What's a meerkat?

It's hard to believe, but there are still people out there who don't yet know about the cute little critters that inspired my work.

So - for meerkat lovers old and new - here's Meerkat101!

My readers are all highly intelligent people, so I won't need to tell you that some of the meerkats pictured are real live animals, some are knitted by me.

My meerkat mania started when I discovered a television series called Meerkat Manor. There are lots of clips on youtube, but here's just one to give you a flavour.

In a "normal" episode there is no human interaction, so for a while I thought meerkats were much bigger than they really are. The commentary is very anthropomorphic which gets in the way slightly at times. I've been overheard muttering "But is she *REALLY* worried? Has she told you?"

They're very social little creatures, with designated "baby sitters" and "sentries" when they're out foraging. Meerkats make a tasty treat for predators, so they need to keep a sharp look out for carnivores both on the ground and in the air. I particularly like the pose they strike, standing tall and staring at the sky - so that's why many of my meerkats are gazing upwards.

Incidentally, I took these photos at Whipsnade zoo. There is a nearby gliding school, so gliders pass overhead frequently, causing the meerkats to make their "alarm calls"! One of the facts I picked up from Meerkat Manor is that there are distinct calls, so when the alarm is given by a sentry the mob knows instantly whether it's signalling "Danger from the air" or "Danger from the ground". ("Mob" is the collective noun for a group of meerkats)

So - there I was one day, watching Meerkat Manor, when suddenly I said to myself "I could knit one of those." I hunted in my stash for some suitable meerkat-coloured yarn, but there was only a small ball. And that, dear readers, is why my meerkats started out quite small. The first design, the little seated meerkat, is only 5 inches tall (13cm).

I knew I wanted them to stand up, but I just couldn't work out how at first. I slept on it - and woke up with the secret! 

After the standing meerkat I decided to make some larger versions...

More recently, I added some "all fours" meerkats. I am particularly pleased that their spines can flex, meerkats when running curve their spines up and down quite alarmingly!
Quite early in my meerkat-knitting-career someone suggested I put them in clothes - and I laughed, and said no! I still love my natural meerkats...

 ...but my creativity blossomed when I realised that actually, they look pretty cute dressed up. It also meant I had the perfect excuse to spend my days sitting on the sofa, knitting and watching Star Trek - it's research!

All meerkats shown (and many more!) available from my online stores. If the meerkat you're looking for isn't in the store of your choice, just ask. 

And as always - if you have an idea for a new meerkat, please let me know! Get in touch here