Tag Archive | curl

Larger than life

DSCN0483Am I still crocheting? Am I still making amigurumi’s? Is my next amigurumi project all lined out and ready to start? Yes, yes, and yes. Yet, the reason you haven’t heard very much from me about crocheting amigurumi’s recently is that I have been tackling some larger amigurumi projects and in the process I have lost my ump to complete them quickly.

DSCN0443Several months ago I blogged about Kevin, the chubby moose. He took a lot of time and lots of stuffing to make. After Kevin, I made a pig that I named Porcine. When I had finished with her, she was much larger than I expected. I did not blog about her before now because she was finished before my big amigurumi art show and she now has a great new home with someone who loves her.

DSCN0454Porcine was a lot of fun to make, especially her tail. To make her curly tail, the pattern called for a long tail of yarn to be left at the start of the magic ring. After completing a very straight crocheted tail, the tail of yarn from the starting point was pulled through the center of the straight tail and then pulled tight to form the curls. It was a much simpler way to make the curly tail than increasing and DSCN0458decreasing stitches while crocheting the rounds. I did have to purchase a special skein of yarn while making her to get the right dark pink color I used for her snout and hooves. I could not believe I did not have that color in the stash. Her belly button was a fun feature that added to Porcine’s personality.

DSCN0891The next large amigurumi I have made is a bee. I did not expect the bee to be large, but he finished up larger than I expected due to the hook size used. To get the colors I wanted for this bee, I choose two skeins of Caron yarn. I find Caron yarn heavier than Red Heart yarn so I decided to use my 4.5mm hook instead of the 4.0mm hook that I usually use to make my amigurumi’s. When I reached in to my hook box to get out the 4.5mm hook, I accidentally grabbed the 5.0mm hook instead. I did not notice that I was using the 5.0mm hook until I was well into the crocheting process. Not wanting to undo all my crocheting and start again, I decided to just complete the bee with the larger hook.

There are two comments I would like to make about this bee’s pattern.

First, after crocheting the wings, I decided to crochet around the wings edges for a nicer finished look. The wings look smoother with the edge on them.

DSCN0894Second, I found the way that the pattern instructed to make the antennas quite odd. The first antenna was crocheted from the bottom to the top then back down to the bottom of the antenna. The yarn tails were at the bottom ready to be stitched to the head. The second antenna is crocheted from the top to the bottom then back the top. The tail is then threaded through the crocheting to the bottom. I know that the antennas were crocheted this way to keep the same sides of the crocheting facing the same direction, but to me the antennas looked different from each other when made this way.

DSCN0895I stitched the antenna to the bee’s head to see if that helped the antenna look more even. It helped the look a little, but not much. I debated about crocheting another antenna the same as the first one and stitching it on what would be backwards, with the crocheting facing different directions, to see if I liked it better. It was late when I was working with the antenna so I decided to sleep on it. The next morning the antennas looked better to me, and so I decided to leave them completed as the pattern called for. I still pause sometimes when I see the bee and wonder if I should redo the antennas. Even though the bee is larger than the pattern said he would be, and has funny looking antennas, he is still very cute.

I have not given him a name yet, so he is just called The Bee.

DSCN0900I have started yet another large amigurumi too. I knew this one was going to be large when I read the pattern and I briefly debated about starting another large amigurumi but I have been wanting to make this pattern for a long time, so I got started on it. I am about 3/4 of the way through the crocheting process but I have lost any compulsion to finish it up.

When I think I will sit down to do a little crocheting, I don’t! Why? For some reason I am just not interested in working on this big amigurumi. So until I do get excited about finishing it up, I am going to set this amigurumi to the side for now and start a smaller amigurumi instead. I am not giving up on the large amigurumi and it will not becoming a UFO (Un-Finished Object). I just need a little break from it.

With that, stay tuned for some fun but smaller amigurumi’s.

Until then, crochet forth and super size on!

Mousey Decisions

DSCN0060Have you ever seen a crochet pattern and said “Oh, I can’t wait to make that”? I know you have and I so have I. Usually I say that and then promptly push the pattern out of site and out of mind and continue on with my current project, and just hope that I will somehow just remember that pattern when its time to start on a new project. Most times though, I don’t remember that awesome, have to do next, pattern and I end up working on something else instead. This time though I did not. I had fallen in love with this little mouse pattern and I wanted to make it next, and so I made a point to remember it and I did it right after my previous project was done.

DSCN0062Although this pattern looked really simple, there were some design decisions that had to be made while crocheting the pieces of this mouse. The first decision was the length of the legs. The pattern called for short stubby legs to be crocheted to the feet which would be best if the mouse would always be in a sitting position like a shelf sitter. But I decided that I wanted the option for my mouse to be either sitting or standing, so I added two extra rounds to his legs to accomplish that. The next decision came with the crocheting of his arms. The pattern called for no stuffing in the arms. As I crocheted the arms I decided I wanted a little stuffing at the ends of the arms to give them some form and shape. I had to add the stuffing as I crocheted to get the stuffing where I wanted it. Decision number three came with the crocheting of the tail. The tail is 21 crocheted rounds of 4 stitches. This was a tight and difficult crochet and took me a long time to make. As I worked on the rounds I debated whither the tail needed stuffed or if a pipe cleaner should be inserted into it to help it keep its form. The pattern did not call for anything though, so I decided to leave the tail as just the crochet stitches. Since the tail seems to hold its curl just fine on it’s own, that was probably the correct decision.

DSCN0072With the pieces of this mouse all crocheted, I had to rethink one of my previous decisions. As I stitched the longer legs on the mouse I decided that I did not like the longer length. The longer length was fine when the mouse was standing, but when sitting, the legs were too long and looked funny. I thought about attaching the legs to the bottom of the body instead of the front of the body to solve this longer look problem while the mouse was sitting but then the mouse would not be able to sit. So, I finally undid my two extra rounds and made the legs the length the pattern called for. And I DSCN0067stitched the legs to the front of the body as the pattern called for. In a sitting position, the mouse looks great. In a standing position, he looks ok with the shorter legs. He looks better in a standing position with shorter legs than he did in a sitting position with longer legs, so the short legs attached to the front of body, as the pattern called for, was the best result. Luckily, I do still like the stuffing in the arms and the tail is fine without it.

The final decision on this mouse was his smile. The pattern did not call for a mouth or smile but I wanted one. This guy was just too cute not to be happy, so I gave him a simple smile. I like his smile. It makes me happy when I see it.

DSCN0066Making design decisions is not always my favorite thing to do, even though you have to make design decisions all the time while crafting and sewing. Even with all this decision that had to be made, this little mouse was a fun project and I think he turned out just as adorable as the pictures were in his pattern. I have not named him anything more than little mouse yet though. I hope that someday he will find a good home and that someone will give him a proper name.

Until next time, crochet forth and crochet on.

“Blocking” Out Those Big Feet

P1020735When I decided to make Sebastian the bear a blanket, my reason for doing so was not really to hide his big feet but to try out another pattern I had found. This new pattern that I had found was a giant crocheted granny square that could be used to make a baby blanket. I decided that I wanted to make Sebastian a blanket from this pattern because I could add stripes in the blanket from the same yarn that I used to give him his sweater looking torso.

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The pattern was very easy to follow and soon I had quite a few rows of the granny square crocheted. The pattern only gave the basic instructions for making the granny square and the creativity of colors and sizes was all up to the crocheter. So, I decided to do 2 rows of the variegated yarn after every 5 rows of purple yarn. This design seem to be working up great and I really liked the look of it.

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P1020707The only problem I was having while crocheting the blanket was that it would not lay flat. I did not feel that my tensions had varied much while I crocheted it and I did not believe that the problem was in the different yarns I used. Because of this I decided that the blanket was going to have to be blocked when it was completed. Since I have really only crocheted amigurumi’s previously, I have never blocked a piece of crocheting but I had seen my mother and grandmother do it many times during my childhood, so I had an idea of what to do and I knew that this should fix my problem.

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Luckily, I was smart enough not to just rely on my childhood memories and I did a quick internet search on how to properly block a crocheted item. After reading several how-to sites, I decided to use steam to block this blanket. I started with a towel and pinned the blanket to the towel, trying to get it to lay as flat as possible. Next, with the iron on high, I steamed the blanket being very careful not to touch the blanket or the pins with the iron. The last step was to let the blanket dry and see what I got.

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P1020731After removing the blanket from the towel I was happy with the results. The blanket seemed to lay flat. After a day of being handled, I noticed that the blanket was not laying as flat as it had when it was first blocked. I debated about steaming it again or trying a different method of blocking, but then I decided that it is just a blanket for a teddy bear and it did not have to lie perfectly flat. This was probably not the correct answer. I should have tried to block the blanket again just for the learning experience, but I wanted to be done with this project and I wanted to move on to something else. I justified this decision by telling myself that this blanket was not the only thing that I would ever crochet that needed to be blocked, and that I would have other opportunities to block more crocheting projects in the future. I will try the wet method of blocking the next time I have to block a crochet item.

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With that, I called the blanket finished and wrapped Sebastian up in it. He looks so cute in his blanket. I just know he will soon have a great new home and someone to hold him and love him in his new blanket.

But They Said To

I have fought with interfacing my entire sewing career. It has been a thorn in my side since the first time I used it and it continues to be today. I would love to just leave it out of my projects but I understand its importance in the wear and life of a garment. I have tried many different brands and types of interfacing over the years with a wide range of results. Sometimes it irons on perfectly and sometimes it destroys the project leaving curls and bubbles in the collars and facings.

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Most recently I have been using Pellon SF101.  As with other interfacing, I get mixed results. I have read and re-read the instructions until I have them memorized. The question of whether to pre-shrink interfacing or not is one that I have debated about many times, but in the instructions for the SF101, in bold letters, it says yes you must pre-shink this interfacing by “putting it in warm water for a few minutes and then line dry it”. I can do that.  Next it said to “follow instructions for EK130”. Ok, I can do that. The EK130 instructions say, “Press firmly for 10 seconds. Repeat, lifting and slightly overlapping each time.” Fine, I can do that. So, I did and my end results were terrible.

Knowing the challenges I have had previously with interfacing, I tried to figure out where I went wrong over the next several months and projects. First, I thought that maybe I did not soak the interfacing long enough so that it shrank properly. So, I soaked it longer and tried hotter water, even boiling water. At first, this seemed to be the answer. A couple of projects came out without curls or bubbles, but on the next project the bubbles and curls were back. Next I tried a heavy press cloth, first dry, then wet, then soaked with mixed results. Next a thinner press cloth, dry, then wet, then soaked. Once again with mixed results. Now what do I try? I did samples before each project. Most times the samples would be fine, but when the full pieces were ironed on, the results varied.

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Today, I stood in front of the ironing board with my pre-shrank interfacing and freshly cut out pieces for my new shirt form my new pattern, Buttrick B5503. I so want the interfacing to just work. I re-read the general instructions for the interfacing and I make note of the pictures that show you should slide the iron on the interfacing. But, the instructions say to lift and overlap. But, what do I have to lose? I can follow the same instructions as I always have and it may or may not work, or I can try something different. So, I place the fabric and interfacing on the ironing board, cover it with a damp thin  press cloth, and iron with a sliding motion this time. The results are perfect. Is this the answer?

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I don’t know if this is the answer to the interfacing conundrum, but it worked this time. I need to try it again this way a few more times and see what results I get before I can say that this is the answer to life, the universe and everything. I sure hope that it is.

BURDA STYLE