5 Minute Mouse Really Takes 5 Minutes

I got so much work done this month already, I decided to take a week to make cat toys to donate. I am using all of my cat toy patterns (Most of them free and found here) to use up a lot of this self-striping yarn I buy because it's cool... but I never get a chance to use it unless I knit plain old beanies. Let's face it... economic self-striping yarn doesn't really stripe unless you knit it or make something small.

Anyway, was showing a friend and she was like 'you spent all day on that!' No. This is my first day's worth of mice... 38 of them... took me a little over 3 hours. Or, in Netflix terms, 4 episodes of Cold Case. That's an average of 4.7 minute a mouse. Now, I didn't count the time it took me to get up, get another skein of yarn or go pee or  let the dog out... that sort of stuff happened when the show was paused, so not 3 solid hours, but definitely 4 Cold Cases (I'm on Season 3 now. Awesome show!)

So, that got me to thinking about how many people have commented on how long this pattern takes them:

"I wish I could make them i five minutes. Each takes more like 30 minutes."

"Took me maybe 10 minutes instead of 5 minutes as the pattern says."

"Made 3 in about 4 hours"

"Ok so nobody shout at me, I didn’t name this pattern, and yes it does take a little longer than 5 minutes to make this cute little mouse."

"They did take me closer to 15 minutes to make, although I was getting faster each time."

"This is cute and fast (took me 30minutes rather than 5!)"

"Took me more than five minutes to complete the whole thing, but my cat loves it!"

"Love this pattern, although it was more like 25 minutes, not 5."

"Well, it took many multiples of five to finish and is rather deformed, but not bad for a first project. "

"The fish took over half an hour whereas the mouse took 18.24 minutes. "

"I crochet slowly, so the 5-minute mouse took me 45 minutes. "

"It did take me 10 minutes but I got it done in time."

(To list a few)


This used to really irritate me.. because.. well, it's a free pattern, and no matter how long it takes you, you have a mouse in the end and didn't cost you anything to try, right? I even added this note to the RAVELRY page a long time ago:

Note from Designer: I get a LOT of emails, messages, comments, etc. about how this pattern took more than 5 minutes. It really is just a name to indicate ‘quick’ and not a promise, challenge, or judgment on crochet speed. You get a cat toy in the end no matter what.

It doesn't really bother me anymore. I kind of love it now when there's a new comment about it taking longer. In fact... I later named the fish '5 minute fish' just to be ridiculous. It actually takes about 7minutes to make. THIS IS NOT A TRICK. (haha)

But, yes, I do make them in under 5 minutes. And this is how:
1. I have all my materials ready to go. If I am using scraps or leftover skeins, I ball them first so there's no snagging and detangling ruining my pace. I have my crinkles cut and stacked and my stuffing in a ziploc with the catnip already mixed in.

2. I know the pattern by heart. If I haven't made them in a while, I do have to use it for the first mouse, but it's only 11 pattern lines long. Once is all it takes for me to remember. The ears are exactly 15 stitches and there is no top or bottom until you put the ears on, so you can't get them in the wrong place.

3. I don't use a stitch marker. Once I have 12 stitches (row 3), I pull the beginning tail through the last stitch and just leave it there until the mouse is done. I know this is the beginning/ending side. If you are a stitch off... it doesn't really matter. 

4. I clamp the mouse between my knees to braid the tail. I do exactly 20 cross-overs and then knot. That makes the perfect length.

5. All done, I use my hook to pull the yarn tails through to the end of the mouse. 

6. Cut all the ends and trim the tail the very last thing. The fewer times you need to look for your scissors, use them, and put them back down again the less time you are wasting. 


I have always wondered if other designers who have named things after TIME get the same sort of comments... so I looked a few up. Yes. Yes, they do. And I only looked at free patterns. None of them had nearly as many complaints as the Mouse has, but people do like to point out when they think you are wrong, free or not.

All in good fun, though. I hope you have given it a try, no matter how long it takes. Better yet, I hope you have a cat to enjoy it. Everyone needs a cat and lots of cats need homes!