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My Favorite Things: whiskers on kittens

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During December, sometimes we just need to get away from it all for a few minutes. Knitters have their vast choice of patterns for small items, providing both stress relief and instant gratification. Continuing the theme of "My Favorite Things," today's knitting pattern inspiration comes from "Whiskers on kittens." Dog-themed patterns outnumber cat-themed patterns by a handful; below is a smattering of cat-centric knitting patterns.

Whiskers on kittens

Cats, Kitty, Kitten: Cathy Ren designed this relatively simple plush cat, only five inches high by six inches long. In addition to its manageable size, there are only three parts to knit, as the legs are part of the body piece. The pattern is $3.50 as a download on Ravelry and includes both written instructions and colored charts to make the pattern more understandable to beginners.

Knit cat draft stopper: This pattern is both for the human and the cat, as cats hate the cold. Boye and Simplicity have offered this free pattern for an elongated cat draft stopper to prevent cold air getting inside the house during the winter months. There are very few parts to sew together, and the project gets filled with poly-fil as you seam. Your cat will appreciate your care for his or her warmth on the floor.

Easy cat blanket: Karen Janine has offered a free, easy cat-sized blanket pattern for those cats that just need a cozy surface on which to sleep. While the size of the project may be too large to be considered portable depending on where you are traveling (the finished size is 20 inches square), it is an easy enough knit to leave in the car and work on while waiting at school to pick up the kids, or getting stopped by a freight train.

Felted Knit Cat Catnip Rattle Toys: Designer Lorraine Pistorio set about making knitted cat toys that could handle the wear and tear of a cat's claws, so she wet-felted them. The actual knits are quick, though slightly more complicated than just a straight square, but they can be completed in a short time and wet-felted in an equally short time. The pattern is available at both Craftsy and Ravelry as a $2.00 download.

International cat hat: Stacy Mar's free Ravelry download pattern offers an under-100-yard pattern for a beret to fit a cat's head. Knitted on size US 7 needles, the pattern is a relatively quick knit, and since it is made to fit a tiny head, the project can be made while standing in line, riding the bus, or on your coffee break at work. Click on the link to see the models proudly wearing their berets.

Cat holiday ornaments: (note: the free pattern on Lion Brand Yarn's website also includes dog patterns, but today we are all about the cat). This free pattern has charts for two different cats, and the stocking itself is only forty rows, so it is the perfect travel project. Because the cats are applied with duplicate stitch, those who fear colorwork, be it intarsia or fair isle, need not panic.

Cat Cocoon: Is your cat feeling the stress of the holidays as well? This felted cat bed from Yellow Thread Knits, so-named because it is shaped like a sphere with a crawl-in hole, may be the perfect treat for your feline to relax during the holidays. Made on size US 15 needles and using Cascade 220 with the yarn held double throughout, this is a quick knit and can be felted in between trips to the mall. The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download.

Cats love sweaters: Cats are notoriously high-maintenance, so this pattern is worth the look just to see the expressions on the models' faces. Christine Landry designed a cat turtleneck to be used with any yarn and any gauge, so the knitter will have to do some math, but it may be worth it to get the kinks out of Christmas stress. The pattern is free on Landry's website.

Tomorrow's feature is "Bright copper kettles," a pattern feature dedicated to tea and mug cozies. December does not have to be the most stressful time of year if knitters can get their yarn on whenever they have a chance. Even if your house is not home to a cat, these patterns are perfect for gifts to friends and coworkers who consider their cat a member of the family.

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