Monday, 8 July 2019

Bizzy Beez

Three crocheted bees' faces poking out from between the sprigs of a lavender bush. A triangular arrangement, the top bee has a yellow face with white wings, the bottom left is sideways with a yellow face,two black stripes and silver wings, facing the top bee. Bottom right is a black-faced bee with white mouth and eyes and silver wings. Each bee is smiling.

Three busy bees in my lavender!

The fourth one is not in the picture because the fourth one is ME!

I have been an extremely busy bee hence the dearth of blog posts lately.

You should see the list of everything that has been going on for me. Crazy hectic.
No wonder I have been too tired to pick up a crochet hook much BUT I did manage a third bee and have embarked on a new project.

These things I will share today including the pattern for these bees plus something to
give you a laugh.

The free pattern is called Henry & Honey Bumblebee and uses Red Heart's Amigurumi 4-ply acrylic. More information about that yarn can be found on a previous blog post, Yarn Review: Amigurumi + Exciting News (25 March 2019).   Designed for amigurumi projects, the yarn's catchphrase is “each one makes two". Do you remember when I thought I could get three bees out of it?  Well, I was right and there's still yarn leftover from a single skein!*

It's such a simple, quick pattern and fun to play around with the placement of the bee's body stripes to make the best use of the remaining yarn.

Bee Number Three. A collage showing two different side views of Bee Number Three.  In each photo the bee is facing the centre with the stinger pointing to the outside edge of the collage.  The body is yellow with two thick black stripes across the rear half and a thin black stripe closer to the black stinger end.  The six legs attached to the underside in two lengthways rows of three are black. The wings are silver.
Side views of Bee Number Three.
The black stripes are in rounds 17‒18, 23‒24, 27 and round 29 to end.

If you want to know why I have only completed one crocheted bee since March, it's because of these events and demands:
  • Family
    • Two milestone birthdays
    • Three graduations
    • A final year student (Year 12) and everything that entails
    • Offspring moving out of home for the first time and interstate for work
    • Offspring travelling overseas
  • Disability
  • Politics
    • Lobbying with community to save our railway station and access to rail
    • Community meetings and workshops
    • Communication & meetings with politicians and community leaders
      (about multiple issues)
    • Media communication and coverage
    • A Federal election in the middle of it all! (18 May)
  • Crochet
  • Study
    • The opportunity of a community leadership course was presented to me and I grabbed it with both hands, as if I wasn't busy enough already!  😃
In the local government chamber, the Mayor in his robe is standing in the centre, flanked by 7 adults standing on each side. A row of 7 people are in front. Everyone is linking arms or holding hands or arms around each others' shoulders. Everyone is smiling and happy.  People in front are either seated or kneeling.
Graduation Ceremony with The Mayor

When American Yarns asked me which colour skein I would like, I immediately chose 'Bumblebee' because I am very concerned about the plight of bees and other pollinators. We need them for food security and stable ecologies but bee populations are declining worldwide.  There is a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder as well as concerns about habitat loss, environmental pollution and the effects of insecticides and other chemicals used in agriculture. In some areas up to 90% of bees have disappeared!

Materials for distributing Seeds for Bees are scattered: paper collaged packets which will contain instructions and little snap-lock plastic bags of seeds.  A batch of wooden mini-pegs are ready to be used for attaching the seed packets to fences etc.
Seeds for Bees
Collaged packets designed by Textile Warrior
National Geographic recommends planting nectar-rich flowers like lavender to feed the bees.  Have you heard of the "Seeds for Bees" movement?  Look for the hashtag #seedsforbees in your social media. I have been involved in a guerilla movement of leaving seed packets in prominent places to promote awareness and encourage habitat.

My grandfather used to keep bees and I am proud to know of young friends who are now taking up beekeeping as well.

Australia has a range of native bees but our commercial honey is made from introduced species of Western Honey Bees (Apis Mellifera). Did you know that South Australia's Kangaroo Island is a bee sanctuary and has the last remaining pure stock of Italian Ligurian Bees (Apis Mellifera Ligustica) in the world? If you get to taste Kangaroo Island honey, know that it is rare and unique!
Top view of Bee Number Three showing silver wings. Each wing is constructed from a crocheted circle. The edge rounds are worked even to make them curl. They are attached to each other in a figure-8 or infinity shape and then attached to the back (body) of the bee.
Top view of wing detail.

Bees are so fascinating, physically and socially. We had a swarm in our garden one springtime. They would fly off during the day and then come home to settle in a bush. They would tuck themselves in between one another to go to sleep. Every so often one could hear little buzzes as they wriggled or 'snored' in their little bee ways. So cute!
The bees in this pattern are so very cute too! I've had plenty of requests for more. Maybe I should put them in an Etsy shop and make a bee fundraiser? 
[Jodie adds another item to the mental list of things to do one day.]

Making the bees

The pattern is rated 'Easy' (2 out of 4 stars) and designed by Michele Wilcox.  It was published by Red Heart in 2018.

There are remarkably similar patterns online using different yarn weights:
  • For 10-ply (worsted) yarn using a 4 mm hook, Grace Meador posted her design in USA on 21 June 2010. The increases and decreases are identical.This pattern includes instructions for the stinger except the stinger is worked separately and then stitched on rather than worked with the yarn tail.  Grace's blog post also highlights the plights of bees and links to information about Colony Collapse Disorder.
  • For chunky yarn published by 'Robin' in UK on 15 March 2019
    This pattern used thicker yarn and hook (4.5 mm hook), the body was shorter (14 rnds worked even instead of 19 rnds), there is no stinger and the wings are only 3 rounds instead of 6 rnds. Legs are omitted.
The Red Heart pattern suggests a 2.75 mm hook (US Size C-2). Interestingly the yarn label recommends a 2.25 mm hook (US Size B-1). I used a 2.75 mm anodised steel hook.

This pattern starts off with 2 chains, working the first round into the second chain.  I used an adjustable ring to begin instead because I like being able to close the centre extra tightly. Either method works.

A front view of Bee Number three. It has a round yellow face with black embroidered eyes and smiling mouth. It has six black legs underneath and two silver wings on top. The background is white.When changing colours, against pattern advice, I did not fasten off, but left the first colour strand free while continuing the second colour, only to pick up the first colour again later. This method leaves a 'float' on the inside of the toy and one needs to make sure that the tension is 'just right': too tight and it will pucker or be unable to stretch when stuffing; too loose and the colour change will be loose and sloppy. This choice of mine shows the lengths I will go to in order to avoid dealing with loose ends!

The pattern recommends safety eyes but I chose to embroider my bees' faces after the 10th round (or thereabouts) while the piece is still easy to turn inside out for weaving in ends.

I used polyester hobby fill to stuff my bees but the pattern suggests the use of plastic pellets inside a knee high stocking for a weighted stuffing. Have you ever used such materials?

The bees themselves are very quick and easy to make. Allow approximately 4‒5 hours per bee.
A happy, weekend project!

To make your day a bit happier - a funny song by British duo Flo and Joan about saving the bees:

4 wound balls of 4 ply weight acrylic laid out in a diamond formation. Clockwise from top: white, yellow, black, silver on a white background.
Yarn remaining after 3 bees made:
Red Heart Amigurumi 4 ply acrylic

*Yarn Statistics

Remaining yarn after three bees
Yellow 4 grams (8.76 metres)
Black 4 g (8.76 m)
White 22 g (48.18 m)
Silver 18 g (39.42 m)

Yarn Used for Each Bee
Bee #1 (yellow face, white wings):  yellow 7 g, black 7 g, white 4 g.
Bee #2: (black face, silver wings): yellow 5 g, black 8 g, silver 3 g.
Bee #3: (yellow face, silver wings): yellow 9 g, black 6 g, silver 4 g.

Today I'm happy to be working on a new project.
Scroll down for a peek! 
Can you guess what it might be? (bee?)

Have fun!

Links & References

ABC Radio, Conversations, "Stories from Elmswood Farm", [audio 52'26],  Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 11:00 a.m., 21 June 2019:
With 2'26" remaining of the program, farmer and author Patrice Newell shares the pleasure of beekeeping with interviewer Sarah Kanowski
Patrice Newell spent her childhood in and around the same parts of Adelaide as I did.

Beekeepers' Society of South Australia:

Carly Findlay, writer, speaker, appearance activist:

Flo & Joan, "Gotta save them goddamn bees", Youtube video: 
Greenpeace, "The Bees in Decline": 

Meador, Grace, "The Long Overdue Post: Bee Pattern and Botanical Pictures", Grace Meador Makes [blog], 21 June 2010:

National Disability Insurance Agency:

National Disability Insurance Scheme:

National Disability Strategy 2010‒2020:
National Disability Strategy Beyond 2020:

National Geographic Society, "10 Facts About Honey Bees", UK, accessed 8 July 2019:
Easy information for children and families to learn about bees.

Red Heart, Henry & Honey Bumblebee, free pattern LM6290:

Robin, "Amigurumi Bumblebee - free crochet pattern & video tutorial!", Hooked by Robin [blog], 15 March 2019:

Textile Warrior, artist, seeds for bees:


View of workbench from above. Top left corner is a silver teacup and saucer, bottom left a pink and white striped zippered case with a row counter and stitch markers attached. Right hand side has a snap-lock bag with purple-blue acrylic yarn. Bottom centre is a gold anodised steel hook in a piece of rounded crochet fabric. The tangerine orange yarn is in a skein in the centre. A blue stitch marker is resting on the bench between the skein and the work.
Latest WIP on the workbench.
I'm in love with this colour!

Related Posts on Lupey Loops

Beanies to Berets Exhibition 2019 + Textile Expo: Call for Artists, 6 May 2019:

Installing Anzac Day Crochet at Brighton Jetty, 20 April 2019:

Showtime!, 13 April 2019:

Yarn Review: Amigurumi + Exciting News, 24 March 2019:

Battling Bureaucracy, 3 November 2017:


  1. My goodness what a post, you are so busy. Loved the bees.

    1. It takes one to know one, Lorraine! You seem to have been just as busy filling your days with so many interesting activities.

  2. How do you keep up with everything, Jodie? You are amazing. I've been on two trips, one after the other, and it completely threw me, I'm still struggling to get into my routine. But making time for both Wimbledon and Le Tour :-)

    1. Routine? What's a routine? hehehe I've been at the mercy of forces beyond my control and I cope with it like I cope with a roller coaster ride. Accept the commitment to the ride, hang on tightly and just go with it! If you try to fight it, it won't end well.

      As for keeping up with everything, I certainly DON'T keep up with everything. (You should have seen the clutter building up in my home, especially my desk.) I certainly didn't keep up with the crochet because I was too tired to keep my eyes open. The social life (apart from family) was put on hold too.

      The main trick is to prioritise what's important and urgent and be prepared to let other things go for a while. Sometimes it helped to categorise the different activities and then take turns from day to day to make sure that EITHER at least one thing got done from each category every day OR each day became a focus for a particular category.

      One needs to be extremely clear about the order of priorities and invest in 'thinking'/'planning' time and 'rest' time as much as 'doing'/activity time. May these ideas help you, Amalia. xx

      P.S. I totally endorse making time to enjoy Wimbledon and Le Tour. Haven't they been exciting? The cricket was also remarkable this year.

  3. Love the bees, and you indeed are the 4th busy bee. So nice to catch up on all you have been doing. Children leaving home is not for the faint of heart. I got you, my friend.

    1. Thank you so much for your support, Mary-Anne. I'm now learning about Long-Distance-Parenting! hehe

      The bees have been very popular. I have had a few requests for them - maybe I should take orders but I don't want to make commitments I may not be able to keep with everything going on lately.

      Let's hope that things settle down for a while and that there isn't such a gap between blog entries from now on.

  4. I hope you are busy as a bee with wonderful adventures. Sending you a hug.

    1. Wonderful adventures ... I'm very keen to get back into some more crochet adventures.

      Many hugs for you too (and especially your cute Little Buddy and cheeky waggy-tailed boys). I've enjoyed reading about your latest adventures with so many kind people and interesting places.

      Apologies if I haven't had a chance to mark my visits with comments because I have been using my phone when it has been too tricky to get to the computer. I can comment very easily with the computer but not so much with the phone.

      Wishing you many happy summer days by the pool! xx