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Dear Ann,

The Kiki Mariko for Olive’s ramp has been knitted, felted, steeked, trimmed, and installed.

How it’s supposed to work.

Now all that’s left is to convince Olive to use her ramp—as a ramp. We’ve made some progress: Over the last couple of months, she’s gone from avoiding the ramp, to ignoring the ramp, to napping on the ramp, to using it as a booster step (in the flat, zero-incline position), to the current status: using it as a booster step at the lowest incline setting. This means that the ramp must remain parallel to the bed, so that Olive can get down from the bed in two hops instead of one big reckless leap. I’m calling it a win—but whose win?

How Olive likes it.

I do think about how Olive managed to communicate her specifications and conditions for ramp use with such precision, without using words. One begins to feel a superior intelligence is at play.

I left a little extra at the ends in case it contracts a bit with use. There was a nice felt keyboard coaster left after trimming.

Olive does enjoy the woolly cushion effect, and I imagine she appreciates that touch of mohair in the fiber mix of the Lamb’s Pride Bulky, mohair being the one kind of yarn she will deign to steal from me.

Felting Tips and Tricks

At our Steek Night Live zoom on Monday night, we got fully as many questions about felting as about steeking the rug.

I think you and I have an ease with felting because we lived through the early 2000s, the high-water (get it?) mark for felted knits. Remember the French Market Bag? (Mine, a forerunner of the Ikea blue bag in terms of its size, lives on in beautiful coasters cut from its capacious fabric after I wore out the handles.) And our own pattern, the Felted Boxes? (Mine are still in use, and still necessary to my life, and I think Cristina may still have the nesting set of mini and maxi felted boxes that I made for her in a felting fever one summer.) And in those days there were any number of felted bowls, mats, oven mitts, clogs, slippers, and of course, our beloved Kiki Mariko Rug.

Felting so many things back then gave us a casual attitude about throwing knits into the washing machine and seeing what happens, and a laissez-felt attitude is actually helpful. If you are going to felt your knits, it is liberating to let go of the need for precision or control, and to instead adopt a posture of optimistic excitement: it’s going to be lovely, it’s going to be useful, and it’s going to be felt, but it might not be the exact size, texture, or thickness of felt  you envisioned.

After such a long felting sabbatical, my big takeaway from felting Olive’s ramp rug is that washing-machine felting is easier than I remembered. I put the rug into my venerable top loader, filled it with hot water, let it agitate as long as my nerves could stand it (3 or 4 minutes, tops), looked at it to see that yes, it was felting, and then spun the water out and rinsed it. I put it in the dryer, which I set to hot because it’s a mature dryer and basically has two temperatures: hot and not on. The rug tumbled until it was almost dry, and a bit more felted, very nice and smooth.

And then I did it the whole process all over again. I decided I had been too tentative in my felting on the first try, and that my Kiki Mariko needed a bit more oomph. Repeating the process gave it a little extra chewy texture, and I left it on the counter, barely damp, to dry overnight.

It’s still not as felted as my two small practice pieces, which I just put in the washer, whispered “que sera, sera,” and left them in there until the whole cycle had run. This definitely felted them more than the rug, and extruded more mohair from the fiber. I had to actually give these pieces a little shave with my scissors to remove the mohair beard, I mean halo.

To watch me steek all three pieces, hear our advice on felting, steeking, and finishing a Kiki Mariko Rug, and see a great gallery of the assembled Kiki congregation, you can watch the recording of Monday night’s Zoom call, linked up top. We had a big time, and we’re grateful to all who joined us.

As we enter the final week of our Bang Out a Kiki Mariko knitalong, we will be perched in the MDK Lounge and on the #BangOutaKikiMariko hashtag on Instagram, watching the beautiful rugs roll in. You done good, people! Please keep sharing your gorgeous work and fun outtakes from the process. We live for this.




  • It’s really beautiful. You’ve done Olive proud!

  • When do you expect to be filling orders for the kits?

  • I have a beautifully felted bowl that my tiny granddaughter likes to wear as a pillbox hat. Such a versatile piece!

  • Love it! If only Olive could talk.

  • Can Olive even stand her own stylishness these days? Not only bespoke sweaters but a designer-crafted personal ramp.

  • I would call it a win since Olive has decided to use it, even if it is not exactly how you had intended! Interesting that she steals mohair; you would think the fuzz would feel awful if she mouths it. Our newest dog has a thing for paper and will carefully nibble off ball bands and then eat them.

  • Had to laugh about your “mature dryer.” Oh how I long for the days of a simple washer and dryer (a car even more) when you just put stuff in and pushed “start.” Now it seems you need some kind of engineering degree to operate the damm things.

    • I dread the day I will need to replace my older washer and dryer. They are simple to operate and take all kinds of abuse. I wander through Lowes or Home Depot and think wow those new washers and dryers are large and complicated. (They will also break easily) Electronics are not needed for all appliances. Analog works just great Add to electronic things water and it could be exciting as well as expensive.

      • Having just replaced a dryer that was beyond help, I cannot agree more with this. We have been trying to get a new dryer installed for two months, and the nightmare continues.

    • My sentiments exactly. The more bells and whistles, the more easily it breaks.

  • Thanks for posting the video! Fun. Someone asked about how to reduce the bulk when finishing a steeked sweater. I did a steeked vest and it was a bit bulky (but fine to wear) because I used a full strand of 3-ply yarn to sew the edges down. Afterwards I read a suggestion to use only 1 ply of the yarn to sew the edges down which would definitely reduce the bulk.

  • The ramp rug looks great! Olive won! (Sort of…she really wanted an escalator.)

  • After you sent me down the Alice Starmore rabbit hole (Damselfly link) a few nights ago, I stayed up into the wee-er hours watching her series of videos on making felted beads. Absolutely beautiful!

  • How wonderful to have this information, this web presence, this vibrant, thoughtful and supportive knitting community. I am enjoying MDK very much. Thank you! The ramp rug is fantastic. Olive is a lucky girl.
    With appreciation and so pleased to have relearned to knit,

  • I am wearing felted slippers I made years ago and then didn’t wear for lack of finding non-skid slipper soles. (And I recall that they took forever to felt and shrink enough.) Took them out recently and discovered that they are not slippery and so comfy. “Luckily,” given upstate NY weather, I will be able to wear them for a while. I loved seeing everyone’s rug variations.
    Kay, what is the brand of ramp under that great cover?

    • It’s a PawRamp.

  • You say of Olive that “One begins to feel a superior intelligence is at play.” I concur. Our kittens are way smarter than we are. We have consigned ourselves to the role of awestruck staff. But I’m still not stupid enough to knit when they are awake.

  • You can tell the age of our current dog(s) by our floor coverings: young to early middle aged dogs, where we are now, means beautiful bare floors. When they start to slow down and get a little achy, our rubber-backed thick washable rugs gradually get pulled out of storage so the dogs have better traction and can lie down in more comfort for their old bones. By the time they are truly elderly, the floors are nearly covered with not very attractive but extremely functional scatter rugs … and it’s so sad when those rugs get washed & put away again. Olive is doing great, only one bit of carpet so far, and what a gorgeous bit it is!

  • Kay! Thank you! I have been stymied about what to use on a stair tread, because my young cat tends to slide off at full speed. The Kiki Mariko is it! (The stairs are to help my older cat up to the bed.)
    Not surprised that Olive made her wishes known, they are far smarter than we give them credit for. Gorgeous ramp, btw.

  • Looks just great. Although I love the main brights kit colors, I *really* love the non-repeating situation you made (both this and your original, no?). Inspiring, as always.

  • I loved this project especially getting so much advice and seeing everybody’s rug progress. You all made a dull February much brighter! I finished my rug and ordered a non-slip backing for it, it looks wonderful on my kitchen floor One question though do I really need to sew a border onto the steeked sides?

    • I think they’ll last longer with a little whip stitch on the edges, but on the other hand the edges may stiff up with a bit of wear.

  • Lovely! Do you happen to have a link to Olive’s ramp? I’m close to needing on but haven’t seen one I like as much as hers.

    • It’s a PawRamp. The prices are all over the place but they are widely available.

  • Beautiful rugs! Olive is one lucky dog.

  • Dear Ann and Kate,
    Thank you so much for sharing your recorded zoom meetings on your Kiki Mariko project and steeking. I felt so comforted and happy after watching, warmed by your joy and enthusiasm. I called my best friend, also a knitter and said, “These are women who would enrich our lives and be wonderful friends.”
    You brought light into our grey New England days and we are grateful.

  • Not a knitting question. But where oh where did you get the ramp? I desperately need one for my little Frenchie whom I can hardly lift up to put on my bed. I would love to have one for him. Thanks so much! Andrea Pape

  • Congrats! It looks even better than I thought it would! That is some pattern, adaptable to any no. of diverse projects!

    Now, Olive, time to get w/ the program and step up!

    (pun intended)

  • I have finally finished my rug using up all that bulky yarn from under the bed in th e guest room that was left from my felted purse stage years ago. Beautiful!

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