Beasties in the Daisies - Local Adventures - CrawCrafts Beasties

Keepin’ it Local

Hey there everyone! How are you all doing out there? Hopefully you’re adjusting to this weird “new normal”, and finding ways to keep sane. I’ve been mostly keeping to Beastie Towers, and taking advantage of my non-essential-worker status to really dig into some long-standing projects! But while I’m all for flattening the curve by staying at home, last week I thought it might be wise to get out for a little exercise in my local area… And you’ll hardly be surprised when I tell you that some Beasties came along for the trip!

Care to join us as we take an adventure on our very own doorstep?

A Local Wander… REALLY Local

Here in Ireland, we’re trying to contain the icky coronavirus by keeping to a 2km radius of our homes for all non-essential travel. Fortunately, I find myself in a part of Dublin with a good selection of green spaces right at hand. All I had to do was pick one! So I opted for the gardens at the Irish Museum of Modern Art… And arrived to find them closed. Erk.

Time for Plan B: the National War Memorial Gardens! This is the park that a lot of Dubliners forget – possibly because it’s just across the river from the much bigger Phoenix Park, which has glamorous attractions like the Zoo and various sports pitches. But this riverside green space is definitely worth a look, and it certainly proved irresistible to one Cookie Beastie!
Local Travels with Cookie Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties“Look, there’s still cherry blossom here!”

Beautiful! We should probably stop for a picnic in among the fallen blossoms.
Cookie Beastie in our local Park - CrawCrafts BeastiesHey, who’s that?
Cookie Beastie by CrawCrafts BeastiesYay! Aran Beastie‘s here too!
Cookie Beastie and Aran Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties

Aran Beastie is enjoying the sunshine, and is taking a moment to stop and smell the first spring daisies. It looks like Cookie Beastie is content to keep munching on that biscuit though!Beasties in the Daisies - Local Adventures - CrawCrafts Beasties
Mmmm, there really are loads out today!
Aran Beastie with Daisies - CrawCrafts BeastiesA little further up the hill, we wandered into the rose garden. And although there aren’t many roses in bloom yet, there was plenty of other greenery to explore!
Local Beastie Adventures - CrawCrafts BeastiesWe’ll definitely have to schedule another visit later in the year to catch it at its best!

And if that little lot has whetted your appetite for at-home monster adventures, you should check out what tierneycreates Beastie
Beastie Besties - tierneycreates Beastie and Dog by CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd Finn McSpool have been up to lately!

Finn McSpool Storms Kilkenny Castle - T. Painter/CrawCrafts Beasties
Image borrowed from tammiepainter.com

Let’s not forget that there are Beasties everywhere, so if you’ve witnessed any monster shenanigans in your local area recently, be sure to let us know all about it! And provide photographic proof if you can…

Stay safe, and we’ll be back on… Friday?

Yes – I thought I’d reboot Flashback Friday, and start doing pre-weekend monster retrospectives again. Join us then, and get to know a past Beastie a little better!

Knitting Up A Monster Storm!

Hello there Beastie friends! It’s just a quick post from me today, but I realised that I have the perfect new Beastie to introduce to you. Stick around, it’ll only take a sec! Hey there, Knitter Beastie!
Knitter Beastie, by CrawCrafts BeastiesI found Knitter Beastie hanging out among the plants in my studio, on the day I was going to meet one of my long-term knitting students for a goodbye coffee. This student had been a regular at the classes for a while, and we’d worked through some awesome and ambitious projects together. But alas, her time in Dublin was coming to an end, and she was moving home to Germany to continue her studies.

Knitter Beastie’s little pointy ears pricked up when I mentioned that I was going to meet a fellow knitter.
Knitter Beastie - Will travel for knitting! CrawCrafts Beasties“Reeeeeally? I’ve always wanted to see Germany… And I could probably use a bit of help with this project, too.”
Knitting Closeup - Knitter Beastie - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd with that, it was decided. Knitter Beastie hopped into my bag, and pretty much insisted on leaving the country with my student. I hope they’re getting on well… And that Knitter Beastie hasn’t been raiding all the local yarn shops in the hope of whipping up a few woolly monster friends!

By the way, if you’re in Dublin (either all the time, or passing through), why not join us for class? Full details and a contact form can be found in the Knitting Classes section of the site, here. And I promise there won’t be too many Beasties around to distract you as you work away on your first project… Probably. 馃槈

So that’s it for this week… Short and sweet! Next week sees the return of Paddy and Plunkett, who are STILL on holiday. Lucky little monsters, eh? Join us on Tuesday to see what they’re up to now!

 

Hop Monster IPA can - CrawCrafts Beasties

A Monster Father’s Day!

Hey there Beastie friends! Sorry about the slight delay in transmission (again!)… It’s been another busy week, and it seems like it’s always my internet time that takes the hit when there’s a deadline to meet! But don’t let this slip fool you – I’m still super excited to welcome another new member of the Beastie family today. Better again, this is kind of a two for one deal…
Father's Day, the Beastie way - CrawCrafts BeastiesHey there, Cool Dad Beastie – and sweet little Baby Girl Beastie too! This charming woolly pair were requested as a super-special Father’s Day gift for a new dad. A very new dad… Father’s Day 2019 was his first! So, to help the festivities go with a trademark Beastie bang, these two little monsters needed to make sure that their human counterparts recognised them straight away.

First of all, let’s talk about that Beastie baby!
Beastie Baby in Sling - Father's Day Commission - CrawCrafts BeastiesHer new human friend is heading for her first birthday, so this Baby Beastie is also a little bigger than some of the Beastie babies you might have met before. She’s also wearing a sweet little bow headband, just like her human does!

And because she’s still so little, Dad is in charge of carrying her around… In this very handy custom-made baby sling. It’s securely held in place by crossover straps at the back…
Baby Sling Straps - Father's Day Beastie gift - CrawCrafts Beasties… And these straps unclip too, making the sling removable!
Beastie Baby Sling - Father's Day Beasties - CrawCrafts BeastiesHere you go, Dad Beastie!
Handing over the Baby Beastie - CrawCrafts BeastiesI think it’s time for a hug!
Hug Time! Father's Day Beasties - CrawCrafts Beasties

Side note for those of you interested in Beastie development – Baby Beasties grow arms before they grow legs! This probably explains why Beastie legs are so short and stumpy, even in adults… And it makes Beastie parents extra devoted to their littl’uns during those early years too. Awwwww!

Oh, hang on… What did you say, Dad Beastie? Are you sure… Can I hold her?
Holding Baby Beastie - Father's Day Beasties - CrawCrafts BeastiesHeehee! Look how teeny she is!

And while I hold the baby, let’s get to know Dad Beastie a little better. I’ve copied his human buddy’s awesome beard, and made him a custom-tailored felt t-shirt!
Cool Dad Beastie, A Commission for Father's Day - CrawCrafts BeastiesAnd look, he’s into craft beer too! These two new friends will have lots to talk about. Regular BeastieBlog readers will recognise the brand of beer from a birthday commission I did last year… Good news, Beasties everywhere! Your favourite Hop Monster IPA is now available in cans!
Hop Monster IPA can - CrawCrafts BeastiesYum!

And then, it was time to hand Baby Beastie back… These two little monsters had to get on their way, or they’d miss the party!
Father's Day Gift Commission - CrawCrafts BeastiesThanks so much to Deirdre from Olann And magazine for requesting this very special Beastie pair… And I’m sure Deirdre Beastie is happy to have her family complete at last too!
Beastie Family - Photo by Deirdre McArdleWe’ll be back next week (hopefully!) with more monster mayhem… See you then!

Finn McSpool Storms Kilkenny Castle - T. Painter/CrawCrafts Beasties

Friday Social #7 – What’s Goin’ On? Beastie Family Update

Well, as you all know, I’ve been taking a bit of a break from the computer these past couple of weeks… But luckily for me, other members of the Beastie family have been busily snapping and blogging away in my absence! So today, I wanted to say a big “thank you” to those hard-workin’ folks, and to make sure everybody gets a chance to share in these monster adventures.

First up, a familiar monster face…

Finn McSpool Storms Kilkenny Castle - T. Painter/CrawCrafts Beasties
Image borrowed from tammiepainter.com

Yes, Mr Finn McSpool is back, and is sharing the first of his Irish adventures! Check out Tammie’s blog to see what mischief he got up to in Kilkenny Castle!

Also, those of you who follow Tammie already will know that she released her latest novel, “The Bonds of Osteria” at the end of last month. And fortunately, she had a heap of Beasties on hand to help her with her marketing efforts… This is my favourite promo shot!

Beasties Promoting "The Bonds of Osteria" - T Painter/CrawCrafts Beasties
Also borrowed from tammiepainter.com!

If that made you chuckle too, you’ll find more in this post… And don’t forget to check out the Books section of Tammie’s site for more info on the Osteria Chronicles, where you can buy your copies, and all ongoing special offers.

Next up… A sneak preview of a new Beastie!

tierneycreates Beastie, A Personalised Knitted Monster by CrawCrafts Beasties
One of my own photos, for once!

Meet tierneycreates Beastie, a brand-new addition to our ever-expanding global tribe of little knitted monsters!

I’ll be formally introducing you all to this Beastie lady on Tuesday, but I was so overwhelmed by Tierney‘s welcome-to-your-new-home post on her blog (not to mention the comments from her own loyal band of readers) that I couldn’t NOT share it with you! So please take a sec to jump over and read “I’m A Monster!!!“, and its hilarious followup “Beastie Outing: Trip to the Library“… In which an overzealous knitted monster demonstrates how NOT to use a barcode scanner.

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Tierney’s site tagline is “A fusion of textiles and smiles”, and it definitely delivered on both those counts for me this week!

So, that little lot should provide you with some fun weekend reading! We’ll be back on Tuesday to see what tierneycreates Beastie has in that shoulder bag of hers… Then Explorer Beastie will be presenting the first of many, many posts about Germany next Friday!

See you then!

Our Monster Day at Woollinn!

Happy Friday, everyone! And it’s been a double fun one for us, because we’ve just spent the day at Woollinn, Dublin’s festival of yarn!

I was helping out my buddy Diarmuid of S Twist Wool for the day, so there might be a bit of a bias in the photos…
S Twist Wool at Woollinn - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQAre you spotting a pattern yet? Still, I was pretty excited to see the new ranges he’s added since we last met up to talk yarn… And top of the list was definitely this spectacular batch of naturally-dyed Galway fleece! Check out those colours…
Natural Dye Yarns by S Twist Wool at Woollinn - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQAnother bonus is that the wool itself is ALL sourced from Irish farms… As you can see in the map in the photo above.

Oh, and of course there were a couple of Beasties knocking around!
An S Twist Beastie at Woollinn - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQThis little monster guy was specially made to tie in with a promotion Diarmuid is running on his stand at Woollinn this weekend. If you know the significance of his accessories…
S Twist Beastie Accessories - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQ… Bring along your copy of the “Guide” or a towel to receive a sneaky discount off your purchase!

It was also nice to catch up with another old friend – do any of you remember Ruari, the spinner’s assistant Beastie?
Ruari Beastie - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQHe was helping out like a true pro, showing off some of LB Handknits‘ beautiful designs! This is the San Fhoraois sweater tank, which you can find here on Ravelry.
Ruari Beastie with San Fhoraois Sweater - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQHowever, our newer Beastie friend maybe had less success when he tried to model the Lait铆s sweater…
Beastie Modelling the Laitis Sweater - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQAll the same, he looks pretty cheerful – even if it is a little on the large side!

And, after a fun day helping out (and having a good squish at all the yarn, of course) I just had time to run upstairs and get a snap of all the stands from above!
Woollinn from Above - CrawCrafts Beasties, Beastie HQIf you’re in Dublin this weekend, be sure to check out all the yarny goodness at Woollinn for yourself! Or if you’re already planning to head there, let us know all about it in the comments!

We’ll be back on Tuesday with an update from a Beastie abroad, so be sure to join us then… In the meantime, have a wild woolly weekend!

Paddy, Plunkett and a Very Familiar Curragh - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Off the Rails with Paddy and Plunkett!

Or rather on the rails, because the boys recently took a road trip… By train!

Their first port of call after leaving home was (of course) a quick tea break in Belfast. You can’t go adventuring without fuelling up first!
Paddy and Plunkett at Belfast City Hall - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThey found a nice spot where they could look out at the City Hall, and watch the black taxis scoot by.

Then, suitably caffeinated, they continued on their journey – riding the train to the end of the line at Bangor, where they planned to have a look around Bangor Castle. Plunkett likes a good castle, as we all know. But there was a surprise in store for Paddy as well…
Castles of Stone and Sugar - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
…A miniature version of the castle, built entirely from SUGAR! It’s lucky this was safely locked up in a glass case, or Paddy would have treated us all to his best Godzilla impersonation.

Bangor Castle (the real one!) has been here since 1852. It was built as a private residence for the Ward family, who quite literally used to own half the town of Bangor. When the last surviving member of the family died in the early 1940s, the local council bought Bangor Castle and converted its large “music salon” into a Council Chamber, and the rest of the building into offices. The castle’s courtyard and stables were then redeveloped to house a museum dedicated to the history of the local area, and that’s where the boys are headed!

Bangor has a rich history, which Plunkett can’t wait to read up about. Here he is learning all about St Comgall, who founded nearby Bangor Abbey in the middle of the 6th century AD.
Plunkett Reads All About Bangor's History - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
He sounds like a barrel of laughs – according to Wikipedia, under his rule “prayer and fasting were incessant” and when you weren’t fasting, “food was scant and plain”. Despite this, Bangor grew to become one of the most important monastic sites in the Province, second only to Armagh.

Meanwhile, Paddy has skipped ahead, and discovered another miniature – this is how Bangor Abbey might have looked in its early days!
Beasties Visit Bangor - In Miniature! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
He also found this.
Sir Paddy of Beastie - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Plunkett, look! I’m a knight!”
But Plunkett was a bit busy examining this spiffy slate sundial.
Sundial from Bangor Abbey - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesMade in 1630, it’s not just for telling the time! A skilled user (ie, not me) could use it to get information about the tides as well.

The lads did eventually reconvene, and took a quick breather on a beautiful wooden chair…
Wooden Chair, 17th Century. Also pictured, 21st Century Beasties. H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties…Before heading outside to investigate this interesting hut, a reconstructed monk’s cell! It actually looks quite cosy, don’t you think?
Where Monks Live - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesAlthough perhaps a door might be a welcome addition. Then, Paddy spotted something…
Paddy, Plunkett and a Very Familiar Curragh - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties“Plunkett, don’t we have boats like this at home?”
“We do, Paddy! It’s an Irish river curragh, and it was made by one of our human minders. Look, you can even see him at work in the photos on the information board!”
Making an Irish River Curragh - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThat revelation left Paddy wondering if this made him a celebrity, while Plunkett pondered the possibility that someday, someone might let him live in a museum. Deep in thought, they wandered back inside… Where they almost missed the Bangor Bell!
Paddy, Plunkett and the Bangor Bell - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesThis bell is made of bronze, and dates back to the 9th century, when it was most likely used to summon monks to prayer. But it’s had an interesting life! The bell was apparently unearthed by gravediggers working in the Abbey churchyard in about 1780, leading people to think that it might have been buried there to hide it from marauding Vikings. It was a savvy move, since Bangor was plundered by the Norsemen at least once around this time – that’s the downside of building your Abbey with a sea view, I guess.

Speaking of sea views, there were plenty of those to be had from the train on the way home!
Train With a View - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
The boys also got a good look at another notable local pair, thanks to a little help from a fellow traveller!
Goliath Cranes, Belfast - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
The two massive cranes at the Harland and Wolff shipyard greet you as you head into Belfast from the east, and they’re probably the city’s most recognisable landmarks… their size and colour make them pretty hard to miss! Although they’re only relatively recent additions to a place that’s been home to humans since the Bronze Age, they’re now well and truly part of the skyline – so much so that they even have names! Goliath is the older of the two, and at a mere 96m (that’s 315 feet) tall, he’s a bit smaller than his “little” brother, 106m tall Samson.

“Hey Plunkett, next time we’re here, we should TOTALLY climb those!”
“Um… We’ll see, Paddy. We’ll see.”

Sounds like Paddy might be waiting a while for that daytrip. Please feel free to distract him by sharing your own recent adventures (preferably at ground level) in the comments!

And thanks so much to all of you who joined us for the first Friday Social last week! We’ll be back in a couple of days for another one… Catch you there!

All the Barr贸g Beasties - CrawCrafts Beasties

Beasties, Beasties, EVERYWHERE!

Wow, what a hectic week it’s been! We’re working flat out here at Beastie Towers, but of course we’re never too busy to stop in and have a chat with all you lovely readers on a Tuesday lunchtime. And today, we have some super exciting news… The Beasties have set foot on US soil!

Now, I am aware that a few intrepid monsters have already moved out there on their own – yes, Finn McSpool, I’m talking about you – but this is more of a migration, or a diplomatic mission.
(Not an invasion, though… I want to be very clear about that. The Beasties come in peace!)
They’ve set themselves up in Glen Rock, NJ, in a place that feels very much like home – Carrick M贸r Irish Store! The owners, Kristin and Michael, have been long-standing Beastie supporters, and it was brilliant to be able to send them over a small delegation of monsters to stand alongside their incredible range of Irish goodies.

So, who are these brave travellers? Well, I wanted to cram as much of the Beasties’ homeland into this precious parcel as possible, and I figured the best way to do that was to send a crew of 100% Irish wool Barr贸g Beasties. The first ones to hop in the box were a pair of Tae (not a typo!) Beasties, each clutching a mug of deeeelicious hot, strong tea!
Tae (Tea) Beasties, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Next up, a pair of Redhead Beasties, with matching fiery tresses and tweed scarves!
Redhead Beasties, by CrawCrafts BeastiesFor the sports fans out there, a couple of Hurling Beasties joined the team – one in Dublin colours, and one who appears to hail from Kilkenny!
Hurling Beasties, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Now, we’re all used to hearing that winter is coming… And from what I hear, winter in New Jersey hits a lot harder than it does here in Ireland! At least these two Aran Beasties are wrapped up and ready for whatever the weather throws at them!
Aran Beasties, by CrawCrafts Beasties
And for anyone who’d rather curl up by the fire with a good book…
Leabhar (Book) Beastie, by CrawCrafts Beasties
Finally, I added a new face to these tried-and-true favourites – meet Luck O’the Irish Beastie, who set sail with a big bunch of shamrocks! It’s probably thanks to him that everyone made it across the Atlantic safely.
Luck O'the Irish Beastie, with Shamrocks - CrawCrafts Beasties
Oh, and I couldn’t resist cramming ALL the Beasties together in the teeny photo studio for some happy snappies before they left!
Barr贸g Beastie Group Photo - CrawCrafts Beasties
As you can see, Beasties are just like people – it’s impossible to get them all looking at the camera for a group picture.

So, if you find yourself in Glen Rock sometime soon, do swing by Carrick M贸r and say hello to this happy band of explorers! And for anyone closer to our home here in Dublin…
RMDS_Craft Fair Ranelagh Dublin November 2017
I’ve been a regular at this market over the last few years, and I’m looking forward to joining them again this weekend! If you’re in the area, rock on up and say hello… We’d love to see you!

Right, I’d better get back to it… I have a houseful of Beasties clamouring for accessories, and only three days left to make them! Have a super week, everybody!

Beasties… On the Rocks!

Last time we caught up with Paddy and Plunkett, those globetrotting little monsters appeared to be living it up in the sunshine somewhere. But now…
Snow? Already? H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Have they hit the slopes for a spot of skiing?

Ha! Nope. What you’re seeing is actually a beautiful rocky beach in Croatia, where the limestone “shelves” have been scrubbed by sea-tossed pebbles until they’re a bright, snowy white. It’s lucky the boys remembered to pack their sunglasses, or they’d have been truly dazzled!
Beastie Dazzlers! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Plunkett couldn’t resist poking through those pebbly patches in search of a new addition for his rock collection back home…
Plunkett looks for the perfect pebble - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
And hey, where’s Paddy? Oh, right. Of course.
Paddy scales the terraces - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
CLIMBING! Looks like he’s scoped out the perfect spot for them both to stop and catch some rays in the late afternoon sunshine.
Paddy and Plunkett top up their tans - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
But soon, Paddy started to suspect that they didn’t have the beach to themselves…
“Plunkett, what’s that over there in the trees? I feel like we’re being watched!”

Strange for Paddy to be nervous, isn’t it? But Plunkett could already see that there was nothing to worry about…
Rock Sculptures! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
…He can spot an interesting rock sculpture from a mile away! These guys might have slightly stony expressions (ha!), but even that couldn’t put him off having a closer look.

Just as well, too, because there were lots of them to see! The boys found a family next – the Flintstones, maybe? I hope they didn’t mind that Paddy briefly tried to ride their pet dog around like a pony!
Rock Family! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
And there was one who looked a little the worse for drink…
Drunken Rock Guy - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Oh, here’s a teacher with a bunch of schoolchildren!
Time for Class! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Plunkett especially liked these enchanted toadstools he found, too.
Plunkett and the Enchanted Stony Toadstools - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Some of the pebble people proved a little trickier to identify, though. The boys were happy enough to agree that Plunkett is standing in front of Napoleon here, while the dapper gent on Paddy’s left is Willy Wonka from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”… What do you reckon?
Napoleon and Willy Wonka... Maybe. H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesHowever, debate continues to rage about who or what might be represented here…
The Debate Rages On...  H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Any ideas? Let us know in the comments – the more outlandish, the better!

We’ll be back next Tuesday, when I’ll have a new Beastie to introduce to you all! See you then…

Paddy and Plunkett, Culinary Adventurers! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Paddy and Plunkett… Lost in Translation!

It’s been a while since Paddy and Plunkett last showed their woolly little faces on the BeastieBlog, hasn’t it? But just when I was starting to wonder where on earth they’d got to, a whole heap of new snaps found their way into my inbox.

And surprise surprise, they’re on holiday AGAIN. Lucky little monsters… Wherever they are, it certainly looks very pleasant!
Paddy and Plunkett on a New Adventure - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesBut we seem to have caught up with them just as their stomachs are starting to rumble – time for something to eat, perhaps? Hey, how about this place?
Paddy and Plunkett Look for Lunch - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
“Good thinking, Plunkett. It looks like we’re here ahead of the lunchtime rush, too!”

Even better, this restaurant has its own beautiful vegetable garden! Herbs don’t get much fresher than this… And are those tomatoes I spy in the background? YUM!
Vegetable Garden - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Paddy was pretty taken with the peppers… It must be warm wherever the boys are, since these are growing outside!
Paddy's Peppers - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Appetites seriously whetted at this point, the boys headed indoors to see what delights the chef had in store for them.
Paddy, Plunkett and the Peppers - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesOooh, exotic! You don’t see THIS at home too often!
What's on the Menu? H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
But the next item caused even Paddy to raise an eyebrow…
Heartburn, Anyone? H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
… And I think somebody needs to tell the WHO about this one!
Yum! Smallpox! H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
“Ah… We’ll both have the catfish, please!”

And apparently it was delicious. Also, this fine establishment may not have menu translation down pat, but it sure wins points for Beastie-friendliness… Look at the convenient stilts that they provided so that Paddy could enjoy a nice glass of wine with his lunch!
Paddy Enjoys the Local Tipple - H Crawford/CrawCrafts BeastiesLet’s hope he left some for Plunkett!

More from the boys in a couple of weeks… Oh, but before they go, Paddy wanted me to make sure I gave this totally classic picture of him another outing.
Santa Paws is Comin' to Town! CrawCrafts BeastiesI feel less bad using this now that it’s October. But remember, if you want to get your very own Bespoke Beastie in time for Christmas,

Place your order before October 31st!

Join us for more monster fun next week, when Explorer Beastie will be sharing his latest adventure with us all! Oh, and don’t forget to share your funny travel dining experiences with us in the comments!

Paddy Admires the View - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Why Wool?

Proto-Beasties? H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
A few months ago, I had a bit of a woolly wobble. My local yarn store has stopped stocking the merino wool yarn I use to make my original Beasties, and although I still have a healthy stockpile of most of the colours, the boxes holding my favourite shades are starting to look a little on the empty side. Wanting to keep ahead of the game, I started to scout around for some new yarny options.

Unfortunately, my exacting specifications for Beastie yarns were working against me. Many of the natural fibre yarns I looked at were too lightweight (I suppose the real demand is for the finer yarns used to make shawls and socks), too arty (a painted yarn, however lovely, makes for one sickly-looking Beastie) or were prohibitively expensive. Ever helpful, my yarn supplier suggested I take a look at a new line she had recently started carrying – mostly wool, but with a little acrylic mixed in. So little, she said, that she didn’t notice it was there when she test-knitted a sample. And she hates working with synthetics! It was the right weight, a good price, and they had some super colours. So, why was I hesitating? I mean, surely most people won’t care one way or the other, right?

Well, here’s the thing – I would know. And I care. And today, I thought I’d explain why. Especially since concerns about plastics and synthetic fibres have been playing on my mind more than usual this past week, after I saw this:

It鈥檚 a photo that I wish didn鈥檛 exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it. What started as an opportunity to photograph a cute little sea horse turned into one of frustration and sadness as the incoming tide brought with it countless pieces of trash and sewage. This sea horse drifts long with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago. This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans. What sort of future are we creating? How can your actions shape our planet?鈥.鈥╰hanks to @eyosexpeditions for getting me there and to @nhm_wpy and @sea_legacy for getting this photo in front of as many eyes as possible. Go to @sea_legacy to see how you can make a difference. . #plastic #seahorse #wpy53 #wildlifephotography #conservation @nhm_wpy @noaadebris #switchthestick

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What’s the connection between a discarded cotton bud and synthetic fibres, you ask? Well, this picture shows the impact of the plastic waste that we can see going into the ocean – there’s something really unsettling about this image, isn’t there? But recent research indicates that plastics are finding their way into the seas, and their food chains, through a less obvious route… as tiny fibres that are shed any time synthetic materials are laundered. Weestorybook wrote about the problems associated with synthetic yarns back in the summer, and her post links to several other articles on the subject which are really worth checking out. I’d especially recommend the Guardian’s feature about Mark Browne, an ecologist who is currently trying to raise awareness about these issues, and encourage research into viable, low-impact alternatives.

So, score one point for wool – any sheddings from this natural fibre are totally biodegradable! That should keep Mermaid Beastie and her underwater friends happy.
Mermaid Beastie Makes her Escape - CrawCrafts BeastiesNext, how about we take a look at where these fibres come from? Now, I know that farming is hardly a squeaky-clean, environmentally-friendly enterprise. I realise that sheep are prone to all manner of parasites and diseases, and that the chemicals required to prevent against these nasties taking hold are probably pretty nasty themselves. But let’s not forget that synthetic fibres are extracted from crude oil, and held up against the oil extraction and processing industry, even the most intensive sheep farming comes out looking pretty angelic.

From a more personal perspective, Ireland doesn’t have any natural oil reserves – but we can (and do) farm sheep here! This country has a long tradition of cultivating, processing and using wool, so by making use of this resource, rather than one which will always have to be brought in from somewhere else, I like to feel that I’m helping to keep that industry alive. That’s why I started using Irish wool to make Barr贸g Beasties, like these guys here!

Leabhar Beastie and Aran Beastie

Add to that the fact that world oil supplies are running low, and renewable wool starts looking pretty good!

And leading on from that… Wow, wool has so much history! It’s estimated that we’ve been cultivating sheep and wearing wool for the last 10,000 years – that’s not the kind of relationship you can just turn your back on! You can find a handy potted history of our involvement with this wonderful fibre here. I also recently stumbled across this video, which really brought home to me how essential wool has been to humans for such a long time, and the respect our ancestors had for the production of their woollen garments. This is a million miles from the disposable fast fashion we’ve become so used to!

There’s something fascinating to me about continuing to use such an ancient material in much the same way as it’s been worked for centuries, and at the same time creating something that’s truly my own!

And finally… well, I just like it! For me, it’s the most pleasant fibre to work with. I enjoy the springy feel of the yarn as I knit, and the texture of the fabric I make from it. I like that it doesn’t squeak against my favourite metal knitting needles. I love it when I come across pieces of grass or straw tangled in among the spun fibres, reminding me that this stuff came from an animal, rather than a barrel. And I like to think that the Beasties carry a little bit of this joy with them when they head off into the world.
Paddy Admires the View - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
How about you? What’s the story behind your favourite fibres? Let us all know in the comments!

Aaaaand we’ll be back next week, with a new Paddy and Plunkett adventure… See you then!