Cal Patch lives with her Chihuahua, Gertie, on Hodge Podge Farm in Ulster County, N.Y. She teaches sewing, crochet, patternmaking, embroidery and lots more at Brooklyn General, Purl Soho, Home Ec and Lena Corwin's studio in NYC, and through Double Knot Studio upstate. She is the author of Design-It-Yourself Clothes.
Dog and cat beds can be very expensive at your local pet boutique, and they tend to look either too generic or too froufrou for my taste. My Chihuahua, Gertie, needed a new one, and I wanted something simple and handmade that wouldn’t break the bank. So I looked around at the raw materials I had available, and my endless stash of thrifted wool sweaters called out to me. Perfect!
Here’s how to turn old sweaters into a cushy pet bed:
1. You’ll need scrap-bound sweaters—either sweaters you know you’ll never wear culled from your shelves or find castoffs at your favorite thrift store. I pulled a pile of leftover sweater scraps from other projects in a color assortment I liked and went to town with my scissors.
2. Cut your pieces into strips and roll into balls. Mine ranged from 1 inch to 2 inches depending on the thickness of the sweater (1 inch for thicker ones, 2 inches for thinner). You may want to make a test swatch before you cut up all of your strips to check the gauge and thickness of your fabric. Cutting thinner strips yields more square footage, but you’ll want the bed to be nice and thick so it’s comfortable. See what works best for you.
3. Begin crocheting the circle. With a jumbo hook, chain 2, then make 5 single crochets into the second chain from the hook.
Do not join but continue around, increasing every stitch for the second round, every other stitch in the third round, every third stitch in the fourth round, and so on. Work in this manner until your circle is the size you want the bed to be.
4. When working with sweaters, I join by simply overlapping two strips for a few inches, twisting them together, and continuing on with the new one.)
5. To make the sides, stop increasing, and work the next round even (one stitch in every stitch).
6. Working in the front loop only for the first round of the sides helps create a sharp turn where the bottom meets the sides.
Work several more rounds, until you have achieved your desired height (after the first round of the sides, revert to working in both loops). When the bed is tall enough, work a few slip stitches to blend into the edge, and finish off. Weave in your tails.
Optional: Make a pillow. Use some more sweater scraps to stitch up a pillow for the bed, and stuff with poly-fill or still more sweater bits. You could also crochet another flat circle piece to cushion the bottom of the bed.
Now find a sunny spot for the bed and invite your best friend to try it out. And hey, you deserve a nap, too!
This project, originally published at CraftStylish.com, is reprinted here with permission of the author.