In a KNUTshell
- The Zouwu is approximately 24cm tall and 20cm long.
- Their head, body, arms and legs are crocheted in light brown Paintbox yarn.
- The ends of the legs and claws are crocheted in grey stylecraft yarn.
- Their multicoloured mane is formed by brushing out yarn with a pet comb.
- Their sparkly golden eyes are hand-painted and attached with safety backs.
- Each Zouwu will come with a custom book-page badge, as with all other SPEW Crew beasties.
- They are stuffed with recycled polyester filling.
- Crochet beasties are made to order, so please allow 4-6 weeks from the point of adoption, before they are ready to fly free.
If any Beastie is worthy of that "fantastic" adjective, it's the Zouwu! From the moment I saw her pounce onto the cinema screen in 2018, my Witchcrafting heart similarly leaped higher than a Hogwarts tower. For all my mixed feelings about the the film itself, the Zouwu alone was worth the cinema ticket! What's more, as a passionate animal advocate, it was the Zouwu who inspired one of Newt's finest lines from the entire FB series so far: "she was born to run."
In a KNUTshell, it's safe to say that the Zouwu left me utterly entranced. Yet it’s for this very reason that I delayed attempting to crochet one for so long - I simply didn’t think that I could ever do her justice. From the mane to the tail, there is something so extraordinary - almost otherworldly - about her, and how could one girl and her crochet hook truly capture that magic?
Yet after receiving so many requests over the years, I decided to just give it a go and see what happens. Worst comes to worst, it joins my ever-growing box of half-finished projects and no one need ever know! Hence the reason that I decided to #keepthesecrets before I finished the head. On that note...
The Design Story
As I said above, I started with the head. I worked this from front to back, gently increasing out along the bottom/sides first to get the muzzle shaping, before working steeply upwards to get a nice “platform” for the eyes. In terms of eye colour, I felt that the majestic “gold rush” polish that I use for my demiguise was meant to bee! I adore how it shifts from gold to orange depending on the light. However, unlike my demiguise, I actually kept the "cat eyes" as cat eyes and didn't turn them round so the iris is horizontal The Zouwu is a cat, after all!
The two hardest details were the fangs and the mane. With the former, I initially crocheted flat triangles, but they felt a bit too cartoonish, so I found the tiniest hook I own (2mm) and crocheted 3 stitches in a round to make them 3D. Each one took 10 mins and I nearly gave up many times, yet I solemnly swear it was worth it. It's one of my favourite details, and proof that those small, seemingly inconsequential design choices truly can make all the difference.
As for the mane… I attached dozens upon dozens of yarn strands around the head, then used a pet comb to brush this out. Then, in order to create the illusion of it lighting up (as in the film), I added a few strands of orange eyelash yarn, which your mad-eye should be able to spy in the close up photos. All together, creating the mane was almost as time-consuming a task as the actual crochet; however, as with my fangs, I don't regret a second of it!
Onto the body, I based this loosely on my Mooncalf pattern, which is worked from the bottom up. This involves crocheting the legs and underbelly first, before joining them together in a foundation round and working upwards to form the body. The one slight difference - alongside the claws on the feet - was a much wider underbelly. This made the shaping more cat-like, as the Mooncalf is very upright and my original Zouwu ended up looking like a horse!
Similarly, while my mooncalf neck extends vertically up from the body, I wanted my Zouwu neck to be more horizontal. I therefore drew inspiration from the arms/legs of my nifflers and used chain/skip stitches to form a little opening in the main piece. I then finished working the body, before joining a new strand of yarn at this opening to crochet a little neck. All that was left to do was attach the head to this and - voila - my Zouwu was able to leave the 'headless hunt' behind!
After all this time, she was almost ready to tell her tale, but there was one thing missing... the tail! And I don't say that lightly. The Zouwu tail is such a “statement feature” in the films, and it was a fine balance between getting lots of volume, while still being soft & swishy - my inspiration? A Jellyfish! Well, a crochet jellyfish to be precise. I made one many years ago, and always loved how the 'legs' go into spirals - thanks to making multiple stitches in each chain, so it bunches up.
Yet I also knew that just one of these “legs” wouldn’t create the volume I wanted - and I didn’t want to have separate spirals… the solution? Working along the other side of the chain in a different colour and using a double crochet stitch, rather than a single one. The result was enough volume to truly stand out, while still feeling light and graceful. I particularly love the darker shade of pink, as it is more of an earthy tone and therefore blends in nicely with the other colours.
All in all, I am so happy with how she came out, if a little amazed that I managed it. There were so many times when I doubted myself, but this project has reminded me that a bit of faith (and felix felicis) can go a long way!
As with all other Spew Crew beasties, each Zouwu is handmade to my own pattern, so is 100% exclusive to Bumble and Be. As they are made-to-order, it means that no two will be quite the same, but I like to think that is part of their magic - just like an Ollivander wand!
Every single Zouwu adopted will also come with their own exclusive adoption card and "beastie book badge", which I make from the secondhand pages of Harry Potter books. Before your beastie flies off to you, I will ask if you have a name in mind and - if so - put this onto the adoption card. On that note, this name will often form the basis for the book badge too; for example, past customers have called their beasties Luna, Wheezy and Rhubarb, so I have chosen passages with these words included!
My makes are inspired by the Wizarding World, but are unlicensed and have no affiliation with Warner Bros/JK Rowling.