How to Modify a Crochet Pattern — Plus, a Wonder-ful Read

So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been in search of a free dolphin pattern. I couldn’t find anything that matched what I was looking for. I tried making my own, but it was a miserable failure. So, I went into last-resort mode.

I stole.

Actually, I borrowed.

OK, it wasn’t that drastic. I downloaded a free pattern for a whale, and I did a little yarn-tastic surgery, and — voila — I had a cute little dolphin!

I’m going to teach you how I did it.


I started with A la Sascha’s wonderful (and FREE) Sailor Whale pattern. (It’s a real cutie!!) Why did I choose it as the foundation for my dolphin?

1. It’s the general shape that I wanted for my dolphin. I didn’t want a really long tube-like dolphin. I wanted it to be more round and amigurumi-ish.

2. It has the exact tail that I was looking for. That’s the part I knew I wasn’t skilled enough to design myself.

3. I knew I could easily design the missing parts (snout and fins).

If a pattern adheres to these three things, It’ll probably make a great foundation.

I started with two narrow 4 sc rounds for the snout and increased it to 6 sc (sc, inc, sc, inc), and then I worked the rest of the body and tail fins as normal from Rnd 2.

Then, I cooked up a quick little pattern for the top and side fins:

Rnd 1: 4 sc in magic ring

Rnd 2: inc in each st around (8 sc)

Rnd 3: sc in each sc around (8 sc), FO and leave a long tail for sewing.

I stitched them onto the whale’s body and called it a day! Well, I did make Sascha’s adorable little life ring, too. I couldn’t resist.



I also made the little sailor hat, but it has to sit jauntily to the side because of the dorsal fin.


Now, a disclaimer: I would NEVER sell a modified pattern unless I had an agreement of some kind with the original designer that allowed us both to receive credit and/or income. I’d only make a modified pattern for personal use. In this case, the dolphin is a gift for a 10-year-old girl.

Time for novel news!

WonderI finished Emma Donoghue’s “Astray” and then moved on to R. J. Palacio’s children’s novel “Wonder.” I absolutely loved this book. I think all kids should read it. Seriously.

It’s about a young man born with a physical deformity that left him with a hideous-looking face. It’s the kind of face that makes unsuspecting toddlers burst into tears or run away screaming. Literally. At the beginning of the book, the kid (Auggie is his name) tells us, “Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

He’s been home-schooled because of the many surgeries he’s undergone, but now that he’s entering the fifth grade, his parents think it’s time for him to try a “real” school environment.

The book is about how people treat him. Some are mean. Some are kind. Some are kinder than necessary. It’s also about how Auggie deals.

I think the premise is brilliant. I mean, most middle school kids think that everyone is looking at them (imaginary audience syndrome). So, they can all relate to Auggie. Lots of kids think they’re ugly. But poor Auggie actually is ugly. Revolting. But he’s got a heart of gold and a warm, self-deprecating personality that’s immediately and equally disarming and charming.

Can his winning ways overcome his fearsome face? You’ll have to read it to find out. I won’t give anything else away because I want you to read it. READ IT.

I also think it’s great for book-hating kids because the chapters are super short and written in conversational, slangy language. Perfect for restless boys who can’t stand reading. That alone makes it a gem in my estimation. Just to clarify, this is a KID book. It’s not a crossover book like Harry Potter or Hunger Games. I couldn’t put it down, but I also recognized that it’s definitely kiddie material. But so, so, so well done.

Read NPR’s interview with Palacio here. The personal story that inspired the book is touching.


Have you ever modified a crochet pattern? How did it turn out?


Moogly HOHD

7 thoughts on “How to Modify a Crochet Pattern — Plus, a Wonder-ful Read

  1. Pingback: Michelle’s Friday Fav 5 | Book People Studio

  2. I find myself modifying quite a bit and over time it gets easier. Unless I combine patterns I don’t give the details. So for instance I will tell people I got the body from X and the clothing from Y because I think that’s fair. However, if I’ve changed the pattern I don’t feel comfortable sharing the changes as it isn’t my pattern to share.

  3. Pingback: Party 45 Link and Share Wednesday! Oombawka Design Crochet

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