Farm Play Mat

When I was a child I had this book:  

I absolutely loved it and several others by the same author. There are loads of lovely farmy illustrations like these:   

These pictures absolutely captured my imagination and I’d pore over them for ages, taking in all the detail. When I had Bea my Dad passed on my old books and I re-discovered the Benedict Blathwayt books with glee. As an adult I still love the detail in each picture and can imagine myself within each little scene and landscape. 

Through the wonder that is Amazon I was able to track down a few other books by the same author and ordered them straight away. 

They are completely charming and the countryside one features an aerial scene which got my crochet mind whirring:  

When I looked at the patchwork of fields and farmyard I just thought of how wonderful  they would be in crochet form and what a fabulously old-fashioned toy it would make. So there began the idea for a crochet farm play mat. 

I set about designing some ‘plans;’ rather roughly sketched onto graph paper and a few samples of double crochet to work out size and scale. The final plan looked like this:  

I was able to keep track of stitches and rows and coloured in each bit as I went to keep track of what I’d done. 

To start with there were lots of outdoorsy crochet moments in the sun:   

   

And then the weather changed and I had to switch to indoor field production.

I have to admit that towards the end I became really quite bored of those long rows of green double crochet and was very glad indeed to finish the last field. 

Then came the ends… a whole evening’s work. It was pretty hard going but satisfying when I’d finally finished them.    

Then it was time for a just a few embellishments. I’d imagined a pond and stream from the beginning, inspired by the book, and thought I’d try my hand at a ripple for the first time and see how it worked for the stream…   

… a raging success if I do say so myself! I used Lucy’s neat ripple pattern and absolutely loved it, she really does write (and photograph) the best tutorials.

The last component was a flat circle pond (pattern also from Attic24) and both stream and pond were joyously stitched on whilst watching The Jungle Book with Bea.

And so came the end result and I really am pleased. The scale is a bit dodge but it’s homespun and I really don’t mind, plus Bea has a very eclectic mixture of plastic farm animals in various shapes and sizes so hopefully the whole thing will just look rather wacky.

I’m now holding my breath as I reveal to you for the first time one of my finished pieces… 

Hehe I love it! It’s a bit baggy and saggy in places but I used a selection of dk yarns from my stash and they didn’t all marry up fully but hey ho, it’s going to be trampled on and toddled over and crawled on so I don’t think it really matters.

A close up of the water feature:

  

And a last view down the lane towards the wheat field:

This will be a present for Bea’s first birthday in a few weeks. Photos of the whole caboodle – complete with wooden buildings and plastic animals – will follow once she has seen it herself. 

I feel so happy to be able to spend time doing something I love and using it to make things for Bea to play with and hopefully enjoy.  Happy happy x x x

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