Eeeeeek! I saw a mouse!

What with our recent epic european adventures, the balls of wool and knitting needles in the little blue knitting case have been left a little abandoned of late. The needles haven’t been performing their usual clickety clickety dance of wool seduction to whip those balls of wool into their destiny of a new creation…. or so I thought…..

I had begun to feel sorry for the deserted needles and wool, and with a head full of new ideas spawned from our incredibly inspiring trip, I went to the cupboard to say hello to my neglected old friends.

I opened the cupboard door, and reached up to grasp the little blue knitting case from the shelf, but as I did, I was greeted with more than a spattering of dust…..

I heard a noise…. a curious noise coming from within the little blue knitting case’s contents….a sort of scuffling noise….

I gently lifted the case from the shelf, and placed it on the floor. With excited anticipation I reached for the little brass latches, carefully lifted the lid and was greeted by a friendly little “squeak!”.

And there, nestled cosily in a bed of wool were Mr and Mrs Mouse! And what a pleasant surprise were they.

 That cheeky little blue knitting case often gets up to curious things when my back is turned! It’s a bad influence of those normally well-behaved needles and balls of wool. Do you remember Tatty Babbit?

He was an unexpected creation spawned of the little blue knitting case too! (You can read all about his birthing by clicking here.)

As always, the new little creations were desperate for an owner of their very own, so I did my usual bit of match making. Mrs Mouse was given to our cat Rosie, and the two of them set about playing happily together. Rosie had recently lost her previous knitted mouse whilst on holiday at the cattery, and had been missing it terribly so she was very pleased to have a new one. Mr mouse was given to my incredibly fabulous friend Charlie’s cat Tommy, and they set about playing happily together too. A happy ending for Mr and Mrs Mouse. They have made two cats very, very happy 🙂 x

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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!

A whole lotta Rosie

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ~ George Elliot

Amongst all the knitted creations here at Gizmo and Stitch Towers now lives an actual real life cat! And a very sweet cat is she. A few months ago, Mr Sharp and I adopted a dainty little elderly cat and named her Rosie (also affectionately known as “Catface”).

20110730-123939.jpg

We adopted her from a local cat rescue charity who had found her wandering the streets, very underweight, very confused and in a very bad way. She was lovingly nursed back to health by the devoted staff at the rescue centre and once she was feeling better they set about finding her a new home. Enter Mr Sharp and I, who once we met her, fell instantly in love with the teeny tiny but very elderly kitty, and took her home to live with us.

She wants for nothing apart from a lap to sit on and something to eat. Her hobbies include sleeping, cuddles, and purring. Oh, and walking up to us, standing by our feet, looking up at us with adorable ‘puss-in-boots-from-shrek‘ big eyes, and giving us a very loud meow for seemingly no other reason than to say hello.

Despite her elderly lady characteristics, every now and again, the kitten in her awakens and she hunts a little knitted mouse that the rescue centre gave her as a goodbye gift.

The little knitted mouse is very cute and lovingly made. I asked the lady at the rescue centre where it came from and she told me that some local little old ladies knit them up for the cats to play with, and sell a few at the local vets to help raise a bit of much-needed cash for the centre. However, the knitted mice where selling quicker than they could be knitted. The knitter in me got incredibly excited, “I could help this cause” thought I.

I contacted the lovely people over at Bustle and Sew to see if they wouldn’t mind me using their lovely knitted mouse pattern for the cause, and they agreed whole heartedly.They have even given me permission to share this pattern on this here blog so that maybe I can find some fellow knitters to help raise funds for animal protection/rescue charities up and down the country. So, are you a knitter? Would you like to help me raise funds for local animal rescue centres?

Ain't they just the cutest?

My plan is to knit as many mice as possible, and sell them at local vet practices, craft fairs, to friends and family, or online at my Folksy and Misi stores. All proceeds made will be given to the rescue centre to help them to continue with their good work.

Maybe you know of a local animal centre that could benefit from a charitable donation (lets face it, they could all use a bit of help). You could whip up some cute little cat toys to sell and raise some cash for them.  If you might be interested in helping to knit for charity you can contact me by leaving a comment below, or by emailing me at gizmoandstitch@live.com. Let’s use our knitting powers for good folks, lets help some charities and some furry friends.

Little Pip meets baby Henry.

Little Pip the knitted rabbit has been on a very big adventure. In his little ship, the SS Parcel Box, he journeyed north on a sea of post to Staffordshire where he was united with his new owner, the adorably cute and very diddy little baby  Henry.

Pip is a very happy little bunny indeed. He is looking forward to lots of lovely cuddles and many more adventures with gorgeous little Henry.

Bless!

A week off, ah bliss!

I have got an entire 9 days off work, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I intend to spend it drinking copious amounts of tea, taking the occasional nap, knitting blanket squares and little bunnies for easter, making a patchwork cot quilt for a baby boy, watching back to back River Cottage episodes, and cooking lots of yummy treats for my hardworking man to enjoy when he gets home from work.

 I have been working on a few commissioned items for the past couple of weeks which has been really good fun, and I thought you might like to meet them:

Ladles and jellyspoons, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Wolfgang Woolfingson the knitted wolf.

Rather excitingly, this little knitted wolf is going to live in Canada!! That is the furthest that my work has ever been sent! Giggle! I hear it gets quite nippy in Canada at this time of year, so I made little Wolfgang Woolfingson a very warm knitted coat to keep him nice and cozy on his very long trip.

Have a safe trip little knitted wolfgang, have a lovely time in Canada, and take very good care of your new owner.

 And now to meet little Pip the knitted rabbit, cousin to Tatty Babbit.

My fantastically lovely and fabulous friend Hannah has just become an Aunty for the very first time, and a very proud Aunty is she. Little Pip is a gift for her very new and teensy nephew Henry George who was born on Wednesday. Pip is currently winging his way first class to Staffordshire to meet his new owner. He was in such an excited rush however that he forgot his clothes! Ooops!

I will pop some warm clothes in the post to follow after him, but I’m sure little Henry will keep him warm in the meantime.

I love the feeling I get when I finish creating a toy and post it off to its new owner, it’s very exciting!

Ooo, I’ve just seen that the sun is shining outside, yay! I’m going to get out there and make the most of it before it goes into hiding again. Enjoy your day folks, have oodles of fun! Mwah! xxxx

Another happy and very cute customer :-)

The very beautiful, spectacularly cute little baby Blaike with knitted kitty Callie!

My utterly wonderful friend Isi (who is currently all poorly sick with tonsill-nasty-itis, yuck! Poor Isi, get well soon my lovely! Mwah!) commissioned me to knit a little grey and white stripped kitty in a pink dress for little baby Blaike, and the other day she kindly sent me this piccie to show me the two of them together. I always really enjoy seeing my creations with their new owners, it gives me a genuine feeling of contentment. Apparently little Blaike holds the knitted kitty all the time and likes to suck it’s nose! How sweet is that? Oooop, I’m going all gooey now…. I can’t help it…. I’m going to have to say it…. awwwwwwwwww!!! And now for a random outburst of baby doting speak…. “iddybiddyboobooboowajawajawoodododoboo”! Ahem… Sorry about that… Now I just need to find me some squadgy cheeks to pinch… Any volunteers? Anyone? No? Oh well.

Something silly…

My very wonderful bestestest chumley Laura was birthed in the month of Augustus, and to celebrate the anniversary of her birthing I decided to stick to my handmade pledge and make her a few little somethings as a birthday offering. One of these somethings is a work in progress and is taking longer than expected (Sorry Laura! I promise to get it to you before christmas so that it doesn’t become a yule tide gift). But, I did manage to finish one of the gifts in time; a rather silly but very cute knitted apple cozy:

The apple cozy is not to prevent the apple from getting cold for I don’t think apples mind that too much, no no, it is to stop the apple from getting bruised in your bag when you take one out with you as a traveling snack. I’m very proud of my Laura for she is a student at university training to be a nurse, and I thought a knitted apple cosy is just what she needs so that she can have an unblemished healthy snack while she is busy being studious. I found the pattern at The Vegan Lunchbox blog and you can find the link to it here. I did change the way the leaf was knitted and the pattern for that is as follows:

Knitted leaf pattern:

  • Cast on 3 stitches on 4mm needles.
  • 1st row (RS) K1, MK1, K1, MK1, K1 (5st)
  • 2nd row and WS rows K
  • 3rd row K2, MK1, K1, MK1, K2 (7sts)
  • 5th row K3, MK1, K1, MK1, K3 (9sts)
  • 7th row K4, MK1, K1, MK1, K4 (11sts)
  • 9th row K5, MK1, K1, MK1, K5 (13 sts)
  • 11th row SSK, K9, K2tog (11 sts)
  • 13th row SSK, K7, K2tog (9sts)
  • 15th row SSK, K5, K2tog (7sts)
  • 17th row SSK, K3, K2tog (5sts)
  • 19th row SSK, K1, K2tog (3sts)
  • 21st row SK2po, fasten off remaining stitches.

Happy knitting! xx