Thursday, 27 June 2019

Harry Potter Crochet

Big news! I have a new book coming out in October, Harry Potter Crochet. It's produced by the same people who did the previous two Star Wars books and in the same format, so it comes as a kit. There is a book with patterns to make Harry, Ron, Hermione in their school uniforms, with removable robes and scarves; Ginny in her Quidditch uniform and with her broom; Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall, along with the Sorting Hat; Hagrid, Dobby, Norbert the baby dragon and, of course, Hedwig. To complete the line-up we have He Who Must Not Be Named, Voldemort himself.

The kit includes everything you need to make Harry and Dobby - yarn, eyes and, best of all, a hook shaped like Harry's wand!

I'm a massive Harry Potter fan so I was really excited to be asked to work on this book. Because of the range of character sizes I decided to make them a bit differently to the Star Wars characters. The children are about the same size as most of the SW figures, but the adults are larger, with Hagrid obviously being the largest figure. That allowed me to make Dobby and Hedwig pretty much in scale with Harry, though it would have been impossible to do that with Norbert, so he's closer to being life-sized.

I finished designing the patterns and making all the figures back in January, so I've been waiting for a while to even be able to talk about this. Hopefully it won't seem too long to wait for it to come out in October. It's coming out in the US and you find it on Amazon, though it should also be available in other bookshops and craft stores. It's also available on Amazon UK as an import, so that will be the version with US crochet terms.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Mother of Dragons

So, who else is eagerly anticipating the final series of Game of Thrones? All the publicity surrounding it has reminded me quite how much I enjoy this show, and love many of the characters, so I was inspired to design some of them in crochet form.

I started with one of my favourites, Daenerys Targaryen. She has a great look, with her white-blonde hair and dark eyebrows, and I decided to make her with the turquiose-blue dress she wears in season three.


Of course, I then had to make her three dragons, when they were about the size of large dogs.

I also thought that the costumes she wore once she got to Westeros were great, so I made a variation of the pattern with her wearing a grey coat and red cloak.

It was a bit of a challenge rendering her complicated hairstyle in crochet, but I think I did her various braids justice.

You can buy the patterns now, with the patterns for Daenerys and her dragons sold separately. You can also buy them together at a reduced price here.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Amigurumi Award Pattern

We're right in the middle of awards season now, so if you've got someone in your life that you think deserves an award, I've got just the pattern for you! Some time ago I was asked if I could design a crocheted award statuette, so I decided to give it a go.

It was an interesting challenge. Normally when I make a human figure, it's very stylised, but I wanted to make this more realistic, with a lot more definition. It's still simplified, a bit like a wooden artist's mannequin, with shaping for the body and joints that bend. In fact, you could just make the figure and adapt it if you want a more realistic-looking amigurumi.

The golden figure holds a sword, but you could change this. The pattern includes details on how to make a laurel wreath instead of a sword, or you could make anything you want for the figure to hold, depending on what you're using it for. Sports equipment for a sports award, a bottle of champagne for a celebration, maybe even a crochet hook and a ball of yarn for an epic crocheter!

The pattern is available now on Etsy and Ravelry.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Accidental Hexagon Blanket

Way back in July 2017 I was ordering some yarn online to make amigurumis, buying a selection of colours from the yarns I favour, Sirdar Hayfield Bonus DK and Robin DK. I was looking for any other brands that might work well to crochet toys, and so I also ordered some Scheepjes Colour Crafter to try it out.

When it arrived, it looked very nice, but unfortunately it was much thinner than the brands I normally use. This difference in thickness may not show up when you're making a garment or a blanket, but when you work in the round it's obvious, as you can see in this photo - the shape on the left is made with Sirdar Hayfield Bonus DK, the one on the right is Scheepjes Colour Crafter.

So, I had eleven balls of yarn that I couldn't use to make amigurumi. Luckily, all the colours I had chosen were various shades of green and brown with an autumnal look, so I decided to use them to make a blanket. Given that it was summer when I started doing this, I thought it would be best to make motifs that I could sew together at the end (preferably in the winter) so I wouldn't get too hot working under an ever-growing blanket. It would also give me a project to work on in-between patterns that I was designing - I get quite agitated if I don't have some crochet to work on in an evening watching the TV!

I chose to make hexagons, using a slightly tweaked version of  Attic24's pattern (I made larger bobble stitches in the second round). Having eleven colours wasn't going to work out very well, so I found a ball of green yarn that I'd bought sometime in the past and added that to the selection. I divided the colours into three sets of four to make the hexagons, then after I'd made a few I'd swap the colours round and make a few more, to be sure I used up all the yarn equally.

I worked on these on and off until last spring, when I used up most of the yarn, having made 261 motifs. I blocked them in batches then put them all away over the summer. I've been busy all autumn working on a new book (details to come soon!), but when I finished with that just after Christmas, I realised it was a great time to put all those hexagons together.

Weirdly, I really like sewing things together. I know most people hate it, but I find it rather relaxing. (I worked over all the ends of the different rounds as I was making them, but I wish I'd sewn them in now, as they keep poking out. Oh well, I only made this for myself, so it doesn't matter too much.) I decided to sew the blanket with fifteen hexagons wide, seventeen hexagons long, meaning I had a few motifs left over. It took quite a while deciding the order I was going to sew them, trying to mix up the colours in a random-looking way, but I eventually came up with a system that worked.

Of course, once I'd finished, I realised that I hadn't given any thought to a border! I hunted through my stash and found a couple of green yarns that matched with the other colours I'd used, and did a couple of rounds of dc (UK tr) and one round of sc (UK dc) around the edges, and that seemed to work fairly well.

Rather nicely, this blanket that I ended up making by accident matches well with the decor in my sitting room, so I'm very happy with the end result!

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Darth Maul Amigurumi Pattern

I'm carrying on with making Star Wars characters from the Prequels, and after making Jar Jar Binks I've now created the pattern for Darth Maul. In The Phantom Menace the Sith apprentice was a character that didn't say much but was an excellent fighter, with a double-ended lightsaber. It seemed like he was dead when Obi-Wan cut him in half and he fell down a big hole at the end of the film, but apparently not. The character has since appeared in the animated series' Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and even made a very brief appearance at the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Maul has red skin that is tattooed in black patterns, which is quite hard to replicate in a small crochet figure (he's about 10 cm/4" tall). Making his head is relatively complicated, with colour changes and popcorn stitches to make his horns, and then the tattoo designs are sewn on to his face - I've included lots of photos in the pattern to help with that.

He comes with a separate hooded black robe, and his famous lightsaber, and the pattern is available on Etsy and Ravelry.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Knitwits Exhibition

Where I live, in the market town of Horsham, West Sussex, we have a lovely little local museum that regularly puts on all sorts of exhibitions. I recently saw a notice saying that they were planning an exhibition about knitting, crochet and other yarn crafts, and they were asking for items that people had created to include in the displays. I sent them photos of some of my things, and they asked if they could borrow a few, including my Daleks, alpacas, bigfoot and yeti, and my Roman soldier. I took them in a couple of weeks ago, and the other day I went to see the exhibition.

It was very entertaining, with a variety of items on display, but here are the things that caught my eye. They had four copies of famous artworks recreated using knitting, crochet and fabric, created by a group called The Materialistics. The group had made Klimt's The Kiss, Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, The Great Wave by Hokusai, and The Scream by Edvard Munch. They all looked amazing, each was made by several people, and it made me wonder if I could create something similar.

There was a collection of beautifully detailed moths, knitted by Max Alexander, which must have taken forever to complete. Much as I'd love to own one, they're a bit out of my price range, but she does make some lovely jewelry at more affordable prices, which you can find on her website Maxsworld.

The museum had various vintage items on display, ranging from booklets about knitting and crochet, patterns, gadgets, and pieces that had been made through the years. I particularly liked this coat which had been crocheted from raffia in the 1950s.

Of course, it was fun to see my items on display (even though my alpacas needed their hair sorting out!), along with other knitted, crocheted and needle felted pieces, including the traditional knitted toilet roll cover!