Sorry this month’s post is a day late. I spent most of yesterday working on the design for the new site. But the design is pretty much finished, so now all we have to do is get it installed and then Practically Functional will have it’s new home! Should be in the next couple of days.
Besides, hopefully most of you get a three-day weekend because of Memorial Day. And if you have Monday off, then today is basically your Saturday anyway! So welcome to another edition of Caturday at Practically Functional!
I have a super fun project for you today! I found a fun pattern for crocheted mousies at Nicely Created For You on Pinterest a while ago and just knew I had to make some for our cats. The only problem is I’ve crocheted about three things in my entire life and they were all flat and square (think potholders…), but these little mice turned out great nonetheless!
I made the smaller mouse a while ago and followed the instructions on the original pattern exactly. Then, I was so excited about this fun new toy for the cats that I stupidly gave it to them before taking any pictures. 🙁 They absolutely LOVED it and immediately went crazy swatting it around (it slid really well around our hardwood floors!) When I remembered to take a picture about two hours later the mouse was long gone! It had been swatted under the couch, or the hutch, or the tv stand, or the dishwasher, or one of the radiators, or…well, it was somewhere and I couldn’t find it for the life of me! And the cats were no help.
So I decided to make a second one. And I decided I had to modify the original pattern a bit so that this mouse would be a little bigger and easier to find! I also added a few small rocks wrapped in cotton when I filled the mouse in the hopes that if it were a bit heavier it wouldn’t skitter quite so quickly across our floors. It seems to have worked 🙂
If you want a smaller mouse you can follow the original pattern exactly, or if you like the bigger mouse my modified pattern is below.
|The only “recognizable” object I had handy to give you a size comparison was a tube of Chapstick 🙂|
To make these mice you need:
- a crochet hook (I used size 3.25 mm)
- fine yarn (the pattern calls for fine yarn, 18wpi, but that meant absolutely nothing to me so I just bought some “super fine” sock yarn and it worked great)
- filling (I just used cotton balls)
- dried catnip
- empty loose tea bag or coffee filter as a container for the catnip
- a few small stones (if you want to weigh the mouse down a bit)
- stitch marker
- tapestry needle (or a regular needle would work in a pinch)
- black yarn for eyes (or a black marker)
I was really confused when I first looked at the original pattern because they used a bunch of abbreviations and I knew nothing about crocheting. But it was pretty simple (with some research on Google) to figure out what they were talking about. To make these mice you need to know the following stitches and abbreviations:
- Sc: Single crochet stitch
- Ch: Chain stitch
- Sc2tog: Single crochet the next two loops together (basically this is a decrease)
- Slip stitch
- Sc 2 stitches in each sc: Basically this is an increase, just do a normal sc, then go into the exact same loop and do a second sc from the same place
I’m not going to do a full tutorial here, but those stitches are pretty simple to learn, just follow the links.
You will work in rounds to make the mouse, so the pattern is laid out by round (Round 1, Round 2, etc.) This was the first time I had worked in rounds on a crochet project so I did some research to make sure I knew what I was doing. Basically you start with a few stitches as a center loop and then crochet in circles from there; each circle is a round (makes sense…) But the tricky part was the pattern said do not join rounds, and I had no idea what that meant.
Basically there are two ways to work in rounds: by joining the rounds and by not joining the rounds. Joining the rounds means crocheting until you reach the end of the round, and then making a slip stitch to join your last stitch to the first one in the round. This makes a complete circle of stitches (like rings on a tree). If you don’t join the rounds, when you reach the end of a round you will continue crocheting so that you have one long continuous row of stitches that spirals around and around your center ring. This is why you need a stitch marker; use it to mark the first stitch in each round so you know when one round ends and another begins.
You want the spiral here, so don’t join the rounds! Not joining rounds is simple, you just keep crocheting. No special stitch, no nothing; just crochet right into the next stitch and keep following the pattern!
So here we go!
Big Mouse Pattern:
The body and tail
Round 1: Ch 2. Sc 4 stitches in the second ch from hook. (4 sc total)
Round 2: Sc 2 stitches in each sc around. (8 sc total)
Round 3: (Sc 1 stitch in first sc, sc 2 stitches in next sc) 4 times around. (12 sc total)
Round 4: Sc even around. (12 sc total)
Round 5: (Sc 1 stitch in next 3 sc, sc 2 stitches in next sc) 3 times around. (15 sc total)
Round 6: Sc even around. (15 sc total)
Round 7: (Sc 1 stitch in next 2 sc, sc 2 stitches in next sc) 6 times around. (21 sc total)
Rounds 8 and 9: Sc even around. (21 sc total)
Round 10: (Sc 1 stitch in next 6 sc, sc 2 stitches in next sc) 3 times around. (24 sc total)
Round 11: Sc 2 stitches in each of the next 8 sc (16 sc in this part) and then sc 1 stitch in each of the next 16 sc (16 sc in this part), 32 sc total in this round. (This makes a little hump to separate the head of the mouse from the body)
Rounds 12 through 27: Sc even around. (32 sc total)
Once you finish Round 27 you want to stuff the mouse with your filling and catnip (and rocks). I pushed 2 cotton balls down into the nose to give it shape. Then I took an empty tea bag, put about six small rocks in it, and filled all the spaces with dried catnip. I folded the top of the bag over and wrapped a small rubber band around it a few times to hold it closed. I put the catnip bag inside the mouse and stuffed some shredded cotton balls down the sides so there was some padding between the rocks and the edges of the mouse. Once the catnip is in the mouse fill the rest of the body to your desired fullness.
NOTE: You can use anything to hold the catnip (or you can just pour some in without a container, but my stitches were so big I worried it would fall out). I would just suggest you use something that allows the scent of the catnip to escape (i.e. not a plastic bag!) If you have a coffee filter you can just pour some catnip into that, wrap it up, and secure it with rubber bands. There’s no real trick here, do it however works for you.
|Put the catnip in a bag to keep it from falling out of the holes in the crochet|
There are only three more rounds after you fill the body, and all of these rounds decrease to close off the back of the mouse. If you need to, you can add more filling after any of these rounds to finish filling out the body.
Round 28: Decrease – (Sc 1 stitch in next sc, sc2tog) 8 times around. (16 sc total)
Round 29: (Sc2tog) 8 times around. (8 sc total)
Round 30: Sc2tog 4 times around (4 sc total) and pull the yarn to close the hole. You can continue decreasing for one more round if the hole is too big to close at this point.
Don’t cut the yarn yet, you still need to make the tail. Ch 26 for the tail then slip stitch back into the entire chain.
Once you finish the tail cut your yarn, leaving about 4 inches. Thread the yarn onto your tapestry needle and use it to “sew” the tail in place (just secure it with a few stitches). Then weave in the end.
Work in rows for the ears, and remember to make 2!
Row 1: Ch 2. Sc 3 stitches in the second ch from hook. (3 sc total) Chain 1 and turn.
Row 2: Sc 1 stitch in first sc, sc 2 stitches in next sc, sc 1 stitch in the last sc. (4 sc total) Chain 1 and turn.
Row 3: Sc 1 stitch in first sc, sc 2 stitches in each of the next 2 sc, sc 1 stitch in the last sc. (6 sc total)
Tie a knot in the yarn to fasten it off and cut it, leaving about 6 inches for sewing.
Putting it all together
Thread the extra 6 inches of yarn from an ear onto the tapestry needle and sew the ear onto the mouse. The ears on my mouse are sewn on at about Round 9 (one or two rounds before the little hump to start the body) but you can put them wherever you think is best. (If you make a Picasso mouse I must insist that you send me a picture!)
If you have some black yarn laying around you can use it to make a french knot for the eyes of the mouse. I didn’t, so I just used a black sharpie and it worked great. And that’s it, you’re done!
Our cats absolutely love these mice! Puck loves the tiny mouse because he can pick it up in his mouth and carry it around the house. Finnegan loves wrestling toys that he can grab with his front paws and kick the daylights out of with his back feet, so he loves the bigger, heavier mouse because it’s the perfect size.
It was hard to get a non-blurry photo of the cats playing with the mice because they love it so much, but here’s the best I could do.
|Puck and the tiny mouse|
|Finnegan wrestling with the bigger mouse|
What is your pet’s favorite toy; is there anything they just go absolutely crazy for? I’m kinda getting into this whole crocheting thing! What should I do next? Have you crocheted anything fun recently?
Want to see the rest of the Caturday posts? Here they are!