Chanting the mantra ‘Rain, rain, go away, come back another day’ has had no effect whatsoever around here so it’s been a weekend tucked up indoors, catching up with much of my crochet works in progress. Well, it needs to be done and there are worse ways to spend rainy afternoons. In fact it’s rather nice to have some cosy time in the house. Mojo has found his new favorite spot. Staring wistfully out into the drizzle from the comfort of one of my new kitchen seat pads. There is an excellent view of the garden from there and Moji is making the most of it.
Minnie has nabbed herself a spot in a spotty, polka dotty, plastic picnic salad bowl!
It’s barely big enough but she’s whiled away many hours snoozing in there, so it must be comfier than it looks.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the past few days designing a new alpaca pattern and then creating them in lots of colours. Here’s the production line in full swing. It’s my own personal alpaca farm. Six colours so far… well, I really enjoy working with the soft and fluffy textured yarns, and I just couldn’t seem to stop myself!
They’ve got their eyes on those tasty strawberries by the looks of it.
I was busy making these last week, on a somewhat sunnier day.
A little snack for me too. Alpacas aren’t the only ones who love strawberries!
Pogo often watches me crochet, sitting side by side on our squashy sofa. He’s just waiting for a yarn end to pounce on. Usually straight into my lap, huge claws and all!
There’s plenty of yarny entertainment for him as I finish up this latest batch.
Lovely home days with all the cats for company make me very happy. Just time for a break to bake a loaf of bread ready for lunch. Oh yum. This butternut squash and parmesan bread filled the house with delicious smells that cheered us all up. It tasted amazing too! Chopped black olives and rosemary made it extra special and it’s great therapy for crunched up crochet hands as all the mixing and kneading gets the circulation flowing around my fingers again.
Bas’s (Zabbez.com) Butterfly Bree and Baby Calin were finished up just in time for the proofreading deadline for the new Parent and Baby Animals book. I love the way the sparkly blues have worked out. This pattern would look fabulous in so many different colour combinations. One to let your imagination go wild with!
Here she is next to Bas’s original colourway. It sure was a lovely pattern to follow.
I found out a few days ago that Papa and Pierre have made it on to the front cover of the book. I’m so thrilled, it’s like the icing on the cake and I can’t wait to see the whole book layout. Joke always does such a fantastic job of compiling all the cute designs. Not long to wait now, as pre-sale will be starting in early September over at amigurumipatterns.net.
After being rudely awakened at 5 o’clock last Friday morning by Mojo the cat bringing a loudly chirruping starling into my bedroom, I wasn’t going to go back to sleep any time soon so I decided to start early and spend the day giving my Cyril the Squirrel pattern a final run through before I listed it in my online shops. The best way for me to test my own patterns is to leave the whole thing for a while and then to come back to it when I’m fresh and the stitch counts and number of rows are no longer seared into my brain. (Don’t worry about the starling, I rescued it, rested it for a while in a bird cage I keep handy for just such emergencies and it flew off into the sky an hour later). To make the repeating of projects more fun I like to change the colour and/or the hook size to make the whole process slightly different each time. This time I’ve pushed the hook size right down to a 2 mm and am going to make this squirrel in a soft grey and a slightly fluffy cream yarn, both by Rowan and bought from a local yarn store sale for £1 a ball. What a bargain bonanza! Although, of course, this means I buy much more than I really need thus diminishing the money saving aspect. But then again, how much is too much?! I’m sure it will all come in handy sooner or later.
My other favorite bits and pieces and amigurumi essentials are all gathered together into a wicker project tray. So we’re ready to go. The sun is shining and I have a whole day, dedicated to crochet, stretching ahead of me. Bliss. I’ve even got a few extra hours to play with thanks to my Mojo alarm call!
By 10am I’ve had a lazy breakfast, several cups of tea, become distracted by Pinterest and Facebook and also, the main aim of the day of course, hooked up all these squirrel parts. I printed out a copy of the pattern in the end and turned the computer off so no chance of any further internetty time wasting diversions. It’s just too much temptation to have a quick click here and there when it’s on and one of the main things about pattern testing is total focus on the job in hand! The smaller than usual hook choice has been something of a challenge, making my fingers ache a little and proving a tough deal to feed the safety eyes through, but where there’s a will there’s a way and I manage to soldier on. It’s going to be nice to have a smaller version of Cyril to join the crew of my ever growing squirrel family.
A few more hours later and all squirrel parts are completed. Minor tweaks are made to the word file, which is then made into a PDF ready for uploading later.
One of the really fun parts for me is joining all the components together, embroidering on any features and seeing it come to life as a fully fledged character.
But of course everyone knows that amigurumi don’t really come to life. That is, not until the Blue Fairy pays a visit and says those magic words:
∗ “Little squirrel made of twine, awake! The gift of life is thine.” ∗
Hooray! My squirrel is finally really real. It turns out this one’s a girl and she’s called Cheryl. Just like any self respecting, fashion conscious lady rodent she want’s to choose her own outfit. So off we go to explore the yarn stash and see what’s on offer. Hmm, yes I think the red would be perfect too and that fiery orange trim will finish it off a treat. Now measurements are taken and details must be decided. Cheryl doesn’t want a flat cap like Cyril, she prefers a much more feminine wide brimmed sun hat. Back to the drawing board for that one then.
A little more hooking later and ‘Voila’ … Cheryl in her Cherry Red ensemble. We even went and picked some daisies from her cottage garden, one to decorate her hat and a whole bunch for the kitchen table.
If you want to adapt the Cyril the Squirrel pattern into Cheryl the Squirrel here’s a free pattern extra for how I made her wide brimmed hat and the little flowers:
Note: Pattern written in US terms. Us single crochet (sc) is equivalent to UK double crochet (dc)
With the same sized hook you used for the main pattern and Red Yarn make 2 ch. Rnd 1: 6 sc in second ch from hook. (6 sts) Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st to end. (12 sts) Rnd 3: [Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (18 sts) Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (24 sts) Rnds 5-6: Sc in each st around. (2 rounds)
Change to Orange yarn. Rnd 7: Sc in each st around. Rnd 8: Working in Front Loops only: [Sc in each of next 3 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (30 sts)
Change to Red yarn. Rnd 9: Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, ch 6, skip next 5 st, [Sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc innext st] 2 times, ch 6, skip next 5 st, sc in each of next 4 st, 2 sc in next st. (36 sts) Rnd 10: [Sc in each of next 5 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (42 sts) Rnd 11: [Sc in each of next 6 st, 2 sc in next st] 6 times. (48 sts)
Change to Orange yarn. Rnd 12: Sc in each st around.
Fasten off, weave in ends.
With White yarn make 4 ch, Slst in first ch, [3 ch, Slst in same ch as first Slst] 4 times. (5 petals)
Fasten off. Make a yellow French Knot in center of flower. Sew to front of hat at the side of one of the ear slits. Fit hat over Cheryl’s ears. Add a little stuffing to shape and with a strand of Red yarn sew Rnd 9 in place to top of head.
Avec la même taille de crochet que vous avez utilisé pour le modèle principal et le fil Rouge.
Faire ch 2. Rg 1: 6 ms dans la 2ième ml à partir du crochet du crochet. (6 pts) Rg 2: 2 ms dans chaque m jusqu’à la fin. (12 pts) Rg 3: [Ms dans la m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suivante] 6 fois. (18 pts) Rg 4: [Ms dans chacune des 2 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (24 pts) Rg 5: 6 ms dans chaque m du tour. (2 tours)
Changer de fil Orange. Rg 7: Ms dans chaque m du tour. Rg 8: Travailler seulement sur les boucles avant: [ms dans chacune des 3 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (30pts)
Changer de fil Rouge. Rg 9: Ms dans chacune des 4 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv, 6 ml, sauter les 5 m suiv, [Ms dans chacune des 4 m suiv, 2 ms dans m suiv] 2 fois, 6 ml, sauter les 5 m suiv, ms dans chacune des 4 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv. (36pts) Rg 10: [Ms dans chacune des 5 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (42 pts) Rg 11: [Ms dans chacune des 6 m suiv, 2 ms dans la m suiv] 6 fois. (48 pts)
Changer de fil Orange. Rg 12: Ms dans chaque m du tour. Arrêter, Rentrer les fils.
Avec le fil Blanc faire 4 ml, mc dans la 1ière ml, [3 ml, mc dans la même ml que la 1ière mc] 4 fois. (5 pétales)
Couper le fil. Faire un Point de Nœud (French Knot) Jaune dans le centre de la fleur. Coudre à l’avant du chapeau sur le côté de l’une des fentes de l’oreille. Placer le chapeau sur les oreilles de Cheryl. Ajouter un peu de rembourrage au chapeau et avec un brin de fil rouge coudre au Rg 9 sur le haut de la tête.
Here we have Cyril and Cheryl deep in discussion about the relative merits of vegetable versus flower gardening. Personally I’m partial to a bit of both but not much good at either!
I have a huge soft spot for squirrels it’s true, and Cheryl is the fifth one I’ve made so far. One is in Belgium with the book publisher but the other four are currently living here with me. These are all made with light worsted weight (DK) yarn but I’ve varied the hook size from 3.75mm all the way down to to 2mm. Come and meet the gardening gang!
From left to right we have Cyril, Errol, Beryl and Cheryl.
I do enjoy making these squirrels so who knows how many I’ll end up with?! I’m going to have to open up that second Etsy shop and re-home some of my ever growing cache of amigurumis at some point. Ah, but parting will be such sweet sorrow!
Just thought I’d do a quick post to spread the word! Amigurumi Animals at Work, the new book compiled and designed by Joke Vermeiren from amigurumipatterns.net is available to order at great pre-sale prices for a few more days yet. (Pre-sale deal will end on the 31st May 2014).
It’s such a lovely, fun book, packed with original designs by amigurumi artists from all around the world. I thought you might like to take a peek at the full collection. You can see that my Cyril the Squirrel has been keeping very fine company indeed!
You’ll be spoiled for choice as to which one to make first! I think I’m going to start with Mama Hen as I have a friend who loves to bake and who also happens to have a birthday coming up soon. Just perfect!
Hi everyone, I’m really pleased to be able to tell you that the new book from AmigurumiPatterns.net is finally available to order in pre-sale!
From right now until May 31st 2014 you can pre-order a copy of the book and you’ll also get a PDF version which you will be able to download immediately, so no boring waiting to get started on your first Animals at Work cutie!
My contribution to Joke Vermeiren’s beautifully put together volume is Cyril the Squirrel, whom, as you may remember, is the head gardener at Knutsford Manor.
This is Cyril with his assistant gardener and close friend, Errol. They made a raised bed for their prize carrot crop, but, goodness, the amount of weeding it needs… That’s where four paws are better than two!
And don’t believe all the bad press about grey squirrels! Errol is just as lovable as his red cousins. I think he’s just as beautiful too!
For more information on Amigurumi Animals at Work and to see the other thirteen gorgeous designs featured in this book take a peek here. You can order the book and the instantly downloadable PDF version here.
For those of you who just want to buy Cyril’s pattern on it’s own, I’ll be releasing it as a single pattern purchase in my Etsy/Ravelry/Craftsy shops soon. I’ll keep you posted!