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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Meet my Menagerie: Richard the Pig

Richard is one of two pigs in Edward's Menagerie. 

You'd think that working on an alpaca farm would be enough to satisfy my love of animals. Wrong. It's been fantastic the way becoming the mum of a toddler and designing Edward's Menagerie has given me the perfect excuse for numerous trips to farms, zoos and even just pet shops...

One of my favourite days out is a trip up to Harrogate for The Great Yorkshire Show. This year I hope to take Edward for the first time to peer over the pens with me at the biggest pigs I've ever seen. I'm pretty sure that he will be as excited as I am to meet all the different breeds of pig, sheep, goats and cow. In fact I am white excited now just thinking about it! When I first started developing TOFT back in 2006 I hauled my trailer full of handknits around every single agricultural show there was in the UK: the Royal Welsh, Bakewell, Newark and Notts, Royal Bath and West. You name it and I have sold alpaca knitwear there at some point in the last eight years. Camping in all weathers on a showground surrounded by partying young farmers was testing, but for me it felt like such a treat to get up very early, beg a coffee from the just-stirring food vendors, and head off to enjoying it with a large white pig. 

The 'meet my menagerie' campaign is a 50 day countdown to the official launch of my Edward's Menagerie book.  The Edward's Menagerie paperback can be ordered HERE.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Meet my Menagerie: Francis the Hedgehog


Francis is a hedgehog very close to my heart. Truth known, all hedgehogs are pretty close to my heart. 

I am a life-long member of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society thanks to being a pretty gung-ho then year old that spent all her pocket money at once. I collected any kind of hedgehog toy, every craft I did from clay making through to baking was always hedgehog themed, and I built hedgehog hotels all over Toft and bought 'spike's dinner' in the hope that they would move in. 

That said, Francis did not make it into the first .pdf of patterns, and it is only in the paperback that he makes his debut. Perhaps that's because I suspected spines might be a bit tricky, perhaps it was waiting to make sure I was good enough with my hook to do it justice, or maybe I was just waiting for the right time. 

I find it quite hard to make to the patterns to order and the collection has grown far more organically than that. I usually cement my ideas on beginning to crochet the next animal as I am sewing up the last one. This is why the collection won't really stop here: Ed's animal club is where the very latest animals go, and the patterns and yarn are exclusive to my subscribers for a while. 

The 'meet my menagerie' campaign is a 50 day countdown to the official launch of my Edward's Menagerie book.  The Edward's Menagerie paperback can be ordered HERE.


Sunday, 8 June 2014

Meet my Menagerie: Penelope the Bear


Penelope began her life as a reindeer. No world of lie, the brownbear that is now very popular was originally an ill-conceived first attempt at a reindeer pattern.  With two floppy antlers strapped to her head she lasted around 48hours before I cut them off, pulled back the nose back to the colour change and crocheted my first bear. 

Cutesy teddy bears aren't my thing, but this is a strong lady who likes to wear designer shoes. She is a character that I admire, and is one of many successful female characters in Edward's Menagerie. I'm not sure a brown bear would ever have landed in the collection if it wasn't for the happy mistake, and sometimes that's how the best ones come-about.

The 'meet my menagerie' campaign is a 50 day countdown to the official launch of my Edward's Menagerie book.  The Edward's Menagerie paperback can be ordered HERE.