Bran is my Bengal and is possibly one of the most curious, clever and determined animals I have ever come across in my life. He always takes great interest in whatever I am crafting, especially if it includes yarn. Yarn is possibly the most tempting and prized of all things in his eyes. When it comes to getting his paws on a length of yarn (or better yet, a ball of yarn!) he will use every ounce of his cunning and isn’t afraid to resort to brute force when necessary.
Why am I telling you about my cat? Because after finishing my scale maille test on Thursday evening, I took great care to put everything away safely – unused scales, yarn, knitting needles and scissors were all packed away into a bag and hung up out of reach of cats. My scale maille sample was tucked away in a cupboard where it could lie flat and, convinced of its safety, I went to bed.
In the morning, my husband showed me the sorry remains of my scale maille. The yarn was gnawed on, wet from being dunked in the cats’ water fountain and covered in cat hair. Scales had either fallen off as it was dragged from room to room or were pulled off. Fortunately, all of the scales were whole, if a little chewed upon and torn, so he hadn’t actually eaten any. After the hours of research and failed attempts, after my glee at finding a technique that worked and the time I put into actually knitting it, I was absolutely gutted.
On Friday night, I settled down with season two of Life on Mars and started again. As the scales will be fitted to my tabard, I started thinking about how to go about how to shape the maille to fit the taper of the bottom edge without having to cut into it. Eventually, I came up with a pattern that worked with the scales and created a slope which will (hopefully) fit against it.
The scales won’t be staying black (I just happened to have black foam on hand when I started cutting more scales) but after attempting to airbrush individual scales and finding that the damn things are so light that they just blow away (even with Blutac stuck to the underside for extra weight!), so I decided that for this test I would try painting them after knitting. We’ll see how well it works (or how badly it works, as the case may be!)
A number of people have asked for step-by-step instructions in order to make their own foam scale maille, so I shall get photographs as I work and put together a write-up of my method this week.