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

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

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”).

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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.

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