Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Ball Band, Rat Rugs

Yup. I said Rat Rugs.

Not to be confused with Rug Rats.

Although, I suppose it could be argued that I have those, too. Rug Rats would be Rats that use the Rat Rugs, right?

You see, in March my husband and I acquired a pair of rats - sisters - as pets. Their names are Star and Sable, and we adore them. They have turned out to be delightful creatures that love to interact with us as much as we love to play with them.

We built them a cage with three stories to scamper about. And I began knitting for them. At first, I was using the classic Diagonal Garter Stitch Dishcloth to make triangles to hang in their cage as hammocks to sleep in. From there, I started making squares from the same pattern to use as rugs on the top floor of their cage. Rugs for a Rat Cage? Yes - for comfort, style, and to absorb incidental messes. The squares were okay, but I needed two of them to cover the whole floor.

I received my copy of MDK by mail on Thursday last week. Inspired by the simplicity of the pattern (and the many versions I'd already seen around blogland), I immediately abandoned the simple square rugs, and began knitting Ball Band Rat Rugs.

Star Checks Out the First Ball Band Rat Rug

My first Ball Band Rat Rug was completed by Friday afternoon, less than a day after the book came into the house. Star was the first to approve, but then, she's usually the first to inspect my knitting. Sable checked it out later, and also gave two paws up.

Since then, I've completed four more.

BBRR's Two & Three


BBRR Five on the needles (it was finished earlier today)

The yarn in every case is Sugar 'n Cream. I had about seven cones in various colors that I acquired at Woolworth's about twelve years ago, and I've started buying balls of some of the new, bold colors at Jo-Ann's lately. (Jo-Ann's has the super-size balls - 4 oz. solids, 3 oz. multis - for only $2.19. But who ever pays full price? They also take every coupon from all the major craft chains!)

The ultimate goal is to have seven rugs I can swap out on a daily basis if need be, to keep things nice and clean.

For the record, it's not going to be all about the rats as far as Mason-Dixon Knitting is concerned for me. I love the new ideas, and fresh twists on old ones. And I'm expecting to have to increase my cotton and linen stashes accordingly...

A queen-size cotton blanket is likely to be on my list. I've already knit one with acrylic yarns that has become a favorite blanket for me, but I'm thinking some of the designs in MDK, in cotton, could win my heart!

Meanwhile, well - it may not be all about the rats, but it's at least partly about the rats. Here's how stylish one of their special Ball Band Rat Rugs looks in the cage:

Ball Band Rat Rug in Use
The Penthouse Deck in Condo Raton

As you can see, a Ball Band Rat Rug covers the entire floor, without any awkward overlapping. The full-size rugs stay in place better than the pairs of squares ever did. Hoo-Ray for Ball Band Rat Rugs!

And that's the MDKAL news from Wilton, NH. Where the Rattie Sisters are Livin' Large on handmade textiles!


JENNY! LOL LOL LOL. A Week of Rat Rugs. You win: Best Handknit for the Rodents in Your Life.

Can't get over this! Too funny. xxoxo
Thanks, Ann!

One of the final points that sold me on getting rats for our pets was when I found a 3-year old photo on someone's blog of their own rat wearing a sweater they knit for her. "Hmm," I thought. "Pets I can knit for!"

No telling what else this little pair of furballs is going to get from my needles before I'm done. :)
Oh my lord!! You are totally cracking me up. I think you win the award for most interesting use of a MDK pattern!
The thing that cracks me up the most is that your nickname is "folkcat" and you have rats.....actually we have three lovely pet rats that I've decided I need to make hammocks for them now! They have torn up there last one and they need something lighter anyway for the summer. Thanks for the great inspiration.....
They don't chew their rugs? That would really make me sad...
jen - they have yet to chew anything I've knit them. They will, however, gladly and eagerly rearrange or move anything that isn't nailed down!

dawn - The nickname Folkcat originates from a collection of folk art cats I have. The full story of the name can be found here:

F is for Folkcat

We'd have cats if we could, but we're renters and cats or dogs aren't permitted.

Maybe it makes more sense if I point out I was born in the Chinese Year of the Rat! :)
What are the size of the rugs? I want to make some for a swap. Where do I find the pattern?
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