For Make It! Challenge #5, Lisa Egolf challenged me to crochet a sweater for her tortoise, Myrtle, so that he would be easy to spot when she lets him loose to play in the courtyard of the school where she teaches science. “I think bright yet manly colors would be best,” she said, because after all this Myrtle is male (don’t judge). So I set out to design the most masculine turtle sweater I could.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of a beefy, manly turtle, my first thought is of Bowser. If you’re familiar with the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise, you undoubtedly remember Bowser as the game’s super villain. The object of the ’80s Nintendo game is to get the main character Mario through the Mushroom Kingdom, survive Bowser′s attacks, and save Princess Toadstool. Running into Bowser, with his spiny shell, pug nose, and domineering height, is enough to make little Mario shiver.
Myrtle definitely looks like he could do some damage in his Bowser sweater. Go on, Myrtle! Go get your princess and take back your Mushroom Kingdom.
Crochet Bowser Sweater for a Turtle…
Fits a Box Turtle (approximately 5 1/2″ long x 4 3/4″ wide x 2 1/2″ tall)
Size C-2 (2.75 mm) crochet hook
Size 2 (2.75 mm) double-pointed knitting needle
Bright green worsted weight yarn: Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted in Electric Green
White worsted weight yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in White
Golden brown worsted weight yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in Honey
Sewing needle or sewing machine
Step 1: Make 7 hexagons
Hexagons measure 2 1/2″ in diameter.
Using bright green yarn, ch 4, join with slst to 1st ch.
Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), *dc into center, ch 1. Repeat from * 10 more times, join with slst to top of 3-ch. (23)
Round 2: Ch 3, sk next ch sp, *(2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc, ch 1), sk next ch sp. Repeat from * 4 more times. (2 dc, ch 2, dc, ch 1) in next ch sp, join with slst to top of 3-ch. FO and work in ends.
Step 2: Make 7 spikes
Using white yarn, ch 2
Round 1: 4 sc in 2nd ch from hook
Round 2: sc in each st around
Round 3: 2 sc in each st around (8)
Rounds 4-5: sc in each st around
Round 6: *sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, repeat from * 3 more times (12)
Round 7: sc in each st around, slst in next st and FO
Lightly stuff each spike with a bit of Fiberfill and sew one spike onto the center of each hexagon.
Step 3: Make 7 I-cord circles
Using honey yarn, C-2 crochet hook, and a size 2 dpn, crochet 7 I-cords approximately 4″ long.
If this technique is new to you, I recommend this tutorial by Tanya Beckett.
With tapestry needle, sew together the ends of each I-cord to create a circle. Place one circle over each spike and sew to the hexagon. FO and work in ends.
Step 4: Sew shell together
Lay out your turtle shell pieces and sew them together with one hexagon in the center. Also sew eight of the outer edges together as indicated in the diagram below. This will make it three-dimensional.
Step 5: Crochet to fill the gaps at the front and back of the shell
Hold the shell so that the open side is facing away from you. Starting at a front or back corner to the right of the gap, pull up a loop and ch 1. To fill the gap: Sc, hdc, 2 dc, htr, 2 tr, dtr, 2 tr, htr, 2 dc, hdc, sc. See diagram below.
Sc in each st around until you get to the corner at the right of the gap on the other side, and repeat the pattern above to fill the gap. Sc in each st around until you get back to where you started. Join with slst.
Once you sew up the sides and fill in the gaps at the front and back, it should look like this…
Step 6: Add a white border
Switch to white yarn and dc in each st around.
Step 7: Make an elastic band to hold the sweater on the turtle
Cut an 8″ piece of 3/4″-wide elastic. Pin it to the inside bottom edge at the center of the shell, leaving at least 1/2″ allowance. Sew across elastic to attach it to the white border. Fold the elastic over 1/4″ and sew across again.
Hold the shell with the open side facing away from you. With green yarn, pull up a loop in the st just to the right of the elastic. Ch 1 and sc in same st. 3 sc to the other side of the elastic.
Ch 6, wrapping this ch around the back of elastic. Sc in 1st st. Continue sc in rounds until you have crocheted a band around the elastic that is 5 1/2″ long. FO, leaving a long tail for sewing.
As you did on the other side, find the center of the shell, and with green yarn tail from band, sew band to white edge of shell. Tug slightly on the elastic and sew the elastic to the white edge. Fold down the elastic 1/4″ and sew across again. Trim away excess elastic.
Please keep in mind that your turtle or tortoise needs vitamin D from the sun (which he absorbs through his shell) to stay healthy, and limit your use of the sweater to 10 minutes a day under your direct supervision.
Although I don’t make turtle cozies for sale, I know someone who does! Check out talented crochet artist Katie Bradley’s Etsy shop, Mossy Tortoise.