Attention knitters! Battersea dog’s home needs you!

Battersea dogs home in London is appealing to knitters everywhere to help them to knit comfort blankets for their foster dogs. Some of the dogs need to stay with foster carers as they have been through terrible ordeals and do not cope with life in kennels well. Others are recovering from illness, injury or operations and need that extra bit of TLC while they make a full recovery.

10 year old Marcel with his much loved blanket.

Battersea are appealing to those who can knit to help create security blankets for these poorly pooches, as they have been found to help them to feel safe and warm. They’re hoping to have enough blankets to put one in every doggy bag, which also include food, bedding and toys, and are given to foster carers when they look after a dog. When the dog is rehomed, they can then take their blanket with them to their new home. The blanket will help to offer them comfort and familiarity while they recover and adjust to their new environments.

The blanket pattern has been designed especially for Battersea by Lauren O’Farrell from whodunnit.com. She explains: “Most people had a special toy or blanket when they were young which they loved to bits. The plan is to make blankets which Battersea’s foster dogs can love just as much. It will be a woolly treat to put in their doggy bags, and they can take their blanket to their new home, so it will smell really familiar and be a handmade friend in a new place.” She has designed the blanket to be made in patchwork so that you can tackle it in manageable chunks, or even join up with fellow knitters to create a blanket together. If you would like to get involved you can download the knitting pattern here. Alternatively, you could come up with your own blanket design. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it just has to be comfy and warm. For more information Battersea’s knitted blanket appeal or fostering opportunities, please visit their website.

So, who’s with me? Does anyone out there fancy joining forces to help create as many blankets as we can? Sometimes the thought of creating an entire knitted blanket can seem like a very daunting task, but if we all combined our efforts we could achieve something truly wonderful. Wether you would like to contribute one square or twenty, I’d like to hear from you. Let’s give this wonderful charity a helping hand and give those pooches something to love and find comfort in.

Finished blankets can be dropped off at any of their centres or can be posted to:

Dog blanket appeal

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

4 Battersea Park Road

London

SW8 4AA

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After a brief interlude….

….normal service is to be resumed! Huzzah!

It’s been such a long time since my last post, I’m so sorry folks! Life had gotten just a smidge too busy after the yuletide season, and I was struggling to keep up! What with writing copious amounts of essays and completing projects for uni, working extra shifts in the evenings, and having a birthday (my birthday very rudely and inconsiderately interrupted me being in my 20’s, a decade a thoroughly enjoyed, and has now pushed me somewhat reluctantly in to my 30’s even though I kindly asked it not to, hurrumph!), my head has been in a bit of a spin and my mojo got a little lost 😦 My usually smiley face was replaced by a frowney, somewhat serious and at times pouty face. I don’t like essays, and I don’t like getting older, but after being a good girl and getting all my work done, my smile has pounced back on my face and kicked the frowney face clean off, yay!

Such a smiley soft drink lid

I found this little happy face peering up at me from Mr Sharps soft drink lid this morning, and it made me smile. It just looks so very happy! I felt quite mean when I had to put it in the bin….

My thoughts tend to go to sleep unless they and I wonder, and wonder they did thanks to my beloved Mr Sharp; for my birthday he whisked me away on a wonderful surprise holiday to Amsterdam for 5 glorious days of debaucherous giggle filled bliss to celebrate my 3rd decade of being. We had a most splendid time, a much needed holiday for us both. I have come back feeling revived and inspired. I love Amsterdam, it’s such a beautiful city.

Now that my Handmade Christmas has come to an end, I need a new project, and thanks to my favorite ever website, Ravelry, I have found one. Over the next few weeks, any free time that I have will be spent on making these little fellows:

Photo by Rachel Borello Carroll at Petite Purls.

Aren’t they just adorable? The pattern for these delightful little creatures, known as “Anything Animals” is available for free at Petite Purls. I plan on making a whole menagerie of different animals to give to the little people that I’m blessed to have in my life.

Photo by Rachel Borello Carroll at Petite Purls.

Off to my wool stash I go! It will be an excellent project for using up all my little scraps of left over wool. Excited much? Er, yes! Muchly! Happy knitting folks! xx

His and hers Christmas stockings

When I was a littl’un, one of the best things about Christmas morning was waking up to find a stocking filled by Santa at the end of the bed. I would get caught up in the magical belief that Santa had been in my bedroom that night, that he’d managed to sneak in again without getting caught. Every Christmas eve I would go to bed hoping that I would wake when Santa snuck into my room, but I never did. I’d wave my little fist in the air and promise that “next year I will stay awake to meet you Santa!”, but I never could.

I’d heave my bulging stocking up on to my lap and pull out each little gift, one by one, with great excitement and a huge grin planted firmly on my face. Once they were all pulled out, inspected and played with, I would hurriedly shove them all back inside the stocking and run to my parents room, bounce on the bed shouting excitedly to wake them up, then sit there pulling each gift out again, one by one, to show my mum and dad while they made the appropriate “ooo’s” and “ahhhh’s” in half asleep state.

My wonderful mum has always hung a stocking at the end of my bed on Christmas eve, every year for the past 28 years , because I have spent every Christmas at the family homestead (although the bouncing and shouting and bundling in to bed with them the next morning had to come to a stop for I was getting too big, sob!). But this year, now that I’m a growed up and living with the amazing Mr Sharp, the responsibility of hanging the stockings on Christmas eve has fallen to me. I was excited by the prospect, until I realised that there were no stockings to hang! I summoned the help of my knitting needles and balls of wool and set about rectifying the worrying stockingless scenario.

Clickety clickety went the knitting needles with great urgency, and ta dah! As if by magic, two little stockings, one his, one hers, were birthed:

These little lovelies are knitted flat (my favourite way to knit) so they were a pleasure to make. The pattern is a doddle to follow too. I used this pattern to guide me, but used my own colour schemes and pattern sequences to give them more of a personal touch. If you would like to know how I made mine drop me a line and I will send you some instructions. They only took me a couple of evenings each to make, so if you fancy making some you still have time! They would make a lovely gift for someone.

I couldn’t wait until Christmas eve to hang our lovely new stockings up, so they are already taking pride of place in our lounge, hanging high enough that they don’t suffer a CATTACK(!) from our little kitten. I’m sure she would have hours of fun destroying them if she could only get her claws into the wool. Well not this year little kitty! Although, I cannot wait to see what havoc she unleashes on the Christmas tree when we hang it this weekend…..

Only 9 more days till Chrimbo people, eeeeep! So excited! xx

A handmade Christmas meets Sunday night knitting project

Oh my….. I appear to have fallen bottom over breasticles in love. ‘With what or whom?’ I hear you cry. Well, I shall tell you! I have fallen in love with (drumroll)…….wait for it……waaaaaaait for it………a knitting pattern. There, I said it. Don’t judge me, I’m happy.

As part of my quest for a handmade christmas I decided that as well as sewing some decorations for our chrimbo tree, I would also knit some. So, off I went to consult my knitting pattern bible, Ravelry. And there it was. Nestled in amongst the various Christmassy type patterns were these little fellows:

It was love at first sight! So under their spell was I that I was reaching for my knitting needles before I knew it. Just over an hour into my trance and the first stocking was birthed! I was completely smitten with the little fellow, it looked deliciously cute! This pattern is so wonderfully easy to follow, and the best part for me is that its knitted flat and then seamed. Most sock patterns are knitted in the round, and the be frank, I sometimes can’t be arsed with all the faffing that knitting in the round entails. I end up jabbing myself with the double pointed needles more times than is possible for any human to endure without throwing them across the room in a sulk, and I haven’t quite got to grips with the magic loop method yet, so this pattern is just perfect for the likes of me.

They will look simply wonderful on our little Christmas tree. I’m going to fill each one of them with a little gift or sweet treat for Mr Sharp to find. Well, that’s if our new little kitten doesn’t get to them first! If I had time I would knit twenty-four of them and make them into an advent calendar, but alas time is against me. Maybe next year aye? So far I have knitted three, but will be making as many as I can before we collect our tree in two weeks time, otherwise it may end up looking pretty bare…..

Mini Christmas Stockings

This fabulous pattern is available on Little Cotton Rabbits blog. You can access the mini stocking pattern by clicking here. A big thanks to the exceptionally talented Julie for sharing her pattern for free. Thank you Julie!

Happy Sunday folks, and happy knitting. Only 27 days until Christmas, eeep! xx

Sunday night knitting project

After a day spent trooping round Ikea trying to find solutions for our storage problems, Mr Sharp is busy spending his Sunday evening building an epic amount of flat pack furniture.

I, on the other hand, have been instructed to “leave him to it”, so without my playmate to keep me entertained I have had to find a little project to keep me busy and out of the way before I start becoming a ‘back seat flat pack builder’.

Autumn is taking hold, and there is a definite nip in the air this evening, perfect conditions for a spot of knitting.  And, with Christmas a mere 55 days away (eep!), I thought I had better get cracking with making some gifts for friends and family.

After a quick mooch on my favourite knitting pattern site, Ravelry, I found me the perfect Sunday night knitting project:

An incredibly cute pair of hand-warmers! The wonderfully clever and very generous Marta over at CreativeYarn is providing her pattern for these hand – warmers free of charge over at her blog! Thank you Marta, you are a superstar! (click here for a direct link to the pattern)

The pattern is very easy to follow, and the hand-warmers knit up fairly quickly! I started on one mitten just over an hour ago and I’m pretty darn close to finishing it. Definitely a project that’s do-able in one evening. I’ve got a feeling I will be knitting up quite a few pairs of these cute hand-warmers in a variety of colours, they will make perfect stocking fillers this chrimbo 🙂

Happy knitting folks! xx

Things I’d like to do this weekend

This weekend will be the first weekend in a very long time that we have absolutely no commitments, and we are very much looking forward to it. Mr Sharp and I are both extremely exhausted from our trip and busy work schedules, and so a weekend to be lazy, recharge our batteries and do the things we love is definitely needed. For Mr Sharp I imagine it will mostly involve lot’s of x-box  playing and sitting around in his pants, for me it will largely consist of making things.

I love compiling lists, in fact, I can’t function without them! All this week I have been jotting down the various things that I would like to do this weekend and growing increasingly excited with each passing day that took me closer to Friday. This is said list:

This weekend I would like to……

1. Remain in my pyjamas from the moment I get home from work this evening until Monday morning, and drink copious amounts of tea brewed in a tea-pot and drunk from a china tea-cup.

I love these rocket pyjamas by Zade Home on notonthehighstreet.com

2. Knit this little pug:

It’s another Barbara Prime pattern, and they are always fun to make. You can buy her patterns on Ravelry by clicking here. I would quite like to knit him some little dungarees instead of a coat though.

3. Stuff and sew these bunnies that I knitted months ago and completely forgot about. I think they will be little girl bunnies, I’m in the mood for knitting some little dresses.

4. Do a little bit of quilting. I was inspired by this quilt that featured on the blog andothersillythings. So beautiful! With a few of my friends expecting babies in the coming months it will make a perfect baby welcoming gift .

5. Now that I know just how much cats like to play with the knitted mice that came from the little blue knitting case, I’m going to create an army of knitted mice to help make cats up and down the country very happy kitties. I will be selling the mice for £2.50 each (plus £1 p&p) to raise money for the cat rescue charity from which we got our Rosie cat.

If you would like to order one of these little knitted mice to make your cat a very happy kittie, and to support a very worthy cause in the process, please leave a comment below or email me at gizmoandstitch@live.com to place your order. Please state what colour combination you would like – you can have any colour you like!

Have a happy weekend folks! I hope you have a good’un xx

If you go down to the woods today…..

…. you might get a bit muddy because it’s been raining bucket loads round this here neck of the woods! Best take your wellies and a raincoat if you venture outwards. Ooo, and have fun jumping in any puddles you find! Puddles are brilliant fun, although I am sometimes a teensy bit scared that they will be much deeper than anticipated and that I will sink right up to my noggin! Oh, and beware of the bears….

Teddy bears picnic

… for if the song is to be believed “every bear that ever there was is gathered there for certain because today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic” apparently. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

All this rain is a very good thing, a very good thing indeed! Not only did my little vegetable garden on the balcony benefit from a ruddy good soaking, the rain also tends to bring out the creativity in me, maybe because when I was little rainy days meant spending the day indoors making things with my mum. I love the fact that the coming of rain makes me feel more justified and less guilty about staying home and making things all day. I adore sitting by the window, watching the rain coming down while I busy myself with a craft. Today that craft was knitting, and knit I did! I knitted a bear!

I found this bear pattern by Debbie Bliss on the Ravelry website. If you would like a copy of the pattern for yourself, just click here. It’s free! Huzzah! I love free patterns!

It’s a really fun pattern to work with and quite quick to do too. Although there is one part that I found incredibly confusing….. when knitting the bears body the pattern says “inc 1 st at each end of next row and 6 foll 6th rows”. Erm, say what now?? This stumped my ditzy little brain for quite some time and was very frustrating. After looking through the comments section of the Ravelry page that went with this pattern, I discovered I wasn’t the only one confused by this. Luckily a few wonderful people had come to the rescue and posted the answer ( a gargantuan thank you to the kind and helpful Ravelry knitting community for coming to my rescue yet again, I’d be so very stuck so very often without your help!). Basically it means that you should you increase 1 stitch at each end of row using your preferred increase stitch (I chose the kfb increase) then knit as follows:

Row 11: kfb, knit 8, kfb. (24 sts)
Knit 5 rows garter
Row 17: kfb, knit 10, kfb (26 sts)
Knit 5 rows garter
Row 23: kfb, knit 12, kfb (28 sts)
Knit 5 rows garter
Row 29: kfb, knit 14, kfb (30 sts)
Knit 5 rows garter
Row 35: kfb, knit 16, kfb (32 sts)
Knit 5 rows garter
Row 41: kfb, Knit 18, kfb (34 sts)
Knit 5 rows garter
Row 47: kfb, Knit 20, kfb (36 sts)
Knit 7 rows garter

Be warned, the seams can be quite fiddly. It took me several attempts to get it right as I’ve not tried to seam garter stitch before. I did find this tutorial on you tube to be very helpful though:

I knitted this bear with a certain little person in mind, but I don’t want to say who it’s for yet as I don’t want to ruin the surprise ;o) I hope they will like it though!