Yarning with Mad Martha about…The Lonely Beast + a Free Crochet Pattern!

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yarning with mad martha_Fotor (2)Hello my pretties! It’s Mad Martha with you today, ready to share another of our shelf’s favourite characters – Chris Judge’s Lonely Beast.  I have been working my crochet magic and have managed to bring to life everyone’s favourite hairy, tea-drinking, book-reading Irish beast, so if you are inclined to pick up a hook now and then, do scroll down for my free pattern that will assist you in creating your own furry mate.

For those of you unfamiliar with Judge’s scary-looking but big-hearted Beast, he is the title character of three delightful picture books.  The first, The Lonely Beast, published in 2011, introduces us to the Beast’s species – reclusive, introverted and apparently living all over the globe!

lonely beast cover

It’s follow-up story, The Brave Beast, sees our intrepid hero overcoming his fears to help some Islanders who are plagued by a very scary noise.

brave beast cover

And just recently, a third Beast adventure has been published, in which another type of Beast is discovered!

snow beast cover

Obviously I’ll have to whip up a little hat and scarf for my beastie friend once we get our paws on this one.  It’s definitely on our wishlist.

If you, or your mini-fleshlings, love picture books that have exciting, unconventional illustrations that span double page spreads and adventurous stories that feature a loveably reticent monster as a protagonist, then The Beast series is definitely one you should seek out.

Clearly, we shelf-dwellers just adore this series, which is why I was pressed into service to make our very own Brave Beast! lonely beast page spread_Fotor

He is certainly a most polite shelf-guest and despite his shaggy fur, hardly sheds at all!

So here is my pattern for an Amigurumi Beast.  As usual, there may be mistakes, for which I apologise.  The pattern is written in US crochet terms because that’s how I learned first.

Chris Judge’s Lonely Beast – Free Amigurumi Patternlonely beast 1_Fotor

…designed by Mad Martha

You will need:

1 ball black acrylic yarn

Scraps of white or yellow yarn

4mm crochet hook

scissors

wool needle

small amount of stuffing

**Fur stitch**

Insert hook into stitch.  Make a small loop with the yarn.  YO around the free end of the yarn at the bottom of your loop, and pull small section of yarn through the st.  You should have two loops on the hook, and a larger loop of yarn on the opposite side of the st.  YO and pull through both loops on your hook.  (This tutorial  gives a good explanation of the stitch for those who like a visual approach!)

Use the fur stitch on every fourth stitch in required rounds.

Head/Body

Make a magic ring and crochet 6 sc into the ring (6)

1. 2sc in each st around (12)

2.  2sc in next st, 1 dc in the next st.  Repeat x 6 (18)

3. Begin fur stitch on this round and continue using it on every round until the end of this section. 2sc in next st, sc in the next 2 sts.  Repeat x 6 (24)

4. 2sc in the next st, sc in the next 3 sts.  Repeat x 6 (30)

5 – 27. Sc around (30)

28. Sc2tog, sc in the next 2 sts.  Repeat x 6 (24)

29.  Sc2tog, sc in the next st. Repeat x 6 (18)

Stuff the head/body. Flatten last round of stitching together and sc across the bottom to close.

FO and snip the loops of each fur stitch to create shaggy fur.

Arms (make 2)

Make a magic ring and crochet 6 sc into the ring (6)

Begin fur stitch on this round and continue using it on every round until the end of this section.

1.2sc in each st around (12)

2 – 16. Sc in each st around (12)

Do NOT stuff arms.  Flatten last round of stitches and sc across to close.  FO, leaving a long tail for attaching, and snip the fur loops as before.

Claws (make one set at the end of each arm)

Attach the yarn with a slip stitch at the smaller end of the arm.  *Ch 10, and attach with a slip stitch to the base of the arm*.  Repeat * to * 3 times, for a total of four claws.  FO and weave in end.

Legs/Feet (make 2)

Make a magic ring and crochet 6sc into the ring. (6)

1 – 2. Sc in each sc around (6)

3. Begin fur stitch on this round and continue using it on every round until the end of this section.  2sc in each st around (12)

4 – 18.  Sc around (12)

Lightly stuff the legs.  Flatten the last round of stitches and sc across to close.  FO, leaving a long tail for attaching.  Snip the fur loops.

Attach the limbs to the body.  Using white or yellow thread embroider two eyes quite close to the top of the head.

Enjoy your Beast!

lonely beast and the gang_Fotor

Cheerio my dears,

Mad Martha

 

 

 

Yarning with Mad Martha about…Crochet Your Own Adventure (Let’s Go Camping!)..

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yarning with mad martha_Fotor (2)

I’m excited.

If you enjoy the outdoors, camping or textile crafts of any kind, then I have something today that will make your year.   It’s a crochet book by Kate Bruning (a canny Australian, don’t you know?) and it’s called Let’s Go Camping! From Cabins to Caravans Crochet Your Own Camping Adventure.

Finally!

A way to enjoy camping without having to worry about getting that horrid smoky smell out of my dreadlocks!

Now I know that title alone would have you bouncing on the balls of your feet and I will admit to being more than a little feverish when I discovered that Simon & Schuster Australia were deigning to send me a copy, but try and contain your excitement while you read the blurb – there’s plenty of time yet for giddy flailing!

Go glamping without the threat of unpredictable weather and nasty creepy crawlies, and instead crochet your own adorable camping scene that will keep any child entertained for hours and celebrate all that is great about camping.

Reminiscent of vintage camping memorabilia, you can create a nostalgic collection of crochet projects encompassing all aspects of outdoor life.

With mix and match projects ranging from vintage or Airstream caravans and ice cream trucks, to tents and teepees with all the camping paraphernalia of sleeping bags, backpacks and a log fire, as well as mountain and forest scenery you can create your own outdoor world. Or why not craft an alternative camping scene with a classic narrow boat, or a wooden lakeside cabin which can open up to reveal immaculately decorated insides.

Instructions for play mats will give children a fantastic base for playing, allowing them to create games and stimulate their own imagination.

let's go camping cover

Isn’t that cover scene just gorgeous? Being an avid crochet fan, I was itching to get at this tome and I nearly wept with joy at the innocent, light-hearted jollity with which the little Playmobil people were going about their outdoorsy business. The further I flicked through the playscenes, the more I was transported back to a simpler time when families had time to spend together and it didn’t really matter if dad insisted on wearing that silly towelling hat and tiny shorts, embarrassing you in front of the people from two caravans over.

Clearly, my crochet hooks could not remain inactive with such whimsical fun waiting to be created and so I dived into the patterns. Before I get into the technical nitty gritty, allow me to show you the fruits of my labour, as enjoyed by Bruce, Toothless and some Kiwi backpacker named Jono they picked up along the way:

camping wide shot 2_Fotor

As you can see, with the help of this book, I was able to create a natural, camping utopia in the climate-controlled environment of our own shelf! What a joy to see the excitement on Bruce’s stony face as he realised I could bring the outside in! Honestly, it’s moments like that that make this worthwhile.

Clearly, I only made a selection of things from the book – specifically the tent, the campfire, a mountain, a bobble hat and a scarf. I also whipped up a sun hat for Bruce to my own pattern. And while this picture may give the impression of a sweet, countryside idyll, it was about four rounds into completing the mountain – the first pattern that I tackled –that I realised that those of us who have taken up crafting since the advent of the internet have indeed been spoiled by sites like Pinterest and Youtube.

You see, when grabbing patterns from the internet, one often has the benefit of picture or video tutorials. This book was written in plain patterns and while this might be fine for more experienced crochet crafters, I suspect it would create steep learning curve for beginners.

I consider myself to be moderately skilled at crochet, but even I had some difficulties with items I thought I would find easy. Consider the mountain – mine being on the left and the image from the book on the right…

mountain_Fotor_Fotor_Collage

…while they are pretty close and I am happy with my finished mountain, I admit to wanting to stab myself in the eye with the crochet hook at multiple points during the making of it. This particular pattern has a number of fiddly bits that need to be sewn into the body of the pattern and without the benefit of imagery to guide me, I found it very tricky to figure out exactly how and where the insets were meant to be added.

Here’s my finished campfire, the crowning glory of our pretend camping adventure:

jonos bobble hat_Fotor

Again, I’m quite happy with the finished product, but again, it was fiddly and required a lot of sewing and the inclusion of a few bamboo skewers, which turned out to be more of a trial than I had anticipated. This was not the only project in the book that required bamboo skewers. The tent – which I found the easiest pattern to follow – also needed bamboo skewers added to create the structure (as well as straws, but I didn’t have any straws and frankly couldn’t be bothered going out to buy any).

Easy peasy, thought I, despite my experiences with the campfire logs.

Yeah. Not so much.

Although, I have always wanted to have one of those Pinterest “Nailed It!” photos to my name and making this tent allowed me to do it. Behold!

meme tent

So yeah, there were a lot of bits in the book that I found trickier than I thought they would be. Other bits, such as the hats and scarf, were great fun and super easy to complete. Toothless’s scarf was but the work of a moment and it was nothing at all to add a few tassels as requested by the recipient:

toothless scarf

Overall, I am very pleased to have found this book, but I would caution against jumping into the projects contained therein without proper preparation. The book suggests particular yarns and hook sizes, which I completely ignored because (a) I’m a rebel and (b) as I mentioned before, the whole “going out to purchase supplies” bother, but I have learned that following the pattern INCLUDING paying attention to the suggested materials often reaps better results.

Also, these patterns are probably going to take more time than you think, when you factor in the fiddly finishing off bits. But a book like this will just keep on giving when you consider that apart from giving detailed instructions for the creation of all manner of really cool items that can be used as toys, props and gifts, it is just a delight to flick through – both for aesthetics and inspiration.

I have to say thanks again to S&S Australia for providing me with a copy – you can be sure I’m not finished with the patterns just yet. We’re moving into summer after all.

Ice cream truck, anyone?

Yours in yarn,

Mad Martha