Dastardly Crafty

Craft, Crochet and Cthulhu.


crochet pattern

Why I love Japanese crochet books!


I was very fortunate to visit Japan this year (which was amazing btw!) and whilst in Tokyo I picked up some fantastic amigurumi books.  When I returned home and showed my friends my fabulous new books, the first question they asked was ‘How can you understand these books when you cannot read or speak fluent Japanese?’

A fair question.

Firstly, in Japan, it feels as though everything is pictorial.  Food menus are shown through large photographs (they even have plastic models of food on display so you know exactly what you are getting!), there are drawings on street signs and rail tickets.  So it follows that Japanese amigurumi patterns are also pictorial.

I actually learned to crochet using an English translation of a Japanese book: Ami Ami Dogs.


What I love about this book, and what made learning crochet a doddle, were the step by step pictures, showing you what each stage should look like.  I can’t count the times I have tried to follow an English pattern and had to start again because it was only near the end that I realised it didn’t look the way it should!


The other visual aid that Japanese books have that English books rarely use is a visual pattern.


One of the problems with written patterns is that each author may have a different way of explaining how to make something.  Having written patterns myself, I know how difficult it is to telepathically send your instructions to someone else but the lack of consistency across patterns does complicate things. For example, some patterns add the ‘turning stitch’ at the end of a row, others ‘just expect people to know’ that that is a standard way to end a row.  Japanese visual diagrams remove this issue because you can *see* if a pattern requires a turning stitch.

The Japanese love of consistency also means that the symbols used for the stitches are the same no matter which book you pick up. In English patterns, there is even a different between an American double crochet stitch and a British double crochet stitch.  No wonder it gets confusing sometimes!


In the photo above taken from one of my Japanese books, you can see it is easy to follow the pattern because it uses the same symbols and circular diagram as Ami Ami Dogs and there is a diagram showing what each piece should look like. I wish more English publications used this visual method.

If anyone has found a good way of producing visual patterns, please let me know what you use to create them.


Easter Project #2: Free Pattern for Minion and Ninja Egg Cozies

egg cozy

This project came from looking for a way to liven up the bag of chocolate eggs I had gathered up for my nephews for Easter.  The little one *loves* the minions from Despicable Me, whereas I needed something different for the older one, hence the ninja.

Both are made up from this simple pattern:

Row1: 4 dc in a magic ring, sl st to join row, ch1

Row2: 2dc inc in each stitch all around (8 stitches), sl st, ch1

Row 3: *1dc, 1dc, 2 dc inc* all around

Row4: *1dc, 2dc* all around

Row 5 -7:  1dc all around

Repeat until desired length then fasten off.

The googles for the minion were made from grey, black and white felt and were stitched on.  His cheeky smile is embroidered with black yarn.

The ninja’s eyes are embroidered onto white felt which was then stitched on.

The tie around his head is made as follows:

Row 1: ch 2, 1dc in 2nd chain from hook, 1 dc in same stitch,

Row 2: ch3, 1 dc in 2nd chain from hook, fasten off.

Sew to side of ninja’s head.


Free crochet pattern – ‘sugar rush hairband’


This is the first crochet pattern I have written.  You will need to have some knowledge of the following crochet techniques: chain stitch (ch) double crochet (dc) and cluster stitch (CL).

For 3-dc cluster: Yarn over, insert hook in stitch or space as indicated by pattern instructions, draw up a loop, yarn over, draw through 2 loops on hook) 3 times, (4 loops on hook), yarn over draw through last 4 loops on hook to complete the stitch.

I used cotton yarn with a size 4mm crochet hook so that it creates quite a firm structure.

Large Headband

1) ch 12. Turn.

2) ch 1.   3-dcCL in 2nd ch from hook.  3-dcCL into each chain across to the end of the row.  Turn.

3) Repeat as previous row.

Repeat until you have the desired length. (In my case, this was 53 rows in total  You should be able to wrap the headband around to fit the circumference of your head but with a slight stretch for comfort.)

Fasten off.

Small Headband

1) ch 8. Turn.

2) 3-dcCL in 2nd ch from hook. 3-dcCL into each chain across to the end of the row.  Turn.

3) ch 1.  Repeat as previous row until strip in long enough to wrap tightly around width of hairband.

4) ch 1. dc across then continue to dc along the length of the  headband to create a neat edging all the way around.

Fasten Off.

To assemble

If you wish to add beads to the small headband such as the sweetie ones I included on mine, first wrap the small headband around the large one to figure out where the centre of the small headband will lie.  Then using thread of a similar colour to your yarn, sew chosen beads in a diagonal line across the centre of the small headband.

Join the ends of the large headband together.  Decide where your small beaded headband will go and fold and pinch the fabric together before wrapping small headband around.  (This is so it creates a sort of bow shape, once the small headband is attached)  Sew the edges of the small headband together so that the beaded part is on the front of the headband.

It is now ready to wear 🙂

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