It's easier and faster to make a felted kitty bed from a thrift store sweater than to knit one. Of course I realized this after knitting Spot's bed...
A few things before we begin.
I apologize to everyone who waited weeks and weeks for this. It took me that long to get it together. I don't pretend to know what I'm doing, so if you find a faster, better, or easier way to work out any of the steps here, please let me know. Any improvements are welcome.
Try to read through all the directions before beginning. The only part that may cause trouble is sewing the outside bottom on, and that is more likely from my questionable instructions than any lack of craftiness on yours.
Finally, if you have any questions- send an email, and I'll do my best to clear them up.
On to the kitty bed!
You will need one or two WOOL sweaters, the largest you can find. I ended up making the bed differently than I had intended, so I had bought two sweaters, but really only needed one. And it has to be WOOL or Wool/Alpaca or Wool/Mohair. Not acrylic, not cotton, not ramie. It doesn't matter if the sweater is worn or has little holes. A flat sweater would probably be better than one with cables or bobbles.
These are the sweaters I got from Goodwill and Saver's.
You'll also need a washing machine, sharp scissors, needle and thread. Band-aids, as always, are a good idea to have around. I ended up sewing the entire thing by hand because the fabric was too thick to get under the presser foot of my machine, and there was lots of fuzzy fiber coming off that I really didn't want to get into the machine anyway.
Now we are going to felt the sweaters. Remember in 10th grade when you washed that nice wool sweater your brother gave you for Christmas? How it came out all shrunk and tight? This time we're going to do that on purpose!
Put the sweaters into a pillow case, zippered if you have one. If not, just use a rubber band to tie it closed. Put the pillow case into the washer with a couple towels, on HOT with a little soap. The idea is to have everything agitating and rubbing against each other(snerk).
Can you see the difference in the fabric after the sweaters are felted?
You want the sweaters to felt completely. That is, you want them to felt to the point where they cannot shrink any more. this may take two or three times through the washer. I usually open the pillowcase and take a peek every so often.
You can now take out the sweaters, lay them flat and air dry them. I was impatient and threw them in the dryer. Just be sure to clean out the lint filter frequently if you do it this way.
I made a template from a toy the boy's have, but that was probably a wasted step. I could have just put it directly on the sweater and drawn around it.
Be sure to measure your kitty carefully!
Don't worry about cutting the sweaters. If they are felted, they will not unravel. There will be some fuzz coming off here and there, but I promise they won't unravel.
Cut out two circles for the base of the bed. One of the circles should be about a 1/4 inch larger than the other. I made them the same size and ended up with bunching on the inside of the bed.
You will also need to cut a strip for the sides. I cut open the sleeves on the seam and used them for this. The strip needs to be long enough to go around the circle. You'll probably have to sew several pieces together. It also has to be high enough to fold over to form the sides(twice as high as you want the sides to be). To determine the total length of the strip you need, you can rely on high school trig or just eyeball it like I did).
It helps to have good supervision!
Now we are going to sew the strip all around the smaller circle. You want it to look sort of like a floppy cylinder when it's done. I used a regular needle and with the thread doubled and did a simple running stitch.
Once you sew all the way around the circle, sew the ends of the strip together to form the cylinder. If you sewed it like I did, the right side will be the inside with the seam on the outside.
Fold the strip over to the outside. It should look something like this only not blurry!
Now is where it gets a little tricky. The second(larger) circle needs to be sewn to the bottom. Put the second circle on the table, then put the circle with the strip sewn to it on top.
You can barely see my the blue circle peeking out in this picture.
Flip the whole thing over(my blue circle would be on top). We're going to sew the blue circle to the side strip. You can sew it on just as it is with an overhand stitch or sew it to the wrong side like I did. This is the tricky part, you really have to visualize it, especially since I took crappy pictures.
If you sew the bottom on with an overhand or whip stitch, then that's the last step in making your kitty bed. If you choose to accept the mission of sewing the bottom to the wrong side and then turning it inside out, read on...
This is what it looks like when you sew the second(blue) circle to the strip you have already sewn around the first(tan) circle. Sew almost all the way around, but you need to leave an opening to turn the whole mess inside out. The opening should be large enough so you can reach in and pull all the fabric through. Clear as mud, right?
Here we are turning it inside out through the opening. Once you pull it all the way through, after a little adjusting it should look like an almost finished product.
You should end up with something that looks like the above picture. The opening need to be sewn up, and that's it! Your kitties have a new bed to curl up in!
PS: When you need to wash the bed, be sure you put it into a pillowcase. There will still be fiber fluffing off just like when you did the original felting. Putting it into the pillowcase is to protect your washer from all that lint. After washing, you may have to coax it back into shape. That is typical for most felted items.