As we tumble towards the end of the year it’s time at last for me to be able to reveal a big fat slice of what I’ve been working on this Autumn. Everything has been kept hush-hush until publication and now I’m pleased to say my impatient wait to share with you is over.
So here are my frolicsome four-seasons animals, which were specially commissioned for UK magazine Crochet Now’s 2017 diary, which comes free with issue 9, along with a pack of handy stitch markers too. I don’t know about you but I never seem to have enough of those things!
I was kept very busy for a few weeks designing them all as there were so many separate elements to create but I’m really pleased with how they turned out. The patterns for each character and all their accessories are included at the back of the diary so there is something cute and on hand to make throughout the year.
Forest Fox is the first in the queue to take a peek.
Whiley old foxes never miss much but it isn’t long before Playful Polar bear comes in from the cold dragging his toboggan and bringing in a snowman friend he just made.
Wanting to see what all the fuss was about, Chirpy Chick and Sunbathing Seal soon join the crowd to read what I wrote about each of them in the introduction.
When Crochet Now magazine first approached me with this idea I knew I was going to have a great time bringing the seasons to life. I started back in September with some sketch work.
A lovely reason to indulge in some colouring in with my favorite Caran D’Ache pencils. I love these because they’re water soluble so can also be smudged about like paints.
Getting to play around with yarn colours is very satisfying too. I got to choose all the colours I needed from the Stylecraft Special DK range.
They were perfect for this project, though, quite honestly there were so many different colours to choose from I should think they’d be perfect for just about any project. In the end I plumped for this collection. Lovingly arranged into rainbow order.
When the delivery arrived I stashed them all neatly away into baskets so they wouldn’t get mixed up with the other balls of yarn (which are prone to randomly throwing themselves around on my studio floor and all over the desk and generally getting into a terrible muddle whenever I’m not looking).
I don’t always do a lot of sketch work but when I do get immersed in inks and crayons I always really enjoy it. There’s a great deal of satisfaction in turning this…
I added the fishing ponds to the final collection pattern, but on the whole I didn’t deviate much from my initial idea. The polar bear also has a removable hat and scarf, a snowman buddy, a whole pile of snowballs and her very own ride on toboggan. A proper polar explorer if ever there was one.
The springtime Chirpy Chick has a snug nest, a clutch of mini easter eggs and some blooming flower pots to tend to.
Her little caterpillar pal helps around the garden, though she sometimes can’t resist taking a naughty bite out of Chirpy Chicks best flowers, which is really not very helpful at all.
The Sunbathing Seal has been tempted ashore by the promise of a tasty ice cream cone or two.
This slippery fella loves wearing nautical themed clothes, building sandcastles and sunbathing. He also loves lolling about on his lilo and tossing a beach ball around with his starfish friend. Oh the joys of summer!
Forest Fox prefers the cover of the trees where he skulks around in the shadows to his heart’s content.
His favorite time of year is the autumn when he can toast marshmallows over the bonfire to keep warm. He has his own comfy log seat to sit on and a neckerchief to keep out the drafts. He loves nothing better than challenging his pet toadstool to a game of conkers.
As you can see there are a lot of different elements to these patterns and I really enjoyed figuring out the best way of making all their accessories. It was a real delve into their little worlds as I sat and crocheted all the things that would bring the seasons to life. This wasn’t exactly without its technical challenges but with the addition of a few drinking straws, pipecleaners and some clever stitchery everything has ended up structurally sound and with lots of detail.
Of course I had some help along the way too…
It’s always really useful not to be able to see your pattern very well!
Sarcasm aside, having Mojo and the other cats around frequently reminds me that it’s alway good to keep as clear and tidy a desk as possible when working. Obviously the main reason is to let a cat have room for a fuss without scattering the many carefully arranged elements of your creations all over the place but it’s also good to keep things neat for mental clarity and speedy completion of projects. I usually work surrounded by wicker baskets so I can keep all the individual pieces from each design on one place.
This makes things much easier to quickly move work out of the way when a nearby cat looks like it’s going in for a major desk flop!
Unfortunately Chirpy Chick missed the memo telling her to stay tucked away in a basket and Minnie looks like she’s in a mischief making mood.
Watch out little chick, NEVER turn your back on a cat!
I’m going to be using my diary to help me keep on top of things next year. 2016 has certainly been cram packed with new designs, new projects and new ventures but I intend to be even busier next year!