Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Blackberry the Badger

I've just finished work on my latest crochet pattern, to make Blackberry the Badger. He's a cuddly little guy, about 28cm (11") tall, and you can make him with or without a nice snuggly sweater. I gave him a rich dark maroon one, the same colour as blackberry juice, but you can make it any colour you like.



Designing his face, with the two black vertical stripes, was an interesting challenge. When you crochet, each stitch ends up slightly to the right of the stitch you work into. So, when you work in the round and try to make vertical stripes, they will end up leaning to the right. I was also trying to shape the head and have the stripes get wider as they went up the head. It took a lot of experimenting, but by increasing and decreasing in the right places I managed to make it work.


There are various different species of badger, and Blackberry is based on the European badger. I've never actually seen one myself as they are nocturnal, but they are popular figures in children's literature, such as The Wind in the Willows. In stories and folklore they are considered to be home loving creatures, sensible and hard-working, generally kind and friendly but fierce when necessary, relecting the behaviour of the real creatures. This must be why they are the symbol of Hufflepuff house in the Harry Potter books. Make a yellow and black scarf for Blackberry and he'd make a great Hufflepuff mascot!



I made Blackberry using Stylecraft Alpaca DK yarns, which gives him a nice natural, fuzzy look, and he matches with my Bracken the Fox pattern.



You can buy the Blackberry the Badger pattern on EtsyRavelry and LoveCrochet, and you can buy both that and Bracken the Fox patterns together for a reduced price on Etsy and Ravelry.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Yarn party, and ideas for Christmas

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited along to LoveKnitting/LoveCrochet's Flock launch party, a get together for various craft bloggers. You can find more information about it here, but basically it was a great chance to meet the lovely people at LoveKnitting and other designers and bloggers - a real treat for someone who works at home, getting to chat to people who love crochet and knitting. Oh, and there was lots of prosecco!



That's me, checking out all the lovely yarn samples, chatting about crochet, and drinking prosecco!

I've been impressed with LoveKnitting as a company - they sell yarn and all the accessories you need to knit or crochet, but they also sell patterns, (you can find all of mine on there, just search for 'Lucy Collin') and now they've produced their own range of yarn, Paintbox.

Paintbox comes in acrylic DK, aran and chunky, and cotton DK, and all of them in a really good range of colours that makes them perfect for making amigurumi. If you want to try out the acrylic DK they are currently selling an advent calendar with a 10g ball of yarn behind each window (get it here in the sale that ends tonight). They had jars full of these tiny balls at the party, and I think everyone who saw them immediately squealed with happiness at seeing them, they look so cute! They very kindly let me have some to try out, and I really like the feel of the yarn for making amigurumi, soft and smooth.


The cute little mini balls with a 100g ball for comparison

You might be wondering what on earth you can make with such tiny balls of yarn, but apart from the free patterns you get with the advent calendar, I've got loads of free patterns here that would be perfect. There's a full list of my free patterns on the right, but here are a few that you will be able to make with one of those tiny 10g balls, with some of them you'd only use half of one, or even less. Of course, you could just use any scraps of yarn that you have.

Since the point of an advent calendar is to lead up to Christmas, any of my Christmas amigurumi patterns would be perfect to make as decorations, including my Little Christmas MouseTiny Crochet PenguinMini SnowmanTiny Christmas Robin and Mini Father Christmas.





Other cute little things to make, maybe as stocking fillers, would be my mini TeddiesFrogsMonkeysOctopusesElephants and Turtles.







Hopefully these little things will be quick and easy to make in the 24 days before Christmas. Have fun!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Little Pumpkin Mice - free amigurumi pattern


I made Little Kissing Mice for Valentine's Day and a Little Christmas Mouse for (you've guessed it!) Christmas, so now that autumn is here I thought it would be fun to make some Pumpkin Mice.



I’m not sure if these mice have eaten their way through tiny pumpkins or if they’re wearing little costumes but either way they’re cute, and they make perfect decorations for autumn and Halloween.

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 orange for the pumpkin, 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 next 2 st, 2 sc in next st, sc in next 3 st, sc in back loop behind ear, sc in next st, sc2tog, sc in back loop behind ear, sc in next st – 12 st.
Change to orange yarn.
Round 9: [2 sc in next st] 6 times, sc in next 6 st – 18 st.
Round 10: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 5 st] 3 times – 21 st.
Round 11 - 16: (6 rounds) Sc in each st around – 21 st.
Round 17: [Sc2tog, sc in next 5 st] 2 times, sc2tog, sc in next 3 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 orange yarn], sc in next 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 about 15”/40 cm long. Finish stuffing and use black yarn to sew eyes. Using the length of yarn, sew up the bottom of the mouse neatly. Then sew six lines evenly spaced around the pumpkin, from the neck down to the bottom (the bottom point shouldn’t be the hole you sewed up, just a little in front of that will be better and will make the mouse sit up properly). Pull each line through tightly so your mouse has a flat base.


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Mini Pets - Tiny Cat and Dog Amigurumi Patterns


I’ve never been able to resist tiny things – as a child I was always delighted with tiny toys and anything made in miniature. So, it's natural that I sometimes like to make really small amigurumi animals. It is possible to make a tiny version of any crochet toy by using thin crochet thread instead of yarn and a much smaller hook, but that can be very fiddly and hard on the eyes, especially if you have to sew incredibly small parts together.


However, I’ve designed these tiny cats and dogs to be made all-in-one, using normal sized yarn and hooks, with the legs, ears and tails worked as you go along. There is minimal sewing needed, just embroidering the features and sewing up the hole at the end, which makes them pretty quick and easy to complete


I first came up with a mini dachshund years ago, when I was making little toys for my sons' school bazaar. Using popcorn stitches for the legs was perfect for these dogs, so when I decided to try some different breeds of dog I went for others which have short legs, like Jack Russell terriers and corgis, or ones that are often a little tubby, like pugs and French bulldogs.








Having made these dogs, I then wondered if the same technique would work for cats. Since they're a bit smaller than the dogs I used increases and decreases in the right places to make their legs seem more proportional to their bodies.


So, my new pattern has all the details to make cats in various colours and fur patterns, and five different breeds of dog. It also tells you how to make most of the dogs with little sweaters.



These mini pets range in size from 2.25" - 3.5" long (6 - 9cm), and fit easily in your hand (even small ones!) which makes them perfect for little gifts. Make a pet for a doll, or turn one into a keychain. Or crochet all the different breeds and organise a pet show!


You can buy this pattern now from EtsyRavelry or LoveCrochet.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Itty Bitty Bat - German translation

I'm sure some of you are starting to think about Halloween already, so if you want to crochet something cute for the occasion, why not check out my Itty Bitty Bat pattern (see the list of free patterns on the right for the link), which now includes a version in German, courtesy of Annet Tafelski.



Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Star Wars Even More Crochet

I finished work on all my patterns for the new Star Wars Crochet book a little while ago, but I've now been given the publication date. Star Wars Even More Crochet will be available (in the US at least) in March 2017. I know that seems a long way away, but it takes that long to produce.


The book is part of a kit that will include all the materials and the patterns to make a Jawa and BB-8, and the patterns for Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Lando Calrissian, Admiral Ackbar, Nien Nunb, Greedo and the Cantina Band.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Solid Square Blanket

I've been very busy working on my next Star Wars pattern book, so I haven't got many new projects to share. However, before I got started on the book I made a crochet blanket just for myself. Having finally got myself on Pinterest I'd discovered and pinned all sorts of lovely patterns, and I decided to make something fairly simple but colourful. I got inspiration from The Patchwork Heart and used the colour pack for this blanket to work out how much yarn I'd need.


I wanted this blanket to go in my bedroom, so I chose the colours to match a wallhanging that we have above the bed. I must admit, I decided on a range of blues and reds, but when some of them weren't in stock, I chose some alternatives that I slightly regretted (the purple in particular), but I was impatient to get on with it!


The basic pattern for the squares is very simple, I tweaked the pattern a little after looking in an old motif book that I have, but it's a very common square that you'll come across everywhere. I worked all the first rounds, then all the second rounds, and so on, and in fact, it felt like it worked up quite quickly, though I didn't work out exactly how long I spent on it. It was nice to work in separate motifs as I started on it when the weather was still quite warm, and I didn't fancy sitting under an increasingly large blanket!

The amount of yarn I'd bought (ten 100g balls of Stylecraft Special DK in different colours - Lipstick, Burgundy, Gold, Claret, Midnight, Sherbet, Teal, Denim, Storm Blue, Plum - and four balls in Stone for the outside of each square and joining) was supposed to be enought for a blanket 8 by 8 squares, but I found I only used about half of the colours before the last round once I'd made 64 squares. I wasn't sure how much of the joining yarn I was going to use, so I ended up making 90 squares, and the four balls of the Stone were just enough to make the final rounds and join all the squares for a blanket that size.


I joined the squares using sc(US)/dc(UK) through the edge of two squares at a time, it's a quick way to join and is very neat, smooth on the front and giving a ridge on the back of the blanket, which you can see in the photo below. I do like the way that the holes on each corner of each round make a pattern when the squares are all joined together.


I'm very happy with my blanket, which is just for me, even though the colours don't work as well as I'd wanted. I use it on my bed as an extra layer if it's very cold (my husband doesn't really feel the cold, so it only needs to be large enough to go on my side of the bed). It's also good for napping under when it's not so cold, and as I fold it up when I'm not using it, it hasn't got covered in cat or dog hairs!