It has been so long since I released a pattern. I just got burnt out, I think. I was doing plenty of crafting, my crochet hooks were just collecting dust. A couple of times I got a small spark, but the idea never was enough to sustain my attention. And now it seems I am having the opposite problem – my mind is racing with ideas. In the midst of several other projects and patterns at various stages of completion, this cat hit me at full force. I just love it and I’m inspired now to take these rag dolls in another fun direction, but only time will tell if I will actually do that!
As always, I want this cat to be whimsical and simple both in its appearance and in its construction. If you love this pattern, be sure to check out all of my others (Bunny, Bear, Fox, Squirrel, Deer and a Doll)! There are quite a few and they look adorable as a set. I have never done this myself, but I really love the idea of stitching these up in a beautiful organic cotton and leaving them very simple, maybe without faces even. Just kind of silhouettes that leave it up to the masters of imagination – children – to create their own little persona for each doll. If only I had more time.
Back to this sweet cat! As with my other rag dolls in this collection, they are worked in continuous rounds and I try to keep them as “No Sew” as possible, meaning the limbs, tail and ears are worked in as you go. My other goal is to make a very simple doll, that gets elevated by optional details. I personally love adding non-crochet accents – think fabric and felt, but you could also do ribbon, buttons, beads, lace – just something extra to provide a touch of color and/or texture. For these cats I chose to do a little colorwork and a fun tutu. EEk! Aren’t they adorable?
Rag Doll Cat
- Worsted weight yarn for the cat and extra details like the face, paws and/or tail – I used I Love this Cotton
- Contrasting yarn for the stripes – I used (a mix, but primarily) Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton in 3 or 4 colors
- Contrasting yarn for the scarf – I used Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash
- 3.5 mm crochet hook
- 5.5 mm crochet hook for the scarf only
- Needle for sewing down yarn tails
- Stitch marker (or scrap of yarn) – optional
- Poly-fil or stuffing of choice
- Embroidery Floss
- Needle for embroidery details
- Optional tulle for the skirt
- Optional scrap of felt and pen or pencil
Finished Dimensions: My cats are approximately 11 inches tall from the top of the ears to the bottom of the legs.
Abbreviations and stiches used:
- CH chain
- SC single crochet
- HDC half double crochet
- DC double crochet
- TR treble crochet
- INC increase (i.e. work 2 SC in the same stitch)
- DEC ***decrease (i.e. work 1 SC over two stitches)***
- FLO front loop only
- BLO back loop only
***Please note, with amigurumi, I recommend making an invisible decrease. See pattern notes if you are unsure of the difference.***
These cats are created working in continuous rounds. The limbs are closed off before attaching. See the Closing Off instructions below as the pattern will direct you to them later.
The limbs are attached as you go along making the base for these dolls no sew! The method for attaching limbs is described below and the pattern will direct you here later.
Finally, the invisible decrease is recommended as it’s usually neater with this style of crochet. Briefly, insert your hook into the FLO of the next stitch, DO NOT draw up a loop and instead, insert your hook into the FLO of the next stitch after that. It’s a little awkward at first, but you’ll get use to it. Then, yarn over and pull through two loops (i.e. the two front loops) and then yarn over and pull through to complete the stitch.
Using the cat color, work the tail – I chose to make a contrasting tip. If you would like to do the same, start with the color you wish to use for the tip and then transition to the main cat color. I chose to do this after 3 rounds of white.
- Round 1: Magic ring and SC 6. Pull ring tight. (6 SC)
- Rounds 2-17: SC all around. (6 SC)
- Round 18: Close off the tail by working 2 SC – see Closing Off instructions in pattern notes above if unsure.
- Break the yarn and place aside for now.
Crochet the arms
Using the cat color, work the arms. I chose to make contrasting paws. If you would like to do the same, start with the color you wish to use for the paws and then transition to the main cat color. I chose to do this after 3 rounds of white.
- Round 1: Magic ring and SC 6. Pull ring tight. (6 SC)
- Round 2: INC all around. (12 SC)
- Round 3: SC all around. (12 SC)
- Round 4: *DEC, DEC, SC, SC. Repeat from *one time. (8 SC)
- Rounds 5-21: SC all around. (8 SC)
- Round 22: Close off the arm by working 3 SC – see Closing Off instructions in pattern notes above if unsure.
- Break the yarn and complete a second arm. Place both arms aside for now.
Crochet the legs
Using the cat color, work the legs. I chose to make contrasting paws. If you would like to do the same, start with the color you wish to use for the paws and then transition to the main cat color. I chose to do this after 5 rounds of white.
- Round 1: Magic ring and SC 6. Pull ring tight. (6 SC)
- Round 2: *INC, SC in next two. Repeat from * one time. (8 SC)
- Round 3: *INC, SC in next three. Repeat from *one time. (10 SC)
- Rounds 4-23: SC all around. (10 SC)
- Round 24: Close off the leg by working 4 SC – see Closing Off instructions in pattern notes above if unsure.
- Break the yarn and complete a second leg. DO NOT fasten off after the second leg. Instead, continue on to the body below.
Continue on to the body
Now we will attach the legs and start working the body. If you prefer, you may continue to use the cat color for the body. I decided to make colorful stripes. If you would like to achieve this look, cut your yarn and pull out your last stitch. Complete the final yarn over of the last stitch using your new color. See the images below:
- Round 1: CH 5 and pick up the second leg. Working into the FLO, SC in the first 3 stitches of the second leg, INC in last. Rotate your work to continue working into the BLO which are now facing to the front and INC into the first stitch (i.e. the same stitch), SC in the last 3 stitches of second leg, SC in FLO of each of the CH 5, SC in the FLO of the first 3 stitches of the first leg and INC in the last. Rotate your work to continue working into the BLO which are now facing to the front and INC in the first stitch (i.e. the same stitch), SC in the last 3 stitches of the first leg and finally SC in each of the remaining loops of the CH 5. (30 SC)
It may be helpful (or not) to mark the first stitch of each round as we will be working in continuous rounds. I chose to change colors at the start of each round. Just drop the previous color and draw up the new color on the final yarn over the last stitch of the round. You can carry the yarn up along the inside of the torso by simply picking it up the next time you need it.
Tip: I don’t worry about the “jump” you get from frequent color changes when working stripes in continuous rounds because I think it adds to the “handmade” look. However, I like to make my last stitch a tall stich and insert my hook into the row below. I think it adds a little fun element.
- Rounds 2-3: SC all around. (30 SC)
- Round 4: SC 4, DEC, SC 13, DEC, SC 6, Attach the tail over the next two stitches by working through the BLO of the next stitch of the tail and the FLO of the next stitch of the body – see Patterns Notes if unsure. And finish the row with one final SC stitch (into the body only). (28 SC)
- Rounds 5-9: SC all around. (28 SC)
- Round 10: SC 4, DEC, DEC, SC 10, DEC, DEC, SC 6 (24 SC)
- Round 11-14: SC all around. (24 SC)
- Round 15: SC 4, DEC, DEC, SC 8, DEC, DEC, SC 4. (20 SC)
- Rounds 16-17: SC all around. (20 SC)
- Round 18: SC 4, DEC, SC 8, DEC, SC 4. (18 SC)
- Round 19: SC all around. (18 SC)
Note: we will attach the arms during this next round.
- Round 20: SC 3. Attach the first arm over the next three stitches by working through the BLO of the next stitch of the arm and the FLO of the next stitch of the body – see Patterns Notes if unsure. SC 7. Attach the second arm over the next three stitches by working through the BLO of the next stitch of the arm and the FLO of the next stitch of the body. SC 2. (18 SC)
- Round 21: SC all around. (18 SC)
- Round 22: SC 5, DEC, SC 6, DEC, SC 3. (16 SC)
If you are doing the striped pattern like I did, this is where I transitioned back to the cat color. If you prefer, stuff the torso now – I waited until after creating the head and used my crochet hook to squish it all the way down.
Continue on to the head
- Round 23: SC 6. CH 7 and SC in second CH from hook and remaining 5 CHs. DEC by inserting the hook into THE PREVIOUS STITCH ON THE ROW BELOW i.e. at the stitch that has the SC with the CH 7 worked into it and into the next stitch (see images above, the stitches are identified by the yellow dots). Then SC 5, CH 7 and SC in second CH from hook and remaining 5 CHs. DEC by inserting the hook into THE PREVIOUS STITCH ON THE ROW BELOW and the next stitch like before. Then SC 3. (This row is tricky to count stitches! Let’s continue one more row and then check the stitch count.)
- Round 24: SC 6. You should now be at the chain. Continue by working into the remaining chain loops and SC 5, INC. You should be at the end of the chain. Continue by working into the stitches you made into the opposite side of the chain in Row 21 (see images above) and INC, SC 5. SC 6 along the front of the face to arrive at the other chain. Continue by working into the remaining chain loops and SC 5, INC. You should be at the end of the chain. Continue by working into the stitches you made into the opposite side of the chain in Row 21 like before and INC, SC 5. SC 4 along the back of the head to complete the round. (44 SC)
- Rounds 25-28: SC all around. (44 SC)
- Round 29: SC 12, DEC, DEC, SC 17, DEC, DEC, SC 7. (40 SC)
- Rounds 30-33: SC all around. (40 SC)
- Round 34: SC 12, DEC, SC 18, DEC, SC 6. (38 SC)
- Round 35: SC 11, DEC, SC 17, DEC, SC 6. (36 SC)
- Round 36: SC 11, DEC, SC 15, DEC, SC 6. (34 SC)
- Round 37: SC all around. (34 SC)
Close off the head and create the ears
Stuff your cat firmly, but don’t go overboard. I like mine to have a nice soft squish.
Set up for the first ear by working 11 SC.
Ear Row 1: CH 4. Just like you did when closing off the arms, tail and legs, you will squish the head and work a TR through both layers of the tube by yarning over twice, skipping the next stitch (indicated by the yellow dot in the images above), inserting your hook into the stitch after that and into the last SC stitch made to work the TR stitch through both layers of the head. Then, continue working in pairs of stitches through both sides of the head and make, DC, DC, HDC. (Start of the first ear has been made.) Continue working along the FRONT OF THE HEAD ONLY i.e. do not insert hook through both layers of the head. SC 8. Now count forward 9 stitches and place a stitch marker (as illustrated by the pink dot in the above images). Continue through both layers of the head with a HDC through the next stitch and the marked stitch along the back of the head. Then, continue working in pairs of stitches along both layers of the head and work DC, DC, and a TR in the last. Turn.
Ear Row 2: CH 3 and DC, DC DEC (in other words: yarn over, insert hook into next stitch. Yarn over and pull through a loop. Yarn over and draw through two loops on hook. Then yarn over and insert hook into the next stitch. Yarn over and pull through a loop. Yarn over and draw through two loops. Yarn over and draw through remaining three loops). HDC DEC with the second stitch of the decrease being worked through both layers of the head – see images above, purple dots further clarify stitch placement – (in other words: yarn over, insert hook into next stitch. Yarn over and pull through a loop. Yarn over and insert hook into the next pair of stitches along both sides of the head. Yarn over and pull through a loop. Yarn over and pull through remaining five loops). Continue working in pairs of stitches along both sides of the head. SC 6. Work a HDC DEC as described above only this time with the first stitch of the decrease being worked through both layers of the head and the second stitch being worked through the first stitch of the ear – see images above to further clarify stitch placement. Continue working through the ear stitches only. DC DEC as described above, DC, CH 3 and SS into the CH 3 loop created in Row 1 along the outside edge of the ear. Fasten off! Weave in any yarn tails you may have. I only had the ending tail.
Add the Details:
As always, this is my favorite part! This is the time to customize your cat and add some extra elements. You can do as much or as little as you like.
Crochet the contrasting face detail
This is what I did for my grey cat.
- Round 1: Magic ring and work 6 SC. Pull ring tight. (6 SC)
- Round 2: INC in each stitch. (12 SC)
- Round 3: *INC, SC in next. Repeat from * until the end. (18 SC)
- Do not fasten off, instead draw up a long loop and remove your hook. Cut the yarn leaving a long tail. Place aside and work a second circle.
- After completing the second circle, grab the first and work a SS three stitches away from where you ended – see above images. Fasten off. Rotate the circle, insert your hook back into the loop and SS into the second circle three stitches away from where you ended. Basically you are ending each circle by slip stitching to the other. Fasten off.
- Thread one of the tails into a needle and work small stitches to completely close off the gap between the circles.
- Position the piece onto the cat, I placed mine nearly all the way at the bottom of the head and stitch into place – see above images.
This is what I did for my orange cat.
I crocheted a little heart. (The heart pattern from my candygrams works perfectly! The pattern for the heart is at the bottom of the post.) I stitched into onto the face upside down.
Add the ear accents
I went back and forth here! Originally, I planned to use felt as described below.
Using a pen or pencil, lightly trace the outline of each ear onto a small scrap of felt. Cut out the pieces being sure to cut inside of your lines so that the piece will be smaller than the ear. Place on the ears and adjust as necessary. I chose to make mine a good bit smaller. You could embroider the accents into place using something like a blanket stitch or whip stitch. Or you could glue the pieces down.
Later, I decided to crochet a little triangle. Or you don’t need to do anything! To crochet the triangles simply CH 4. Then SC into the second chain from the hook, HDC into the next and DC into the last. Fasten off leaving a long tail to stitch into place using the same method illustrated earlier.
Create the face
I have a video that shows how I stitch the faces (using a different doll I made).
I couldn’t resist cutting out a small heart from my felt. It would make a sweet final touch to the body like on my orange cat. I decided to use it as the nose for my grey cat (and that is why I changed out the felt ears). You could also cut out a rounded triangle instead or embroider a simple nose like I did with my orange cat. You may glue the nose down, but I prefer to stitch things down. I used 2 strands of embroidery floss (separate the floss to grab the 2 strands). You could use sewing thread as well.
To create the eyes, grab a sharp needle and a piece of embroidery floss. For my eyes, I stitch a long straight line. Then, I pull the stitch loose and into a “U” shape, next, tack the bottom of the “U” down with a very tiny stitch. I added eye lashes trying to pierce my needle through the fibers of the yarn and not in the gaps between stitches otherwise the embroidery lines may get lost.
You could do a couple of simple lines to make a mouth, but with the large nose, I felt it looked best without a mouth.
Using skirt waistband color.
Round 1: CH 31. SC in second chain from hook and each remaining chain. (30 SC)
Make sure you like the length of your waistband by trying it on your cat. It will need to stay on its waist, but also be able to stretch slightly over the widest part to slip it on and off. If you need to adjust, feel free to chain more or less, just be sure to have an even number of SC stitches (so chain an odd number). If you are satisfied, continue.
Round 2: SS into the first SC forming a loop. CH 1 (does not count as a stitch throughout) and SC into the same stitch. *CH 1, skip 1 stitch, SC in the next. Repeat from *all around. (15 SC, 15 CH 1)
Round 3: SS into the first SC and CH 1. SC in the same stitch and into each stitch around. SS into the first SC. Fasten off. (30 SC)
Weave in the yarn tails.
Cut 30 strips of tulle. I cut strips that were roughly 12 inches long, which is most likely longer than you will need. You want your strips to be approximately twice as long as the length of the skirt you are aiming to make. My rolls of tulle were 6 inches wide and so I cut those into thirds so each strip was approximately 2 inches wide. You don’t need to be very precise. I cut mine into thirds in two batches so there was a fair amount of variability in the widths because my stacks were not perfectly aligned. You are totally free to adjust the size of your tulle strips.
Attach the tulle to the waist band by folding a long strip in half and looping it around the SC stitches of Row 2 (they are separated by CH spaces) as shown in the images above. Basically, you will use a crochet hook to draw up a loop of tulle and then pull the two tails of tulle through the loop. Attach 2 strips of tulle to each SC stitch. I had 2 different shades of pink/blue and used 1 of each.
Turn your skirt inside out such that the knots of tulle are to the inside.
I wanted to close up the small gaps between the loops of tulle for the pink tutu. If you wish to do the same, complete the optional round below.
Optional Round 4: Attach your yarn by picking up one loop each from the row of stitches above and below i.e. at round 1 and round 3 – see images above. CH 1 and SC in the same stitch. CH 1. Skip 1 – this will be the space with tulle and SC in the next gap again by picking up a loop from round 1 and round 3 stitches. Continue this pattern all the way around and SS to the first stitch. Fasten off and weave in ends.
Splay your tutu out on the ground and trim the circle. Continue to try on the tutu and make adjustments to the skirt length until you achieve your desired look.
Would it even be one of my rag dolls if I didn’t include a scarf?
Extended SS – I’m not quite sure what this stitch is called, but it’s super simple and creates a very nice texture because it leaves a third loop to work into on the back side. To work the stitch, yarn over and then work a SS. In other words, yarn over, insert hook into next stitch, yarn over and draw up a loop and then continue to pull through the remaining two stitches on the hook.
I used a 5.5 mm crochet hook for the scarf.
Row 1: CH 56 (or desired length). Extended SS into the second chain from the hook and each remaining chain. (55 extended SS)
Row 2: CH 1 turn and work an extended SS into each of the third loops across. (55 extended SS). Fasten off and weave in ends.
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