Many Cats square // free pattern
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
Like cats? Handy with a crochet hook? Always wanted to memorialise your puss by way of a throw cushion but didn’t know how? Well good news, friends. Here's a free pattern for a fun crochet afghan square that you can easily customise to make a whole range of pretty kitties.
Prefer a printable pattern? The Many Cats square is available for purchase as a handy-dandy PDF on Ravelry here or Etsy here. It is an instant download and it contains detailed notes and colour photographs in 6 pages of helpful, beautiful awesomeness. Or just scroll down for the free pattern below.
You will need
This is a perfect stash-busting project. You can use any yarn and its appropriate-sized hook. Feel free to mix it up too - those fancy, furry art yarns you have in your cupboard make great cats.
DK/8ply wool in 6 colours
I used DMC tapestry wool and other bits and pieces from my stash. Tapestry wool is good if you’re looking for small amounts of yarn in a huge range of colours. To give you an idea of how much yarn you’ll need, for one square you’ll use about 10m (11yds) for the main background colour and about 9m (10yds) for the cat. Annoyingly, a skein of tapestry wool is 8m (9yds), so factor in two skeins for each. You will need smaller amounts for the other colours.
4mm (US G/6) hook
A pair of 6mm safety eyes (or beads or black yarn)
Level of difficulty
Adventurous beginner - this pattern involves a few different techniques but nothing particularly challenging.
Using a 4mm (US G/6) hook, square measures 10x10cm (4x4in) after blocking.
Like all my patterns, this one is written in UK crochet terms. Here is a list of the abbreviations used and their US equivalents:
BLO: back loops only
dc: double crochet
[US: sc/single crochet]
dc2tog: double crochet 2 stitches together (decrease)
[US: sc2tog/single crochet 2 stitches together]
FLO: front loops only
RS: right side
sl st: slip stitch
[US/dc: double crochet]
WS: wrong side
An important note about blocking
I designed this square to be aggressively blocked. This is because I wanted the crocheted fabric of my eventual cushion to be nicely-stretched and not saggy. As a result, you may find your background square curls up rather alarmingly as you work it. You should, however, be able to stretch it out with your fingers, and then keep it that way after a decent wet block. Bear this in mind when choosing yarn - animal fibres will respond well to blocking, synthetics and plant-based yarns less so. If you would prefer to use non-animal fibres, or know you won’t be blocking, or you find your curled-up squares just aren’t stretching out as much as you’d like, I’ve included some modifications you can make to the background square pattern to reduce the curling.
Rounds begin in the corner ch-2 sps.
Joining rnds: At the end of each rnd, you will work two sl sts. The first is in the starting ch to close the rnd (it counts as a stitch so you’ll be working into it in the following rnd); the second is into the ch-sp to reposition your yarn for the start of the next rnd (this one does not count as a stitch).
Changing colours: The best place to change colours is when working the first sl st into the top of the starting ch. Use your new colour to yarn over then finish the stitch.
Using main background colour, make a magic loop.
Rnd 1 Ch5 (counts as tr, ch2 throughout), (3tr, ch2) three times into the loop, 2tr, sl st in third ch of starting ch-5 to join (counts as a st throughout), sl st in ch-2 sp to get in position for next rnd (does not count as a stitch throughout). [3 sts per side, 12 sts total)
Rnd 2 Ch5, tr in ch-2 sp, * tr in each st to ch-2 sp, (tr, ch2, tr) in ch-2 sp; repeat from * two more times, tr in each st to ch-2 sp, sl st in third ch of starting ch-5, sl st in ch-2 sp to join. [5 sts per side, 20 sts total]
Rnd 3 As Rnd 2. [7 sts per side, 28 sts total]
Rnd 4 As Rnd 2. [9 sts per side, 36 sts total]
Change to background contrast colour. Rnd 5 is worked into the back loops only, marked white in the photo below.
Rnd 5 Working into BLO, as Rnd 2. [11 sts per side, 44 sts total]
Change to border colour. Rnd 6 is worked in the spaces between stitches.
Rnd 6 Ch1, (2dc, ch2, 2dc) into ch-2 sp, *dc in space between each st to ch-2 sp, (2dc, ch2, 2dc) in ch-2 sp; repeat from * two more times, dc in sp between each st to ch-2 sp, sl st in first st to join. [14 sts per side, 56 sts total)
Fasten off and weave in ends. Block square — this is an essential step. Or see below for modifications.
Modifications for curled-up squares
If you are using synthetic or plant fibres, or you won’t be blocking your square, or you just don’t like the way your square is curling up, you may like to add extra stitches in each corner. You can do it as follows:
For Rnds 2-5, begin each rnd with Ch3 (tr, ch2, 2tr) into the ch-2 sp then work a tr in each st as per the pattern.
At the corners, work (2tr, ch2, 2tr) in the ch-2 sp instead of (tr, ch2, tr). Work the rest of the rnd and Rnd 6 as above.
Making these modifications will increase your st count by [2 sts each side, 8 sts total] per rnd.
Using cat colour, ch23.
Row 1 (RS) Dc in second ch from hook and each st to end. Turn. [22 sts]
Row 2 (WS) Ch1 (does not count as a st throughout), dc in st at base of ch and next 9 sts. Turn. [10 sts, 12 sts unworked to form tail]
Rows 3-8 As Row 2. [10 sts]
Row 9 (RS) Ch1, dc2tog in FLO, dc in each until two sts remain, dc2tog in FLO. Turn. [8 sts]
Row 10 As Row 9, working decreases in BLO. [6 sts]
Row 11 Ch3, sl st in third ch from hook (one ear made), dc in st at base of ch and next 4 sts, ch3, sl st in third ch from hook (second ear made), sl st in last st. [5 sts, 2 ears)
Fasten off and cut yarn, leaving a 20cm (8in) end for sewing.
The eyes are positioned on Row 9 about 3 sts apart. If you are using safety eyes, insert them so they pierce yarn, rather than into a gap between stitches. The shanks of the eyes are likely to be too long when you go to sew your cat to your square: I snipped my shanks shorter with a pair of wire cutters (strong scissors would work too). Take care to leave enough shank to hold the washer on the back. A smear of superglue can also help keep the eyes in place.
If you don’t want to use safety eyes, you could sew on beads or embroider eyes with black yarn instead.
Using black yarn, embroider a cross for a nose at Row 8 between the eyes.
If you’re making a tabby cat, stitch on stripes at the top of the head and along each side of the body.
Sew onto square
Sew cat to background square, leaving the tail unstitched and free to curl. Try not to pull the background square out of shape as you sew down the cat.
Cushion of Many Cats
Why not make a whole lot of squares and turn them into a Cushion of Many Cats?
Customise your cats
It’s great fun customising your cats. You could try:
Using different colours, or adding patches of different colours. Pink noses work well on dark-coloured cats.
Changing colours as you crochet to create a white tummy or a white tip on the tail.
Using fluffy, furry or velvety yarns - remember that art yarn often works up at a different gauge so you may need to work fewer or more stitches on your starting chain.
Holding a strand of contrasting-coloured embroidery thread along with your working yarn for a tortoiseshell effect.
Stitching on other details, like eyebrows or whiskers.
You may like to play around with the colors of your background squares too - stripes, gradient effects and adding embroidered stars can all look awesome.
I made 16 squares and joined them using dc crochet on the wrong side, going up a hook size to a 5mm (US H/8) to ensure my seams didn’t pucker. The back panel is a simple square using rows of granny trebles. The finished cushion measures 45x45cm (18x18in).
Purrfect! If you share your #manycatssquare on social media, do please tag me @ponymctate and #ponymctate so I can squeal with excitement too.
This pattern is an original pattern by Pony McTate. Don't be a plonker: please do not claim this pattern as your own. If you wish to share this pattern, you may link to this page but please do not repost the pattern on your site. DO NOT sell the pattern or distribute it, or any part of it.
You may sell products made from this pattern but please clearly credit Pony McTate as the designer and provide a link to my website www.ponymctate.com // Thanks, team!