All the swells join in the search for sun and sand

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Pattern: Mao by Angela Tong
Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted (100% organic cotton), colorways Mandarin Heather and Limeade Heather
Needles: U.S. 5 Zephyr acrylic Options 24″ circulars (magic loop style)

So many of my dearest friends are having babies, or have just had babies, or have children that are just coming into their most charming childhood ages. It all makes me crave toys. Buying them, dreaming about them, remembering them. And of course, making them.

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The entire latest issue of Petite Purls was devoted to toys. It set me into a frenzy. It fed my obsession. I had to make something from it right away. Only days after the patterns appeared online, I had rescued these almost-full skeins from the scrap basket. Not only did I get to make a cute toy, I got to continue indulging my fingers with cashmere-soft Simply Cotton. Win-win.

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Because I had babies in mind for this squeezable little nuggets of cat, and because I don’t happen to have safety eyes around the house, I used black scrap yarn to make eyes (per this tutorial by Anna of Mochimochiland, who is now officially a friend of a friend, making me vicariously very cool). I experimented with different ways of making an upside-down triangle nose and upside-down v mouth, although I should have just looked up the instructions for Tammy the Cat from the Gurumi family — I did a great nose on her.

But as I was finished my second Mao, making the flat knit circle for the bottom so kitty will sit up straight, my mind started working overtime. It’s a lot easier to make flat crochet circles than knit ones. What would a crochet version of Mao be like?

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It took two days and a lot of experimentation, but there she is. I started at the bottom with the circle (original knit Mao is top-down) and then kept working on how to get the increases to happen fast enough. Didn’t quite get it, so crochet Mao (C-Mao for short) has a more elegant, tapered figure than her knit cousins. I kinda liked it, so I stopped with this version.

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Her ears are flat rather than stuffed, and her tail — well, that’s where the elegance ends. Business in the front, party in the back.

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If the designer and the publisher are okay with it, I’ll post the pattern notes for C-Mao. For now, I’m just pretty impressed with my first foray into figuring out something like this. And with my menagerie of cats. Who, if Cady Gray has anything to say about it, may never make it to any of the babies that sparked this toy modness in the first place.

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