Thursday, 15 May 2014

Craftseller mermaid and crew

Where does the time go. I meant to write this post a few days after my last and all of a sudden its nearly two weeks later. Sorry guys I will get my act together soon and be updating more regularly.

First up I've had a bit of a digital spring clean and done a few long overdue blog updates. The pattern section is now completely up to date and I've added an "in the press page" which is just really a photo gallery of my published patterns or my little showing off space as I like to think of it. I've still a few more updates to do and I want to add some more tutorials, which are in the pipeline and hopefully the first one will be up this weekend.

Now to the reason of this post. Have you seen the latest Craftseller magazine?

 My mermaid, octopus and crabs pattern has made it onto the cover. This is my 4th Craftseller cover in a year. I'm more than a bit chuffed I can tell you. I love the way they have photographed the group. Its come out really well. The crabs look so cute and the octopus has that slightly sinister look that seems quite fitting.

The story of this commission started a few months ago. I was chatting with a friend at work about amigurumi and as usually happens they were suggesting things I should make next. I get this a lot but I love it, I get some great ideas but usually end up with more things I want to make than time to make them.
 So, anyway, Tanya suggests an octopus. I told her I had done an octopus before and its one of the most boring tasks having to make eight legs all the same, I wouldn't relish the task again. Then I said and I quote "I would never, ever make another octopus".
 Honestly just half an hour later I got an email for my commissioning editor at Craftseller asking for a group of amigurumi containing a mermaid, some crabs and an octopus. Thats what you get for making sweeping statements :)

When I'd got over the initial shock I was quite please with this commission. I'd been wanting to do a mermaid for ages. Mermaids are an amigurumi classic but there are a lot of pitfall with them. You have to be careful about clam bra size so she's not too rude, give her red hair and your instantly copying Ariel and I've seem some dodgy looking fins in my research, I can tell you. I was a bit weary about attempting mine so I went through a few sketches. This was the one the Craftseller guys liked best but they asked for slightly larger clams to cover her modesty a bit more and a bigger octopus that would sit behind her on a rock rather than be cuddled. (I think this is way the finished octopus looks slightly miffed)

My mum says she can hear the cogs going in my head when I start planning a pattern. I think out the whole pattern in my head and then type it out before I even get my hooks out and start making. Usually there are small adjustments to make as I start crocheting but I have found this way works best for me.

(I've just realized she doesn't have a name. I'll have to change that I can't just call her the mermaid. If you have any ideas let me know.)

She is worked in one piece from the top of her head to the start of the fin, The arms, tail decoration, fin and clam bra are worked separately and attached. Attaching bits of amigurumi together is one of the tutorials I'm working on as is how to do this hair. That hair took a full ball of yarn. Each strand is attached individually so they cover the whole scalp. It is a labor of love but shes so worth it. It also means they they are as safe as possible for children to play with. They can hairstyle her to their little hearts content. I put a few little plaits in myself as I couldn't stop myself playing.

The seashell crown is made of real seashells. As no one took my massive hints that it was a really good excuse to go to the seaside to collect some I had to get these from the Range.

I went a different way with the octopus as I really didn't want to make eight individual legs again. These legs work really quickly in the round so they aren't daunting at all. I think he's lovely and I've made my peace with octopuses/octopi??

As for the crabs. I based this pattern on my old bobble bunch patterns but all the magic happens on the last round. One minute you have a red ball- the next its the most perfectly cute little crab and there is hardly any sewing with this one just weaving in the loose ends and sewing a mouth on. I kinda knew what I hoped they would look like when I wrote the pattern but I wasn't prepared for just how cute they were going to be when I finished. This little finished crab sat in my hand and it was love at first site. I sat with it for ages, then it got to sit on my laptop while I typed and it had to come with me when I made a cup of tea.  Ok ok Craftseller didn't get that first one, I made them two more and my first crabby love still sits near me watching me work.

This was the first project I was really, really pleased with. I'm not saying I'm unhappy with other work I've done, its just I'm really self critical and can always see ways things can be done better. When I bundled this little group up to be parceled off I got a real sense of a job well done. Its the first time I've been quietly confident they would make the cover but it doesn't stop me being really pleased they did.

Lo and behold I got another lovely surprise last night when I saw the cover of the summer issue of Love crochet magazine (out Friday).

Thats my stripy elephant and in the corner you can just make out my monkey and panda. I'll tell you more about them in my next post which will be soon I promise x


  1. Hi where can I buy your patterns especially the mermaid one, jut love her she is so cute xxx

  2. Sorry just seen link , must think before writing x