Hook a hedgehog!

Hedgehog plain

Hot on the heels of Mr.Fox and Mr.Raccoon, here is Hedgehog, another variation on my foxy purse in Issue 10 of Simply Crochet. He’s a little more tricky than the Fox and Raccoon, but not much – it’s only his spines that require a bit more effort, and a bit of surface crochet worked onto the existing triangle shape. Again, you will need the pattern from Simply Crochet for the basic triangle shape, but of course, if you’re a crochet whizz, you’ll probably be able to work out how to do the shape for yourself! 😉

You will need to make 2 triangles in dark brown for the purse pocket (this is the shape given for the Head in the original Fox pattern), and below is the pattern for the hedgehog-y Head, to be used as the purse flap.

UK crochet terms used throughout.

Hedgehog Head

With a 3.5mm (US E/4) hook and light brown DK yarn, follow the Head pattern of the Fox until the point where you dc along the top straight edge of the triangle. Fasten off the light brown yarn, and join dark brown DK into the first st of the top edge.

Row 1 (RS) Ch1 (does not count as st), work 1 row of double crochet evenly along the top straight edge, turn.

Row 2 Ch1 (does not count as st), dc in the front loop only of each st across, turn.

With the RS facing, you will now be able to see the remaining loops of each st from Row 1. Work each st of the following row in each of those loops:

Row 3 Ss in first loop, (ch6, ss in next loop) repeat to end of row, turn.

For the next row, you will be working in the dc stitches from Row 2:

Row 4 Ch1 (does not count as st), dc in the front loop only of each st across, turn.

Row 5 As Row 3, working in the remaining loops of each st from Row 2.

For the following two rows, you will be working across the central stitches of the head only. Calculate half of the number of stitches across the Head, and identify that number of stitches in the centre of the Head. For example, if there are 24 sts in your Row 4, half is 12, and in order to position those 12 sts centrally, you will need to skip the first 6 sts, work 12 sts, and skip the last 6 sts. If you have an odd number of sts it won’t quite work out evenly so as to be exactly symmetrical, but it won’t show on the finished Head. Either fasten off your dark brown yarn and rejoin it in the first st you will be working on the next row, or slip st in each st across to the point where you will begin working. Working this extra half row in the centre rounds off the shape of the Head a little bit, so that it isn’t so flat.

Rows 6 and 7 Repeat Rows 4 and 5 working on the central sts only, and working in the remaining loops of Row 4 for Row 7, fasten off and weave in ends.

At this point, you will have a light brown triangle with 2½ rows of chain loops for spines across the top. In order to round out the face, you need to work more spines on the light brown triangle. To do this, first work lines of slip stitch surface crochet as shown on the diagram below. Then repeat Row 3 to make the spines, inserting your hook underneath both strands of the ss loop on the surface of the triangle for each st.

Hedgehog surface crochet diagram
Hmm..this does look a bit like a pair of y-fronts!

Now all that remains is to add the eyes – I used small circles of white felt and tiny brown buttons – and a button for the nose. Coming in Part 2 – a host of hedgehog ideas!

Mr.Fox and Mr.Raccoon

Fox Purse

In Issue 10 of Simply Crochet, there’s a foxy purse that I designed on p.85. I love doing fun things like this, and given my poor record at finishing projects, it’s nice to be able to do something that doesn’t take very long! If you’d like to see how to make him, you can buy an issue at My Favourite Magazines – this link is for the subscriptions page, but there is also a link top right of the central column for buying a single issue – or search the digital magazines page for Simply Crochet in your format of choice.

The simple shape of the basic purse lends itself to some cute animal variations, so I thought I’d have a go at some others based on these shapes. So, without further ado, may I introduce Mr. Raccoon…Mr.Raccoon

You will need the pattern from Simply Crochet to make the basic semi-circle shape, but instead of making 2 semi-circles for the purse pocket and 1 triangle for the flap, you will need to make 3 semi-circles in grey in total; 2 for the pocket and 1 for the flap. You will then need 2 ‘patches’ for the eyes, and 2 ears:

UK crochet terms used throughout.

Eye Patches (make 2)

With black DK yarn and a 3.5mm (US E/4) hook, ch5.

Row 1 Dc in second ch from hook, dc in each of next 2 ch, 3dc in next ch, dc in each of next 3 ch, turn. [9 sts]

Row 2 Ch1 (doesn’t count as st), 4dc, 3dc in next dc, 4dc, turn. [11 sts]

Row 3 Ch1 (doesn’t count as st), 5dc, 3dc in next dc, 2dc, 3htr, fasten off black, turn. [13 sts]

Row 4 Join white DK in first st, ch1 (doesn’t count as st), 6dc, 3dc in next dc, 6dc, turn. [15 sts]

Row 5 Ch1 (doesn’t count as st), 6dc, 2dc in next st, 1dc, 2dc in next st, 6dc. [17 sts]

Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing, and weave in starting end.

For the eyes, you can either embroider a circle using small chain stitches and white yarn with a black French knot in the centre, or use 2 small circles of white felt and a French knot in black. I cheated a bit in the photo because I couldn’t lay my hands on my scraps of white felt, so I used a bit of craft foam and made a dot in pen for the eyes.

When you sew the two patches to the flap, turn one over so that they will be symmetrical.

Ears (make 2)

With grey DK yarn and a 3.5mm (US E/4) hook, ch2.

Row 1 (RS) 3dc in the second ch from the hook, turn. [3 sts]

Row 2 Ch1 (doesn’t count as st), 2dc in each dc, turn. [6 sts]

Row 3 Ch1 (doesn’t count as st), (1dc, 2dc in next st) 3 times. [9 sts]

Fasten off, leaving a long tail, and weave in starting end.

Use the long tail to sew each ear to the top of the flap. With white DK yarn, ss around the outside edge of each ear, fasten off and weave in all ends.

Sew a black button centre bottom for the nose.

That’s him sorted! There may even be a Mr.Hedgehog to bring up the rear. I’ll keep you posted.

Birth announcements!

Adam's birth announcementsBefore anyone wonders, I’m not announcing any births of my own! I’ve recently completed a picture for one of my nephews – a bit belatedly as you will see! I originally made one for both of my nieces (twins), when they were born nearly 3 years ago, and Adam is their elder brother. I hadn’t done one for Adam, and my sister-in-law asked me if I could complete the set, hence why it is so late after the event. It had to go with the other two I had done, and I also had a bit of a brief for this one, as Adam is now old enough to have developed some interests of his own. It had to include trains, bunnies, maps and possibly pipes. Pipes? Yes, plumbing-type pipes. I didn’t ask, but you know how young children can be sometimes ;-). This was a bit of a challenge, but I managed three out of the four. My No.1 son also contributed to this. He drew his own bunny picture – you can see him hiding behind the bush. The reason he is hiding behind the bush is because he was holding an orange carrot, and as orange did not exactly go with the colour scheme, the carrot had to be hidden somewhere…

The other two for Amy and Megan are below. These will be forever associated in my mind with the fact that I fell and broke my wrist on the way to collect them from the printer’s. No such mishaps this time fortunately!

Amy's birth announcement


Megan's birth announcement

Mollie Makes Crochet Book

Mollie Makes Crochet Cover

I am very excited to be featured in the latest Mollie Makes book about Crochet. Mollie Makes Crochet, published by Collins and Brown, has just been released, so at last I am able to shout about it! The book has lots of helpful info on learning to crochet, and some beautiful projects for inspiration to boot. I love the layout of the book too – it’s really clear and easy to follow and has some great technical illustrations (I love technical illustrations – sad but true!).

I designed three monster gadget covers and a set of Russian dolls. I think it was nearly a year ago that I was actually making these I was just going to write that the Russian dolls were fairly straightforward to make, and then I remembered what actually happened! The shape was quite tricky and involved a bit of trial and error, and getting the three to be similar proportions was also a bit of a challenge. I had drawn a sketch first, which was what I submitted after being asked to contribute, and it actually helped quite a bit when designing them as I used measurements from the sketch to help with the proportions.

Russian Dolls Sketch
The sketch I sumbitted at the beginning of the commissioning process
Mollie Makes Crochet Russian Dolls
The finished dolls in the book

In theory the gadget covers should have been easy too, but I didn’t have an iPad or a Kindle to gauge the size with. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this at the start of the process, but I ploughed in by just using the measurements, spent three quarters of the time worrying about whether they would fit, and then decided to make a cardboard mock-up of the gadget which helped a lot! They did work out ok, but I think it’s the pressure of having such short deadlines for these kind of projects that makes one a little crazy and not think straight. The thought of having to rip out a project that has already taken 10+ hours in order to make it fit is not a good one… Speed crocheting being of the essence, I also completely bodged the tension on the iPad cover, and it ended up a very wonky shape. Fortunately a bit of severe blocking and bullying it into shape remedied the problem.

My boys loved the iPod covers when I was making them, so I decided to make a couple for them for Christmas. I did one in the same colours as in the book, and another in purple and green stripes. They have been very popular!

Mollie Makes Crochet gadget covers

Miss Maggie Rabbit

Miss Maggie Rabbit

I’m not given to impulse purchases as a rule, and neither would I usually be drawn to a ‘craft kit’, but I made an exception for Alicia Paulson’s Miss Maggie Rabbit. Those that follow Posie Gets Cozy will be familiar with the exquisite photography and the even more beautiful craft projects. I don’t follow many craft blogs religiously either, but hers is one I have had on Flipboard for a long time. When I saw these rabbits I was smitten, and ordered a kit almost straight away.

I had huge fun making this. I really enjoyed using the kit – much more so than I expected. It was quite a relief not to have to search for all the right bits, and to not be ‘making do’ with something I had stashed away, when really I would have quite liked to use something else. It helps that the materials are lovely. You’ve only got to take one look at Liberty Tana Lawn to be in love, haven’t you? That fabric alone sparked some exciting discoveries, such as Very Berry Fabrics, a Folksy shop selling small pieces of Tana Lawn for crafters. It may be beautiful fabric, but it’s also quite pricey in larger pieces, so it’s great to be able to buy smaller bits of all those patterns. I also found out that our little fabric shop Flo-Jo Boutique on Gloucester Road stocks it, so if ever I feel the need to go and ogle the stuff In Real Life, I can trot down the road for a fix. I also remembered an outfit that I made in my early dressmaking days while still at school. There used to be a Liberty shop in Bath a long time ago, and I got some pink paisley Tana Lawn in the sale there. I was very pleased with it, and made a summer outfit with a vest top and wide Palazzo pants that I wore a lot.

Miss Maggie's Boots

The tiny stitches were very satisfying too. It’s a while since I’ve done much hand sewing or embroidery, and I always have a bit of a crisis of confidence about embroidery beforehand, thinking it will never look very neat or even. I contemplated having a practice first before stitching the actual thing, but I was too impatient for that and dove right in. It was okay once I got going, and there were only a couple of bits that didn’t look quite as neat as I’d hoped. The boots were one of my favourite things about the whole design. They were also one of the most fiddly bits to do, but I think they really add something to the finished rabbit.

So, thank you Alicia, for an altogether delightful purchase! Alicia also has a Pinterest board for photographs of the finished rabbits. The kits are available in different fabrics and colourways, and there are also some very cute knitted sweater patterns available. Looking back at these again has tempted me. Maybe some more rabbit wardrobe items will be in order…