Tag Archives: craft blog

A very special project

This fresh new year, I am starting with a very special project. I am making the pattern for a fossilised monkey. And it is not even that simple, the monkey I am making is a prosimian or a lemur monkey. The researchers are not completely sure about it. This monkey, called Ida (based on Darwin’s name), died 47 million years ago and was found in Messel, Germany.

monkWhy am I making a fossilised monkey that lived 47 million years ago? To be honest, I’m not really a monkey fan. They just aren’t my kind of animals. I do love some lemurs and prosimians and please don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike monkeys, but they aren’t on my list of cute and cuddly things that make me feel all happy like when I see a guinea pig, fox or squirrel.

But this Ida monkey does! This was the cutest and most beautiful monkey ever. A friend of mine, who is a wildlife and paleo artist, made the most fabulous illustrations for a book about Ida. Because Ida was so very well preserved, Esther could draw her exactly as she looked, except for the colours. They couldn’t see those from the fossil so she had to chose the most likely colours. And how she portraid Ida, I was in love with her from the start! She made the monkey look so gorgeous and exotic.

Ida is a lemur or prosimian monkey and has this specific type of body. I really like the shape of her head and flexible form. She is perfect for the monkey I like to make. The coloured illustration you see is one of the illustrations Esther made for the book. Ida is the baby monkey carried by the mother.

idaEsther has asked me before if I could make an Ida monkey, but I never wanted to because it doesn’t exist anymore and therefor crafters won’t recognise the crochet monkey. But lately I was thinking about making a hanging monkey and got stuck on which type. I asked Ether if she knew an extra cute one and of course she said I should make the Ida monkey. I wasn’t sure about it at first but the more I thought about it, the less unlikely it felt. Why wouldn’t I make a pattern for this type of monkey? Ida is absolutely gorgeous and If I design a hanging Ida monkey, I bet many crocheters would just love it. The colours can easily be replaced for colours of existing monkeys if one prefers so what’s the problem. It was done. I was making a fossilised monkey as first project of the year! Now to think of a suitable name…

 

Oakie, crochet armadillo pattern

Sitting as promised in my original Popke style, I proudly present to you Oakie the crochet armadillo.

armadillo crochet pattern

Wow, what a process this was. I never expected all the bumps on the road of designing this crochet armadillo pattern. In my previous post I explained about the challenge of making this interesting looking creature. Making an animal that would never, ever even think of sitting on its bottom, sit on its bottom was for starters a classical design issue. But the body armour was so utterly complicated to design that the sitting thing seemed nothing. I wrote about the smooth textured Linen stitch I was planning to use for the armour. When I started everything seemed so jolly well. What a perfect stitch for armadillo armour. But then some in- and decreasing had to be done and how on earth could I do that with this stitch? I googled for info and found nothing, who would have thought about that? People only seem to crochet scarfs and pillowcases with this stitch, not animals. So I had to find a way myself. After testing all sorts of solutions and almost writing a post here begging someone to help me, I found the solution to my problem. Decrease three stitches instead of two. How simple could it be. Not everything was rough on this road. From the start I knew how I was going to design the arms. The legs and feet just fell into place when I made them and the tail looks fabulous because it is worked flat.

I really like the almost reptile looking appearance of Oakie’s face. The smaller eyes, unworked back loops and chain stitches form a perfect whole to create that characteristic armour texture. The rugged Lopi yarn accentuates it even more. Oakie might be unable to roll himself into a ball, but you can easily imaging him to do so. Just look at him! This armadillo is the most special creature I have ever made a crochet pattern for. Below the pictures you can find info about this armadillo amigurumi and the links to buy the pattern.

armadillo-amigurumi

crochet-armadillo-amigurumi

Info about & links to buy the pattern

This very rugged but cuddly crochet armadillo is made with Istex Lett Lopi, a worsted weight wool. He is 14 cm / 5.5 inch when sitting. All the additional information you need to know about this pattern you can find in the shop listings. You can buy this pattern in my shop at Craftsy and in my shop at Ravelry or order it here. It contains a clear and colour coded description of how to crochet and assemble the armadillo with extra illustrations and example pictures at the bottom to help you get everything right. In the pattern you can also find what materials you need, the yarn colour numbers, in short, everything you need to know to make your own ancient looking friend.

And heads up, this pattern has a one dollar release discount till Wednesday the 28th.

As seen on BBC Springwatch

Puffin_medium2

For the last three weeks, I have been watching one of my most favourite tv shows, BBC Springwatch. It is a fabulous series about wildlife’s life in spring (or autumn and winter) in the UK. It is a tv show that is such a delight to watch and I always learn so much from it. The show is divided in two parts, you first see a one hour episode on tv, and after that there is a half hour extra called Springwatch Unsprung you can watch online or on a certain red button if you live in the UK. Unsprung is a rather interactive bit, that evolves partly around the viewer.

For me, Springwatch is such an inspiring show and every year I try to crochet an animal that suits the Springwatch series. This time it was a Puffin, as I had seen one during my holiday to the UK and knew it would be featured in this years Springwatch series.

Just for the fun of it, I replied to a tweet to Springwatch, from a crafter who had knitted an adorable Springwatch inspired fish, by showing her the Puffin head I had just finished.

What happened next was amazing. I was watching Springwatch Unsprung when I saw to my utter surprise, the puffin head on my tv screen! I was totally flabbergasted. Wow, they actually picked out my puffin head to show in a bit about Springwatch inspired art made by the viewers. What a jolly surprise it was. I was feeling a bit euphoric after that as you can imagine.

It also made me rather enthusiastic to finish the puffin as soon as possible. I am working on the body and wings now and hope to have the puffin pattern finished within a few weeks!

Lazy Koji

Son's Popkes artwork, illustration.

This time I did not announce I was working on a new Son’s Popkes artwork, because let’s be honest, the last time the illustration did not turn out as I hoped. Fortunately, my latest illustration featuring nothing else but Koji, has become the artwork I fancied and I am proud to present it here.

It is simply titled ‘Lazy Koji’.

Together with my autumn Popkes artwork, I posted a ‘painting process’ slideshow. I think it is fun to show you how an illustration comes about.

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I must admit to myself, I like crocheting better, find it less frustrating. That is rather curious, as I have been drawing practically since I was born. Crocheting I have only been doing for five years now. The thing is though, when working on a painting, I can come to a certain point where I absolutely do not know how to proceed. It drives me nuts, I totally think I can never make the painting as beautiful as I fantasize, so what is the point in continuing?

For this illustration, I can show you exactly when that was, as it happens, after the second pic. There still was a lot of blue in the image and I had no idea what to do next. I just did not see it and felt like stopping. I took a break, thought about what to do and decided to just fill in the blank spaces with the colours I though would be right. And that helped. The painting now had the right mood, and for me, when the mood and colours are set, I can fill in the details and so on. Just look for yourself how much difference it made.

Maybe blue as a background colour was a bit poorly chosen for this painting and I should have started with a yellow background, but in the end, I did get it right!

Koji says hello!

Koji-sketch-webNormally, I make the sketch of a doll before I start crochet designing it. The sketch functions as a reference of sizes and shapes and basically is my guide. This time however, I only made the sketch just now, after I already finished the actual crochet animal. Now why is that?

Before I started working on this tiger, I was not sure about how I was going to make him. I had many options of how to design him. I could go for horizontal stripes or realistic ones. And should I tilt the head so the stripes would follow the lines of the crochet rounds better? There were so many options, I had to try it all. Then of course at some point, I found the right style for the tiger and went along making him.

Stopping then just to make a sketch was not going to happen. As soon as there is a sweet little face looking at me, I can not wait any longer to finish the animal.

Everyone here reading my blog has to be a little patience still. The pattern is not finished yet and pictures have to be taken too. In the meantime, enjoy the sketch of Koji, my glorious tiger. The pattern will be released somewhere next week.

White and fuzzy

For starters, I wish you all a very happy New Year! My previous post was titled ‘It’s almost Christmas’ but that lovely period is behind us now. I had a jolly good time and still hear the Mary Poppins songs playing in my head. 

ArcticFox-blog

I absolutely feel delighted to start the year with a new animal to make, a very wintery creature, the arctic fox. He will be very different from Flam the fox, as arctic foxes have much more subtile features. Their ears and noses are smaller than the ones of red foxes, to prevent them from freezing, and they have an incredible thick and fuzzy coat. I’m sure this little fox will have a brushed tail and maybe I will brush him all over to make him extra fluffy and soft. And if he asks me for one, I will make him a nice warm scarf like his red cousin.

For 2015 I have a lot of new creatures in mind. Hamsters and guinea pigs, a Mr. ratty, a polecat, maybe some more water creatures and much more. If anyone ever feels I am missing an animal, do let me know, I’m very curious what you think and maybe I will make the animal.

 

Floro and Finse’s wondrous autumn

Every so often I feel like painting a picture, creating an image where everything is possible. My crochet animals are the perfect theme for these illustrations, as I can make them come alive in a fairytale world. For my ‘working self’ there is nothing more exhilarating than combining my work as an illustrator with my crochet designs like this. It is so much fun and inspirational.

‘Floro and Finse’s wondrous autumn’ is a seasonal Popkes painting, the third in a series of four illustrations. I previously made a winter and spring illustration featuring my crochet animals. A summer illustration should be next on my list, but as summer is my least favourite season that probably will take a while.

I thought it would be interesting to show you a slideshow of the process of making this illustration. As you can see, blue is my white and the painting slowly gets its full colour.

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It is no surprise to me that this illustration is my best loved so far, as autumn is my dearest season, it is those colours!