Crocheted monkey, elephant, octopus and dinosaur rattles (photo courtesy of Leah Hurt)
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Hey Babe Crochet Co.

Leah Hurt crafts adorable rattles and other endearing items that are perfect for the new mom in your life.

Leah Hurt is hooked on crochet. Her Etsy shop, Hey Babe Crochet Co., reflects her passion for stitching adorable animal rattles — from caterpillars and dinosaurs to monkeys and giraffes. Hurt didn’t grow up crocheting, but in 2013, the upcoming birth of her first child spurred an impulse to get creative.

“When I got pregnant with my son … I just had this urge to make him things,” she says. “I didn’t know how to crochet. I didn’t know how to knit … but I wanted to basically be able to make him a little newborn hat for the hospital.”

After watching YouTube tutorials and struggling to get the hang of crocheting in time, the hat never materialized, but the urge to do so remained strong. Hurt tried again shortly after the birth of her son and fell in love with the craft. Friends began asking if she would make accessories for their children, and in 2019, Hurt launched her Etsy shop.

Although Hurt does take on custom projects, the bulk of her work is a zoo full of animal-themed rattles. She begins by choosing the optimal yarn for each project to pair with her supply of natural wood rings. She crochets every animal by hand and often lets her customers’ reactions determine which cuddly critter she creates next. Her own little ones have a say in the process, too.

“My daughter just turned 5,” Hurt says. “She snatches up anything I make. She can tell me right away, ‘I love that one’ … [She] gives me a lot of input.”

Crocheting, she adds, is a slow process, and it can take up to a week or so to complete a high-quality finished piece. Still, Hurt loves to assemble items to sell at maker events in Columbus, which she counts among the highlights of her crafting journey so far.

“Columbus has such a good scene for makers markets,” she says. “I would go to those and just dream of having my own little booth there.” 

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