With the holidays behind us, and after a few unusual (for me) crochet projects, I’m back into the swing of things with this sweet Tortoise pattern. AND, since this pattern has some tapestry crochet involved (as do many of my patterns), I decided it was time that I finally made a video showing how I do colour-changes in my projects.
There’s not much more to say about Tilly the Tortoise, honestly. I’m not sure why I was inspired to make a tortoise, but she suddenly popped into my head one day and so here we are! She is fairly small compared to some of my other patterns, which means she would make a great pattern to size down into a keychain-sized amigurumi by simply sizing down in hook and yarn size.
Let’s get started! (Or Pin for later!)
As usual, this pattern is made in the same style as our Ragdoll patterns; separate pieces worked in flat rows and then joined together to give them that unique 2-D look. Tilly has 10 separate pieces (however, she would look super cute with some added flowers if you were so inclined!) As mentioned, this pattern incorporates the tapestry crochet technique as well and has some colour-work involved. If you’d like to see how I do the colour changes in my patterns, check out the video below!
The finished measurements are approximately 26cm/10″ across and 10cm/4″ from top to bottom.
I encourage you to read everything thoroughly before beginning, particularly if you don’t have a lot of experience with tapestry crochet.
Here’s what I used:
**If you’d prefer a downloadable or printable version of this pattern, an inexpensive, formatted, and ad-free PDF can be purchased HERE.**
- 3.5mm hook (I use THESE hooks!);
- Bernat Handicrafter in Chamomile (less than 50g);
- Bernat Handicrafter in Coral Rose (less than 50g);
- Bernat Handicrafter in Aloe Vera (less than 50g);
- Black crochet thread for eyes and mouth;
- Tapestry needle
Reading this Pattern and Colour Changes:
Everything is worked in single crochet stitches. So, in order to indicate the colour-changes, I have omitted the usual “sc” in front of the stitch counts in any lines with colour-changes and I’ve used the associated colour letter instead. For example, “Ldec” means to work a sc decrease in light pink (Chamomile) yarn. “D5, L2” means to work the next 5 sc in dark pink (Coral Rose) and the next 2 sc in light pink, and so on.
Due to the colour-changes, you will have at least two skeins or balls of yarn attached to your project at once. You can also cut down on carrying your yarn by taking one skein of yarn and separating it into several smaller balls.
The bonus part of the colour-changes in an amigurumi is that you don’t have to worry about what the back of your panels look like! This is why I carry my yarn on the back instead of carrying it inside the stitch as you go. It prevents any colours from bleeding through where they shouldn’t. As long as you always carry your yarn on the back of your panel, you won’t have to weave in any ends and you’ll have a beautiful smooth front with clear lines and colours.
When changing colours, you will insert your hook into the stitch for the last stitch of Colour A and pull up a loop. Then, with Colour B, yarn over and complete the stitch by pulling through both loops with Colour B. Drop your working yarn in Colour A and continue with Colour B. You will pick your Colour A working yarn back up again on the way back in the next row when you need it.
*Make sure to always drop your yarn on the WRONG side of your panel!* When you’re working on odd-numbered rows, your right side will be facing you. When you’re working on even-numbered rows, the wrong side will be facing you. So, when you are working on a row where the wrong side of the panel is facing you, you will have to make a conscious effort to pull your yarn toward you to the wrong side of the panel when dropping your yarn during a colour-change. This is because it will naturally drop to the side furthest away from you if you don’t.
Check out the video to see me changing colours in action!
L – Light pink (Chamomile)
D – Dark pink (Coral Rose)
Stitches and Special Terms:
Ch – Chain
Slst – Slipstitch
Sc – Single crochet
Inc – Increase. Work 2 sc in the same st.
Dec – Decrease. Work a regular sc decrease.
BLO – Back Loops Only
FLO – Front Loops Only
Picot – Ch 3 and slst into first ch
Shell (make 2 panels) starting in Light Pink:
The panels are worked from the bottom up.
*Ch 1 and turn at the end of each row*
Row 1: Ch 30, sc across (29 sts)
Row 2: Inc, 27, inc (31 sts)
Row 3: Sc across (31 sts)
Row 4: Dec, sc 27, dec (29 sts)
Now we will start incorporating the colour-work on the shell.
Row 5: In BLO, D10, L9, D10 (29 sts)
Row 6: Ddec, D8, L2, D5, L2, D8, Ddec (27 sts)
Row 7: L1, D7, L2, D7, L2, D7, L1 (27 sts)
Row 8: L2, D5, L2, D9, L2, D5, L2 (27 sts)
Row 9: Ldec, L7, D9, L7, Ldec (25 sts)
Row 10: Ldec, L6, D9, L6, Ldec (23 sts)
Row 11: Ddec, D4, L2, D7, L2, D4, Ddec (21 sts)
Row 12: Ddec, D4, L2, D5, L2, D4, Ddec (19 sts)
Row 13: Ddec, D3, L9, D3, Ddec (17 sts)
Row 14: Ddec, D2, L9, D2, Ddec (15 sts)
Row 15: Ddec, L3, D5, L3, Ddec (13 sts)
Row 16: Ldec, L1, D7, L1, Ldec (11 sts)
Tie off. Put aside for assembly later. Repeat rows 1-16 for the back shell panel, EXCEPT in Row 5, you will be crocheting in the FLO instead of the BLO, since your wrong and right sides will be the opposite from the front panel.
Head (make 2 panels) in Aloe Vera:
*Ch 1 and turn at the end of each row. The head is worked from the bottom up.*
Row 1: Ch 7, sc across (6 sts)
Row 2: Sc 4, inc twice (8 sts)
Row 3: Inc twice, sc 5, inc (11 sts)
Row 4: Sc 10, inc (12 sts)
Row 5: Inc, sc 10, inc (14 sts)
Row 6: Sc 13, inc (15 sts)
Rows 7-8: Sc across (15 sts)
Row 9: Sc 14, inc (16 sts)
Rows 10-13: Sc across (16 sts)
Row 14: Dec, sc 12, dec (14 sts)
Row 15: Sc 12, dec (13 sts)
Row 16: Dec twice, sc 7, dec (10 sts)
Row 17: Dec, sc 4, dec twice (7 sts)
Tie off. Repeat rows 1-17 for second panel.
Add the face to your tortoise by stitching on an eye and a mouth using black crochet thread onto the front panel of the head. I also used a little of the Coral Rose yarn to stitch on a cheek beneath the eye.
Then place both panels together. In Aloe Vera yarn, ch 1 and single crochet around the outside of the panels. (Sc, ch, sc) in the bottom point. Stuff once you’ve crocheted about two-thirds of the way around. Close with a slst to beginning st. Put aside for assembly later.
Legs (make 4 panels in twos as explained below) in Aloe Vera:
*Ch 1 and turn at the end of each row.*
Row 1: Ch 9, sc across (8 sts)
Rows 2-3: Sc across (8 sts)
Tie off. Repeat rows 1-3 for second panel. Place both panels together. In Aloe Vera yarn, ch 1 and single crochet around the outside of the panels. (Sc, ch, sc) in each corner. Stuff once you’ve crocheted about two-thirds of the way around. Close with a slst to beginning st. Repeat for second leg. Put aside for assembly later.
Tail (make 2 panels) in Aloe Vera:
Row 1: Ch 9, sc across (8 sts)
Row 2: Inc, sc 5, dec (8 sts)
Row 3: Dec, sc 5, inc (8 sts)
Row 4: Inc, sc 5, dec (8 sts)
Tie off. Repeat rows 1-4 for second panel. Place both panels together. In Aloe Vera yarn, ch 1 and single crochet around the outside of the panels. (Sc, picot, sc) in the tip of the tail. Stuff once you’ve crocheted about two-thirds of the way around. Close with a slst to beginning st. Put aside for assembly later.
Move on to assembly below!
Tail, Legs and Head
Here are all the pieces you now have for assembly:
Cut four lengths of Light Pink (chamomile) yarn approximately 30cm/15″ long. Set these aside for later.
Place the two shell panels together, matching up all sides.
**Make sure the front of your tortoise is facing you as you crochet around the outside.**
Starting on the left side (as shown in the second pic above), begin attaching the panels together by chaining one and single crocheting around the outside of the panels in Light Pink.
Stop before you get to the bottom of the shell. Pull up a long loop and leave this for now.
With a length of yarn that you set aside earlier, place the tail between the panels of the shell and attach by sewing through all three pieces; the back shell panel, the tail, and the front shell panel. Tie the yarn tails in a knot inside the panels of the shell to secure.
Continue crocheting around. When you get to the tail, simply crochet in the stitches of the front panel only, since this portion is already sewn shut.
Stop after two or three stitches along the bottom of the shell. Place the first leg and sew it in place the same way you did for the tail.
Continue crocheting around. Remember, when you get to the leg, you will crochet in the stitches of the front panel only. Crochet both panels together as usual when you get past the leg.
Crochet about 5 more stitches along the bottom of the shell. Stop and pull up a long loop. Place the second leg and sew it in place the same way you did for the first.
Continue crocheting across the bottom of the shell. Stop when you get to the end of the shell and pull up a long loop. Now you will place the head and sew it in place. You will be sewing the straight edge of the bottom half of the head between the panels of the shell, as seen in the third photo above.
Continue crocheting around until you get to the top of the shell. You should now have a small opening in the shell at the top. Stuff the shell.
When you’re satisfied, continue crocheting around. Close with a slst to first st. Tie off. With your tapestry needle, poke the yarn tail back inside the piece.
That’s it! Enjoy!
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9 thoughts on “Tilly the Tortoise Free Crochet Pattern”
Your patterns are the Best! She’s adorable! Thank you for the hard work in putting this tutorial all together 😚
Adorable turtle. Thanks for sharing this clear pattern.
Have a great day, Margaret
Oh my! How absolutely adorable! I love your choice of colors and the pattern in the shell is over the top!
What a cute little guy !! Thank you for the video. I’m new to tapestry so it really encouraged me that I’m on the right track. Working on those cute deer sweaters right now…lots of good color changing practice 😁
Oh, that’s great to hear! I’m so glad it was helpful! Looking forward to seeing your deer when they’re all done! 😄
I so admire all of your creations! I hope i can be just as good .. love love the heart … i also tried your unicorn it was amazing. I didnt think i could do it but your ragdoll editions are so user friendly. Thank you for sharing! I have one question if you dont sell all your creations what do you do with them??? Im beginning to have a collection of crochet stuff with nowhere to store them😂.
Thank you, Jeannette! I must admit, my collection of crochet creations is starting to get out of hand! I have them stored in big plastic tubs at the moment, with some of my favourites on display. But I might have to start finding new homes for them soon!