Tag Archive | eyes

Marty The Zebra

DSCN3937It was his cute cartoonish style that made me pick this zebra pattern as my next amigurumi project. I liked his big head and his fat stubby hind legs that lets him sit. What I didn’t like was that the pattern only called for the zebra stripes on his body, not on his head or legs but that was ok. I could fix that!

DSCN3940Anxious to get crocheting, I grabbed the black and white Red Heart Love yarn I had purchased at Walmart’s Black Friday sale last year and I got started! I noticed right away that the Love yarn was much softer and the fibers liked to separate more while crocheting than the Red Heart Super Saver yarn, so I had to be careful where I inserted my hook and I needed to watch my tensions more closely as I crocheted.

I crocheted the body first. The body was not crocheted in continuous rounds. A slip stitch and chain were done at the end and start of each round to help keep the stripes even. Each stripe consisted of two rounds, so rather than than cutting and tying the yarn every other round, I carried the yarn. The tension of the carried yarn was not a problem because it was being carried over a very small space. It was cumbersome to have two skeins of yarn, twisting, as I crocheted though.

DSCN3936I crocheted the front and hind legs next. As mentioned, the pattern called for no stripes on these pieces. I wanted stripes so I started with solid black for the hooves and then made stripes, two rounds thick and then I alternated the colors. I crocheted in continuous rounds rather than slip stitching and chaining since it was only a couple of stripes and the color changes would be hidden under the legs. I also carried the yarn as I did with the body.

DSCN3942The head was the next piece to be crocheted and once again the pattern called for it to be unstriped, but I was going to stripe it. I crocheted the mouth in black then started the stripes. I crocheted the stripes exactly like the legs, in continuous rounds, two rounds thick, carrying the yarn as I crocheted. Like the legs, I could hide the color changes of the stripes on the bottom of the head.

The tail was the only piece that I did not stripe. I crocheted it white and then attached a few black pieces of yarn to the end.

DSCN3917The challenge for this amigurumi came when I stitched the head and body together. When I attached the head to the body, the zebra was staring at the ceiling, so I needed to move the head down. After a lot of pinning, stitching and unstitching, I got the head attached to the body without the zebra looking up. The legs and tail were much easier to stitch on.

DSCN3926The mane for this zebra was fun to attach. I did not quite follow the patterns instructions of making the mane. I knew how I wanted it to look, so I started by cutting 5 inch pieces of black and white yarn. Starting at the center of the head, I attached 2 rows of 3 white yarns. I then attached 2 rows of 3 black yarns and alternated this pattern down the back of the head. When I was done, the husband helped me trim the mane by hand and it was done. I was concerned about making the mane from the Love yarn because of how much it likes to separate. It will not take much play before the mane’s yarns will be untwisted and fuzzing, but that might be a fun look for the mane.

DSCN3921I picked some fun cartoon eyes for this zebra that I attached while crocheting the head. I wanted this zebra to have a big smile but I was having trouble getting the curves that I wanted for the smile while stitching on the mouth. To get the smile I wanted, I decided to glue on the mouth instead. I placed the yarn where I wanted it to be, then rolled the yarn down, applied a line of glue and then rolled the yarn back into place on top of the glue. This worked well and gave me the smile I wanted.

After some brainstorming with the husband, we picked the name Marty for this zebra. Marty is very cute. He makes me smile when I look at him. I like his extra stripes. Soon, Marty will have a new home and I hope he will be loved and played with often.

Until then, crochet forth and stripe on!

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Pepper And Piper

DSCN3431 (1)Squeals of delight rang from my sewing room when I saw the pattern for these penguins. They were so cute, and the pattern showed pictures of endless possibilities in colors and variations for making a whole colony of penguins. I could not wait to get the crocheting started. I envisioned making several penguins in a variety of colors and belly spots.

DSCN3439 (1)I decided to start with a basic penguin with a gray body with no belly spot and black feet and beak. Crocheting the pieces went smoothly. When it came time to crochet the different colors of the head, I decided to cut and tie each color change. The last time I made a multi-colored head for Charlie the horse, I carried the yarn across the color changes instead of cutting and tying each color change, and I had to work very hard to keep my tensions even. Cutting and tying the color changes was easier than keeping an even tension, but it was time consuming, so it slowed down the crocheting process.

DSCN3438 (1)Before I stitched the first penguin together, I crocheted the next penguin in the colony. This time the penguin would have a gray body with a white belly spot and yellow feet and beak. Once again, I cut and tied the color changes in the head and now the body. If you look closely at the pictures, you will see a small “birth mark” on this penguin’s belly. I miss counted and did not notice my mistake until a couple of rounds later after several cut and ties were completed, and I did not want to undo all my work to fix that one stitch, so I am calling it a birthmark. It adds character to the penguin and in no way decreases his cuteness. Soon enough, I had all the pieces for the second penguin crocheted and ready to stitch together.

DSCN3436 (1)I picked up the yarn to start crocheting the next penguin in the colony, but then I decided to complete the first two penguins, whose pieces were already crocheted up, before starting another. The stitching together of these penguins was much easier than the stitching together of most my amigurumi’s. Because of the multi colored head, there was no question as to where the eyes were inserted, or where the beak DSCN2730was placed. On the second penguin, I had left a long piece of gray yarn from the head to stitch the head and body together. When I came to the white of the head and the belly spot, the gray stitches stood out badly. I had to stop the gray yarn and start a piece of white yarn to sew the white areas together and then return to the gray yarn to finish stitching the head and body together. On the first penguin, I had left I long black tail for sew from the body. This blended in well with both a gray and the white of the head. The color of yarn I leave for stitching is something I will have to keep in mind when I make amigurumi’s with multicolored heads and bodies in the future.

DSCN3432 (1)Because of the black heads, I stuffed the penguins a little lighter than most of the amigurumi’s I make. Usually, I over stuff my amigurumi’s. They say the stuff settles over time, so to over stuff at first. But, when you’re working with a dark color and white stuffing, the stuffing really shows through as the stitches are stretched by the over stuffing. Although, I really like no stuffing showing through the black stitches of the head, it was very hard for me stop stuffing before I thought the pieces were completely stuffed.

DSCN3434 (1)Feeling his head now that he is stitched together, I wish I had added just a little more stuffing to the first penguin’s head, especially in the back, but the second penguin is stuffed just right. The husband likes the less stuffing. I explained to him about the stuffing settling over time, but he still said that he liked the lighter stuff and he felt that the penguin’s still had enough stuffing to withstand the settling and a lot of be played with. It will be interesting to see if that turns out to be true or not.

DSCN3433 (1)With these two penguins completed, I picked up the yarn for the next penguin in the colony and asked the husband what color beak and feet I should crochet for this penguin and should it have a belly spot or not. The husband rolled his eyes and reminded me about all the fun patterns I have yet to crochet. And, he was right, I had already made this pattern, twice, and it was fun and the finished amigurumi’s were just adorable but other just as fun patterns are waiting in the wings.

I quickly named the two penguins Pepper and Piper and they are now waiting for a good home to go and live at.

I have tucked this pattern close to the front of my crochet pattern stash, and if and when the day comes that I want to complete the penguin colony or I just need a fun and simple amigurumi that turns out super cute, I know which pattern to reach for.

Until then, crochet forth and colony on!

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!

Summer Buggin’, Had Me A Blast

DSCN2049I decided to follow my own advice and to continue with my “Just Do It” New Year’s resolution just with a smaller and less complicated amigurumi crochet pattern this time around.

Digging through my patterns, I picked these three bugs as my next patterns to make. I have had these patterns for a little while now and have always wanted to crochet them, but I had just never gotten around to it. These patterns definitely meet my New Year’s criteria but are definitely smaller and much less time consuming than the making of Arnold the turtle. And with that, these three bug-eyed bugs became my next amigurumi projects to make.

DSCN2056The first bug I made was the caterpillar. Even though I had read the pattern before I started, I had crocheted several of his pieces before I realized that I was only supposed to be crocheting in the back loop. While holding the pieces that I had crocheted together, the caterpillar looked like he was turning out just fine being crocheted in both loops, so I kept crocheting in both loops. After completing the crocheting and stuffing, it was a little odd to stitch one ball to the top and one ball to the side of the first ball, but it worked out fine. Once the stitching was done, I gave this caterpillar a big smile and with that he was done.

DSCN2055The second bug that I made was the mosquito. This time I did remember to crochet the pieces in the back loop only. The pattern called for just 4 legs though. Insects have six legs so I thought about making him two more legs, but since I was only giving this mosquito two body parts instead of the three he should have and technically would be stitching those 4 legs to the wrong body part, I decided to go ahead and just follow the pattern and only give my mosquito 4 legs and not worry about it being anatomically correct. At the end, it was a little odd stitching the mosquito’s eyes on. Unlike the caterpillar who’s eyes sit on the top of the head, the mosquito’s eyes were stitched to the side of the head. This meant that the safety eyes were attached at the top of the crocheted pieces instead of the side. Once the stitching was done, I gave this mosquito a smile and he too was done.

DSCN2050The ladybug was the final bug that I made. Once again, I had all six legs that the pattern called for crocheted before I remembered that I was supposed to be crocheting the pieces just in the back loop. Because the caterpillar had turned out just fine being crocheted in both loops, I kept on crocheting. The pattern called for all the spots and the ladybugs wings to be the same size, 6 single crochets in the magic ring. After looking at a couple of pictures of ladybugs, I decided that I wanted my spots to be different sizes. So, I made two spots as the pattern called for, two spots with 9 single crochets in the magic ring, and then two spots with 12 single crochets in the magic ring. I then stitched 1 of each size of spot to each wing with the largest spot at the bottom of the wing and the smallest spot at the top. Next the ladybug’s eyes were stitched to the top of the head like the caterpillar, making it easier to stitch them on, but it became a tight squeeze when stitching the antenna and wings to the ladybug. If I had crocheted in the back loops only, the ladybug would have been bigger and this would have made the stitching on of the antenna and wings easier, but in the end I completed the stitching and it all worked out just fine. Once again with the stitching done, I gave the ladybug a smile and she was done.

DSCN2053I wanted my bugs to stand on their own but this was not going to happen. The caterpillar is the most likely one that I made to stand on his own, and sometimes will with some squishing down. Because of the weight of the mosquito’s head and eyes though, his 4 legs will not balance him properly. I can squish him down and get him to stand for awhile, then he falls forward since he is so top heavy.

I am lucky I got the ladybug to stand long enough for the pictures for this post. Even though the ladybug’s legs are all the same size, by the time the legs were stitched around the body, the front and back legs are shorter than each other. I could have removed these legs and made them longer to solve this problem, but I decided not too.

DSCN2057So, between the heavy eyes and head and the uneven legs around the body, the ladybug is not great at standing. Maybe if I had crocheted in the back loop as the pattern said to, the body would be bigger and the legs would not be as curved around the body? This might have helped the ladybug to stand better and if I make this pattern again I will see if that is the case.

Even though the bugs will not readily stand on their own, they did all turn out to be very cute and they were fun to make, and I have a great time doing the crocheting and stitching them together.

I don’t know why I hesitated on crocheting these patterns for so long, but I would not hesitate to make all three bugs again.

Until then, crochet forth and bug on!

Watch It, Football Head!

DSCN1664I have finally completed the large amigurumi that I started months ago.

There have been moments of both joy and tears with this amigurumi and it has lived part of it’s life in the closet, hidden, so I did not have to look at it on a daily basis letting me know of my failures and that it was still uncompleted. It also spent a lot of it’s life sitting next to my cutting table, reminding me daily that it was still somehow not yet completed. DSCN1656

But all of a sudden, a couple of weeks ago, as I contemplated starting yet another amigurumi rather than finishing this one, the decision was made to finish this amigurumi instead.

Let me tell you the whole story.

Instead of making yet another New Year’s resolution this year. One that would be doomed to be broken along with all the rest, I decided to make this the year of “Just Do DSCN1659It” for my amigurumi projects.

I have so many wonderful amigurumi patterns that I just can’t wait to crochet but I just never seem to start any of them. So in January, I said to myself that I would no longer say someday and instead I would just start to make these wonderful patterns one by one until I had them all stitched up.

Closing my eyes, I randomly picked out this turtle pattern to start this journey. I fell in love with this pattern at first sight. I love the turtles droopy eyes and his detailed tennis shoes. I was very excited to get started on it. DSCN1665

As I started by reading the pattern though a red flag went up right away as I read the large stitch count of his body. At this point I knew he was going to be big, so I chose to use my F hook instead of my favorite G hook. Even when using the F hook, as I crocheted the pieces, they were finishing much larger than expected.

As I continued to crochet, I became concerned about running out of yarn. Luckily, I was using stocks colors of Red Heart yarn and so I was able to make a trip to the store to pick up another skein easily if needed. I stuffed the turtle as I crocheted, but soon I had used up all the stuffing that I had on hand and once again I had to make a trip to the store for more stuffing.

DSCN1662I grew tired quickly of crocheting the large parts of this turtle and I had to set them aside often during the crocheting process.

Then the guilt of having a UFO (Un-Finished Object) would set in, and I would pull the pieces back out and crochet on it some more. Finally, the day came that I had all of the pieces crocheted and stuffed and ready to stitch together. I was so relieved to finally have this part done, that I just could not muster up the energy or excitement to stitch this turtles pieces together, so they where once again pushed to the side to work on something else. DSCN0900 (1)

Then a fateful day finally came when I said, “It is time to finish this turtle.” and the stitching together process started. I knew the stitching process was going to be long and tedious, so I turned on the Hey, Arnold cartoons the husband had just gotten for me and over the course of several more weeks and with Arnold’s help in the background, I completed the stitching together process. DSCN1191

With the turtle pieces all stitched together, it still needed a name.

This part came easily though and I named him Arnold even though he does not have a football head like the Arnold in the cartoon does. Somehow it just seemed fitting.

Much more time was consumed in creating the turtles details work. It took a lot of thought and time to stitch the lines and details of the shell and the shoes. The pattern called for the arms to be stitched to the body and the legs to be button jointed. I debated about making the arms button jointed too, but then I decided to follow the pattern due to the shell being in the way of his arms moving much. DSCN1193When it came time to pick out eyes, I did not have large enough round black ones to make his droopy eyes with.

As I was about to make another trip to the store, I found these speciality eyes hiding in my crafting supplies. They looked great and I was excited to use these eyes on him. Since these eyes already had an eyebrow look to them I did not add the crocheted eyebrows above the eyes that the pattern called for.

With Arnold, the turtle, completed, I am both happy and sad. DSCN1667I am happy because Arnold is very cute and I am pleased with the end results. His feet are so BIG and yet I still love his tennis shoes.

He is not perfect, but I think he will make someone a great friend, just like Hey, Arnold. I am sad though because I no longer want to continue with the “Just Do It” plan and I am having a hard time picking out my next amigurumi project.

I am trying to talk myself into continuing the plan of crocheting one of those “always wanted to” projects, but to just be a little more picky about which one I choose, i.e. a smaller one.

Only time will tell!

Until then, crochet forth and turtle on!

Have You Ever Heard of A Box Spider?

DSCN1224“Can you use these?” asked a friend as we stood in his garage with him holding a box full of wooden cigar boxes.

He explained that he had quit smoking cigars years ago, but thought the wooden boxes were cool and that he would find a use for them. He had not, and it was now time for them to leave his garage. I should have said no but my creative mind went wild. Yes, these boxes were super cool and I could… Or maybe I could… Mmmm, how about…. Never mind, I will think of something to do with them later!

And, with that, I am now the proud owner of 20 wooden cigar boxes. As I packed the box of wooden cigar boxes in the trunk of my car, my friend jokingly said, “Those boxes have been living in the garage a while now, so make sure and return any spiders that might be living in them.” Haha I thought at the time, but now the joke is on him. I went right home and found a great pattern for my next amigurumi project.

DSCN1225A GIANT SPIDER!

I got the pattern for this spider for free on the internet. I read through the pattern and it looked easy enough, so I started crocheting the pieces of this spider. The head and body were crocheted in the round but the legs are crocheted in rows and then stitched together to form the legs. The pattern did not really give any instructions on making the legs, so after giving it some thought, this is how I made this spiders legs.

I knew I wanted to stuff the legs with pipe cleaners instead of stuffing so they would hold the spider up and be posable.

DSCN1228So after stuffing and stitching the head and body, I threaded my large eyed needle with a pipe cleaner and pulled it through the spider so that one pipe cleaner made two legs, one on each side of the body. Next, I folded up the end of the pipe cleaner into a loop, so the pipe cleaner would not poke out of the crocheting. Then I measured how long the leg needed to be, folded my row piece of crocheting around the pipe cleaner and stitched the crocheted piece together to make the leg. The pipe cleaner was already inside the just crocheted leg and I just had to stitch the leg to the body. On the other side, I measured the leg again, folded up the pipe cleaner to match the needed length, folded the crocheted pieces around the pipe cleaner and stitched it together and then to the body. Two legs were done. This worked great, and it was easy to finish up the other six legs.

DSCN1263The hard part was next. Should I make a realistic spider? Should I make I a black widow with a red hour glass on it’s belly? Should I grab the brushes and make it fuzzy? Or, should I make a scary spider with red eyes and fangs? Should I give the spider two eyes or multiple eyes. What shaped design should I put on its back, or should I leave it blank? Or should I make a comical, fun spider since this was part of a joke? Decisions. Decisions.

After googling pictures of spiders, I got out my googly eyes and starting taping them to the spiders head. It was not long before I picked the large green eyes with the smaller eyes around them for my spider. This lead me to pick the bright green yarn to make the star on the spider’s body. I debated about the green smile, but in the end, I decided that this spider was for fun and so the green smile stayed.

DSCN1275My spider was a tight fit in the cigar box. So it didn’t get lonely in the mail, I added a variety of plastic bugs and spiders and two snakes to keep the spider company on his journey back to my friend’s house. With the husband’s help I wrapped the box in brown paper and he decorated it to look like a wooden crate. My friend should not be surprised when he receives the box in the mail. He told me to return any spiders and so that is what I did.

I hope he likes him!

Until next time, crochet forth and spider on!

Drop Down the Cuteness – Part 2

DSCN0901The panda bear’s pattern was easy to follow so the crocheting of the pieces was fun and it stitched up quickly. Then something changed. As I began to stitch the panda bear together, cuteness did not burst from every stitch. What went wrong? Upon completing the panda bear, I sat the latest cute bear and the panda bear side by side and studied the differences.

DSCN0903Of course there were the obvious difference in the bears, but as I studied their faces, my attention was drawn to their muzzles. Now, the size of the muzzles of these two bears are quite different from each other, but that is not what caught my attention. It was the placement of the muzzle on the head. The first bear has a big muzzle so it had to be sewn lower on the head, closer to the neck and the eyes needed to be inserted right above the muzzle. The panda bear had a tiny muzzle in comparison, so it could be stitched up higher on the head with plenty of room for a space between the eyes and the muzzle. Was the placement of the muzzle on the face in a different position the answer to the cuteness issue? Was the panda’s face just too high and separated on his head?

I turned to the pattern and, yes, the pictures showed the eyes and muzzle of the panda stitched lower on the head and closer together. I also pulled out the only other teddy bear pattern that has turned out cute for me as I crochet it, the pattern I used to make Madison and Tux, and, yes, because the head is crocheted sideways in this pattern, the muzzle is even with the neck and the eyes are inserted right above the muzzle. If my theory was correct, lowering the muzzle and placing the eyes closer to the muzzle of my amigurumi bears would bring out the cuteness.

DSCN0939I was excited to test my theory and make another amigurumi teddy bear with a lower muzzle and closer eyes, but first I had to try and fix this panda bear. I was not willing to unstitch his head and muzzle plus his eyes were already permanently snapped into place, so I crocheted him a bow tie. I found a free bow tie pattern for a dog on Ravelry and modified the size to fit the panda bear. The bow tie filled in the distance between the panda’s neck and muzzle making the neck and muzzle seem closer together. Whether it’s the illusion of bringing the neck and muzzle closer together or just that the bow tie is cute, adding the bow tie help bring out some of the panda bear’s cuteness that wasn’t previously there.

DSCN0942I did not have a quick fix for lowering the eyes to see if my theory on their placement versus the bear’s cuteness is correct. I will just have to place the eye closer to the muzzle on the next amigurumi bear I make and see if the cuteness appears spontaneously. I am betting it will.

I don’t know if my next amigurumi will be a bear or not, but I see I a bear with a lower muzzle and eyes closer to that muzzle soon in my future. Perhaps then I will know if that was truly the answer to bear cuteness or not. I hope it is and I will have another crocheting mystery solved.

Until next time, crochet on and cute on.