Amigurumi

The Willendorf Venus (11 cm)

Willendorf_VenusI-crochetedb

Also known as Venus in Schatulle (engl.: Venus in casket) or Venus I is one of the most prominent archaeological findings in history. The estimated 29.500 years old piece of lime rock was found about 109 years ago in the Austrian Wachau Region (Lower Austria) and is currently located in the Natural History Museum (NHM) in Vienna [1]. Facts aside, if you are a history lover, a cultural assets’ collector or always wanted to have a Willendorf Venus at home without actually having to rob the NHM, you can now make your very own crochet Venus following my pattern below; for a jail-free curriculum vitae and a naked, 11 cm (like the original!) decoration at home.

I included a wire in the body (for the arms and legs). If you want to work without a wire, sew the arms to the breasts at the end of your work to make it look like the original.

What do you need:

  • a fine to super fine yarn (at a recommended hook size of 2-2.5 mm; I used a hook size of 2.0 mm); to resemble the original, I tried a lime-paint styled colour
  • additional curly yarn (bouclé or homespun) for her headgear. It is unknown whether she wears a headgear of basketwork or short curly hair. Thus, I used a beige coloured twisted yarn at a recommended hook size of 6-7 (e.g. Woll Butt Adela) and tried to make it look like it could fit for both
  • (wiring)
  • some wadding
  • tapestry needle
  • scissors

Skill level: easy

Get the free pattern for crochet Willendorf Venus here (last update: 01.08.2018).

Note: the pattern is written in US crochet terminology

Willendorf_VenusI-c
The crochet Venus in comparison to the original Willendorf Venus
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97 comments

    1. Brilliant ❤️ This is fabulous Trisha,I’m trying to work out whether this is made in English or American crochet as the instructions are slightly different i.e. Single crochet differs from the outset. Thanks 🙏🏼 very much

      1. Thank you! It’s thoroughly in US crochet terminology. I’ll add the info to the pattern description, thx for the hint!

    1. Here is a lengthy, detailed, article claiming that it is a cap, and that there are many other similar examples of prehistoric carvings. https://www.unl.edu/rhames/%EE%80%80courses%EE%80%81/current/venus1.pdf
      “The head of the Willendorf figurine offers the clearest
      evidence that what we see here is a depiction of headgear—a
      fiber-based woven cap or hat—rather than a
      hairdo, as posited by scholars from Sollas (1924 [1911])
      onward, or a cap made of shells, as suggested by Abramova
      (1960). Our close examination of this specimen
      shows a spirally or radially hand-woven item which may
      be initiated by a knotted center in the manner of some
      kinds of coiled baskets (see Adovasio 1977: figs. 99a–b).
      The technique represented is a two-element structure in
      which an apparently flexible, horizontal foundation element
      or warp is vertically wrapped with stem stitches.”

      1. Me too. The first time I saw her, I realised I,too, am a Venus. I am still one ,even after a bilateral mastectomy. My little Venus gives me courage to be me.
        .

    1. Glad you like it! Write me anytime in case you have questions regarding the pattern

  1. Magical. Thoroughly impressed with your pattern instructions, and you captured the essence of the Willendorf Venus beautifully. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I’m having trouble figuring out how to connect the legs. Are there any more detailed instructions?

    1. I admit the connection part of my instruction isn’t very precise. I’m doing to correct that. Perhaps, this explanation helps for now: on the pics between the 10th+11th rd in the pattern, the Venus’s knees are facing you. Thus, the 1st leg is to your left (the Venus’s right), the leg you finish with is to your right (the Venus’s left). When stitching both legs together, you work from the direction of the Venus’s butt to the knees. You can do the conn sts anyhow, important is: from the last sc of the leg you finish with (the Venus’s left), stitch through a sc of the other leg (the Venus’s right), I then added a ch st to facilitate further stitching, and work 3 more sc backwards (in the direction of the knees), sc stitching through both legs at once. You finish at the level in-between her knees and continue with the 11th rd, starting from the Venus’s right. Does that help?

      1. Yes it did! Although one of the knees is facing out but next time I’ll just move it a few stitches. Thanks!

      2. is there a video tutorial? I’m finding it hard to understand the instructions. I’m a visual person. I do love this little lady.

        1. Hi namesake! I don’t (yet) have a video tutorial of the Venus, but I updated the pattern to include a crochet chart; also, I just found a mistake I made in the stitch count of Rd 11 (it’s 48, not 46), perhaps that’s causing the troubles?! Please, have a look if the crochet diagram makes it better to understand; I won’t be able to make time for a video tutorial anytime soon, but I plan on adding one

  3. What size crochet hook do you use for the body? I’m sure it’s in there somewhere…this pattern is genius, and you’re a treasure for sharing it. <3

    1. I’m glad you like it! I actually didn’t have my hook size in there, I edited it into the pattern now as well, thank you for the hint. I used a 2.0 mm hook size to create a dense pattern

  4. I love this so much! I don’t crochet though- anyone up for making a knitted version?

  5. Very impressive and I love how it is related to an actual piece of historic art. Can’t wait to try making this one. Thank you for sharing your time, your talent and your creativity, as well as some historical information. Hope to see more items like this from you.

    1. Thank you! Seeing this piece getting so much attention even from non-crocheters (who then want to try it) does motivate me to think of similar projects.
      Feel free to get in touch with me any time in case you have questions regarding the pattern!

  6. This is great, one thing though she isn’t white, her “headgear” as you call it is her hair, she s black which has long been ignored by the white men who wrote about her.

    1. The lead author of the lengthy article I quoted above about her cap, if that’s what it is, was a woman, though admittedly, she may well be white, I don’t know. And, full disclosure: I am a white man. But I apologize for turning this partly into an argument about interpreting archaeological artifacts. I’ve always liked the Venus of Willendorf, and I love your crocheted Venus, whatever that is on her head!

      1. I find the article interesting and well placed here, as well as any other form of contribution and own interpretations from archaeological connoisseurs, thank you for sharing it! At least, a discussion about historic culture motivates others and me to dig in deeper into current research, and that’s good

    2. Thank you for the hint! I edited the skin-colour out. If she’s black, then it makes sense, though, that the headgear is actually her hair

  7. A friend posted this on FB for me. How perfect! Can’t wait to try it, thank you. My profile pic is of the Willendorf Venus in a Wonder Woman costume LOL

  8. My archeologist husband and his professional friends all want one of these! I’ll be busy for a while! GREAT pattern!

    1. Thx! Hope your husband doesn’t have so many of such friends?! 😉
      Then, happy crochet and write me any time in case you get stuck

  9. I think scholars try to analyze simplicity, why not just enjoy the piece of art, possibly made by a child in their eyes.

    1. Hmm, good question, I didn’t really take notice of that. It was less than a standard yarn ball of 50g. Probably some 30-35g…

  10. You are a godess for doing this!! Can’t wait to make several! Thank you sooooo much!!!

  11. Waiting for your pattern of a lifesize. Michelangelo’s David! Keep up the good work

  12. My husband who is a sculptor made a ceramic version of the venus while at university; I’ve told him a crochet one is his next birthday present to sit next to his on the bookshelf. And for all my girlfriends too. She’s fabulous!

    1. How lovely! I hope I get to see the result of both the ceramic and the crochet version

  13. Hello,

    I’m attempting to make this pattern but I’m afraid I don’t know a what you mean by curly yarn. I’m American and don’t have the brand you mentioned.

    Is it like a homespun yarn?

    1. ME too. More like many of us than the fashion industry believes or would have us believe. Through the years, she has helped me a lot. My husband says she is somebody’s sweety. I like that.

  14. hello lovely people. just ,y friend shared with me about you and was interested to ask how can i get to you where it is located and is it actually a fair?! let me to know that and kindly appreciate your information. XXX Regards, Dafinka

    1. Hi Dafinka, this is a blog operated from Austria, by me, offering crochet ideas and patterns, such as the Willendorf Venus here, to any person interested in crocheting. I do not own a shop, nor am I taking part in any fair. If you want to get in touch with me, you can write me an email anytime under the menu item ‘contact’. Best regards, Trisha

  15. Oh, this is just marvelous. Thank you. Four separate friends shared it to my Facebook timeline – and every one of them wants one. What a terrific thing you’ve made here!

    1. Thank you! Hope you don’t lose the fun at crocheting after your 4th Venus 😉

  16. Quick question….at the end of each rounfpd, dot you join with a slip stitch, chain one then count the chain as an sc?

    1. No, I didn’t, just went along with the sc. But you can st how you prefer, of course

  17. This is wonderful – thank you so much for sharing this! I’m so eager to make it that I won’t even wait to find boucle yarn, and might just embroider her hair/headgear in French knots….

  18. The pattern won’t print. Any suggestions? I thought it was my printer, but no.

    1. Hmm, now that’s new to me. The Adobe pdf is entirely open (no protection mode), so you should be able to print it on any device… if the issue hasn’t been resolved, you could print screenshots of the pages instead?

  19. Trish, thank you so much for sharing your divine (sorry, couldn’t resist a goddess pun) pattern, and taking the extra time and trouble to put it in US terms. Brilliant!

  20. Hi. I am confused about the stitch count at the end of round 11. If each leg has 19 stitches and 4 of them overlap when they are joined, the round starts with 34 stitches: The stitch increase is 16 so the total would be 50. Please help. I’m trying to make this as a gift. Thanks:

    1. Hi! When you connect both legs (of each 19 sc) by overall 4 sts, hence 4 sc overlap, you lose 4 sc on both legs, not just on one leg; that gives you 15 remaining sc on each leg (in total 30 sc, not 34). Then, in the 11th rd, you increase every 2nd st on both legs, each time starting with an inc st, resulting in 23 sc on each leg (15 sc + 8 inc sts per leg), that is in total 46 sc by the end of the 11th rd. Does this help? Should I send you an illustration for additional guidance?

      1. Thanks for the quick reply. This makes total sense. Apparently I shouldn’t be working on this when I am running on a sleep deficit. I understand but an illustration will help. Thanks again.

      2. Trishagurumi I am having SO MUCH trouble with the legs joining to the body, and to make it worse, I am a left handed crocheter so I have to flip everything in my head to my hands. What I am doing.. I have both my legs (separated because I have a cat that ate through my yarn) I slip stitched to readd my thread and joing the legs together, and if my math is right, I am doing 6 ss from bottom to knee direction, joining the two legs together. Then I move on to step 11. And that is where it goes wonky. I am in the same boat – I can go around the whole waist inc every other ss, and still not even hit the 40 count mark. I know my legs have the right stitch count, as I redid them twice with markers to show my rounds and counts. Are you adding in the stitches to join the legs together? Are you making a figure 8, or a 0 when you are doing step 11? How are you managing to hit 46? Thank you. I might need a better illustration, or a video? do you have that?

        1. Hi Jody! Oh my, I just realized I made a small mistake in my stitch counts (its 48, not 46). I have updated the pattern and included a crochet chart. Does that help?

          Basically, after Rd 10, each leg has 19 sc. After the connection, you lose 4 sc on each leg because you sc-connect in 4 sts going through both legs at once. Thus, after the connection, you have got 15 sc per leg left, instead of 19.
          In the 11th Rd, you inc every 2nd st, starting from the increase, thus, you have to increase 8-times on each leg (to get 15+8=23 sc per leg). I, then, also sc stitched on each side of the “bridge” (the connection part in-between the legs) to have a smooth transition (+2). After Rd 11, I, thus, get 48 sts (2x 23 sc per leg + 2 sc on the bridge). Is that somehow clearer now?

          1. I will give it a try asap and let you know. It sounds more clear, I have hopes!

    1. It’s cheaper and more fun though if you give it a try to crochet your own one 🙂 I’ll gladly help you with it!

  21. Quick questions. For the legs I don’t get 8 stitches when I do round 2. I keep getting 7 after increasing each 2nd stich. Is this an error or am I doing something wrong? Thank you

    1. Hi Rachel, you start Rd 2 with an inc st, hence: inc, 1 sc, inc, 1 sc, inc (8)

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