Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook: Review

This book. Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook. Drool.

I saw it. And I bought it.

I don’t buy a lot of craft books. (Seriously, all of my books fit on one shelf!)

But I bought this one and love it. And I added my old cable stitch dictionary to my ‘Spring Cleaning’ pile. Because I don’t need it any more.

Norah Gaughan's Knitted cable sourcebook

(does this inside cover give you an idea of all of the amazingness inside?)

I had read a lot of amazing reviews about this book, but I’m a bit of a skeptic. I thought, ‘oh, they’re probably just saying nice stuff because Norah Gaughan is really famous’. (geesh, that makes me sound really awful, doesn’t it? It’s just that in my job, I see a lot of books.) And the cable on the cover is nice, but it didn’t make me pass out from the amazingness.

But once my book arrived I discovered that my skepticism was unwarranted. It actually IS really amazing.

The introduction isn’t very long, but it’s packed with pretty juicy information. The topics covered include:

  • Using a double point needle as a cable needle
  • Left vs. Right slants
  • How to slip stitches onto a needle & how to work the held stitches
  • Cable terminology
  • How to read cable charts
  • Tips for keeping your place on a chart
  • A full explanation of Norah’s own Stockinette Stitch Equivalent System (SSE), so you can swap different cable stitches into different patterns
  • How to fix a mistake in a cable
  • How to count cabled rows

I read the introduction and felt like, ‘Wow. That has everything I need to know.’

The cable designs (many not previously published) are just stunning. Look at this one.

Norah Gaughan's Knitted Cable Sourcebook


Very few are this complicated… most of the stitch patterns are two notches above ‘simple’, but stunningly beautiful and hovering significantly below ‘crazily complex’. Which is exactly what you want in a stitch dictionary.

I fell in love with the Seed Rib Half Drop (#84 in the book) and cast on for a scarf immediately.

Seed Rib scarf from Norah Gaughan's Knitted Cable Sourcebook

Isn’t it gorgeous? (The cable pattern, I mean… not my knitting!) It was so enjoyable to knit… I felt like each cable was a little piece of knitter’s candy. I just kept wanting to get to the next one!

FreshStitches scarf cable pattern norah Gaughan's

The book also contains 15 projects, which are all quite lovely and creative projects using cables, in addition to the more than 150 stitch patterns in the book.

Pullover Norah Gaughan's Knitted Cable Sourcebook

Whoa. This book is just plain fabulous. Treat yourself.

Those links are affiliate links. That means I earn a tiny commission if you buy after clicking through. 🙂

Zoomigurumi 5 Review + Giveaway!

Zoomigurumi 5

Today I’m reviewing and having a giveaway for Zoomigurumi 5! I’m really excited about this one… keep reading for details on how to enter the giveaway.

The Zoomigurumi series is published by the folks at, which, in my opinion, is the premiere place for amigurumi patterns. The offerings are curated (giggle, I’ve even had some of my patterns rejected!), so you’re browsing through a lovely selection of both paid and free patterns by the leading designers.  There are over 22,000 amigurumi patterns on Ravelry. It can be overwhelming.

And by the way, Zoomigurumi 6 is available for pre-order! It’s your chance to get one of the first copies!

Zoomigurumi 6

The Review

All of the Zoomigurumi books are curated by the editor of… and the result is 15 amazing and adorable patterns! Other AmigurumiPatterns books (like Amigurumi Circus) are created by customer votes on submissions… isn’t that such a great idea, too?

table of contents for Zoomigurumi

I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but I’m going to say it: this book is as close to a perfect amigurumi book as you can get. At least in my opinion, anyway.

Look at all these cuties!

Zoomigurumi 5It’s a pretty thin book, only 80 pages. So I was expecting compromises. Sometimes small books skimp on the step-by-step photos. Or they don’t include tutorials on the basics, like how to single crochet or do magic ring. Or they write the patterns in a super-cramped format (like “[inc, 2] 6 times”). Or the patterns are crazy simple to keep the instructions really short. But this book doesn’t take any of those shortcuts.

inside of Zoomigurumi 5

The patterns are delightfully complex (not overly complicated, but have significant character) and the pattern pages feature step-by-step photos of advanced parts. The introduction covers all of the basic stitches and skills (with illustrations!) and the patterns are well-written and include the specific rounds in the attaching instructions.

And a beautifully illustrated table of contents and biographies of the authors! How did they squeeze it all in? I have no idea.

caterino the walrus from zoomigurumi 5

Each pattern features multiple photos of the finished object, so you can see it from every angle.  It’s truly very lovely.

Each pattern includes the yarn weight, recommended hook size and yarn shown in the sample, something that is often omitted from amigurumi books. Sometimes you really DO want to know what yarn the author used!

If you love these cuties, then grab this book. I don’t think you’ll see patterns done much more clearly in a printed book. And they’re adorable!


Would you like to win a copy? Sure you would!

To enter, just leave a comment on this page! It’s that easy! A winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, February 14th.

Update – The giveaway is closed now.

Good luck!



Meet Stacey – a Judge in the Mix & Match Monsters Contest

Stacey Trock - one of the judges in the Mix & Match Monsters Contest at Shiny Happy World

Meet Stacey Trock – one of the judges in the Mix & Match Monster Contest.

Stacey is The Queen of Crocheted Cuteness!

I’ve known how to do basic crochet since I was a kid, but I was limited to afghans and scarves. Stacey taught me how to make things that are not flat!

Crocheting in the Round: Mix & Match Hats with Stacey Trock

I learned how to make hats in her Mix & Match Hats class on Craftsy – and now I can make crochet hats in lots of different shapes, customized to fit any head!

I went a step further and learned how to make adorable monsters in her Design Your Own Monster class on Craftsy.

Amigurumi: Design Your Own Monster Craftsy Class

See why she’s the perfect judge for Mix & Match Monsters? 🙂

Of course, Stacey doesn’t just have Craftsy classes! She sells digital crochet patterns in her shop, like this adorable slug.

Awesome crochet slug pattern from Fresh Stitches

And I think she might like rainbows as much as I do!

Rainbow monster made with a crochet pattern from Fresh Stitches.

Stacey is pretty famous for her clubs, and she’s launching a brand new one this December.

Fresh Stitches Club

You can learn more about the club here. I’m already sold based on the cuteness of that image. 🙂

You can find all of Stacey’s awesomeness at Fresh Stitches. (Update! FreshStitches is now a part of Shiny Happy World!)

And did I mention that she’s going to be a judge in the Mix & Match Monsters Contest?

Here’s the nutshell version. . .

  1. Go to Sew Mama Sew to get the free Mix & Match Monsters pattern and instructions.
  2. Make a fun monster.
  3. Take a picture.
  4. Post your monster here before noon (eastern time) on August 18.
  5. Vote for your favorites!

Enter! I can’t wait to see what you make!

Cute monsters make me happy. 🙂

Happy sewing!


My Favorite Online Crochet Classes

My favorite online crochet classes - I made this hat in one of them.

This post contains affiliate links. That means I make a little commission if you buy something after clicking through. All affiliate links are marked with an *.

I learned how to crochet when I was a kid – but I only learned the most basic stitches and for 40+ years I only ever made flat, rectangular things – afghans and scarves. Last summer I decided to explore some online crochet classes to learn how to make not-flat things. It was so much fun!

Here’s why online craft classes are always my first choice for learning a new skill. In a nutshell – I can watch any time I want, as many times as I need to, and I always have a front row seat and close-up view. 🙂

I started off with a hat-making class. I love handmade hats, but I’ve stopped buying them because they’re always too small for my head. I decided I would finally learn to make my own – to crochet round things!

My favorite online crochet class - Crocheting in the Round with Stacey Trock

I chose the class Crocheting in the Round: Mix & Match Hats* because it’s on the Craftsy* platform – which I love – and is taught by Stacey Trock. I’ve watched some of her videos on FreshStitches and I knew she was a good teacher. 🙂

This was a terrific class! Not only did Stacey teach me to make several different hats – she also teaches the why behind everything she does, so when she gets to the section about designing your own hat patterns, it totally makes sense! Now I can make any hat, any style I want – and it will always fit. And it’s actually super easy!

Jo (age 12 at the time) took the class with me and she loved it too. As you can see from these photos, she really got into the unit on colorwork. 🙂

Jo got so into colorwork that she made three hats in the Fresh Stitches Mix & Match Hat Class.

Jo is still making tons of hats. I think she’s made at least one for every kid at her school. She even figured out how to make the top pointy instead of flat and made a bunch of elf hats too. So cute! But she’s not just making hats. . .

From hats she moved on to this class – Design Your Own Monster*!

Awesome online crochet class from Stacey Trock on Craftsy

Monsters are great for this kind of class because you can never do anything really wrong. So maybe the body is a little weird and the arms are super long and the eyes bug out way more than you expected. It’s a monster! Nobody can say, “Monsters don’t really look like that!” 🙂

Stacey teaches basic formulas for different shapes – cones, spheres, etc. and how to attach arms and legs and how to add faces and excellent stuffing tips. I can’t show any finished cuties because Jo keeps giving them away before I can photograph them. Also – all of a sudden she can read crochet patterns and design her own! Her current obsession is making amigurumi turtles with spiral striped shells. 🙂

Jo and I aren’t done with online crochet classes – here are a few more on our wish lists.

Jo is definitely ready to learn some new stitches. She’s already figured out some weird crochet cable stitch and how to bobble stitch with YouTube videos, but now she says she wants a class that will take her through a bunch of new stitches in a systematic way. I’m getting her this Textured Crochet Stitches class* for this summer.

One of many online crochet classes on my wish list.

She also really likes to make Useful Things That Everyone At School Will Wear so I think she’ll really like this class on making mittens and fingerless gloves*.

One of many online crochet classes on my wish list.

And for me? I think a fancy little edge on the bottom of one of my hats will be just the thing, so I’ve got this Fantastic Finishes class* on my list.

One of many online crochet classes on my wish list.

The number and variety of classes is truly astounding! I’ll be reviewing some of my favorite cooking and embroidery classes next week. 🙂

Happy stitching!

That's me!

My Stitch & Stash Project Bag

I love, love LOVE my new project bag! It makes me smile every time I use it – and I’ve been using it steadily for about two months now.

It’s made with the Stitch & Stash Project Bag pattern from Betz White – reversible, with no zippers or velcro to snag on my work, and with a handy pocket inside to hold my tools. Such a well-designed bag for crafters!

Of course, I had to add some appliqué to the front. Give me a flat surface in a pattern and I will add some appliqué. Guaranteed. 🙂

I only made a couple of simple changes to the project.

The original pattern has snaps on the sides, but I decided not to add them because I know I will never actually snap them and I like the shape without tucking in the sides.

I quilted the outer bag fabric instead of just staystitching the batting around the edges. I love the little bit of extra texture the swoopy quilted waves add to the front. I just quilted the batting to the main fabric – no need to add a backing fabric since the bag is lined. This is how I quilt all my quilts, too.

You might worry that that will make the seams too bulky, but if you use 100% cotton batting (I love Warm & Natural) and press the seams open, it’ll squish nice and flat.

Stitch & Stash Project Bag - in progress

When I work with batting like this I also use sewing clips instead of pins. They’re great for holding bulky fabrics in place with no distortion!

Stitch & Stash Project Bag - in progress

Of course, the main change I made was adding the cute kitty. 🙂

After I did the quilting, I appliquéd the cat in place with fusible adhesive and stitched around all the pieces with black thread. I love the cartoony pop that gives.

Here’s a video showing how I appliqué an image like this.

Stitch & Stash Project Bag - in progress

The cat is one of the blocks in my Cats Quilt, shrunk down a bit. I made the small bag and resized the cat image to be 5 inches tall and 4 inches wide. That left plenty of breathing room between the top of the cat and that awesome big grommet, and fit from side to side nicely. I wouldn’t go any bigger than that in either direction for whatever image you’re adding.

The fabric is a mix of some of my favorite basics from Timeless Treasures – Jazz, Dreaming and Sketch.

I love it! Mine is holding my current EPP project (to be shared soon – it’s almost finished!) and Jo has already requested a larger one with a monster on it, and a tall, skinny pocket inside especially for holding a few crochet hooks. My plan is to make a few more in different sizes (the pattern includes three sizes) to hold various works in progress and hang them on some hooks on my studio walls. Cute AND functional. I see a lot more of these in my future. 🙂

Get the bag pattern here.

Get the cat quilt pattern here.

Happy sewing!

That's me!

Crochet Ripple Afghan

Have I shown you the beautiful afghan that my mom made Maddie?

orange and aqua crochet ripple afghan freshstitches

I just love it! It’s in my favorite colors!

freshstitches chevron afghan

She used Knit Picks (either Brava or Comfy Worsted… I can’t tell because it looks like the aqua color has been discontinued!) and a size I hook. I bought her a Caspian Crochet hook (because she was wearing the paint off of her aluminum hook) and she loved it!

freshstitches aqua and orange afghan

My mom doesn’t read crochet patterns (yes, I fully appreciate the irony in that- given that my job is to teach people to read crochet patterns!), but the stitch she used is very similar to the classic back loop ripple stitch.

There are lots more inspirational chevron photos on my Crochet Afghan Pinterest board… so many color combinations you can do with this stitch to get a great blanket!


Book Review – Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small

Stitch Love by the awesome Mollie Johanson

As soon as I found out that Mollie Johanson from Wild Olive was writing a book, I knew it was going to be wonderful. She’s incredibly talented and one of my very favorite designers. Everything she makes is just so amazingly CUTE!

This book is everything I hoped it would be – and more!

Let’s start with this line on the cover. . .

“Cute Kitties and Cows and Cubs and More. . . and a Yeti.”

Because Yetis! I love Yetis! I was excited before I even opened the book. 🙂

Inside there are terrific projects to sew and embroider – very simple projects that don’t require any advanced skills. I especially loved this rooster apron. . .

Rooster Apron from Stitch Love by Mollie Johanson

Look at the extra sweet detail of the footprints on the waistband!

And these reversible placemats are great!

Reversible Placemats from Stitch Love by Mollie Johanson

On one side you stitch the cute critter – like that adorable bear. On the reverse you stitch what that critter likes to eat – that sweet smiling honey pot. What a cute idea! And lots of fun for kids. 🙂

I also loved this cute furoshiki – a Japanese-style gift wrapping cloth.

Mouse Furoshiki from Stitch Love by Mollie Johanson

And that mouse? He’s shown with a birthday hat and gift, but Mollie provides patterns for a whole bunch of different hats and things for him to hold, representing all the major holidays of the year. So clever!

I can’t believe I’m saying it, but one of my favorite projects was this possum.

Possum Hanging Sachet from Stitch Love by Mollie Johanson

I don’t like actual possums. We have a really persistent one right now who keeps getting into the chicken coop to eat their food. How do I know when he’s in there? Because the chickens go into absolute panic mode. (They’re such a bunch of. . . chickens.)

But this possum sachet is adorable! I love how you loop the tail around a hanger to hang it in your closet. It’s just – fun!

So all of the projects are great. Easily doable for beginners, relaxing and fun for more experienced stitchers. Exactly my kind of projects.

But the real gem of this book comes later – in the pages and pages and pages of embroidery patterns. Over a hundred of them! And every one of them is incredibly cute! Here’s just one page. . .

adorable embroidery motifs from Stitch Love by Mollie Johanson

That tree sloth! And the baby elephant! And the orangutan! Mollie has them grouped by theme – wild animals, pets, farm animals, mountain and prairie, etc. so you really have every reason to use them in clusters.

Of course, my first thought when I see a group of cute animals is to make a quilt out of them. So that’s what I did!

I didn’t make a whole quilt – but I made a single block that can be used in a pillow, tote bag, T-shirt or anything else you want to add a dinosaur to. 🙂

Applique dinsoaurs from an embroidery pattern in the book Stitch Love by Mollie Johanson

What a cutie, eh?

I’ve got a tutorial here showing how to enlarge or reduce any digital pattern, and one here showing how to use an embroidery pattern for applique.

So if you get this book you not only get 25 sewing patterns and over 100 embroidery patterns, you also get a ton of applique patterns! What a deal! 🙂

I should also mention that the book has an excellent instructional section that details all the basic sewing and embroidery tools, illustrates the embroidery stitches used in the book and any sewing skills you’ll need for the projects. The templates for most of the sewing patterns are not printed at full size – which is usually an irritation for me – but there’s a link to get them all at full size online, which I’ll take over tracing any day! 🙂 It’s all in here!

The book is called Stitch Love and it’s terrific! Buy it! Make cute things with it! Give them to people you love and make them smile!

Happy stitching!

That's me!

Stitch Love Blog Hop – free pattern


Mollie from Wild Olive knows how excited I am about her new book, Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big and Small. I’ve got it in my hot little hands right now and there will be a full review coming in a couple of weeks after I have a chance to make a project from it. In a nutshell – it’s exactly as fabulous as I thought it would be!

In the meantime, I jumped at the chance to be a part of this Valentine’s Day blog hop in celebration of the new book. Mollie is giving away a few special patterns that are like the patterns you’ll find in the book – but completely new and getting ready for Valentine’s Day. And a few bloggers got to play with them first!

I chose this little otter/ferret. 🙂

You otter be my Valentine - a free pattern

Mollie thinks of him as a ferret – I think of him as an otter. My way I get to make a terrible otter pun. 🙂

I immediately saw that envelope as a 3D pocket, with the whole thing appliqued in felt – so that’s what I did!

I started by tracing the body pieces on a scrap of The Magical Embroidery Stuff (aka Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy).

You otter be my Valentine - a free pattern

I love it so much! You stick it to the felt, stitch right through it, then cut out the pieces and rinse the stuff away.

You otter be my Valentine - a free pattern

Magic! (You can read more about here.)

Then I layered those pieces on a piece of pretty fabric. (This is Dream in Pink from Timeless Treasures.)

You otter be my Valentine - a free pattern

Tuck a bit of the ears and tail behind the body, and then whipstitch all around each piece. A tiny dab of fabric glue on the back of each piece holds them in place while you stitch. No irritating pins to grab your thread!

Now add the envelope. I traced it as one piece so I could fold it into a little pocket. Flat it looked like this. . .

You otter be my Valentine - a free pattern

And then I folded it and stuck it on the otter like this. . .

You otter be my Valentine - a free pattern

Stitch all the way around the outside edge of the envelope.

You otter be my Valentine - a free pattern

Next I added his paws so it looks like he’s holding the envelope instead of having it float in front of him. 🙂

You otter be my Valentine - a free pattern

Just cut them out, stick them in place, and stitch them down. They’re tiny. 🙂

I cut out two hearts and whipstitched them together around the edge to add some pretty detail – and make them stiff enough to easily tuck into the envelope.

Hoop it up in a tiny hoop (here’s how I do it with no glue) and you have this. . .

You otter be my Valentine - a free pattern

Download the pattern here so you can make your own!

Different bloggers will be giving away cute little critters like this one all week long! Here’s the schedule. . .

Monday: Shiny Happy World (That’s me!) & Wild Olive

Tuesday: Little Dear Tracks

Wednesday: Lark Crafts

Thursday: Hugs Are Fun

Friday: Feeling Stitchy

Saturday: Pretty By Hand, nanaCompany & Wild Olive

If you make one and post about it on social media, use the hashtag #stitchlovebloghop. 🙂

Oh – and did you like how I sneakily changed an embroidery pattern into an applique pattern? I do that all the time. It means if you buy Mollie’s new book of embroidery patterns, you’re also getting a book full of cute applique patterns. That’s a good deal! I have a tutorial with more info here.

Happy Valentine’s Day! And happy stitching!


Interview with Heidi Bears!

If you’ve been on Ravelry or Pinterest, you’ve probably seen Heidi Bears‘s gorgeous stuffed animals! She creates totally unique designs using the African Flower Motif.

I’ve been a fan and I’m thrilled that Heidi agreed to come over and have a chat with us!

Hippo by MissWorld

Hippo by Ravelry user, MissWorld


Stacey: I have to say, your concept of putting the African Flower Hexagon together to make animals is absolutely stunning! When did you first get the idea to experiment with the technique?

Heidi: Thanks Stacey! I think it came about as I was fiddling around with the basic hexagon pattern to see if I could make a pentagon and other polygonal shapes. Some of these were quite different in 3D shape to the hexagon, and while sitting in my kitchen one day, I thought, “Hmmm…. what if I combine this polygon with this polygon, maybe I can make it look like something…”

This led to an enormous amount of testing, crocheting, frogging, re-testing until I finally put together the pattern for Lollo Bear. I had spent several years as a Teddy Bear pattern designer and maker, which I think helped with the ability to “see” how different parts would fit together. Naturally (since I love and collect artist bears), my first design idea was for a teddy bear.

Heidi Bears Lollo

From the time I released Lollo Bear, my day job started demanding much more time, so my designing took a back seat. At the beginning of 2013, I had the opportunity to take a break from my regular job and concentrate solely on designing. At that point the kinds of items made from crochet motifs, seemed to consist of bags, blankets, scarfs and hats with the odd clothing item thrown in.

With so many amazingly talented people in the designing world, it can be extremely hard to produce something completely different, unusual and original when trying to establish a name for oneself as a designer. With the background I had in writing the pattern for Lollo, it appeared that there was nothing else on the Internet that I could find that was similar to my motif toys idea, in my style, so I decided to try and pursue that avenue.

Hippo from Ravelry

Hippo from Ravelry user, SteffiFalun
It took me several months to put together the pattern for Happypotamus, but during this time I learned a lot about polygons and how they act and what works and what doesn’t when putting them together. I like designing toys as they are smallish projects and when made well, appeal to both child and adult alike. I will branch out into other kinds of items when the time comes, but at the moment I still love thinking up ideas for animals, so until that well of inspiration runs dry, toys are it!

Your style is certainly unique… I can’t picture anyone doing a better job of creating an original design niche! What attracted you to the African Flower pattern over other motifs?

I love symmetry and balance in design. I can’t stand seeing a skew picture or lamps that are not symmetrical…the flower is both pretty and appeals to my love for symmetry…

African flower from Heidi Bears

Were you nervous about taking the step of writing up the instructions? I mean, it’s a lot of steps!

Absolutely! My previous profession had nothing to do with my current work, so I had no experience in writing a crochet pattern… I pretty much winged it, hoping more than anything, that I hadn’t left any important bits out.


My goal was to provide a really detailed newbie’s guide to making Lollo, and from the feedback I have received over the years, it seems to have done the trick. However, I have since developed a much more streamlined approach, which, although it still has all the detail a crocheter may need, doesn’t run to such a big pattern anymore!

Can you tell us a bit about the yarn culture in South Africa? Is crocheting and knitting popular? What are yarn stores like?

Yes, knitting and crocheting are very popular here! Over the last few years, we have seen a wonderful increase in local indie dyers providing us with gorgeous and affordable natural fibre yarns that come in a much bigger range of colors than can sometimes be found in retail lines. I use yarns from two amazingly talented and lovely ladies, who use local merino and other fibres to dye up the full range of colors you see in my animals.

Similarly, there are more “indie” yarn shops popping up. There are a couple of traditional LYS too, but the growth has certainly been in the online indie shops!

I know that you’re also a sock knitter… what’s your favorite method for knitting socks?

Definitely toe-up two-at-a-time with a short row type heel.

toe up sock knitting from Heidi Bears

My favourite is the Sherman heel… hides any holes perfectly! I am experimenting with all kinds of new heels and toes (just for fun), but knitting them in baby sized socks. They are from a wonderful new ebook teaching just that.. sock anatomy and all the variations you can get for heels and toes… learning is growing, so I like to keep trying new techniques!

Tell us a bit about yourself! Hobbies? Family? Pets?

Well, I am very happily married to the most awesome guy… we’ve been married for 20 years and are still best friends. We live in beautiful South Africa. We have two lovely (and adored!) girls and a pitbull, who is, if the truth be told, is more like a cat in many ways. Likes his comforts, worships the girls and gets spoiled waaaay too much.

I love learning new things and over the years have tried pretty much all the different types of hobbies you can find… I quilt, sew, paint, knit, lampwork, make stained glass… at one stage I ran a photographic studio and at one time even tried my hand at carving full sizes rocking horses! I am terrified of being bored, so I like to have loads of stuff on the go at the same time. I love the color pink, use only natural fibre yarns and have a stash that is shameful (except I can claim I neeeeed all that yarn for my work 😉 ).

I hear you… I’m a bit the same way with hobbies! Your new sea turtle is fabulous! What animals are on your brainstorming list?

Heidi Bears Sea turtle

Thank you very much! I have a string of designs all worked out and ready to write up…the problem is the pattern writing takes a tremendous amount of time. I take around 500 photographs for each pattern that I write. I then edit the best ones for colour, focus, composition etc. I then annotate each one. Then I start the actual pattern writing, which also takes a lot of time, so the write-up is essentially the delaying factor.

I am currently writing up the pattern for what I think will be a very popular animal and have also test crocheted two completely new and different bear patterns. I love bears! Everyone loves bears! I had read a comment by someone that a bear is a bear is a bear… this couldn’t be further from the truth! It’s like saying “a human is a human is a human… they all have two arms, two legs and a head…” Obviously people are incredibly different despite having the same basic anatomy, and bears are no different. These bears (plus two other totally different bears which will follow) will be focused on making what would traditionally be called an “artist bear”. The regular crocheted and knitted bears have been seen by some as the “humbler cousin” …something I really want to change. The cleverness of the first two designs is that they are self-shaping. I have purposely created them in such a way that they have a little hump (as bears do), they have fat tummies and shaped limbs…all of which is achieved by simply constructing the bear as directed. The patterns will have a whole section devoted to finishing techniques, which will allow the bear maker to create something unique and of artistic quality. Yes, of course it may just be for a grandchild, but it will be the best bear anyway!

I also have plans to release my first shawl pattern this year. It’s for a really unusual geometric pattern that creates a shallowish triangular shawl. I am very excited about it and have started dyeing and testing up yarns and yarn combinations for it… also there is a secret line of new toys that is in the process of being created. This is something I am sooooo looking forward to seeing as it’s a totally different take on my current line….

Thank you so much for joining us, Heidi! Be sure to check out all of Heidi’s amazing designs on her Blog & Pattern Shop!

All photos courtesy of Heidi, unless otherwise specified.

Pattern Review – Wee Princess Pea: A Purse-Sized Fairy Tale Playset

Pattern Review - Wee Princess Pea: A Purse-Sized Fairytale Playset

Wee Princess Pea – a purse-sized fairytale playset designed by Larissa Holland at mmmcrafts

This post contains affiliate links. That means I make a little commission if you buy something after clicking through. All affiliate links are marked with an *.

First of all – can I get an AWWWWWWWW?

How about an OH WOW!

I want to start adding the occasional pattern review to Shiny Happy World. Books get reviewed all the time. But lots of us like to buy individual patterns – especially PDF patterns – and reviews can be helpful for that, too. So as I find patterns I admire in my internet roamings – patterns that I think you all would enjoy – I’ll be dropping in an occasional review.

I’m starting with this one because it’s pure awesome. 🙂

I’ve admired Larissa’s Wee Mouse in a Tin House* before, but when I saw the level of detail and cuteness in her Wee Princess Pea Playset it totally knocked my socks off. Look at all the stuff you make! Pattern Review - Wee Princess Pea: A Purse-Sized Fairytale PlaysetThat’s a bed, a pillow, a stack of mattresses, a ladder (to climb to the top of the stack), a bedspread, a doll in a nightgown with a removable robe and crown, and a closet – with a hanger where you can hang the robe. All the little bits and pieces pack neatly into the two Altoids tins used for the bed and closet, and they tuck into a little drawstring bag (not pictured here).


The pattern is amazing.

With something this small, that needs to fit into the two Altoids tins, precision is a must. Larissa’s pattern pieces are drawn beautifully and well labelled.

Pattern Review - Wee Princess Pea: A Purse-Sized Fairytale PlaysetOne of the things I love about digital patterns is that there’s no need to skimp on instructions or step-by-step photos. The pattern can be as long as it needs to be without the space considerations of a printed book.

Larissa takes full advantage of that. She writes very detailed instructions and includes plenty of very clear photos illustrating every step.

This was a new way of making pipecleaner people for me, and I never felt lost or even a tiny bit confused at any point. That’s my doll to the left. I switched thread colors when I got to her legs because I didn’t have enough of the skin color I used on the body and arms. I like how it looks like she’s wearing tights. 🙂

Jo loved that looooong hair. Pattern Review - Wee Princess Pea: A Purse-Sized Fairytale Playset

Larissa is also very detailed in her materials list. I didn’t always have what she recommended on hand and had to make a few substitutions. I didn’t have any eyelet lace trim, but I had this sheer sparkly stuff that I used as my overskirt. And I didn’t have the right size ribbons for the shoulder straps and sash – but I did have a bit of old rhinestone trim that I’ve been looking for a way to use.


Maybe. But also totally fun. 🙂

One thing that I especially appreciated was her detailed information about what glue to use in what situation. I am NOT a glue person so it was really helpful that she didn’t just instruct me to glue pieces together. She said where I needed to use craft glue, fabric glue or hot glue – and why. Very nice!

Pattern Review - Wee Princess Pea: A Purse-Sized Fairytale PlaysetThe project is almost all hand work and glue, with a little bit of easy machine sewing for the mattresses, bedspread and drawstring bag.

The robe was intended to be a mix of hand and machine sewing, but you can’t expect me to make a teeny-tiny little felt robe and not blanket stitch around the edges.

I just had to!

And I love how it turned out. 🙂

Here’s the final scene I made. . . Pattern Review - Wee Princess Pea: A Purse-Sized Fairytale PlaysetWant to make your own?

You can get the pattern here.* And take a look at everything else in Larissa’s shop* while you’re at it. In addition to adorable playsets, she also designs lovely felt pieces, super-cute dolls and softies, and a stunning 12 days of Christmas felt ornament pattern collection.

Happy sewing!