The story of Crochet Turtle

One summer afternoon last year, me, my brother, and his partner were all lounging in my lounge when my bro remarked on how much he liked my round cushion.  It was a gift from my old housemate, made by her friend Svetlana and has Indian-style embroidery on one side, soft green velvet on the other.front&back

We all agreed that we liked round cushions, and I said I’d like to try doing a crochet one. He said he liked the green velvet though, because it made him think of a turtle.  So I said, what about crochet on one side, velvet on the other?  And as one voice we cried, it could be CROCHET TURTLE!  Those of you old enough to remember Touché Turtle and his battle-cry can no doubt imagine the silliness that ensued…

And so the idea was born, and I declared that I would make them a pair of Crochet Turtles as a slightly-belated housewarming gift, and then spoke those words FATAL TO ANY PROJECT, “How hard can it be?”.

I searched the Blogsphere, Ravelery and beyond for my perfect turtle pattern…. who remembers this cute critter (pattern here by Little Muggles) from last Xmas?shelley profile

And I experimented with some lovely different turtle shell designs, by Kathrin Bardeleben and this one by Sonea Delvonprototype shell

But none of them were quite what I was after.  I had this idea in my head you see, of EXACTLY how these turtles would look.  I wanted a crochet ‘shell’ of granny hexagons on top in shades of green/teal/orange, crochet head and flippers, and a soft velvet ‘belly’ underneath.

So, chanting ‘How hard can it be?’, I went and made up my own hexagon pattern, which I’m pretty pleased with.  Once I’d figured it out I went ahead and ordered my yarn.  I wanted something really soft and smooshy but also machine washable, so I went for Cascade 220 Superwash.  It’s 100% wool but – I guess because of the superwash process – I can handle it without too much allergic reaction.  Plus it comes in a wide range of bright, vivid colours!turtleyarn

I finally started crocheting my granny hexies in April this year, still without any real overall pattern in mind!  I didn’t get far before I realised I would also need a half-hexagon to make my design work.  That took me quite a few goes to figure out, and it wasn’t until I’d actually made all the pieces and started stitching them together that I realised they still weren’t righthexagonslaidout

Can you spot my mistake? – There’s no single crochet border on the long edge of the half-hexies!  So I had to unpick and re-do them all…

Next came the head and flipper challenge!  I wanted the heads to be crocheted and stuffed, so I adapted the Little Muggles pattern for these. But again, I couldn’t find any flippers that really fitted my turtle vision of crochet on top, velvet underneath, so I had to make up my own.  I’d bought some lovely soft velvet from Minerva Crafts in the sale, but didn’t realise until it arrived that it was stretch knit!  So I had to use fusible interfacing on all my flipper pieces to keep them stable enough to stitch the crochet to them.  BUT, it worked!  And I’m quite chuffed with how they turned out!flipperb&f2

OK! – I now had my shells, heads, and flippers, all I needed was a cushion pattern.  I didn’t fancy trying to sew a zip into stretch velvet circles, and poppers or buttons always come undone I find, so I decided on the ‘envelope’ option.  Could I find a pattern??  It was beginning to look like these turtles would still be on my ‘In Progress’ shelf by the time their intended recipients had saved up and emigrated…

So yes, I had to make up my own cushion pattern as well.  “How hard can it be?” – well, VERY, with stretch velvet, I discovered!  Note to self: stabilise your top circle with some fusible interfacing first before trying to stitch your crochet and bottom cushion-flaps to it!

BUT, I prevailed!  Heads and flippers were sewn on by hand last of all, and FINALLY, one year, two months, and three weeks after the idea was born, WHOOHOO!!  I give you – CROCHET TURTLES!bothpadded1How cute are they?!?!swimmingturtlebothpadded2

Here’s a (slightly blurry!) ‘belly’ shot so you can see how the cushion cover bit works:turtlebelly1And a nice turtle-in-action shot!swimmingturtletop

So there you go: it was a big designer-maker adventure for me and the finished cushions did turn out pretty much the way I had imagined them in my head.  Plus they are VERY silly and make me smile a LOT!

The turtles have now swum to their new home in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where they’ve been so warmly received that it’s given me a great big happy in my heart!bothunpadded1CROCHET AWAY! 🙂

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