Monday, July 16, 2007

Res Originalis: Felis Felix, Mandarin Cat Sweater

I am quite excited because, when I post this entry, it will be my first "published" original design idea/pattern. I know it's just a small cat sweater with shaping inspiration from elsewhere, but the look is my own design! I have also added another category to my sidebar: Res Originales. I must say, trying to come up with Latin translations for knitblog terms is slightly difficult, especially when I want to only use words that look like their English counterparts. The Ancient Romans, shockingly, did not blog, and knitting terms do not show up in my dictionaries. Therefore, I apologize to any Classical scholars who happen upon this page and are disgusted by my bad translations. It's artistic license!

As this is my first time writing out a pattern, please be kind...this is harder than I thought it would be.

Pattern: Felis Felix*, Mandarin Cat Sweater, by The Yarniad Designs
Model: Stewart the Cat
Yarn: Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton, 2 skeins of Sand (MC) and 1 skein of black (CC)
Needles: US 5 (for ribbing) and US 6 straight needles, US 5 dpns, size G crochet hook
Gauge: ~5.5 sts per inch on #6 needles
Sizing: I sized this sweater based on the following measurements of my cat. I suggest taking the same measurements and keeping them handy. I will point out where in the pattern you should make adjustments based on the size of your cat.
- A (neck circumference): 8.5"
- B (chest span): 4.5"
- C (body length): ~12"


(Shaping was inspired by the Chihuahua sweater pattern here, but altered beyond recognition to suit the needs of this design.)


- CO 47 sts in MC on #5 needles (Adjust for measurement A HERE)
- Work 1x1 rib for two rows
- On next row, CO 1 st at beginning of row using cable cast on method and continue in 1x1 rib to end of row
- Repeat last row 3x
- Work in 1x1 rib until piece measures 2.25"
- Switching to #6 needles, continue in St st for 1.5" (from end of ribbing)
- On RS, k1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1
- On WS, continue in St st
- Repeat the last 2 rows once
- Work 4 rows of St st
- On RS, k1, M1R, knit until last 2 sts, M1L, k1
- On WS, continue in St st
- Repeat the last 2 rows once (the armscyes should measure 2")
- Continue in St st until the piece measures 8" from cast on edge (Adjust for measurement C HERE)
- Switching to #5 needles, work 1x1 rib for 4 rows
- Bind off in pattern


- With #5 needles, CO 3 sts of MC
- Work 1 row in 1x1 rib (knit, purl, knit)
- On next row, increase in the following manner: k1, M1R, *p1,* M1L, k1
- Continue increasing in this manner (working the increases one stitch in from the left and right edges and continuing in 1x1 rib for the rest of the row, between the two *) on EVERY row until the piece is 4.5" wide (it should measure 1.5" long) -- Adjust for measurement B HERE, working in more or fewer increases.
- Continue in 1x1 rib until piece is 5.5" from CO edge (or length of Back between neck ribbing and bottom edge ribbing)
- Switch the "direction" of the ribbing (knit the purl sts and purl the knit sts) and work 4 rows of this reversed 1x1 rib
- Bind off in pattern


- Seam together the neck edges (the 2.5" of ribbing at the top of the back), starting at the 6th row, i.e. after the shaping)
- Seam front and back edges together to top of armscyes (1.5")
- Seam front and back edges together below the armscyes to the bottom


- Using #5 dpns, pick up and knit 25 sts around the armscye in MC, starting at the bottom join
- Knit one round, placing marker to signify beginning of the round
- On next round, k to last 2 sts, M1R, k1, slip marker, M1L
- Repeat last 2 rounds 8 times
- Knit 3 rounds of MC
- Knit 3 rounds of CC
- Bind off

- Repeat for second sleeve


- Using size G crochet hook and with RS facing, work one row of single crochet in CC around bottom and top edges, being careful on the top to maintain shaping of the neck
- For the "clasps", you may have a better idea, but this is what I did: I cut a piece of yarn ~5" long and tied a bunch of knots in it until it was the right size. I then placed the big knot on the neck seam where I wanted it and threaded the yarn ends through the neck, about 1/2" out from the seam on either side. I then tied the ends in the back of the work and repeated twice more.

My apologies for this poorly-written pattern. I'm sure I will make many corrections as I find them. Hey, you have to start somewhere, right?

* A note on the pattern name: Felis felix translates to "Happy Cat" or "Lucky Cat". I chose this name for two reasons. Since I took beginning Latin in college, I have been strangely and unnaturally amused by Latin homonyms -- words that are identical in form, but mean two entirely different things. For example, I never laughed so hard as when I realized the word ius, iuris can mean both law (think jurisdiction) and juice (think au jus). This also irritated my teachers greatly: "Hilary, in your translation I believe the word lex would be much more appropriate than ius for law." Me, giggling uncontrolably: "Yes...hehe...but this way one could also read the sentence, 'The senators instituted the JUICES for the benefit of the people!!!" The words for happy (felix) and cat (felis) are not identical, but close enough that it still makes me giggle. Secondly, a Happy Cat Stewart, my muse, was NOT when he wore the Happy Cat sweater. It got to the point where he would bite me and run away every time I took it off the shelf. This also makes me laugh!


Anonymous said...

What a cute sweater, great job!

Anonymous said...

Dude, this SO CUUUTE! I love the flared sleeves, but I'll probably make a sleeveless version of this for my friend, Deb's cat. (Cause the kitty doesn't like long sleeves.)

Also, the last two pictures are awesome! haha ^_^

Allison said...

Hi Hilary,
I tried to answer your comment to my blog post, but it was returned.
Thank you for sharing such a great pattern.
I made two of them for our cat Merlin. He is a bigger than average cat so I had to enlarge the pattern.
The first one I made with chunky weight yarn. I used the size 8 and 9 needles and the same number of stitches the pattern called for. It turned out great except for the extra rows I added to make the chest wider. I made it too wide and puffy in the chest. Not too bad though. It fits pretty well.
The second one I made with a few yarns paired for a random striped look. It ended up heavier and bigger. A bit too big to stay on very well.
I did a simple sleeve instead of using the bell shaping and didn't add the clasps at the neck. I think they might be too tight if I do.
I really enjoyed knitting these. I really love the other garments you knit. You have great taste and talent. Thank you again for the pattern.
You can see the finished sweaters on my blog at

Michelle said...

I thought I was the only that dressed up their Siamese. : )

Anonymous said...

I don't think my Siamese would actually leave a sweater on for very long, but this is a beautiful pattern. I may try it for my 16 year old rescue (non-Siamese).

Gina P said...

I love your post. I named my DOG felix because of the latin meaning happy and have had so many people give me grief because of Felix the cat. Thank you for posting this information, it made my day. The sweater is adorable and I can see the frustration in Stewart's face on the last picture, it totally says, "Can you please hurry up and take the ** picture and then get this thing off me??"
Love all your designs!

Anonymous said...

I love your designs. I'm a new knitter and made your Lilas as my first sweater. I get tons of compliments on it and plan to knit another. I also love your kitty, Stewart. What a handsome boy! How is dealing with Daniel?

Unknown said...

My Chi's neck is 6 inches so how would I adjust pattern? My dog is 3 and half lbs thx!,

Unknown said...

I have been looking for a cat sweater for a long time.
Cats are built differently than dogs.
Cats have a longer chest.
I bought some dog sweaters from Petsmart but they don't fit.
I have a large 10-year old cat (15 lbs of fur)- He doesn't need a sweater, but I also have a smaller cat - 8 years old and about 6 lbs. He wants to be with his brother, but he is cold, so I need a sweater for him.
I will make this very soon. Thanks