Comfort for Critters: Crafting for Shelter Animals is part of YGB’s Crafting for Charity series. We hope to inspire more crafters to donate their time, energy, and creativity to these worthy causes. To read the other posts in this series, please click here.
Comfort for Critters: Crafting for Shelter Animals + Free Patterns
Ever since I was a young girl, I always had a soft spot for animal shelters. I remember wanting to volunteer at one so badly. When I was in my early twenties, I ended up moving near an animal shelter. My involvement began slowly: at first, I would just visit to look at the cats. But when I heard about a volunteer orientation I signed up right away! Within a couple of months, I was volunteering in the shelter, just as I imagined when I was a kid.
The whole time I was volunteering there I kept badgering my boyfriend – now husband – about getting a cat. We weren’t living together at the time, but it was clear that we were headed down that path and I didn’t want to get a cat if he didn’t want it.
One day in late June I brought the subject up again after finding an especially adorable cat while volunteering. “I brought the subject up again” is another way of saying I begged. I begged my boyfriend, please agree to adopt a cat! Finally, he stopped arguing and relented with a slight nod of his head.
I notified the shelter that we wanted that cat and we scheduled a time for the two of us to go in and meet her. We went together and got the chance to be with her in a small office. Neither of us lived with a cat before, so we observed her while she observed us. My boyfriend/husband agreed with me to adopt her after the meeting. She had to stay in the shelter about a week past that point to be spayed, and I visited her in the shelter while she was stuck in the cage.
Fast forward 3 years and Keira is part of our family. My husband fell in love with her immediately, and he often jokes that she is Princess #1 and I am Princess #2 (based on a joke we found here). We often joke that she’s our little brat because we spoil her so much. She’s our fur baby.
About Comfort for Critters
I am sharing all of this to explain how close animals are to my heart. Naturally, I was thrilled when I found out about Comfort for Critters!
Comfort for Critters is a non-profit agency based in the United States (Illinois to be exact) and was started by Linda Kastiel Kozlowski after she adopted a cat, but wanted to help the animals left behind. Comfort for Critters organizes handmade blanket and cat toy donations to over 200 animal shelters across the country!
According to the website over 78,000 blankets have been donated to date and over 1,000 blankets are donated each month!
Check out their 2018 thank-you video to volunteers, featuring some very cute animals!
How to Make a Blanket
CFC accepts blankets that are knitted, crocheted, or even knotted together. If you don’t know how to do either craft, CFC also offers an option to tie fleece blankets together to create a brand new blanket (instructions here). CFC also offers really helpful patterns and designs on their website! I am including two of those patterns at the end of the post: one knit and one crochet!
Please be sure that the blanket(s) do not have loose strings as they can be ingested by the animals. The yarn must be machine-washable so that it’s more manageable to care for. If you or anyone in your home smokes, they request that you wash it until there’s no lingering tobacco smell – many shelters won’t accept them otherwise. They also request that you use yarn with color. Click here for more information.
How to Donate the Blanket(s)
Your Local Shelter
Comfort for Critters requests that volunteers donate the blankets to their local animal shelter. CFC has previously donated for over 200 shelters. Click here to see the full list of shelters who have previously accepted donations. If your local shelter or animal rescue group is not listed, reach out to them and inquire if they are willing to receive handmade donations.
The benefits of donating locally include: cheaper than shipping, you can get a tax receipt, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see some animals!
Drop off at CFC’s headquarters
If you are local to Illinois, you can also drop it off directly to their donation bins:
Comfort for Critters
3s139 Sequoia Drive
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
If you drop off handmade blankets, they request you include your name and address so they can send you a thank-you note. They also request a contribution to help cover shipping costs if possible.
Other Ways to Help
If you don’t want to make a blanket, there are other ways you can help support Comfort for Critters in their mission.
- Donate money
- purchase a small blanket for your pet, made with leftover materials. Some options even include cat toys!
- purchase an item from their Amazon store! I even added one of their t-shirts to my Favorite Products page because I love it so much
To learn more about ways to help their mission, click here.
We are sharing the following patterns with the permission of Comfort for Critters
Crochet Pattern: Cuddle Mat
CH – chain
SC – single crochet
Crochet Hook size N (10.0mm) and two skeins washable yarn.
To make this blanket nice and thick, we’ll use two strands of yarn.
It can be the same color or contrasting colors.
The final blanket will be approximately 20” wide, including the trim.
If you complete 35 rows, it’ll be approximately 20” long as well.
Creating the blanket:
To begin – CH 37.
Row 1: SC in 2nd CH from hook and in each CH across.
Row 2: CH 1, turn. SC in front loop only of each SC across.
Row 3: CH 1, turn. SC in each SC across.
Row 4 until row 34: Repeat rows 2 & 3.
Row 35: Repeat row 2.
Finish off and weave in tail.
Edging – Use two strands of the same color yarn for the edge, so that it creates a nice “frame”. Work an SC into each SC around the blanket, putting three SC into each corner.
Knit Pattern: “8-Row Garter”
This pattern uses a size #7 (4.5mm) needle.
Create a pattern of 8 rows and repeat throughout.
Try changing the yarn color, every time you restart the pattern.
Cast on about 46 stitches.
Rows 1-6: Knit all the way across.
Row 7: This begins the 8-row pattern. Knit all the way across.
Row 8: Knit 6, purl 34, knit 6.
Row 9: Knit 6, purl 5, knit 4, purl 6, knit 4, purl 6, knit 4, purl 5, knit 6.
Row 10: Knit 6, purl 34, knit 6.
Row 11: Knit all the way across.
Row 12: Knit 6, purl 34, knit 6.
Row 13: Knit 10, purl 6, knit 4, purl 6, knit 4, purl 6, knit 4, knit 6.
Row 14: Knit 6, purl 34, knit 6.
Remaining rows: Repeat the previous 8 rows, until the piece measures about 18 inches and ends with row 14.