The stubborn novice cat blanket; things learned.

Finished that cat blanket I've been working on. It was a great learning experience.

More or less, from this project I learned about larger projects (80 stitches to the row), how to keep yarn away from the cats while knitting (poke a hole in the lid of an empty oatmeal box - it holds a skein beautifully), and that I don't know how to crochet.

I made mistakes. A lot of them. And I'm okay with that because making mistakes is how I learn and really the cats don't seem to mind the flaws at all.

If you are a stubborn novice, here's the basic pattern:

Yarn: Red Heart acrylic, medium worsted weight, color 0633 Dark Sage, one skein (7 oz) plus enough contrasting color for the border. Acrylic makes a lot of sense with this, since anyone who owns cats knows that vomiting can be a team sport and their garments will require nearly constant washing.

Gauge: Beats me. I used US size 6 4.25mm needles in 14" length.

Cast on 80 or so stitches tightly. Pull needle out, rip stitches out of yarn, and repeat cast on loosely. Work in garter stitch for 4-5 inches, or until you remember that the needle goes in front when you purl. Work another 10-11 inches in stockinette, then switch back to garter stitch and try to make the same size mistake on the other end. Ignore any dropped stitches, accidental reversals, odd loops, and so on - the cats won't care, and you'll have a record of what you need to work on. Don't worry when the edges curl up - stockinette does that. Bind off when the garter stitch sections approximately match widths. Attempt to crochet on a 1" border, or as many rows of near-crochet slip stitch as you need to do for the edges to uncurl. Tie off and weave in ends. Give to cats.

This was a great time waster sort of project for me that let me try different things out along the way such as doing a couple of rows in continental method, feeling a large swatch of stockinette against the skin (sweater research), learning why we don't put our fingertips on the points of needles to pull off stitches, and getting a feel for how long a really significant project might take. As far as projects for the rank beginner goes, it wasn't bad. The finished product is about 15" x 20" and comfortably seats two small friendly cats or one larger antisocial cat.

Oh, and that oatmeal box - once your project collapses the skein a bit, it may fit in there along with your needles, which gives you a way to carry your current project around in a box. I stuck mine in a backpack for carting to the local park on sunday morning for some outdoor people watching and knitting.



ffarff's picture

Thanks for the tip on how to keep temptation from cats.
i had to babysit a friends house and the cat chewed my yarn through every metre or so. so frustrating!

I so feel your pain. I had begun to refer to the young lady in the picture as "ninja scissors" before I figured out the oatmeal box trick.

crmartin's picture

I love it!! That's hilarious. We have four cats, but they don't take too much interest in my knitting anymore. But there have been times. The kitty is beautiful.



MMario's picture

Now that the blanket is complete does the cat get to graduate from Novice cat to proffessional cat? Since it *is* a cat I'm assuming will remain stubborn.

Stunning cat, btw.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

MichaelJames's picture

Your blog was hysterical! Thank you for the funny eye-opener. Your companion is beautiful.
I went a step further and made a wooden box with four dividers and a lid (with hinges and a clasp) with holes to feed the yarn through. Not only is it beautiful, it stops the jumping around of the skeins, especially lightweight yarns. I also have a lined basket from Michaels that I made 9 dividers for the inside (cut out of carboard like a liquor box partition) and then I cut a beatufil piece of wood to fit into the top, again with holes drilled (of course) for intarsia or fair isle knitting. Keeps all yarn separate, the dogs stay out and we're all much more sane (which is debatable!)MichaelJames


Thanks for the support, y'all! And thanks for the compliments on Ms. Kari Anne - she agrees with you.

MichaelJames - Love your divided box idea, I'm putting that on my list of things to do.

joshslade's picture

Awesome blog! My first blanket and first non-hat knitting project was a very similar pattern :)