Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Mr. Tortoise Tutorial

Hello all!

After helping Amy out with learning to crochet last week, I remembered how much I enjoy it. I've been on a sewing binge the last few months so was nice to be back with the wool.

For quite a while I have really, really, really wanted a tortoise. I've wanted one of my very own for ages, my mum had a tortoise, which was still around for much of my childhood (see me below!). 
Me, about two, trying to figure out how I can pester Humphrey, in my grandma's back garden  in Yorkshire.
I've finally managed to get one, a little bit fluffier than the original Humphrey tho! I've spent a while on pinterest looking at tortoise crochet patterns, but in the end decided to just wing it (with a little hexagon help from Lucy at Attic 24!).
Mr. Tortoise, the final cheeky little dude!

So, straight in to the pattern!

  • Choose your yarn/wool. For mine I chose from my stash pale yellow, dusky pink, bright burnt orange and a beautiful light blue I love just a little bit. It's all acrylic double knit, the blue is a little thinner but worked just as well. Use a 3.75mm crochet hook to get a tortoise this size.
  • You need to crochet 7 hexagons. I used this very helpful tutorial from Lucy at Attic 24 must take all credit for this, she has incredibly helpful descriptions that really helped me when I started crocheting - go check her blog out! For those who already have crochet ability, here is the pattern in basic form.
  • WOOL A Chain 4 and join to make a ring.
  • WOOL A Chain 2 and double crochet 11 in to ring and join.
  • WOOL B Chain 3 and crochet 2 'bobble stitches' in to front post of previous round. 1 chain between each of these 2 stitches and join. 
  • WOOL C Chain 3 and double crochet x 3 in to each chain link of previous round, spacing with one chain between each cluster, join.
  • WOOL D Slip stitch in to chain link of previous round. Chain 3 and slip stitch in to each chain of previous round. Join.
  • WOOL D Chain 3, double crochet x 2, chain 2, double crochet x 3, all in the 3 chain loop of previous round. Next loop, double crochet, x 3, repeat in this pattern all the way round. 
  • Done! For this one anyway!
My finished hexagons.
Hexagons joined together
  • Crochet all the hexagons together, starting with attaching to the central hexagon and then joining each along the sides. Or you can sew with a matching wool, but a simple slip stitch crochet I think makes it more secure.
  • Choose one colour, I went with the orange. This I made up and just kept checking the size with the final hexagons. Here is my pattern:
  • HEAD Chain 28 and join to form a loop.
  • Double crochet into each chain x 28. Join.
  • Chain 2 and double crochet all round. Do this 3 more times so you have 5 rows.
  • Chain 2, 2 double crochet and then 1 decrease stitch, repeat all round circle.
  • Chain 2, 2 double crochet and then 1 decrease stitch, repeat all round circle. This should come to a point, and then slip stitch along top edge to complete.
Legs all piled up.
  • LEGS Chain 20 and join.
  • Chain 2 and double crochet all around, join. Repeat so you have 4 rows.
  • Chain 2, 2 double crochet and 1 decrease stitch. Repeat til you come to a point and slip stitch closed.
  • Nearly there! Now is definitely time for tea and a biscuit.
See how the belly matches up with the top?
  • Right, back to it.
  • Tortoise underbelly! This was a little bit tricky for me, as I was winging it and trying to smush it so it looked right. That saying, it is just a double crochet and chain stitch, with a few increases and decreases, so all in all was fairly quick.
  • Make a chain, measure this against one of the sides of your hexagon to get the length and number of stitches. Double crochet in all chains. 
  • Next row, increase by an extra stitch into each previous double crochet on either side of the row. Repeat until you have the same size as your hexagon edge, increasing each time for about 4 rows. Be careful to stretch and fiddle with it, to make sure it fits.
  • At the end of your row, chain again! Again, measure against your hexagon top to see how many you need, then chain up and double crochet along the line. When you get to the last stitch, slip stitch down and chain along again. 
  • Chain up to the next row, and double crochet along to meet the previous line. Fasten off and start again fresh.
  • Repeat the same process from before, double crochet all along the line, increasing with an extra stitch on each edge, until you reach the right size, then start decreasing by 1 stitch on each edge.
  • Repeat this whole process until you have a whole big piece!

  • Almost done. Stuff each of your legs and head, and sew these in to the indents between the hexagons. See image above. Sew on the 'wrong' side, and check that it is really secure.
  • Place your top over the bottom piece, and sew in either a whip stitch or blanket stitch all around. Be careful around the leg and head areas, sew only in to the top edge, and not all the way through.
  • Use a contrasting thread and sew some eyes and a smile on the face of your tortoise :) Hide the ends of the wool in the stuffing inside the head.
  • Leave a gap. Now is time for a very little bit of sewing. Using the tortoise as a guide, cut two pieces of plain fabric.
  • Sew these together along the edge, don't worry about being too neat as this will all be hidden. Leave a gap and stuff with some lovely soft pillow stuffing. Sew around the edge to close.
  • Put your little 'pillow' in to the tortoise skin, and finish sewing around the edge.
DONE! Now you have your very own little tortoise pal. I love him, although it might be that he is off to live with my niece when she comes to stay in a few weeks, we will see if she loves him as much as I do!

Love Ali


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