuffed absolutely tight with sand or some such. One side is woolen fabric, and the other side is muslin.) I used the wool side up, to give some traction, and used T-pins to pin the sweater-piece edges flat so I could do a neat mattress stitch. As I finished the part pinned to the ham, I repositioned and repinned. This worked very well for me. (Except for when my cat was a little too “helpful” in holding down the other parts of the sweater pieces so they couldn’t get away….)