Tag Archive | dowels

Buzzing for Spring

happyspring2014-2Hurray for spring! Hurray for the return of warmer weather! Hurray for the return of the bunnies, the birds and the bees! Hurray for the green plants and flowers blooming! As spring emerges, I have watched the lavender plants in my yard bloom their beautiful purple flowers and watched the bees dance around as they do their job of pollinating them. All of these hard working bees got me thinking about all the fun free bee crochet patterns I had ran across over the winter and in that thought, my next crocheting project was chosen, a spring display of bees.

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P1040174The first bee pattern I wanted to make was found on the blog, http://kristenscrochet.blogspot.com. He is a fat little bee with stuffed wings. I started by picking out which colors to use which does not sound like a difficult task since the only colors that I needed for the bee where yellow, black and white. Of course, black and white were easy enough to pick out but I went through my entire yarn stash trying to find a bee colored yellow, not a bright yellow but then again not quite gold either. I could not find the color of yellow that I wanted in my entire stash. I had either bright yellows or golds. After debating for quite some time, I finally picked the bright yellow that I had.

The pieces of this bee P1040173crocheted up easily and the sewing went quickly with only the wings left to stitch on. When this bee was finished, the husband said he needed some antenna’s. So, looking at the next bee pattern that I was getting ready to start on, I copied the antenna from that pattern and attached them to this bee. The husband was right. The antenna’s were the finishing touch for this bee. The husband promptly named this bee Air Bee One after the big fat Boeing 747 that the president flies around in called Air Force One.

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P1040164The next bee pattern was found on a skein of Red Heart yarn. It can also be found on ravelry.com. Since the three colors of yarns were out and all ready to go, the crocheting started right away. The pieces of this bee were fun to crochet. The stitching together of this bee was a little more complicated than the last bee because of the six legs. Each leg had two yarns to attach it to the body with. At first I tried to stitch each yarn into the body, tie a knot in the single strand and then hide the knot. This was a lot of work and it had poor results. The arms were just not secure enough on the body. I tried a couple of things to secure the arms but I finally found that if I stitched the two yarns ends into the body, knotted them behind the arm and then hid the ends that I got a secure arm and the knot at the base of the arm was not even noticeable. This worked so well that I went back and reattached Air Bee One’s antenna this way too. This bee turned out very cute and was named Red after his pattern.

IMG_0004Bee number three’s pattern was found on ravelry.com. The pattern is called Bumble Bee Buddy by Ham and Eggs. After making the first two bees, the pieces for this bee crocheted up just as quickly. As I was crocheting the head, it was easy to see that this guy’s head was huge compare to his body. At first I thought it was just too big and it needed to be made smaller, but then I decided that no, it was fine, and that was what made this bee different from the last bees. The pattern only called for two legs and no antennas. This made this bee look incomplete to me, so I made him four more legs and some antenna’s and attached them like I did Red’s arms and antenna. Because the pattern called for the legs to be stitched making a picot at the end, I did the same for the antenna so they would match. And with this bee finished, he was named Hammy.

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P1040154I had planned to make a couple of more bee patterns that I had found online but when I found the pattern for the queen and worker bees at http://kimlapsley.blogspot.com, the other patterns got pushed to the side. Unfortunately, unlike the other bee patterns so far, the pattern for these bees was not as simple or easy. These bees were very detailed and had several pieces to be crocheted. The crocheting of the pieces took time and thought, especially for the queen bee. Luckily, I only needed one queen bee. Because of the detail in these bees, they took more time and thought to stitch together as well. To complete their eyes, I spent a couple of hours cutting tiny black felt dots and then had to have a glue party with the husband to get the tiny felt dots attached to the white crocheted bases. But, in the end, all this extra work and thought paid off. The queen and her worker bees turned out fantastic. And I think they are just so funny.

Bees4Bees3Thanks to the husbands wonderful ideas and photography skills, I have a great spring diorama of my bees to be sent out with my Spring Fling cards. We bought a vase, some silk flowers and a few wooden dowels, and photographed the bees on a green back ground. We had a fun time together arranging the bees in various poses and taking their pictures. Then the husband went to work and photoshopped the dowels out of the pictures and created me a fun springtime photo of my bees.

My spring fling with the bees was now over and I had had a great time making each bee. And I now have a fun spring display of flowers and bees and some great photos of my work.

Until next time, Crochet forth and crochet on!

Orion

P1030428I don’t know where I got the crazy idea but I decided it was time to expand my amigurumi making skills and move outside my comfort zone of just following a pattern. With that in mind, I chose to make another pot belly alien but with the changes I wanted to make to the pattern. I would be venturing out into unknown territories as I tried to make this alien not so pot bellied, and yet still have his other parts and pieces match. The end results of these changes is Orion, my latest amigurumi alien.

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The adventure started with me purchasing two skeins of the needed yarn. I decided to play it safe and have two skeins on hand even though I figured with making this one’s belly smaller, I may not need the second skein. But rather than panicking when I ran out of the first skien, I purchased two skeins so that I was sure I would have enough yarn for this project. I started P1030361out crocheting the arms and legs first. Since this alien’s body was going to be skinner than the last one’s body, I debated about making the arms and legs shorter. I knew that this second alien was not really going to be a toy and would need to be able to sit on a shelf, so I decided I would crochet the arms and legs into the body rather than sewing the arms and legs and then attaching them to the body after the crocheting was done. With this in mind the legs in particular could be shorter because they would not need to extend out from under neath the body. The legs would just be attached to the front of the body. I did not want to shorten the legs and not shorten the arms and then have an alien with short stubby legs compared to his arms though. Aliens are supposed to have long thin arms and legs. So, after a lot of thought, I decided to make the arms and legs as the pattern was written. It would be easier to shorten the arms and legs later if I needed to, and I knew I had enough yarn that if I wasted a little undoing the tops of the arms and legs, it would be ok.

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P1030376After completing the arms and legs, I made the head next. I remembered all the tricks that I had learned on the first alien’s head, so this head was not quite as scary to make. Like all crocheting, the type and brand of yarn used makes a big difference to each project and this alien was no exception. As I crocheted the alien’s head, it just kept getting bigger and bigger. When it was time to attach the eyes I could not believe how much bigger this head was than the last alien’s head. I believe the size difference is due to the fact that this yarn had more stretch to it than the yarn I had used for the first alien. Since there is no size gauge to an P1030363amigurumi project, this head just came out bigger. It still has a great shape for an alien head with the flat face and the bulge in the back of the head. But it is bigger than the first one I made. Because I had already made one of these alien heads, I was able to better place the eyes where I wanted them, pointing more to the sides of the head than up to the top of the head. The larger head also helped with the eye placement. (In the end, because of the bigger head and the body changes, I did need the second skein of yarn for complete this alien, so I was glad I had it, and I did not decrease the length of the arms and legs, so that they matched better with the head and body.)

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P1030387So, with the long arms and long legs and a big head done, I got started on the body. I knew I wanted the body much skinner than the first pot belly body I made, but I needed the body big enough to support this big head, but still be skinny like an alien’s body should be. At first, I said 1/2 of the size of the pot belly body should work, but as I crocheted the starting rounds of the body, I decided to go one more round and have the largest part of the body be 54 stitches around instead of 48 as I originally planed. After reaching the round that ended in 54 stitches, I crocheted in the legs on the next round. Then I crocheted 10 rounds of 54 and then started my decent to the neck. I decreased evenly on the next round to 48 stitches, then single crocheted the next round with no deceases. I followed this pattern up to where I thought the arms should be inserted. Unfortunately the place where I wanted insert one of the arms was P1030374right at the finish and start of a round and on a round with decreases. This made the placing and inserting the arm quite tricky. This is where my lack of skill as a pattern designer really showed. If I made patterns all the time and had any skill at pattern designing, the insertion of the arm at the end of one round and the start of the next round and on a decreasing round would not have happened. The body would have been redesigned so this would not be a problem for the crocheter following the pattern. I finally made it past the arm insertion and continued on until I reached 18 stitches in the round and I said this would be the top of the body.

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P1030410I noticed when I attached the first alien’s head that it was a bit challenging to sew the curved alien’s head to the flat round of the neck, so I decided to try and remedy this problem on this alien. To do that, after crocheting the last round of the neck, I did a couple of deceasing rows at the back of the body to give the alien a higher neck in back than in the front. This did make sewing the head to the body easier on this alien.

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Unfortunately, as I sewed the head to the body, I noticed that I had not done a good job of aligning his legs and arms. I guess it was the struggle with inserting the arms that messed up the alignment slightly. Once again something an experienced pattern maker would have noticed and corrected. I needed to unpicked the partially attached head, undo the rows and rounds down to the arms, reposition the arms and then redo all I have just undone. But I just did not have the heart to do this. After much posing and positioning of the alien, I decided that my alignment was not that far off and that the little it was off could be positioned out and it gave him a little character.

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P1030400As I posed the alien, I noticed that because of this big head and small body, that he did not like to sit as well as the first alien even with his legs inserted into the body and not sewn on. The problem was the weight of the bigger head. When the husband saw the problem, he said he could fix it for me. With two wooden dowels, the husband made an X through the alien from the top of the aliens head to his butt. With the X shaped dowels supporting the head on the body, the alien sat nice and straight and tall. Once again, because this alien was not designed as a toy but as a decoration to sit on the husbands computer desk, the wooden X through his body was not a problem. It was in fact a great solution to the problem.

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After having this alien sitting on my sewing room table before reaching his final home on the husbands computer desk, I decided to name him Orion. This not a very original name, but I like it. And I enjoyed my journey in making Orion for the most part, and I learned a lot. I especially learned respect for the talented individuals that make the crocheted amigurumi patterns that I use.