It’s beginning to feel a lot like Easter ……

Here’s a sneaky little peak at whats been occurring in the sewing laboratory over here at Gizmo and Stitch Towers:20120328-150353.jpg

The sun is shining splendidly over London town, so it’s the perfect opportunity to sit on my balcony, soak up some rays, and do a little bit of hand sewing. I have discovered that I am very much a seasonal crafter; In the autumn and winter I knit, and in the spring and summer I sew. What with all the glorious weather we have been having over here in Blighty recently, I have cast aside my knitting needles, and picked up my sewing box again, and boy am I having fun! I often forget how much quicker it is to make something in fabric than it is to sit and knit it, so I have surprised myself with how many of these little rabbit finger puppets I have managed to whip up in just a couple of hours! They will make perfect little gifts for all the small folk that I know, and a wonderful alternative to chocolate – although I’m sure there will be lots of that being passed around too, it is Easter after all, the perfect excuse to a gorge yourself silly on ridiculous quantities of chocolate and end up feeling a little bit sick, yet very satisfied. Mmmm, chocolate….

Anywho, I digress. I found this wonderful little felt bunny finger puppet tutorial over on the extremely gorgeous blog The Purl Bee.

Image courtesy of The Purl Bee

Image courtesy of The Purl Bee

The tutorial has fabulously clear step by step instructions to follow, and I can assure you that the bunnies are an absolute delight to make. You can find the tutorial by clicking here. I can’t wait to pop the finished little bunnies in to the post for all the gorgeous little children I am lucky enough to know for them to play with this Easter. I am even going to have a go at making my own eggs with a kit that a bought last Easter but sadly didn’t get enough time to use. Fear not Easter egg molds, for this Easter you will fulfill your Easter egg making destiny! Nom nom nom….. x

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Things I made last year

What with all the crazy-can’t-keep-up-stupidly-busy-ness that I encountered back in January, I completely forgot to post pictures of some of the gifts I made for people as part of my Handmade Christmas Pledge! Oops! Here is a selection of some of them:

A knitted wolf for Josephine

A knitted cat for Kayleigh. She called it Amy Cat! Aww!

A cowl for Jackie

A stocking for the cat.... ahem....

I foolishly forgot to take photographs of some of the gifts I made as I was in such an excited hurry to wrap them and put them under people’s trees! Must remember to take more photos. I absolutely loved taking and sticking to the handmade pledge; sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea and my balls of wool beats going out in the cold and battling the crazy crowds at the shops. I will definitely do it all again next Christmas, can’t wait xx

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

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

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

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.