Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts challenged me to make one of their free summer crafts, and they provided me with a gift card for supplies. I took up the challenge and ended up making four of them! Considering the only other item I’ve crocheted that was similar was their Easter Bunny Baskets, I think I did pretty great!
Their patterns were easy to follow, and I changed them up a bit to make them more baby friendly. Here are the patterns and what I did to make them mine. The photos below (used with permission from Joann Fabric and Crafts) are the original creations on the left and my attempt on the right.
These work up fast and cost $1-$2 a dollars a piece (the bag was $8, but it’s much larger than it needs to be for just three sea creatures) – wouldn’t they make the perfect party favors or decorations for a Little Mermaid or Under the Sea birthday party?!? You could easily stuff them with candy or add baby- or pet-safe squeakers. The conch shell, unstuffed and closed up, is the perfect place for a party trinket!
Updated 7/27/14 – Special thanks to the reader who alerted me to the broken links – they’ve all be updated as of 7/27/2014. Joann.com updated their site and changed them all, but sadly, the update makes it harder to find the free patterns so I’ve posted the companion pieces here for others, like me, who plan on making the whole set.
Crochet Pattern: Conch ShellGet this Conch Shell Pattern
Speaking of the conch shell, no matter how many times I made the conch shell, I couldn’t get the number of stitches to come out right on the rows with the bobbles (which make the bumps). In the end, I just made sure the number of stitches I had matched those in the pattern. It was a bit frustrating, but I don’t know if it was the pattern or me. Instead of the solid blue called for in the pattern, which was out of stock at my JoAnn’s, I used a variegated yarn which in person is spectacular and really showed off the levels of the shell, but it doesn’t photograph as well. You can find the conch shell crochet pattern here.
Crochet Pattern: Oyster with PearlGet this Oyster and Pearl Crochet Pattern
I chose the purple for the oyster with pearl based on another variegated yarn I plan on making a fish out of. It’s different from the original, but I like it. I decided on a pink purl just to make it more colorful. There’s no stuffing in the oyster, and it makes up so quick and easy. How cute would these be placed on the table at a birthday party! Find the free Oyster with Pearl crochet pattern here.
Crochet Pattern: CrabGet this free crochet crab pattern
The crab amigurumi pattern was so much fun. I made mine baby-friendly by embroidering the eyes on instead of using glue and felt like the original pattern called for. I also placed his claws up front where a crab’s claws really are, and I’m ignoring the fact that he’s missing all of his hind legs. He’s pretty darn cute in person and has a lot of personality with his mismatched googly eyes.
Additional Patterns in this Free Beach Animals Set
A great way to store these soft toys!
Crochet Pattern: Market to Beach BagDownload the original market bag crochet pattern
I wanted a kid-safe bag to keep all the sea treasures in so I chose the market bag pattern but did it upside down, so the pattern of the weave looked more like waves. I did the top tan to look like sand and would have done the bottom navy had I had enough of that color on hand. I did have black, and it makes the embroidered starfish and knots along the bottom stand out (I did six rows of single crochet and then used a single crochet to close the bottom – see the photo at the top of the post for details). As you can see from the pics, I also made it shorter (I wanted little hands to be able to reach in and grab the toys).
I changed to a drawstring closure which is attached to the center back and then added a loop for carrying or hanging on a door. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a chance of entrapment or strangulation. I’m making these for small children, and their safety is paramount.
Free Summer Crafts
So, what do you think? How’d I do on the challenge? Don’t crochet? No worries, there are plenty of other free summer fun crafts available for kids and ones that are kid-friendly. Painting, stamping, weaving, and so many more. All of the instructions include a list of product you’ll need, and they’re available in the store or online.