For a while now I've had a few projects in mind that revolve around corks. The problem for me is that my husband and I don't drink wine, so they've been left on the back burner. However, my parents-in-law do enjoy wine, and their cork collection had grown so huge (they've collected for years!) they were unsure what to do with them. I helpfully stepped in to take some off their hands :)
You may recognise these little cork knights, as they were based on this pattern by Lucy Ravenscar. I say based because I used a finer yarn (possibly equivalent to 4-ply), a smaller hook, and chunkier corks, so I had to adjust all the row and stitch counts.
The knights were destined as a gift to one of my nephews, but since I know how children love making stories around their toys, I thought they needed someone/something to go with them. Well, what better for knights than a dragon?! I spent ages online trying to find a dragon pattern that I liked that came up small enough... No luck. I tried winging one, but that ended up frogged more than once. In the end I settled on Lucy Ravenscar's (yup, again!) Fierce Little Dragon as a base, and adjusted as I needed. I again used 4-ply and a smaller hook, and I roughly halved the amount of stitches and the number of rows, to create a smaller dragon. I skipped the spines, but decided to trim the wings with a contrast colour, and made up a little tail and mini legs. Fiddly, but worth it.
There are 6 knights in total, each with their own felt shield. I stitched the details on to the shield/attached the shield using pearl thread - it was easier to sew than yarn, but gave more definition than cotton. Their faces are just drawn on with a permanent marker. The crochet is not attached to the corks, but fits really snuggly around them. The corks could be removed, but it won't happen easily.
Anyone who has seen the inside of my house will know that I'm obsessed with keeping packaging from every purchase. I think one of the best things you can do when gifting a homemade item is to package it so it looks shop bought. It raises the quality of the gift and the experience, and it shows you have put time and energy into presentation. This box was packaging from one of my husband's belts, and it just seemed perfect for the toys to cosy up in. I designed "The Knights and The Dragon" text in Photoshop and printed it out to cover the original labeling on the box.
I gifted these Knights and their Dragon to a three year old, and he was thrilled with them. Saying that, his older brothers (7 and 9) didn't put them down for a while either! I think they make good chunky little toys for little hands, and they really are pretty easy to make!