Beastie Market Tales

Hello there everyone! It’s been another busy couple of weeks here in Beastie Towers… As I mentioned last time, the Beasties and I have been out hitting the market scene again, and it’s been such fun that I thought I would take a post to talk about it.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take ANY pictures of the first market at Dublin’s Richmond Barracks – yes, it turns out I was really out of practice with the whole “going to markets” thing! But if you’re interested, you can get a feel for this Dublin 8 gem from their website, here. And wow, what a great day! I’d only signed up for Sunday at the market (I was there as my alter-ego Knit With Helen to teach a workshop on the Saturday) but I’m not sure I would have had enough Beasties to go around if I’d been there for the whole weekend. And afterwards, that meant…

Frantic making of stock for the next one!

That leads to long queues at the Beastie Passport Office, plus a few late nights and early mornings for your friendly local monster maker.

But I managed to assemble an intrepid squad of Beasties juuuuust in time, and thanks to my buddy Deb at Deb’s Funky Sheepskins, who collected me from the train station, I was all set up by the time the doors opened on my second market in as many weeks.

And we had another knockout day! Again, a great venue, with an event hosted by the lovely folks at Greystones Community National School. I had some super chats with parents and kids alike, but there’s one story I particularly wanted to share with you all… And it involves this Beastie here:

Hey there, Artist Beastie!

Artist Beastie quickly caught the eye of an early visitor to my stall… A girl who came by regularly throughout the afternoon to check in on this painterly little monster. Unfortunately, the price tag for a Beastie like this one goes a bit beyond the average pocket money amount, and appeals for parental bridging loans early in the day had been unsuccessful.

But in the final hour, a lady who I recognised as the girl’s mum came over and said she’d like to buy Artist Beastie after all, as a special treat for her daughter. She said Cayla had until recently had very long hair… And the reason she was now sporting a short and super-trendy bob was because she’d volunteered to cut her ponytail and donate it to The Rapunzel Foundation. This organisation collects donated hair to make wigs for people living with alopecia, and because this condition affects children as well as adults, hair from younger donors is especially appreciated.

Better yet, before getting her hair cut, Cayla asked people to sponsor her, meaning her new ‘do also raised a hefty sum of money for the LauraLynn Children’s Hospice. Her mum was understandably incredibly proud, and it made me really happy to see Artist Beastie heading home with such a generous and thoughtful family.

And I think this is why I love doing markets. When you spend time making something, it’s really rewarding to step out of the studio, meet the people who get a kick out of your work, and hear their stories. Then you see how what you do fits into their world, and makes them happy. It’s a great feeling!

So, if you’ve stopped by my market stall recently and you have a Beastie tale of your own to share, don’t be shy! Leave a comment below, or use the Beastie contact form to drop me a line – I’d love to hear all about it!

A Very Beastie Engagement… Part 2

Hello there everyone! Wow, we had such a great weekend at the Richmond Barracks May Fair… So many Beasties headed off to new homes, and it was incredibly nice to get out and meet people again. If you were there and you’re checking out the BeastieBlog for the first time, welcome! Be sure to say hello in the comments.

And now, on with the Beastifications! Last time around, we met this pretty monster lady…

… But of course, it takes two to make an engagement work! Let’s meet the lucky fella, shall we?

Green Beastie Guy with beard, hair and beanie hat - Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

For this little monster guy, I took inspiration from the same engagement photo that I used as reference for his bride-to-be, and tried to capture the details of his outfit as closely as possible. So that started with his grey knitted beanie, and then I got to work on copying his outdoor jacket exactly.

Well, almost exactly. Wool, sheep and monster puns are not optional in the world of Beastie.

He also has a cosy handknitted scarf to complete his toasty outdoors ensemble.

And what about accessories? This Beastie’s human counterpart is a keen photographer, so a Kniton camera seemed like something he’d find useful.

Miniature Beastie camera made from felt with embroidered details - Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

It’s been a while since I last made one of these, so I was quite impressed that I was able to find the templates and that they still worked!

Beastie camera features - Miniature felt camera by CrawCrafts Beasties

As before, this Beastie-sized camera has a removable strap and lens, and details in felt appliqué or embroidery.

I think these two lil’ woolly monsters are ready to set out on their life together!

Wedding Beasties together - Wedding Gift Commission by CrawCrafts Beasties

But wait a sec… Who’s this?

It’s Mini-Tony!

Beastie-sized dog - Needle-felting by CrawCrafts Beasties

Mini-Tony mimics his full-size counterpart in every detail – I was lucky enough to find a video of Bigger Tony running around in the park, which made it easier to get his lovely markings just right.

Walkies, anyone?

Bespoke Beastie couple with dog - Wedding Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

That’s it for this Beastification… But there are more to come! I’ll see you for another one in a couple of weeks. And if you happen to be in and around Greystones next weekend, please drop in and say hi at my upcoming market…

Greystones CNS Summer Fair 12th June 2022

See you soon!

Back to Beastie

Wow… It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I can’t believe it’s May already! And there have certainly been several times over the past few months when I thought “Hey, I should really do a blog post!” but there just always seemed to be about ten other things that needed to be done first.

Beasties at Work - CrawCrafts Beasties

On top of that, I really had to bounce back after 2021. 2021 was tough. I know that 2020 was no picnic for many people, especially those working in the creative and arts industries, but I was fortunate that the first lot of extended lockdowns paired quite nicely with my love of sitting down and making stuff with my hands. So I stayed home, crafted my way through the worst of it, and kept up with my knitting students as best I could via Zoom.

When things started to open up again though, it got tricky. It felt like the rules were always changing – I’d reopen for group classes one week, only to have to cut back to seeing people individually the next. Smaller groups and a lack of market opportunities meant that earning a living became a lot more difficult than it had been, and I found myself taking on every single project and promotional opportunity I could to try to keep things going. And finally, the yarn shop where I had been teaching closed. Yeouch! What a mess!

Upcoming Update Alert! CrawCrafts Beasties
(An old photo, but the mood is about right.)

So, the last few months have really been about tidying up and getting things back to some sort of order. That meant wrapping up any outstanding Beastie commissions…

… Setting up a new website for my knitting classes so that people can find me easily…

(You can check it out for yourself, here)

…And becoming my own yarn store!

I’ve also started knitting Aran pieces for an up-and-coming Irish knitwear designer… Because, you know, I’m not spending enough time knitting these days already.

And all this time away from blogging has one big upside – I have SO MANY Beasties to share with you all! So I’ll be diving into that in the next post, in two weeks’ time. In the meantime, you can keep up with the yarnier side of things on my new knitting blog. From now on, I’ll be alternating posts here with posts on the new website, so if wool, knitting and all that good stuff floats your boat, be sure to add the Knit With Helen blog to your Reader!

So, enough about me… What have you been up to since we last spoke? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

I’m Back! (Briefly!)

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all keeping well!

I’m still a liiiiittle bit busy here at Beastie Towers, and with Christmas on the horizon (eeeek! How did that happen?) it might be a while before I’m back to blogging with any kind of regularity.

However, I did want to stop in quickly and share some news… The Beastie Store is back!

Beastie Shopfront - CrawCrafts Beasties

Sumup, the company I use to process card payments for commissions and at markets, recently released their Online Store option in Ireland. I’ve always found their service to be great – easy to use, easy to track and with lower fees than a lot of their competitors. So, I thought I’d give the store a spin too!

You’ll find it here:

https://crawcrafts-beasties.sumup.link/

If you have a sec, I’d love for you to drop in and let me know what you think! I’ll be adding more Beasties and shipping options whenever I have a spare moment over the coming days too.

And now, gotta run… There’s monster-making to be done! I’m looking forward to hopefully catching up with you all again sometime soon, and WOWEE do I have some crazy commissions to share with you! In the meantime, here’s a quick taster of what I’ve been making lately to whet your appetites…

Take care and hopefully see you all soon!

Sleepy Explorer Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties

Monster Maker M.I.A.

Ooopsie!

In a change to the advertised programming here on the BeastieBlog, there will not be a new Beastie post this week… Or, unfortunately, for a couple more weeks, either. Between a growing heap of commissions, the reopening of knitting classes, a looming tax return deadline and a few new projects that have been bubbling away on the back burner, I’ve been finding myself spread a little thinly these past few weeks.

Explorer Beastie has too, apparently.

So, we’re going to take a short late summer break, get back on top of things, and return replenished with stories to share in the autumn!

Take care and see you then!

Helen and the Beasties x

Woof! Or, Another Visit to the Beastie Pet Shop

Hello everyone! I’ve another creature feature for you this week – and I’m surprised at how long it’s taken me to share this special Beastie pet with you! She’s a real cutie.

Hey there, Mini-Penelope!

Mini Penelope - Teeny needle-felted dog by CrawCrafts Beasties

This sweet little French bulldog pup was created to complete a Beastie family which I made a few years ago. Here’s the original trio…

Who's This? A Beastie Family, by CrawCrafts Beasties

They landed in their new home just in time to help their new human friends celebrate their wedding. However, that was ALLLLLL the way back in 2018! And with the arrival of Penelope (a cheeky lil’ French bulldog puppy) during last year’s lockdown, this family portrait needed an update!

So, I grabbed my needle-felting kit, and spent a good bit of time getting to know Penelope a little better. You can too! She and her sister Zoey have their own Instagram account.

And now here’s her Mini-Me!

* Waves magic Beastification wand *

Beastie-Sized French Bulldog - Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

And turn and smile for the camera, please.

Penelope the Frenh bulldog - CrawCrafts Beasties

Very nice.

Oh sorry, what’s that? You want to play Fetch?

Miniature Fetch - CrawCrafts Beasties

Maybe the pens and pencils might be a bit big for you, don’t you think?

Beastie Bulldog - CrawCrafts Beasties

Oh. She looks disappointed. Hey, you can still climb on them! Endless hours of fun.

Exploring my work table - Beastie Bulldog Commission by CrawCrafts Beasties

Who’s a good girl?

Good pup - CrawCrafts Beasties

Thanks to Kristen for requesting this fun addition to her little family of woolly monsters!

And be sure to join us again next week, when we’ll be catching up with Paddy and Plunkett. I wonder where they’ve been for the last couple of weeks? See you then!

Meow!

Hey there everyone! And THERE’S a post title that could probably use a little explanation… Have I perhaps switched up in the last week, and moved on to making just cats and cat accessories?

Funny you should ask, actually, because it turns out that the Beasties I featured in last week’s post and the post from the week before are both very much “cat people”. Some of you might even have picked up on that fact already…

Beastie in Cat Hat - CrawCrafts Beasties

So it only seems right and proper that these Beasties should get a feline friend of their own.

Beastie with Felted Kitty, by CrawCrafts Beasties

Awwww, look how friendly she is! See if she’ll climb up on this pincushion so we can get a closer look.

Kitty Closeup - CrawCrafts Beasties

Sweet! But wait… Do I hear more meowing? Does that mean…

More Beastie cats! CrawCrafts Beasties

Yes, our first cat has brought along some friends!

And it looks like they ALL want cuddles.

Beastie kitty cuddles - Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

Each Beastie Kitty is modelled after a regular-size cat owned by one of the two sisters I Beastified for this recent BIG project. I used 100% wool roving on a wire frame for their bodies, and various shades of green beads to give their eyes that brilliant feline glow.

And just look how fearless they are! None of them had any problems stepping up onto my giant human hand to investigate.

Needle-felted Beastie Kitty by CrawCrafts Beasties

This is Soy, who belongs to the elder sister, while Zeus…

Another Beastie-sized Cat - CrawCrafts Beasties

… And Prince…

Black Beastie Cat - CrawCrafts Beasties

… Are both looked after by the younger sister.

As you can probably tell, photographing a Beastie black cat is just as impossible as photographing one of the regular-sized ones!

Well, now that we’ve met everybody, it’s time to round them up…

Beastie with custom-made needle-felted cats - CrawCrafts Beasties

… So they can head off to their new home!

Thanks again to Miri for this awesome project… And the Beastie Pet Extravaganza doesn’t end here! Recently I’ve had lots of people asking if I can extend the Beastification of their friends and family members to include their beloved pets, so we’re going to meet some more of those miniature critters next time.

See you then!

Sunshine, Sunflowers and a Summer Singalong

Hey there everyone! And WOW, is it hot here! Well, for Ireland… I won’t invite eye-rolls and derisive laughter from those of you who have been experiencing actual heatwaves over the last couple of weeks by citing temperatures. Let’s just say it’s been a little warmer than usual, the sun is out, and it’s not so bad that we can’t travel because the weather is already lovely right here at home.

And THAT was a pretty roundabout way to introduce this week’s new Beastie… A little monster girl who has a distinctly summery, sunshiney vibe. Oh look, here she is now! Hello!

Personalised Beastie Commission by CrawCrafts Beasties

Oooh, I love your dress! The geometric print makes me think of cartoon sunshines, or maybe sunflowers… Give us a twirl, there.

Beastie Dress, front and back - Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

Very nice! I modelled this vintage-style dress on one owned by this Beastie’s human counterpart. The fabric is different, but I copied the full collar and slightly puffed sleeves of the original.

Beastie Mini-Dress with Gathered Sleeves and Wide Collar - CrawCrafts Beasties

You might also have noticed that there’s been a bit of a change to the usual Beastie layout for this project. No stripey legs here! This little monster lady is rocking a pair of cute white knee socks instead.

Beastie knee socks - CrawCrafts Beasties

Now, what next? Sticking with the retro style of her dress, we’re going to add a pair of cool red-framed glasses.

Beastie Glasses by CrawCrafts Beasties

As usual, they’re completely removable, so she can pop them on top of her head when they’re not needed.

Removable Beastie Glasses - CrawCrafts Beasties

Very nice! And, like her sister who joined us for last week’s post, this Beastie also has magic magnetic paws…

Magic Magnet Paws - CrawCrafts Beasties

… To help her hold on to all her awesome accessories…

Beastie with Sunflower - CrawCrafts Beasties

… Like this Beastie-sized sunflower! My sources informed me that our Beastie’s human counterpart loves sunflowers, so I just had to include one in her accessory lineup.

It’s planted in a felt pot of 100% wool roving, which has helped it to grow nice and tall, with plenty of fresh green felt leaves.

A Beastie-sized Sunflower with Felt Leaves, Petals and Pot - CrawCrafts Beasties

And what else can she do? Well, I did mention a singalong, didn’t I? And good news – we get musical accompaniment!

Here you go, Miss Beastie – a teeny little ukulele for you, so you can play us a summery tune!

Beastie Ukulele, by CrawCrafts Beasties

Has anyone any requests? Be sure to share your favourite summertime song in the comments!

And you might think that this haul would be plenty to keep a pair of Beastie sisters happy… But wait, there’s more! Join us next week to find out who joined them when they ventured forth from Beastie Towers into the wider world… See you then!

Bubble Tea and Dungarees!

Hello everyone! As promised in last week’s post, I’ve a new Beastie for you to meet today… And she has so many cool accessories! Hey there, Miss Beastie!

It's New Beastie Time! Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

I have to say, I really love this outfit. This Beastie is taking her stye cues from her human counterpart’s actual wardrobe, so including a stripey top and dungaree overalls was all part of the design brief.

Beastie Dungarees - CrawCrafts Beasties

I also personalised them by embroidering one of the littlest Totoros (a creature from the animé My Neighbour Totoro) on the front pocket!

Mini Totoro Embroidery! Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

This Beastie also has multi-toned dark brown wool hair, magic magnet paws (so she can really hold onto things) and the usual winsome Beastie smile.

Smile, hair and magic magnetic paws - Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

And now, for some special personal touches… This Beastie’s new friend has a favourite hat, and I was asked if maybe I could have a go at copying it. Here’s the original (lifted from this website):

Smoko Oliver Animated Cat Hat

And here’s the Beastified version (slightly adjusted for shorter, broader woolly monster heads)!

A Cat Hat... For a Beastie! CrawCrafts Beasties

Our model seems pretty happy with it, anyway!

Beastie Girl in Cat Hat - Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

Now, what else does she need? How about a sketch book and pen, perhaps?

Beastie-sized sketch book and pen - CrawCrafts Beasties

Perfect! And with her magic magnetic paws, she can really hold them too!

And finally, maybe some refreshments are in order. Our human girl LOVES bubble tea (also called boba tea), so it only seemed right to send her new Beastie friend off with a cup of her own to enjoy on the journey. It’s even her favourite flavour – lychee. Yum!

Beastie Bubble Tea - CrawCrafts Beasties

This Beastie-sized boba drink is brewed from 100% wool roving, and is served in a hand-stitched clear cup with a felt straw.

Now, is that everything?

Beastie with all her accessories - Commissions by CrawCrafts Beasties

I think so!

Thanks to Miri for this fun Beastie project… Oh, and did I mention that this monster girl has a sister? No? Well, she does… And she’ll be dropping in to join us next week! See you then!

Monster Online Sale!

Hello there everyone! Well, I’ve got some news for you all this week… We’re having a Beastie sale!

Yes, you read that correctly!

You see, some of the Beasties I have here in Beastie Towers have developed a serious case of lockdown cabin fever. They want (or perhaps more correctly, NEED) to stretch their little stripey legs and see more of the world. Normally I’d be taking them out to markets through the year, and that would quiet their yearning for adventure for a while. But with no big market days in sight just yet, this seemed like the best possible substitute.

Here are some of the lil’ woolly monsters who are eager to break out and explore pastures new!

And if you fancy a quick Beastie fix, and since we’re now halfway through the year, our printable Beastie 2021 calendar is now FREE!

Beastie Calendar Sale - CrawCrafts Beasties

But you’d better be quick!

The sale is running from now until this coming Saturday – that’s the 19th of June – and it will end at 6pm Irish time.

After that, I’ll be making some changes to Beastie HQ… The most significant being that there will no longer be an online store on the Beasties’ website. Over the past year, the number of Beasties finding new homes through the website has remained the same, but the amount of commission requests I’ve been getting has leapt up… And those commissions are becoming ever more complex, too! So it makes sense for me to focus on that side of things, at least for the moment.

For anyone who appreciates the simplicity of an Aran or Cookie Beastie though, don’t despair! I’m still happy to make these perennial favourites… Just drop me a line. You’ll even be able to add a more personal touch by selecting your preferred colour scheme and winsome monster smile style!

And finally…

Website updates always bring the potential for disaster interesting and unforeseen developments, so I’ll be skipping next week’s post to weed out any potential gremlins in the works. You can still keep up with the Beasties and their antics on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook in the meantime, though… And we’ll see you again in a couple of weeks!