YGB by Brittany

Comfort for Critters: Crafting for Shelter Animals + Free Patterns

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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.

picture of cat
Keira

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!

bunny on blanket
courtesy of CFC

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!

Be sure to include this memo with the donation so they know you are donating through CFC.

Drop off at CFC’s headquarters

cat surrounded by blankets
courtesy of CFC

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.

 

Free Patterns

We are sharing the following patterns with the permission of Comfort for Critters

Crochet Pattern: Cuddle Mat

cuddle mat
courtesy of CFC

Key: 

CH – chain 

SC – single crochet

Supplies Needed: 

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. 

Have fun! 

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”

cuddly cat
courtesy of CFC

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. 

Instructions: 

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. 

Cast off.

Have you ever donated a blanket to an animal shelter? Did you make a blanket or toys for your own pet? Comment below and tell us about it!

8 Comments

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Hello! I was so excited to read your blog post. I found the like from the Comfort for Critters Facebook page. I also make crochet blankets for my local animal shelter through Comfort for Critters. I really liked the blanket that is shown with the puppy at the top of this blog post and was wondering if you could point me in the direction on where I could find the written pattern. I would LOVE to make one. I like how the colors pop! Thanks for sharing this charity.

Hi There! Thank you for making blankets for shelter animals! <3 Unfortunately, I don't have the pattern, BUT there was a commenter on Facebook (on Comfort for Critters page where they posted the link for this page) who said she made the blanket in the picture. I would start by asking her!

Great article; thanks for doing this! My mom and I have been making blankets for about five years now through the Comfort for Critters program. We bring them to an animal shelter in our area (in CT) and they absolutely love them. I think, to date, we’ve made/donated close to 300 blankets. 🙂

You’re very welcome! And kudos to you for recognizing the animals’ needs and taking charge! I hope you get many more donations!

A co worker has asked me to crochet a sweater for the exotic bird rescue she volunteers at. It is because some birds pluck their own feathers. I’ve never made one before and I’m not sure how to go about it. Do you have any ideas? Right now the only thing I can find is sweaters for chickens.

So interesting! I haven’t heard of any bird sweater patterns, but I can keep an eye out! Which exotic birds does she want sweaters for?

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