Hello there, I hope you’re doing ok. Didn’t get this ready in time to be a Sunday Postcard, so it’s an Easter Monday one instead.
I hope you have had a decent Easter weekend – we have had such lovely sunny weather in Manchester which meant we were able to have my brother and his wife over to see us in our back garden – the first time we had seen them since Christmas Day. It was the perfect day – lovely weather and lovely conversations. You couldn’t have topped it.
Here’s a little look back at the last couple of weeks in our world.
We’ve been able to pop out for a few walks lately, as the weather has been kind to us. Mostly dry and sometimes beautifully sunny. We headed back to the banks of the River Mersey for a walk and lovely takeaway hot chocolate from the Riverbank Café.
Internet safety model
Littlest came home from school with this kit to make. It was made by Google and involves you answering questions about internet safety and as you get them right – you are given assembly instructions. It was a very informative half an hour or so, and was amazed how much he knew already. A very good idea for young ones and old ones alike.
A new tree
When we last lived in the UK (and weren’t planning on leaving) we planted an apple tree in our back garden. I imagined the Little Postcards would be able to watch it grow as they grew. Of course we left that tree behind when we moved to Gibraltar, so I always intended on getting a tree for our new garden.
I took a trip to the garden centre while the boys were at school for something else and spotted this tree, it was an impulse buy and I had a slight panic that it wouldn’t fit in the car – with a bit of jiggery-pokery I got it in!
I got some super happy post a fortnight ago, I have long wanted one of Cathy from Dear Emma’s fabric pots with little houses on. They are so cute! So I spent some of my birthday money on one. Isn’t it beautiful?
I also took delivery of this inspiring and very well written book by Sarah Corbett – ‘How to be a Craftivist’. I have long watched the Craftivist Collective at work on Instagram and wanted to know more about what they do. I can highly recommend it.
A new amigurumi person…
I’ve been taking inspiration from my own garden for my latest amigurumi make. Can you tell what I’ve been making?!
Introducing Dave, the King of the Daffodils!
He’s looking a bit lonely though isn’t he? I think he needs a friend… watch this space!
Heading out of lockdown
It’s been lovely for the past week to begin doing some more ‘adventurous’ things. Now we are on the way out of lockdown (hopefully) Littlest has been able to join a local football team for training – which is brilliant after so long trapped in our own home and garden.
I’ve also been able to have a couple of friends over for coffee (and a glass of wine) in our garden – what bliss after so long apart!
Last Friday on Making Stitches I published the latest episode featuring Hayley from Dotcraftstudio who spoke about her experience on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas and how her craft of amigurumi faux animal heads has developed over time.
You can listen by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or via this link.
That’s all I’ve got for you for this latest Postcard, I often find it hard to find things to include as life isn’t quite as picturesque as it once was for us when we lived overlooking the Bay of Gibraltar! However, inspite of the lack of sea views, life has been very good to us and we have been blessed with the kindness of friends and family who more than make up for any sea views!
Until next time, I hope life treats you kindly. Thanks for stopping by!
Hello there! I hope you’re doing ok. I’ve had some really lovely feedback since I first shared Flora with the big wide world a few weeks ago. A very good friend of mine who is a super talented artist even illustrated her for me!
Isn’t she a beauty?! I love her! Thank you Emma! (There are details to find Emma’s work at the end of this pattern).
I’ve been wanting to have a bash at designing crochet patterns for a while, so here is my first ‘proper’ one (I did a tiny bumble bee for a yarn bomb ages ago, but that doesn’t really count!). Please be gentle with me (I have checked for mistakes and don’t think there are any), and if you make a Flora of your own, I’d love to see yours. Please tag her on Instagram with #florathegardener or #postcardfromgibcrochet
Before you begin:
Please read through the complete pattern before you begin.
Flora measures approximately 34cm tall.
This toy is suitable for children to play with, however if you are planning on giving her to a small child please embroider them with black yarn or embroidery cotton instead.
Flora is made using the amigurumi technique of crocheting in the round. You will need to use a stitch marker to mark the first stitch of every row.
What you will need:
I created Flora using DK weight cotton yarns as I prefer the effect of the cotton yarns and they are pretty hardwearing for toys however standard synthetic DK yarn would work up fine for this project.
Basket – Scheepjes River Washed No 822 ‘Brown Agate’
You will also need some soft toy filling – I used Recycled Polyester Craft Filling from Phoenix Fibres which is made from recycled plastic bottles.
You will also need some safety eyes – I used 7mm but a larger size would work fine. Alternatively you can embroider her eyes on using embroidery thread or yarn.
Stitch Markers to keep track of where you are in the pattern.
A darning needle to sew in your yarn tails.
Skill Level: This is suitable for anyone with experience of double crochet stitches, magic circles, making chains and slip stitches. There are plenty of useful videos online which illustrate how to create a magic circle if you haven’t come across one before.
Stitches & Abbreviations:
This pattern is written in UK terms
Ch = chain
Dc = Double crochet
Dc2tog = Double crochet 2 together (US single crochet 2 together) If you prefer a neater finish you can use an invisible decrease rather than Sc2tog. To make an invisible decrease you put your hook through the front loop only of the next two stitches, yarn over hook and pull it back through.
MC = Magic Circle
Slst = Slip Stitch
St(s) = Stitch(es)
YO = Yarn Over
Most amigurumists choose a hook size which is smaller than the one recommended on the yarn ball band eg DK yarns often suggest a hook size of 4mm. By using a smaller hook your fabric is tighter and stops any filling material from being visible through the holes. Whatever hook you choose to use, make sure you use the same size for the whole doll. I used a 3mm hook for this project but you could go even smaller and get a much tighter fabric if you wish.
As Flora is crocheted together as you go, you will need to make her head, arms and legs first before attempting the body. The figure in brackets at the end of each row indicates how many stitches there are in that round eg (6). Please remember to use a stitch marker in the first stitch of every round so you can keep track of where you are.
Round 1 with beige yarn, work 6 Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)
Round 2 2Dc into each st around (12)
Round 3 (2Dc in next st, 1Dc in next st) repeat around (18)
Round 4 (2Dc in next st, 1 Dc in next 2 sts) repeat around (24)
Round 5 (2Dc in next st, 1 Dc in next 3 sts) repeat around (30)
Round 6 (2Dc in next st, 1 Dc in next 4 sts) repeat around (36)
Round 7 (2Dc in next st, 1 Dc in next 5 sts) repeat around (42)
Round 8 (2Dc in next st, 1 Dc in next 6 sts) repeat around (48)
Rounds 9-16 1Dc in every stitch around (48)
Round 17 (Dc2tog (or Invisible Decrease as detailed above), 1 Dc in next 6 sts) repeat around (42)
Round 18 (Dc2tog, 1 Dc in next 5 sts) repeat around (36)
Round 19 (Dc2tog, 1 Dc in next 4 sts) repeat around (30)
Round 20 (Dc2tog, 1 Dc in next 3 sts) repeat around (24)
Round 21 (Dc2tog, 1 Dc in next 2 sts) repeat around (20)
Fasten off and break yarn leaving a long tail to sew head to body later on. Place safety eyes between rows 10 & 11 approximately 4 stitches apart. Stuff head firmly.
ARMS (Make 2)
Round 1 With beige yarn work 6 Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)
Round 2 (2Dc into each st) repeat around (12)
Round 3 – 6 Dc into every stitch, in YO of final Dc change yarn to the colour of the coat (green) (12)
Round 7 – 25 1 Dc into every stitch (12)
Fasten off and break yarn. Darn in yarn tail and stuff firmly.
LEGS (Make 2)
Round 1 (In black for soles of the shoes) 6Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)
Round 2 2Dc into every st (12)
Round 3 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc) repeat around (18)
Round 4 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 2 st) repeat around, but change colour in the YO of the final st to orange for Flora’s boots (24)
Round 5 (In orange) 1Dc into the back loop only of each stitch around (this will give the look of the edge of the sole). (24)
Rounds 6 – 8 1Dc into every st around (24)
Round 9 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next two st) repeat around and change colour in YO of final st to blue (for Flora’s trousers) (18)
Rounds 10 – 40 1Dc in every st around. (18)
Fasten off and break yarn.
At this point you need to look at your legs and decide at which part of the top round (Leg Round 40) you want to begin your Body Round 1. Ideally the colour change stitches between black to orange on the shoes and orange to blue of the trousers should be at the back of the doll so they aren’t as noticeable. It is directly above these colour changes where you need to join your blue (trouser coloured) yarn to begin joining the legs together and forming the body (see photo 1 below).
Round 1 Join yarn in appropriate st as described above and ch 1 (this does not count as a st) then 1Dc into the same st, 1 Dc into the next 3 sts, chain 1, then take the second leg, assess which is the back of the leg and squish the top of the leg to fold it flat with the back in the centre, at the stitch nearest the right side (3 or 4 st to the right of the colour joins – see photo 2 above). This is the point at which you need to begin 1Dc in every st around the top of the second leg, once you have gone all the way round, Dc into the side of the Ch nearest to you (see photo 3 below) and continue to Dc around the remaining 14 st of the first leg. (38 stitches – 18 x2 from both legs plus chain and Dc into chain on return)
Round 2 1Dc into every st (38)
Round 3 1Dc into next 15 st, 2Dc into next 2 st, 1Dc into next 16 st, 2Dc into next 2 st, 1Dc into next 3 st (42)
Round 4-5 1Dc into every st (42)
Round 6 1Dc into every st, in YO of final Dc change to yarn for Flora’s jumper (photo above) (42)
Round 7-24 1Dc into every st (42)
At this point, flatten out the body so you can clearly see the two sides where the arms should go, mark the two sides with stitch markers to show the midpoint of each arm position (see photo above) – we will be attaching the arms in Round 25.
Round 25 1Dc in next 15 st, (this should bring you to within 3 st in front of the stitch marker) then squash the top of the first arm flat and put your hook through the first stitch on the right hand side of the top of the arm and through the mirrored stitch behind it – ie in one side and out of the other of the arm (see above) – then 1Dc into the next st on the body, continue like this through both sides of the arm for the next 5 stitches of the arm and the body (this will securely fix the arm to the body and remove the need to sew it on later). Then Dc across the next 15 stitches and repeat the arm attaching process again with 6Dc in the next 6 st. (42)
Round 26 Dc into next 15 st, Dc2tog, Dc into next 2 st, Dc2tog, Dc into next 15 st, Dc2tog, Dc into next 2 st, Dc2tog (38)
Round 27 Dc into next 14 st, Dc2tog, Dc into next st, Dc2tog, Dc into next 14 st, Dc2tog, Dc into next st, Dc2tog. (34)
Round 28 Dc into next 14 st, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, Dc into next 12 st, Dc2tog, Dc2tog (30)
Round 29 (Dc into next st, Dc2tog) repeat to end of round (20)
Round 30 Dc into every stitch (20)
Fasten off and break yarn.
At this point, you should sew the head in place on top of the neck making sure the eyes are facing front!
This is made (in blue) to the same pattern as the head finishing at the end of round 16. I added a small pompom made out of the same yarn wound round the prongs of a fork to the top of the hat.
This is made in a russet coloured yarn to the same patter as the head ending at the end of round 16. I then used yarn in 3 different shades of orange/russet/red to add hair to the edge of the hair cap. I measured lengths of approximately 30cm and folded them in half then fed them though stitches around the edge of the hair cap using my hook and knotted them securely in place. As my version of Flora is wearing a hat (which is permanently attached) I didn’t need to add any more hair, however if you would like your hat to be removable, you will need to cover the hair cap with strands of hair. I then sewed the hair cap in place and then sewed the hat in place on top of the hair cap, then plaited the hair before trimming it to neaten it up at the back.
Row 1 Using the same green yarn as you used to make the sleeves on the arms, ch 41, then 1Dc into the second ch from the hook and continue along the ch with 1Dc into every ch to the end, ch1 and turn. (40)
Rows 2 – 21 Remembering not to work into the turning chain, 1Dc into every stitch along the row, ch 1 and turn. (40)
Row 22 (This is where you begin shaping for arm holes – see photo below) 1Dc into next 7 st, ch 6 and miss the next 6 st, 1Dc into the next 14 st, ch 6 and miss the next 6 st, 1Dc into next 7 st, ch1 and turn. (40 including the 12 chs)
Row 23 1Dc into next 7 st, 6Dc into the chain space from Row 22 (as shown in photo above), 1Dc into next 14 st, 6Dc into the second chain space from row 22, 1Dc into next 7 st, ch1 and turn. (40) (Work should like photo below)
Row 24 1Dc into every st, ch1 and turn work at right angles to you with the same side facing you to work along the front edge of the coat. (40) Then 1Dc into the edge of every row down to the bottom of the front of the coat (24) then 1ch & turn (see photo below)
Row 25 1Dc into the next 23 st along the front edge of the coat (see photo above), but you will need to 4Dc into the top st which will automatically turn the corner (photo below) and the jacket for you to allow you to 1Dc into the next 7 st along the top of the coat, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 st, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 15 st, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 st, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 7 st, ch1, then turn the coat so that you can 1Dc into the edge of every row down to the bottom of the front of the coat (24 down the front edge), ch1 and turn. (Grand total of 88 st in all on row 25)
Row 26 1Dc into next 23 st, in the top stitch of the front of the coat, you will again need to 4Dc into this in order to make a corner, sl st into the next st, break yarn and sew in the end.
If you put the coat onto Flora at this point, you will notice that there is some gaping around the shoulders and neck, so another row with decreases in is required to neaten the fit of the coat.
Row 27 Put a stitch marker on each end of the top row of the coat 5 stitches in from the edge (see photo above) – this is where the row will begin and end to allow you to form a lapel. There should be 21 stitches between the two stitch markers. With the wrong side (inside) facing you, join the yarn at the right hand stitch marker and ch1, 1Dc into the same st, pull the yarn tail tight to shrink the ch so it’s practically invisible and there isn’t an obvious lump next to the Dc as this will be the first st on display in the upper lapel, 1Dc into the next 3 st, Dc2tog 3 times (ie next 6 st become 3), 1Dc into next 13 st, then Dc2tog 3 times (ie 6 st become 3), 1Dc into next 4 st, ch1 and turn. (27)
Rows 28 – 29 1Dc into every st, ch1 and turn. (27)
Row 30 1Dc into every st, finish off, break yarn and sew in the end. (27)
Row 31 Join yarn into the stitch where you fastened off the edge if the lower lapel (see picture above), 1Dc along the edge of the collar, up the side of the top lapel and 4Dc into the corner st (1st photo below) continue with 1Dc along the top of the top lapel in the next 25 st, 4Dc into the final st on the top lapel to turn the corner, work 1Dc into the edge of each row along the side of the top lapel and fasten off into the corner (see 2nd picture below), break yarn and sew in the end.
The coat is now complete, you can stitch the lapel down if desired. You can also stitch the jacket into place around the arm holes onto the top of Flora’s arms or leave unattached if you would prefer it to be removable.
Row 1 Using Brown yarn Ch 7, 1Dc into the top loop of second chain from hook and continue into the top loop of the next 4 chains, 3Dc in final chain. Work 1 Dc into the bottom loop of next 4 chains and 2dc into the last one. Sl St into the 1st Dc to close the round (14)
Row 2 Ch1, 2Dc into same st, 1 Dc into next 5 st, 2Dc, 2Dc, 1Dc into next 5 st, 2Dc, then Sl St into top of 1st ch of that round (18)
Row 3 Ch 1, 1Dc into same st, 2Dc into next st, 1Dc in next 6 st, 2Dc, 1Dc, 2Dc, 1Dc into next 6 st, 2Dc, Sl St into top of 1st ch (22)
Row 4 Ch1, 1Dc into the back loop only of each sit around the oval.
Row 5 1Dc into every st through both loops as normal. Fasten off and weave ends in.
Look at your basket and figure out where the middle of the long sides are to position the handle, mark where the handle should go with stitch markers. Join the yarn on one side and chain 10 (or longer if you prefer), sl st into opposite side of basket where the marker is placed making sure you don’t twist the chain. Weave in ends.
Carrots (Make 3)
Using orange yarn, ch 6. 1Dc in second chain from hook, then 1Dc in every other chain, ch1 and turn.(5)
Work the following stitches into the 5 st from the previous row; 1htr, 1htr, 1Dc, 1Dc, 1slst. (5)
Fasten off and sew carrot along the side. Add some greenery to the top using lengths of green yarn or embroidery cotton tied on.
And there you have it, a Flora of your own! I hope you enjoy making her.
If you would like to see my very talented artist friend Emma’s work (who illustrated Flora for me), check out Emma’s work on Instagram @emmadavies_art or Emma Davies – Art & Illustration on Facebook or visit her website.
Please remember that if you make your own Flora, I’d love to see her! Please tag her with #florathegardener or #postcardfromgibcrochet
If you have any feedback about the pattern, please be gentle, but I would love to hear it!
Hello there, I hope this postcard finds you well this week. We’ve had half term and then another week of home schooling since I last stopped by.
Half term brought with it a bit if a virus (I think) not THE virus I’m very glad to say, so the ‘holiday’ was even more underwhelming than anticipated! I’m now well on the mend and looking forward to just one more week of home schooling before the Little Postcards all return to school next Monday- hurrah!
As a consequence of feeling a bit meh for a big chunk of the last few weeks, this week’s postcard is a little bit lack lustre…
Sunday nature reserve walk
We began half term with a walk to a new place for us. Less than half an hour’s walk from our front door is this nature trail which was created back in 2000. By that point I had moved away from the area with work so as a result I had never visited, so it was a first for all of us.
It may have been a cold, damp and grey day but the ducks put on a bit of a show for us which made me giggle. You can’t beat a bottoms up duck can you?!
Introducing Hope the Snowdrop
I did say a few weeks back I would be publishing a pattern for Flora the gardener, but things have got in the way of that. In the meantime, I shared this photo of Hope the Snowdrop onto Instagram. I made her back in January before Flora as a matter of fact.
On cue I received a lovely present in my doorstep, a bundle of snowdrops to plant in my own garden courtesy of my Dad. Thanks Dad!
I also shared Saffron the Crocus, who I finished this week…
If the neighbours saw me out in the sunshine playing with crochet dolls they’ll be wondering about what home schooling has done to my marbles!!
As the weather has improved lately, I’ve been able to get out into the garden, not only to plant my snowdrops but to cut back a few shrubs which were getting a bit big. I’ve also started planting seeds ready for the summer ahead. That’s my first batch of sweet peas.
I’m so looking forward to my first summer in my new garden, oh the possibilities!
Gift from a friend
My lovely friend who lives across the road dropped these beautiful daffs off to me when I was feeling under the weather last week. They have been looking beautiful all this week. The perfect sunshiny yellow boost to remind us all that spring’s around the corner!
That’s all I have for you this week from sunny Manchester. I hope you are well and beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Hello there! How are you doing? I hope you are bearing up in the circumstances. We’re doing ok and I’m pleased to report and my parents got their first dose of the Covid jab last week so that feels like the first step towards something a bit more positive.
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last postcard and nothing much has really been going on as I’m sure you can appreciate. We have completed 4 weeks of home schooling – which I’m feeling rather proud of achieving. It hasn’t been easy but it has given me the excuse to sit next to youngest and supervise his work and during bits he can manage on his own, I have been able to crochet.
I mentioned last time that I had been playing with amigurumi and attempting to design something of my own. I have been crocheting ‘properly’ for about 7 or 8 years now and I never felt I had the ability or creativity to create something that other people might like to make. However, towards the end of last year a germ of an idea started for a collection of amigurumi ‘dolls’ and I just can’t stop thinking about them, so I have begun designing.
There have been a couple of odd looking prototypes (which the Little Postcards say give them the creeps) but I’m hoping I have ironed out some of the quirks and I’m getting there. I hope to be able to share them with you very soon. The first is ‘Flora’ and here’s a sneaky peak of her….
Wintery weather continues…
We started the week with another wintery spell of weather. It looks so beautiful and bright and crisp but I was very glad I wasn’t having to get out early and scrape the car windscreen to drive anywhere! I could enjoy it from the warmth of the house!
I didn’t used to like hyacinths because of the perfume they give off. One positive of my post-Covid wonky sense of smell is that, that no longer bothers me, so I have greatly enjoyed this trio of hyacinths in the house this last couple of weeks. They blossomed quickly in the warmth of the dining room / makeshift classroom!
A tour from your armchair
Yesterday I enjoyed my third virtual tour around my home city of Manchester. The tour group ‘New Manchester Walks’ has been hosting virtual Zoom tours around the city and other places in lockdown. So far, I’ve been on a virtual tour of Underground Manchester, followed the Pankhursts on a suffragette tour and yesterday took a spin around the Northern Quarter and heard many fascinating stories about the history it holds from the Manchester Martyrs to the Beatles’ first audition for the BBC and Sean Ryder firing a bullet into the wall of a bar owned by the Haçienda’s Anthony H Wilson. I can highly recommend seeking them out if you have an interest in the city or just social history in general.
The subject of the latest edition of Making Stitches Podcast is textile artist Janet Browne. Janet makes the most beautiful pictures of journeys she has been on and places she has visited using hand-dyed fabric and stitching. She was a fascinating person to speak to and I’m sure you’ll agree if you listen to her chat with me. Just search for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or follow this link.
And that is it for this postcard, as I said there’s not an awful lot going on, as I’m sure is the case for many of us. I hope the coming week is a positive one for you. Until next time, look after yourself!