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Harriet The Big Dragon

After finishing Franklin the black panther, I picked up the momma dragon pieces and decided to make it my next “in process” amigurumi to complete.

I started the crocheting of the pieces for this dragon with the legs. After crocheting the legs and attaching them together, I started crocheting the body. I kept crocheting and crocheting and crocheting. Was this body ever going to end? Was the body alone going to take a whole skein of yarn?

I had crocheted about half of the body when I decided I had better start stuffing the body before I could no longer reach the legs. So, I started stuffing, and I kept stuffing and stuffing, and stuffing. Was I going to use a whole bag of stuffing to stuff the body of this dragon? Even with stuffing the body relatively flat in shape, I was still using a lot of stuffing.

A little flustered by the crocheting and the stuffing of the legs and body, I stopped working on them and crocheted and stuffed the arms, hoping that a break from the body would help me feel better about finishing it when I started working on it again. It did not. I felt like I was never going to finish the body. By the time I finally got the legs and body of this dragon done, I had grown very weary of crocheting this dragon.

And so I put this amigurumi aside and started another one.

Now, the time had come to finish this amigurumi. After all the crocheting I had done to complete the legs and body, it was easy to crochet and stuff the rest of the pieces for this dragon. Assembly of this dragon went smoothly but took extra time due to all the little pieces the dragon had to have stitched on, like the horns, spikes, tail, body spot, ears and wings. I believe the assembly went so smoothly because the the majority of the stuffing was already done and it was fun to see the dragon develop as the the extra pieces were added.

Once the dragon was completed, I fell in love with her. The long slender body was complimented by the small size of the spikes, wings and horns. The combination just looked so cute. This large dragon was not named until the completion of the baby dragon but that is a story for the next post. Stay tuned to read that story.

Until then, crochet forth and big momma dragon on!

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A Monstrous Amount of Scrambled Eggs – Part 2

DSCN0150When it came time to add the eyes to my Egg Monsters, my creative mind was totally overwhelmed. The pattern called for a three layered felt eye. I tried this on the first monsters I made, the purple ones. The layered eyes were fun to design but they took a lot of work and time to complete. I am certainly not skilled at cutting circles in felt. As I started to cut out the eyes for the next set of monsters, I thought of the many wiggle eyes that I had stashed away in the closet.

They would work Perfectly!

DSCN0130Over the years I have purchased a larger and larger variety of these googly wiggle eyes. I have many sizes, shapes and colors to choose from. So I grabbed the tape from my desk and started placing different sized and colored eyes on the egg monsters. What fun! I wanted a three eyed monster so I put three small eyes on the pink monster and they looked great. I wanted green eyes on the green monster but even though I had yellow eyes, the blue eyes looked the best on the yellow monsters. I had to have a girl monster, so the eyelashes wiggle eye was perfect for the other pink monster. Of course, the Bronco monster had to have an orange and a blue eye. Cutting felt circles for eyes fell by the wayside as I placed various wiggle eyes on all the rest of the monsters, even though the husband said the felt eyes of the purple monsters looked the best out of all of them.

DSCN0133Now that the crocheting, stitching and designing were done, it was time to party! Well a glue party that is. The husband was nice enough to attend the party and help me glue these monsters together. Hot glueing is another crafting skill I am not so good at. I learned a lot as I glued the crocheted covers on to the plastic eggs. Some of the first monsters glued have some glue spots visible, and I ended up with a few burns on my fingers. By the end though, with the husband’s help, I felt I had a technique developed and I was getting good results with the glueing process, and less glue where it was not supposed to be and fewer burned fingers.

DSCN0127My creative mind was still buzzing as I glued the last monster together. Oh, on the next one I will give it an antenna, or maybe horns, or how about extra arms or teeth? Wow, the designs I could make seemed to be endless! I reached for more yarn and then I stopped myself. I have so many amigurumi’s that I still want to make, and what was I going to do with all of the monsters that I already had made? Could I find them all homes? So, I put the yarn back in the stash, tucked the wiggle eyes back in the closet, and filed the pattern with my others. I will not part with my remaining eggs though. I see more egg monsters in my future. But not until I try out a few other new designs first!

DSCN0118Until next time, crochet forth and egg on!

A Monstrous Amount of Scrambled Eggs -Part 1

DSCN0141I have another pattern that I need to hide today. Like the pocket pal pattern, I have had a blast crocheting these egg monsters, and just like the pocket pal pattern, I am going to have to hide their pattern so I can get something else done.

I found this pattern around Easter time and I thought it would be a great idea to use up those extra plastic Easter eggs leftover from Easter egg hunts each year. So, after Easter when Joann’s ran all their left over Easter decorations for 90% off, I picked up a couple of packages of these eggs in two different sizes.

DSCN0007Because I had two different sized eggs, I had to tweak the pattern a little so that the crocheted pieces fit the eggs I had purchased. It was not difficult to decide how many stitches and rounds I needed to fit each egg size. It just took some time to figure it out at first. Because I have made so many monsters with so many different yarns, in the end, I got pretty good at adjusting the stitches and rounds not only based on the egg size but on the yarn size and stretch. By the end, I could whip out an eggs cover, or a monster’s body in no time at all and have it fit the egg. And with an added bonus to making these monsters is the time and energy saved but not having to stuff them. Plus, won’t the recipient of one of these monsters be surprised when it opens up and there is candy or a little something fun inside.

DSCN0134When it came to crocheting the arms and feet for these monsters, the feet on the small eggs looked too big, so I made extra arms for the small egg’s feet. Each small egg needed 4 arms to complete it. I learned early on that using less stuffing in the arms and feet was better. Some of the first monsters I made have very overstuffed appendages. When I made the yellow monsters, I did not stuff the arms and feet at all. I stitched them on flat. The husband did not like the flat arms and feet, so I went back to stuffing them again but with much less stuffing. Stitching the arms and feet on became easier with each monster that I stitched. By the end of making so many monsters, I knew right where I wanted the arms and feet stitched on at, making the stitching process much easier and quicker.

DSCN0117As I crocheted the pink monsters, I ran out of yarn. Darn, now what do I do? I know. I’ll give this monster a white stripe. And with that my creative mind went nuts. What other color combination can I crochet into an egg monster? I put white and orange together for a dreamsicle monster. I was planning to make blue monsters, so why not add another color to the blue. Ooo, orange would be good with the blue. Oops, I made a Denver Bronco’s monster. Since I was loving the color combos and the stripes, I finally sat down with black and orange yarn for Halloween, and tried a variety of styles of stripes. I made one large egg and one small egg of the stripe variations, black with orange in the middle, orange with black in the middle, and striped evenly with the black and orange. They all turned out great but if I had to pick a favorite, it is the evenly striped ones.

With the crocheting done, it was time  for eyes.

Until next time, crochet forth and egg on!

Bye Bye Baby So Long – Part #2

This is a continuation from my previous blog post regarding the first time I have sold any of Amigurumi creations.

P1010766Three sales stood out for me that evening. The first started when a lady took an interest in T-Bone, my skeleton. My heart jumped with anxiety. When the lady asked how much, little beads of sweat, popped out on my forehead. Could I actually sell T-Bone? The voices in my mind erupted. NO! Tell her “Sorry, he is not for sell, just for show.” or I could give her an outrageous price and just scare her off, or just grab T-Bone and run away were some of the things that went through my mind. But, after calming those voices, like Snoopy, I asked the lady for a reasonable cost for my time and materials and she agreed. I was still not certain that I wanted to part with T-Bone at this point though so I began to talk with the lady. I learned that she was a fellow knitter and crocheter and owned a yarn shop where T-Bone would live on display. Phew! What a relief it was to know that T-Bone would be in a good home. She would take care of him and I now had some money to buy enough yarn and stuffing to make myself another skeleton.

P1040460The next memorable sale that night was to a young girl about 7 years old. She looked at all my amigurumi’s carefully and then asked what she could get for a dollar. I explained to her that I really did not have anything that I could sell her for just a dollar, but she continued to study the amigurumi’s and I started to look around for her parents. I did not see them anywhere, but after a few more minutes, she left.

She came back a few minutes later with $7 in ones and some change, and the question was asked again, “What can I get for this?” So, I asked her what she wanted. And as she was studying the display some more, I started asking about her parents, and I came to learn that her parents owned a restaurant down the block. After some thought, she decided that she wanted one of my one-eyed pocket pal monsters. How much? I looked at her $7 and said “How about $2?” I had sold the other pocket pals that evening for $5, but this was unique sell so I lowered the price for her a bit. She quickly grabbed the monster and holding up the remaining $5, she repeated the question, “What can I get for this much money?” After getting her a bag, we started to pick though the table. She decided to purchase a couple of other small amigurumi’s at a discounted price.

P1020517Now with only $1 left, the question was asked again. What could I sell her for just a buck? I then spied the two little bean monsters that I had made a long time ago and were not my best work. “How about a little monster?” I asked. She agreed and was trying to decide which one of the monsters she wanted for her $1 when I picked them both up and tossed them in her bag for her. A huge smile crossed her face as she was peeking into her bag at her purchases. As she started to leave, I called her back and told her that for being one of my best customers of the evening, I had something for her, and I gave her one of the small ghosts I had made for Halloween decorations. As I dropped the ghost into her bag, she grabbed me around the waist and gave me a big hug. My heart melted. At that point she could have had the whole table. It did my heart good to have someone want my amigurumi’s as much as she did.

IMG_1659 - Version 2The last sale that I want to mention from that night was my made by my sister, bless her heart. She and my two nieces came to my show to support me and purchased several of my amigurumi’s. Although I did give her a good price on them, I still felt guilty charging her money. They are family and I should have just given the amigurumi’s to her and my nieces, but they wanted to pay for them to support me at my first show.

DSCN0483At the end of the night I had sold about 1/4 of my amigurumi’s that I had brought to show. I was surprised by which amigurumi’s sold and which ones did not sell. No one wanted Porcine the pig or Paulie the Penguin? As surprised as I was I put my remaining amigurumi into three bags and packed them away in the trunk. The next day, we stopped by some friend’s to visit them. The conversation turned to the show and the sales of my amigurumi’s.

These friends had not seen all the amigurumi’s that I had made recently, so I retrieved the three bags from the car to show them off to them. When my friend fell in love with Porcine and her husband liked Corny, the candy corn guy I made last year for Halloween, my friend asked if she could buy these two amigurumi’s from me. Sure I said, but would you like any of the others? Her response was yes and she proceeded to go through the bags and wanted to purchase all the amigurumi that I wanted to sell. She said she is always looking img_0248-1for gifts for nieces and nephews and neighbor kids. So after this final sale, I came home with just one bag of amigurumi’s left. And I now have just enough fingers to count the number of amigurumi’s that I still own.

I have very mixed emotions about the selling of my amigurumi’s. I am sad that I have parted with them and I won’t be able to look at them daily, but also so happy that they are being enjoyed by others too. Plus, I have still great memories of making them, and now will not feel guilty when I purchase more yarn and stuffing to make more in the future.

So all in all I would call my Art Show Sale a sweet, but somewhat sad success!

Until next time, crochet forth and sell on.

Creton of the Planet Gliese 581c

IMG_7102I know you have probably heard of a pot bellied pig, well, this is a pot bellied alien. While surfing the web, I came across this pot bellied alien pattern several times but I was just not impressed with it. Something about it just did not appeal to me at the time. Because of that I did not download the pattern or pay it much attention until I saw one of these pot bellied aliens completed that someone had made from this pattern on Ravelry. The original pattern showed this alien with a bib on. But the alien on Ravelry did not have a bib on it, and I think that is the only reason why I liked the alien on Ravelry and not the original one. Whatever the reason, once I had seen the alien on Ravelry, I knew right away that I wanted to stitch it up. So, I hunted down the original pattern, downloaded it, and got started.

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I picked an alien green color of yarn that I had picked up on clearance at Hobby Lobby to make it with. I was glad that I had picked this color of yarn because it was a brand new skein and this pattern took most to the skein to complete. In fact, I panicked about half way through the crocheting of the pieces because of how much yarn it was taking and made a trip to Hobby Lobby to get another skein before it was gone. Even though I had bought the original skein of yarn on clearance, Hobby Lobby had more on the shelf but I did have to pay the regular price for it. Thank heavens for coupons.

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IMG_7105The alien’s head was complex to crochet. I had to watch my rows and stitches and do a lot of counting as I crocheted. After I lost count many times, I finally wised up and started putting a stitch marker half way through the row to help me keep count without loosing my place. In the end though, it was worth the trouble. I love the shape of the head. It looks just like you would expect and alien’s head to look, from the flat face in front, to the large bulge in the back of the head. The same is true for this alien’s arms and hands. I had to stay focused and count carefully to get the fingers correct and even. I also decided that I didn’t care for the original patterns fingers, so I just made up my own stitches for them and I love the look. Originally, his legs seemed rather long but I followed the pattern and just made them the size that the pattern called for and I think they turned out fine.

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IMG_7106When the pattern said pot belly, it meant pot bellied. The alien’s body is huge! The middle rounds of the body where belly is at it’s largest are over 80 stitches in length! That is a lot compared to other amigurumi’s I have made in the past. This also explained the need for the long legs. The legs had to be long so that there was still something left of them when the alien was sitting upright. There is quite a space from where the legs are sewn to the bottom of the body to the edge of the body.

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IMG_7112stiSewing the alien’s pieces together took a bit of thought too. Since there was no real bottom of the head to sew the neck to and the pattern did not say where to connect the head and neck together, I was originally worried about the placement. but it all worked out in the end. The weight of the alien’s head causes the neck to fold down a little and this gives it the right look. Also since the eyes are double thick, they had to be sewn to the face before the head was finished being crocheted. This made the placement of the eyes difficult, so his eyes are pointed up a little more than I would have liked.

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I think this pot bellied alien, which I have named Creton, turned out just wonderful and I can’t wait to make another one. But as usual, I have already noted several changes to the original pattern for the next time I make one.

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Stay tuned for Klaatu, my next pot bellied alien with my new design modifications!

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Happy Halloween 2012!


Happy Halloween everyone! I have been busy making some fun crocheted amigurumi creatures, monsters, spiders and ghosts to give away this year to friends at the many Halloween parties we go to every year.

My husband was nice enough  to create a little diorama type of display for me of some of them, so I could post a picture here on my blog before they all disappear.

I hope you like them! I sure enjoyed making them. Stay safe! And don’t eat too much candy!


Monsters In The Puddin’

“I think it needs a little more puddin’.” is a phrase the husband hears often from me as I stuff my amigurumi projects. I always thought stuffing was stuffing, so when I saw some on sale at M&L fabric, I picked up a couple of extra bags, but as I finished the last bag purchased at Joann’s and opened the bag from M&L, I quickly learned that all stuffing is not the same and the technique for stuffing with the different stuffings is unique to the type of stuffing being used.

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The brand of stuffing I have purchased previously from Joann’s is Polyfil brand. It is light and fluffy but a bit grainy. You can feel the fibers. It has always worked well for me and my amigurumi’s seem soft enough when using it. The brand from M&L is Hobbs Simply Stuffing. It is a bonded fiber and fills just like a cotton ball, very soft but much heavier compared to Polyfil. Thinking that stuffing is stuffing, I opened the Simply Stuffing bag and started to stuff my latest amigurumi project, some little monsters, with it.

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I quickly learned that stuffing with the Simply Stuffing required a different technique than stuffing with the Polyfil. I started to push the Simply Stuffing into the monsters as I would have when using the Polyfil and the results were terribly lumpy. I learned that the Simply Stuffing had to be pulled apart more before pushing it into the amigurumi, and that stuffing with smaller pieces worked better. I then got out my chop sticks. I have used the chop sticks when stuffing with Polyfil to help get the stuffing into smaller pieces like arms and legs, but would not have used it with as large an opening as the monsters had. But, I needed the chop sticks with the Simply Stuffing to work same pieces of the stuffing deep into the monster to smooth out the lumps. With these techniques, I was able to stuff the monsters using the Simply Stuffing and get the results that I wanted. Even though the Simply Stuffing is softer with a less grainy feel than the Polyfil, the finished monster did not seem any softer than my other amigurumi’s stuffed with Polyfil.

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With the stuffing done, I went about creating my monster’s mouth. I threaded my yarn needle with six strands of black embroidery floss and started to stitch. This was not working out well at all. When I pulled my needle through the Simply Stuffing, it left a hole so the embroidery floss just pulled right though it. The Polyfil did not make these holes and seems to grab the floss and keep it from pulling out. I knotted the floss and tried again but it just pulled through again, so I double knotted the floss but again I had no luck. It finally dawned on me that whatever thread I used to make the mouth with was going to have to be thicker than the needle pulling it through. So, I tested out my theory. I got a thin sewing needle out rather than my large yarn needle and threaded the sewing needle with the six strands of embroidery floss. (Now, that was a chore.) I knotted the floss and pulled it through the monster. It worked. The hole that the needle made was smaller than the knot so the knot held and I was able to stitch the mouth on the monster. To test my theory further, I threaded my yarn needle with yarn, knotted the end and pulled it through the monster. It held because the knot in the yarn was bigger than the eye of the needle. The husband liked the yarn mouths better than the floss mouths on the variegated yarn so I left the monster’s the with thick yarn smiles.

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Now some words about the pattern. This was a free pattern that I found on Ravelry. It crocheted up very quickly, in less than an hour. The time and thought comes in as you design your monsters features. The possibilities are limitless. Do you want a happy or mean monster? Boy or girl? One eye, or two or three? Teeth or no teeth? hair? bows? eyebrows? eyelashes? and so on. I enjoyed creating these monsters and would happily make more but then what do I do with them once they are completed? Any suggestions?

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So, a simple amigurumi turned into a major stuffing lesson, but a lesson that needed to be learned and will make me a better stuffer in the future. And, although I feel confident using either brand of stuffing, at the moment, I like the Polyfil the best. I will finish up using the bag of Simply Stuffing first, but when it is gone I will go back to Polyfil.