Sunday, 13 November 2011

Little Folk

There is lots of folklore regarding the 'little folk', and they have many names - elves, fairies, sprites, imps, brownies and hobgoblins. They are often described as being mischievous creatures, although sometimes they like to help humans, even doing chores around the house for them. Dobby the house elf, from Harry Potter, seems to be inspired by these stories, as they often state that the creatures become insulted if given clothes and will then leave. In fact, in Sussex (where I live) there is folklore regarding 'Dobbs' or 'Master Dobbs', a house fairy who would help with the housework.


As I mentioned in a previous post I made a toy Dobby for my son. I have been working on the pattern, and with a few variations, have made several other creatures.

Fire Imp

Fire Imps are attracted to bonfires and campfires, and are very partial to snacks cooked on them such as sausages. If you have an open fire in your house they may sneak in and sleep by the embers at night. He is made with mohair brushed to make hair and has fingers and toes.


This Brownie is a happy little fellow who likes eating cakes and dancing, a bit like a Hobbit or Halfling. He is has curly hair and a separate waistcoat and scarf.

Autumn Tree Sprite
This little nature Sprite lives in the trees and likes to stay hidden. His colouring helps him to stay secret when the trees are losing their leaves, then he finds a nice big pile of of them and hibernates through the winter. He has hair made from eyelash yarn and a scarf to keep him warm.

Forest Fairy

This little forest-dwelling fairy is well camouflaged among the trees with her pale green skin and mossy hair. She has antlers and wears a dress made of leaves. Her long hair is made of lots of different yarns.
The pattern is now available in my Etsy shop, and contains all the information to make the different Little Folk described above, with details on how to make the different kinds of hair and their clothing. All the variations can then be used to design your own creature made the way you want.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

A Tower of Tooterphants!

Tooterphants are friendly little creatures, similar in shape to elephants, if not in size. However, they have wide trumpet-shaped trunks that they use to make tooting noises to communicate with one another. They also use their trunks, or tooters, to suck up their food - should you want to attract one, leave a trail of interesting treats such as raisins and they may follow it. They live in groups, and enjoy acrobatic games where they climb on top of each other to form a tower of Tooterphants - luckily their rounded shape makes them bouncy, so they don't mind when they fall down.

These cute creatures are based on patterns I'd made in the past - several years ago I made an Eater of Socks for a swap, based on the description of a creature that appears briefly in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. Given that it eats odd socks, I gave it a wide trunk/snout to suck them up, and made its legs striped like socks to act as camouflage. Then, a few years later, I made a Sky Elephant, using the previous pattern as a base, but making it bigger. The Sky Elephant was made from blue and white variegated yarn and had fluffly cloud-like ears.

So, I went back and revisited these patterns. I had some nice self-striping yarn that I wanted to try out (King Cole Splash DK), and I thought these would be the perfect patterns to use to show off all the colours nicely. I made a few minor changes, but I liked the patterns pretty much as they were. They have a nice compact shape and sweet faces, and I think they would make good toys for young children because they have a lot of bits to grab hold of. The pattern, which has all the details to make both sizes, is now available in my Etsy shop.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Mother and Child Spirits

I made a set of Mother and Child Earth Spirits about two years ago, and they've always been one of my favourite creations. I've also had quite a few requests for me to write up their pattern, and now I've finally got it finished, and available in my shop.

One of the problems with making these is getting hold of nice mohair yarns that are the right thickness. The yarn I originally used, Patons Spirit, is no longer being produced, although I've still got a small stash of it. It is also thicker than most of the other plain mohair yarns I have, many of which I picked up from charity shops without labels. I bought some Luxury Mohair by King Cole, which has lovely colours but is comparatively thin, and when I tested my pattern using this yarn, the Water Spirits ended up quite a bit smaller than the Earth Spirits I made using the Patons yarn. In the end though, despite the size difference, I was happy with both yarns and the creatures I made with them.

I think that what I like most about these creatures is the way they seem to interact when you put them together. It feels like the mother is looking after her child, or even listening to him telling her what he's been up to!

Dobby the House Elf

When we rewatched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 recently, my 9 year-old son got very sad at the part when Dobby dies. He would not be comforted, and kept insisting that he hated JK Rowling for killing off his favourite house elf. In the end, I had to promise to crochet him his own little Dobby.

I used a pattern that I had worked out when I made this Grey Hobgoblin, I just didn't give him the furry hair or a tail.

I had wanted to dress Dobby as he's described in the books after he becomes a free elf, with shorts, a tie, mis-matched socks and a tea cosy for a hat. However, my son (who hasn't read the books) wanted him to look the way he does in the films, so I crocheted a smock-like garment that's supposed to look like his pillowcase. I might have looked better made of fabric, but I always find it easier to make things out of yarn. Anyway, my son loved him, so that's all that counts!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Flappy the Owl in Inside Crochet!

I'm very excited! My pattern for Flappy the Owl has won a competition to be featured in a UK crochet magazine, Inside Crochet, issue 20. You can see him on their  Facebook page or at Yudu, where you can see the front cover and the first couple of pages. I love the photo of Flappy with a little suitcase.

Here are some of my photos that I took before I sent him off. He's about a cute little owl wearing a stripy sweater and is 6.5" tall. I had fun coming up with various techniques to make the ribbed parts of the sweater, and his claws and beak. I made a prototype which my son claimed - I knew the design was good when I saw how much he like Flappy (he named him too!).

If you're not aware of Inside Crochet, it's a great magazine. In the UK I go into the newsagents and see five or six knitting magazines, but only one crochet magazine. It's only been going for 20 issues, but I hope that it's going to help popularise crochet in the UK - maybe people will eventually stop asking what I'm knitting! It's well put together, modern and up-to-date, and always has a really good selection of patterns - clothing, accessories, jewelry, toys and things for the home. This is not me advertising for them, by the way, it's just my observation. It's not just my opinion either, check out this blogpost from another admirer.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Fierce Little Dragon

One of the first crochet patterns I wrote was for a dragon - my 'fierce but friendly really dragon'. I love dragons, and it's hard to find nice toys of them, so that was a real incentive to make one myself. Lots of people liked it and asked for the pattern, so eventually I wrote up my notes and put them on Craftster and Livejournal. The notes were quite rough, and though many people had no problem following them, some asked if I could write the pattern up properly. And, finally, I got round to it!

I had to make a dragon to check the pattern, and while I was doing that I tweaked a few bits - I used to crochet a lot more loosely, and I found some parts came up too small - and I used different stitches on the wings to make them much stiffer.

I won't post the pattern here as it's seven pages long, but it is available as a free download from Ravelry: Fierce Little Dragon free pattern

Edited to add: this pattern has now been translated into Spanish by Ana, over at her blog.

Edited to add 2: this pattern has now kindly been translated into French by FilACroche on Ravelry. You can download it here

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Little Eggie Amigurumi Pattern

Perfect for Easter - make a cute little Eggie friend. He's about the same size as a hen's egg - use light brown or white yarn if you want him to look like one, or bright yarn if you want him to look like a decorated Easter egg.

Small amount of yarn, any colour you like. Thickness is not too important - I used double knitting (dk) but a bit thicker would be fine too.
Black yarn to embroider the mouth.
One pair 6mm safety eyes.
3.5mm hook (US E hook).
Tapestry needle.

ch = chain
st = stitch or stitches
sc = single crochet (US), double crochet (UK)
dc = double crochet (US), treble crochet (UK)
ss = slip stitch
tog = together
sc2tog = decrease by working two sc together
FO = fasten off

Special stitch instructions:
3 dc bob: bobble stitch for hands and feet. YOH (yarn over hook), insert hook into second ch from hook, YOH and pull through loop, YOH, pull through 2 loops, *YOH, insert hook into same stitch, YOH and pull through loop, YOH, pull through 2 loops, repeat once from*, YOH, pull through all 4 loops on hook.

Little Eggie is made in rounds. Do not join rounds, 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.

Round 1: Ch 2, work 6 sc into 1st ch - 6 st.
Round 2: 2 sc in each st around - 12 st.
Round 3: [2sc in next st, sc in next 3 st] 3 times – 15 st.
Round 4: [2sc in next st, sc in next 2 st] 5 times – 20 st.
Round 5 – 6: (2 rounds) Sc in each st around – 20 st.
Round 7: [2sc in next st, sc in next 3 st] 5 times – 25 st.
Round 8 – 10: (3 rounds) Sc in each st around – 25 st.
Round 11: Sc in next 6 st, [make arm: ss into next st, ch 7, 3 dc bob into 2nd ch from hook, ss into next 5 ch, ss back into original st], sc in next 11 st, [make arm as before], sc in next 6 st - 25 st.
Round 12: Sc in each st around – 25 st (you sc into the first ss used to make each arm).

Fit eyes between rounds 9 and 10.

Round 13 – 15: (3 rounds) Sc in each st around – 25 st.
Round 16: [Sc2tog, sc in next 3 st] 5 times – 20 st.
Round 17: Sc2tog, sc in next 2 st, sc2tog, [make leg using the same method as the arm], sc in next st, sc2tog, sc in next 2 st, sc2tog, [make leg], sc in next st, sc2tog, sc in next 2 st – 15 st.

Stuff Eggie and embroider mouth.

Round 18: [Sc2tog, sc in next st] 5 times – 10 st.
Round 19: [Sc2tog] 5 times – 5 sc. FO.

Complete stuffing and sew up hole neatly.

Tiny Chick - Free Amigurumi Pattern

This miniature chick is only 1.5" tall, so he'd make a cute little extra for Easter.

Small amount of pale yellow yarn, double knitting (dk) weight.
Black yarn to embroider the eyes.
Dark yellow or orange yarn to embroider the beak.
3.5mm hook (US E hook).
Tapestry needle.

ch = chain
st = stitch or stitches
sc = single crochet (US), double crochet (UK)
hdc = half double crochet (US), half treble crochet (UK)
ss = slip stitch
tog = together
sc2tog = decrease by working two sc together
FO = fasten off

This chick is made in rounds. Do not join rounds, 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.

Round 1: Ch 2, work 6 sc into 1st ch - 6 st.
Round 2: 2 sc in each st around - 12 st.
Round 3: [2 sc in next st, sc in next st] 6 times – 18 st.
Round 4 – 7: (4 rounds) Sc in each st around – 18 st.
Round 8: Sc in next 4 st, [make wing: ss into next st, ch 4, hdc into 2nd ch from hook, hdc in next 2 ch, ss back into original st], sc in next 8 st, [make wing as before], sc in next 4 st - 18 st.
Round 9: Sc in each st around – 18 st (you sc into the first ss used to make each wing).
Round 10: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 5 st] 3 times – 21 st.
Round 11: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 6 st] 3 times – 24 st.
Round 12 – 13: (2 rounds) Sc in each st around – 24 st.

Start to stuff. Embroider eyes and beak with French knots - wind the yarn round the needle twice for the eyes, and four or five times for the beak.

Round 14: [Sc2tog] 6 times – 12 st.
Round 15: [Sc2tog] 6 times – 6 sc. FO.
Complete stuffing and sew up hole neatly.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Chubby Gnomes

I was thinking of something to make for Easter that was egg-shaped, when I realised that Gnomes, with their pointy hats, were perfect. I wanted them to be chubby and simple, so I started with one with a classic red hat and a little beard.

I was really happy with the way he turned out, and I decided that he needed a little girl friend. I couldn't give her a beard (she's not a dwarf!) so she's got cute little pigtails.

I made another to check the pattern and changed the colours for a bit of variety.

I think Gnomes like gardens so they seem appropriate for spring when everything starts growing so madly. These little Gnomes are only 3.5" tall and fit nicely in your hand.

They'd look cute on a windowsill next to some plants, or maybe they'd like to go travelling? And they have another, more modern, talent. My 10 year-old son discovered that they're the perfect shape for break-dancing!

The pattern is now available in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Woolly Jumpers! Rabbit and Lamb amigurumis

I was asked to make some toys for our school's Easter raffle and so I picked two of the animals I most associate with spring - rabbits and lambs. I've been wanting to come up with a pattern for animal toys wearing clothes, so this was a good opportunity to give it a try. I started with a boy rabbit wearing a jumper (or sweater), then made the boy lamb with a really stripy jumper (I love stripes!).

Since I have boys I don't usually make girly toys, but I thought I'd give it a go this time and made a girl rabbit and lamb wearing little dresses, which made a nice change for me.

When I started making them the weather was still quite wintery, but but by the time I got round to photographing them it was getting much more spring-like, and I was pleased to be able to use some daffodils and primula as a backdrop.

The pattern, which gives instructions on how to make all the variations, is available in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Obi-Wan Kenobi - Mini Amigurumi

I've just finished my latest Star Wars amigurumi figure - Obi-Wan Kenobi. So far I've only done characters from the Original Trilogy, so I made a little mini version of old Ben Kenobi, complete with a brown hooded robe.

I'd forgotten, until I rewatched Episode IV, quite how much I liked the character, but Sir Alec Guinness did a great job, bringing a lot of class and gravity to the whole film, and he gets some great lines. When Ewan McGregor was cast in the prequels I was pleased, as he's a decent actor (who's very easy on the eye!), and he did a good impression of Guinness which helped connect the new films to the old. With that in mind, I thought I'd make his version of the character too. The pattern is written with just a few variations - old Obi-Wan wears a long robe whereas young Obi-Wan has a shorter one so you can see his trousers and boots, and obviously the hair colour is different.

I was very pleased with how the hooded robe turned out. Nearly all the crochet I do these days is amigurumi in the round, so it was a bit different making something in rows. I was worried that something so small would end up far too stiff, but it worked just fine. I might even try making a version of Yoda from the prequels with a little hooded robe.

The pattern, including both versions of Obi-Wan, is now available in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Boba Fett - Mini Amigurumi

I was delayed a bit by Christmas, but I've finally finished my pattern for a miniature Boba Fett. This bounty hunter with the fearsome reputation is only 3.5" tall, and the pattern to make him is available in my Etsy shop.

It was difficult to get his helmet right, but in the end I was very happy with it. It was also hard to find the right colour for his armour - every photo I looked at for reference looked slightly different, and for my first prototype I used an olive green. Then I found this colour, I would describe it as a sage green, which I think works well. I decided against making his rocket backpack, because I felt it would overwhelm him, given his size, but he had to have his little ragged cloak.

I'm hoping to come up with a few more Star Wars characters - I'm working on Obi Wan Kenobi at the moment, then I think I'll have a go at Admiral Ackbar and a Jawa.

***Latest news July 2014***
This pattern is no longer available for sale, as it is going to be included in a new Star Wars crochet book, due to be published Spring 2015.