KNITTERS are being encouraged to make mischievous mice for this year's Stroud Country Show.

Show chairman Edna Powell, proprietor of Cotswold Sewing Machines in Stroud, is hoping SNJ readers will help produce hundreds of woollen mice which will be sold as toys for cats to raise funds for Cats Protection.

Finished toys can be dropped into Edna's shop in Lansdown, Stroud or taken to the show, where they will be put on display.

Last year, knitters made more than 1,000 tank tops as part of an appeal and these were sent to hospitals in Gloucester, Liverpool, Portsmouth and Southampton to keep premature babies warm.

Stroud Country Show takes place on Saturday, July 21 at Stratford Park from 10.30am to 4.30pm. Entrance is free.

Expect all the usual attractions such as vintage vehicles, brass bands, a dog show, livestock competitions, trade and charity stalls, a beer tent and locally produced food.

For more information go to Stroud Country Show Knitting Pattern: Size: Approximately 10cm from nose to tail.

Materials: Small amount of DK yarn, pair each of 3.75mm and 4mm knitting needles, 3.75mm crochet hook (optional), washable polyester toy filling.

Tension: 22 sts and 30 rows to 10cm square over st-st using 4mm needles.

Abbreviations: cm - centimetres; cont - continue; inc - increase; k - knit; kfb - k into front and back of next st; p - purl; rem - remaining; RS - right side; skpo- sl 1, k1, passed slipped st over; st(s) - stitch(es); st-st stocking stitch; tog - together.

Knitting notes: * The mice are worked from nose to tail.

* To make the stripy mouse, work in st-st in alternating two row colour stripes; carry the yarn not in use up the side of the work rather than cutting and rejoining yearn for each colour change.

Body: With 4mm needles, cast on 7 sts, leaving a long yarn end for sewing up. K 1 row. P 1 row. Next row (RS) K2, kfb, kfb, k3. 9 sts. P1 row. Next row K3, kfb, kfb, k4. 11 sts. P1 row. Next row K4, kfb, kfb, k5. 13 sts. Cont in this way to inc 2 sts in the centre of every RS row until there are 31sts.

P1 row. K1row. Next row K1, (skpo) 7 times, k1, (k2tog) 7 times, K1. 17 sts.

P1 row. Next row K1 (skpo) 3 times, k3, (k2tog) 3 times, k1, 11 sts. P1 row.

Cut yarn, thread through rem sts, pull up and secure.

Ears (make two): With 3.75mm needles, cast on 3 sts. 1st row Kfb, k2. 4 sts. 2nd row Kfb, p3.

5 sts. 3rd row Kfb, k4. 6 sts. 4th row Kfb, p5. 7 sts. 5th row K. Cut yarn leaving a 10cm end, thread yarn through rem sts, pull up and secure to form the base of the ear.

Tail: With a crochet hook and leaving a long yarn end, work 24 chains. Thread yarn through the last chain to secure and sew through all 24 chain sts down to the start of the tail. Alternatively, plait three ends of yarn together for approximately 10cm for the tail, leaving a yarn end at the end to sew the tail onto the mouse.

To make up: Fold the mouse body in half lengthways and join seam, leaving a small gap in the middle. Stuff firmly and close the gap. Sew on the ears and the tail.

Wrap contrast coloured yarn several times around the nose of the mouse until it is completely covered. Knot a small piece of yarn above the nose and unravel to create whiskers. Embroider small stitches for the eyes.

When stuffing the mice you can add a little catnip. This gives off an herby smell and will encourage cats to play with the mice.