This simple cat pattern was published in an Australian newspaper in 1929 and claims to make a “useful, lasting toy.”
You can find the original pattern here, and the pattern on Ravelry here.
The body of the cat is essentially a knitted rectangle with a hole near one end to form the legs. The ears are simply sewn down at the corners, and the tail is a second rectangle sewn in a tube and added on.
I used worsted weight yarn and size 4 needles to create a fabric tight enough that the stuffing wouldn’t poke out. The only change I made was to cast on 12 instead of 8 stitches for the tail; with 8 my tail looked much too narrow.
In a somewhat unusual construction, the cast-off edge under the feet gets sewn to the cast-on edge to complete the cat. This created a slightly visible seam on the back of the cat; more fastidious knitters could do a provisional cast-on and graft the edges together to avoid leaving a visible seam. The seam does provide a handy place to attach the tail, though.
My favorite part of this pattern by far is the design for the face, which is hardly creepy at all by vintage toy standards.
Exhibit A: Two vintage toy patterns I will definitely NOT be making (you can find them here and here on Ravelry if you feel like crafting nightmare fuel).
I did my best to copy the pattern exactly, despite my almost non-existent embroidery skills (this is why I knit instead). The original pattern calls for millinery wire to make the whiskers, which seems a bit dangerous for a children’s toy. Also, and more importantly, I don’t have any. I embroidered my whiskers on with thread instead.
Finally, the true test of any knitted item is whether my cat will accept it. He mostly likes attacking the tail…but he doesn’t mind posing with it, either.