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!

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Crochet Story

I went to see Solo: A Star Wars Story at the weekend, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was exciting, full of humour, action and double-crosses, and it was great to see younger versions of Han, Chewie and Lando (not to mention the Millenium Falcon).

Inspired by this, I decided to crochet those characters as they appear in the film, tweaking the patterns in Star Wars Crochet and Star Wars Even More Crochet.

Han was pretty easy, I just made him with a black shirt, rather than the cream shirt and waistcoat he wears in Episode IV. Then I crocheted him a brown jacket, using the pattern for Finn's jacket. I made it one row shorter and added black sections on the shoulders (it wasn't until I saw the film that I realised that the black panel extends along the back, so I'll have to change that).

Chewbacca doesn't wear much, but the bandolier he slings over his shoulder is a bit different, and has an extra section over the other shoulder. I basically crocheted less of the grey bobbles on the main strap, and did another smaller strap, again with less grey bobbles.

Lando is always a snazzy dresser, in fact in the film you will see that he has a whole room just for his capes on the Falcon! I made him with a yellow shirt and orange belt, and sewed a black triangle at the neck of his shirt. His cloak is black, and he has a thin black scarf round his neck. I gave him a tiny beard as well as a moustache, sewed little sideburns coming from the edge of his hair, and sewed a line into his hair to give him a parting on his right.

I hope you enjoy the film too, just let me know if you need any more info on the changes I made and I'll try to write them up for you.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

GDPR - New Data Protection Law

I'm sure you've all been seeing lots of information about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), a new regulation in EU law that aims to improve data and privacy protection. As a microbusiness (it's just me!) selling crochet patterns I still have to comply with it, so below you will find my privacy policy in detail. To summarise, I sell my patterns in PDF form on three sites, Etsy, Ravelry and Loveknitting. Loveknitting send me no personal information about the people who buy the patterns. Etsy and Ravelry (and Paypal for Ravelry sales) send me an email with each sale which contains the buyer's email address. I only use this information if necessary to deal with any problems regarding the order, and then I retain the email for tax purposes. I do not send any unsolicited emails, and do not run a mailing list.

Privacy Policy:

Information I Collect
To fulfil your order, you must provide me with certain information (which you authorised the site you are ordering from to provide to me), such as your name, email address, postal address, payment information, and the details of the product that you’re ordering. You may also choose to provide me with additional personal information, if you contact me directly.

Why I Need Your Information and How I Use It
I rely on a number of legal bases to collect, use, and share your information, including:
- as needed to provide my services, such as when I use your information to fulfil your order, to settle disputes, or to provide customer support;
- if necessary to comply with a legal obligation or court order or in connection with a legal claim, such as retaining information about your purchases if required by tax law; and
- as necessary for the purpose of my legitimate interests, if those legitimate interests are not overridden by your rights or interests, such as providing and improving my services. I use your information to provide the services you requested and in my legitimate interest to improve my services, and to comply with my obligations on the platform I am selling from.  
Information Sharing and Disclosure
Information about my customers is important to my business. I share your personal information for very limited reasons and in limited circumstances, as follows:
- Etsy. I share information with Etsy as necessary to provide you my services and comply with my obligations under both the Etsy Seller Policy and Etsy Terms of Use.
- Service providers. I may engage certain trusted third parties to perform functions and provide services to my shop, such as delivery companies. I will share your personal information with these third parties, but only to the extent necessary to perform these services.
- Business transfers. If I sell or merge my business, I may disclose your information as part of that transaction, only to the extent permitted by law.
- Compliance with laws. I may collect, use, retain, and share your information if I have a good faith belief that it is reasonably necessary to: (a) respond to legal process or to government requests; (b) enforce my agreements, terms and policies; (c) prevent, investigate, and address fraud and other illegal activity, security, or technical issues; or (d) protect the rights, property, and safety of my customers, or others.

Data Retention
I retain your personal information only for as long as necessary to provide you with my services and as described in my Privacy Policy. However, I may also be required to retain this information to comply with my legal and regulatory obligations, to resolve disputes, and to enforce my agreements. I generally keep your data for the following time period: 7 years.

Your Rights
If you reside in certain territories, including the EU, you have a number of rights in relation to your personal information. While some of these rights apply generally, certain rights apply only in certain limited cases. I describe these rights below:
- Access. You may have the right to access and receive a copy of the personal information I hold about you by contacting me.
- Change, restrict, delete. You may also have rights to change, restrict my use of, or delete your personal information. Absent exceptional circumstances (like where I am required to store data for legal reasons) I will generally delete your personal information upon request.
- Object. You can object to (i) my processing of some of your information based on my legitimate interests and (ii) receiving marketing messages from me after providing your express consent to receive them. In such cases, I will delete your personal information unless I have compelling and legitimate grounds to continue using that information or if it is needed for legal reasons.
- Complain. If you reside in the EU and wish to raise a concern about my use of your information (and without prejudice to any other rights you may have), you have the right to do so with your local data protection authority.
How to Contact Me
For purposes of EU data protection law, I, Lucy Collin, am the data controller of your personal information. If you have any questions or concerns, you will find my contact information by going to my Etsy shop:
You will find the privacy policies of the sites I use to sell patterns at the links below:


Monday, 21 May 2018

Jar Jar Binks Amigurumi Pattern

When I went to see the Phantom Menace back in 1999 I loved it. I loved that we were getting new Star Wars films filled with lots of new, exciting worlds and characters. I came out of the cinema, and the first thing I did was to buy a Jar Jar Binks cuddly toy, because I thought he was a fun character with an interesting design. All my friends enjoyed the film, but over the years there's been a lot of negativity about the prequels, and much of that negativity has been focused on Jar Jar.

Now, I do think the original trilogy is better than the prequels, but I still find them entertaining. When I shared my love of Star Wars with my kids, they enjoyed all the films, and they liked Jar Jar Binks. He's a fun, endearing character, who makes a lot of mistakes, and is in contrast to the highly-skilled Jedi.

So, if you or your children love Jar Jar, maybe you'd like to make him in mini crochet form. My new pattern is now available on Etsy and Ravelry and lets you make the friendly Gungan in the same scale as my other Star Wars characters. He's one of the taller characters, and will be approximately 11.5 cm/4.5 tall when finished.

On the other hand, if you're one of those fans that really hates Jar Jar, you can always make him and use him as a pin cushion!

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Firefly Amigurumi - Kaylee Frye

Well, I've finally finished my third Firefly pattern, and this one is for Serenity's kind and good natured mechanic, Kaylee Frye. She tends to wear practical jumpsuits most of the time, though she brightens them up with colourful tops and jackets.

With this pattern I've come up with two slightly different versions of Kaylee. You can make her with her hair up in two buns, wearing sandals and with her jumpsuit legs rolled up, with a separate jacket. Or you can make her with long hair, wearing boots. She will come out about 16 cm/6.5” tall.

The pattern is available on Etsy and Ravelry, and you can also buy the pattern together with the patterns for Mal Reynolds and Jayne Cobb at a reduced price, also on Etsy and Ravelry. If you would like to buy the Kaylee pattern together with just one of the other Firefly patterns, let me know, and I'll set that up.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Making Amigurumi - starting the first round

I get all sorts of questions from people making my patterns, and it seems like a good idea to share some of my answers, and any tips and tricks that I've picked up the time I've been crocheting and making amigurumi. A quick definition in case you don't know - amigurumi are toys that are made by crocheting in the round. This means you can create spherical and tube shapes that are perfect for making toy people and animals, and working in the round creates a strong crochet fabric that doesn't have large holes in it.

There are two ways I know of starting to work in the round and the one that seems to be recommened most often these days is to use an adjustable ring (sometimes called a magic ring). You'll find lots of tutorials online showing how to do this, but personally, I've never liked using it. When I learned to make amigurumi I used the simpler technique of making two chain stitches, then working into the first chain, which I'll describe in more detail below. When I first heard about the adjustable ring I tried it out, but I didn't find it as easy, or as secure, as my normal method.

Obviously, you should use whichever technique works best for you, but if you're new to making amigurumi, or if you've tried my normal method and not been entirely happy with it, I thought I'd set out exactly how to do it to make it work perfectly. All the instructions are set out for right-handed crocheters (sorry about that left-handers - despite being left-handed myself, I learned to crochet right-handed and that's the only way I know how to do it).

So, most of my patterns start like this (written in US terms, see below for the UK version):

Round 1: Ch 2, work 6 sc into 1st ch - 6 st.

And here is exactly how to do that:

1. Make a slip knot (you’ll need this to start any crochet). Note that the end of the yarn is on the right-hand side in the next three photos.

2. Put the slip knot on your hook, making sure the short end of yarn is to the right, you'll be working with the rest of the yarn with your left hand.

3. Chain 2 (to chain: yarn over hook, pull through loop on hook).

4. Start working into the first chain. Each chain stitch is made up of two 'lines' with a 'bump' on the other side. You need to push your hook between the two lines and underneath the bump. Work a single crochet stitch (sc in US terms; double crochet, or dc, in UK terms): insert hook into chain stitch as described, yarn over hook, pull through stitch, yarn over hook and pull through both loops on hook.

Since the first chain was made from the slip knot, it will expand as you work into it.

5. In this case the first round is made of 6 sc (most amigurumi start with 6 stitches, but be sure to check the pattern). As you continue to work the stitches you should work over the tail of yarn you started with. You won't be able to do this on the first sc/dc, but after that it should be no problem. Hold the tail of yarn over the hook after you've inserted it through the chain, pull the yarn through and continue with the stitch as normal.

The tail of yarn held over the hook (the working end of yarn is loose above the hook).

Yarn over hook before pulling under the tail of yarn and the chain stitch.

6. Once you have completed the six stitches, it should look like this:

7. Pull the tail of yarn to close the hole in the centre.

8. Don't worry if the hole doesn't look completely closed. Work the next round (in the photo below I have worked two stitches in each stitch of round 1 to increase from 6 to 12 stitches), then pull the tail of yarn again. The hole should close completely and be secure.

Before pulling the tail of yarn tight.

After pulling the tail of yarn tight.

I hope that helps, let me know if that makes it clear or if you have any questions.