Dickensian Mice


When you finish the knitted sections of Alan Dart's ingenious Dickensian Outdoor Mice, you have a menagerie of small, unrecognizable pieces -- the flat strips for hands and feet, coat cuffs, scarf and bonnet string, ears, bonnet brim, and so on -- all with long yarn tails, ready for seaming. I don't think I know a knitter who enjoys the seaming part of projects, either because they don't sew or because it feels like a pain on top of all of the knitting they've already done. Generally, I'm no exception, -- and I was definitely groaning inwardly throughout much of the seaming for these mice, which took as much time if not more as the knitting  did -- but I think the undeniable charm of these mice is that as you put them together, it really does feel like you're bringing them to life. I've made toys before, like the fairy or poodle, but Dart's mice are so thoughtfully detailed (a quality throughout Dart's patterns) that they felt particularly special.

All of that to say, it was unusual that I couldn't stop giggling when I finished. The mice were so delightfully characterized, and I loved holding them. They can stand on their own if convinced and do this especially well with the support of the other. The lady mouse has a plastic circle cut out from a container at the bottom of her skirt for additional balance. Some other knitters forewent feet for the lady mouse so that she was even more stable, but I thought this looked a bit odd next to her counterpart.

It's the perfect stash buster project, and I was happy to also tap into my embroidery thread stash, albeit for small details. By the time you add facial features and buttons, it's difficult to stop because the details make them precious. The colors were particularly fun, and I could imagine playing with all kinds of combinations. Grandma kept saying that they needed names, but as far as I know, nothing has stuck, so they remain a lady and a gent.

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