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Sorry everyone, I’ve missed a few blogging days… BUT that’s only because I was trying something new and exciting! Actually, two new and exciting things:
- My first Edwards Menagerie animal thanks to Ed’s Dye Club
- My first timelaps video
Both of which have taken much longer than expected to put together… But it was all totally worth it and I’ve learnt heaps this past week.
Edwards Menagerie is the creation of Kerry Lord, owner of Toft Alpaca Shop and Studio in the UK. I wrote about meeting her at the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair a few weeks ago. She’s currently my main inspiration so you’ll probably be hearing more about her as my obsession continues to grow, haha!
Edwards Menagerie is a series of amigurumi – crochet animal and bird toys that are incredibly cute and cuddly! She originally started making them, all her own designs, for her not yet born baby at the time – Edward. At some point after Edward was born she decided to release them to the public and they’ve gone viral, worldwide!
All of her patterns are very well designed. They all have a similar look and finish to them so you know instantly that they’re all part of a family. It’s this smart design that’s made her patterns so accessible to so many around the world – they only require one (1) basic stitch: the single crochet (US) / double crochet (UK); and all of her patterns are split up in to three (3) difficulty levels: level 1 (easy), level 2 (intermediate), level 3 (challenging). These two (2) points alone encourages anyone anywhere to give the patterns a go – whether you’re a seasoned crocheter or have never picked up a crochet hook before.
She’s had a massive influence in re-kindling a love of crochet in the UK and around Europe, and is sharing her passion around the world both online and in person at fetes and fairs. During her seminar at the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair, she said she can see crochet slowly starting to pick up popularity here in Australia and that it won’t be long before it really booms. I’m really hoping I can be a go-to-person for you all for when that happens! I would love to be a part of the crochet-movement down under!
Currently her line of toys includes three (3) pattern books:
As well as so many other individual patterns and beautiful yarn available from her Toft Alpaca Shop and website.
There is also a new pattern book due out in September, currently available as a pre-order, which I’m incredibly excited about: Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium
Ed’s Dye Club
Ed’s Dye Club is Kerry’s most recent subscription project where each quater you receive 100g of ‘limited edition’ Toft yarn and a pattern to use specifically with that yarn! I do believe there has been a previous Ed’s Animals subscription project that has been available for a while now; but I’m such a sucker for owning ‘the whole set’ of something that I had no choice but to subscribe to Ed’s Dye Club as it’s only just new this year! *OCD much*
*TOP TIP* It’s cheaper to be subscribed to Eds Animals or Eds Dye Club than to buy the pattern + yarn packs separately… Plus, being subscribed means you receive the pattern + yarn well before they go on sale to the public! *yay!*
And when batch #000001 arrived I knew I’d made the right choice. The yarn is so bright and fun and soft! I’d never used Toft DK before, but I can tell you that it’s glorious! (Unfortunately it’s also quite expensive to get here in Aust. right now, but it’s made me keen to try our own wool and fleece yarns instead of just using acrylic!)
I couldn’t wait to get stuck into it – but I wanted to share the experience with you, so I thought “why not make a video?”…
I’ve never made a timelaps video before, or any crochet video for that matter – but I’ve been doing some research over the past few weeks looking into apps for my phone to try and make it easy for me to create videos-of-sorts without requiring much editing time and without having to bug my husband…
But, turns out he really wanted to help! I think mostly so he could use his DSLR again – he hasn’t used it in a while – but I wasn’t complaining! So he was amazing enough to set up a make-shift recording space at my desk:
Look at all those lights! He even switched light bulbs from around the house just so I had as much bright, white light as possible in the study.
Just looking at that photo again makes me so excited for all the future possibilities of videos I could make for you all… But I think I’ll have to invest in a proper set up – either handmade or store bought, I’m not fussy; but I don’t think the current set up is sustainable… It’s definitely not portable, that’s for sure!
Before I started the making process (which is always so hard for me not to just jump straight into it), hubby and I chatted about how long I thought it might take me to make this toy and how long I wanted the timelaps video to be. I estimated 3-4 hours and didn’t want the video to go longer than 2 minutes. So he did the math (*smartie*) and decided one (1) photo every 5 seconds should do the trick… So he set up his camera, took some test shots, marked out the boundaries of my work area so I don’t disappear from the photos, and let me loose!
For those camera geeks out there, here are the details of his camera set up for this video:
- Camera: Nikon D600
- ISO: 1600
- Aperture: f/5.6
- Shutter speed: 1/125
Kerry the chameleon
So finally, after 2 days of talk and a few hours of set up, I finally sat down on Saturday to crochet batch #000001: Kerry the chameleon. And I have to admit, it was a challenge! Largely because I’ve become so accustomed to following my own patterns that I’d forgotton that everyone writes differently (another link in the crochet-inconsistency-chain!).
I actually got about a quarter of the way through the tail before I realised I’d been reading the pattern wrong; and it was no wonder it didn’t feel right – the stitch numbers weren’t adding up because when Kerry writes “dc2” (remember dc = double crochet in UK terminology = single crochet (sc) in US terminology), she means “1dc in the next 2 stitches” (or that’s how I’d write it anyway); whereas I was putting 2dc in the next stitch…
Anyway, once I figured that out, it was reasonably smooth sailing from there. The only other challenges I came across were the fact that the tail is so thin for so long it can be tricky to hold and see each stitch in such a tight tube (which I guess is what makes is a level 2 pattern), and the fact that I wasn’t wearing my glasses… I know, they don’t call me The Sweetest *Geek* for nothing, haha!
Finally I got into a rhythme and once I hit the body it was *simples*. But 1.5 hours later and that’s all I’d done – the tail and most of the body! Wow, this was taking much longer than I expected… And we had people coming over for dinner! So I carefully left everything where it was and went off to clean the house.
That’s the beauty of making a timelaps video using photos – it’s relatively easy to stop at any time and come back to it later. Removing unwanted photos is quick and I don’t have to worry about background noise or splicing and dicing videos… (Make that “my husband doesn’t have to worry about splicing and dicing videos” – he’s putting this first timelaps video together for me!)
I ended up having two (2) more crochet sessions on Sunday to finish the little guy. In the morning I finished her head and a leg, and in the afternoon I finished all the other parts and sewed her together (that’s the part I hate the most). The legs were a little tricky too; not necessarily because of the size, but just because of the way the toes are crocheted. The technique is brilliant, and I have no doubt I’ll be keeping it in mind for future patterns that I write myself – but this was definitely another part that makes this pattern a level 2. It took me a few goes at reading the pattern and then just jumping in and starting to crochet it before I really understood what the instructions were asking me to do.
All up, she took almost 6 hours to crochet. The pattern is quite well written, but is as abbreviated as they come. As long as you’re used to reading and understanding the different ways patterns can be written, then anyone would be fine following this one. Plus there are a few online videos referred to throughout the pattern where Kerry shows you how to navigate tricky instructions. As I’ve said earlier, I think the level 2 rating is reasonable as you’d want to have some good experience recognising stitches and reading patters before trying this one.
It was definitely a fun and challenging one! And she is so so cute – I’m super happy with how she turned out. I’ve carried her around in my handbag for the past few days, showing her to people, and now everyone wants one! But I think I’ll be encouraging them to make their own, rather than me making them… I have plenty of other projects on my To-Do list first!
The moment you’ve all been waiting for…
And with all that said and done, here is the long awaited timelaps video:
Did you enjoy the timelaps video? Would you like to see more of them? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below!