A few months ago I made some applique birds for a yarn bombing project (see below). The cockatoos were particularly popular – I think it’s because they can be seen everywhere around the suburbs of Melbourne – so I wanted to share the pattern with you.
Yarn bombing project by Yarn Corner installed in Mooroolbark, in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs.
I’ve always really liked sulphur* crested cockatoos. My sister adopted a pet cockatoo named Harry when I was about 10 years old. Harry was a real character, who spoke and danced (and sometimes screeched!). While I would normally say that wild birds should be left in the wild, Harry had spent his whole life in captivity and would not have survived on his own in the wild. We were never certain how old Harry was as he had had at least 3 previous owners, but he lived with my sister for ~25 years, until he sadly passed away a few years back. [Did you know that cockatoos can live ~40 years in the wild or 70+ years in captivity? A cockatoo living in a wildlife sanctuary in Hobart even got a letter from the Queen in 2014 when it turned 100.] So of course when I came to naming this pattern, it had to be called Harry.
*Note that as a chemist, I really wanted to spell this “sulfur” which is the correct IUPAC spelling of the element with atomic number 16, but it seems that ‘sulphur’ is the correct spelling when it comes to the cockatoo with a yellow coloured crest.
This pattern can be used with any small scraps of yarn you have(~4-6 g), just keep them all the same weight/thickness. You want your tension to be somewhat tight so there’s no big gaps in the finished applique, so go down one hook size from what you’d normally use.
- 8 ply (DK) weight yarn in 100% cotton, less than 5 g of white, and less than 1 g each of yellow and grey
- 3.5 mm hook
Stitches (US Crochet terms)
- DC = double crochet
- DC2tog = decreasing, DC two stitches together
- HDC = half double crochet
- magic ring tutorial
- SC = single crochet
- sl st = slip stitch
- st(s) = stitch(es)
- TR = treble (or triple) crochet
- yo = yarn over
- Finished size: approximately 10 cm x 5 cm (~5 x 2.5 inches)
- Pattern uses US crochet terms
- where the pattern states: “2 SC, SC” this means work 2 SC in the first stitch, and one SC in the next stitch
- repeat sections between *…* the number of times indicated
- The number of stitches in each row is indicated in the square brackets […]
- you can add this pattern to your Ravelry queue
using white yarn, start working in the round
Row 1: Magic ring, ch 2, work 15 DC into the ring, join with a sl st to the 1st DC, and close magic ring [15 DC]
Row 2: sl st into 2nd and 3rd sts, 2 SC, SC, 2 HDC, HDC, *2 DC, DC* repeat x4 (NB – the work is NOT a circle shape at the end of this row) [3 sl st, 3 SC, 3 HDC, 12 DC = 21 sts]
Row 3: ch 1, *SC into the side of the last DC from row 2* repeat x2, SC in the next 4 sts, 2 SC, skip 1 st, 7 DC in the next st (this forms the head), skip 1 st, sl st in next 2 sts, 2 SC, SC, 2 HDC, HDC, 2 DC, DC, 2 TR, TR, 2 TR, TR, TR into chain from start of row 3 [2 sl st, 11 SC, 3 HDC, 10 DC, 7 TR = 33 sts]
At this point, you’ve finished the main part of the body, and will start working back and forth to create the tail:
Row 4: ch 2, turn the work, DC in the next 3 sts [4 sts – ch 2 counts as first DC]
Row 5: ch 2, turn the work, DC in the next 3 sts [4 sts – ch 2 counts as first DC]
Row 6: ch 2, turn the work, DC, DC2tog [3 sts – ch 2 counts as first DC]
Cut yarn – but leave a LONG tail for sewing applique onto finished item
using white yarn, start working in the round
Row 1: Magic ring, ch 1, work 8 SC into the ring, join with a sl st to the 1st SC, and close magic ring [8 SC]
Row 2: sl st into 2nd and 3rd sts, 2 SC, SC, 2 HDC, 2DC, 2 TR (NB – the work is NOT a circle shape at the end of this row) [3 sl st, 3 SC, 2 HDC, 2 DC, 2 TR = 12 sts]
Cut yarn but leave a long enough tail to sew wing to the body.
Using yellow yarn, join in the first DC at the back of the head (the right-hand side of the head with the right side of the body facing you)
1st Crest: ch 5, sl st into 3rd and 2nd ch, sl st into the top of the DC where you joined [5 ch, 3 sl st]
2nd Crest: sl st to next DC on the head, ch 6, sl st into 4th and 1st ch, sl st into the top of the DC where you started the 2nd crest [6 ch, 4 sl st]
3rd Crest: sl st to next DC on the head, ch 7, sl st into 4th and 1st ch, sl st into the top of the DC where you started the 3rd crest [7 ch, 4 sl st]
4th Crest: sl st to next DC on the head, ch 9, sl st into 6th, 4th and 2nd ch, sl st into the top of the DC where you started the 2nd crest [9 ch, 5 sl st]
Cut yarn and weave in tails or you can leave the tails for sewing down the crest on the finished applique, if you want it to be completely flat. For the yarn bombing project, the crest was not sewn down which gave a nice 3D effect.
Using grey yarn, join in the last DC at the front of the head, with the right side of the body facing you
top of beak: ch 4, sl st into 3rd and 1st ch, sl st into the top of the DC where you joined [4 ch, 3 sl st]
bottom of beak: sl st to next DC, ch 4, turn the work, sl st into 1st ch, sl st into the top of the DC in the centre of the beak [4 ch, 2 sl st]
Cut yarn and weave in tails or you can leave the tails for sewing down the beak on the finished applique, if you want it to be completely flat. For the yarn bombing project, the beak was not sewn down which gave a nice 3D effect.
You can use a safety eye like this or I like to make my own with a scrap of black yarn: take a piece of yarn ~15-20 cm long and tie a knot in the middle; position the knot on the right side of the applique and use a needle or crochet hook to pull each tail separately through to the back side. Tie in place and secure loose tails.
If you enjoyed this pattern I’d love to see your finished appliques – you can post photos on social media tagging me using #motherbunchcrochet or @FrankstonHooker on Instagram.