Finally its finished! Regular followers of my Instagram feed will have seen increased activity in the African flower crochet side of things over the last two months. I decided (just as we were moving) to crochet my youngest a turtle for her birthday in October. Now, Rose loves turtles. Her obsession started with her favourite song about a turtle called Tiny Tim who has an unfortunate incident in the bath and eats all the soap. Although how Rose sings this is “Turtle, turtle, turtle. Turtle, turtle, swim! Turtle, turtle, soap!” It’s got the cuteness only a 2 year old can get away with.
Anyway she’s been increasing her stuffed toy turtle collection over the past few months and I thought I’d add to it with a wonderful design from Heidi Bears Design. Now this talented designer uses the African flower motif (see picture below of some of the motifs) in most of her designs and it creates a wonderful array of patterns. From dinosaurs to owls and camels to teddy bears this motif is used to its fullest advantage. Heidi uses the different shapes (pentagons, hexagons, squares etc) to create the desired shape and also help make a face. The last bit is the one that I think help brings the design truly to life. In the pattern there are even instruction on how to sculpt the eye sockets. Now this makes a real difference to the finished appearance and although its obviously a toy, it makes it more life-like and therefore more alive.
The design I used was the Atuin African Flower Turtle. Now as a Terry Pratchett fan I like this name as Atuin is the big turtle on which 4 elephants perch with the Discworld atop their backs as he swims through space. He seemed a fitting example of a turtle to me. Now my tutrtle is a little smaller than Atuin himself as I wanted my little girl to be able to cuddle him and take him in the car and well, fit in the house!
I have to say that I’m not usually a motif making fan. I can get bored easily but I liked this motif. It was a comforting shape to make (any of them) and the pattern was repetitive enough so as I was able to relax but complex enough I had to keep part of my brain awake. Heidi had done all the hard thinking and all the explaining too. When I say all I really mean ALL. Within the pattern are not only detailed instructions and links to parts of Heidi’s blog with tutorials to help you through but also photographs of how the project should look stage-by-stage. Every time there was a join Heidi made it very clear which side of which shape goes where. There were numbers so you knew which sided shape (i.e. 5 for a pentagon) and different coloured lines so you could see which side matched which. So did I go wrong? Well yes, once. I had my turtle upside-down and put his head on wrong to start with but the correction was easily managed.
Often I change the colour scheme of projects to suit the receiver of whatever item I’m making but this time I pretty much stuck to the original pattern colour scheme. Unheard of for me but it worked beautifully for the turtle. Also, even though I chose yellow, two different greens and brown it feels colourful.
The only time I really deviated from the pattern was in the joining technique. Now Heidi details this too and states you can either join using crochet or sewing. I went for crochet as I prefer the finished look and I think it holds better, at least it does with my sewing! Heidi states to join at the top of a triple stitch with a slip stitch. I didn’t like this much (it was the only thing in the pattern I didn’t like) as I found it hurt my hands so I used a double crochet stitch instead.
So was this pattern worth the money? Oh most definitely. Every little tip was thought through and it was written beautifully , always making you feel you had options to make the finished product your own. From the first tip to use the smallest possible hook with the yarn (in order to keep the stitches tight so the stuffing didn’t peek through) to sculpting the eye sockets. It was very thorough and it helped me get the right shape and feel really proud of this project.
I’m glad I chose this turtle to make. Ours was christened Poppy and little Rose loves it, dragging her round by her front fin even in the 2 days since getting her. A good seal of approval I feel. A happy maker and a happy turtle owner.