Making Zuma

My third born is three today! All he wanted for his birthday was a Paw Patrol toy. The only problem with this is that there are NO Paw Patrol toys on sale in the UK! They are available via amazon or ebay but at inflated prices as they are imported from the USA. Fortunately I found a pattern on Etsy for amigurumi versions of the gang and as Zuma is his favourite, I thought I better purchase it and make a start. This was 5 days before his birthday though so I was cutting it fine!

I used stylecraft DK yarn in dark brown and jaffa (neon orange) and a 3mm hook which I had covered in fimo a few days previous. I love my new handle, it makes working with thin hooks much more comfortable. I enjoy using this yarn too, it is lovely and soft and gives a good finish.

I started off by making the body, thinking I had better get the bigger pieces out of the way first. It actually made up within a couple of hours. I actually found the smaller pieces, like the tail, more difficult as they were so fiddly. Also working in dark brown wool was tricky as the stitches weren’t always clear, even in good light.

It was the evening before his birthday and we had finally got the two little ones to bed. I really just wanted to watch TV and drink some wine but Zuma wasn’t yet ready for the birthday boy….infact he still needed two legs and ear and a tail!

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I think because I had to work under pressure, I was much more focussed and actually got the missing pieces made in a couple of hours. That included interruptions from the baby who didn’t want to sleep! Phew, what a relief, Zuma would be ready on time!

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That is my least favourite part though, trying to get it looking just right. I think I did ok though and I got to have a glass of wine by about 10pm 🙂

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The pattern was well written and easy to follow. I might even purchase some of the other pups to create the collection. I need a rest from 3mm hooks and tiny stitches for a while though!

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Handmade hook handles

My hands get really tired and sore when I’m using the thin, 3mm crochet hook that amigurumi designs require. I did my right hand cramps up frequently and the end of the hook digs into my palm. So, any excuse for a new hook, I ordered a Pony “easy grip” crochet hook from Amazon.

I waited, and waited. It didn’t turn up. Contacted the seller who asked if I wanted a replacement or a refund. I asked for a replacement but that still took nearly a week to arrive! Anyway, in the meantime, I got bored of waiting and decided to investigate the pretty fimo handles I had seen on other crocheter’s pages. They look so pretty! I imagined it would be quite a complicated process so watched a few YouTube clips and it actually looked simple. Hurrah, I like simple!

Off I went to my local craft shop, and discovered they had a good selection of colours and an alternative (cheaper) brand to fimo too. As I had the toddler with me, I had to have an orange block as that’s his favourite colour. With his blessing, I also got a pink and a yellow block too.

I couldn’t wait to get crack open the pink fimo and give it a go. I was concerned that if I messed it up I would be stuck without a 3mm hook but the husband assured me he could smash the fimo off the hook if needs be!

I rolled it into a ball to get out all malleable then rolled it into a sausage. Gently I pushed the end of the hook into the sausage and then tidied up the ends of the fimo. I wasn’t completely happy so pulled it off and started again!

Second time round it looked neater and I decided to mould it to my grip. The end that touches my palm actually now has a curve to it to sit neatly on my palm and not dig in.

Thirty minutes later, after cooking at 110℃, my hook was ready! But hot. So I had to be patient and wait for it to cool. I got my yarn ready to start my Zuma amigurumi project and checked back on my hook.
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It felt perfect! It actually felt really light and not plasticky like I thought it might. I was really pleased with how the moulding worked out, it fit my grip beautifully.

I’m going to try mixing up the colours or doing polka dots on my other hooks. I’ve seen people add tiny little butterflies, flowers or leaves to their designs but I’m not sure how to do that yet!

The hook has been really comfortable to work with. My ordered hook has since arrived but hasn’t yet been taken out of its packaging…

Love, Betty x

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A WIP update

It’s that time again, for me to remind myself of all the projects I have on the go and to chivvy myself along!

I have a new project on the go this week. Typical me, leaving it until the last minute… it’s a Zuma amigurumi toy from Paw Patrol. My two-year old is obsessed with the Paw Patrol and Zuma is his favourite. That’s because Zuma is orange and orange is his favourite colour! Anyway, the two-year old will be three on Sunday so last night (Tuesday!) I start making his toy. I work better under pressure anyway 😉

So, here is Zuma’s body and one leg.

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Still to go…three legs, one head, two ears, a hat and a tail. I can manage that in the next four days, right? (You know I’ll be up until stupid o’clock on Saturday!)

It will be worth it to see his little face on his birthday though. Can’t wait!

I now have two corner to corner blankets on the go. Same colours but different orders so their new owners, who are siblings, can tell which blanket belongs to who. Nearly finished the body of the second blanket now and then just the ends and the border/edging to do.

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The rainbow blanket has had to go on hold while I finish the Zuma toy and the C2C blankets but I managed a few rows at the weekend…it’s getting there!

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Hopefully this time next week, Zuma will be long finished, the blankets will be with their new owners and the rainbow blanket will be well on its way.

Then what shall I make?!

Love, Betty x

My latest projects

I’ve been a bit busy lately so struggled to fit in writing blog posts. With going back to work next week (well, officially three days ago but it’s half term so a week off for me!), posts will probably be less regular. Over the last couple of weeks we have had a hospital stay for Miss S due to her fairly severe asthma and the husband has been in a play for the last week. This hasn’t left me with much free time for crafting or blogging! Hopefully I’ll catch up with myself this week.

I finished the poncho, which I loved making. It worked up fairly quickly, think it was about 7 hours in total and I enjoyed making the granny stripes. It’s a good pattern for watching TV to as doesn’t require much concentration. Here is the finished article:

The colour was chosen by the lady who ordered it for her toddler. I think it is a fab choice and the colours look so lovely together. I really love colourful crochet!

With the leftover yarn, I finally got round to making the unicorn. Once I got going I enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to complete it. I find working with a small hook (3mm) and having to focus on tiny stitches quite tiring though, so it took me a good 7-8 hours. I’m not so keen on the putting together stage either. I’ve had a few requests to order the unicorn but I’m not sure I’ll make amigurumi to sell. I’m not sure I would enjoy it and there are issues regarding safety certificates when selling toys.

Some pics…the first few rows took me forever. Then I found this youtube video which made doing the inital magic ring a bit easier.

I followed the pattern in the order it was written, so legs first, then body.

I posted this picture on my facebook page and got some funny suggestions as to what I might be making…toes, clangers, and russian dolls!

I expect once the head was made it might have been more obvious…

Here she is, all finished. I think she is so incredibly cute! My daughter nabbed her and my 8 year old son wants a “storm” unicorn. I have no idea what one of those is! Very satisfying when amigurumi is complete but hard work and patience to get to that point!

Can’t remember if I shared a photo of the slouchy hat in my last post…

My daughter requested it and loves it. I made it from the lovely Caron simply soft yarn. The only place I have found that stocks it is Wool Warehouse, who I have now ordered from a number of times! Their delivery is pretty quick and their prices very competitive.

Once all those items were finished I was daydreaming about creating a beautiful rainbow blanket for baby S. I have been lusting over an Attic24 pack of yarn for ages so bit the bullet and invested in one. It’s good value with the yarn costing slightly less than buying individual skeins. Think it works out that one skein is free.

Isn’t it beautiful! I bought a couple of additional skeins, the bright orange and bright yellow which are next to each other aren’t part of the Lucy pack.

With my daughter’s input, I decided to make a granny stripe blanket with a ROYGBIV rainbow colour scheme and with alternate white stripes.

These were the colours we selected, they look even more gorgeous in real life! I made a foundation chain of 120 in red and set off making the blanket. It took me about two hours to get going and hook 10 rows of granny stripes plus the foundation chain and a starting single crochet row. Each row is taking on average 10 minutes.

Can’t wait to crack on with the other colours and see it grow but it will have to take a back seat to my Betty’s Bells orders and my proper job!

The end is nigh (of my mat leave, that is!)

The last few Wednesdays have come round so quickly. This is my last Wednesday on maternity leave so I expect I won’t have as many projects on the go once I’m back to work. I start back on Monday but that’s a bank holiday and next week is half term so I should manage to get a bit more hooking in before things get too chaotic once more!

I’ve mixed feelings about going back, which is to be expected after maternity leave! I’m going to miss my two little people so much. The last few months have been pretty challenging and I’ve had some really difficult times, but I’ve loved being there for them, 24/7, so much and seeing how much they’ve grown and developed has been a real privilege. I’ll miss my big two too although they probably won’t notice my absence so much with their being at school. I’m on a part time contract so will still be able to pick them up four times a week and drop them off two or three times.

People usually try to console those going back to work with the thought of hot cuppas and toilet breaks in peace. Teaching isn’t one of those jobs that lends itself to getting a hot cuppa and to be honest, I usually drink so little I don’t need the loo! But there are advantages to going back. Firstly, the money! SMP isn’t great so a bit of extra cash will be nice. Secondly, my colleagues. They’re all lovely and really supportive. I enjoy working with them. And of course, the children/pupils/learners, whatever the government is referring to them as this week. Those amazing young people who test you to your limits and make the good times great and the hard times worthwhile. I’m looking forward to seeing the ones I have taught before and getting to know new classes.

So, while I get back into the swing of things, crocheting will have to take a back seat. Although I will be sure to keep something on the go as a relaxation activity once all my homework is done!

This week’s works in progress:

Slouchy hat: nearly done. Daughter likes it but wants it a bit “slouchier” so I have to frog the last couple of rows and add a few more of the double crochet rows.

Poncho: done! Will show you pics on finished Friday!

Amigurumi Unicorn: One leg done! That took me flipping ages! If anyone has any tips about how to do a magic ring with a 3mm hook they would be greatly appreciated. Once I’m a few rows in it’s fine but those first rows are so fiddly.

Right, back to being referee between the baby and the toddler!

WIP Wednesday

Apologies for the lateness of this weeks WIP Wednesday post, but the original post has gone missing somewhere in the ether between the blogger app on my phone and the internet. Very annoying. The blogger app is pretty useless and causing me to consider moving the blog to another provider. WordPress seems a popular choice. I like how blogger links to all things google though.

So, this week has been pretty busy! I got a new niece which spurred me on to finish the amigurumi bunny and to make the cutest little hat and shoes set.

I have also been busy completing a lovely hat for an order. It’s pretty much the baby cloche hat pattern that I’ve used before, just done in a adult size. It’s made from Lily Sugar n Cream cotton which I love working with. The stitches look so defined and neat. I hope its new owner likes it. 
I have a couple of WIPs this week…
Preschooler poncho: I’m really enjoying making this colourful poncho. It’s the first time I’ve worked with stylecraft yarns and I have to say, I’m impressed with the quality of the double knitting yarn. It’s lovely and soft and stays neat as I’m working with it. The threads don’t unwind like some yarns do and there’s an nice finish to the stitches. I’m 16 rows in now and I reckon I need at least another 20. Each row takes about 15 minutes now but that gets gradually longer as there are two clusters of stitches added to each row. I think I’ll finish it off with a couple of rows of single crochet and then a scalloped edging. 

Neon pink slouchy hat: Requested by my 10 year old daughter, apparently these are what every girl needs these days. In bright pink, obviously. Still, it’s a pretty easy request in a lovely yarn. I love the Caron Simply Soft (which is worsted/aran weight yarn) so much, I just wish I could buy it locally. I don’t mind buying from the internet but the free delivery for orders over £25 is just too good an offer to miss out on and I have ended up with a LOT of yarn! Have a look here for all the pretty colours that are available.

Not looking likely that I’ll have either of these finished by Friday, but I’ll give it a go! Oh, and the amish puzzle ball…it hasn’t left my WIP box since last week, oops. 

Adventures in Amigurumi

Wonderful news! My baby niece arrived today, 13 days overdue and absolutely perfect. It was lovely to have newborn cuddles with her. So, now she has her amigurumi bunny I can show you photos of it during construction and now it is complete.

I used this pattern by Adorable Amugurumi and it was set out in a very organised fashion and was easy to follow. You have to work in the round which I am not used to doing but soon got the hang of it. Stitch markers are essential so you know where your round ends. I used a kirby grip and have since treated myself to some plastic stitch markers. 
It was still missing one ear and one arm at this stage!
The individual components didn’t take long to make up. I found the first row was the trickiest but it was plain sailing once those stitches were done. The stuffing needed to be added to a few of the parts before the final rounds were made. 
I added the face before stuffing although the instructions suggest doing it after. I made the pompom by winding wool around a small fork and then tightly tying a strand of yarn around the centre. I used sharp scissors to cut the loops and trim the pompom so it was neat and spherical. It’s a very cute pompom don’t you think?! 
Stitching together took a good hour or so as I found it tricky to get the parts looking just right. I also was unsure of how to finish off the stitching and where to leave my yarn ends. At this point, using a variegated yarn seemed like a bad idea. I’m sure it would have been easier to hide my seams if they were the same colour as the main parts! 
Finally I was happy with how it had come together and thought it looked lovely. I tied a ribbon round the neck to complete it.