Isn't inspiration a most fabulous thing??? I like to hope that you come to visit me here in the Attic for a little bit of feel good combined with a dose of creative inspiration, and it's just the same for me. Well, obviously I need to look outside of my Attic window to find my own sources of inspirational feel good, but you know what I mean. I absolutely love love love to feel that buzz of excitement when I stumble upon something that sets my Creative Mind flying into a whirl of possibilities. It's like channeling the most positive creative vibrations through my eyes, via my heart and brain, and finally out through my hands. And that feeling that I'm almost powerless to resist the thing that is calling to me? Oh, I love that feeling sooooo much. It's overwhelming sometimes, but always completely amazing.
During this past week it's been pumpkins that have been calling to me, specifically those of the hooky variety. First of all my lovely friend Gillian made my heart skip a beat with her delicious crochet pumpkins. Then I saw on Instagram that my friend Sandra was knitting herself some pumpkins. And then..........well I think fate stepped in because by chance I happened to read that the peeps at Crochet Now magazine had created a whole Pinterest board dedicated to The Crochet Pumpkin, so I took it as a sign that I needed to jump on board.
I spent ages following links and taking myself all over the interweb on a bit of a pumpkin trail. In the end, I settled on a very sweet little pattern written by the supremely talented June Gilbank over at Planet June. The main reason I love June's pumpkin is that it's worked in rows as opposed to an amigurumi style spiral, which makes it a little easier to keep track of (it's the half term holidays here, so concentrating on anything requiring counting is near impossible in the chaos of this house). So yeah, no stitch markers needed as this little pumpkin is worked in short rows to make a two dimensional piece which is then stitched up afterwards. The delightful pumpkiny ridges are created by working in the back loops of the stitches, and the simplicity of this pattern has pleased me no end.
You can find the pattern for free over on June's website, which incidentally is like an Aladdins cave of crochet patterns, so do have a browse.
I've really, really enjoyed sitting at my dining table during the past few days working away with my hook and yarn, whilst the family has been around. Little B has shown lots of interest in my making process, offering all sorts of advice and encouragement along the way. He's given me colour tips, has helped me with the stuffing process, and has excelled at assisting with the gathering of props for styling and photographing purposes. We searched online and found the most amazing printable pumpkin colouring sheet and so we both happily sat side by side each doing our own thing, discussing colour combinations and the such like. He is such a sweet boy.
This was the first pumpkin to fly off my 4 mm hook - as you can see it's quite dinky, measuring about 7cm across. Oh, it was love at first sight! And as is often the way with these things, as soon as this pumpkin was finished I immediately started making another. One is never, ever enough where pumpkins are concerned.
My second pumpkin was made by using two strands of DK weight yarn (Stylecraft Special Dk in Spice and Tomato) and a 6 mm hook. I love the way this one turned out, with the subtle mix of colours and the more squishy, chunky look of it. It measures 10 cm across.
Inspired by the success of the two-stranded approach I made a third pumpkin, this time combining Lincoln Green with Silver to look like the beautiful bluey/grey pumpkins that I saw in the supermarket last week.
And then before I knew it, a fourth pumpkin sprouted in the hooky pumpkin patch - a soft pink colour this time (Vintage Peach yarn). I've never seen a pink pumpkin in real life (and I really wish that I had) - I've no idea if we even have them growing here in the UK although I do know they exist and are grown in the US.
All this thinking about pumpkins and looking at oodles of photographs of them online prompted me to go forth with Little B yesterday and see what I could find in the local supermarket. Of course there are huuuuge stacks of orange ones ready for Halloween, and even a few white "Ghost" pumpkins and those beautiful blue/grey ones I mentioned. We also found a variety of much smaller squash in season too, and at £1 each I felt justified in buying a few to bring home to act as real life inspiration. They are so beautiful! I adore the markings on them and they inspired me to have a go at creating some striped pumpkins to add to my growing pumpkin patch.
I made a yellow and orange one (Saffron and Spice yarn).....
.....and absolutely fell head over heels in love with this little cutie as soon as it was off my hook.
I photographed a little mini tutorial this morning to show you how I added the stripes, just in case you are finding yourself fidgeting in your seat and itching to go hook up a stripy little number for yourself.
Before attempting the stripes, please could I suggest that you hop over to Planet June and have a go at making an ordinary one-colour pumpkin to make yourself familiar with the pattern? As the pattern belongs to June, it's not right for me to use it on my blog so I'm going to assume that you've already made one and know pretty much how the pattern works, ok?
So first choose your colours - you will begin with your main colour (I'm using Saffron yellow here), adding stripes in a contrasting colour (I'm using Cypress green).
Make your foundation chain, then work Row 1 until you have 1 stitch remaining. You'll be changing colours during the working of this last stitch in the row. See the above picture? This is the first part of a dc stitch (insert hook, yarn over, pull a loop back through the stitch, two loops on hook). Now instead of yarning over in yellow, leave the yellow yarn attached to the crochet and use your hook to pick up the green....
....drawing the green yarn through both loops on your hook. Chain 1, and turn your work.
(please remember that you leave the yellow yarn attached, don't snip it off!)
This is now the Right Side of your pumpkin. All green stripes are worked with the Right Side facing.
Insert your hook into the Back Loop of the very first stitch and work 1 dc.....
....then work 1 dc in the back loops of each stitch across the row (15 in total). Fasten off the green. Please note that your yellow yarn ball should still be attached over on the right hand side. Don't worry about darning in any ends - you can leave them be (oh deep joy!) as they will simply end up inside the pumpkin with the stuffing.
You will now be picking back up with Row 2 of June's pattern using the yellow yarn. So don't turn the work as the yellow yarn is already attached on the right hand side. Look towards the back of the first green stitch and you should spot a little yellow loop - see where my needle is in the above picture? Put your hook into this loop and pull the yellow yarn through to the front. Chain 1.
Remember this is now Row 2 of June's pattern - Back loops only, work your way across.....
....15 stitches in total. Chain 1 and turn.
Follow June's pattern for Row 3, stopping when you have 1 stitch remaining.
Just as you did before, work the first part of the last dc (insert hook, yarn over, pull a loop back through the stitch), then make your last yarn-over using the green yarn. Leave the yellow yarn hanging and still attached to the ball, then continue in green. Chain 1 and turn.
Work 1 dc in back loops of each stitch across 15 in total. Fasten off the green.
This is what you should have - yellow stripes worked as two rows (rows 2 and 3 of June's pattern), and the green rows worked as 1 row of dc. All stitches worked in Back Loops Only (BLO)
Each time you change back to yellow, you will need to pull the yellow yarn through that little loop on the reverse of the work, chain 1, then follow June's pattern for 2 rows.
As you work your rows, you'll begin to see the clever ridges forming.....
....you'll work 13 green stripes in total, ending with a green dc stripe row. When you fasten off this last row, leave a long tail end for stitching. You can also snip off the main colour yarn now, leaving a long tail end for stitching.
In June's pattern she suggests joining the last row to the foundation row by crocheting a row of slip stitches. I found it easier (and neater) to simply stitch this seam with a needle, picking up the outer loops of the green row and the single loops of the foundation row.
You should end up with a stripy cuff, with lots of dangly green ends which will now need to be tucked up neatly inside. Thread your yellow tail end onto a needle....
....and work a neat running stitch around the very top edge of your crochet. Go all the way around until you get back to where you started, then pull the yarn very tight to gather up the hole.
You won't be able to close the hole completely, but the gap should be small enough to allow a few extra stitches to pull it closed. This is the bottom of your pumpkin.
Now get stuffing! Don't make your pumpkin rock hard - keep the shape quite squidgy and soft.
Repeat the running stitch process around the top edge, pulling the yarn tight to draw in the crochet and close the hole.
This is what you should end up with - a really super-cute little pumpkin that just needs a few finishing touches. Don't worry too much about the finish at the top of the pumkin where you stitched it closed as this will be covered by the stalk.
I followed June's pattern for the stalk - it's a weeny but fiddly but the more you make, the easier it gets.
I also decided to make a simple little twizzle to add a bit of greenery - this is very easy to do, simply make a short chain (around 10 or 12) then work 3 dc in each chain. The whole thing will curl and curve but you'll need to twist it tightly around and give it a little tug to pull it onto shape.
Once the stalk and twizzly bit are stitched in place, the pumpkin goes from super-cute to adorable.
It is so adorable in fact that you may well find you still have a pressing need to produce some stripy brothers and sisters to keep it company....
.....oh those stripes!!!!!!!!!!!!! Swooooooon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So after two days spent crocheting I have eight plump little beauties. I am SO in love with them, the sight of them makes me go weak at the knees.
It occurred to me as I was making my pumpkins that the colours go together really very beautifully. So I thought I would create a colour palette with my pegs to show you all the colours of Stylecraft Special DK that I used.....
❧ Khaki ❧ Walnut ❧ Mocha ❧ Vintage Peach ❧ Tomato ❧ Spice ❧ Gold ❧
❧ Saffron ❧ Buttermilk ❧ Pistachio ❧ Meadow ❧ Cypress ❧ Lincoln ❧ Silver ❧
And here are the Stylecraft Special DK colours I used for each pumpkin : ❧❧❧❧❧❧❧❧❧❧❧ (how cute is that little leaf symbol!)
- Vintage Peach (pumpkin) : Silver (stalk) Pistachio (twizzle) : Meadow (leaf)
- Lincoln/Silver (pumpkin) : Mocha (stalk) : Meadow (twizzle)
- Buttermilk (main colour) : Gold (stripes) : Cypress (stalk)
- Saffron (main colour) : Cypress (stripes) : Lincoln (stalk) : Meadow (twizzle)
- Spice (pumpkin) : Walnut (stalk) : Meadow (twizzle)
- Spice/Tomato (pumpkin) : Walnut (stalk)
- Saffron (main colour) : Spice (stripes) : Meadow (stalk) : Pistachio (twizzle)
- Spice (main colour) : Lime (stripes) : Khaki (stalk)
As is often the case with these kind of seasonal crochet projects (remember my Autumn Wreath?), they are insanely photogenic and I get a huge amount of pleasure arranging them and photographing them. Over and over and over. I spent a good portion of today jigging around in the light of my bay window, faffing with my pumpkins and taking pictures of them....it's been a lot of fun and very, very satisfyingly creative.
I decided after breakfast that I really needed some leaves to accompany my pumpkin-faffery, to use as props and to add as an extra little bit of a decorative accent to my photographs. So I persuaded Little B to get dressed and come on a jaunt to the park with me to gather suitably pretty and colourful leaves. Gosh, we found some whoppers!! These leaves were absolutely ginormous, bigger than a seven year olds head! I think they're from a London Plane tree?
We found some really pretty leaves, and I couldn't wait to get back home and start playing.......
I think you'll agree, this is creative faffing at it's best!
Love love love love love this photo, times a gazillion.
So I think I've gotten the whole pumpkin making thing out of my system for now, and I'm so pleased with the results. You may be wondering what I intend to do with eight crochet pumpkins.....well I'm going to add them to my mantel display, which is currently still a work in progress. I've not yet finished my Autumn garland, although I have purchased some smashing little fairy lights for it. I'm hoping to get the garland made in the next week, along with the patterns for the oak leaf, acorn and beech leaf. I really want to have my Autumn mantel looking all gorgeous before November arrives.
I hope you've enjoyed sharing all this pumpkiny goodness with me today, I've had a load of fun sharing, that's for sure. Before I go, I thought you might appreciate seeing some of the images that I gathered in my search for pumpkin colour inspiration.......................feast you eyes.......... ❧❧❧❧❧❧❧❧❧❧
WOW!!!!! How about that?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Extraordinary natural beauty.