Monday, 9 February 2015

Little Kissing Mice - free amigurumi pattern




Here’s a pattern to make a pair of sweet little mice that just love to kiss, perfect to make for Valentine's Day. They are made all in one, with no separate parts to sew on, so they are quick and easy to crochet. Make them in any colours you like, you can make them totally in a natural fur colour if you want, or choose any colour for their bodies. They will sit upright on their own, but they like snuggling up to each other even more.

 
Abbreviations:
ch = chain
st = stitch or stitches
ss = slipstitch
sc = single crochet (US), double crochet (UK)
dc = double crochet (US), treble crochet (UK)
tog = together
sc2tog = decrease by working two sc together
FLO = work in front loop only
FO = fasten off

Approximate size: 5cm/2" long without tail.

General instructions:
Work in rounds unless otherwise stated and do not join rounds unless told to. Use a stitch marker to mark the start of a round - a small piece of different coloured yarn placed under the stitch at the start of the round will do. To start a round, you can use the magic ring method, but I prefer to ch 2, and work the appropriate number of sc into 1st ch. If you work the sc over the tail of yarn as well you can use that to pull the hole tight.

When changing from one colour of yarn to another work the stitch before the change until there are two loops left on the hook. Then use the new colour for the final yarn over hook and pull through.

Stuff as you go along.

Work through both loops of stitches unless otherwise indicated.




You will need:
Small amounts of yarn in a natural colour for the head and tail, and any colour for the body, double knitting or worsted weight.
Small amounts of black yarn to embroider eyes.
Small amount of stuffing.
3.5mm (E) hook.
Tapestry needle.


Start with natural colour yarn.
Round 1: Ch 2, work 4 sc into 1st ch - 4 st.
Round 2: [2 sc in next st, sc in next st] 2 times - 6 st.
Round 3: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 st] 2 times - 8 st.
Round 4: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 3 st] 2 times - 10 st.
Round 5: Sc in each st around – 10 st.
Round 6: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 st] 2 times - 12 st.
Round 7: Sc in next 6 st, [ear, in FLO of next st: ss, ch 2, 5 dc, ch 2, ss], sc in next 3 st, [ear as before], sc in next st – 12 st (counting each ear as one st).
Round 8: Sc in each st around, working into the back loop behind each ear – 12 st.
Change to yarn for body.
Round 9: [2 sc in next st, sc in next st] 3 times, sc in next 6 st – 15 st.
Round 10: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 4 st] 3 times – 18 st.
Round 11: Sc in each st around – 18 st.
Round 12: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 5 st] 3 times – 21 st.
Round 13 - 15: (3 rounds) Sc in each st around – 21 st.
Round 17: [Sc2tog, sc in next 5 st] 2 times, sc2tog, sc in next 2 st, change to natural colour yarn, [tail: ss in next st, ch 20, miss ch next to hook, ss 19, ss back into original st and change back to body colour yarn], sc in next 2 st – 18 st.
Round 18: Sc2tog 2 times, sc in next 6 st, sc2tog 4 times – 12 st.
Round 19: Sc2tog 6 times – 6 st.
FO, leaving a length of yarn. Finish stuffing and use black yarn to sew eyes. Sew up bottom of mouse neatly.



Friday, 23 January 2015

Bracken the Fox



I love foxes. I don't know what it is, maybe it's their beautiful colouring or something about the confident way they hold themselves, but I'm always really excited when I spot one on a walk. I've had two, possibly young ones, practically run into me as they chased each other across my path, but usually when I see them they just sit nonchalantly a little distance away (usually behind a fence) and stare at me.


I've been meaning to crochet a fox for ages, to be honest I don't know what delayed me, just lots of other ideas that I wanted to try out, but I've finally done it. Meet Bracken the Fox, named after the ferns that turn a lovely russet colour in the autumn. I've made him in two versions, with and without a sweater, and he's about 30cm (12") tall.



I've made a lot of my amigurumi in the past using totally acrylic yarn, but I decided to use yarns with wool and alpaca in to make Bracken, to give him a nicer texture. I mostly used Stylecraft Alpaca, and their newer Alpaca Tweed for the sweater, which is lovely and soft.


The pattern is now available in my Etsy shop and on Ravelry.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Mini Pets - Snails, Bugs and Frogs amigurumi patterns

My latest pattern, or rather set of patterns, to make tiny amigurumi snails, beetles, spiders and frogs, is now available in my Etsy shop and Ravelry. The creatures, which are quick to make with minimal sewing, also come with the details to make a toadstool play mat and hollow log.


As a child I loved and was fascinated by all types of animals, and was keen to have all sorts of pets, that weren't always practical. I did keep snails for a short while, and repeated the experience with my children. They make great temporary pets, you just find some in your garden and put them in a plastic pet box with some soil and greenery keep them damp and fed, and then return them to the garden after a few weeks.



However, not everyone wants various creepy crawlies in their house, and so for a more cuddly alternative I designed these creatures, so that the little animal lover in your house can play with them any time they want. You can make snails, two different shapes of beetle, including a ladybird (ladybug), spiders with various patterns on their backs, and tiny baby frogs. Their sizes range from 1.5" to 2.5" long.


 

 




You can keep them in a jar or matchbox, but you can also make them a grassy mat for them to play on, with a toadstool in the middle, and a hollow log to climb in. It has a drawstring around the edge so you can turn it into a bag and keep everything safe.




Of course, you can do all sorts of things with these creatures. It's easy to turn them into key chains, or put small magnets inside as you crochet them to make them into fridge magnets. The beetles would make unusual brooches, the spiders are great for Halloween accessories, and you could make the frogs in sets of different colours and use them as game pieces. You can make them as party favours, or stocking fillers, or make lots for a school or church fair. Whatever you do, I hope you'll have fun with them!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

My first cushion cover


Since I started to crochet, I've pretty much stuck to making amigurumi. I've made a few hats and scarves, but I've never made a granny square, or attempted an afghan/blanket. I've seen so many lovely patterns, and really felt the need to have something I'd crocheted sat around in my house so I could enjoy it all the time. Rather than starting on a blanket, I decided to make myself a cushion cover, so I could try out some ideas without committing to something so big.

I had a look at a lot of patterns, and tried a couple of granny square designs, but I felt that they were too holey, and I didn't want my cushion pad to show through. At least they'd given me the idea of how to make a square shape, so I came up with a very simple square that didn't have many holes, and that used three colours.

Then I searched through my stash for a selection of twelve colours that would match my sitting room; mostly reds and dark pinks and greens with a bit of beige, gold and yellow. I have lots of different colours in my stash (I barely have two balls of yarn the same), so it wasn't difficult to find what I wanted. I really enjoyed working on all the squares, trying to make each one unique, and not to repeat each colour too many times. I nearly always crochet in the evenings, and usually I'm trying to work on one of my patterns, but I'd got to a stage on my latest pattern (which is very nearly ready) where I only needed to take photos and write up my notes. It was nice to be making something for myself, and more relaxing.


I decided to make thirty-six squares, though when I finished them I was worried they'd be too big when sewn together. Luckily it came out just about right in the end, and I did one row of single crochet (UK double crochet) in red around the edge to neaten it up. I thought it would be nice to try a different look for the back, so I did alternating rows of single crochet and double crochet (UK double crochet and treble crochet) using all the colours except the red, then I used that to form a border. I found enough matching pink buttons from the collection I inherited from my husband's great aunt, and then all I had to do was sew the two sides together and stick the cushion pad in.

 

I'm really pleased with it, it goes nicely in the room, and my sons really like the fact that I made something to go in the house. Now I need to make a blanket - I've already bought lots of colours of Stylecraft yarn - so I'll have something to do with any spare time over the rest of the winter!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Itty Bitty Bat - free amigurumi pattern




Well, Halloween is nearly upon us, so here is a tiny little bat pattern for you to have fun with. It's quick and simple to make and, depending on the yarn you use, will end up about 2” tall, with a wingspan of about 5”. The feet are actually small loops, so your bat can hang upside down from a small stick or length of yarn or cord. The loops are large enough to fit the crochet hook you are using through, so you can use that to pull yarn or cord through. You could make several bats and hang them up on a length of chained yarn as decorations, or just wear one as a cute Halloween necklace! If you want to hang your bat on something thicker, just do more chain stitches when you make the feet in round 13.

Abbreviations:
ch = chain
st = stitch or stitches
ss = slipstitch
sc = single crochet (US), double crochet (UK)
dc = double crochet (US), treble crochet (UK)
tog = together
sc2tog = decrease by working two sc together
FLO = work in front loop only
FO = fasten off

General instructions:
Work in rounds unless otherwise stated and do not join rounds unless told to. Use a stitch marker to mark the start of a round - a small piece of different coloured yarn placed under the stitch at the start of the round will do. To start a round, you can use the magic ring method, but I prefer (ch 2, work 6 sc into 1st ch). If you work the 6 sc over the tail of yarn as well you can use that to pull the hole tight.

Work through both loops of stitches unless otherwise indicated.

You will need:
Small amount of black, purple or light and dark brown yarn, double knitting or worsted weight.
1 Pair of 7.5mm brown safety eyes, or 6mm black safety eyes, or yarn to embroider them.
Small amount of stuffing.
3.5mm (E) hook.
Tapestry needle.

Special stitch instructions:
5 dc pop: popcorn stitch for ears. Work 5 dc into 1 st, take hook out leaving loop, put hook through 1st dc & pull loop through.



Body:
Start at top of head.
Round 1: Ch 2, work 6 sc into 1st ch - 6 st.
Round 2: [2 sc in next st, (sc and 5 dc pop in next st), 2 sc in next st] 2 times – 12 st.
Round 3: [2 sc in next st, sc in next st] 6 times - 18 st.
Round 4 - 6: (3 rounds) Sc in each st around – 18 st.

If using safety eyes, fit them now between rounds 4 and 5, four stitches apart.

Round 7: [Sc2tog] 9 times – 9 st.
Round 8: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 st] 3 times – 12 st.
Round 9 - 10: (2 rounds) Sc in each st around – 12 st.
Round 11: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 3 st] 3 times – 15 st.
Round 12: Sc in each st around – 15 st.
Round 13: Sc in next 8 st, [foot: ss in next st, ch 4, ss back into same st], sc in next 5 st, [foot: ss in next st, ch 4, ss back into same st] – 15 st (the first ss used to make each foot counts as a stitch, the second one doesn’t).
Round 14: [Sc2tog, sc in next 3 st] 3 times – 12 st.
Ss in next st then FO, leaving a length of yarn. Embroider eyes if you haven't used safety eyes. Stuff and use yarn to sew up the bottom in a line between the two feet.

Wings (make 2):
Ch 15, turn.
Row 1: Ss in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 6 ch, miss next ch, sc in next 6 ch, ch 1, turn.
Row 2: 2 sc in next st, sc in next 10 st, turn.
Row 3: Miss 1st st, ss in next st, sc in next 3 st, miss next st, sc in next 4 st, turn.
Row 4: Miss 1st st, ss in next st, sc in next 2 st, miss next st, sc in next 3 st, turn.
Row 5: Ch 2, sc in next st, ss in next 4 st, ch 2, ss in next st.
FO, leaving a length of yarn. Work this yarn through to the end of the wing and use it to sew the wing to the body.