Thursday, 16 October 2014

Itty Bitty Bat - free amigurumi pattern

Well, Halloween is nearly upon us, so here is a tiny little bat pattern for you to have fun with. It's quick and simple to make and, depending on the yarn you use, will end up about 2” tall, with a wingspan of about 5”. The feet are actually small loops, so your bat can hang upside down from a small stick or length of yarn or cord. The loops are large enough to fit the crochet hook you are using through, so you can use that to pull yarn or cord through. You could make several bats and hang them up on a length of chained yarn as decorations, or just wear one as a cute Halloween necklace! If you want to hang your bat on something thicker, just do more chain stitches when you make the feet in round 13.

ch = chain
st = stitch or stitches
ss = slipstitch
sc = single crochet (US), double crochet (UK)
dc = double crochet (US), treble crochet (UK)
tog = together
sc2tog = decrease by working two sc together
FLO = work in front loop only
FO = fasten off

General instructions:
Work in rounds unless otherwise stated and do not join rounds unless told to. 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. To start a round, you can use the magic ring method, but I prefer (ch 2, work 6 sc into 1st ch). If you work the 6 sc over the tail of yarn as well you can use that to pull the hole tight.

Work through both loops of stitches unless otherwise indicated.

You will need:
Small amount of black, purple or light and dark brown yarn, double knitting or worsted weight.
1 Pair of 7.5mm brown safety eyes, or 6mm black safety eyes, or yarn to embroider them.
Small amount of stuffing.
3.5mm (E) hook.
Tapestry needle.

Special stitch instructions:
5 dc pop: popcorn stitch for ears. Work 5 dc into 1 st, take hook out leaving loop, put hook through 1st dc & pull loop through.

Start at top of head.
Round 1: Ch 2, work 6 sc into 1st ch - 6 st.
Round 2: [2 sc in next st, (sc and 5 dc pop in next st), 2 sc in next st] 2 times – 12 st.
Round 3: [2 sc in next st, sc in next st] 6 times - 18 st.
Round 4 - 6: (3 rounds) Sc in each st around – 18 st.

If using safety eyes, fit them now between rounds 4 and 5, four stitches apart.

Round 7: [Sc2tog] 9 times – 9 st.
Round 8: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 2 st] 3 times – 12 st.
Round 9 - 10: (2 rounds) Sc in each st around – 12 st.
Round 11: [2 sc in next st, sc in next 3 st] 3 times – 15 st.
Round 12: Sc in each st around – 15 st.
Round 13: Sc in next 8 st, [foot: ss in next st, ch 4, ss back into same st], sc in next 5 st, [foot: ss in next st, ch 4, ss back into same st] – 15 st (the first ss used to make each foot counts as a stitch, the second one doesn’t).
Round 14: [Sc2tog, sc in next 3 st] 3 times – 12 st.
Ss in next st then FO, leaving a length of yarn. Embroider eyes if you haven't used safety eyes. Stuff and use yarn to sew up the bottom in a line between the two feet.

Wings (make 2):
Ch 15, turn.
Row 1: Ss in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 6 ch, miss next ch, sc in next 6 ch, ch 1, turn.
Row 2: 2 sc in next st, sc in next 10 st, turn.
Row 3: Miss 1st st, ss in next st, sc in next 3 st, miss next st, sc in next 4 st, turn.
Row 4: Miss 1st st, ss in next st, sc in next 2 st, miss next st, sc in next 3 st, turn.
Row 5: Ch 2, sc in next st, ss in next 4 st, ch 2, ss in next st.
FO, leaving a length of yarn. Work this yarn through to the end of the wing and use it to sew the wing to the body.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Knitting and Stitching Show

On Saturday I went up to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. I went last year, and enjoyed it, but it was much better this year because I went with my friend Julie - it's far more fun to gush over yarns together than on your own!

Alexandra Palace is a lovely building, and traveling up to it on the free bus gives you a great view across London. I meant to take a photo of the outside but I forgot, however, it looks good on the inside too.

The first thing we saw when we came in the entrance was a pergola absolutely covered in knitted flowers, butterflies and birds. It had been created for Livability, a charity that supports people with various disabilities, and it looked amazing. Here are some of my favourite parts - I especially liked the blue tit hanging on the peanuts.



The show consists of three large halls of exhibitors, with a mix of stands with items for sale, and artworks created using a variety of the crafts that were on show - knitting, crochet, felting, embroidery and sewing. We headed into the largest hall, which boasts a lovely stained glass window, as well as an incredible number of stands filled, amongst other things, with all sorts of lovely yarn!

We were particularly taken by the Stylecraft stand, where the lovely Lucy from Attic 24  was showing off her gorgeous colourful blankets, made with Stylecraft Special DK. They now have packs with all the colours you need to make a particular blanket, and they were doing a roaring trade - it seemed like every other person there was carrying a big pack of yarn away with them!
I've bought Stylecraft acrylic yarn before but I haven't found it so good for amigurumi - it's a bit thin compared to other yarns I use - but it does have a very nice feel, and it's perfect to make blankets that are soft and comfortable, but still good for everyday use. However, I used their Alpaca DK to make my Alpaca Family and found it worked really well for amigurumi, with a nice texture. Since I'm working on some more animal amigurumi I couldn't resist buying a selection of colours, and some of the new Alpaca Tweed DK.
After a bit of lunch we moved onto the other rooms, which had some amazing creations in them, such as these felted skulls and organic shapes (the first two photos are items by Stephanie Metz, I didn't get the details for the others), sculptural crocheted clothes and a life-size knitted bear sculpture.

Given that I'm a massive Tolkien fan, I think my favourite creations were by Denise Salway, The Knitting Witch. She has made the most amazing knitted Hobbit coat, with Smaug flying over the Lonely Mountain and all sorts of details, like a little Gollum peering through the stitches. It has a lovely selection of different textures, and is apparently quite wearable. She has also made lots of characters from the story, including Bilbo, Thorin, Gandalf, Galadriel, Smaug, and Peter Jackson filming them all!
Denise Salway with her creations.

 All in all we had a great day, even if we were exhausted by the end. I'm looking forward to next year now!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Halloween Patterns

Are you getting excited for Halloween? It's not such a big thing here in the UK as it seems to be in the US, but I do enjoy a lot of the things associated with it, and it's nice to feel a bit spooky at this time of year. The other day I looked out of the window while I was drawing the curtains and saw a bat flying overhead - I've never seen one outside our house before (and we've lived here for 17 years) so I was really excited. I went outside and it made that perfect bat shape as it went over my head. That's inspired me to work on a little bat pattern, which I'll make available for free when it's ready. in the meantime, here are some of my other patterns that might be fun to make for Halloween.

Witch and Wizard Amigurumi Pattern 
Make either a witch or a wizard using slight variations on the same pattern, available in my Etsy  shop.
Witch's Cat and Wizard's Owl
These little animals are quick and simple to make, either on their own or to go with the Witch and Wizard. You can find the free patterns here: Cat and Owl
Mini Frog
There's also this little frog that might be useful for a little present at a Halloween party - here's the free pattern: Mini Frog

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Robin of Sherwood amigurumi

I'm a big fan of various SF and fantasy shows, and one of my favourites is Robin of Sherwood, the HTV/Showtime series from the 1980s. If you've never seen it, it's a wonderful take on the Robin Hood legend, including a lot of magic and mysticism. I've loved it since I first saw it as a teenager, and I've stayed a fan ever since, going to various conventions over the years. In fact my online name, Ravenscar, comes from one of the episodes. There's a character called Morgwyn of Ravenscar, an Abbess who is in fact a devil worshipper! I own an original prop from the episode, a banner, and that inspired my choice of name.

There hadn't been a dedicated convention for the show for a few years, so when one was announced, to be held this May, I was very excited. I booked up immediately (a couple of years in advance), but then almost forgot about it in the busyness of life. When I started getting ready for it shortly before, I realised I'd left it a bit late to get a costume ready, but I thought I could at least crochet a character or two to take along with me.

I started work on my favourite character, Nasir, a Saracen assassin who joins the group at the end of the first episode (Robin of Sherwood was the first time a Saracen/Arabic character had become part of the band of 'Merry Men', but this idea has since been used in various films and TV series), as the actor who portrayed him, Mark Ryan was going to be at the convention. I used my Elf pattern as a base, and was very happy with my mini Nasir. I did think of making his signature two swords, but I thought he'd be easier to carry around without any accessories.

Mini Nasir with the original for comparison.

Then I began to make Robin himself. He was played by Michael Praed, the only man to grace my teenage bedroom walls (in poster form!), who was also attending the con. Sadly, I didn't quite get him finished before it was time to leave. I took all the parts, that just needed sewing together, but I couldn't manage to do it in the car, it made me feel queasy. However, I finished him up as soon as I got back, and took photos of them both in the greenwood garden.

Mini Robin and the original - it took a while to work out how to make that hair.

I was pleased I'd at least managed to finish Nasir though, as I got a photograph with Mark Ryan, along with the mini version. I also had a wonderful time at the convention, and afterwards I helped to start up a discussion forum - Nothing's Forgotten - so I could keep chatting with all the Robin of Sherwood fans.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Roman Soldier Amigurumi Pattern

There's a brand new pattern in my Etsy shop, a cute little Roman Soldier, with a choice of three different styles of armour. I've been working on this new pattern for a while now - I made the original way back in 2011 as a Christmas present for my nephew, who was really into the Romans. I was also a bit inspired at the time by Doctor Who, which featured the character Rory becoming an immortal Roman. I started to work on turning it into a pattern earlier this year but I got a bit side-tracked by various other projects. However, now I've finished all the work on it, and it's ready to buy.

The pattern lets you make a Roman Soldier, about 6.5" tall with a choice of three different styles of armour. There are also details to make a helmet, a sword and scabbard, and a cloak.

Living in Britain, I've always been interested in the Romans, who left an indelible mark on our country. We live quite close to two Roman villas, and I've really enjoyed taking my boys there, especially when they have re-enactment groups showing off their outfits and moves (and their legs!).

I think my little Roman would be prefect for anyone who's fascinated by Roman history, young or old, or for any Doctor Who fans who loved Rory in his Last Centurion persona.