Mini Autumn Wreath 2

I haven’t made many wreaths this year, I haven’t really been feeling the urge but I had some amazing autumnal toned aran weight yarn, dyed by a friend in my stash that wasn’t shouting out to me to be anything else.  So I made it into a wreath, two wreaths to be exact!

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If you have seen my Autumn Wreath and Mini Autumn Wreath then this will likely look familiar to you.

As with all my wreaths I made a long strip of single crochet stitches and then sewed this strip on a polystyrene wreath base.  The bases I use for my mini wreaths are just 12cm across. Whenever I make a cover using a variegated yarn I marvel at how much easier they are to sew on than one made from stripes!

The base was then decorated with little autumn leaves made using this pattern from the wonderful Lucy at Attic24 and a teeny tiny toadstool from the small toadstool pattern by Annaboo’s House.

The little wreath dweller fella was a pattern I made up as I went along! General consensus among my family and the recipients was that it is a gnome but I was just aiming for a magical woodland folk of indeterminate origin.

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So there we go, two little autumn wreaths!

Balloon Bunny Wreath

My latest wreath is a first birthday gift for a very special someone.  As always the wreath started with lots and lots of stripes of single crochet, this time all in sky blue colours.  Having learnt my lesson from the number of ends generated by the uniformly narrow stripes on my Moorland Wreath I reverted back to random width stripes.  This did make the sewing together easier but this being my first 30cm wreath in while I had forgotten just quite how long the strip needed to be to go around alllllllllll that wreath base. I did need the bigger base though as I had big plans for what to dangle inside it!

This was who I had in mind!  A little floppy eared bunny hanging onto a bunch of brightly coloured balloons.  I am going to confess that I entirely made him up as I went along and so it is not possible to share a pattern.

Having made 5 of the balloons I do know how I did those so they may well crop up somewhere again but the bunny is likely to remain one of a kind.

As soon as I finished using waxed linen thread to sew the bunch of balloons to the bunny’s hand one Sunday morning I knew I wanted to try and get a photo of him drifting off into the blue sky.  Of course I was forgetting that I live in Yorkshire and it is February! But there was the odd break in the cloud and I think he looks pretty cool.  I love to see when people share behind the scenes shots of their photography so here’s mine.  You can just about spot the bun dangling between the swings.  You might also notice the step ladder has sunk into the grass because its February and a bit soggy.

 

I thought we might have been done at that point, with the bunny and the blue sky, but after looking at him hanging on the wall for a while I decided he needed clouds as well.  So I packed my crochet hook and a ball of white yarn as we set of to my lovely motherinlaw’s for our Sunday dinner and as everyone else tucked into their eve’s pudding and custard I started on a blobby white cloud.  By bedtime there were 4 of them stitched to the base and the wreath was ready for a final photograph this morning and to be gifted this afternoon. Talk about last minute!

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Swaledale Sheep Pattern

So things got a little crazy around here after Lucy shared my Moorland Wreath on her blog Attic24 as part of her Moorland CAL.  And a large proportion of the visitors here have been asking how to make their own sheep like the one sitting proudly in my wreath.  Here I will attempt to help you with this!

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This lovely Swaledale sheep is part of a a friend’s flock and posed beautifully for me when I asked if I could take her photo.

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This is what my sheep looks like.  She is roughly 10cm long and 8cm tall giving her plenty of room to sit inside a 23cm wreath but gauge isn’t hugely important when making a decorative item of this nature and I am sure that small size variations will have very little impact on her fabulousness!

To make my sheep I used four shades of DK weight yarn.  I used Stylecraft Special DK as it is affordable, comes in a huge range of colours and doesn’t squeak like some acrylic yarn does.  I used Cream for her main body, Black for her head, Granite for her horns and Walnut for the embroidered details on her face.  I didn’t calculate yardage but it is small.  Really small.  If you could use stash yarn for this project that would be perfect, if you buy especially to make this expect to have the majority of the ball left over.

I also used

  • A 4mm crochet hook
  • Double Pointed Needles – mine are 2.5mm but size isn’t vitally important here I think anywhere between a 2mm and 3.5mm would work well.
  • A needle to sew it together
  • Scissors
  • A stitch marker – this isn’t an essential item but the head is made in a continuous spiral and without a marker to show you the beginning of the round there will be a lot of precise counting. You could also use a piece of scrap yarn in a contrasting colour.
  • Something to stuff your sheep with. You could use toy stuffing, bits of an old pillow, ugly yarn, whatever you have to hand.  Mine used around a hand full.

These are the stitches you will need

  • chain (ch)
  • single crochet (sc) known as double crochet in UK terms.  Hook through stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch (2 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops
  • 2sc – make 2 single crochet into the same stitch
  • invisible single crochet two together (invsc2tog). Insert hook in to front loop only of first stitch, insert into front loop only of next stitch (3 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through first 2 loops (2 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops
  • half double crochet (hdc) – yarn over, hook through stitch, yarn over, pull through (3 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through all 3 loops

The pattern is made of 3 distinct parts.  The body, head and horns.

The Body

The pattern for the body is very heavily influenced by Attic24‘s sheep pattern.  It isn’t the same but the concept for this flat shape turning into a 3D body is most definitely borrowed and so rather than replicate Lucy’s work of step by step photos if you find yourself in need of clarification it would be well worth a trip over to her pattern here.

So to begin, using your cream coloured yarn, chain 36

Row 1. Starting in the second chain from the hook make one single crochet in each stitch. Chain 1. Turn. (35 stitches)

Rows 2. – 5. Single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 1. Turn (35 stitches)

Row 6. Single crochet in the first 30 stitches leaving the last 5 unworked. Chain 1. Turn (30 stitches)

Row 7. Single crochet in the next 25 stitches leaving the last 5 unworked. Chain 1. Turn (25 stitches)

Rows 8. – 19. Single crochet in each stitch.  Chain 1. Turn (25 stitches)

Row 20. Single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 6

Row 21. Starting in the second chain from the hook make 1 single crochet in each of the 5 chains and then single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 6

Row 22. Starting in the second chain from the hook make 1 single crochet in each of the 5 chains and then single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 1. Turn.

Rows 23. – 25. Single crochet in each stitch across.  Chain 1. Turn. (35 stitches)

Row 26. Single crochet in each stitch across.  Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing up (35 stitches)

You should have this shape.  The large bit in the middle will be the body and the little sticking out bits will be the legs. At this point you don’t have a right side and a wrong side but you will once you start sewing the legs so lay it down flat and the side facing you will be the wrong side.

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Start on the leg with your most recent yarn tail and fold it up so that the two long edges come together. Sew these two edges together securely. Then repeat for the other three legs making sure that you are folding them each the same way so that once they are done you will have 4 seams facing you with the body laid flat.

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Fold the body in half with the right sides together, that is with your leg seams facing outwards.  Then sew the short edges together as shown in this photo

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It should now be starting to look a lot like a sheep with a body and 4 legs.  Turn it inside out so that the sewing you’ve just done is not visible and lightly stuff. It will now need one more row of stitches as you sew up along the belly. It is probably worth putting a couple of stitches in between the legs just to strengthen then close up the gap sealing the stuffing inside.  It won’t be especially stable but your sheep body should stand up on her legs if you arrange them to distribute the weight.

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The Head

The head of the sheep is made amigurumi style, that is in one continuous spiral.  I put a stitch marker in the first stitch of a round to show me when I have completed the circle without having to rely on keeping count.

In this section wherever there are instructions *enclosed by asterisks* repeat those stitches until you reach the end of the round.

In black yarn Start by making 6 single crochet (sc) in a magic loop. (I like this tutorial if this is new to you)

Round 1. Make 2 single crochet into each stitch (12 stitches)

Round 2. *Single crochet into the first stitch, 2 single crochet into the next stitch*  (18 stitches)

Rounds 3. – 6. Single crochet in each stitch (18 stitches)

Switch to cream yarn

Round 7. Single crochet in each stitch (18 stitches)

Round 8. *sc, invsc2tog* (12 stitches)

This is the point to put the stuffing in the head before you totally close up the hole.  Loosely stuff.  You are aiming for a squashy ovoid rather than a sphere so make sure not to fill it too full.

Round 9. invsc2tog all the way round (6 stitches)

Now break off your yarn leaving a long tail and thread onto a needle.  Use this to weave in and out of the 6 reminding stitches and then pull tight to drawstring the hole closed.  If it’s not as tidy as you would like make another stitch or so and then push the needle in through the base of the head where you have just finished off and out roughly in the middle of the back of the head.

The place where you changed colour will be noticeable as a step change, as shown in my photograph.  If you make this the back of the head not will not be visible when the sheep is sewn together.

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Next you need to make 2 little ears in cream yarn.

Chain 3.  In the second chain from your hook make a single crochet. In the last chain make a half double crochet (hdc), Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing in.  Weave in your end from your starting chain and use the other tail to stitch the ears on to each side of the head just below the halfway point.

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The Horns

The horns are knitted as I find working tubes of crochet this small to be headache inducingly fiddly but they are very simple to make. This technique is known as I-cord and apparently the I stands for idiot because it is an idiot proof technique! You will need to make two of these and I made them in dark grey.

On your double pointed needle (dpn) cast on 3 stitches. Then knit these 3 stitches to the other needle. This is where things change from usual knitting. Do not turn your needle! You will have 3 stitches on your needle with the working yarn at the left hand side. Slide these stitches down towards the point on the right end of your needle

Now knit these stitches from right to left as normal pulling the working yarn behind your work to get it to the righthand side to use it. Your stitches will then be on your second needle, slide them down to the right and bringing the working yarn from the left behind the work to use knit again. Keep knitting these 3 stitches until you have an i-cord measuring 6cm long. Then cast off and make another one. If I haven’t explained this clearly enough then youtube has lots of good tutorials if you search “knit an i-cord”

These little tubes should have enough rigidity to stay where you want them when you curl them round. Your cast off end should be the pointier of the two so thread the end of your yarn onto a needle and push it down inside the tube to weave in the end. If it is long enough to bring out of the side of the i-cord then cut it close to your knitting and the end should spring inside and be hidden. You can use your tail end from cast on to sew the horn to the head above the ears.

The horns will need to you to tightly curl them into the distinctive shape of sheep horns and will spring back slightly when released but should stay curled.

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Once you have added the ears and horns your sheep needs a face embroidering. I used a brown coloured yarn for this.  Put the eyes in the black area of the head and a nose an mouse on the cream area.

Assembly

All you need to do now is sew the head on to one end of the body of your sheep and add in the long hair.  You may find the details on my Woolly Bully Pattern useful when it comes to making your sheep hairy.  There are photos of how I add hair there.

Then she will be ready to put in a wreath, gift to a sheep loving friend or display on a shelf!

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I only make creatures as decorative items to brighten my home. If you wanted to make this sheep as a toy for a child then you will need to take full responsibility for the safety of your creation as this pattern was not designed to be played with.

I will be happy to answer any questions about the pattern.

You are welcome to use this pattern to make items for your personal use but please do not reproduce it anywhere or claim it as your design. This applies to my photographs as well as the written pattern.

Copyright ©2017 I Am Branching Out.

Yarn Along

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On my kindle Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence.  On my hook lots of sheep parts!

This week’s Yarn Along is all about struggle. I am struggling with both this pattern and this book.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is my book for challenge number 16 (Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country) of Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge and I’m finding it rather slow going and a bit of an uphill battle.  However it transpires that the UK is not as big on banning books as many other countries and so there wasn’t a huge range to chose from for this challenge.  And so I plod along refusing to be beaten!

I am also finding writing this sheep pattern to be tougher than I imagined.  When I made my first sheep to go in my Moorland Wreath I sailed along happily making it up as I went along and jotting a few notes down.  As I have gone to translate those notes to a pattern I am finding that there are rows missing, inconsistencies and the notes don’t make a sheep like the one I already have. It’s all very frustrating.

Stubborn as I am I will be continuing with both endeavours until I am able to tick the book from my challenge list and write up the pattern but I am not having as much fun this week as I like to with my reading and creating.  Fingers crossed next week works out better for me!

Linking up with Ginny and the other Yarn Alongers sharing what they are reading and working on.

Woolly Bully Pattern

You might know this handsome creature as a Highland Cow but in my family they have always been woolly bullys  ever since my mother declared them to be so when she was just a young girl on her first trip to Scotland.

I took this photograph of a woolly bully in the field adjacent to the car park of the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre in the Highlands of Scotland two years ago when I took my Mum on a Highland Road Trip to celebrate her 6oth birthday.

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I was sat looking at my Moorland Wreath, made with the colours of the Yorkshire Moors as put together by Lucy at Attic24 and realised that these were also the colours of the Highlands and that a woolly bully sat inside had the potential to be even more wonderful than the Swaledale Sheep I put in the Yorkshire version.  I set about designing the woolly bully and am happy to share the pattern here with you.

This is what my finished woolly bully looks like.  She is roughly 13cm long (plus an extra 3cm or so where her horn sticks out) and 11cm tall which enables her to sit snugly within a 23cm wreath but gauge isn’t hugely important when making a decorative item of this nature and I am sure that small size variations will have very little impact on her fabulousness!

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To make my woolly bully I used three shades of DK weight yarn plus black for the embroidered details.  I used Stylecraft Special DK as it is affordable, comes in a huge range of colours and doesn’t squeak like some acrylic yarn does.  I used Gold for her main body, Camel for her nose and Stone for her horns.  I didn’t calculate yardage but it is small.  Really small.  If you could use stash yarn for this project that would be perfect, if you buy especially to make this expect to have the majority of the ball left over.

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I also used

  • A 4mm crochet hook
  • Double Pointed Needles – mine are 2.5mm but size isn’t vitally important here I think anywhere between a 2mm and 3.5mm would work well.
  • A needle to sew it together
  • Scissors
  • A stitch marker – this isn’t an essential item but the head is made in a continuous spiral and without a marker to show you the beginning of the round there will be a lot of precise counting. You could also use a piece of scrap yarn in a contrasting colour.
  • Something to stuff your cow with. You could use toy stuffing, bits of an old pillow, ugly yarn, whatever you have to hand.  Mine used around a hand full.

These are the stitches you will need

  • chain (ch)
  • single crochet (sc) known as double crochet in UK terms.  Hook through stitch, yarn over, pull through stitch (2 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops
  • 2sc – make 2 single crochet into the same stitch
  • invisible single crochet two together (invsc2tog). Insert hook in to front loop only of first stitch, insert into front loop only of next stitch (3 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through first 2 loops (2 loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops

The pattern is made of 4 distinct parts.  The body, head, nose and horns.

The Body

The pattern for the body is very heavily influenced by Attic24‘s sheep pattern.  It isn’t the same but the concept for this flat shape turning into a 3D body is most definitely borrowed and so rather than replicate Lucy’s work of step by step photos if you find yourself in need of clarification it would be well worth a trip over to her pattern here.

So to begin, using your main colour yarn, chain 46

Row 1. Starting in the second chain from the hook make one single crochet in each stitch. Chain 1. Turn. (45 stitches)

Rows 2. – 5. Single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 1. Turn (45 stitches)

Row 6. Single crochet in the first 40 stitches leaving the last 5 unworked. Chain 1. Turn (40 stitches)

Row 7. Single crochet in the next 35 stitches leaving the last 5 unworked. Chain 1. Turn (35 stitches)

Rows 8. – 30. Single crochet in each stitch.  Chain 1. Turn (35 stitches)

Row 31. Single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 6

Row 32. Starting in the second chain from the hook make 1 single crochet in each of the 5 chains and then single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 6

Row 33. Starting in the second chain from the hook make 1 single crochet in each of the 5 chains and then single crochet in each stitch across. Chain 1. Turn.

Rows 34. – 36. Single crochet in each stitch across.  Chain 1. Turn. (45 stitches)

Row 37. Single crochet in each stitch across.  Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing up (45 stitches)

You should have this shape.  The large bit in the middle will be the body and the little sticking out bits will be the legs. At this point you don’t have a right side and a wrong side but you will once you start sewing the legs so lay it down flat and the side facing you will be the wrong side.

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Start on the leg with your most recent yarn tail and fold it up so that the two long edges come together.  Sew these two edges together securely.  Then repeat for the other three legs making sure that you are folding them each the same way so that once they are done you will have 4 seams facing you with the body laid flat.

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Fold the body in half, along the blue dashed line on the photo with the right sides together.  That is with your leg seams facing outwards.  Then sew the short edges together, the ones marked by the solid green lines on my photograph.

It should now be starting to look a lot like a cow with a body and 4 legs.  Turn it inside out so that the sewing you’ve just done is not visible and lightly stuff. Then it will just need one more row of stitches as you sew up along what is now the belly. It is probably worth putting a couple of stitches in between the legs just to strengthen then close up the gap sealing the stuffing inside.  It won’t be especially stable but your cow body should stand up on her legs if you arrange them to distribute the weight.

The Head 

The head of the cow is made amigurumi style, that is in one continuous spiral.  I put a stitch marker in the first stitch of a round to show me when I have completed the circle without having to rely on keeping count.  It is made using the same colour yarn as the body.

In this section wherever there are instructions *enclosed by asterisks* repeat those stitches until you reach the end of the round.

Start by making 6 single crochet (sc) in a magic loop. (I like this tutorial if this is new to you)

Round 1. Make 2 single crochet into each stitch (12 stitches)

Round 2. Single crochet in each stitch (12 stitches)

Round 3. *Single crochet into the first stitch, 2 single crochet into the next stitch*  (18 stitches)

Round 4. Single crochet in each stitch (18 stitches)

Round 5. *sc, sc, 2sc* (24 stitches)

Round 6. Single crochet in each stitch (24 stitches)

Round 7. *sc, sc, sc, 2sc* (30 stitches)

Round 8. Single crochet in each stitch (30 stitches)

Round 9. *sc, sc, sc, sc, 2sc* (36 stitches)

Rounds 10. – 14. Single crochet in each stitch (36 stitches)

Round 15. *sc, sc, sc, sc, invsc2tog* (30 stitches)

Round 16. *sc, sc, sc, invsc2tog* (24 stitches)

Round 17. *sc, sc, invsc2tog* (18 stitches)

Round 18. *sc, invsc2tog* (12 stitches)

This is the point to put the stuffing in the head before you totally close up the hole.  Loosely stuff.  You are aiming for a squashy ovoid rather than a sphere so make sure not to fill it too full.

Round 19. invsc2tog all the way round (6 stitches)

Now break off your yarn leaving a long tail and thread onto a needle.  Use this to weave in and out of the 6 reminding stitches and then pull tight to drawstring the hole closed.  If it’s not as tidy as you would like make another stitch or so and then push the needle in through the base of the head where you have just finished off and out roughly in the middle of the back of the head.  This will help you to sew the head on to the body later but for now set it to one side as we move on to the nose.

The Nose

The nose for our cow is made from yarn in a shade lighter than the head to provide some contrast. Like the head the nose is worked in a continuous spiral so you may find marking the first stitch of each round to be useful.

To begin chain 7

Round 1. Starting in the second chain from the hook single crochet in each of the next 6 chains. This will bring you to the end with 6 stitches but rather than turning here the next 6 stitches will be worked in the single loops left on the other side of the starting chain, the first of which is shown here by my needle. Single crochet in each of these loops. (12 stitches)

 

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Round 2. Single crochet in each stitch around (12 stitches)

Round 3. *single crochet, 2 single crochet in next stitch* Repeat this pattern to the end of the round (18 stitches)

Round 4. Single crochet in each stitch (18 stitches)

Slip stitch into the first stitch of the round to finish and then fasten off leaving a tail for sewing.  This should leave a kind of square edged hat shape.  Put it to one side.

The Horns

The horns are knitted as I find working tubes of crochet this small to be headache inducingly fiddly but they are very simple to make.  This technique is known as I-cord and apparently the I stands for idiot because it is an idiot proof technique!  You will need to make two of these and I made them in a lighter shade than the nose for added contrast but they would certainly work in the nose colour.

On your double pointed needle (dpn) cast on 4 stitches. Then knit these 4 stitches to the other needle.  This is where things change from usual knitting.  Do not turn your needle!  You will have 4 stitches on your needle with the working yarn at the left hand side.  Slide these stitches down towards the point on the right end of your needle

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Now knit these stitches from right to left as normal pulling the working yarn behind your work to get it to the righthand side to use it.  Your stitches will then be on your second needle, slide them down to the right and bringing the working yarn from the left behind the work to use knit again.  Keep knitting these 4 stitches until you have an i-cord measuring 4cm long.  Then cast off and make another one.  If I haven’t explained this clearly enough then youtube has lots of good tutorials if you search “knit an i-cord”

These little tubes should have enough rigidity to stick out from the head and curve upwards and stay where you arrange them to be.  Your cast off end should be the pointier of the two so thread the end of your yarn onto a needle and push it down inside the tube to weave in the end.  If it is long enough to bring out of the side of the i-cord then cut it close to your knitting and the end should spring inside and be hidden. You can use your tail end from cast on to sew the horn to the head.

You should now have all your pieces and its time to sew together.  Beginning with a little bit of stuffing inside the nose sew it onto the front of the head.  Use my pictures as reference for where to put it.  Then sew the horns onto the side of the head and using black yarn embroider on eyes and nostrils.  Then sew the head onto one end of the body, facing forwards as shown in the photos and you are ready to add the distinctive hair!

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I have added hair in one row across the forehead of my cow to form her fringe and fairly randomly over her body.  The first step in adding the hair is to cut some lengths of yarn.  For the body you want the yarn lengths to be roughly twice the length you want the hairs to be.  For the fringe this length may be a bit fiddly and so a little longer might be necessary.

Once you have some lengths of yarn ready insert your crochet hook through a stitch in the cow and fold your yarn in half to form a loop.  Grab this loop with the hook and pull it through the stitch. Then pass the yarn ends through the loop and pull tight to securely knot the hair in place.

She does not need fully covering in hair. Rather than knotting them all on in a straight line  it looks more natural if you skip a few stitches, perhaps hop down a row or two. This delightful photo that makes it look a lot like my woolly bully is on a trampoline shows how I have spaced her hair, just keep going until she has a good covering and no bald spots.  She will, of course, also need hair on the back of her body.

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Then she will probably need a hair cut if some of these hairs are a bit long or straggling.  My first attempt at trimming her fringe went about as well as every attempt I’ve ever made at cutting the hair of my children!  I get the best results by not snipping across in a straight line but by trimming hairs at an angle, just a few at a time.  But you may be more talented than I in this area!

Once you have tidied her hair then she should be looking pretty smart and mine was ready to sit inside a wreath.

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I only make creatures as decorative items to brighten my home.  If you wanted to make this woolly bully as a toy for a child then you will need to take full responsibility for the safety of your creation as this pattern was not designed to be played with.

I will be happy to answer any questions about the pattern.

You are welcome to use this pattern to make items for your personal use but please do not reproduce it anywhere or claim it as your design.  This applies to my photographs as well as the written pattern.

Copyright ©2017 I Am Branching Out.

Yarn Along

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On my kindle The Darkest Part of The Forest by Holly Black. On my hook a wreath dweller which I am hoping will be my first published pattern!

I am in the final few chapters of The Darkest Part of The Forest and have thoroughly enjoyed the read.  I chose this book for challenge 12 of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, to read a fantasy novel, and as a modern day faery tale it certainly fulfils that brief.  It has been a bit dark and gruesome in places and more than once I have read it while peeking between my fingers but it is brilliantly written and a gripping story.

When I first started making crochet wreaths for other people (as opposed to the 5 I had already made for myself!) I started writing my own patterns for what I term wreath dwellers to sit inside as I was struggling to find already published patterns that worked for the creatures I was imagining.

While I have made notes of each of these patterns as I have gone along none of them are currently in the public domain.  But new year, new challenges and all that jazz!  I intend to put this one here, on my blog, once I have managed to conjure it from my head into reality and with the weather grim outside today and my book almost finished I am hoping to make good progress with that in the next few days.

Linking up with Ginny and the other Yarn Alongers sharing what they are reading and working on.