Earlier this year, LoveCrafts asked me whether I would like to try some of their products. Of course I would!
My first thought was to make something for the new grandson, so after much delay and consultation with his mum, I chose an amigurumi donkey pattern by Kristi Tullus and yarns from the Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran range. I felt that realistic colours would help make him recognisable as a donkey, so I ordered black, white and slate grey.
The yarn arrived in the mail, beautifully presented in a gauze bag that makes a handy project bag for taking your work on the bus or to the doctor’s waiting room.
I confess that I rarely knit or crochet with cotton. I tend to prefer wool, especially if it is an excellent quality merino or is blended with something decadent like silk, possum or cashmere. I find wool is softer on my hands and nicer to work with than cotton, perhaps because it has more natural elasticity. Saying that, there were some advantages to this cotton experiment using Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran:
- It is sturdy and hardwearing for toys.
- It comes in a great range of colours.
- It is easy to separate the strands to tie a sneaky and very secure knot to finish off yarn ends.
- You can really yank on it to tighten up magic rings, etc., with no fear that it will ever break on you.
The only downside to the cotton was that I occasionally had to redo split stitches because of the yarn’s stranded nature. Even so, I would happily use it again for amigurumi.
I used two balls of the grey yarn. It was so close to exactly two balls that there was a bit of nail-biting and yarn-chicken worrying towards the end, but all was well.
Kristi Tullus uses doll joints and eyes in some of her amigurumi patterns, and I was able to buy these locally from helpful Jenni at the Teddy Tree. I had not used doll joints before, but they are so simple! If you cannot find doll joints easily, Kristi explains alternative methods of attaching limbs.
I was impressed with how professionally presented Kristi’s pattern is. It is marvellously clear and well laid out. She includes excellent photographs of everything that might trip someone up and instructions on amigurumi basics. She also explains exactly where to attach parts such as eyes, ears and limbs so you do not end up with a wonky donkey. She also offers some video tutorials.
The only thing that is left a bit vague is the length of the mane and tail strands, but that is okay. We all like different haircuts. I decided to cut my mane strands to about 5 inches for longer locks. As I was hooking the strands into the donkey’s scalp, I found myself chuckling as I remembered a stockbroker boyfriend from long ago who had hair plugs after we broke up …
I had thought of knitting a red scarf for the donkey, but anything tied about his neck would flatten his impressive mane.
It was only as I was writing about the donkey that I realised that I have not shared a photo of the hippo I finished recently, which was made using less than two balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in colour 300060. I cannot find the name of this discontinued shade, but it looks like a fuchsia or pinkish purple. Debbie Bliss yarn is also available at LoveCrafts (although not in the ancient colour I used).
The hippo was made using Kerry Lord’s ‘Georgina the Hippo’ pattern from Edward’s Menagerie. I used a 10-ply yarn, so the hippo is a little larger than the 8-ply bunny I made from the same book in September. Bunny has already become a favourite bedtime toy for my grandson.