7 Ways to Love Your Pets on National Love Your Pet Day

The conversation had gone so well until somebody mentioned cats. We’d agreed on EVERYTHING up until this point: sweater silhouette, techniques, yarn, main color, contrast color for edgings and windowsill. But the cats themselves got a little, um, hairy.

Designer Jennifer Raymond understandably wanted to decorate her Window Cat Child’s Cardigan with her kitties, Peake and Watson. And I wanted to show off my herd, which at the time included a silver tabby (Ursula, inspiration for the original Lovecats Cowl), 2 tabbies, 2 tuxie-tabbies, and 2 marmies. This cat tug-of-war had no simple resolution; one of us had to lose. So we compromised—gray and white kitties to make Jennifer happy, and 7 cat motifs to represent my crazy-cat-ladyness. Hey, it would have been tough to knit the stripes on all those cats anyway.

national love your pet day

The Window Cat Cardigan by Jennifer Raymond. The perfect way to show love for your pets!

Looking back, I can see that our brief disagreement came from a place of love. When you adore your furbabies, you want to wear pictures of them on a handknitted sweater, right? Personally, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate National Love Your Pet Day on February 20. Nor can I think of a better knitting project to show off your pets.

You can personalize the Window Cat Child’s Cardigan in so many ways!

1. Play with the cats. Jennifer used intarsia in the sweater pattern, but she won’t mind if you work them in duplicate stitch or embroidery. If you’ve got more than 7 cats, knit more repeats of the chart. Turn the cats around and give them faces. Personalize the yarncats with unique markings and colors. Embroider some toy mice between the cat motifs.

2. Honor all your beloved pets. Cats aren’t the only critters that enjoy staring out of windows. Search Ravelry for charts of dogs, birds, rabbits, reptiles, or other animals. I might need to work a hippo onto mine because I love Fiona the preemie so much. Imagine her sitting there between two of my kitties! Okay, she’s not really mine, but I’m heavily invested in her well-being.

You can personalize the Window Cat Cardigan by changing the cats’ colors and markings, or by making whatever animal you love most instead of cats! The possibilities are endless.

3. Size up the sweater for adult women. There are two simple ways to rework a pattern in a totally different size: play with gauge or copy the bits you like onto an existing pattern. Kristen TenDyke’s Delabole Cardigan from Love of Knitting Fall 2017 has similar elements: top-down construction, garter-stitch yoke, knitted-on front bands. Take out the waist shaping if you prefer simple math, work edgings in a contrast color, and add the cats. It’s easy-peasy. If you’re going to play with gauge, read our advice on raglan sweater construction to create a garment that fits well.

4. Size down the sweater for babies or dogs (not cats—they don’t like to wear clothes, and you probably like to keep your skin in one piece). The mental picture of a dog wearing a cat sweater will always tickle my brain. But then, I sewed a fish-shaped bed for my cats.

5. Adapt the pattern for men. Seriously, what guy doesn’t want to wear cute animals to the office?

The Window Cat Cardigan is perfect for everyone in your family! Adapt the pattern to make a sweater for a baby, the man in your life, or even your dog.

6. Make the kid’s cardi into a kid’s pullover. You could easily modify Marly Bird’s Spring Day Raglan from Love of Knitting Spring 2017, as it’s also a top-down sweater with raglan sleeves. Marly’s sweater switches colors about halfway between chest and waist; switch background colors after you’ve worked the cats. Knit the sleeves in 1 color, or use 2 colors but align the sleeves’ “windowsill” with the one on the body for a more harmonious design.

7. Combine all these great ideas so that everybody in your family can celebrate National Love Your Pet Day.

A sweater showing off your pets takes “wearing your heart on your sleeve” to a whole new level. Happy Love Your Pet Day from a fellow animal lover.

—Deb Gerish

Forget National Love Your Pet Day – Celebrate Pets Anytime with These Patterns!

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