A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: animals

I went to a peculiar crochet event at the Natural History Museum recently. In order to celebrate replacing the famous dinosaur skeleton in their great hall with the bones of a blue whale named Hope, Toft designed a special kit to make a crocheted version. Here’s what we were emulating.

And here I am hooking underneath her.

In terms of amigurumi, I’ve only ever trial crocheted some simple spheres before, so the whale was quite a step up. I made a few mistakes, especially with the decreases, but I remembered my friend Anna’s advice that crochet is very forgiving and ploughed on. I don’t think the errors notice too much.

This is actually the bonus pattern, Blue the whale calf. I’m pretty pleased with it as my my first crocheted toy. I’ll probably have a go at the full size whale one day.

Kits exclusive to the Natural History Museum in London.

Pattern not currently featured on Ravelry.


My first Southport dress turned out to be a fairly straightforward and rewarding sewing experience. I realise the waist tie is way too long but for some reason I wasn’t ready to cut it when I wore this dress for the first time.

Here’s a side view. This dress has been great to wear in the recent heatwave in London. Only one metre of light, breezy cotton, yet it’s formal enough that I feel comfortable wearing it to work.

Pockets are life.

Notes about the changes I made can be found here.

Pattern: Southport dress by True Bias

Fabric: 1m Liberty tana lawn

I finished a very quick sew this week- the Lark t-shirt by the Grainline Studio.

I’ve written a tutorial for Minerva Crafts that takes you through how to sew your first t-shirt. I think this is a great pattern for a foray into sewing with jersey.

Some notes for next time:

  • Be more careful with notching- the seam allowances are tiny, presumably this pattern is intended more for an overlocker
  • Removing 3″ from the body gave me a tee that hits right on the hip
  • Overall the size 8 fits me just as well as any RTW shirt. It would take a lot of wizardry (i.e. FBA and moving between sizes) to improve the fit, and I don’t think it would make enough of a difference to be worth it. I’m happy.
  • 1m of fabric is plenty for a short-sleeved version

Pattern: Lark by the Grainline Studio

Fabric: 1m of cotton jersey

Following holidays, shops often have cards on sale for a song. I couldn’t resist some cute bunny silhouettes after Easter, so came up with an idea that I think is effective but adaptable so anyone could make it. Here’s the final product

It was really simple. I traced the outline of the card into my notebook so I could choose my design. I think it works to make the letters quite big so your background peeks through.

Since this design wasn’t too complicated, I just used the drawing for reference rather than tracing it onto the card. Once I’d cut it out with my scalpel, I glued it over some pretty patterned paper (repurposed wrapping paper and it was done!

Card shops have a lot to answer for. Just the other day, I popped into one as I wanted to send a message to a friend who had lost two important members of her household. But could I find a ‘sorry your fish died’ card? Not for love or money. Well, money. The woman behind the counter got very sniffy when I asked about the store’s policy regarding trading against sexual favours and I was asked to leave.

Anyway, I decided to make my own. What’s quite cool here is that you can see that the design evolved quite a bit from my initial sketch to the end product.

Initial sketch

I started out with the idea of making a jokey card with very simple fish silhouettes. But after I researched the fish (a fan-tailed and a bubble-eyed goldfish) on the internet, I realised that I could recreate them pretty accurately without it being ridiculously complicated.


Cutting out the text was definitely the hardest bit. I’m hoping I’m going to get better at using a craft knife soon! Because I sketched the design on scrap card, I was able to cut out templates for the fish, which I flipped over and traced onto my coloured paper.

Cutting out a fish

I then had the shape the right way around on the paper with no pencil marks.

I wanted Wingus and Dingus to stand out, so I used some adhesive squares on their backs.

Fish with sticky tabsBackground

The observant among you will notice that one of those plants is, in fact, a pineapple as a subtle nod to Spongebob. I am all about understated allegory in my art.

As a final finishing touch, I added some rhinestones because SPARKLES. I used clear nail varnish to stick them down as that was the least messy thing I could think of.


Another hard bit was making their haloes. I used quite thick card because I wanted them to stand out, but cutting out the centres was a bitch.


One of the little projects I’ve been doing while avoiding the written work for my course has been a little knitted chameleon. A friend of mine is currently training as a teacher and I thought it might be cute in her classroom.

Nearly finished

Here he is! I got the pattern from a book called Knit and Purl Pets. Unfortunately this is the only picture I took and you can probably see that I hadn’t finished sewing all the ends in yet. Good lord, there were a lot of ends.

He’s also sitting on the first two granny squares I ever crocheted in preparation for my next big project.