Felted Knitting: The Critter Gang Pillows

Felted Pillow Gang by Minaz Jantz

Winter is my knitting time! I like the feel of wool slithering around my fingers and love using my old aluminum knitting needles that make the clinking sound for every stitch. It is also the season to make family members gifts. 

Mom Crochets Gifted Blanket

Mom Crochets 

a Gifted Blanket

We are a family who was raised with crafting, cooking, and making gifts from scratch. It is one family tradition that we all love to share with each other and we appreciate the time, skill, and talent that goes into each gift. This year I thought to make some felted knit pillows with attitude! I wanted each one to be individually different for each of my family members. The backside of each pillow is left unadorned to lay one's head to rest upon.

Pussy Galore, Skat, Bark pillows by Minaz Jantz

Hand Knit & Felted Slippers by Minaz Jantz

My first felting project was making felted knit slippers
for each of my family members a few years ago. We enjoy wearing them and they are the best thing for cozy feet!

I LOVE pillows of every different kind and have pillows all over my house! What a great way to say I am thinking of you then to make personal pillows for my family. I thought to felt pillows for their durability and softness while wanting to add embroidery for embellishment to give this gift a folk-e homemade appearance.



The HOMEMADE look is no longer screaming just for grannies & hippies but is back in fashion for everyone and even for Ziggy who LOVES pillows. 

I wanted these series of pillows to be smaller and able to fit right into any chair, couch, or bed like a pet waiting for you to come for a snuggle.

I had no pattern to go from nor any idea of what it was going to look like till I finished each pillow. Felting knitted wool means shrinking it with hot water and each brand of wool and the temperature of water used will shrink/felt a different final size. 

My first felted pillow was 'Pussy Galore' and made it up as I went along with hopes it would remain large enough to be a pillow for head size.

FRONT Felted Knit Pillow: Pussy Galore by Minaz Jantz

BACK Felted Knit Pillow: Pussy Galore by Minaz Jantz

I will share some of my methods of knitting critter madness with you.


* 4.5 mm needles, 3.5 oz 100% wool (has to be 100% wool to felt)
* Stitch Holder

Stitch Holders
Stitch Holders

* Cast on 72 stitches.
* knit each row or knit one-row purl the next. It makes a slight surface change when felted but is not that noticeable so I like knitting every row cause its easy.
* Knit till the work measures 15 inches then decide what you want for ears and knit whatever kind of ears you want. Total finished size approx. 18 inches before felting.
* Sew in all loose ends BEFORE felting.
* Can either sew all sides together except the bottom side BEFORE felting and hide the stitches OR felt both sides separately then stitch with Blanket Stitch to attach them together after they are felted to show stitches.

  EARS for Pussy Galore:   

* Knit the body to 15 inches then take and knit the first 30 stitches on your needle, drop the next 12 stitches, and knit the last 30 stitches.
* Put one set of 30 stitch ears on stitch holders to pick up later to knit.
* To get the angle of the ears, I dropped one stitch for every other row till it came to just one stitch then tied it off with a knot.

  Before FELTING measurements:  

* 18 inches from the tip of ear to the bottom
* 15 inches to the top of the head
* 14 inches wide

'Pussy Galore' before felting process by Minaz Jantz

Two sides of Pussy Galore before felting.

Sew in all the ends before the hot water bath and save all the detailing of embroidery etc. after felting.

  AFTER FELTING measurements:  

* 14 inches from the tip of the ear to the bottom
* 12 inches to the top of the head
* 12 inches wide

Before & after felting process of knitted pillows

Ziggy watches EVERYTHING I do. He sits close by and shows how large the pillows are BEFORE felting and AFTER felting. Each pillow was made the same except for the ears.

Hand-stitching details for Pussy Galore

After each pillow was felted, I started to add unique details with embroidery and buttons. Thanks to all those wonderful people who post YOUTUBE videos on 'HOW to DO' as I learned easily with their help to do various stitches and applied them to each pillow.

Hand-stitching details for SKAT

Below are some examples of the stitches I used to embellish the Felted Critter Gang and the links to the YOUTUBE videos to see how.

FRONT Felted Pillow Skat by Minaz Jantz

BACK Felted Pillow Skat by Minaz Jantz

Blanket stitch both sides.

Blanket stitches both sides.

I hot water wash after all the ends have been worked in and trimmed.  Both sides are kept apart for the wash and felt first before doing any kind of decorative stitch work. I used the Blanket Stitch for both sides and then attached both sides together using the basic hand stitch, looping through the blanket stitch. Leave the bottom end open to stuff then finish with basic hand stitching. 

 HOW to do a blanket stitch here...

Blanket stitch and slip stitch for finished edge.

Blanket stitch for both sides then loop with a slip stitch and lightly pull together by going
through the blanket, stitch edges to join both sides, and make for a finished edge.

'Bark' Felted Knit Pillow with split stitch detail

BARK was created with the Split Stitch.
HOW to do the Split Stitch

'Skat' Felted knit pillow detail cable chain stitch

A new stitch for me to learn was the cable chain stitch and wanted it to look like a necklace for the felted pillow 'Skat'. The blue edge is the Blanket Stitch.

HOW to do the Cable Chain Stitch.

'Skat' Felted knit pillow detail Hungarian braided chain stitch

I wanted a thicker stitch to make the mouth for 'Skat'. I also found in my old button stash some white little buttons that turned out to be perfect for the teeth. 

How to do the Hungarian Braided Chain stitch.

Felted knit pillow detail

I used scraps of wool and looped them around on the felted surface for Pussy Galore and then took blue button thread and did a running stitch through the wool scraps.

FRONT Felted Pillow BARK by Minaz Jantz

BACK Felted Pillow BARK by Minaz Jantz

'Bark' Felted Knit Pillow eyes and ears

'Bark' has shaped ears that were knitted in the light gold color and then crocheted with the dark brown wool attaching the two sides together before felting.

For the ear fluffs, I later took scraps of yarn and knotted them into the tops of the ears AFTER felting. Found some old buttons PERFECT for the eyes and attached scraps of yarn sewing them under the buttons for bushy eyebrows.

'Bark' Felted Knit Pillow eyes, ears and crochet nose

'Bark' got a crochet nose that is stuffed with scraps of yarn and then hand-sewn to the felted fabric. I used the chain stitch for the mouth.

HOW to do the chain stitch.

Detail stitching for BARK

'Pussy Galore' Felted knit pillow of face detail

'Pussy Galore' has a STAR nose which is hand sewn with button thread. The whiskers were chain stitched with silver button thread. I found in my button stash these swirl buttons and 
sewed them on with Gold Metallic thread.

'Skat', Felted knit pillow by Minaz Jantz

Felted Knit Pillow from the Critter Gang...' Skat'

'Bark', Felted knit pillow by Minaz Jantz

Felted Knit Pillow from the Critter Gang... 'Bark'

'Pussy Galore', Felted knit pillow by Minaz Jantz

Felted Knit Pillow from the Critter Gang...'Pussy Galore & Ziggy!'

I had fun making the Felted Critter Gang pillows and can easily say, NO, I will not take orders! It's a lot of work to make these up and will remain one of a kind!

Felt to share!...Minaz Jantz


1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I love my Pussy Galore pillow. she sits in her perfect chair and has shared space the dogs and cats. She is a conversation piece for sure.

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