Crochet

Basel basilisk: an amigurumi

Sincel last July we are living really close to the city of Basel. The city is proud of its heraldic animal, the imaginary basilisk, and according to the legend, there was one living in a cave that used to exist in the Old town. If you want to find more about Basel and its basilisk check my blogpost about Basel.

It is not a really big animal. The fountain basilisk (shown in the photo below) in the actual size of the legendary basilisk.

A basilisk fountain in the centre of Basel

Do you remember my nice red dragon Temeraire? He is positioned on top of my library, guarding my books. But it has been quite some time now that he has been asking for a friend and what else than a basilisk. I did a bit of searching, but there was no pattern interesting enough for what I wanted. So I decided to make it myself, so as to fit Temeraire. I used as a base the dragon body of Temeraire from the Amigurumi to go pattern. But the head is not the same as a dragon’s; it rather resembles the one of a rooster. That part I created myself. and I am going to offer it to you for free.

The abbreviations I use in the pattern are:

ch: chain
sc: single crochet
hdc: half double crochet
dc: double crochet
inc: increase – make two in the same stitch
dec: decrease – combine two stitches to one
[…]: repeat this sequence

What you need is a hook 4.00mm. As I have explained in previous posts, I like the Clover Amour ergonomic hooks, so I used the CLOVER Amour 4.00 mm hook. I made Temeraire with Stylecraft Special DK 1010 – Matador and I decided to make my basilisk black, as the colour of the coat of arm of Basel, so I used Stylecraft Special DK 1002 – Black. for the body.

The coat of arms of the city of Basel

For the head of the basilisk use Stylecraft Special DK 1002 – Black:

  1. Start with a magic ring of 6 sc (6)
  2. [inc] x 6 (12)
  3. [sc, inc] x 6 (18)
  4. [2 sc, inc] x6 (24)
  5. [5 sc, inc] x 4 (28)
  6. [6 sc, inc] x 4 (32)
  7. 12 hdc, 20 sc (32)
  8. repeat row 7 (32)
  9. 1 hdc, 10 dc, 1 hdc, [4 sc, inc] x 4 (36)
  10. 1 hdc, 10 dc, 1 hdc, 24 sc (36)
  11. 12 hdc, 24 sc (36)
  12. repeat row 11 (36)
  13. [hdc, dec} x 4, [sc, dec] x 8 (24)
  14. [2 sc. dec] x 6 (18)
  15. 18 sc (18)
    Start filling the head and keep filling it till the end
  16. [sc, dec] x 6 (12)
  17. [dec] x 6 (6)
    bind off. It is not important to close the hole as the beak will be covering it.

In order to have a proper rooster, we need a beak, wattles and a comb. For these ones I used Stylecraft Special DK 1114 – Sunshine. It is a shade between yellow and orange and it felt more fitting than than either of the two other colours. And here is how I made them:

The beak consists of two parts, the upper and lower one.

The upper and lower parts of the beak, sewed on the head

Upper beak part

  1. start with a magic ring of 6 sc (6)
  2. sc, hdc, 2 dc, hdc, sc (6)
  3. [inc] x 6 using only sc (12)
  4. 2 sc, 2 hdc, 4 dc, 2 hdc, 2 sc (12)
  5. [sc, inc[ x 6 (18)
  6. 4 sc, 3 hdc, 4 dc. 3 hdc, 4 sc (18)
  7. 18 sc (18)
  8. 18 sc (18)
    fill it with a bit of cotton batting, bind off and leave string for sewing

Lower beak part

  1. start with a magic ring of 6 sc (6)
  2. [inc] x 6 (12)
  3. [sc, inc] x 6 (18)
  4. [2 sc, inc] x 6 (24)
    fold the circle in two and close it with 10 sc

Wattles

  1. ch 5, turn, 4 sc (4)
  2. inc, sc, sc, inc (6)
  3. sc, hdc, sc, sc, hdc, sc (6)
  4. 6 sc (6)
    Make two of these and sew them together leaving the bottom open
The comb, sewed on top of the head

Comb

  1. ch 9, 2 sc in the first one, 6 sc, 3sc in the last one, 7 sc from the other side (18)
  2. [2 sc, inc] x 6 (24)
  3. [sc, hdc, inc with 2 dc, hdc) x 6 (30)
  4. 30 sc (30)
    bind off and leave string for seweing

In order to assembly the head you need to see the individual parts on it. The head is rather egg shaped. The magic ring is the back of the head, while the part where the hdc and dc are is the top of it and the sc the bottom. The comb goes on the top of the head and the wattles, once the two parts are sewed together, are sewed on the botton part, opposite to the comb. The two parts of the beak are sewed approximately at the height of the 14th row. Sew first the upper part in such a way that it looks nicely at the front of the egg-shaped head and the bottom part just under the upper part. The bottom part is sewed with the folded side of the circle to the head.

The head of the basilisk

The wings, spikes and eyes are done according to the Amigurumi to go pattern, but there are a few changes compared to the dragon:

  • The spikes stop at the bottom of the head and they don’t continue on the head. I made them with Stylecraft Special DK 1114 – Sunshine too.
  • The head of the dragon is a bit too heavy, so it is better to use some wire for support. This is not a problem for the basilisk. Its head is less prolongated and its barycentre is more centred than in the case of the dragon.

Since I made a basilisk, I embroider a Basel coat of arm on his belly!

How do you like my basilisk? Doesn’t he fit nicely with Temeraire?

Temeraire and Basilisk together!

P.S. Concerning the links used here, please check my Disclaimer.

Crochet

Lukas has his own pet!

I have talked to you about Lukas, our family mascot. In January he is going to be three years old! Well, last week we adopted two lovely kittens, Aria and Stella.

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Our kittens, Aria on the left and Stella on the right

Lukas first got excited about the pets, but soon got too scared. They are far too dangerous for him, as he thinks they are rather tigers than kittens. So I decided to make a pet for him rather at his size. The result was a cute little parrot.

The pattern is from my most favourite Dutch crocheter, Dendennis and his book Prettig gestoorde amigurumi’s (Pleasantly disturbed amigurumis) in dutch or DenDennis’ total verrückte Häkelfreunde: Die süßesten Antihelden aller Zeiten (Totally disturbed amigurumis: the sweetest antiheroes of all times) in german. I am not sure his books exist translated in English.

It is an easy and quite simple pattern. The parrot is made with cotton yarns in a combination of colours, such as green, red, orange, yellow . I used Schachenmayr Catania Apple green (Colour 205) for the body, Schachenmayr Catania Sun (Cl. 208) for the beak and the claws and Schachenmayr Catania Red (Cl. 115) , Catania Lionmouth (Cl. 280) for the additional colours of the wings.

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My small parrot

The pattern suggests using a 2.00 mm hook, but I used my favourite for amigurumis Clover Amour 3.00 mm hook. (In case you are wondering about the hooks I use, check my older post about the Crochet hooks that I have used.) I found the smaller hook a bit uncomfortable and anyway the yarns can be used for sizes 2.50 to 3.50 mm. The resulting parrot is about 13cm tall with his red beret.

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Well Lukas is so happy with his pet! You can see his happy face in the picture, no?

 

P.S. Concerning the links used here, please check my Disclaimer.

Crochet

Crocheted baskets

As you might know from previous posts, we moved to a new apartment in the beginning of July. The past couple of months have been full of arranging the new house. How much time settling takes! One of the problems that came up was that I was in need of boxes and baskets to organise the small things. In most cases I used plastic or carton boxes, but there were some cases, that too much customising was needed, such as the bathroom mirror. Why do they make them so shallow and long!

Since I am quite comfortable with crocheting, I decided to solve a couple of tricky situations through my hobby.

When I started crocheting, I tried making a basket, so as to exercise. For my first basket, I followed the Chunky crocheted basket pattern, which is a free one. The pattern suggests to use a super bulky yarn, so I chose Katia Ushuaia -100 g / ca. 85 m, that fits the suggestion. It is a dégradé dyed yarn in several combinations of colours that consists of 53% Polyester and 47% Polyacrylic. The link above refers to colour 623, but I really used colour 603, a combination of green, turquoise, purple and pink. The size of the hook needed is 8.00 mm.

Basket_1
My first basket

It was a quite easy project and a good exercise for my level of crochet, thanks to the size of the hook and the yarn. It turned out quite nice, no? I used it and I am still using it to store yarns and things. Nevertheless, it has some drawbacks, with the most important being that it is not sturdy. It is not a problem since I use it for yarns, as it adjusts to the shape of the contents, but for our toiletries I wanted something more robust.

I did a bit of searching in the internet for basket patterns and I came up with an interesting one: Crochet Rope Basket. The idea behind it is to crochet around a rope or string, so as to add stiffness and stability. It was exactly what I was looking for! The pattern is quite easy and nothing very special. The important about it is the foundation chain, which needs to be equal to the difference of the depth and the length you want your basket to be plus 2 chains, as the pattern says. In my case, I wanted a basket 15 cm long and 10.5 cm deep, so my foundation chain was 4.5 cm plus 2 chains long.

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My nicest basket!

For this box I used my favorite Stylecraft Special DK – Matador (1010), a bit of Stylecraft Special DK – Black (1002) and a small piece of Stylecraft Special DK – Turquoise (1068). The pattern I made myself, so as to give it a bit of a character! The yarns are crocheted around a common everyday rope we had at home. I used a 5.00 mm hook, but the size you need depends on the thickness of the rope you are using. It should be big enough so as to be able to create easily the stitches around the rope, but still be tight enough. My yarn was thick enough so as to make the rope I used almost invisible. I like the result quite a lot!

I even made another basket! For the third one I used scraps of the Katia Ushuaia yarn I used for the very first basket I made. This is a nice advantage of these projects: they are all done with scraps of yarns used for other projects. This yarn was also big enough, so as to cover the rope. You can’t really see it right? But you can notice how much nicer it stands compared to the first basket I made in 2016!

Basket_3
And my third basket!

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The rope or better string that hides inside the second and third basket

Bullet journal · Crochet

Keeping track of my projects in my Bullet Journal

I use my bullet journal for several things. I started it in order to track the organisation of my wedding and the million of appointments I had to arrange for that, while having a tight working schedule. Last year I used it as a travelling notebook. This year I use it for organising all the aspects of my strangely arranged life.

One of these aspects is the fact that I am a crafter: I like crocheting and from time to time I try other things too. With my skills by now, I am doing modifications in patterns I use, so as to fit my individual needs. But this means that if I don’t note down the modifications somewhere, I will probably never be able to reproduce the same thing I created. I was keeping a notebook with small patterns I have created myself, but when I was making modifications of an existing pattern, things were starting to get confusing.

I use pinterest for ideas and inspiration. And I saw a nice idea of a page that I could modify to use for my crochet creations (I am sorry I have no idea who created it first, so as to give credit to).

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Example of my notes for the scarf I made for myself

In the first photo you can see the notes I did for the scarf I created for myself. I don’t rewrite the pattern I use. I just note the changes that I made or things that I think would be essential to remember if I try to make it again.

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Another example of the notes for fingerless gloves

In the second example, it is my notes for the fingerless gloves I made. As you may have seen, I made two pairs. I kept notes only for the first pair and I used them when I made the second one. In case I had made further modifications I would have created a new page and make a note for linking it with this one.

I like this page template: it is simple and flexible. It summarises the basic materials and has plenty of space for notes. I can modify the spaces needed according to the project I am making. I have a more consistent way of keeping notes for my projects and this way I am able to understand my notes several months after I did them. Isn’t it amazing?

For the time being, I create the page for each project once I am starting it and I insert it as it comes in the flow of my bullet journal. I have to admit though, that probably this is not the best way of saving my projects for later. I will see how it goes with this year, but I keep it in the back of my mind, that I will probably have to create a second type of bullet journal for only my crafts. I have avoided keeping two or three bullet journals, but if my crafting becomes “more professional”, I think I will have to take this part out of my everyday bullet journal.

Crochet

Fingerless gloves

Hopefully winter is over, but even in spring the weather can be cold, at least in Switzerland or the Netherlands I have been spending my last several springs. I have been looking for some nice thin gloves that I could use when I am crocheting outdoors or when I do not want to wear mittens or winter gloves. During last Christmas my husband and I had a thorough look in the Christmas Market of Zurich. We did see several nice pairs, but most of them had too long parts in the arms and I didn’t think I would enjoy that.

In the end, I decided to make fingerless gloves myself at exactly the size and the length I wanted. Looking in the internet, I found a really nice pattern for free from Crejjtion. So my problem was solved!

The original pattern suggests using a 3.0 mm hook and the finished gloves would be 21cm long and with a diameter of 18cm.

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For the first pair I made, I started with a 3.0mm hook and a Baby Supremo Super Merinos yarn of 100% pure wool in red colour, which I had received as a present in one of the yarns exchanges I am participating from time to time. I followed the written pattern and started with 50 stitches, but after a couple of lines, I decided that neither the pattern was nicely visible, nor the fit comfortable, so I used a 3.5 mm hook instead. Another choice would be to increase the starting stitches. The increase should be by 10 stitches, otherwise the pattern would not correspond to nice shells. The best fit can be achieved by changing both the stitches and the size of the hook.

In order to make my pair of gloves shorter than the pattern suggests, I just had to decrease the rows before the thumb. Instead of 21 rows before the thumb, as the pattern suggests, I did only 13. In case you change the number of rows as me, you have to pay attention that the total is an odd number. The shells look nice only when a pair of rows is done (one that the shells are created – such as rows 3 and 5 – and one where the difference in length is equalised – such as rows 2 and 4).

For the rest of the glove I followed the instructions of the pattern.

I liked my gloves a lot! They are soft and comfortable, as well as elegant. A couple of weeks ago it was the birthday of a friend of mine here in Switzerland and trying to think of something to give her. How about a pair of fingerless gloves?

DSC02544

I made the second pair following my modifications for the first one and used a nice yarn from LANG Yarns Mille Colori Socks & Lace Luxe in shades of blue. It is a rather thin yarn of 73% wool, 25% nylon and 2% polyester, with grades of blue colour spun with a fashionable metallic thread, a characteristic that makes it look really nice. Don’t you agree?

The project did not take me long to complete. I could make a glove per day without a lot of haste.  Do try it if you want a pair of nice fingerless gloves!

P.S. Concerning the links used here, please check my Disclaimer.

Crochet

Owls for mobiles

It was Christmas 2016 and I was travelling home for the holidays. I was going to meet my friends and I was looking for some small present for each one of them. Earlier that year we had some common activity in Athens that had an owl as a mascot and I knew the girls are fond of owls. So I came up with a nice and funny idea for a present: owl mobile cases.

green owl

The pattern of the cases is by Linda Cyr and is for free. It is nicely explained and it is a simple project with mostly single crochet stitches. The only tricky point about this project is to make the case big enough for the mobile you have in mind. The pattern suggests a gauge and some size, but the best is to check your own mobile. The important round is the first one of the body, which is going to be the base of the case, so it needs to be wide enough for your mobile to fit.

I made three cases in total, all of them for presents, so I was trying to have a size between my mobile, which is small, and my husband’s, which is rather big. I knew that one of my friends got a new mobile that is much bigger than average ones, so I had to ask her for the size of her mobile without giving her any hints about why I needed it. So I told her that my sister is looking for a new phone and I wanted her opinion about her own, but size was important, so she had to tell me how big her phone was!

red owl

So as explained already, I followed the instructions of the pattern and I used a CLOVER Amour 6 mm hook. For the fitting I checked how round 1 of the body fitted with the mobile. That being ok, I continued with the rest of the rounds and I was checking periodically by inserting my mobile.

I made three cases closely following the colour suggestions of the pattern. The first one was green and blue (I used Stylecraft Special DK 1259 – Bright Green for the body and Stylecraft Special DK 1829 – Empire for the wings and the head), the second one was red and brown ( I used Stylecraft Special DK 1010- Matador for the body and Stylecraft Special DK 1054 – Walnut for the wings and the head), and the third one was majestically white (I used Stylecraft Special DK 1001 – white for the whole owl). The legs and the yellow eyes were made with Stylecraft Special DK 1114 – Sunshine and the brown eyes of the green owl with Stylecraft Special DK 1035 – Burgund. For the eyes I used dark coloured Acrylic stones in different sizes and for the nose I found some nice fitting oval brown wooden buttons.

white owl

I should note that for the red/brown owl that was bigger than the size of the pattern, I had to modify the flap of the head so as to fit my measurements. I made the base as long as the the body was and then started decreasing gradually from both sides so as to make it triangular and reach a row with 3 stitches. That’s why it seems to be a bit longer than the rest of the owls.

I hope the girls enjoyed their presents as much as I enjoyed making them!

P.S. Concerning the links used here, please check my Disclaimer.

Crochet

Temeraire: a crocheted red dragon

Today I will introduce you to another of my favourite amigurumis: the fierce red dragon we call Temeraire.

The name comes from a series of  9 books by Naomi Novik, with the name Temeraire, which involves a Chinese dragon. I have not read the books yet, but my husband has and we have been discussing about it. If you are interested, the first book is called His Majesty’s Dragon, but I really like the cover of the 5th book:

Now back to the crochet subject, the red fierce dragon is a free pattern by Amigurumi to go. It is a really detailed pattern split in three parts and accompanied by detailed videos.

I would say that it is a rather medium to advanced project and definitely not a beginners’ one. It involves a combination of single and half double crochet stitches for most of the body and occasionally double crochet for the decorations  (US terminology). In addition, it is a quite big amigurumi: the finished dragon is about 40cm tall.

Admittedly, the detailed instructions and the videos are of big help, but the small details that make the dragon look amazing are a bit demanding.

 

I found the shaping of the wings, the assembling of the eyes so as to look as identical as possible and the spikes a bit tedious and demanding. But as I said, they are the elements that made the dragon look really nice.

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The wing with the pipecleaner around and the two layers

dragon eye
The different steps in sewing the eyes

Temeraire was created during the end of 2016 as a present for my husband who loves fantasy books and dragons. It took me a couple of months to finish him, as I had to work on him when he was not around to see me and while I had a full-time job that kept me outside the house for about 12 hours. But it was worthy and it was a total surprise for him!

Just a couple of days ago, I finished a second dragon, as a dear friend was visiting us two weeks ago and she wants one for herself. It is from this second one that I could get a few photos of the parts in progress.

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Temeraire on the right and his new brother on the left!

I made my first dragon with a CLOVER Amour 4.50 mm hook and as I didn’t like the gaps between the stitches, my second dragon with a CLOVER Amour 4.00 mm hook. For both of them I used my favourite acrylic yarn Stylecraft Special DK 1010 – Matador. Both the dragons have a bit of a support for the head. Temeraire has two pipecleaners rolled around each other, while the new dragon has a bit of medium thickness wire. If you use this kind of support, you need to make sure that the edges are covered and not exposed.

It feels a bit strange to call my first dragon with its name and to have no name for the second one. Well, soon it will be on its journey to find a new family that will like it and hopefully they will find a nice name for it!

P.S. Concerning the links used here, please check my Disclaimer.