Monday, 3 November 2014

Of Mice and Mermaids

Just before half-term one of my lovely colleagues at work went on maternity leave, and I decided to make her a new arrival a little present. I have crocheted this little stripy ball from this book several times as presents for friends' babies, and like the fact that you can make it very quickly and in colours tailored to the recipient. 

The new baby is a girl, so I used some pastel and bright colours mixed together. So that her big brother won't feel left out I also crocheted a little blue mouse for him to my own design. 

I don't really have a pattern to post, except to say I've made it several times. I crochet in a spiral and always start with three rounds of a circle for the mouse's bottom, then start decreasing until I get to his nose. I have to stuff as I crochet, and finish off with a couple of small triangular ears, a single crochet tail and some embroidered eyes, nose and whiskers. Here are some previous versions which I made. 
First, a lilac one ...

... then a white one.

Last week I also made a delightful new little friend who's 5 years old, and decided to make her a present too. As she was about to go on holiday to Devon and Cornwall I hit upon the idea of making her a rag-doll mermaid. I've made a few of these for my daughter when she was little and was glad to have an excuse to make another one. I adapted a pattern for a rag-doll from a book which I had when I was a child called 'My Fun To Sew' by Janet Barber (1973). I cut out my pattern pieces for her body, but instead of legs I made a fishy tail, and found some lovely yarn for her hair.

After sewing the pieces together, I stuffed her with synthetic toy stuffing.

I sewed the body pieces together, and added her hair by sewing it down the middle of her head, and then around the base of her head at the back. She was really taking shape now!

I made her tail from a small piece of Kaffe Fassett cotton fabric, and her body from an old white cotton school shirt.

Then I embroidered her features. I like to keep them simple - sea-blue eyes and a sweet smile. I also gave her a little crocheted blue bikini top from cotton yarn, and finished it off with a shell button.

However, she looked a little chilly in her outfit, so I knitted a simple garter-stitch square in some fluffy blue yarn as a blanket for her.

She was finished, and I was really pleased with her! 

When I gave her to her new owner she seemed delighted, and carried her around, christening her Lily.  Inspired by tales of the sea, I asked her if she thought that Lily's blanket might be made from seaweed? 'No' was the reply, 'it's made from wool'. Ask a silly question ... I love the way that conversations with small people veer between the imaginative and the everyday. We did have a lovely day with Lily's little owner, and I vowed not to leave it too long before I make another mermaid, as it had been such fun.


  1. Oh I like these delight creations !! Bravo ! Have a lovely evening ...

  2. You are so creative and I really like how you make up your own patterns or adapt those that you already have. Lily the Mermaid is an inspired creation. I'm now thinking of making dolls my daughters. Fingers crossed I'll have time to make them before Christmas. Have a lovely week! x

    1. Thank you Marion :) I do like to invent patterns and designs as I can personalise things, and rag dolls for Christmas will be a very special treat for your girls x

  3. She is beautiful! I love the story of the seaweed vs wool theory of the creation of her blanket!

  4. I looooove everything ! The mice are genius- so simple - you should sell them or at least sell the pattern. And I adore the mermaid, my Little Mss will love one, I must look out for some suitable fabric :)

    1. Thank you so much :) I've always invented and made little toys for my children when they were little, and loved the chance to do it again. It's really nice to use pre-used fabric for a rag doll, and anything that looks a bit like scales will do for the tail x

  5. Hello Cathy

    You are so talented and creative. The stripy little ball is just perfect for a newborn and I love the colours. Three fabulous cutie little mouses. And, what a brilliant little mermaid, I just love your use and colour of fabric for the tail. We can't have her getting cold, and the little blanket is just so sweet.


    1. Thank you, Irene :) it was lots of fun, and surprisingly fast to do. Knitting the mice in pastel-coloured cotton yarn makes me think of sugar mice, and I like to make my mermaids in shades of blue, green and purple - sea colours. I think even mermaids must get cold sometimes! x


Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I don't always get time to reply, but I look forward to and love to read your comments - they really do make my day x