I am just a little teeny bit in love with my growing collection of ladybirds, the design is very simple and they are ridiculously quick and fun to make. They seem to fly off the hook and sit in the palm of your hand in the blink of an eye.
Would you like to try making one/many? You need some red and black yarn, a tiny bit of stuffing (for the large size only) and some googly eyes.
I used DK weight acrylic yarn on a 3.5mm hook, and the largest body measures 6cm, the medium 5cm and the smallest 4cm. Yes, I did manage to make three different sizes which was a happy accident when I lost count of my counting.
Before we begin, a few notes. I am using UK crochet terms as follows ::
sl st [slip stitch] :: insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch, then through the loop on your hook.
dc [double crochet] :: insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (two loops on hook), yarn over and pull through both loops on hook (note :: this is equivalent to the US sc stitch)
The body is worked in a continuous spiral, so no turning. Please use a stitch marker if you find it a challenge to keep count of the rounds (!) I managed to do it without a stitch marker, but eh-hem, I do often lose count and have to fudge it many a time.
You will also need to know how to do some basic embroidery stitches :: back stitch and french knots.
:: SMALL LADYBIRD ::
When you make your slip stitch, leave a mega-long tail end, something like the length from your fingertips along your outstretched arm to your nose. Chain 2.
Round 1 :: work 6 dc in 2nd chain from hook, as above [6 stitches]
Round 2 :: work 2dc into each stitch from previous round, as above [12 stitches]
Round 3 :: *work 2dc in next stitch, then 1 dc in next stitch*. Repeat between ** 5 more times, as above [18 stitches]
Round 4 :: work 1 dc in each of the next 18 stitches [18 stitches]. Your ladybird body should be starting to look like a small dome, as above
Round 5 :: *skip 1 stitch, dc in next stitch*. Repeat between ** 8 more times [9 stitches]. Your ladybird body should now look like a little miniature beret, as above.
Now remember that long tail end? Scrunch it up loosely and stuff it up inside the ladybird body...
Now continue working *skip 1 stitch, dc in next stitch" until the hole closes completely. Fasten off.
You should now have a plump little ladybird body ready for it's black bits.
Hold your ladybird with the right side facing upwards and insert your hook (through from top to bottom) one stitch to the right of centre, as shown above.
Hook through a loop of black yarn, then make 1 dc in the same stitch, as above.
Working from right to left, work 2dc into each of the next 2 stitches across, inserting your hook right through the end of the ladybird body, through both thicknesses. Fasten off.
Using a darning needle, thread both tail ends up through the black crochet....
....so that they pop out just a little way in from the edges to create the antennae, as above.
Tie a few tight little knots in each tail end, roughly 0.5cm from the crochet, as above.
Snip off the excess yarn close to the knots.
Now for the stitching part. Take a long length of black yarn and secure it on the underside of the body, in the centre of the black crochet. Push the needle up to the topside of the ladybird, right in the centre of the black crochet, in between the antennae, as above.
You will be working a line of back stitch down the centre of the body, passing the needle and thread right through from the top side to the underside. If you are unsure of back stitch, you can go HERE to see a video tutorial of this stitch.
Work the line of back stitch right down to the very bottom end of the body, then bring your needle up to the top surface again to begin making the spots (as shown above).
The spots are made with french knots, you can go HERE to see a video tutorial of this stitch. Work two knots on each side, then take your needle back down to the underside of the body to fasten off securely.
There!!!!! One itty bitty spotty critter! Now I'm going to give you the instructions for making the larger size with crochet antennae........
:: LARGE LADYBIRD ::
You will be stuffing this critter with a little bit of toy stuffing, so no need to leave the long tail end this time. You work in exactly the same way as for the small ladybird, adding some extra rounds of increases....
Chain 2 to begin.
Round 1 :: work 6 dc in 2nd chain from hook [6 stitches]
Round 2 :: work 2dc into each stitch from previous round [12 stitches]
Round 3 :: *work 2dc in next stitch, then 1 dc in next stitch*. Repeat between ** 5 more times [18 stitches]
Round 4 :: *work 2dc in next stitch, then 1 dc in each of the next TWO stitches*. Repeat between ** 5 more times [24 stitches]
Round 5 :: *work 2dc in next stitch, then 1 dc in each of the next THREE stitches*. Repeat between ** 5 more times [30 stitches]
Round 6 :: work 1 dc in each of the next 30 stitches [30 stitches]
Round 7 :: *skip 1 stitch, dc in next stitch*. Repeat between ** 14 more times [15 stitches].
Before you go any further, stuff the body with a small blob of toy stuffing. Now continue working the *skip 1 stitch, dc in next stitch* pattern until the hole closes completely. Fasten off.
A plump little stuffed-up body, ready for feelers and spots!
As with the small ladybird, insert your hook through the end of the body from top to bottom, roughly two stitches to the right of centre. Draw through a loop of black yarn, then work 1dc in the same stitch. Working from right to left, work 2dc into each of the next 3 stitches. DO NOT FASTEN OFF.
Chain 3, then turn the ladybird over so that the underside is facing uppermost and your antennae is on the right hand side, as above.
Now work 1dc in 1st chain, then slip stitch into the next 2 chains.
Slip stitch across the top of the black (3 stitches), then turn the ladybird back over again so that the right side is uppermost and the antennae you are working on is on the right hand side.....
Chain 3, then work 1dc into the first chain. Slip stitch into each of the next two chains, then fasten off.
Yaayyyyyyyyyyyyy!! It's looking neat!
The embroidery for the large ladybird is worked in exactly the same way as for the small ladybird, excepting that you make three french knots on either side. If you don't like working french knots, then you could always stitch on some little black beads for the spots.
The final touch is a pair of cute googly eyes. I used 7mm eyes for both sizes of ladybird which I bought from eBay, the seller I used is HERE. Use a small blob of white PVA glue to stick the eyes in place.......
.....and bring your little ladybirds to life.
It's entirely up to you what you do with these cute critters once you've created them....attach a pin to the back and wear as a brooch? Use them to add a sweet little addition to a cushion or bag? Pop inside a little card as a surprise gift for a friend? How about stuffing the bigger one with lavender?
Whatever you end up doing with them (and I assure you there will be more than one), enjoy their cute little spotty ways :o)
ps Did you know that the collective noun for ladybirds is apparently "loveliness", as in "A Loveliness of Ladybirds"? How LOvElY is that?
pps in the UK we call these insects Ladybirds, but I think in the US you know them as Ladybugs?
ppps I hope you enjoy giving this pattern a whirl, it really is a sweet bit of fun. As always, I am happy to provide my tutorials for you to enjoy for free, but if you would like to buy me a coffee, well, I would love that too.....
♥ Thank you as always for your hooky love, it's very, very much appreciated.♥