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Silly Rabbit! Crocheting is for Long Car Trips!

DSCN2318What better way to whittle away the time of a long car trip than to work on a crochet project? Since I had a long car trip coming up, my next amigurumi project needed to be something that I could crochet in the car. This meant I needed a project that was larger in size than I normally do. A project who’s pieces could be crocheted now and stuffed later and wouldn’t need any stuffing during the crocheting process. A project with a simple count, not a lot of increases and decreases to keep count of or to loose count of when distracted. And, a project that was made from just a few colors so there would be less yarn to carry. After a bit of searching, I came across this bunny pattern. And since it seemed to meet all of my criteria for a car crocheting project, I was soon all packed up and ready to go!

DSCN2324As I crocheted the pieces of this amigurumi, it did meet the needed criteria. The pieces were coming out a nice size while crocheting with my favorite G size hook. The pieces did not need to be stuffed as I crocheted them which was nice. And except for the soles of the feet, and the increases in the head for the cheeks, the piece’s counts were even and it did not take a lot of concentration to keep the count correct. With just two colors needed, I only had to work with two skeins of yarn to crochet all the pieces. Plus, the opening of the head was large enough that I could complete the crocheting of the head and still get the safety eyes and nose put in later. This was truly a great car project!

DSCN2322Upon arriving home, it was easy to start the stuffing and the stitching together of this bunny. The pieces stuffed nicely, and soon I was pulling the button joints. Button joints are becoming one of my favorite ways to attach amigurumi project arms and legs. I did have one problem with pulling the button joints. Some how I got a knot in the stuffing or yarn as I was pulling the leg joints. It left a small dent in the bunny’s belly where it pulled. I tried to undo what I had done but I couldn’t. I tugged and pulled the bunny’s belly, trying to work the dent out but I had little luck with that. I finally decided to just leave the dent and to learn my lesson of being more careful as I pulled the yarn for future button joints.

DSCN2327When it came to the smile, I tried several different styles, including an open smile with a top and bottom lip using two strands of yarn but a simple line with a little curve was the best. I opted for a fluffy white pompom for the tail rather than the crocheted tail like the pattern called for and I also left off the belly spot that the pattern had. The bunny in the pattern had a crocheted purple spot on his belly. I crocheted the circle but when it came time to stitch it on, I did not like the look on my bunny, so my bunny does not have a belly spot.

DSCN2329A name for this bunny never came to me through the entire crocheting and stitching process, but the husband quickly named the finished bunny Trix because it reminded him of Trix the Rabbit from the cereal, so this bunny’s name is Trix.

He was very fun to make and he turned out just adorable in the end.

He also made a long car ride much more enjoyable. I don’t have another car trip planned for the near future but if I did I would probably make another one of these bunnies!

Until then, crochet forth and ride 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!

Halloween Time

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IMG_0012P1040200Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. I enjoy the decorations, the costumes and the candy. Each year, I like to make some new Halloween amigurumi’s. This year I made two, a devil and a ghost.

I found the devil’s pattern on Ravelry. I like the pattern, but I loved the devil one crocheter had made from a red and black variegated yarn. I knew this had to be one of my Halloween amigurumi projects for this year. My sources for purchasing yarn are limited, but I kept an eye out for some red and black variegated yarn.

While in Joann’s one time, I came across the Red Heart Team Spirit yarns and there was a red and black variegated skein. It did not really look like the yarn from the other devil that I had seen but it was the best that I had found so far. So I purchased a skein of it and I got started stitching it up.

IMG_0018IMG_0020The pattern for this devil is well written and crocheting the parts was fun to make. Unfortunately, the Red Heart Team Spirit yarn is not really a true variegated yarn. It is a long section of red then a long section of black and so on. So this did not give me the look I wanted, but the pieces of the devil were turning out cute anyway, so I kept crocheting.

I could have saved the money spent on this speciality yarn though and just used separate red and black yarns for a similar look. The devil stitched together nicely and his tail turned out very cute. I like the heart shaped point at the end. I also really like his folded arms, one of the features that attracted me to the pattern.

All in all, this devil turned out quite cute and is a fun addition for Halloween.

DSCN0514DSCN0516The next Halloween amigurumi I made was a ghost. What enticed me about this pattern was the bottom of the ghost.

As you crochet the bottom of the ghost, you decrease on one side of the round and increase on the other side of the same round. When it is time to stuff the ghost, part of the bottom is already crocheted together, so there is less to be stitched closed.

With the increasing and decreasing on this ghost, I was having difficulty keeping track of which round I was on while crocheting. I had to keep counting the rounds from the head down. This was a pain and it was taking a lot of time away from the crocheting. I finally wrote the rounds I had left to crochet on a post it note, and marked them off as I stitched each round. This worked great. I will remember this trick if I have a counting problem again on other amigurumi’s.

DSCN0521DSCN0520I did not add safety eyes to this ghost as I crocheted it. My intention was to use wiggle eyes when it was done, but when it came time to attach them, they just did not look good. This lead me to use some felt eyes.

After trying several variations, I decided on the three layer black and white eyes that I made. I tried a yarn smile on the ghost but that did not look good either so I tried a frown, then a jagged line. Nothing looked good. As I debated over the design of the mouth, I dropped one of the felt pieces I had been cutting for the eyes onto the ghost and the black “boo” shaped mouth came to life.

This round felt mouth was perfect fit for this ghost.

While making this pattern I had my doubts along the way, especially with the eyes and mouth, that this guy would turn out ok. Not only did he turn out ok but he turned out great. I think he is fun and ready to do some scaring on Halloween.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Until next time, Crochet forth and get your scare on…

ItsHalloween

Four Wings and Two Prayers

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 11.55.09 AMA long time ago, I purchased the book Adorable Amigurumi by Erin Clark. I loved every design in the book and thought I could not wait to get started crocheting patterns from it, but I guess I could wait. After admiring the cute designs in the book, I placed this book on my book shelf with my other amigurumi books and I promptly forgot about its adorable designs until just a few days ago. While perusing the yarn section at Walmart recently, I found this turquoise blue skien of Red Heart Love yarn and I immediately thought of the adorable dragonfly pattern in this book. I bought the yarn and went right home to start crocheting this dragonfly.

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P1030525As I got started, I noticed that the patten did not state the number of stitches per round. This is not a big deal but it is nice to have this number to help keep count of the stitches and rounds as you go. So, I decided to add the stitch count to the pattern before I got started crocheting. As I started counting the stitches for each round in the pattern, I found that there was not a round 17 in the head. I figured that maybe this was just a typo in the book, so I kept on counting but I then noticed that the head went from 48 stitches in round 16 to 36 stitches in round 18. Now, I have made enough amigurumi’s to know that is quite a sudden drop in stitches, especially if you want a round head instead of the back of the head being flat. I decided at this point to stop counting and get start crocheting to see what I got. Sure enough, the head started out nice and round and then went flat after round 18. It looked funny and not at all like the pictures in the pattern had looked. So I undid my crocheting back to round 16 and started my own decrease in stitches and rounds to get a nice smooth decrease and a round head.

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P1030498After that, I continued on to the thorax portion of the body. The rounds and the stitch count seemed to crochet the shape that I had expected, but when I reached the abdomen portion of the body, something was wrong. I could not get the stitch count per round to match the number of rounds in the pattern. I was very flustered at this point with the whole thing. I felt like I had put too much work into this project to stop and call it a loss though so I continued on. I worked my way down the abdomen, counting and shaping it to something that looked like the picture as well as a shape I thought the dragonfly’s abdomen should look like.

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P1030497Upon completing the dragonfly’s body, I was so flustered with this pattern, I really did not want to finish it. Now, I’m not really a great amigurumi designer even though I have created a few of my own. That’s why I bought the book, so I could just make something someone else had already spent the time to create and test out. So, I was not happy that a published pattern in a book that I had paid for was not tested and edited better. Now, it might just have been me. Maybe I had missed something somewhere in the pattern, but if I did it was not obvious to me what I had missed and I did study this pattern very carefully to try and find what step I might have missed.

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P1030528The legs, eyes and antennas crocheted up much more smoothly and I was able to follow the pattern ok when making them. In fact, I like how the eyes turned out very much. They are nice and big and round and full of life. There were minimal instructions for stitching the dragonfly parts together, so I turned to the photos in the pattern to get an idea. I noticed right away that the designer had stitched the legs on both the thorax and abdomen of the dragonfly. In nature this would be incorrect. A dragonfly’s legs are only attached to the thorax. Now, I know this is a crocheted cartoon like dragonfly and it does not have to be scientifically correct, but I just didn’t want to stitch the legs down the dragonfly’s abdomen. What I did find out was that there was not enough room to put all three legs on each side of the thorax. And so to get evenly spaced legs, I ended up stitching the third leg where the thorax and the abdomen connect together. This is still incorrect but it looks better than the legs crowded and unevenly spaced on the thorax. I did learn a lot when attaching the chain legs to the body. It would have been a lot easier to have attached the legs as I crocheted the thorax, before it was stuffed. But, that is a lesson that could only be learned by experience. Now I know that if I make another dragonfly from this pattern, to make the legs first and then attach them to the thorax as I crochet before stuffing the thorax.

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P1030530Even with all the issues with the round and stitch count, this dragonfly did turn out super cute. I have not named this dragonfly or found him a home yet. I have, though, decided to keep this book. Because the end results of this dragonfly are so cute, I have decided to try another pattern from this book. When I do, I hope that the bad dragonfly pattern in this book is an exception for the patterns in this book and not the norm. I will have to try out making another pattern from this book to find that out. Once I do, I will let everyone know what I have found.

The Hip Bone is Connected to the Leg Bone

Although Halloween 2011 is now just a collection of wonderful memories and good times for me, the skeleton I was making before Halloween is finally done. Even though I did not make him as a Halloween decoration, I did start him before October 1st. But, with some endurance and a few projects made in-between, I have finally completed him.

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I bought this pattern off of the internet. I fell in love with the pattern the minute I saw it and it moved to the top of my to do list quickly. I knew it was not going to be a quick or easy project for me. I knew it was going to be one of those projects that I had to concentrate on while I was crocheting it, not watching TV or riding in the car. Although as I started to crochet the parts, I quickly fell into the rhythm of this pattern. Once I had crocheted one foot or one hand or a rib, the next one was much easier and much quicker to make. If I make a second skeleton, it will take me much less time, effort and worry. Actually, after completing the hands and feet, it was fun to see them come together and be so cute that I had no problem crocheting the last foot while watching TV.  My only complaint about the crocheting would be the small count of the rounds. Ten sc was a common count of the rounds and that is a tight area to work in especially when my hands were tired. At least he was made with a size G hook so I could keep a good grip on it. I am not a fan of crocheting with tiny hooks.

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My biggest complaint about the construction of this skeleton is, and of course you have already guessed it because it is a reoccurring theme with me, the sewing together of the parts or in this case the bones. This is really what took the most time and it is totally my fault because I can not do this quickly or for a long time without a break. So, don’t let my problems discourage you from giving a pattern like this a try. I will say though that it was fun to see the skeleton come together as I stitched it. This does bring me to the only complaint I have about the pattern and that is that the author of the pattern needs to give more pictures of the construction stage of the skeleton. Other than that, the pattern was great and well written.

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Although when I first saw this pattern I was afraid it would be too complicated for me, it turned out to be a lot of fun to crochet and, well, sew together. I am very pleased with the end results and would not hesitate to make a second one. So, the moral of this skeleton construction story is to not let a pattern that looks overly complicated at first glance discourage you from giving it a try.