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Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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Fantasy Creatures – Love is Blossoming!

Another week, or maybe a wee bit longer, and another amigurumi project has been unfolding here. I thought I’d pick up right where I left off last time. Things have been bobbing along on a stream of creativity and lots of progress has been made. The last time I saw you was just as I was beginning to test a sweet little – well not so little as it turned out – Bobby the Dinocorn Pattern for the Fantasy Creatures book (still due out in August as far as I know). I used DK yarns for my version instead of 4 ply so she got a bit supersized in the process but that really only made her all the more cuddly. This is a pattern by Little Aqua Girl. She makes the cutest stuff so do be sure to check out her Instagram if you like this sort of thing!

Drake has been very excited about his new companion and can barely take his eyes off her, even if she is still only in bits.

Though I did manage to get some uninterrupted crochet done by sneaking out to the garden with a cheeky glass of red after Drake’s bedtime. Loving all this evening sun we’ve been blessed with lately.

There is nothing quite as lovely as sitting peacefully in the dappled shade, playing about with pretty colours and counting down the pieces until they are all present and correct and ready to be sewn together.

Minnie joined me later when I got out a blanket. Damp grass is OK for the kitties but a layer of warm crochet is always so much better!

When Drake woke up from his sleep and tumbled downstairs the next morning I had my adoring big eyed audience back. He is just as fascinated with watching Bobby spring to life today as he was yesterday and I actually couldn’t get rid of him as you’ll see from the photos! So I put Drake to good use, holding all my notions and essential kit and asked him not to ask too many questions while I was counting rounds and stitches.

I did get persuaded into taking a photo of Drake and his new friend even though she was only at the halfway stage by now. We pinned and balanced a few pieces together and snapped away. It’s always good to take a break from crocheting and see how things are coming along every now and again. Yep, she’s looking good!

Not too much later and Bobby was really beginning to take shape. The unicorn horn and those floppy ears are just too cute and really start to bring her to life.

But as soon as as the final touch of pretty blossoms were sewn to Bobby’s head I knew that love was going to be blossoming between them. They have an unmistakable look of excitement on their little faces! This is going to be an enduring friendship, I can feel it 🙂

Retiring to the swinging chair in the garden they got settled down and chatted away in the spring sunshine.

It seems these elusive fantasy creatures have a lot to talk about once they get together. I suppose being such a rarity it’s always lovely to meet another of your kind, or at least of a similar kind.

Ah! The look of love!

I can’t wait to meet the other characters from the book and can only hope they all get on as well as these two. I have a feeling they will and that I will probably be making a few more for my own collection once my copy of the book arrives. Well, we all need a little escapism every now and again. Don’t you agree?

I’ll be immersing myself in a bit more escapism soon with some new fantasy/monster designs and I’ll have an update on progress of the Amigurumi Monsters 2 book co-starring Timothy and Tabitha – the Tippy Toe Monsters.

Here’s a sneak peek of them taking a sneak peek at you.

There’s also news of a surprise opportunity for some of my old favorites, Spotty, Lotty and Dotty. No wonder they look so excited waving their Jazz hands waving around!

Come back soon and the monster’s and I will be sure to tell all.


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Giles the Giraffe Takes to the Road

With a long road trip and a mixed bag of bad weather to contend with I’ve had plenty of opportunity to get out my hook and start creating again. My latest pattern is for this cheeky lopsided smiled giraffe whom I’ve called Giles.

It’s been a while since I worked on a design that wasn’t for a book or a magazine so it felt really refreshing to do something ‘just for me’ for a change. No deadlines, no working to commission, no liaising. Don’t get me wrong, I thrive on all of that too, but sometimes it’s nice to take it all down a notch and just create on an impulse exactly what I feel like making.

Giles made a super little travelling companion on a very slow and laborious trip Up North to visit relatives. He was so excited to be packed away ready for his first journey out of the house. He does look rather pleased at the prospect of a great adventure!

We headed downstairs to the kitchen and a step closer to beginning our journey…

…then out of the front door, into the car and onto the motorway. Woohoo! Hurrah!

Giles loved this bit the very best of all. Turns out he’s a giraffe with a need for speed. Yes, this little guy’s a bit of a thrill seeker! I was a teensy bit excited myself as this was my first trip in our new car. Our poor old Toyota Estima had given up for good during the heavy snows and icy temperatures of a few weeks ago. Now we have a Nissan Elgrand with six captain chair style seats and all the space I could possibly need for my endless yarny clutter.

Unfortunately the amount of road works that spring up everywhere these days makes driving a bit of a chore and it wasn’t long before the traffic ground to a halt and then proceeded to crawl along at a snails’s pace.

Now you know that feeling when sometimes amigurumi making, – and particularly something like pattern testing – is requesting more concentration of you than you think you can give? Well that’s where I was at for the first hour of the journey. I blame it on the early start but my brain would only cope with this simple ultra-repetitive four line repeat of this scarf. I’d already memorized the pattern before the journey began so it was the perfect busy hands project for when by head was in cruise mode.

Our visit was fun. Lots of gossip was caught up with and fine pub food was consumed. On the way back I decided to try out sitting in the back (or rather the middle) of the car. I made myself a comfy work area, got settled in a squishy leather chair and felt very decadent while I was at it. I think I could get used to this. Giles looks like he was born for this sort of luxury too and has made himself quite at home on the seat next to me! Oh and I did try to put a seat belt on him but he’s a touch on the tiny side and it wouldn’t fit. Having never seen a booster seat for 14 inch tall giraffes I made him promise to sit still, tucked safely behind the yarn, or he would be back in the rucksack until we got home. With that threat hanging over him he was as good as gold and sat quietly, watching intently as a pink and a blue giraffe began to take shape.

Once we arrived back the sun was still out and after more than our fair share of snow and rain and wind recently it seemed too good an opportunity to miss so we headed for the garden. Rolling out a picnic rug and unpacking my bag I carried on with pattern testing. I’m still getting used to the fact that I have a lawn to play on this summer and oh boy am I loving it! So much nicer than the fence to fence patio area that was down before.

The cats love the lawn too. What a wonderful place to sit and watch the birds.

It wasn’t long before Minnie came to stake a claim on the rug and the crochet by firmly plonking herself down on both.

Oh well. I was just about crocheted out for the day at that point anyway. lots of progress on Pinky and Bluey had been made.

Just to be extra sure there were no glaring errors in the pattern I went through it yet again in the studio the next day and not too long after I am now the proud owner of not one, not two…

blue-and-pink-giraffes

…not three…

three-giraffes

…but four sweetly smiling giraffes.

What a bunch of cuties, and perfect for my craft stall!

If you want to have a go at making one the pattern is available from any of my online shops or, if you live in or near Worcester, come visit me at the Worcester Show in Gheluvelt Park on the 12th August and meet Giles the Giraffe in person. I’d love to see you there!

In the meantime I will be busy making lots more amigurumi and a few more scarves to stock up my stall as well as perfecting my new pattern for a pair of Tippy Toed monsters Called Timothy and Tabitha who will be heading over to Belgium to feature in a second volume of Amigurumi Monsters published by Meteoor Books over at AmigurumiPatterns.net.

I’m also testing a super cute Bobby the Dinocorn pattern by Little Aqua Girl for the fantasy creatures themed book due out in August. This dinocorn will be one of Drake the Dragons book fellows and I cant wait to see how she turns out. And neither can Drake who is too excited to keep out of the project basket.

Things are busy around here, that’s for sure, but that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it!


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Looping the Loops

All this cold weather, unseasonable snow and bitingly cold winds (can it really be springtime?) have made me yearn for a project that encourages me to spend any spare time comfortably embedded in the house, out of harms way from the vagaries that the British weather throws at us.

And as pretty as such scenes are for an hour or two on a brisk walk through the park or during a snowman making session in the back garden there really is nothing as blissful to me as a cosy indoor nook, and a lapful of yarn.

Looking around my studio I had no shortage of sadly neglected projects that I could have been getting on with. However, not being the kind of person to let an out of control work in progress pile get in the way I walked the path I tread most often and decided to start a brand new project instead. Well, we’ve all been there and done that many more times than is decent or proper, haven’t we?

Inspired by the sumptuous look of the loop stitch cushion cover I made for my bed a few years ago I embarked on another circular project that has been on my mind since buying a bargain basement footstool a while back.

It was a very cheap and cheerful £3 and is nice and sturdy with lovely wooden legs but a black and white cotton fabric top that’s not really my style.

Replacing the monochrome stripes with gorgeous spirals of bright yarn was way more my thing and I fancied that the loopstitch would be perfect for adding a little grooviness and a soft and squishy haven under my tired feet every time I had the urge to put them up.

From little metaphorical acorns…

…do loopy metaphorical oak trees grow.

I suppose it’s more of a sapling at this stage but with all that cold weather keeping me home it was just a case of round and round in circles until it started to take shape.

In the end though I decided the first circle wasn’t quite turning out the way I wanted. The colours were very pretty but the total randomness wasn’t really doing it for me so I stopped right here…

…and started all over again. I grouped similar colours together in bands this time which gave them much more impact. I also switched hook sizes up from a 3 mm to a 4 mm this time so that the fabric would have more elasticity when stretching it over the stool. This also had the benefit of making the whole thing grow a little faster and the looser tension was much easier on my hands.

Sadly I couldn’t stay tucked up forever, no matter how cold the weather was out there in the big wide world so eventually it was time to head outdoors and take a train trip to visit a friend and call in on a yarn shop on the way to bolster supplies. I packed up all the yarn for my project very conveniently inside the work itself and popped in a few tools of the trade.

No more snow left on the station by now but an icy chill on Platform One meant I very nearly didn’t get my crochet out… though in the end I couldn’t resist!

With a quarter of an hour to while away I managed a few loops huddled on the bench. The going was slow as my fingers were a bit reluctant to make the necessary movements in such low temperatures but I persevered. Not a great amount of progress was made but it was perfect for keeping my lap warm!

When the train arrived I had the special thrill of managing to find a whole four seater table area all to myself. Seems there weren’t too many other travelers braving sub zero temperatures today.

I crocheted another round in the comfort of the warm and nearly empty train but this was only a short journey so it was soon time to disembark. Loop stitches are not as quick as regular stitches but the rhythmic repetition is just as relaxing as any round of single crochets. I had meant to do a bit more once I arrived at my friend’s flat but in the end we were so busy chatting and catching up that I didn’t even get it out of my bag.

Plenty of time to get stuck in again once I was home and all tucked up in my pyjamas. Crocheting in bed definitely beats crocheting on a windy railway station any day.

Can you tell that Pogo agrees? He can be found snoozing away on the blankets for at least 70% of his time. He makes me think of of ‘Bagpuss, oh, Bagpuss Oh, fat, furry cat puss, wake up and look at this thing that I bring’. Except he’s not pink and stripy but he is a bit tubby and very sleepy.

Rubick prefers to get involved with the yarn rather than take a nap.

Oh, the energy of youth! It would be a brave person who tries to winkle a ball of yarn from underneath this tuxedo firecracker!

Eventually I do sneak the balls of yarn back one by one and some time later I have actually finished all the loop stitch rounds. Just the ends to knot together and trim at this point. It feels like such a luxury and somehow a bit of a cheat not to have to darn them in but no-ones going to be seeing this side of the cover once it’s in place. Hurrah!

I finished off the part that would gather underneath with a round of single crochet followed by a round of [1 sc, 1 ch, skip 1 sc] repeated to the end to make a round of small eyelets. A final round of sc after that and it was finished. I fashioned a thin cord made of 200 ch and threaded that in and out of the eyelets to pull everything tight and tied in a bow to secure the whole thing in place.

In future I will up the hook size slightly to make the single crochets a bit looser as they were considerably tighter than the loop stitches and needed a bit of initial stretching to get these final rounds over the top of the footstool. But I wrestled it on in the end and am really pleased with the outcome.

It’s fun and vibrant and is going to cheer my tired old feet and grey soaked winter eyes up no end.

Now it has pride of place in my crochet corner.

I’m gradually yarn bombing everything I can find in here. All the colourful cushions are a great tonic when the clouds just keep on rolling in. They can dump shovelfuls of snow or bucketfuls of rain on the other side of the window but I shall mostly be found crocheting in here until things warm up a bit out there. The yellow blooms on the Forsythia in the garden are telling me that spring has sprung but until the thermometer raises itself a few degrees in agreement I’m staying in as much as possible!


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Zoomigurumi 7

It’s that Zoomigurumi time of year again and now we are all the way up to number seven and if you love to crochet you might well find yourself in seventh heaven once you get your hands on a copy!

I have two designs in this volume. A clucky chicken called Cheryl and a fat cheeked hamster called Hamish and I’ve been so excited to see the finished book!

There are 13 other amigurumi buddies keeping Cheryl and Hamish company.

Are you ready for cuteness overload?! Well here goes…

So crochet hooks at the ready, which one are you going to be making first?

I’ve already made my first one (not including Hamish and Cheryl, of course) when I helped test Kristi Tullus’s Xander the Zebra pattern.

As I was doing this around Christmas time I opted for candy cane colours for my version. Kristi’s impeccably made original is in the middle. When I get me some leisure time I’m going to be having a go at a few more of the different characters from the book.

Designing Hamish was super fun. I especially liked working out how to make him a pair of cheek pouches roomy enough to keep him happy. He was going to have to have big ones because he’s a greedy little scamp and I knew they’d be brimming full of spare snacks most of the time.

It’s no trouble at all getting hamsters to eat their five a day. Strawberries, blueberries, carrots – it’s all good as far as a Hamish and his friends are concerned.

hamster-row

They can’t quite keep their beady eyes off the cake though.

Well, a little treat every now and again won’t do any harm. Eat up hammies, I think you suit those tubby tummies just as well as those chubby cheeks, and you never know when a bout of hibernation will be necessary. You’ll need those fat stores then!

The photo shoot for the book evidently went very well this time.

I wasn’t there, as this happens at the publishers in Belgium, but I can see that both Hamish and Cheryl behaved beautifully and struck all the poses that the photographer wanted.

Cheryl is very proud of her nest full of eggs and her smartly groomed feathers so didn’t need to be asked twice when it came to showing off her future offspring or strutting her stuff in a rather self-satisfied, perfectly preened manner.

She’s a very chatty chicken and clucks and squawks all day long. You can usually hear a cacophony of ‘tasty corn’, ‘hands off my eggs’ and ‘what fine feathers I’ve got’ – bouncing around the hen house in ear-splitting chicken speak. But be warned! When she gets together with her chooky chums things can reach a whole new level on the noise-o-meter.

There’s lots of fun to be had out of chicken coop gossip!

two-chickens-2

And I hope you’ll agree there’s lots of fun to be had out of Zoomigurumi 7 too.

If you order your paperback copy here  you’ll be able to download the PDF version straight away, so no annoying wait for the postman before you can get crocheting. And if you’re anywhere near as impatient as me that can only be a good thing!

🙂 Wishing you many hours of happy Zoomigurumi 7 menagerie making 🙂

 


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Cyrus the Cyclops

There’s been a population explosion of colourful copies of Cyrus the Cyclops in my studio over the past week. Something of a monster baby boom in fact.

I absolutely loved making these. This was one of those patterns that really flowed and came to fruit with hardly any hitches at all. I had a definite idea in my head, which I doodled down in my trusty graph paper notebook. I’ve been buying loads of these from Tiger every time I find them in stock. I Love a good graph paper notebook as they’re perfect for scribbling columns of pattern formulating numbers in but they can be so difficult to find here in the UK. I think it’s more of a continental thing really, so hooray for Tiger!

This pattern just screamed out to be worked in all sorts of bright and cheery monster colours and before I knew it I had another couple of cyclopes hanging around on my desk, admiring their pen and ink portraits. And that wasn’t to be the last of them either.

The weather has been soooo cold around here lately that it’s been a case of donning slipper boots, fingerless mitts, woolly scarves and several layers of leggings and jumpers to keep my body temperature up while I’m spending such a lot of time being perfectly stationary apart from the minor waggling of a crochet hook and the occasional reaching over to the coffee table to grab a pair of scissors or a new ball of yarn. Even with the central heating ticking away in the background it’s difficult to eliminate drafts and cold spots in this creaky old Victorian house, and I’m a terrible one for feeling the cold anyway.

Thankfully I often have the additional warmth supplied by the close proximity of the cats who treat me like a human hot water bottle whenever the temperatures plummet.

What snuggly winter bliss! Yes, my lap is under there somewhere, but it just got a bit trickier to reach for those scissors!

mojo-and-me

Cyrus is one of those sweet and simple patterns that really shouldn’t have taken me too long to write. Well, those of you who know me know that once I start crocheting anything that I love I find it really hard to know when to stop. The truth is I just cant wait to see what the next one will look like with all his minor variations of stripes and colours. As soon as one was off the hook I found I’d picked up another ball of yarn and was making 6 sc into the second ch from the hook and starting all over again!

At least I know the pattern has been tested to within an inch of its life! I’m also intending to do a few more fairs and events this year so these will come in handy as future stock for the craft circuit rounds. I’m certainly not going to have to worry about an under-stocked stall if I carry on at this rate.

A tray full of monsters makes the perfect cat bed… apparently. Though I can think of comfier looking places myself. I think the kitties just like to get right in the way, especially if they haven’t been petted for a while due to their owners obsessive obsession with her new designs. Tut tut.

Much as I love the therapeutic crocheting of round after round of bright spirals there is always the dreaded sewing up to be done. It was somewhere around this point in time that I looked with dismay at all those spidery yarn ends and wondered, not for the first time, why oh why didn’t I deal with them as I went along!

My monster pencil case seems to share my open mouthed horror at the task ahead. Or is he just smirking at my idiocy?

A good few hours, and rather a lot of episodes of Bagpuss later (I stumbled upon the entire two series on Amazon Prime and couldn’t resist a trip down memory lane!) all my monsters were fully assembled and fidgeting about waiting to cause a bit of monster mayhem.

Can you guess their favorite game? It’s ‘I Spy With My Little Eye’. Although there is actually nothing very little about each of their eyes in proportion to their bodies, they do like the fact that I Spy is always played with reference to just the one eye, of which they are obviously very proud owners.

When I was little I always used to wonder why it was only the one eye we spied with but now I think maybe the Cyclops invented the game. This lot took to it like it was in their genes so you never know, it could be the truth.

The photo shoot was fun as these guys and gals are always smiling and love to strut their stuff in the bright lights.

They’re also very good at balancing (with the help of a strategically placed pin or two).

After all that it was back to the desk and the computer to get them their little spot in the listings limelight.

You can find the pattern in any of my online shops but if you like buying patterns in a bundle with the yarns to make them then check out my LoveCrochet shop where I have recently spent many hours updating all my listings to include either the exact yarn colours or those that are the closest match – depending on the availability of their yarn stock- to those I used in my patterns. It’s not strictly necessary for any of my designs but if you like to get the whole lot together and maybe aren’t so confident at substituting your own yarn then this might be something to consider.

Making myself do this for most of my pattern collection has made me much more organised when it comes to cataloging all the various yarns that I use. Even if you don’t get the bundle from LoveCrafts and want some advice on the best yarns to use for any particular pattern of mine just give me a shout. I have notes on nearly all my yarn choices now and I’m always happy to help 🙂

Well, it’s time to say goodbye from me and my wonderfully woolly wide eyed friends.

 

This time they’re off to play ‘Bye Bye With My Little Eye’ which is a new game we invented where all the mischievous monsters get to take a long, restful nap while I get on with some other work!

And while they are quietly drifting off to a single lullab’eye’ I’m off to finish testing Drake the Dragon’s pattern for the upcoming Fantasy Creatures book.

We’re having so much snow here at the moment that I shall be glad of a few more fire breathing dragons to help keep those drafty old Victorian House chills at bay.

Keep warm and wonderful, wherever you are!

Cyrus the Cyclops Pattern can be found on * Etsy  * Ravelry  * LoveCrochet *


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Grab a Coffee and Let’s Catch Up!

Oh my goodness. Where have the last few months gone?! Silly question, really. They have gone the way of every yesterday, and every last weekend and every yesteryear and vanished into the past. I think that time just goes by even faster the busier you are, and I have been rather busy recently.

I have a lot to show you now that I have eventually managed to sit my self down, coffee to the left, mouse to the right and keyboard stuck in the middle with me… Now I finally find myself eager to get this catch up post out of the way so that I feel freer to get back into a nicely organised blog writing routine like I used to!

So here goes… Picking up where I left off, Drake the Dragon came 5th overall in the Fantasy Creatures amigurumi competition. Yay for Drake and a big thank you to all who voted! There were over 700 entries in the end so I’m very pleased with that result.

So pleased, in fact, that I made Drake a big marshmallow on a stick for toasting with his nose flames as a reward for doing so well. Other smiley news is that there is going to be a fantasy creatures amigurumi book inspired by the competition and Drake will be featuring in it alongside 14 other magical and quirky designs (I’ve had a sneak preview of his book-fellows and I can report that they are all 100% cute!). That does mean, however, that I won’t be publishing his pattern in my online shops until after the book release but I’ll keep you all informed about release dates as and when they come to light.

Shortly after my last post the Halloween decorations came down. I like to keep them up until the Christmas ones come out to play. The winter evenings are so dark and dull, my twinkly fairy lights, plethora of pumpkins and abundance of warm autumnal colours help keep me cheerful through the worst of it.

And so Pumpkin Patch People were replaced with the newly written up pattern for the Christmas Elf Quartet (adapted from a design I made for a magazine a couple of years ago – some of you may recognize it). I tried several colourways until I found my perfect combination.

Love these lime and bottle greens together with the red and the silver grey.

And very good were they at helping with the Christmas decorations this year!

Tah-dah! Job done!

They also featured as star attractions on my mantelpiece.

Christmas was fabulous. especially now two of the boys have girlfriends. The feminine element meant that thoughtful gift wrapping and giving was raised to a whole new level and it was lovely to have some girly company over the holidays too. My boys are all fabulous human beings, but they don’t do Christmas like the girls do Christmas!

Rubick enjoyed helping, or getting in the way, which ever way you prefer to look at it.

Too cute!

Though he is a bit of a liability this one. Not long after these photos were taken he came back from one of his garden hopping jaunts with a massive gaping cut in his side. I’ll spare you the photos of his untreated wound but, several visits to the vets and hundred pounds later he was doing quite a good Frankenstein’s Monster impression with eight stitches and a lovely bald patch to show for it all.

By the way, this is what happens when I quickly sneak out of bed in the early morning to make a cup of tea,. Rubick has grabbed the warm spot with a look of ‘finder’s keepers, losers weepers’. Oh well, never one to argue with the cats I just made an early start that day and drank my tea in the studio instead!

It snowed a couple of times over the holidays. The first time it melted away again almost as soon as it had landed. Mojo was fascinated with God’s bad dandruff day!

Then a little while later it snowed a lot…

About six inches of the lightest fluffiest snow I’ve seen for a few years.

I absolutely had to go and make a snowman who wasn’t made of yarn for a change.

I couldn’t get the boys motivated to come and help. I think they’re probably way to old at 19 and 20 years to get overly excited about a bit of snow (not sure what happened to me then!). So I built him on my own. He was a bit rushed as I could only find a single glove with fingers in it due to my passion for fingerless mitts, of which I have many, all lovingly hand knitted by myself, but all completely useless for making anything out of snow. So the other hand was wrapped in a sock which did nothing to keep out the icy wetness. That’s my excuse for why my real snowman looks a bit wonky and not very well finished. I didn’t want to risk not being able to crochet due to frostbite!

In the run up to Christmas I began working on some new Christmas gift bags.

With all the fairy lights twinkling and scented candles lit I made the most of the cosy evenings to crochet a few rows whenever the busy pre-Christmas schedule would allow.

I had lots of fun crocheting with this beautiful tinsel yarn by King Cole.

But alas, after the elves, I didn’t quite manage to squeak out any new festive patterns before Christmas itself was upon us. But the character bags are still a work in progress and will most definitely be up and ready long before this year’s festive season begins!

For now though I’m working on some new stuff that has nothing to do with the holidays. A New Year (well, not quite anymore!) and a new start.

This is another design I made for the same magazine as the elves. I was originally going to call him Beginner’s Bear as he is so quick and easy to crochet. If you have four hours to spare you can make one of these from beginning to end and, with just a single crochet stitch and some very simple shaping to handle, he really is a doddle. In fact, if you are a reasonably fast crocheter and know what you are doing then this bear can even be made in around three hours. Almost instant gratification!

I’ve used up lots of scraps and small leftover balls of yarn from previous projects for these bears so there are some small spaces opening up in my stash baskets, ready to be filled with more almost immediately, I’ve no doubt!

I decided in the end to call the finished bear Bobbin, so it can be a girl or a boy and s/he is my first fully finished pattern of 2018.

As late to the party as we are, myself and the new bears on the block would like to wish you all a tremendously wonderful new year ahead!

Now I am finally back into the swing of pattern writing I have plenty more up my sleeve.

This is the sort of thing cluttering up my desk this week. Yes, some more monsters are on the way. Oh, I get to make more eyeballs! What joy – though I’ve also spent a small fortune on safety eyes again.

I’ll be making a blog post about these new creations next. Now I’ve finally caught up with myself I’m going to try very hard not to let things slip so far behind again. Well, only time will tell if I manage it and with the rate of knots time seems to be slipping by I’m going to have to try very hard indeed!

Thanks for reading, and see you all again… soon!


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Mother of Dragons

Well the best laid plans… you probably know the rest! To sum it up, I just don’t seem to get as much crochet done as I would like at the moment but in between the distractions of the everyday I have managed to breathe life into a rather cuddly dragon for a fantasy creature themed competition being hosted at AmigurumiPatterns.net. I’ve had a yearning to make a dragon for a while and as there is nothing quite like a challenge and a deadline for focusing the mind so I thought I’d grab this opportunity and set my self to the task.

And Ta-dah! A pensive golden-eyed, frilly-winged, spiky-spined fella called Drake.

I started with few scrappy drawings, hastily scribbled down. I’m always in a mad rush to cut straight to the hook and yarn stage when I have a new idea but these rough sketches help to give me an idea of the amount of different pieces I’ll need to create the image sitting pretty in my head.

Seated or standing was the main question at this point.

In the end I plumped for seated as I preferred the way this would look from different angles.

There are quite a few separate components to this design but they sew together really easily. This dragon has a very chunky thing going on so it’s not as fiddly to assemble as it may look. There is a place for everything and when everything is sewn in place according to the pattern instructions it’s pretty much foolproof!

It really didn’t take too long before he was fully assembled and ready for a photoshoot.

It actually took longer to get the first photoshoot done as Minnie refused to move from the warmth of the bright lights and with this recent cold weather snap I can’t say I blame her! She did eventually get up and wander off, probably in search of food and I  began clicking away with camera.

Now for a big smile 😀 Say ‘Cheese’ Drake 😀 (Do dragons even eat cheese I wonder?)

Drake’s a doddle to photograph and has a couple of good sides he wanted to show off for you all.

As a result I took quite a few snaps.

Including his magnificent rear view. When it come to dragons I like big butts and I cannot lie…

Of course one Dragon, or one of anything I ever crochet, is never enough so I got busy trying out another colour combination to keep things lively as I ran through the pattern again to test for mistakes.

I decided on blue eyes and a lilac dragon this time.

Another day, another mound of dragon bits ready to morph into another wooly pal.

Purple Drake and Green Drake enjoy a chin wag about dragonny things like what’s the best way to keep a fire stoked in the belly, or how to keep those wings in tip top condition.

I’m loving the effect of the big glass eyes on the first two but I’m well aware that not everyone will have these lovely shiny peepers in their stash and may not care to shell out on a pair either so I made a dragon with woolen eyes too. I feel this one needs a bit of tweaking yet but the green ring sets off the black plastic safety eyes very nicely.

Oh and I love these colours!

Now that I have three fire breathing babies I have officially named myself ‘Mother of Dragons’ just like Daenerys Targaryen. Well maybe not ‘just like’. That might be pushing things a bit far! For a start no-one calls me Khaleesi and thankfully I didn’t have to personally hatch my babies in a roasting funeral pyre. I much prefer the crochet method for that. But I’m proud to say my own brood are not quite as unruly as Daenearys’s overgrown hatchlings. In fact they’re extremely tame by comparison but that’s the way I prefer them, for sure!

If you fancy spending a little time away from the hassles of the everyday world and like the idea of getting lost in a wonderfully fantastical alternative universe where anything is possible and all sorts of mystical and magical creatures co-exist in perfect harmony then you can check out the other entries here and get busy voting for your favorites. You’ll be spoilt for choice between all the fairies, mermaids, unicorns, yetis, sprites, dragons and much, much more!

Voting will begin on December 1st and end on December 8th 2017. Good luck to all who entered. It’s going to be a tough contest this time, but may the best creature win!


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Tommy and Tammy Ami-Along

As you may or may not know by now, the lovely and inventive people at AmigurumiPatterns.net have been running various monthly Ami-Alongs since July.

Each month a different designer gets to take the spotlight with a brand new design of their own devising. Well, maybe you guessed what I’m about to say? Yep, this month it’s my turn! I was thrilled to be asked to come up with a new character especially for this event and to be a part of such a fun, community adventure. I soon got my thinking cap on and before I knew it Tommy and Tammy, the tortoise twins, were born.

When I see these pictures they make me think of first graders setting off to school for the first time with their new hats and matching rucksacks.

The pattern will be available for the next month (until November 13th 2017) by joining the ami-along. Participants will also have access to the forum where you can get involved posting pictures of your work, asking me random questions or simply chatting to each other about favorite yarns, tips and techniques. There are also some great prizes on offer in categories such as ‘best finished character’ and ‘most original/interesting question’ (chosen by me at the end of the ami-along), plus more mystery completions that will be revealed as the month goes on.

If you like the idea of participating you can find out more details over at the Ami-Along intro page. I do hope you’ll join us! I’ve seen one familiar face over there already (hello Katy!) and would love to find out how you all get on making your own little torties.

At around 6″ (10 cm) tall, my tortoises work up fairly quickly, so no huge time commitment is necessary, but of course you can spend the entire month making a whole bunch of them if you like.

I really enjoyed playing around with different colour combinations during the design and testing phases.

These are my favorites, but the possibilities are endless.

I hope you don’t think it rude of them to turn their backs on you but they’re very keen to show off their fancy shells.

If you don’t have the time this month you could always join in and make a tiny tortoise. This is part of the same pattern and are Tommy and Tammy’s favorite cuddly toys to take along on their adventures.

Contrary to a tortoise’s usual slow motion nature these little palm sized sweeties fly off the hook at great speeds. I absolutely had to make a set in an entire rainbow of colours. A great little stash buster for using up all those odds and ends of yarn I know you’ve all got lying around!

Snugged up in my comfy arm chair the first set of twins were busily hooked into existence…

…followed closely by their diminutive friends. I really can never make just one of anything. Or even only two or three.

These minigurumis were so satisfying to make, and once one sweet shell was finished I couldn’t wait to pick up another scrap of yarn and make another…and another…

…and another, etc. etc.

I found out that a group of tortoises is called a ‘creep’. I get the idea behind the choice of terminology but somehow it doesn’t really seem to do them justice. Tortoises are mostly solitary anyway but Tommy, Tammy and the toy tortoises would beg to differ there. They love company and are usually found hanging around together – and it’s not at all creepy!

In fact this pair are quite inseparable and with a warm hat, a cosy shell and their favorite toy tortoises in tow, Tommy and Tammy often head off on grand adventures, camping out for days at a time. Due to their slow pace they never manage to get very far, but they’re more than content to plod along. They know that a happy life isn’t about rushing to your destination, but more about enjoying the journey.

When the sun shines and the weather is warm enough they look pretty cute without their hats too.

Nothing wrong with a bald head, as hubby insists on telling me. To be honest, I have to agree it suits him as much as it suits the tortoises!

Well, that’s all for now folks. Hope to see you later for some tortoise related tittle tattle over on the forums!


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Too Many Monsters?

Here’s a ponderous question for you. How many monsters are too many monsters?

During the past few months I haven’t been able to get enough of these brightly boggle eyed beasties and as a result I’ve created two more fully finished monster patterns and made a lot more others besides.

Firstly I finished a pattern started nearly a year ago (I know – shocking how time flies!) This pattern started out as a pair of three eyed monsters originally called Lotty and Dotty.

They were one of my entries in the AmigurumiPatterns.com design contest last October. They thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the contest and aren’t at all jealous of Jeepers and Creepers for making it into the Monster Amigurumi book. However they did go on the back burner for a bit, but every monster has his day and they have finally emerged into the footlights and now have their own pattern in my Ravelry shop.

I’m often finding it difficult to keep up with myself these days but I’ve made a big effort to finish off several archived projects recently.

The most sensible thing to do was to work on a couple of monster designs at the same time, while I was in a monster mood. I tweaked Lotty and Dotty’s pattern notes, hastily scribbled into my notebook so long ago, and made them into three different characters.

Spotty is the closest relative of the original pair. His three eyes probably give that fact away.

To shake things up a bit I gave the new version of Lotty two eyes.

And the new Dotty now has one eye.

All together they make one big, happy family of proudly pimpled monsters. They get soooo excited every time it rains eyeballs. I should reckon there’s a few good games of marbles to be had with that downpour!

My favorite part of these crazy creatures? It’s gotta be those Jazz Hands!

While I was in the mood for a marathon eyeball making spree I finished off another similar design. I called these Stalk Eyed Monsters.

Love how they have no qualms at all about staging a mass invasion of my desk!

They’ve even weedled their way onto my computer screen.

For reasons which are quite obvious the green one is called Trevor the Treble Eyed.

Double Eyed Dorothy, most unsurprisingly has two eyes… Yes, the clues are in the names here folks.

Poor old Single Eyed Samuel has to make do with just the one eye, but what he lacks in depth perception he more than makes up for in being able to spy over tall walls and fences.

There’s no getting away from that feeling of being watched around here. Monsters or cats, there’s always a beady eye or two (or three, or four, or five, or a squillion…) pointing in my general direction.

While I’m tucked up in my cosy arm chair, making a bucket load of eyeballs…

…monsters peek out from everywhere and the cats take their turns keeping me company.

But who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by these mischievous little creatures, either the furry or the woolly kind.

After finishing the Stalk Eyed Monsters I had a rummage through my 4 ply yarn stash and decided to have a go at downsizing them. Picking up a 2 mm hook I set to the task.

Very soon, Trevor, Dorothy and Samuel had a little brother or sister to keep them company. The little ones really look up to their older siblings.

As well as making my own designs I couldn’t resist creating a family of Toby the Triclopses by Noah of Younique Crafts, another crazy creature featured in the Amigurumi Monsters book. I’ve been making them mainly on car journeys when it’s often easier to indulge myself by following someone else’s pattern instead of writing a new one of my own.

Working up these big, fat eyeballs always puts a smile on my face and now I have three three eyed Tobys. As well as being bookfellows with Jeepers and Creepers they also like hiding out with them under the table in my bedroom, right next to the radiator.

They had better enjoy it while they can because as soon as the weather gets colder they’ll be fighting the cats for that spot!

These are just some of the monsters that I’ve crocheted so far this year.

So back to the original question of how many monsters is too many monsters? I’m still not sure but I think I may be getting close here!

I’m now officially taking a break from creating and crocheting these oddball beasties for a while. I have other monster designs in the pipeline, hiding out between the pages of my sketchbook, but I really need to concentrate on other projects for a while now.

I’ll be announcing some news on a new pattern which will be the focus of the next Ami-Along organised by AmigurumiPatterns starting on the 9th of October 2017. If you look carefully you may be able to spot a sneak peak of a small part of it in one of the photos in this blog post. I can’t wait to share more news about that with you all once things get underway!


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Battersea Cats and Dogs Home

A few months ago the team at lovecrochet.com got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested in designing a bespoke charity pattern in aid of Battersea Cats & Dogs home. Obviously, as a cat fanatic with rescue kitties of my own, this cause is very close to my heart so it was an easy decision to say yes straight away.

I was asked to base my design on a real life cat called Hazel who came to Battersea Cats & Dogs Home after a road traffic accident where she sadly lost one of her eyes. The vets also found that she was now blind in her other eye as the accident had damaged the remaining optic nerve. So sad, I know, though the good news is that she has since been adopted as an indoor-only cat and has settled in really well. I’m told her new owner, Natalie, is amazed at how playful and loving she is.

After some doodling and thinking and studying of Hazel’s photos I came up with a design for a seated cat that captured her likeness as close as the yarn and hook would allow without having to over complicate the pattern. I think she turned out pretty cute!

It didn’t take too long to crochet her a friend who we then called Walnut. Were not sure if Walnut only has one eye or if this is just a cheeky wink going on!

I made a slight modification to the stripes on the face for the second one and this got me thinking how easy it would be to make tweaks to the colour changes in the pattern to create all sorts of different cats.

Here’s one I made to keep Rubick company.

Rubick is still patiently trying to ingratiate himself with the other cats and I think his charm offensive is beginning to pay off though the oldies are still inclined to give him a bop on the nose if he oversteps the mark and muscles in on their space a bit too much.

Three out of four cats sleeping peacefully on the same bed is a big achievement around here!

I decided to make a few more cats and soon crocheted up a white one called Snowball and a silver tabby called Greystoke.

Unlike the real thing, Rubick’s Mini-me and the other crocheted kitties don’t mind how close he gets and are quite happy to share the cat tower with him.

Minnie already looks a bit like Hazel so no need to make a double for her…

Though I think Minnie has a bit of an attitude problem regarding her doppelganger!

Who’s going to be the first one to pounce on the catnip mouse?

Though their markings may be quite different, the one thing they all have in common is that they love to look out of windows.

There’s a cosy ledge in the lounge where they can watch the weather rolling in above and the neighbour’s cats coming and going in the street below.

And theres a roomy ledge in my studio which is perfect for spying on the birds flitting around the garden and in and out of the grape vine.

I have plans to make more such as a Siamese and a long haired breed too, but for now this fab four will have to do.

As tempting as it is to make a whole clowder of cats I have a couple of other projects needing my immediate attention over the next few weeks. and these four already take my household cat count up to eight. No wonder I’m always sneezing!

If you want to get hold of Hazel’s pattern you can find it here. All of the pattern sale fees will go directly to Battersea Cats and Dogs Home to help with their valuable work so there’s never been a better excuse to treat yourself!

The crocheted version of Hazel had a lovely time time meeting some of the residents at Battersea and took a special shine to this cute Tabby kitten who was waiting her forever home to be found. (photo credit: LoveCrochet.com)

There are also other cat patterns to choose from over on their website and if your more of a dog lover there are plenty of canine inspired designs too.

The whole of Love Crochet’s Battersea blog post and more information on the other designers and patterns found in the charity promotion can be found here and will be available until the end of November 2017.

Maggie Coles’ cat, on holiday by the seaside, is the first Hazel I’ve seen so far. It’s reassuring to see our typical British summer holiday weather going on there! (photo credit: Maggie Coles).

Isn’t she a cutie? I like the use of the variegated yarn to create the unique patterning.

I’m as curious as any cat ever was to see what versions you come up with so don’t forget to post on Facebook or Instagram and use the #StitchFurBattersea to join in the fun!

For now this purrfectly pawesome patter of tiny paws says thank you to all who support Battersea Cats & Dogs home and look forward to being adopted themselves someday!