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Somewhere… Over the rainbow…
A sweet little hippo is born!
At long last, after almost an entire month of piecing him together, I’ve finally completed my very first Heidi Bears design. Say hello to Rainbow Hippo – a mini version of “Happypotamus”.
This is by far Heidi’s most popular pattern, and is available for sale through Craftsy*, Ravelry and Etsy. I have to say, the amount of love, care and detail this woman puts into her patterns is phenomenal. I’m absolutely in awe of her work.
Heidi’s instructions are clear and SUPER detailed, even to the point of repetition, which is exactly what you need when first learning to make something this complicated. The good news is, once you’ve mastered one design, the rest are a breeze, and the whole process is so relaxing and soothing, it’s just like putting together your own little crochet jigsaw puzzle!
My little mini rainbow hippo was made entirely from embroidery thread split into two strands. Like the crazy person that I am, I did this entirely by hand, dividing one thread into thirds and winding them onto little spools.
I took advantage of the cheery pastel embroidery packs found at my local Daiso store in Sydney, using just over half of the 36 skeins from 3 packets. Each pack has 12 different colours, although I didn’t end up using them all. I’m so happy with Daiso’s cotton embroidery thread. It’s super cheap and fairly easy to split (although there’s only so far a strand will separate before it curls into a tightly-wound cord of indestructibility). Also, since I’m not much of a colour-coordinating whiz, it was a relief to have matching colours laid out neatly for me in cute little packets. What a great find. Thanks, Daiso!
NOTE: If you’d like to make this project yourself, you can easily replace the above thread with similar colours using a different brand. You could also try doubling up strong machine embroidery thread instead of splitting embroidery thread.
Pastel Colors Embroidery Thread (Daiso)
This was my first time using a 0.5mm hook and I was amazed to find it was much easier than I expected. Ok, I’ll admit that working with such a teeny hook left me with scary finger calluses and damaged my eyesight beyond repair, but when I look into my sweet little hippo’s eyes I find myself wanting to make one all over again! If you’re far-sighted, DO NOT even attempt such a small project. You’ve been warned
I need to stress that quality is key when it comes to using a tiny hook. Since completing this project, I’ve made two more hippos, and the tip of my cheap steel hook is now completely bent out of shape. The grip and hook shaft has also noticeably discoloured – not happy! My hook was also far too sharp, and I kept stabbing myself over and over until my finger resembled a giant crater (ouch!). The original hook I used was part of a cheap 22-piece set*, which I LOVE and has served me well, but I ended up replacing my smallest hook with a no. 14/0.5mm steel hook by Clover*. Let me just say, this was the best. Decision. Ever.
I’ve nicknamed my lovely, chubby friend hema baobao, or “hippo baby”. He measures approximately 12cm (4.7 inches) in length from tail to snout, and is roughly 5cm (2 inches) in height from toe to shoulder.
All in all, this little guy is made up of 44 African Flower motifs of various shapes and sizes. Each one is crocheted individually and joined to the next via whip stitch and the join-as-you-go method (JAYG).
Personally, while JAYG is often more convenient than using good ol’ whip stitch, I found that my edges started to become uneven as I moved closer towards the head. This is because the angles became tighter, making it harder to manoeuvre my hook. If I ever make a small project like this again, I’m going to save myself a headache by using whip stitch the whole way through.
UPDATE: I have since made two hippos using whip stitch to join the pieces together. The verdict? Although whip-stitch is easier (leaving a much smoother, more compact finish), I find that I prefer the JAYG method after all. This is because JAYG is more visually interesting, and I enjoy making and joining each piece as I go instead of waiting until the end to join them all.
Happypotamus is worked from back to front in vertical rows. For each row, I aimed to use two or three colours, where the Main Colour (MC) is carried into the next row as the Contrasting Colour (CC). The colour combinations I used in order are:
1: MC = light blue; CC = green/blue
2: MC = bluish purple; CC = light blue
3: MC = pinkish purple; CC = bluish purple
4: MC = dark pink; CC = pinkish purple + peach
5: MC = light pink; CC = peach
6: MC = orange; CC = yellow
7: MC = yellow; CC = orange
8: MC = green; CC = white
9: MC = white: CC = green
…What’s that, little hippo? Uh oh, I think he’s getting hungry. I’d better go feed him before he gets stuck into my yarn stash (I sure hope he likes fruit salad). Have a happy, joy-filled week!
Much love and hippo hugs,