Happily Hooked Magazine | Back to School Bear


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The summer holidays will be over before we know it and then it’s back to school time! Why not make the start of the new school year even more exciting for your little ones by hooking up some of the projects from issue 41 of Happily Hooked Magazine (out now).

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The new edition of the online US magazine is filled with patterns, articles and interviews and I’m very excited to tell you that I’ve got an exclusive pattern for this Back to School issue! I’m just tickled pink that my Back to School Bear (who I nicknamed Bernard) made the front cover; he’s dressed and ready to go and start learning!

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The back pack is completely detachable and opens and closes with a simple button fastening. Don’t you think his little back pack would be a great place to add a little note or a joke for your little one to find! 

As well as my Back to School Bear pattern in this months edition you will find projects for kids of all ages; from tote bags to pencil cases, cardigans and scarfs and cute alphabet baby blocks. There are also some great articles including one on how to teach your children to crochet and another about the healing properties of crochet. I also especially enjoyed the one by the Yarnpreneur Society about grouping tasks!

Check out the Happily Hooked Magazine website for more details about the magazine and how you can subscribe and I do hope you’ll add the Back to School Bear pattern to your 💗 Favourites and Ravelry Queue here.

I hope you will share your finished Back to School Bears on your favourite social media sites: RavelryLoveCrochet.comFacebook page or Facebook groupTwitter,  Pinterest and Instagram as I love to see your finished work! And if you are featured in my newsletter, as the customer spotlight, you could win a pattern of your choice!

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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LGC Toymaker of the Year competition


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Love making toys? Want to be crowned the ultimate toymaking champion? 

The annual Let’s Get Crafting Toymaker of the Year competition is back and better than ever! Whether you’ve made hundreds of toys, or never tried before, all skill levels are welcome. Now is your time to shine! Knit or crochet ANY toy you like. It can be your own design, a pattern from a book. It can be any shape or size and can be used with materials of your choice. 

This years competition is in partnership with King Cole yarn and there is the chance to win incredible prizes and be published in Issue 97 of Let’s Get Crafting magazine (on sale 14th December 2017).

The deadline to enter is 9 October 2017. Head on over to the LGC website now for the full details. Good luck everyone!

Until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Peaches Keepsake Doll


Issue 93 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is out now with TWO brand new patterns in it from me! I’m so thrilled about them both that I’m going to have to do TWO separate blog posts again so I can tell you all about them…

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If you are not familiar with LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine it’s readily available in major supermarkets and stores across the UK.  

This months magazine comes with:

  • Six Aloha yarns – including a special glittery wool
  • 4.5mm hook and 4.5mm needles
  • 45 exclusive patterns in a 68 page magazine

I was super excited to see that my little Peaches Keepsake Doll is the cover star of the new issue! 

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She’s such a fun little dolly to make with enough to make two little outfits with the free Aloha pack which comes with the magazine.

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You know sometimes when you make an amigurumi that the character just appears before you as you are hooking them – well that was certainly the case with Peaches. She turned out to be a sweet looking little thing.  And if you are looking for some tips on creating the personality of your own amigurumi’s I did write a post about it a couple of years ago which you can read here.

I can’t wait to see how you personalise your little dolls! Be sure to share your photos with me on social media (facebook, twitter or instagram) – I love to see what you make!

Stay tuned for my next unicorn themed pattern release update coming NEXT!

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Amigurumi Tin Can | FREE Crochet Pattern


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Last Friday my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary (Yay us!). Ten years in my book is a bit of a big achievement so as a gift I splashed out and bought us both a pampering spa day with afternoon tea to look forward to later in the year (and I’m soooo looking forward to that already!) However usually on our anniversary I like to try and find something based on the traditional wedding anniversary gift list. 

Ten years is ‘tin’ and I looked around but I couldn’t find anything I thought was right. Then I had an idea! And so the following pattern was thus designed as a quirky and unique little gift to play on the ‘tin’ theme. 

My husband has a good sense of humour so he thought it was funny and I thought some of you might enjoy it too so I’ve written it up as a free pattern.

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As well as well as having the potential to become a tin full of love this amigurumi would make fun play food item for little ones – I can’t wait to see what variations you come up with!

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Add the Amigurumi Tin Can Pattern to your 💗 Favourites and Ravelry Queue  or your LoveCrochet.com projects where you can also get an no-ad PDF version of just the pattern for only £1.00 / $1.25 or for a print friendly version of this page please scroll to the bottom of this post and click on the Print & PDF button. 

Amigurumi Tin Can:

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Yarn: Small amounts of the following Drops Cotton Light used in photos:

  • YARN A – Pearl Grey (Shade 31)
  • YARN B – Turquoise (Shade 14)
  • YARN C – Black (Shade 20)
  • YARN D – Yellow (28)
  • YARN E – White (Shade 02)

Hook: 3 mm (or 3.25mm)  / US size D

Materials:

Stitch markers, yarn needle, polyester toy stuffing, 2 x circles of cardboard or polythene (7cm diameter), embroidery thread (optional), heart button (optional)

Size: 12cm high / 4.7 inches

Gauge: 4dc/sc = 2.5cm / 1inch

Establishing the correct gauge is not critical to this pattern. Pattern will work in other yarns though gauge/size will be different.

Abbreviations: 

  • st(s) = stitch(es)
  • sp = space
  • sl st = slip stitch
  • ch(s) = chain  
  • dc/sc= UK double / US single crochet
  • FLO – Front Loop Only
  • BLO – Back Loop Only

Stitch Guidance:

  • Slip Stitch (sl st): Insert hook in st indicated, yarn over and pull through all loops.
  • Double Crochet/Single Crochet (dc/sc): Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.
  • Front Loop Only (FLO): Insert your hook underneath the front loop of the stitch only and make the stitch as indicated.
  • Back Loop Only (BLO): Insert your hook underneath the back loop of the stitch only and make the stitch as indicated.

Pattern:

Tin Lid (Make 2):

One will make the top of the tin, one will form the bottom;

Rnd 1: With YARN A make a magic ring, work 6dc/sc into ring. 6sts

Rnd 2: (2dc/sc) to last st. 12sts

Rnd 3: (1dc/sc, 2dc/sc) to last st. 18sts

Rnd 4: (1dc/sc in next 2sts, 2dc/sc) to last st. 24sts

Rnd 5: (1dc/sc in next 3sts, 2dc/sc) to last st. 30sts

Rnd 6: (1dc/sc in next 4sts, 2dc/sc) to last st. 36sts

Rnd 7: (1dc/sc in next 5sts, 2dc/sc) to last st. 42sts

On the first lid fasten off and weave in ends, on the second lid DO NOT fasten off, continue to Tin Body.

Cut out two circles of cardboard/polythene the same size as the tin lid ready for the tin body.

Tin Body:

Working from the bottom of the tin upwards;

Rnd 8: FLO; 1dc/sc to last st. 42sts

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Rnd 9: Attach YARN B to any st, 1dc/sc to last st

Rnd 10-29: 1dc/sc to last st

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Rnd 30: Attach YARN A to any st, 1dc/sc to last st. 42sts

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Place one of your circles (either cardboard or  polythene) in the bottom of the can to help keep the can lid flat / level.

Tin Label:

Note: The 1ch at the start of each row does not count as a st

Row 1: With YARN C; 9ch, 1dc/sc in second ch from hook, turn. 8sts

Row 2: 1ch, 2dc/sc in the same ch as the 1ch,

1dc/sc in the next 6sts, 2dc/sc in the last st. turn, 10sts

Row 3 – 4: 1ch, 1dc/sc to last st

Row 5: 1ch, 2dc/sc in the same ch as the 1ch, 1dc/sc in the next 8sts, 2dc/sc in the last st. turn, 12sts

Row 6 – 7: 1ch, 1dc/sc to last st

Row 8: 1ch, 2dc/sc in the same ch as the 1ch, 1dc/sc in the next 10sts, 2dc/sc in the last st. turn, 14sts

Row 9 – 10: 1ch, 1dc/sc to last st

Row 11: 1ch, 2dc/sc in the same ch as the 1ch, 1dc/sc in the next 12sts, 2dc/sc in the last st. turn, 16sts

Row 9 – 10: 1ch, 1dc/sc to last st

Fasten off and weave in ends

Rnd 15: Miss the first 4sts; re-attach YARN C in the next st, 1ch, 1dc/sc in the same st as beginning 1ch and in the next 5sts, turn. 6sts

Rnd 16: 1ch, 2dc/sc in the same ch as the 1ch, 1dc/sc in the next 5sts, 2dc/sc in the last st. turn, 9sts

Row 17 – 18: 1ch, 1dc/sc to last st

Fasten off and weave in ends

Label Edging:

Rnd 1: Attach YARN D in any st, loosely sl st around the whole of the label, work 2 extra ch’s to help turn around corners. Sl st to first st to join.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Rnd 2: Attach YARN E in the BLO of any st, then loosely sl st around the whole of the label, work 2 extra ch’s to help turn around corners. Sl st to first st to join.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Making up:

  • Embroider the front of the can with a message or food details and add button           detailing (optional)
  • Using the BLO of Rnd 2 Label Edging attach the label to the tin body
  • Stuff the tin body with toy filler
  • Add your other (cardboard / polythene) circle onto the top of the toy filler
  • Sew the top of the tin to the top of the tin body; using the BLO of the tin lid and the FLO of the tin body. Fasten off and weave in any ends

And that’s it!

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Make sure you link me your finished projects on your favourite social media sites: Ravelry, LoveCrochet.comFacebook page or Facebook groupTwitter,  Pinterest and Instagram and if you are featured in my newsletter you could win a pattern of your choice!

Until next time; 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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.   

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Retro Milkshakes


Issue 92 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is out now just full to bursting with bright summery yarn and super fun crochet and knitting patterns. 

If you are not familiar with LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine it’s readily available in major supermarkets and stores across the UK.  The magazine is complete with six balls of yarn, a pair of needles and a hook so that you can get started straight away! 

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And I’m really excited to tell you that I’ve got a new pattern in this month’s edition! Why not head on down to the diner to make my retro strawberry and banana milkshakes!

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This summer you can whip up your own milkshakes with my easy recipe! All you need to do is blend yarn with a pinch of hooking and add a dollop of crochet!

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I hope you enjoy my new designs – I know I had great fun designing these little milkshakes!

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Seahorse Duo


So I’ve just finished telling you that Issue 91 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine is out now with TWO brand new patterns from me – it’s all very exciting! For my next design in the magazine we are heading off under the sea! What say we dive down and join my duo of friendly seahorse amigurumis…

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Why not plunge into the crochet pool and let your hook do the swimming with some vibrant summery yarns and simple stitches in this fun sea-worthy project!

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And do you want some really exciting news!! You can get the Seahorse Duo for FREE over on topcrochetpatterns.com or why not save him to your 💗 Favourites and Ravelry Queue here to hook up later.

There are loads of options of how you could use different colours to make your own little Poseidon’s steeds – I can’t wait to see what you come up with! I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my both my new designs, I’ve enjoyed sharing them with you!

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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