Miu Miu, the Yogi Cat

My aim was: knitting a cat as my soft toy gift to my friend Leidy. I listed in previous posts her likes and the research process that I went through to decide to make a yogi cat for my friend. More in the ppt presentation below:

https://docs.google.com/a/nyu.edu/presentation/d/1iCHuHo04dYt682BjNHv0LxgZfldydTiUSdYbgWdtOPA/edit?usp=sharing

Because she loves cats, and because we share a story with kittens on the street, this is why I chose my toy to be a cat. I also wanted to explore the field of knitting and become better at it becuase I really liked the class on amirugumi toys, so I took on the challenge of knitting an entire cat.

Sketching Process

After researching online about cats, cat toys, and yoga accessories, I sketched out a few drawings, and placed my cat drawings on yoga mats to decide the dimensions I wanted to have it in. Then I also tried to see them in different poses doing different things, such as ‘eating’.

Progress and Challenges

I was looking online at how to crochet cats and looked back at the ball pattern that Marcela had showed us in her presentation.

I chose the colour of the cat to be blue because my friend’s favourite colour is blue, so I thought that blue would be an appropriate colour for the gift. From there, I had forgotten how to make the magic ring, and this was the most important because it is the starting point of any of the cat parts! I asked Marcela for the first time to teach me again, but then I forgot it again at home. I then looked up on YouTube how to make the magic ring, and I think I watched the video at least 10 times. Here >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLUaywX0-WE

The magic ring was one of the initial challenges, but now I am confident that I can make a magic ring anytime I want (which is great). And from there, it was knitting, knitting, knitting all day all night.

I was really happy when I managed to finish the head of the cat. Picture below! Through the process of knitting, I learnt how to better read knitting stitches instructions, especially the symbols for single stitch, double stitch, increasing and decreasing stitches, as well as the X and V on instruction diagrams. One of the main difficulties that I faced while knitting is staying concentrated on the task at hand, because it was so easy to get distracted and forget how many stitches I had done or which row of stitches I had reached. The pin that Marcela gave me to keep track of my starting point all the time was really helpful, but it was still up to me to keep track of how many times I had done already. Therefore, through this process, I think that I became more diligent, patient and attentive to detail. To do something well, one has to spend time, and also take care of the tasks that is being done, so that it becomes good.

As I was knitting the paws of the cat, it was pretty complicated because the circle was so small and because it was small, it was hard to keep the shape nice and tight. What I realised after knitting for some time was that it was helpful to slip my finger into the paw, and then use the crochet needle to make the stitch and twist the paw around the finger to continue the stitches.

The finished parts separately looks like the below picture:

After making every part, I realised that the head was really big hole and compared to the small hole of the body. So, Marcela suggested we add another row of decreasing stitches to make it fit more, and I think that helped a lot. Then I was deciding what to stuff my toy with. I used the white stuffing material, but I also needed some weight in the body and paws of my cat. As I was thinking what could be used, the idea of rice came up, but I did not have any rice at home. I then settled on red lentils, because that is what I had at home available to me. Thus, my cat is stuffed with red lentils. I think it is a very healthy cat! Plus pooping red lentils, lots of fiber, great for the Yoga cat theme.

Then I learnt how to stitch all the parts to each other. What was important here was how to close off with a knot and then hid the knot and the rest of the string of yarn. I learnt how to camouflage the yarn by pulling it inside of the body of the cat, then pulling it tight and cutting off just the extra so that when released the yarn would automatically go back into the body of the cat, but there would be less chance of it untying. I thought that was pretty cool!

I also wanted to add special features to my cat, so I knitted on the eyes and a mouth for the cat:

And of course, Mr Yogi cat wouldn’t be a Yoga cat without the posture and accessories. Thus I made a headband out of yarn, cut out a piece of felt for the yoga mat, and turned lollipops into dumbbells. And I present Mr Yogi Cat.

I had one of my classmates play with the cat toy before class, but then when I gave it to Leidy, my friend, she really loved it!

Pictures of Leidy when I presented her with the toy. She was really excited and really happy. Leidy named the cat Miu Miu. So now it is Miu Miu the yogi cat. I also have a short video of Leidy playing with Miu Miu below:

Conclusion and Improvements

I was really happy with the reaction of my friend, and also of the work I managed to do and achieve. I really do want to knit something for myself now, and I feel that I will be able to do more things, and that I have the power to create a lot of toys with just string.

For improvements on my toy, I would want to make a cleaner job with some of my stitches, especially when sewing one piece to the other. I also think that I would have really liked being able to customize more of the cats face features, potentially adding make-up to the eyes or cheeks, because my friend really likes make-up. For the Yoga accessories, for improving, it would be nice to be able to be able to make a nicer yoga mat, maybe by sewing felt together with some stuffing in the middle for padding.

Overall, I was really happy making this toy. It was also ironic that a stress relief activity such as knitting can turn into stressful activity when in a time crunch (haha).

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