If you're in the UK, you'll know all about Red Nose Day and have probably taken part in many cake sales and sponsored pyjama days to collect donations over the last 25 years. This year, Emma Mitchell and Ros Badger started rolling a crafty fundraising snowball that has steadily grown and grown and grown - the RedNoseDay Doll project. Four friendly dolls, handmade and kitted out with a vast array of adorably cute accessories made by willing volunteers. How could I say no when Emma asked me to join in? It has been pure joy from the start, a project which has just made people smile (and occasionally Squeeeee! OK, that may be mostly me.)
You can read about the pair of baskets I made, and all the other presents the dollies are receiving on their the RedNoseDayDolls blog. You can also follow the activity on Facebook (over 1000 people have so far, would be great if we could increase that!) or Twitter, and watch out for your chance to take part in the auction at the beginning of March.
One of the baskets (and the one that caused me the most hairpulling moments) was a fishing creel for Mac, the little boy doll. And just in case he has a bad day and nothing to show for his angling exploits, I included three little crochet fishies. If you'd like to make one, the pattern is below. If there's enough interest I'll make a photo tutorial, but it's pretty straightforward - you could look at my mini Downton Hat tutorial to help with the start.
Sing Ho, Little Fishy!
(Inspired by this pattern but with changes to starting method, increases, decreases and tail shaping)
You are working in continuous rounds. I just count, because I cannot keep crochet markers in any order.
I used Rowan Cotton Glace and a 1mm hook for the bodies, switching to a 2mm hook for the tails, because I didn't want the stuffing to show through.
NB These are UK crochet terms
* DC 2 together: insert hook into next stitch, YO, pull through a loop - 2 loops on needle. Insert hook into next stitch, YO, pull through a loop - 3 loops on needle. YO, pull through all 3 loops. I am not sure whether this is the right term, or the right way to do it, but it is what I do to make a decrease without leaving a hole.
1. Make a magic ring, and then 5DC into it. Tighten the ring.
2. 2DC into each DC around the ring (10sts)
3. 2DC into each DC around the ring (20sts)
4. Work 3 rows DC without shaping (20sts)
5. (DC 2 stitches together*, DC 9) twice (18sts)
6. (DC 2 stitches together, DC 8) twice (16sts)
7. (DC 2 stitches together*, DC 7) twice (14sts)
8. (DC 2 stitches together*, DC 6) twice (12sts)
Pause here to stuff the little fish to within an inch of its woolly life. I use fine nose tweezers, pencils, and the non-hooky end of my crochet hook to ram it in.
9. (DC 2 stitches together*, DC 5) twice (10sts)
10. (DC 2 stitches together) five times (5sts)
At this point it will be so small and fiddly you will curse me, but persevere!
11. 2DC into each DC around the ring (10sts)
12. 2DC into each DC around the ring (20 sts)
At this point I switch to a 2mm hook to help the wavy shape of the tail.
13. (1DC, 1Htr, 1DC, slip stitch 7) twice (20sts)
14. Repeat previous row - (1DC, 1Htr, 1DC, slip stitch 7) twice (20sts)
Now fasten off the thread. Flatten the tail so that the Htr peaks form the outermost points and then join the sides of the tail together either with slip stitches or by oversewing.
Add a pair of little eyes - I used a tiny circle of glitter felt and a sparkly jet bead - and pinch the tail until it is the shape you wanted.
And that's it!