Cute Little Bunnies

These cute little bunnies are my latest pattern to be made available as a single pdf download. They originally appeared in Issue 113 of Inside Crochet magazine and with Easter fast approaching I thought it might be fun to share this cute pair with their adorable little outfits!

You can buy the pattern on Payhip, and it can be downloaded from  Love Crafts. Sewing features is often the hardest part of amigurumi projects, a slightly wonky eye or a misplaced nose can totally alter the character of your makes. So,  I have included a couple of close up photos which I hope will help you. The pattern consists of six pages, with full instructions for making the bunny and all the clothes. You’ll need to be able to crochet in the round and read a crochet pattern written in UK crochet terms.

Most of this week I’ve been “stalking” the Postie, waiting for new yarn to arrive for a commission. It finally arrived today and I wish I could share it with you – it’s the beautiful shade – but you’ll just have to wait until it appears in print for details (or follow me on Instagram for sneaky peeks)…

Sofia and Sparkles

Sofia and Sparkles Family Group 2019.jpgWell hello – and thanks for stopping by! I want to introduce you to Sofia and Sparkles. Sparkles the mouse made her debut on Instagram before Christmas, but it’s taken me three months to write up and check the pattern, meanwhile she was joined by Sofia, a little bunny with an impossibly cute pom pom tail!

There will be a wardrobe of clothes for these little cuties –  I just need some decent light to photograph the samples – it’s so wet and grim here in Cheshire at the moment. Sparkles and Sophia were both made in Alpaca yarns, Sparkles is Whitfell DK in natural and Sofia is made using King Cole Alpaca in Grey. I loved using these yarns. Alpaca is so soft and it gives a lovey fur like texture. The clothes are made with oddments of double knitting yarns and Sofia’s pom pom tail is made from some leftover silk / mohair (Kidsilk Haze would be perfect). To stuff them, I used a natural wool fibre stuffing, which you have heard me talk about before. It’s so lovely to find an alternative to man made fibre stuffing. I buy mine from Wool Warehouse, but you can find other stockists.

Sofia Bunny March 2019 2

 

Both Sofia and Sparkles are ideal for beginners who can work into a ring. They are constructed using double crochet in rounds, with some increasing and decreasing for shaping.

While making these toys I also discovered my new favourite crochet tool – a felting needle! Because these amigurumi use all natural fibres, you can needle felt the ears and limbs into the most pleasing position and be sure they’ll stay put! You can also needle felt the head if it feels a little floppy. I am currently experimenting with adding  colour to my makes, spots, stripes and patches could be so much simpler than working colour changes whilst crocheting (which I know is something lots of my crochet pupils struggle with). To be honest, I often find the colour changes on such small numbers of stitches can look a little “clunky”, so using a simple needle felting technique might be the answer.

Sparkles Mouse March 2019

 

I hope you like Sofia and Sparkles, I imagine them getting up to all kinds of mischief and adventures. Both patterns can be downloaded now from Ravelry  or  Love Crochet soon. Look out for more clothes and accessories, which I’ll be adding here over the next couple of weeks.

Free Pattern: Wee Mousie

Hello Little Mouse!

one little mouse.jpg

I make no apologies for my current obsession with tiny cute things – making them is a joy – and being able to make something so quickly is definitely a bonus!

These little mice started life as a sample for a Learn to Crochet Class, I quickly realised that others might fall in love with them too. They’re much cuter than the real thing, which we occasionally spy scuttling across the patio!

Of course, I had to make three (in honour of the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice).

Each mouse is made in a different shade of King Cole Baby Alpaca (I had oddments left over from some other projects, which you’ll see in print soon) and is stuffed with wool stuffing. You can use any yarn you like and as mice come in many shapes, sizes and colours, you can dive into your stash and come up with a unique little mouse.

I’ve used beads for the eyes, but you could use embroidery if you prefer. The trickiest part is the whiskers; it was so hard to come up with a colour and texture that looked attractive. In the end I went for a combination of cotton yarn and sewing thread.

I’ve listed this as a free pattern, which means it hasn’t been tech edited. It has been tested by some of my pupils and proof read, but mistakes can still sneak through. If you spot an error please let me know and I can fix it. You’ll find a full list of crochet terms and abbreviations here.

I always like to start working in the round with a crochet ring, if you prefer an adjustable or “magic” ring, feel free to start that way instead. Remember, the only rule in crochet is there are no rules!

To make your mouse you will need:

2.5mm crochet hook, oddments of dk yarn (about 18m) and approximately 6g of toy stuffing or wool scraps. Two beads or black embroidery floss for eyes.

three little mice.jpg

Pattern starts here: (written in UK crochet terms)

Make 2ch.

Round 1: 4dc into 2nd ch from hk. 4dc

Round 2: (1dc, 2dc in next st) twice. 6dc

Round 3: (2dc, 2dc in next st) twice. 8dc

Round 4: (3dc, 2dc in next st) twice. 10dc

Round 5: (4dc, 2dc in next st) twice. 12dc

Round 6: 1dc in each st around.

Round 7: (3dc, 2dc in next st) 3 times. 15dc

Round 8: (4dc, 2dc in next st) 3 times. 18dc.

Rounds 9 – 18: 1dc in each dc around.

Stuff head and body.

Round 19: (4dc, dc2tog) 3 times. 15dc

Round 20: (3dc, dc2tog) 3 times. 12dc

Round 21: (dc2tog) 6 times. 6dc.

Make tail:

Row 1: 1sl st into next dc, ch16, 1sl st in 2nd ch from hk and in each ch across, 1 sl st in same place as first sl st. fasten off yarn.

Add more stuffing to body if required and close hole using long yarn tail.

Ears: (make two)

Make 4ch.

Row 1: 3ch, 4tr in 4th ch from hk, sl st in same ch. Fasten off yarn.

Sew ears to top of head (use photo as a guide).

Finishing:

Sew eyes, nose and whiskers using photo as a guide to placement.

two little mice.jpg

I hope you enjoy making these teeny mice – you can share your makes on my Facebook page, or on Instagram (just tag your photos #grannycoolcrochet). I do love to see your photos.

Happy crocheting!

 

Welcome Back Pookie Pals

Pookies in Crochet Now.jpgI have always had a secret (or not so secret) obsession with crocheting cute, tiny things. It’s often a way of destressing after a difficult or complicated design project. Sometimes I just get the urge to crochet something that is quick and allows for some creativity.

That’s how the Pookie Pals were born. The original template patterns (for pig, bear and bunny) appeared way back in issue 9 of Crochet Now magazine and the plan was to add to the collection with embellishments and new animals. I submitted drawings for foxes, bears, rabbits and even a festive Rudolph.  But, as is often the way with publishing, a new editor, new book commissions and life in general meant that they never appeared.

Pookies.jpg

Now the book is done and dusted, I find myself returning to those cute crochet Pookies (names for the book character). Last week I tried out an updated Pookie Bear, which even Mr T agreed was a “cutie”, even though he thought it looked like he was wearing a cyclist’s bib shorts (the man is obsessed with all things bike!)

Pookie Bear Photo 1.jpg

In my mind, there are at least a dozen of these Pookie Pals and as a little project for the coming year I will be making and sharing a new one every month.

Do you enjoy crocheting cute, tiny things? Would you be interested in the patterns for these as they appear? I’ll pop the original Pookie Pals pattern online shortly, if anyone reading this would like an advance copy to before it goes on sale, send me a message and I’ll pick a few of you at random to get a free copy before it goes on sale. The pattern is written in UK crochet terms, suitable for anyone who has mastered double crochet, increasing, decreasing,  working in rounds and feels confident to follow a written pattern without a photo tutorial. Look out for Pookie FOx next month – he’s already on my hook!

Happy hooking xxx

Saturday Review: Mini Crochet Creatures by Lauren Bergstrom

imageGenThis is certainly the cutest and most adorable crochet book to land on my desk in recent months. I have loved exploring all the different animals and possibilities this new book offers. Published this month, Mini Crochet Creatures really does qualify for the  description “adorable”. It really is delightful, and if you think you can’t be charmed by tiny crochet then  take a “sneaky peek” inside the pages on Amazon. Even if you have never felt a desire to try crochet amigurumi before, this book might just change you mind!

Inside you’ll find clear photos, charts and written instructions to crochet 30 different tiny creatures. The book is divided into sections covering farm animals, woodland creatures, pets and many more. Whoever styled this book certainly has a sense of fun and each spread shows off the tiny creatures. I just can’t decide what I want to make first, although the sloth and hippo have proved very popular among my crochet pupils who are desperate to make them!

9781784943899_sp4

Lauren is a South African amigurumi designer and this is her first book, although you may have spotted her designs in crochet magazines or on social media. I am already thinking of all the possibilities these tiny creatures off, keyrings, charms, good luck mascots… or even just as a break for routine, these tiny projects are very protable and great for using up all your odds and ends. The features are added with pieces of felt or embroidery, so some skill with a needle will enhance the “cute factor” of your amigurumi. This is a book for all ages and all skill levels. Beginners may find the small pieces fiddly at first, but as you’re unlikely to want to stop after your first mini animal, you’ll get plenty of practice. Most definitely one for my wish list, I look forward to seeing more of Lauren’s imaginative crochet creatures – volume two please GMC?

Book details:

Published:  April 2018 at  £14.99

ISBN: 9781784943899

You find full details  and more images from the book on the GMC website.

 

Meet Finnley Fox

foxI’m thrilled to be able to start sharing projects from my new book with you. First of all, here’s Finnley Fox, designed by the rather lovely and incredible talented Stephanie Lau, who some of you might know from her blog “All About Ami”. I was so pleased when the publishers allowed me to commission other designers to create  projects for the book. I don’t often design amigurumi, so it seemed perfect to choose someone who is as skilled as Stephanie.

I hope you like Finnley as much as I do, he really does steal the show! Thanks so much Stephanie for being part of my lovely book. I’ll be featuring more designers and projects from the book over the next couple of weeks.

 

In love with small things

pumkin 2My love affair with all things tiny shows no signs of burning itself out. I’ve never really tried designing amigurumi – there are too many fabulous and talented designers  making tiny marvels already – but after finishing “the book” I just need some downtime and amigurumi seemed the perfect choice.  This week has had an autumnal feel about it and so a tiny pumpkin was inevitable I suppose.  here it is, another freebie (I know, I’m just too good to you at the moment!) You will whip these up in no time at all!

Teeny Pumpkin

The smallest version was made using DMC Woolly and a 2.75mm hook, the larger was made using  cotton chenille from my Mother in Law’s stash, I used a 3.5mm hook for that one. You’ll need a tiny length of brown or green yarn for the stalk.

Sizing and tension: Obviously, your pumpkin will turn out slightly differently because you’re going to dive into your stash, find some suitable yarn and get hooking. So, don’t worry about tension – just make sure the stitches are tight enough that the stuffing won’t show through the fabric.

You’ll also need some hollow fibre toy stuffing (or old tights -yes, some of  us do still keep old tights for toy stuffing!) and a sharp needle with a large eye and a stitch marker is helpful to keep track of each round.

Pattern

Notes: The pumpkin is made in spirals, do not join and do not turn at the end of each round. I have used standard UK crochet abbreviations throughout.

With your chosen hook and yarn make 6ch, join with a slip stitch to make a ring.

Round 1: 6 dc into ring (6 dc)

Round 2: (2 dc in each dc) 6 times. (12 dc)

Round 3: ( 1 dc in next dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (18 dc)

Round 4: ( 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (24 dc)

Round 5: ( 1 dc in each of next 3 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (30 dc)

Round 6: ( 1 dc in each of next 4 dc, 2 dc in next dc) 6 times. (36 dc)

Rounds 7,8, 9: 1 dc in each dc around.

Round 10: (4 dc, dc2tog) 6 times. (30 dc)

Round 11: (3 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (24 dc)

Stuff your pumpkin, adding more stuffing as you work subsequent rounds, but not too firmly

Round 12: ( 2 dc, dc2tog) 6 times (18 dc)

Round 13: (1 dc, dc2tog)  6 times (12 dc)

Round 14: (dc2tog) 6 times (6 dc)

Cut yarn, leaving an extra long tail (this is used to make the pumpkin segments) and thread yarn tail onto a sharp pointed needle, draw yarn through the 6 dc to close the hole at the base. Do not fasten off yarn.

Make segments as follows:

Bring the yarn to the top of the pumpkin and insert the needle through the centre ring, wrap the yarn around the pumpkin side and insert the needle back into the base, pulling it out at the top. As you pull gently on the yarn, the sphere will squash down and you’ll see how the segments are created. Repeat 5 times, evenly spacing the segments around the pumpkin. Fasten off the yarn at the base.

To make the stalk:

Make 7 ch, sl st into 2nd chain from hook, make 1 sl st in each ch to end. fasten off leaving a long tail. Thread the yarn tail onto your needle and sew to the top of the pumpkin.

Larger pumpkins may need longer stalks, just make a longer chain.

Of course, you can make even larger pumpkins by making more increase rounds, just work an extra straight round for each increase round and remember to decrease in sequence.

And if you thought I was crackers for making tiny pumpkins – here’s what else I hooked up yesterday!toadstools

 

 

 

 

Summer break

Well hello there! While the British summer may have been a bit of a washout so far, I have had a lovely break (cue photo of French sunflowers!) and now it’s back to work.

sunflowersWork in “the book” continues, with some exciting stuff this week, which involved a trip to Tunbridge Wells – I can’t wait to tell you more and reveal a new departure for me – you’ll have to wait until all is revealed, but I can tell you it was very exciting (for me at least) and involved some fabulous people and a rather amazing publication which I’ve been reading since childhood!!

In between designing some rather cute Christmas commissions (yes, magazine commissions work on a different “time zone” to ordinary mortals!) I have been swatching motifs, I have a blanket in mind, but I’m not sure what form it will take yet, much playing with yarn will follow until I feel I’ve got it “just right”. This swatch two beautiful shades of Eden Cottage Yarns Whitfell DK, a yarn I’ve been using a lot recently.

WHMEalpaca swatch

Meantime, I’ve been teaching myself how to design amigurumi figures. Apparently it’s “all in the proportions”, so many part finished dolls and critters swamp my desk as I write!

LITTLE CUTIE PIE

Also this week, the lovely team at Rooster Yarns sent me some of their gorgeous Almerino – now here’s a yarn I’ll use again. It’s so soft and the colours are stunning. A practical blend of baby alpaca and merino, it comes in dk and aran weight. I used 2 balls of dk to make this pretty cowl. It started life as a Friday night swatch, but soon turned into this little beauty – which I will admit to wearing already – like I said – summer has been a bit of a washout.

rooster cowlFinally, I am slowly editing all my patterns ready to re -release my single downloads in the autumn and post some brand new free patterns in preparation for your seasonal gift knitting and crochet (you see, I can’t even mention the “C” word in August – even though I’m been humming Christmas carols and knitting baubles since July!)

Whatever you’re up to this summer, I hope you find some time to put down your hooks and needles and spend some time outdoors in the sunshine.

Thanks for dropping by

Tracey x