Crochet Now Magazine | Spot the Dog Crochet Exclusive

My heart is brimming over at the moment with childhood nostalgia! Look it’s crocheted Spot the Dog!! I’ve been so excited about this design and I’m so happy to finally share it with you!

Crochet Spot the Dog Amigurumi in Issue 41 of Crochet Now by Heather C Gibbs
© Crochet Now | The Eric and Gillian Hill Family Trust / Salspot Ltd. 2018

I cannot image my childhood without the classic Spot the Dog books, I remember flipping the flaps of Where’s Spot? when I was young, then I reread the various board books to my eldest when she was small, and more recently I’m enjoying rediscovering them with my two year old. 

I was therefore absolutely delighted when Crochet Now magazine asked me if I’d like to have a go at designing the crochet version of Spot.

If you aren’t familiar with Spot, he is a lovable yellow puppy character created by Eric Hill who is a firm favourite with toddlers and pre-schoolers. The children’s books have sold more than 60 million copies and 2020 will be celebration year for Spot’s 40th birthday.

Crochet Spot the Dog Amigurumi next to some classic Spot the Dog books

Of course I said YES and got to planning. It wasn’t until after I’d said yes that I kind of realised what a task I’d taken on! Spot is such a well loved character that I really had to get him just right! It was very important therefore that what ever I did was a faithful representation of Spot the dog and was in keeping with his lovable playfulness.

This was also a very different experience for me as it wasn’t going to be my design per-say as it’s a character that already exists and I was very grateful for the supportive guidance from Crochet Now magazine and Penguin books who publish the Spot the Dog books

Crochet Spot the Dog Amigurumi designing in progress

My Spot went through lots of different phases of sketches before I got my crochet hooks out and then I tried out different shaping techniques to get the look of the 2-D character into a 3-D form. Picking the perfect ‘Spot’ yellow and brown was also very crucial to the process!

The finished Spot is about 15.5cm tall and I designed him with embroidered features which makes him perfect for little ones under 36 months – for older children or adults you could use safety eyes instead.

Crochet Spot the Dog Amigurumi in a cute book scene in Issue 41 of Crochet Now by Heather C Gibbs
© Crochet Now | The Eric and Gillian Hill Family Trust / Salspot Ltd. 2018

I love how he turned out in the end, and I love how the magazine have styled him so he looks JUST like he’s stepped out of one of his own books!

Do you love Spot? You can get the exclusive pattern and kit to make him now in Crochet Now magazine Issue 41! Just so you know, due to the branding guidelines, this pattern will never be released by me independently, you will only be able to get him through the magazine – so if you want him you need to go get him quick!

Spot the Dog amigurumi with his paw on a Spot the Dog book.

Crochet Now is available in all major supermarkets and newsagents across the UK and there is a subscription available to overseas customers which you can find out more about on their website.

I’ve also got another design out in this months issue that’s kind of related to Spot but I’ll talk about that a bit more soon!

Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Free Crochet Pattern | Little Kooky Bird Amigurumi

Have you heard about the wonderful international makers project ‘Every Bird sings it’s own Song’? It’s a wonderful crafters connection project to try and create the longest line of hand crafted birds at the Textiel Festival Weerribben (in The Netherlands) in June. 

The theme of the festival is Strange Birds, and the idea is to embrace core values of the crafting community of cooperation, diversity and connections.

I was contacted by Esmeralda, a facilitator of the project, to see if I could maybe share the information about the project which I said of course I would; as soon as I heard about this project I knew it was something I wanted to get involved in!

As well as sharing the information about the project here on the blog I decided to also have a go at designing my own little ‘strange bird’ – and the Little Kooky Bird was the result.

Small crocheted amigurumi bird

I used some Scheepjes Catona from my stash and some scraps of felt to create the little jellybean shaped hanging bird ornament.

Scroll down for the free Little Kooky Bird pattern but before then if you want to join in with the project too, maybe with a Little Kooky Bird you have made yourself, then please send them to: Creazy Ladies: de Hare 10, 8375 GC Oldemarkt, The Netherlands.

Birds don’t have to be crocheted, they can be from various materials: knitting, crocheting, quilting, embroidery, felting, drawn or dyed will all be accepted as long as it is made of textile, wool or yarn. The maximum size of any bird is 25 cm high and 15 cm wide.

The deadline for all birds to be in The Netherlands is 31 May 2019 and you can find out more, or follow the progress of the project of GGDW, on facebook, twitter and instagram with the hashtag of #evc2019

The following pattern is free here on the blog but it’s also available in my Ravelry store where there is a nominal fee for a downloadable 3 page PDF pattern free of advertisements if you’d prefer.

SAVE PATTERN ON RAVELRY HERE

Little Kooky Bird Amigurumi

skill3

Materials:

Yarn: 4ply / Fingering Yarn Scheepjes Catona used in photos;

  • 1 x 15g / 37.5m x Shocking Pink (Shade 114)
  • 1 x 10g / 25m x Ultra Violet (Shade 282)

Pattern will work in other hooks and yarns though finished size will be different.

Hook: 2.75mm hook (US size C)

You will also need:

  • Polyester toy stuffing
  • 2 x 9mm Black Safety Eyes
  • Small scraps of white and yellow felt
  • Yellow sewing thread and needle
  • Small piece of silver thread (optional)
  • Stitch Markers
  • Yarn Needle

Gauge: 4dc/sc = 2.5cm (1 inch)

Obtaining the correct gauge is not critical to this project but finished size may differ if your gauge is different to the one specified.

Finished Size: 7.5cm (2.95 inches) high

Abbreviations:

  • st(s) = stitch(es)        
  • sl st = slip stitch                            
  • ch(s) = chain
  • dc/sc = UK double crochet / US single  crochet
  • dc/sc2tog = UK double crochet 2 together / US double crochet 2 together
  • htr/hdc = UK half treble / US half double crochet
  • tr/dc = UK treble / US double crochet
  • […] = Repeat the sequence between the square brackets by the number indicated.
  • (.. sts) = The number in round brackets at the end of the instruction indicates the number of stitches after working the row.

Stitch Guidance:

  • Slip Stitch (sl st): Insert hook in st indicated, yarn over and draw through all loops.
  • UK Double Crochet/US Single Crochet (dc/sc): Insert hook in st indicated and draw up a loop (two loops on hook), yarn over, draw through both loops on hook.
  • UK Double Crochet 2 together / US Single Crochet 2 together (dc/sc2tog): Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), Insert hook in next st, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook.
  • UK Half Treble Crochet / US Half Double Crochet (htr/hdc): Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), Insert hook in next st, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook.

  • UK Treble / US Double Crochet (tr/dc): Yarn over, insert hook in indicated st and pull up a loop (three loops on hook), yarn over, pull through two loops, yarn over, pull through remaining two loops on hook.

Pattern Notes:

Magic ring: is also known as a Drawstring Ring or Magic Loop and is often used as a start for working amigurumi. If you are not familiar with this technique you could substitute with a ch2 and then work in the second ch from the hook.

Working in the round: Most of the sections of this pattern are worked in the amigurumi style without joining in continuous rounds. Place the stitch marker in the top of the first st to mark the start of each round.

Invisible double crochet decrease: Invisible decreasing is a method of removing stitches to shape your fabric without gaps. Insert hook in the FRONT LOOP ONLY of the first stitch indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), insert hook in the FRONT LOOP ONLY of the next st, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook; decrease made. 

Pattern:

Head / Body:

Rnd 1: With Shocking Pink make a magic ring, work 6dc into ring. (6 sts)

Rnd 2: [2dc/sc] to end. (12 sts)

Rnd 3: [1dc/sc, 2dc/sc] to end. (18 sts)

Rnd 4: [1dc/sc in the next two sts, 2dc/sc] to end. (24 sts)

Rnd 5 – 9: 1dc/sc in each st around

Rnd 10: 1dc/sc in 11 sts, 2dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 dc/sc in 11 sts (26 sts)

Rnd 11: 1dc/sc in 12 sts, 2dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 dc/sc in 12 sts (28 sts)

Rnd 12: 1dc/sc in 13 sts, 2dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 dc/sc in 13 sts (30 sts)

Rnd 13: 1dc/sc in 14 sts, 2dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 dc/sc in 14 sts (32 sts)

Rnd 14: 1dc/sc in each st around

Rnds 15: dc/sc2tog, 1dc/sc in 13 sts, 1dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 dc/sc in 13 sts, dc/sc2tog (30 sts)

Rnds 16—17: 1dc/sc in each st around

Rnd 18: [1dc/sc in the next three sts, dc/sc2tog] to end. (24 sts)

Rnd 19: 1dc/sc in each st around

Rnd 20: [1dc/sc in the next two sts, dc/sc2tog] to end. (18 sts)

Rnd 21: 1dc/sc in each st around

Cut two small flowers roughly 2.8cm (1.1in) high, cut a small hole in the centre of the flower and thread the safety eye stalk through the hole. Then add the safety eye between rnds 5 – 6 approximately 10 sts apart.

Stuff body.

Rnd 22: [1dc/sc, dc/sc2tog] to end. (12 sts)

Rnd 23: [dc/sc2tog] to end. (6 sts)

Fasten off with a sl st to the next st and using the yarn tail sew up the remaining six sts, weave in ends

Wings:

Make 2. Wings are not stuffed;

Rnd 1: With Ultra Violet 7ch, sl st in second ch from hook, 1dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1htr/hdc in the next 2sts, 8tr/dc in the last st, then working on the other side of your beginning ch; 1htr/hdc in the next 2sts, 1dc/sc in the next 2sts, 1 sl st in the last st.

Fasten off but leave long yarn tail for attaching to body.

Breast:

Make 1.

Rnd 1: With Ultra Violet make a magic ring, work 6dc into ring. (6 sts)

Rnd 2: [2dc/sc] to end. (12 sts)

Rnd 3: [1dc/sc, 2dc/sc] to end. (18 sts)

Rnd 4: [1dc/sc in the next two sts, 2dc/sc] to end. (24 sts)

Fasten off but leave long yarn tail for attaching to body.

Tail Feather:

Make 1.

Rnd 1: With Ultra Violet make a magic ring, work 6dc into ring. (6 sts)

Fasten off but leave long yarn tail for attaching to body.

Making Up:

  • Cut a small diamond shape out of yellow felt approximately 2cm (0.78in) long.
  • Attach beak to the front of the head (in-between eyes) on rnd 6 with yellow sewing thread.
  • Attach the breast onto the front of the body over rnds 13 – 19.
  • Attach wings over rnds 13-18 on each side of the bird.
  • Attach the tail feather to the back of the body on rnd 16.
  • Add your silver thread (or use some Ultra Violet) in a loop to the back of the birds head on rnd 6 so your bird can be hung up.

And that’s it!

If you hook up my Little Kooky Bird I hope you’ll tag @kcaco.uk on Instagram or share your projects in my Facebook group as I love to see your finished work! 

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Free Crochet Pattern | Bluebird of Happiness Amigurumi

So a while back an idea popped into my brain to make a little bluebird amigurumi. I think I’d read somewhere that they had something to do with being happy, so I did a little Google research and discovered that yes, bluebirds are seen as a symbol of happiness in many cultures which dates back thousands of years. How cool is that!

KCACOUK-Crochet-Bluebird_02.jpg

I don’t think you can ever have TOO much felicity in your life and I liked the idea of making a wee bit for myself and of course sharing some joyousness with you!

Oh I apologise in advance for all the synonyms for happiness I use in this post – the thesaurus was my friend ladies and gentlemen! 

KCACOUK-Crochet-Bluebird_03.jpg

Hopefully this free pattern will bring YOU a bit of good cheer and maybe you can pass on a bit of jocularity and glee if you make a little bluebird for someone else (or just make two and double the happy!) 

My eldest daughter has said that the bluebirds name is ‘Blue’ which isn’t incredibly original, bless her, but it certainly is very fitting! I made him in Scheepjes Catona Cyan Blue (Shade 397) which was exactly the colour I’d envisioned him to be.

And here is Blue enjoying some lovely Spring sunshine – as was I when I was taking these photos. I so do love Spring with it’s promise of warmer days, lighter evenings and blossoming flowers don’t you? We are waiting in anticipation here for the annual cherry tree blossom flowering of the trees that line our street – it’s always a joy to see.

KCACOUK-Crochet-Bluebird_01

Worked in the round in amigurumi style this little bluebird is a quick project to make up and you can easily whip a couple up in an evening.

The fiddly (or fun bit depending on how you look at it) is making some wire feet, the wire I used was floral wire doubled together which I just twisted with my hands until they looked right. Alternatively one of my testers created a bird without legs so it looked like it was sitting (would look perfect with a little nest of yarn) and another tester used pipe cleaners for the feet, which I thought was a really good idea, and which might be easier to manipulate.

KCACOUK-Crochet-Bluebird_04.jpg

The following pattern is free here on the blog but it’s also available in my Ravelry store where there is a nominal fee for a downloadable 3 page PDF pattern free of advertisements if you’d prefer.

SAVE PATTERN ON RAVELRY HERE

Blue Bird of Happiness Amigurumi

skill3

Materials:

Yarn: 4ply / Fingering Yarn Scheepjes Catona used in photos;

  • 1 x 25g / 62m x Cyan Blue (Shade 397)
  • 1 x 10g / 25m x Lemon (Shade 280)

Pattern will work in other hooks and yarns though finished size will be different.

Hook: 2.5mm hook (US size C/2)

You will also need:

  • Polyester toy stuffing
  • Florist or jewellery wire for feet
  • Black embroidery thread
  • Stitch Markers
  • Yarn Needle
  • PVC glue (optional)

Gauge: 5dc/sc = 2.5cm (1 inch)

Obtaining the correct gauge is not critical to this project but yarn amounts and finished size of projecy may differ if your gauge is different from mine.

Finished Size: 25cm (9.8 inches) from nose to tail

Abbreviations:

  • st(s) = stitch(es)        
  • sl st = slip stitch                            
  • ch(s) = chain
  • dc/sc = UK double crochet / US single  crochet
  • dc/sc2tog = UK double crochet 2 together / US double crochet 2 together
  • […] = Repeat the sequence between the square brackets by the number indicated.
  • (.. sts) = The number in round brackets at the end of the instruction indicates the number of stitches after working the row.

Stitch Guidance:

  • Slip Stitch (sl st): Insert hook in st indicated, yarn over and draw through all loops.
  • UK Double Crochet/US Single Crochet (dc/sc): Insert hook in st indicated and draw up a loop (two loops on hook), yarn over, draw through both loops on hook.
  • UK Double Crochet 2 together / US Single Crochet 2 together (dc/sc2tog):
  • Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), Insert hook in next st, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook.

Pattern Notes:

Magic ring: is also known as a Drawstring Ring or Magic Loop and is often used as a start for working amigurumi. If you are not familiar with this technique you could substitute with a ch2 and then work in the second ch from the hook.

Working in the round: Most of the sections of this pattern are worked in the amigurumi style without joining in continuous rounds. Place the stitch marker in the top of the first st to mark the start of each round.

Invisible double crochet decrease: Invisible decreasing is a method of removing stitches to shape your fabric without gaps. Insert hook in the FRONT LOOP ONLY of the first stitch indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), insert hook in the FRONT LOOP ONLY of the next st, yarn over, pull through three loops on hook; decrease made. 

Pattern:

Head:

Rnd 1: With Cyan Blue make a magic ring, work 6dc into ring. (6 sts)

Rnd 2: [2dc] to end. (12 sts)

Rnd 3: [1dc, 2dc] to end. (18 sts)

Rnd 4: [1dc in the next two sts, 2dc] to end. (24 sts)

Rnd 5: [1dc in the next three sts, 2dc] to end. (30 sts)

Rnds 6 – 10: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 11: [1dc in the next three sts, dc2tog] to end. (24 sts)

Rnd 12: [1dc in the next two sts, dc2tog] to end. (18 sts)

Begin to stuff head; continuing to stuff as you go.

Rnd 13: [1dc, dc2tog] to end. (12 sts)

Rnd 14: [dc2tog] to end. (6 sts)

Fasten off with a sl st to the next st and using the yarn tail sew up the remaining six sts, weave in ends

Body:

Rnds 1—5: With Cyan Blue work as Head. (30sts)

Rnds 6 – 7: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 8: [1dc in the next three sts, dc2tog] to end. (24 sts)

Rnds 9 – 11: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 12: [1dc in the next two sts, dc2tog] to end. (18 sts)

Rnds 13 – 14: 1dc in each st around

Fasten off with a sl st to the next st, leave a long yarn tail for sewing head to the body. Stuff body.

Beak:

Beak is not stuffed;

Rnd 1: With Lemon make a magic ring, work 4dc into ring. (4 sts)

Rnd 2: 2dc in the first st, 1dc in the next 3sts (5 sts)

Rnd 3: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 4: 2dc in the first st, 1dc in the next 4sts (6sts)

Rnd 5: 1dc in each st around

Fasten off with a sl st to the next st, leave a long yarn tail for sewing beak to the head.

Wings:

Make 2. Wings are not stuffed;

Rnd 1: With Cyan Blue make a magic ring, work 5dc into ring. (5 sts)

Rnd 2: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 3: [2dc] to end. (10 sts)

Rnds 4-7: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 8: [1dc in the next three sts, dc2tog] to end. (8 sts)

Tail Feathers:

Make 3. Tail feathers are not stuffed;

Rnd 1: With Cyan Blue make a magic ring, work 6dc into ring. (6 sts)

Rnd 2: [1dc in the next two sts, 2dc] to end. (8 sts)

Rnds 3-8: 1dc in each st around

Rnd 9: [1dc in the next three sts, dc2tog] to end. (6 sts)

Making Up:

  • Attach the head to the body
  • Using black embroidery thread add an eye on either side of the head over rnds 5-7 approx 8 sts apart
  • Attach beak to the front of the head (in-between eyes) over rnds 6-8
  • Attach wings over rnds 10-11 on each side of the bird.
  • Attach the three tail feathers to the back of the body; two on rnd 6 and one above on rnd 7
  • Using the floral / jewellery wire fashion push the length through the bottom of the body of your bird (testing as you go to check the balance.
  • Fashion some bird feet at the end of each end of wire making sure your bird can stand without toppling over.
  • Wrap some lengths of Cyan yarn around the top of the leg and secure with a few stitches with your yarn needle to the body of your bird. You may wish to coat the yarn in a little PVC glue to stop it from slipping (optional).

And that’s it!

If you hook up my Blue Bird of Happiness I hope you’ll tag @kcaco.uk on Instagram or share your projects in my Facebook group as I love to see your finished work! 

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Designer Interview | Irene Strange

It’s time for my first Designer Showcase of 2017! Even before I started creating my own patterns I was curious about the process of designing crochet patterns and in previous posts I’ve really enjoyed getting to know some other fabulous fibre artists!

Today I’m excited to be speaking to Irina aka Irene Strange.

Irina-Photo

Irina is a bit of a amigurumi expert whose fabulous designs have featured in the popular Zoomigurumi books (1, 4, 5 and 6!) and in popular publications like Let’s Get Crafting: Knitting and Crochet, Inside Crochet and Crochet Now magazines.

Irina has a wonderful eye for amigurumi and creates wonderfully cute characters – I recently completed her little ‘Blossom Bunny’  for Little Miss and I’m seriously in love with her Clara The Unicorn pattern and her free Gracey the hippo ballerina

Gracey-the-Hippo

It was great to get to speak to her and here’s what we chatted about…

Why are you called Irene Strange?

I used this name when signing up for my first email address all the way back in 2000,
my step-dad’s family name is Strange (what a cool name, right?) and Irene is an English version of Irina – we just moved to England and at the time it felt like a fresh start in a new millennium and a new land. I guess it just stuck! 

How did you first discover crocheting and amigurumi?

My grandmother taught me to knit and crochet when I was little, I picked it up again
when studying for my degree. I was writing a paper on how brands use mascots and characters and came across some crochet toys on Flickr. People kept referring to them as ‘amigurumi’ so naturally I had to find out more about that! I tried making my own, a funny little mouse, and discovered I really enjoyed crocheting toys – from then on I was hooked.

CoCo-The-Squirrell

How did you become a crocheting designer? Is it your real job?

To start with I released a few patterns on Etsy just to see what happens, then an editor from a crochet magazine approached me and asked to feature some of my work. Then another editor asked if I’d be interested in writing some patterns to which I said yes, of course! At the time there wasn’t as many amigurumi designers in UK, at least not on-line, so one commission followed another quite fast. For a good few years I was writing as a hobby alongside a day job. After having kids I wanted to focus on crochet more, so now I write patterns in between playing with Lego and watching cartoons.

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

It’s quite hard to pinpoint what inspires me most; I collect all sorts of objects, prints and photographs of animals or dolls – anything curious. I have to say seeing what other designers and artists share on Instagram across different crafts is also very inspiring, it is amazing how many creative people are out there.

Freddie

Tell us a bit about your design process…

When designing something for my pattern shop I might get an idea seemingly out of nowhere, which I will then sketch and mull over for days or even months. I will sketch the design many times, thinking about best way to make it. Then I make prototypes and sometimes get it right on first or second try.

Often a particular project will stay in my head for weeks, almost like an obsession – where I’ll keep coming back to it in-between different makes, trying something out and abandoning it, until I get it right.

Owls

Many of your creations are animal themed amigurumis – are they your favourite things to make?

Oh yes, I adore all animals! Growing up in a big city not many people we knew had pets, so encounters with animals became very special. I love watching documentaries about the Earth, it’s simply amazing how many different creatures call it home!

Do you have a favourite creation that you’ve designed?

I’m still exploring different styles and ways to make an amigurumi, looking for a balance of an object that’s interesting to look at but not too complicated for others to make. I think Hopscotch Bunny is the closest to what I like making.   

Hopscotch

Do you have go to hooks and yarn?

I have a strong preference for natural fibres, especially alpaca and cotton. Cotton is so durable and versatile, but alpaca gives the make a much more natural and soft look. As for hooks, I always use Clover Soft Touch.

Who gets your creations; you, your family, your friends?

At the moment my daughter is very quick to claim anything I make, often even before it’s finished. The rest gets given away to friends and family. If a visitor likes a particular toy most of the time they take it home with them.

Clara-Unicorn

Where do you work? Do you have a studio space or do you work from your living room chair?

I’m a bit of a messy creative (just ask my husband!) so things end up scattered all over the house. We share a room as a studio where I have a wall of yarn to inspire me, and a desk for pattern writing and research. Curling up on a sofa with a cup of tea, a sketchbook and a film in the background is my favourite way to work.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I’m planning to make many more cute and unusual animals, but also some home accessories and decorations – there’s a book full of ideas just waiting to be made into new patterns.

Sloth-Shopper

Tell us a bit about yourself – what do you do when you’re not crocheting?

When I’m not crocheting… I love going riding my bicycle, foraging around local woods for berries, visiting museums and fairs or just spending the day holed up out of the way somewhere reading a good book.

Finally finish the sentence … I love crochet because…

I can make anything that comes into my head with just a thread and hook – it’s a bit like magic!

I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Irina again for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions. I’ve really enjoyed getting a better understanding of what’s involved with in her designing process and hope you have too. I hope you will pop along to her website and ravelry page to see all of her great designs!