Thinking Small

Two more ornaments, done and dusted. I’m resisting the urge here to say things like “it’s all going so well” and “so far so good” and generally putting down my feelings of success and well-being like they’re a lame horse. That way lies madness and the sort of downfall that can only be brought about by confidence. The best I’ll say is that I’m on track. Fourth of November, four ornaments, and I expect things to go to ruin over the weekend as I pull together the last of the retreat details for next week. (PS – I mentioned it on Instagram and twitter, but forgot to do it here, if you make things and wanted to put something in our goodie bags, let me know. We welcome everything, even weird things. Shoot me an email at

First up, a little cloud and rainbow, and the first one I didn’t use a pattern for, but I can walk you through.  (And, I know – it’s not very Christmassy, but the recipient will like it, and it’s all about them, not me.)


I took a handful of white roving, muddled it into a pile, and went to the kitchen sink with it.  I added a single drop of dishwashing soap (not too much, or it won’t felt) and started rubbing it in my hands in hot-ish water.  When it was cloud shaped (I pulled at it a bit) I lay it flat to dry, and knit the rainbow. I knit it (more or less, it’s not precise) like this:

Cast on 12 stitches, in purple, knit a row.  Join blue, and knit two rows. Join green, and knit one, M1, knit 3, M1 – all the way across, then knit one more row. (I made one by doing a yarn over, and knitting into the back of it to twist it on the next row.) Join yellow, and do the same, doing a M1 about every three stitches, then knitting a row plain. Same thing with orange, and the same thing with red.  Done! 12 rows of knitting, changing colours every two rows. (Except for that first purple one, I did the long tail cast on, so it counts as a row.  Then I got a needle and thread, and stitched the rainbow to the cloud. Didn’t even do it neatly, because it’s on the back. Other than the time spent waiting for the cloud to dry, it was a snap.  (If you don’t have any roving, I think you could just knit yourself a little garter stitch cloud, increasing and decreasing to make the shape. Fake it. Clouds come in all shapes. 

That done, I scanned through the comments, and found that Teague had suggested these little Holiday Mice.  How could I resist?


I knit my wee mousie from fingering weight yarn on 2.25mm needles, and followed the instructions completely.  The only hold up was that I didn’t have any pale pink yarn for the ears, so into the kitchen I went.  I soaked a little butterfly of yarn in water for a bit, then mixed a drop of food colouring into a bowlful of water, added the yarn for a swish, and took it out when it was the right shade of pink.  I rinsed it twice to make sure the colour would stay,  let it dry, and bingo. Ear yarn.

I know there are purists among you who will be disappointed that I didn’t heat set the dye, but this will never be washed enough for it to matter, and all’s fair in love, war and advent calendar knitting. Besides – look at that little mouse. Can you stand it? I made a tiny pom pom for the red hood, transforming it into a Santa Hat, and now, do you know what that bitty rodent is?


Santa Mouse– The star of a longstanding Christmas Eve read for our family.  It couldn’t be more perfect.  The only shame about it now is that everyone wants one (actually, Sam wants five) and I feel bad that there isn’t one on Luis’ calendar.

I guess I’ll just make one when he loses something else.

62 thoughts on “Thinking Small

  1. A nice addition to the day that the delightful Christmas Mouse appears could be a copy of Beatrix Potter’s poem “Three Little Mice Sat Down to Spin” or an introduction to the longer story of The Tailor of Gloucester.

  2. All I can think is how cute he could look wearing one of the new Berrocco Minutiae sweaters. Those are always my holiday knitting. Twist some wire for a coathanger and instant ornament n_n

  3. Squeee… That mouse is delightful… Perfect for the Advent calendar. I’m impressed with your ability to just make pink ear yarn appear. As always, you male things look so simple and straightforward, it gives a gal confidence!

  4. Oh my gosh, totally blushing right now (no fault of the half-glass of wine I had after putting the kids to bed). I’ve been reading your blog almost since I started knitting, and you actually made a mouse from my pattern! Please forgive the slight knitting-celebrity crush. I’m so happy you liked the pattern, and enjoyed the result. I can’t wait to see what you make next.

  5. Oh, have such a wonderful time at Strung Along! I am so grateful I got to attend in June. Your wee-mousie might inspire me to bust out my Merry Wee Elf pattern sooner rather than later….I’m elbow-deep in an orange sweater that needs to get done while the season is still ripe! 😉
    Happy sweet knitting!!

  6. I’ve already pledged that this year any Christmas mice ornaments are staying in the box or getting donated.

    Mice are not cute, they are a nuisance. I just caught two in my kitchen. They did not follow the rules that I had laid down, they weren’t decent enough to stay in the garage, the rodents actually violated our food preparation space. Nope, no Christmas mice here, not this year, anyhow… however, I suppose a week or so ago (before hearing mouse noises in kitchen) I might have found your mouse quite endearing.

    Hmmmm… why not knit a Christmas squirrel?

    • I had a similar problem quite a while back with an occasional mouse appearing in the basement. I kept sealing & insulating until I found a sizeable hole left by utility workers, likely many years ago. No unwelcome visitors since then.

  7. Thank you for sharing the rainbow instructions. I think it might just be the perfect little ornament for the rainbow I’m baking for the next next 3 – 5 weeks.

  8. I started reading this blog when you were making an advent calendar for Luis. It was later in November, and things weren’t going so well. Yarn Harlot, I though you were nuts. Now…I knit all the time, through meetings, at bars, while watching anything. I learned to spin. I have a yarn stash, I just scoured a fleece last weekend. So maybe I’m nuts too, now, but I am so excited that you are making another advent calendar. It’s sort of a benchmark for me to see my old self by and wave at her through a fuzzy haze of wool. And I do have all the colors I need upstairs to make this wee mousie!

  9. Does anyone happen to know where the Santa pattern on Luis’ calendar came from? The 2014 November archive only showed a few if the month’s posts, with no option to go to older. I am going to scroll through December 2014 (that will let me view older posts) but somehow think the pattern link was more likely found in November.

    Planning for a calendar for my wee niece Evie for next year!

  10. I cannot believe this…..over the summer I knit 32 Santa mouses (mice) for Christmas gifts. I love the fact that The Yarn Harlot and I are knitting the same thing. Your Advent Calenders are a work of love and art.

  11. oh no ! I am reading your blog in my car, in front of a yarn store, waiting for my kid to wake up. we are supposed to choose yarns to knit sensible cardis for her. But now I want to knit funny tiny toys that won’t keep her warm…

  12. Anything from Val Loves books would be appropriate and adorable. //
    This year im making a grey tabby cat in honor of our own kitten we got last year.

  13. Too clever for words and I just looked at the book, have to order for the wee ones. Of course, they will need a mouse to go with it, the trouble I get myself into…
    But, I just want to say you inspired me to get a head start on Christmas and I have 6 hats completed! I am going to knit a few extra and let them choose their own. We shall see how that turns out.

  14. I give my daughters Christmas tree ornaments every year, but I normally buy them. Last year I saw that pattern and had to make them. Then, of course, I thought they were so cute I had to make them for the little girls in my life! (I don’t have little boys in my life or they would have got them, too.)

    Just to clarify – my daughters are not little girls any more. 😉

    I did not think to put a pompom on and make them Santas, though. Super cute!

  15. Oh love the mouse. Santa Mouse was my daughter’s favorite book. We had a little mouse, and put a tiny package in the tree every year for her to find. That was her gift from Santa Mouse. Also, we had to put out cookies and milk for Santa, along with a piece of cheese for you know who. Thanks for making me remember all that.

  16. Such a sweet mouse!

    Suddenly thinking I need to make an advent afghan Right Now for my granddaughter who will be two Christmas Eve. Knit pockets all over it. Stuff them with rainbows and cute mice.

    See what you just did there?

    Just let me finish her cousin-on-the-way’s afghan first…

  17. Did you knit the Santa Mouse flat or in the round? I downloaded the pattern and I’m fighting the urge to knit 100 of them….secretly at work, hiding it under my desk! LOL

  18. I love your mouse! So cute!
    I have a question can you share how you organize your knitting? Your seamless with lineing up projects. For example do you attach patterns to yarn in plastic bags? Or keep a list?

  19. Now, why am I not surprised that you didn’t have any pink yarn? So clever of you to dye some rather than using it as an excuse to go yarn shopping!

  20. Santa Mouse was a Christmas staple in my childhood, so much so that I had to find the book used on Amazon so I could read it to my kids (Mom wouldn’t give up her copy).

    I love the wee knitting for Advent – my kids are teen and older, and only one still at home, so we’re actually having the “do we still need an Advent calendar” discussion. I think the answer will be yes, because I can’t bear to stop. I might have to do a Santa Mouse for one of the drawers. (We have a box frame with 24 drawers of varying sizes. I fill with candy and cheap trinkets. Wonder if the cats would get into it if I made a catnip mouse for one drawer? Hmmmm.)

  21. So precious, although I have to say I’m glad it’s you and not me knitting a Christmas advent calendar, the pieces are beautiful but I’m sure I’d be stark raving made by the end of the month.

  22. Love your little pieces so far for your advent calendar. If you are looking for a couple of other happy ideas, the Wee Jolly Elf by Churchmouse Yarns knits up quick and adorable. I made several last year (including a couple in red with an improvised garter stitch beard that looked like THE Jolly Elf himself) as hostess gifts for Yuletide outings. I also made several gift box tags from the Bluebird of Happiness pattern. Again, a very quick knit that brings a smile.

  23. Santa Mouse!! That was the first thing I thought of when I saw that wee little mouse, my mom read the story to me and I read it to my kids. 🙂

  24. Santa Mouse looks a lot like Chris Mouse I made for my husband’s grandmother back in the 90’s. Only difference was size and the strand of tangled tree lights.

    Love the rainbow. Let’s hope the recipient isn’t of an age to follow the skittles commercial and taste the rainbow. 🙂

    I’m jealous of your dedication. I need to get some of that so I can finish my projected gifts, advent calendar scarves for the women in my family done in a variety of colors and weights.

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