Turtles-a Challenge for Turtlefat

I recently mentioned a custom job involving making turtle lapel pins.  I’ve finished the prototype and I am pleased with it.  I crocheted at least eleven turtles in the process of getting this right.  My criteria were:  small enough to put on a lapel or pocket, designed so that a pin could be attached to the back, identifiable as a turtle (but not necessarily super-realistic), shaping to show the curve of the turtle shell, and textured turtle shell.  I should note that these are my criteria.  The client just requested “turtle pins”.  It’s always good to have higher standards than your client, and it’s especially wise to start with very specific criteria. 

My first turtles were intended for felting.  After I ran a few through the process I decided that I liked having the more defined texture on the turtle shell.  However, when I tried it without felting, using a single strand of yarn produced a turtle that was too floppy to keep it’s shape during wearing.  I added a second strand of yarn, crocheting the whole piece with a double strand, and it worked much better.  The turtle shell had a tendency to go flat when I crocheted all the rounds in the same direction, so for the third round I reversed the direction and now have no problems with them flattening or turning inside-out. 

The beads were the suggestion of a friend.  I was showing her one of my early models and discussing whether to put on some feet, and she said she thought beads would work well.  So, you-the one with the permanent inferiority complex-here’s your idea, which was well worth the extra effort!  It’s amazing how important it was to get the right size beads to make this idea work.  I started with an oblong smaller bead, thinking it mimicked the real thing more, and it was immediately evident that more substantial ornaments were necessary. 

So, here’s our guy:  turtled.jpg

A closer view:  turtlee.jpg

and aerial view:


I am tickled pink!  This was a long process for such a tiny item, but it’s worth it when you produce something really satisfying.  I’m running it by the client to see if she’s equally happy.  If it passes, the next move will be to name the little guy.  I’ll need your help for that!  It needs an enduring name because I think it will be the Turtlefat collection mascot from here on.  (Turtlefat collection is what I call my group of designs, the things I sell in my Etsy store at www.Essiewb.Etsy.com.) 

I love turtles.  My daughter used to make me stop the car when one was in the roadway.  We would “rescue” the turtle, placing it safely on the shoulder or in the nearest grass.  These creatures can live to be more than 100 years old.  I’m already halfway there, 16 of them with lupus riding along.  A reader asked me incredulously if I’d really had lupus that long.  Yes, it’s real, and when I was diagnosed my daughter was 4 years old.  Just like you, I worried about whether I would live to see her grow up.  That time has come and I’m still going strong, and I’m going to pray the same for you. 

I’m feeling some peace now that this project is out of the design stage and into production.  I’ve crocheted five more of the little guys this afternoon and they’re sitting around, chatting and having tea and waiting for me to sew their little bead feet on.  So, time to wish you the same-a spot of tea, a good conversation, someone to give you beads, and…



3 Responses

  1. Very very cute turtle.

  2. omgsh can you make me one? adorable!

  3. Hey there, the turtles are great. I hope that is why you were not at Sat. am knitting. We missed you, hoping you are feeling good. My mill ends linen came and and I brought it for show and tell. Have started linen hand towel and patterend scarf…again I say I hope all is well and you have a great week. I hope to see you this up coming Sat.


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