Friday, October 29, 2010

Catnip-stuffed Cat Toy: Free Pattern

I've developed a knitted cat toy pattern recently, and being currently without a cat, I would love a few knitters and their kitties to test it for me.

Sarah and her adorable Gabby have already given it a go and it found it reasonably suitable.

In particular, I'd like it to be tested with a superwash wool and a non-superwash wool - I want to know if the felting works for or against it in terms of longevity of play.

Please leave any and all feedback as comments - thanks much! Easy to read? Makes sense? Fun to knit? Fun to play with? The pattern is designed to be a reasonably easy intro to working on DPNs - do you think that's the case?

And even if you don't have comments - knit away, and may both you and the feline members of your family have fun!

Mouse for Kittie
Materials, Finished Size & Gauge:
I used Sirdar Eco Wool DK and 3.75mm dpns, but any pure wool would work nicely; use needles a size smaller than the ball band calls for.
This yarn and needle combo gave me a finished size of mouse about 3 inches long, with a gauge of about 23 sts per 4 inches. Ultimately, as long as it's a reasonably tight fabric - to keep the stuffing in - you're good.

Cast on 12 sts using your favourite method, leaving an 8 inch tail. Distribute across 3 dpns - 4 on each. Join for working in the round, being careful not to twist.

(Bonus expert tip: even if it is twisted, you can fix this after the first round. Make sure you check after knitting the first round, and if you need to, untwist!)

Knit 1 round even, pulling the first stitch nice and snug. Place a safety pin in the fabric to mark the start of round.
Round 2: (K1, m1, k2, m1, k1) 3 times. 18 sts.
Round 3: Knit.
Round 4: (K1, m1, k4, m1, k1) 3 times. 24 sts.
Rounds 5-9: Knit.
Round 10: (K2tog, k6) 3 times. 21 sts.
Round 11: Knit.
Round 12: (K2tog, k5) 3 times. 18 sts.
Round 13: Knit.
Round 14: (K2tog, k4) 3 times. 15 sts.
Round 15: Knit.
Round 16: (K2tog, k3) 3 times. 12 sts.
Round 17: Knit.
Round 18: (K2tog, k2) 3 times. 9 sts.
Round 19: Knit.
Round 20: (K2tog, k1) 3 times. 6 sts.

Cut yarn, leaving a 4-inch tail. Thread yarn onto darning needle and pull through rem stitches. Cinch to close.

Stuff mouse firmly with a combination of wool roving or snipped wool yarn ends, with a little bundle of catnip wrapped in a tissue in the middle. (Cats don't like the smell of plastic, so they may not like a polyester-stuffed mouse as much.)

Thread tail from cast-on onto darning needle and use it to gather the cast-on edge. It doesn't need to be pretty. Pull it tight to close and weave in both ends.

To make a tail, cut three 16 inch lengths of your yarn. Thread them through the gathered cast-on end, ensuring they are hanging evenly - you want 6 threads of about the same length. Tie an overhand knot in all six as close to the top as possible, and then braid the tail together, doubling each strand. When tail is about 3 or 4 inches long, finish with another overhand knot, and trim, leaving a 1-inch tassel.

Hand to cat, and see what happens.


Anonymous said...

I made 4 of these on Nov 1 and their longevity appears to depend on the cat. My mother's cat destroyed hers between 9 one evening and 5 the next morning. Destroyed, as in ripped the guts out of it and ate it! My sister got 2 (2 cats) and one mouse is still being played with. The other lasted about 3 weeks before being shredded. My cat plays with hers regularly and it's still in great shape. Since I used scrap yarn, I don't have a label to tell you what kind it was although I do remember that it was 100% wool that I had used to make a blanket many years ago.

Jackie said...

Wanted to let you know that your mouse pattern was fun to knit & came out adorable. It is Cat Approved as well! Woody loves it!

I used a DK wool and stuffed it with roving as you suggested.

Thank you!