As I write this, I can imagine Mr. LH letting out a groan. I have another hobby. It all started when I was searching online for ideas for a ferret cake for The Girl’s birthday. I Googled “Ferret Shaped Cake” and searched through all the images. There weren't many ferret shaped cakes out there and frankly, most of what I found had to do with cakes you make for ferrets. But in the pages of ferret pictures that came up, I found an image for an eBay listing, long expired, of the most adorable stuffed ferret made from mohair yarn by June Gilbank at PlanetJune.com. The listing mentioned an amigurumi ferret crochet pattern available for sale so I immediately investigated.
I knew this ferret would be loved by The Girl so I bought the downloadable pattern for $5. I had not picked up a crochet hook in about 5 years and even then, I was only crocheting washcloths. I also had never (ever) learned how to read a pattern. So here I was with a great pattern and no experience on how to create it.
Amigurumi is the Japanese craft of knit or crocheted stuffed toys. June Gilbank had authored a book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi. Since all the books from her website were sold out (autographed copies), I headed to elsewhere to find a copy and read reviews (by the way - VERY positive reviews). I happened to have yarn lying around the house, but the 2 crochet needles I owned were AWOL (The Girl had a habit of playing with them and not returning them) so while I was purchasing the Amigurumi book, I also added a set of crochet hooks to my shopping cart. Already this new hobby I had yet to start was costing me.
A week and a half later, my package arrived. I didn't want to start immediately on the ferret, partially because I needed to learn the craft and practice a bit before diving into my main project, but especially since it was Friday and The Girl would be home all weekend watching me. I couldn't have her asking what I was making! I began at the beginning. I read through the basic instructions and started on the easiest of the 4 patterns provided, the hamster.
The first one I made looked more like the size of a mouse so I called it quits on that one, added a tail and gave it to The Girl as a pet for her beloved Webkins ferret, Coco. The second one looked too long. It would have helped if I had read the pattern correctly. I wound up crocheting too many rows. Then I realized I was doing my stitches wrong (It HAD been several years since I had crocheted anything). I started on another one. This one actually turned out looking decent. Then I switched up to a fun colored cotton yarn and made another one. This one looked the most “hamster-like” in shape but of course the blue and purple yarn definitely didn't help its “real-ness”. Still, I went ahead and added the ears and gave it to The Girl. The funny thing is, she sat watching me stitch one up and said “Wow Mama, you could probably make a ferret like that, too!”
I had purchased bamboo fiber yarn for the ferret because it was so silky soft to the touch. It was great to work with and I attempted to make a 2-colored hamster with it to practice changing colors (the ferrets The Girl likes the most are sable with the face mask so I’d have to change colors in the head portion of the pattern). After she was in bed, I tried out the ferret pattern. While the “fur” was soft and fuzzy, the stitches could still be easily seen. This is normal, but the completed ferrets on the Planet June website had their stitches more camouflaged giving them a more realistic appearance. I checked to see what type of yarn was used for those ferrets – Patons Divine in Soft Earth and Deep Earth. I finished the ferrets I had been working on (one brown and one cream) but made sure to pick up some Patons Divine yarn at the craft store to start once again.
Not knowing how long it would take me to pick up the craft and finish a project, I had originally intended to have it done by Christmas. Here it was, only a few days after starting, and I had completed 2 ferrets already. My new goal was The Girl’s birthday – 2 ½ weeks away. The work was going so quickly that I could relax and take my time with it and still have it finished in time.
During the day, I would work on various other projects - a mushroom, also from the The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi...
...and Sackboy from the PSP game Little Big Planet for Elder Boy. I'll try Sackboy again later with a cotton yarn. This one just did not turn out quite right...more like a mutated King Kong...
and at night, I’d pull out the ferret pattern and work on those pieces.
One week shy of The Girl’s birthday, I had the ferret completed and hidden away. She’s going to love it!