lead us not into temptation (yeah, right!)

The other day I showed you a photo of my growing collection of crochet books.  More specifically, my growing collection of amigurumi pattern books. With promises of a peek inside and eventual drooling.

I’ve already shown you several of the patterns from book number one.

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Book which I bought before I could even crochet, and which I have already followed several times, making up

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“Roary the tiger” in May.

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“Wasabi the rabbit”.  And book which I am currently using for 2 more projects (no progress made recently) of “Johnny the monkey” and “Leila the pony”.

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Once I finish them, there’s still another pattern in this book which sorely tempts me.  And that’s “Sartù the lemur”, but I’m a bit apprehensive about crocheting his hands and feet.  He has fingers and toes!!!!

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In book 2

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The patterns I am most likely to want to make are “Otto the turtle”, from the cover and “Vladimir the fox”.  Don’t you just love those feet?

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In book 3, the patterns which call to me the loudest are

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“Rusty the red panda”

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and “Nanook the husky”.

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And, finally,  in book 6.  Another red panda “Rudy the red panda”.

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“Oswald the owl”.

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“Bo the panda”.

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And last, but by no means least, “Kimi the kitten”.

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a dog can never have too many toys!

You will remember the success of this

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The floatable toy I made for Gibbs, using an empty dairy cream bottle and crocheting in the round with some rather gawdy-coloured yarn.  You’ve already seen photos of the incredible floating toy in action, thus

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Well I decided it would be a good idea to make a few more, in case of loss or damage.  For the moment it’s holding up very well.  Okay, it’s now a bit flattened, but Gibbs’ teeth haven’t made holes in the plastic yet, nor has he ripped the crochet cover to pieces.  He’s a good boy – he knows it’s a “fetch” toy, not to be confused with a “chew” toy. 

Still, I crocheted up two more, just so we have a couple of back-up toys in the future.  And here they are, alongside the flattened first toy (on the right).  I’ve kept the idea of long chains which serve two purposes: 1) to knot together and therefore close the cover, which can be removed if the bottle is ever pierced.  2) when holding the toy by the chains, it’s easier to fling it quite far out into the lake. 

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These were made to fit around 340ml drinkable yoghurt bottles, which have something of a waist-line.  They might be a better shape for Gibbs.  The new ones look very bright compared to the first one.  This isn’t because yarn colour has faded, but rather because the colour of the second ball had less yellow than the first one (despite being the same dye number).  Gibbs won’t care.  He sat beside me while I was making them, knowing full well I was making something for him. 

And, still on the subject of crochet . . . a photo to show my growing collection of crochet books.

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There are a total of six in the series.  I started out buying the first (with the monkey) and pre-ordered number 6 which came out in May this year.    Then in June and July, I treated myself to numbers 2 and 3.  Buying one book a month is fairly reasonable, and by this autumn I will have the complete set to drool over. 

I’ll do another post in a few days time to show you a couple of the inside pages, perhaps to make you drool too. 

it floats!

My followers will know that we are the proud parents to Gibbs, a gorgeous Flat-coated Retriever.

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Gibbs is only 10 months old at the moment, and still putting on muscle.  Like all pups, he’s full of beans, and needs lots of exercise and intellectual stimulus to keep him healthy and happy.  And, like most Retrievers, one of his favourite pass times, is to splash around in water.

Now . . . there’s a huge dog park, at the kennels where we bought him.  You have to pay to go there, so we’ve taken out a subscription which gives us entry to the park all day and every day.  Living in the countryside, it might seem wierd to have paid out, to exercise the dog, but the park is HUGE . . . has a couple of lakes, and an agility course.  It’s also a great place for Gibbs to meet other dogs and socialise in.  While we enjoy a good natter with other dog-owners.

Anyway . . . Gibbs loves for us to throw a stick into the lake, and jumps in to swim after it and fetch.   However,  one stick looks very much like another, and he sometimes gets confused, when surrounded by several floating bits of wood, as to what it is he’s supposed to be retrieving.  I went on-line, to see if there were any specific floating toys for water-dogs.  There are, but I was loathe to pay out and started wondering how I could make my own.  My friend, Avis, came up with a brilliant idea.  An empty plastic bottle!  Genius, why didn’t I think of that?

A quick rummage in the recycle bin where I fished out an empty bottle of dairy cream.  An hour with my crochet hook and some cheap acylic yarn, and voilà!

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I just crocheted a circle the same size as the base of my bottle then crocheted in the round until I had something that fitted half way up.  With the crocheted base part on the bottle, I started decreasing so it would fit the shape of the neck.  And rather than sew the top closed, I crocheted a couple of chains which I knotted together.  The idea being . . . if Gibbs manages to make a small hole in the plastic with his teeth, I can still open the casing, unscrew the bottle lid and empty any water that seeps in before the bottle become too filled with water to float.  The chained bits, are also very handy to hold the toy by, as you fling it.

So . . . of we headed to the park, to try out the new toy.

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Not only does it float, but it’s very easy to spot in the water, and Gibbs appears to love it.   We don’t even have to say “Fetch!”.  He knows exactly what we expect of him.  Those Retriever genes!    So, a floaty toy (total cost, approx 20 centimes and 1 hour of my time), which is now hanging up to drip dry before we go back to the park tomorrow.  You can bet, I’ll be saving more small plastic bottles and crocheting up a few more floatable toys, so that we have a replacement to hand should Gibbs ever lose (or destroy) this first one.

Ducky update, crochet WIPs and an upcoming patchwork

I am ever so pleased to say that Ducky’s ordeal is now over.  After going to the vets for an op, following a cat bite, and having to wear his bandage suit.  After being shut up in the guest room for endless days and nights . . . stitches are now out and Ducky is free to come and go as he pleases.

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Okay, he looks a bit strange still, with a huge, rectangular bald patch.  But fur will grow back eventually and this incident will soon be a thing of the past.

My only worry now is that our other 3 cats are all being very hissy towards him.  They don’t seem to recognise him anymore.  We were expecting Le Bleu to get antsy, because he always does.  However, even the usually docile Merlin and Abby have been hissing and trying to whack Ducky, whenever he gets too close.  In order to try and keep the majority happy, Ducky is therefore still having to sleep on his own in the guest room at night, just until the other cats get over their amnesia.

Apart from spending lots of time giving Ducky extra cuddles in the spare room . . . I have done a little bit of crafting recently.  Not as much as I would have liked, but even so, a few photos to share with you.

WIP monkey

I’ve made a start on “Johny the monkey” – a pattern in the first Zoomigurumi book.  This one is labelled as being for “experienced” crocheters, probably because of the shaping on the face part.  It wasn’t difficult though.  I just followed the excellent stitch by stitch instructions and it hooked up with no problem.  So far I’ve made the head, body, face bit and 2 ears.  Next to tackle the other parts.

I also started a second pattern, from the same book, because working in dark brown isn’t always easy.

WIP pony

This one, “Leila the pony”.  My pony is going to be mainly baby pink, and I’m thinking of using a dark grey for the hooves.  With (possibly) a purple mane and tail, but I haven’t decided yet.  So far, one body, waiting to be stuffed.

And more pics of some new fabrics I am eagerly awaiting . . .

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One of our neighbours is expecting a baby girl later this year . . . any excuse eh?  I’ll be making a baby sized quilt, with the bird print as my main fabric, and other pretty colours too.  Can’t wait for fabrics to arrive and to make a start!

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You may remember, I hooked up a batch of chicks, for Adopt-a-chick surprise gifts this Easter.  Making and sending to my adult children and their partners. 

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Well, I had a chuckle last month, and wanted to share it with you.

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This photo is extracted from CodeMasters’ promotional video for their latest game DIRT4.  Second son (busy at his work station here, in photo) is a senior programmer at Codies, and my daughter is an artist there too.  So, the very proud Mum wanted to share the news that they both contributed to this new racing game which has recently been released . . . and two of my chicks got in on the picture too lol.

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I’ve been hooking rather than knitting these past few days as we’re having something of a heat wave.  Tackling another pattern from the first in the “Zoomigurumi” series.

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Working on this pattern.

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Pattern called “Wasabi the bunny” by Little Muggles.   Is made up of 9 parts.  I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn in Duck Egg and Sage.  And a 3mm hook for this project because I felt tension could have been tighter on my tiger.

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This is the final result – bunny measures 15cm high, in this sitting position to the tips of his ears.

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His nose didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped  and ended up looking more like a koala nose than a bunny nose . . . not to worry.  He’s still presentable.

And, just for fun, because I wanted to see the progress I have made since beginning this amigurumi crochet lark in February . . . a group photo of some of the critters I’ve made.   These are the ones which haven’t been given away (yet).amigurumi group

I will now be flicking through the pages of my book . . . wondering which critter to make next.  It could be the monkey (of the cover photo) next.

“weekend” beanies x2

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Do you remember my mad yarn buying of April?  And how I immediately hooked up a beanie in that lovely Katia yarn on the left?   Well, I got out my hook and used the colour in the centre to hook up not one, but two, new beanies!  I have to say that I did grab another 2 balls of that particular colour on a return trip to the shop lol.  So I used approx 120g per beanie.

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And here’s what that centre yarn looks like when crocheted.  Label said to use a size 7mm hook.  Beanie on the left was therefore done with a 7mm hook.  I started off with my circle, hooking in a spiral with half treble stitches until I had the correct diameter for head circumference.  Carried on with half treble until I had the required depth . . . and then did about 5 rounds in double crochet to make a “cuff”.

For the second beanie, on the right, I used an 8mm hook and simply did half treble all the time.

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Here they are with the one I made in the more blue/purple yarn (also “Katia – weekend”). With the cuff folded, and then opened out to show difference in depth.

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And modelled on two of my dummy heads.

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I think I prefer this finish with a “cuff”.  It gives the beanie a much better shape and makes them look less like a skull-cap.