Niftyknits and our mascot for this season on The Hub!

I have a *thing* for Meerkats. From bouncing on the sofa excitedly at any appearance by Aleksandr Orlov on the TV to insisting on watching every annoyingly-voice-overed episode of Meerkat Manor, I cannot get enough of these animals and their behaviour. I readily sought out and absorbed Tim Clutton-Brock‘s book on the subject of Meerkat studies, and loved David Attenborough’s observations on Meerkats in The Life of Mammals. Although I essentially love the creaturefulness of Meerkats, their animal-ness and existence in the wild, there is something about Meerkats that also makes us inclined to anthropomorphize their lives and activities, rather like we do with cats… or indeed in my case, sometimes Monkeys.

As well as loving Meerkats, I also have a *thing* for knitted characters and their online adventures. I thoroughly enjoyed, for instance, the Adventures of Elijah when Ysolda published the Elijah pattern and set up the contest on her blog. And who can forget the ridiculousness of my entry to Teeny Project Runway when Mason Dixon Knitting set that up? You are never too old to play.

A talented knitter who has picked up on our collective affection/daftness re: Meerkats, is Heather AKA Niftyknits who knits characterful Meerkats in all sorts of guises and costumes for her Etsy shop. Working fulltime as a maker, she often receives tweets and emails suggesting new Meerkat characters and requesting custom orders and is currently working on an EMO Meerkat, complete with nose-piercing, black hoodie, and floppy quiff.

Yesterday, I drove to Hailsham to the Old Loom Mill, to interview her about her amazing creations and to pick up the mascot that she has created for our forthcoming season on The Hub.

Here is Heather, with Meerkat, who is yet to be named. I’m still not sure yet whether or not the Meerkat is a boy or a girl!

The idea of a Meerkat Mascot for our show came about after the joys of Cyber Zombie during last season. Everyone so enjoyed the whole process of having a mascot and taking it on adventures, that we were keen to do it again this season. Somehow in one of our casual post-show conversations, the topic turned to Meerkats and then to the idea of having a knitted one this season… I started to look for information on knitted meerkats and found Heather’s site; the massive range of characterful creatures there was so inspiring that I emailed Heather and asked if she would sponsor our shoestring-budget production (none of us get paid to make The Hub) to the tune of one fine Meerkat and, very happily for Team Hub, she has!

THANK YOU SO MUCH from all at THE HUB…

Meerkat in the wool at the Old Loom Mill.

As with Cyber Zombie, the Meerkat will spend a week with each member of The Hub team, and we will all take it in turns to chronicle his/her adventures.

Luckily, I think the Meerkat likes tea.

We are snowed in like so many others across the UK right now, so the Meerkat is spending his first week with me. I suspect it will be a very knitterly week for us; we enjoyed exploring the Old Loom Mill together yesterday, in any case. And wool is an excellent insulator against the freezing cold!

Here is the Meerkat with a ball of walnut-dyed Shetland in shade ‘Meerkat’ that I passed on to Heather*.

When the Meerkat was on this piece of fabric I found myself wondering if it would be possible to make a felted burrow…

Many, many thanks to Heather and her husband for braving the cold and coming out to talk to me about the economics of knitting things, the joy of Meerkats and the generosity of the online crafting community! It was superb to meet you and I hope that you enjoy watching the adventures of this little Meerkat unfolding…

You can hear my interview with Heather on BBC Oxford on 95.2FM this coming Sunday evening; I’ll check the times with Scott as it doesn’t seem to be on the schedule page at the moment… If you don’t get BBC Oxford, it should be up on the iPlayer soon enough; check The Hub page for updates.

Some links:

The Meerkat and the Doormouse by The Guillemots

A beautiful post on playing and animals, by Soule Mama

*Yes, Meerkats and Feasels are the same colour in my knitting world…

4 Responses to Niftyknits and our mascot for this season on The Hub!

  1. heather says:

    I love it when GoogleAlerts finds me something so fun! Great to meet you yesterday – looking at that photo of me I’m wondering what was in my tea? I look forward to hearing of the adventures the as-yet-unnamed meerkat gets up to! Keep warm 🙂

  2. Lara says:

    The meerkat is fab especially like the emo meerkat! Will look forward to listening to the Hub via Iplayer!

  3. Wendolene says:

    Fun! I love knitted critters. Especially when they have such endearing expressions like your meerkat’s!

  4. Such a fun read. Heather of Nifty Knits is a beloved member of an Etsy Seller’s Team called Etsy Treasury Team. We too are hosting some of her knitted meerkats – taking Etta (a girl) and Treasure (a boy) – on adventures around the world. It has been very fun to follow their adventures via Heathers’ blog and Facebook Fan page. A lovely introduction to people and places. Am looking forward to following the Hub mascot and learning who and what the Hub is all about. Bravo for taking on a meerkat of the Nifty Knit variety – they are awesome.

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