Tag Archive | Crochet Today

Thank You Turtles

IMG_7095“Do you ever use yarn?” asks a coworker the other day as she hands me a bag of yarn. She knows full well that I crochet amigurumi’s and that I *LOVE* yarn. She said that she was cleaning out her closet and that she was tired of storing this yarn and it was mine if I wanted it. Why yes I would take it, but why on earth would she be parting with her yarn stash? I didn’t ask and she didn’t say why she was parting with all her yarn but I grabbed the bag of treasure from her and thanked her. Later when I was looking through it I found it full with a large variety of yarn, full skeins, partial skeins, solid colors, variegated colors, 4-ply, fingerling and even some fuzzy novelty yarn she had decided to part with. I was so excited! I could see so many fun amigurumi’s made from each piece. Sitting in the very bottom of the bag was a small ball of variegated yarn that in a color that just said ‘turtle shell’ and I figured what better way to thank this coworker for this lovely bag of treasure than with an amigurumi turtle. Of course, this meant I got to make another one of my favorite patterns again too.

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IMG_7096While crocheting the parts for this turtle, I thought of one more coworker that needed a big thanks, and that was the coworker who volunteers her time as the leader for our relay for life team at work. As long as I was making one turtle, it was just as easy to make two or ten. I have donated a some of my amigurumi’s to our relay for life team before, even the momma and baby turtle I made a while back. They were sold at a silent auction several months ago. The team leader coworker had told me how much she wanted the turtles, but she was out bid and lost them so it just seemed right to make her a thank you turtle. After I had crocheted the first turtle’s shell from the variegated yarn from the treasure bag, I was not sure if I had enough to make a second shell. So, I picked another variegated yarn from my stash for the second turtle’s shell. The yellow for both turtles did come from the treasure bag though.

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IMG_7097The crocheting of the turtles was a pleasure. This time though when it came time to stitch them together, I tried something different. I stuffed and stitched the legs of the turtles to the bottom of the shell before I attached the bottom of the shell to the top shell. This seemed to make the stitching and spacing of the legs easier, and it was not long before the turtles were done. I just love this pattern and these turtles, and this time was no different.

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I gave each of the coworkers their turtles and a big thanks, one for the yarn and one for her hard work. They both seemed to like the turtles. Little do they know that I need to also thank them for giving me a good reason to make more turtles.

From the top of the Charts!

circularchartsThe patterns that come in my Crochet Today magazine have both written text instructions and a chart using symbols to show you how to crochet the pattern. In the past I have always promptly ignored the charts, and instead chose to follow the written text instructions to crochet my projects. That was about to change though. A few days back while I was searching for crochet patterns on the internet, I found a great Japanese web site with several great free patterns to crochet, P1020718but the patterns were all in the chart form. The instructions for each part of the amigurumi’s are in two charts. The first is a table with the count of each row and how many stitches are in each row, and the second is a chart with symbols. Great, I don’t know how to read those! And so I quickly decided that I wouldn’t be making any of those patterns anytime soon. But after I had thought about it awhile, I decided that the teddy bear pattern was so cute, that it was time to learn how to read and follow the symbols of the charts.

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P1020720At first, I only followed the table in the patterns. Because I have made enough amigurumis in the past I know how to increase from 6 to 12 to 18 to 24 and so on per row without really reading the instructions or, in this case, without following the chart. But, as soon as the pattern became more complicated, I had to finally learn what the symbols meant and how to follow the chart. To my surprise, it was very easy to follow the symbols of each row, and soon I found that I was no longer watching the table with the stitch counts, and I was just following along with the symbols on the chart. It was great! A whole new batch of patterns were now available for me to download and try out. I don’t know that I am ready for a really complicated chart pattern yet, but I am willing to try some more pattern that are just charts.

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P1020726As for the pattern I chose to start with, I was very unsure about the resulting pieces of this teddy bear while crocheting it up. I knew that I had followed the table and chart correctly, but I did not like the looks of the finished pieces. First came the head. When I was done crocheting the head, it was very flat and fat. I felt like I needed to add at least three more rows in the middle to make it taller. Then I studied the photo of the bear very closely and decided not to add the extra rows and just see what I got after I stuffed the head. Next came the feet. The feet came out huge and even much larger than I expected even though I knew I followed the table and chart correctly. But I didn’t know how to fix them, so I left them the way they were.

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After finishing the crocheting of the pieces of this bear and after stuffing the head and adding the muzzle and eyes, I felt a lot better about this look of this bear. Stuffing the head, helped to make it look taller, and made it look less fat. Stuffing the feet, made the feet look even bigger but I liked the big feet better after they were stuffed for some reason. And after stitching the legs and arms to the body and adding the head, I sat the bear down and fell in love with it. I really like the variegated yarn that makes it look like the bear has a sweater on and especially the white strip on the top and bottom and around the arms that encases the variegated yarn to give it a even more of a sweater look.

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P1020729P1020724As the bear sat on my table waiting for pictures, he fell over. When I picked him up, I noticed just how ugly he really was especially his big feet. Where had the cute bear I was in love with gone? I sat the bear up and there he was. The cute bear had returned. It did not take long for me to figure out that I really like the bear sitting upright but not laying down flat. I picked the bear up by his ears and folded his feet up to his body, cute. I let his feet drop, not cute. Folded the feet back up, cute. Let them drop again, not cute. The husband says I am crazy, that the bear is just as cute sitting or standing, but I have to disagree.

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I have named this teddy bear Sebastian and he is currently SITTING on my sewing table, but he will have to find a new home soon. Hopefully some one will want to love him even with those big feet.

One Large Combo Puppy To Go

Since I was still in a puppy making mood, I decided to mix up my patterns and take parts from several different patterns to make my next puppy.

I started with a pattern I have made several times before. Remember the bunny, Cali, the bear and Ming Long, the panda? Yep, I started with Ana Paula Rimoli’s pattern Toys In Pajamas from her book Amigurumi World Two. I have really enjoyed making this pattern before, so I was looking forward to crocheting it again.

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I crocheted the arms and legs as written in the pattern, but I took the idea from the daddy puppy pattern to make one of the paws a different color. This puppy’s muzzle and ears though came from the patchwork puppy pattern from Crochet World, with his eye spot coming from the daddy puppy pattern. The last piece, his tail, also comes from the patchwork puppy pattern, but I did change it a little, making the tail shorter and fatter.

While crocheting the body, I decided to insert the arms and legs into the body as I did on the puppy love puppy. This took some counting and decision making to figure out on which row and which stitches I wanted the arms and legs inserted at. I like the arms and legs when attached into the body, and this puppy will sit very well because of this and  he looks fine when standing too.

It took all the stuffing skills I have to finish up the last of the Simply Stuffing I had left in the bag to stuff this puppy without too many lumps and bumps. I am glad that the bag is now empty and I can open a new bag of the better quality Polyfil stuffing for my next project. But I still have one bag of the Simply Stuffing left. At first I thought I would just use it up but after stuffing this puppy, it’s going away instead. I am going to take it to Goodwill and hopefully someone else can use it. I am not really happy with the stuffing job I did on this puppy, but it is what it is.

The final piece of this puppy is his collar that I designed based on the collar on the last amigurumi Snoopy I made. I used a some scraps of Red Heart cherry cola variegated yarn left from three eyes and fries. I wanted a little color in his collar without getting away from the brown tones.

At first this was not my favorite of the puppies that I have made recently, but he has grown on me and now I think he is just adorable as the others. He is now in need of a good home though, just like the bunny, Cail and Ming Long have moved to.

Momma and Baby

We have done some traveling recently so I have found myself with travel time to crochet. Because I love the turtle amigurumi pattern so much, it was still packed in my travel crochet bag. After my last purchase of variegated yarn, a lovely skein of Woodsy Sylvestre from Red Heart, another turtle became my next project.

As before, the turtle’s pieces crocheted up easily and were a lot of fun to construct. As I finished crocheting the shell of the turtle, I started to debate about what my next project would be, and that is when I noticed the baby turtle pattern on the back side. Now, I had looked at the baby turtle pattern previously but I like to make bigger amigurumi’s so I had just passed over it. Sitting in the car, I decided that since the pattern was out and I had the colors right there handy, and since the adult turtle pattern is so much fun to make, I would just whip a baby turtle up to see how it looked.

The baby turtle pattern was easy to follow, but it was not as much fun to make as the adult pattern because of the tiny pieces, but it was still turning out to be very cute. All was going well until I put the eyes in. The smaller eyes in the smaller head made the baby turtle look evil. So evil was its look, that I almost titled this post “Momma and the evil step child”. I continued the construction of the baby turtle hoping that as I stitched the pieces together that the look would soften. It didn’t. My last hope was the smile. A cute little smile on the baby turtle would erase the evil and would help the baby turtle to become cute and cuddly. It didn’t happen that way, but it did help. It turned some of the evil to a look of mischief instead.

When sitting side by side, the momma and baby turtles are cute. But, I can still see the mischief in the baby’s eyes. Maybe it’s just me though. I have wondered if I used bigger eyes on the baby turtle the next time if that would soften the look some, but I don’t know if I am willing to try another baby turtle with bigger eyes yet. I enjoy the making and the results of the adult turtle pattern so much that I would rather spend my time making more adult turtles than trying the baby pattern again. We will see.

By Land Or By Sea

I am in love with this turtle amigurumi pattern. It is from the Crochet Today magazine May/June 2010 issue. The pattern is by Ana Paula Rimoli, one of my favorite amigurumi authors, so of course, I have already made three turtles from it and have more planned.

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The first turtle I made was in browns. These were the colors used in the original pattern. The pattern crocheted very quickly and was easy to follow. I had no problems keeping count while watching tv at the same time. I was concerned about the crocheting of the head and neck but it was no problem either. I love the flare it has at the bottom of the shell. On the last row, you HDC in the front loop and then leave 8 stitches un-crocheted. This gives you the back loop for sewing the bottom of the shell on to so no stitches are visible on the shell side and gives you a nice opening for stuffing and sewing the head on. This made the stitching of the turtle together easier than most amigurumi’s. The legs also stitched on easily being centered around the first round of the bottom of the shell. I used a small amount of embroidery floss to stitch a mouth on the turtle and it was completed.

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I made the little bird pattern that came with the turtle pattern. But I was not happy with how the little bird looked on the back of my turtle, so I did not stitch the bird on the shell of my turtle. I decided that if I made the turtle for an adult as a decoration, I may add the bird, but if the turtle was going to a child to be played with, the bird would just be in the way and would soon be tore off with lots of play time. Since I don’t know what the fate of my turtle is to be yet, I didn’t give it the bird.

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With the first turtle complete and such a delight to make, I took a look at my other variegated color yarns and quickly found the blue/green/yellow to make the shell for another turtle. I needed a sea turtle to go with my land turtle. It was as much fun as the first one to make. I also found a variegated multiple color yarn. I think the yarn is called fiesta mix. I decided to go ahead and try a turtle  from it as well. Although, I like the first two turtles better, I still think the fiesta mix turtle turned out very cute. I gave him a slightly off set smile to give him a little bit of character. The husband says the fiesta mix turtle is his favorite so far.

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On my last trip to Walmart, I actually bought another skien of variegated yarn that I did not already have to make yet another turtle. How many turtles do I need? Several I guess.  So stay tuned to see the herd of turtles I want to make.

P.S. Sara loves the turtles too.

And They Call It Puppy Love

When I received one of my issues of Crochet Today magazine, the first advertisement for Red Heart Yarn caught my eye right away. They were advertising their free Valentine’s day patterns, one of which was the cutest pair of puppies. I fell in love with the puppies  at first sight and knew immediately that this cute little puppy would move right up towards the top of my  amigurumi project list.

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After visiting Red Heart Yarn’s web site and printing out the pattern, I found a couple of techniques used in this pattern that I had not tried before, so I was even more excited to make this puppy. The first thing that was different from other amigurumi’s that I have made is that the arms and legs are crocheted into the body instead of being stitched on after the body is crocheted, stuffed and stitched to the head. Since you know how much I like to sew the pieces of an amigurumi together, I was quite excited for this to work and save me the sewing hassle. I followed the instructions exactly on this puppy only to discover that I would change it a little the next time I crochet the limbs into an amigurumi. The pattern called for 4 sc to attach the arms and legs to the body. I did the 4 sc but next time I would do 6 sc. I think it would give it a cleaner look, a more complete attachment. I learned that this is a quick and easy way to attach the limbs of an amigurumi but only if you want the amigurumi to always be sitting.

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There were two changes in the way this puppy was stuffed that are different from other amigurumi’s I have made. First, the pattern called for some kind of weight in the bottom of the body to counter balance the weight of the head. I have heard of using something weighted inside amigurumi’s to get them to sit, but I have never tried adding any weight to any that I have made. I’m not really sure what to use as a weight, I followed the suggestion of a commenter and used pony beads, 30 of them to be exact. Now that the puppy is done, I think a little more weight or a heavier weight might have been better, but I really couldn’t say until I try out different or heavier weights. Next, the pattern said not to stuff the neck so that the after the head was attached the neck would fall and you could see the details of the face better. I have always stuffed my amigurumi pieces to the max and then a little more as I am stitching them together. So, it was a little strange to leave the neck unstuffed for me. But now that the head is attached and I see what the author of the pattern was after, I like the end results and the unstuffed head seems to hold the head up just right.

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The last detail of this puppy is his heart shaped eye patch and nose. I have never crocheted a heart shape before and it took a couple of tries to get something that was heart shaped rather than a triangle but I think I did ok on it. I had to be really careful when I sewed the hearts on the head to keep what shape these hearts had and not pull them back into a triangle shape.

Pleased with the end results of this little puppy, I think he turned out very cute, I can see more puppies made in a variety of colors especially green and blue. Now, I have to decide if I want to make more puppies or more of the other patterns I saw on the Red Heart Yarn’s web site. Decisions, Decisions.