My Material Life

House of Zhu Zhu

I was going to show you this with a sweater I’m knitting for Barbie, but that sweater is taking a little longer than expected, so here you go.  I have to say, there is something very satisfying  about pairing a mass-market product like the zhu zhu pet with a handcrafted accessory knit from a wool that is milled on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides off Scotland’s northwest coast.  This project comes from the book, Pet Projects – The Animal Knits Bible by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne.  It’s a lovely book, but I rejected it at first because most of the projects are for dogs and I don’t have a dog.  I love my cat very much, but I’m not inclined to knit for him (though I have sewn for him).  I was very tempted by a tent for a tortoise in the book, but I don’t have a tortoise either and I don’t think I should get one because it will almost surely outlive me and I don’t want to spend my golden years worrying about what will become of my tortoise when I’m gone. Besides, a knit tent in the yard isn’t very practical shelter, is it?  Then I read about the book again in a post on The Purl Bee and took another look and when I thought about the possibilities for toys, I decided to just go ahead and buy it.

By the way the yarn used for the hamster house is the one recommended for the project – Harris Yarn with Rowan Aran, since renamed Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran.  I do find it exciting to knit with yarns that have such a history and sense of place attached to them.  I read an interesting article on the British wool industry in the September/October 2010 issue of Selvedge magazine that made me realize this is not something to take for granted.  There are some interesting things in that issue.  You might take a look for it as it is likely still on the stands.  It’s more like a journal and it comes from the UK, so it’s very expensive, but they did lower their price for the American market recently.  I think they offer an online subscription as well, but I still love my paper.

*Tip – I purchased that book at JoAnn’s with one of those 40% off coupons.  If you have a craft book you’re looking for, don’t forget to check JoAnn’s.

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