Kate's Kitten, a free knitting pattern from Knitty.com. Free knitting pattern for a tiny knitted kitten, a little replica of Kate (designed by Jess Hutchison from Knitty Winter 2005).
Kate's Kitten is a mini kitty inspired by Jess Hutchison's Kate from the Winter 2005 issue of Knitty. Jess's foot-tall cat was one of the first knitted toys that I noticed in the world, and I remember studying the pattern as I fantasized about creating my own designs.
A cat with no whiskers or tail, who stands on two legs in burgundy pants, Kate has a simple charm that hasn't faded in her 12 (!) years. The best homage I could think to give her was to knit her in miniature—so Kate's kittens can multiply quickly for desk companions, good luck charms, ornaments, or whatever else you ‘d like a tiny pants-wearing cat to do.
The recommended yarn is lovely to knit with and comes in a fabulous variety of colors, but the skeins are enormous compared to the few yards you'll need to knit this project. If you have scraps in colors that you like, use those instead!
photos: Anna Hrachovec
Height: 1.75 inches/4.5cm
Cascade Heritage [75% Superwash Merino Wool/25% Nylon; 437 yd/400m per 100g skein];
[MC] Mango; 4 yd
[CC1] Fuschia; 5 yd
[CC2] Tutu; 2 yd
[CC3] Real Black; 1 ft
Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below - every knitter's gauge is unique]
US #1/2.25mm DPNs
Note: Magic loop and 2 circulars methods are too unwieldly for this project
38 sts/ 46 rows = 4 inches/10cm in stockinette stitch
Note: Gauge isn't important for this project — instead, aim to make stitches tight enough so that stuffing won't show between them. This usually means choosing a needle that's 2-3 sizes smaller than normally recommended for the yarn you're using.
[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]
The finished kitten is very small, so it's not a safe baby toy. To make it safe for kids aged 3 and under, scale the toy up by using a thicker yarn (like worsted weight) and bigger needles (like US #5/3.75mm).
Unless otherwise noted, when switching colors, leave the old color yarn attached.
This is a seamless project, but you will have a lot of loose ends to deal with. You can weave them in and trim as you go, or wait to do so when finishing. To ensure that they're all secure, loosely weave each end entirely through the body at least twice before trimming.
With MC, cast on 3 sts onto one needle. You will work the first round like an I-cord, with the working yarn attached to the leftmost stitch. (see photo below)
Rnd 1: Kfb around. 6 sts.
Divide the stitches onto 2 needles, and continue working in a round. Break MC.
Rnds 2-5: With CC 1, knit.
Break CC1. Transfer the stitches back onto one needle, and set aside.
Make another leg, repeating Rounds 1-5, without breaking CC1.
Torso and Head
Hold the two needles with the leg stitches together with the purl stitches facing each other, and with the working yarn attached to the rightmost stitch on the back needle. You will join the two pieces together in the following round.
Note: Let the loose ends hang down between the needles. To help keep them out of the way, tie them together into a loose knot now or after the following round.
Rnd 6: Knit. 12 sts.
Distribute the stitches onto 3 needles and continue working in a round.
Rnd 7: Kfb around. 24 sts.
Rnd 8: Knit.
Rnd 9: With CC2, knit.
Rnd 10: K1, kfb, k3, kfb, k2, kfb, k6, kfb, k2, kfb, k3, kfb, k1. 30 sts.
Rnds 11 and 12: With CC1, knit.
Rnd 13: With CC2, knit.
Rnd 14: K1, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k6, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k1. 24 sts.
Rnd 15: With CC1, knit.
Break CC1 and CC2.
Rnd 16: With MC, k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1. 18 sts.
Rnds 17-22: Knit. (6 rounds).
Stuff the piece, filling out the shape without warping the stitches. Leave the legs un-stuffed.
Rnd 23: K1, k2tog, k1, (k2tog) twice, k2, (k2tog) twice, k1, k2tog, k1. 12 sts.
Rnd 24: (K2tog) around. 6 sts.
Break MC, and draw it tightly through the stitches with a tapestry needle.
Weave the end at the top of the head into the inside of the piece to secure.
Consult pictures for a guide for placement and details.
With CC3, embroider eyes with 2 small horizontal stitches for each, placed 5 stitches up from the last color change and spaced 4 stitches apart.
With CC1, embroider a nose directly between the eyes.
Consult pictures for a guide.
Cut another piece of CC1, and split the yarn so that it's half the original thickness. Use the split yarn to embroider a mouth of two Vs placed side by side below the nose.
Note: To make the ears symmetrical, pick up the right ear (kitten's right) with the back of the body facing you, and pick up the left ear with the front of the body facing you. See photos above.
With MC, pick up and knit 2 vertical stitches to one side of the top of the head. Turn to work the stitches flat.
Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: Knit, then pass the first stitch over the second.
Break the yarn and draw it tightly through the remaining stitch with a tapestry needle.
Weave the ends down through the ear and body, shaping the ear as you do so.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 again to make another ear.
Turn the body upside down, and with CC1, pick up and knit 2 horizontal stitches on the CC1 area midway down the side of the body. You will work these stitches like an I-cord.
Rnd 1: Kfb twice. 4 sts.
Rnds 2 and 3: Knit. Break CC1.
Rnds 4 and 5: With MC, knit.
Break MC and draw it tightly through the stitches with a tapestry needle.
Weave the ends back through the arm and body, pinning the base of the arm down to the side of the body as you do so.
Repeat on other side for second arm.
Weave in and trim the remaining loose ends. Use one of the ends to stitch up the gap between the legs.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Anna Hrachovec is a Chicago-based designer who combines her passions for knitting and cute characters to create toys that all ages can get excited about. When she's not making knitting patterns, she's making soft sculptures and animations with her stitches.
She has written five books of patterns for knitted toys, the newest of which is Adventures in Mochimochi Land, a combination storybook and craft book. Find her and all her stuff at mochimochiland.com.
Pattern & images © 2017 Anna Hrachovec