Monday, April 4, 2011

sew... what is it with Quilters and Cats?

Hi there!  I'd like to thank Madame Samm for inviting me to share some stash busting info with you today.  My name is Thea McCurry - also known as Grannygoodstuff.  I don't design patterns or have a store or sell stuff.  I do make lots of charity quilts for Project Linus and Quilts for Kids as well as the following project.... Cat Snuggles!  I found this info while I was searching for a pet bed that I could make from supplies on hand... which in my case are embarrassingly extensive, but that's another topic...and one you might also suffer from enjoy?  hmmm?  no?  seriously??????

The website I found has all kinds of pet beds, and the organization that sponsors the website is "The Snuggles Project".  You can read all about it on their website...so - here is the linky to the entire, and rather extensive, pattern library: http://www.snugglesproject.org/pattern-library/

....there are lots more options on this website, and I can't honestly claim to have followed any instructions to the letter.  That's just not how I create.  How about you?  Do you read through the directions on things and then 'wing it'?  yup, that's me!  Just show me a picture and I'm off to do it!
front view of kitty snuggle

top view of kitty snuggle

I mean well, but I'm usually multi-tasking  between the computer, the TV and whatever is in my hands, so "I y'am w'ut I y'am", as Popeye used to say!   and what I'm not is a perfectionist!  I tried to make a cross-stitch sampler many years ago - it took me 14 years to finish - it says "Finished is Better Than Perfect"... and I really mean that!  and guess what else!  Kitties don't care!!  Maybe that's why I love my furry purry grandchildren so much!

Here’s a few kitties enjoying the comfort of this snuggle bed:
This is Gray – he was the first to take a nap in the new snuggle…isn’t he a handsome model?  a bit on the shy side, perhaps?  nope, just sleepy!

 ....notice the yarn scraps twisted in with the fabric scraps... adds a nice extra texture, don't you think?

And then Peaches had to try it on for size… she’s a bit on the dainty side… but isn’t she beautiful?  ...such a glamor girl!

….and although he probably stretched it beyond original expectations, Bully had to prove that he, too, could fit into the new bed!

My daughter rescues cats the way I quilt....
her rescue cats often have to visit the vet a good bit as she nurses them to fitness... or in some cases, just nurses them.  These snuggles are designed to comfort traumatized animals - but even the non-traumatized seem to like them, too!

You can take a peek at more pics of these and other rescue kitties here.  

Yardage & supplies for one Snuggle:  all the ‘OMG WWIT’ fabric from your stash….  Go ahead, pull it out and own up to it!   I also have a couple of boxes of “You quilt, here’s some fabric I found while cleaning out an attic/basement/whatever so I’m sure you can use it”   ... or the growing in popularity practice of dumping a large bag of unwanted fabric on a doorstep, ringing the bell, and running….  In some parts of the country, it’s called "pre-zucchini season training"…  this is also an option for a ‘round-robin’ quilt guild fabric exchange -  just leave a list of guild members in the bag, cross off your name when it gets to you, add your OMG WWIT’s to the bag and pass it onto the next sucker, unsuspecting, err, appreciative  guild member.
You’ll need the biggest crochet hook you can find – mine is size S - a huge plastic hook from JoAnns…. I also have a nice wooden hook that’s a size N-15 and it works well for ½” strips, but it’s slower than using the wider strips and the bigger hook, and does not use up the fabric fast enough.  
Now, if you are still with me, and you’d like to manicure your stash to make a kitty snuggle here is how it’s done.  You’ll need about 6-10 yards of fabric, depending on the size of snuggle you are making – and while you are digging around, if you come across any odds & ends of yarn, toss those into the pile too! ( ...while crocheting, if you come to a fabric strip that isn’t quite as hefty as the others, just tie a piece of yarn onto it and keep going…..)
1 1/2" strips ready for joining
Take all this fabric to your cutting table and reduce it to a nicely cut pile of 1 ½” strips – you can leave the yarn for later….… and I like using the June Tailor “Shape Cut” ruler similar to the one in this video for making strips – it goes sew fast, just be careful to keep your fingers away from those slits – the only thing that should be going through that slot is your rotary cutter!  Watch the video on the linky if you've never tried it!

Take one of your strips and your big fat crochet hook and make a ‘pretzel’ knot – make six crochet stitches into the pretzel, and join to make a circle…   

join the circle and continue working without turning....

when you get to the end of a strip, join another strip to it as follows (this is the only tricky part - HONEST!!)

hold the two ends together - leave about half an inch beyond your fingers - snip a 1/2" slit in the middle of the fold with a strong pair of scissors - wimpy scissors won't do the trick!  don't cut all the way through to the ends of the strips - the slit should be just big enough to pull the fabric strip through.

now, with the new strip on top of the working strip, pull far end of the new strip UP through the slit in BOTH of the slits at once....

and pull the new strip all the way through the hole.

now, pull the ends snug, and crochet some more - or you might want to add all the strips together at once so you don't have to stop and join every 5 or 6 stitches!

If you want a stretchy, soft bed, crochet into the back or front loops only.  If you want a firmer bed, crochet into both loops.
I increased every 2 or 3 stitches to keep the bowl shape until it was as big as my lap, then I stopped increasing and crocheted the sides until it was about 6 inches high... go ahead and make one... your kitty will love you for it!

Now I'll tell you a little secret... these 'beds' make wonderful stash baskets, too!
Great for sorting out the fabrics for a few charity quilts. 


  1. Thea....that was great! I love the pics of the kitties in the baskets....especially Bully! LOL Solid cat with no wiggle room! love it!

    I don't have any cats anymore :o( but will be making some for my neighbor and for my stash!

    Thanks a bunch!

  2. Great idea. I don't have kittys but daughter has 2, and I've got lots of scraps to work with. THanks, jo

  3. Oh my goodness, but these are so cool! Thank you for sharing them and the adorable kitties too! I can't have kitties in the house, but I certainly have use for scrap/stash baskets ;) Thank you!!

  4. These are great, I'm not sure if my cat would use it but it wouldn't matter because I would still have a great stash basket wouldn't I.

  5. Fun post. Also perfect for the Pets on Quilts Show. Interesting how some cats just love their own bed and others don't. But yours are among the best I've ever seen. Thanks for sharing. And I hope we all keep spreading the world how much comfy beds are needed for those living in shelters.


  6. Great idea... Very original!!!
    Thank you!

  7. What a great fun post and I just love the pictures of the cats in their snuggle baskets..... I have written 'large crochet needle' on my shopping list...
    Thanks and Hugz

  8. My kitty has her own quilt and it better be in the right place when it is nap time! But I love the basket/scrap fabric idea - even have that large hook. I will so be making one - maybe more of these just for me. No, I won't try to sleep in it. Thank you for a delightful post and a new quilty side of life.

  9. Oh, I love this idea! I can just imagine them for all kinds of things. Kids toys, stash baskets, projects in progress.... of course, the trick will be keeping the kitty ones for kitties and the fabric ones for fabric. Because of course I have cats! I quilt! :-)
    Thanks for the great tutorial, I love this!

  10. What a great idea for a bed I love the cats they are all nice looking cats. Good on your daughter for nursing cats back to health. I am going to have to try this one for my cat I am sure Spike would love a snuggle bed.

  11. Great idea for cat lovers. I'll have to make some for my cat lovin' friends, (I'm allergic!!!) They are sooo cute curled up in their little cozies! Great post.

  12. What a neat idea! I don't have a cat but I've seen other quilters post pictures with their cat curled up in a basket. Since they like the snuggly-ness of it anyway, they may as well have an official basket bed to call their own!


  13. OH my you are just too funny! Ring the doorbell and run... LOL.. The kitty's are too too cute all snuggled there in the snugglies.. I wonder if my weiner dogs would like one?? Well, maybe someday when I have a mountain of fabric.

  14. I have never seen anything like it, very cute. A perfect cradle for cats, I have 3 I am wondering if they would be as comfortable as yours seem to be. Thank you for the how to. x

  15. What a fun stash busting project...and what adorable photos! Thanks for the inspiration today!

  16. My quilting group has been making small quilts for the local animal shelter, but these little baskets look like an alternative project for us to use up left overs from our regular quilting projects. Thank you for the links for the patterns, I'm off to check them out...

  17. Gray & Peaches are precious.

    God's Blessings on your daughter with her rescue.

    The snuggle beds are wonderful.


  18. What a great idea - I will need to find me a kitty lover, but seriously wishing I just had one to sit around and toss strips into. Thanks for your tutorial. Judy C

  19. Fabulous project, and I am not a cat person, but I love that you make these for the rescue animals!!!

  20. Good Morning Teah...meow, meow, meow....I bet every cat would be purrrrrrrrrrrrring this as it is purrrrrrrrrfect...no really a fabulous project, a wonderful gesture for rescue cats and your post was purrrrrrrrfectly awesome!

  21. What a fun, creative post! Love the round-robin idea on leaving the bag on the doorstep and running! LOL I have already put this needle size on my wish list...my Moses has decided he likes the look and wants his own snuggle. (Well of course, I quilt, and I have a cat...kinda goes without saying!) Great way to contribute to a shelter nearby, too! Thanks for sharing!
    Jacque in SC

  22. You never know what dish will be served here. I really like this cat bowl. I have never known a cat who does not like a quilt or anything material. Do you think it is because our scent is on it? Wonderful tutorial, thank you so much Thea. hugz Mary

  23. Fab idea... that little red cat curled up looks just like my cat "Maple Cream" I can so totally see him loving this... I gotta have one for him!
    Lynne (in Ottawa)

  24. Oh...this makes me want to get out my crochet hook and fabric to try one of these fun bowls!

    Cats, DO love to be in and around the fabrics...cute kitties!


  25. Good Morning! Wouldn't this look absolutely wonderful setting next to my chair to hold patterns and magazines and newsletters? Nice project!

  26. What a great post Thea! :)

    But, I never have anyone pawn off fabric on me! So if you want to pass some along, I'll be happy to repurpose it! LOL :)

  27. This is great! I need to make two. Our cat always lays on the back of the sectional in hubs den and leave hair in a couple of different spots. Wonder if one of these would sit on the back of the sofa? He also curls up on top of the hubs model train table which really raises hubs blood pressure, could probably fit one right up next to a fake mountain.

  28. Thanks for a great idea! I don't have any pets, but I certainly know people who do and who would love these!

  29. Thanks for a great idea Thea. My kitty is quilt crazy too, bet she would love one of these. By the way, Popeye is my hero too.

  30. I have always wanted to make one but I have a dog, guess I now need to go and get a darling kitten! Thank you so much for sharing!

  31. I've never had the patience to learn to crochet, but this might just be the motivation I need. I have many cats and a friend who works with a rescue group so I can see these getting a lot of use. Thanks for the post and links!

  32. I've been making rugs using the same technique but I love your idea of making baskets for my kitties. I think they'll love them too. Thanks for sharing such a great idea!

  33. Lol, Bully reminds me of myself when I was 'pouring' me into my jeans when I'd put on weight - a very tight fit. This is a great idea and after I test run it on our 4 cats I'm sure the local RSPCA would like some for their adopted charges.

  34. Thea, this is so cool!! Can't wait to share this with my daughter. She can crochet and she has two cats. I can't crochet and my husband is allergic to cats. She will love this and her cats will, too. I have a lovely cross stitch sampler that I started in 1985. Every year at New Year's I resolve to finish it. I'll try again in 2012. :-)

  35. Thea is is a wonderful tutorial, thanks so much. I love the snuggle beds and think this is a great idea if you have allot of stash.

  36. Love it!!!! I have a kitty at my house that positively loves boxes...I think she would love one of these will haev to get started on one tonight!


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