Tag Archive | hair

The Main Reason Is the Mane – Part 2

DSCN0257As I worked my way down the horse’s head filling in the mane, I learned why the author said to use just one strand of yarn instead of two. My horse’s mane was becoming way too full and starting to look too bushy, so I started to put less stitches per row and just spread the strands of yarn out over the head. I also started to space the strands out to help thin out the hair some. At the top of the head I used 14 inch long strands of yarn but as I moved down the head I decreased to 12 inches and then to 10 inches and so on. I saw no need in wasting yarn by using 14 inches lower down on the head and then just trimming it off later.

DSCN0217When the husband saw the horse at what I considered half way done, he yelled, “Whoah! that’s enough hair.” It was enough at that point, but I had planned to do a couple of more rows so that if you pushed the horse’s mane back, you did not see such a bald head. But, the husband was right. This horse needed no more hair. I did add some short strands to the front of the horse’s head to make some bangs on her forehead. So, as long as the horse sits with her mane brushed nicely around her head, she looks great, but lift her mane and she has some bald spots. The next time I will believe the author of the pattern, and just use one strand of yarn.

DSCN0236The husband helped me give the horse a hair cut, and I called her mane complete. Her tail was easy to make especially after completing the mane. I simply cut some strands of yarn and knotted them in a row to the behind of the horse. Then, I followed the picture in the pattern and braided it followed by a little trimming. I tied the end of the braid of with a piece of yarn to hold it tight, then add a red ribbon for fun.

Unlike most of the amigurumi’s I make, this horse took on a feminine personality. Usually my amigurumi’s are male. I wanted to give her a boyish name though so I picked the name Charlie. Even with her bush thick mane, she turned out just adorable. I would gladly make another horse from this pattern. Hopefully, Charlie can find a good home soon and a friend to play with.

Until next time, crochet forth and mane on!

Advertisements

The Main Reason is the Mane -Part 1

DSCN0264Why was my next amigurumi a horse? Well, not to mention the fact that the pictures on the pattern were absolutely adorable, or that the pattern is well written, or that it would be fun to make, the reason for this horse was to try a mane, or long hair. I have over the years made a couple of amigurumi’s with hair, like Woodstock, but nothing as elaborate as the mane of a horse. I have been a little apprehensive about trying hair but it was now time to learn how to do it.

DSCN0196I started the crocheting of this horse with her arms and legs. I love the three color combination of her arms and legs. Next came her body, muzzle and ears. I saved her head for last because of the dual colors of the face. As I started the cream colored yarn on the face, I decided to carry the yarn rather than cut and tie each color change on each row. I thought carrying the yarn would be easier than cutting and tying but it really was not. I had to be careful not to pull the yarn too tight as I worked. I did not want to pull the head together as I crocheted. In fact, I purposely left the carried yarn with some slack to prevent any pulling. This made keeping tensions tight while crocheting a little difficult but I managed to make it through, and soon had all the pieces for this horse crocheted.

DSCN0204The stuffing and stitching together of this horse went smoothly and soon enough, I had a hairless horse. Now the fun part began. The author of the pattern used the same color combinations from the arms and legs for the hair. I really like the multicolor look and decided to give my horse the same color of hair. The pattern did not give much help with the design of the mane. It simply said to do whatever looked good. One thing that the pattern did advise was that the horse pictured in the pattern had two strands of yarn per knot of hair, but that after the fact, the author decided one strand of yarn would have been better. The pictures were so cute that I decided to try two strands and see what I liked better. I picked a starting point on the top of head and knotted two strands of yarn to the right of that point and one strand of yarn to the left. The strands are attached with a latch hook knot but made with your crochet hook, really quite simple to do. After attaching several single and double strands of the mane, I took a look at the one strand versus two strands. I liked the rich full look of two strands instead of just one strand, so I took out the single strands and made them all double strands.

Since this mane was going to take some time to make, watch for the completion of it in part 2.

Until then, crochet on and mane on!

A Jacket Fur You

IMG_4778Is it possible to serge fur? Or better yet, should you even attempt to serge fur? Or I guess the real question I am asking is, how would you finish the edges of your fur projects? I know that is what the lining is for, but since I had never lined a jacket before or anything as complicated as a jacket, these were just a few questions I was facing at this point in the continuing construction of the fur jacket.

.

My next step probably should have been to do an internet search or by looking at one of my reference sewing books to learn how to sew a lining into a jacket, but I decided to just to wing it instead. That and to use any sewing intuition that I may have, and just see what I would end up with.

.

IMG_4776So I started by sewing the shoulders of the lining together, and then sewing the lining to the top and collar of the jackets. This worked out great. It finished the edges of the collar and the top of the jackets. So far, so good. Next I sewed in the sleeves on both the fur and the lining and then the side seams. Ok, that was done, but now the finishing work started.

.

.

IMG_4781I needed to finish the facings and then do the hems. Normally this is the easy part and I just start serging. So I grabbed some scraps and started to serge to see what I would end up with. I was pleased with the way the fur serged. I thought I was in for a big mess but the fur actually serged really well. The one thing I did learn about serging fur, was that when serging where the hair of the fur was longer than the backing of the fur, I had to make sure that I was serging the backing and not just the hair of the fur.

.

Deep in the back of my mind, I knew that I did not need to serge the fur, and that the answers to my questions was to turn the fur and then hand stitch it to the lining. But I really HATE to hand sew anything if I don’t have to. The thought of spending hours hand stitching all of the hems and facings about left me to believe that the finishing of this jacket, no less the construction of a fur jacket for me, was a doomed project and that I should just give up now. But wanting to finish what I started, I went ahead and serged the facings and hems of the jacket and then decided to cheat and just turn them as I would any other project.

.

P1020655This seemed to work out ok for the facings, but I did break down and hand stitch the top edge of the facing to the lining, since a very minimal amount of hand stitching was involved. I also decided to tack down the lining at various points inside the jacket before stitching the hems to help hold the lining into place while I stitched. I then folded up the hems and stitched away. Of course the hem line could be seen from the fur side where it stitched over the fur and matted it down. To fix this, I took a needle and pulled the hair of the fur out from underneath the stitches so that the hem was not as noticeable. When it was all done, I thought that the hems looked fine from the fur side of the jacket but I did not like the look of the serged edge of the fur at the hem line on top of the lining. It looked sloppy and unfinished, not the look one would want or expect a fur jacket to have. But this was how I had sewn this jacket and I was not inclined to unpick my hems and try something different. Plus the little neighbor girl wouldn’t really care what the inside of her fur jacket looked like.

.

P1020658P1020664Once I had it all done it was time to try it on! The jacket fit the little neighbor girl well and I think she looks just adorable in it. She wore it to preschool the next day and her mom reports that all the teachers just loved it. I really don’t know if I am ready to make my jacket yet. I think that I will do some more research into lining a jacket and see if I can get a better, more professional finish before I start my jacket. Hopefully, I can find a lining technique that does not involve tons of hand stitching but will still solve most of my current problems and dislikes. The husband suggested that I should first make the little neighbor girl a vest with the fur next. And I think this is a great idea! I can try lining the vest differently and see what works, plus I could add some pockets and see what works there as well. So, stay tuned for more furtastic fun!

Continuing Fur-ther

P1020701As per the pattern guide, I started with the zipper. In my mind this was a big obstacle to get over, but in reality the sewing of the zipper went really smoothly and the results were great. I wanted to use a large toothed zipper in this jacket for various reasons. I figured the larger the teeth of the zipper, the less likely it would get tangled in the fur. But I did not have any large tooth zippers in the size I needed for the size 3 jacket on hand. After a trip to Joann’s, I learned that they don’t make a zipper with big teeth in the size I needed or at least not one I could readily buy, so I settled on a zipper with the largest teeth I could find.

.

After sewing in the zipper and zipping it up, the fur did not seem to get caught in the zipper at all, so I decided that the smaller tooth zipper was going to work out ok.

.

P1020663The collar was next. I cut both the top and bottom of the collar pieces out of the fur. As I sewed them together and then tried to turn the collar, there was a lot of bulk from the fur to deal with, making it difficult. I started to wonder at that point if I should have made the bottom of the collar from something other than fur to minimize the bulk. But instead of unpicking the collar or cutting a new collar, I fought with the bulk instead. With the collar completed, I sewed it to the jacket. As I sewed the collar to the jacket, I noticed that the grain or lay of the fur was running the wrong direction. I had carefully cut out the fur so that it ran from the top of the collar to the bottom, where the collar attaches to the jacket, but the collar lays the other way once attached to the jacket and folded down. I should have ran the fur the other way so that the fur of the collar laid the same way as the fur of the jacket once it was attached to the jacket and not before it was attached. This also would have made the sewing of the collar to the jacket much easier. With the way I had cut the fur I had to fight with the hair of the fur as I sewed the collar on. Because of this I had to make sure I was sewing the actual backing of the fur to the jackets, and not just the hair of the fur that was laying just beyond the backing.

.

P1020699Once the collar was attached, I debated about unpicking the collar from the jacket and starting all over again. This didn’t make me very happy, so I decided that since this was my trial project to learn how to sew with fur anyway, I would just take the lessons learned so far and move forward.

.

I was very happy with the how the zipper worked out in the end. I will have no problem using a zipper in my next fur jacket, but I will take the lessons learned and do the next collar differently. However, for the next collar I will only cut the top part of the collar out of the fur and I will use something else for the bottom of the collar. And I will also make sure to cut the fur in the correct way for the proper direction of the lay of the collar once it is attached to the jacket.

Fur Starters

P1020769The fur adventure began with all of the planning and learning that was involved in me working with fur for the first time. Then after that came the cutting of the fur. This was not a quick process for me ,  and so here is what I did.

First, I needed to find out which direction the nap of the fur went. Then I needed to make sure that he nap of the fur went the same direction on each piece of the pattern that I would cut out. Next, I traced the pattern pieces onto the fur before I cut it out. I used a sharpie to do this. You might say that it was crazy of me to use a permanent black marker on my fur, but I wanted to make sure that I could clearly see the lines while cutting. I also knew that since I would be cutting on the line and that any remaining black lines would be caught up in the seam so it wouldn’t be visible once it was stitched up. I also made sure and used a fine point sharpie and I tried it out on a small piece of fur first to make sure it didn’t bleed through.

Because of the way the fur has to be cut, none of the pieces can be cut on the fold. So when I traced the back, I had to trace one side and then flip it over and trace the other side. After all the pieces were traced, the cutting started.

P1020773Since I did not want to cut the hair of the fur, the fur had to be cut out with tiny snips of the scissors, very carefully, making sure to only cut through the backing of the fur. This was not difficult, but it was very time consuming.

When I had finally finished the cutting, I figured it would be clean up time, but with since I was not cutting much of the hair of the fur there was really only a small mess when I was done. Also, at this point, I was still happy with the pattern that I had picked. The jacket pattern that I chose is very simple and did not have a lot of detail to it. This was a bonus for me since I did not have to try and make any special markings on the fur. In fact, I didn’t even worry about cutting any notches. I figured I would not be able to find them in the fur later anyway.

P1020703Next I cut out the lining. This was quick work since I was able to use my rotary cutter on it to cut it out.

At this point, I tried to pin a couple of the pieces of fur together, only to see my pins bend and twist. I was very frustrated at this since I am a big fan of pinning things together and I hate to sew with out pinning first. So to solve this problem I ending up using some large paper clips/clamps to hold the fur together. Not as elegant as using pins, but the paper clips did the job and held the fabric together.

Now that all the pieces are finally all cut out, it is time to sew!

Please be sure and join me in the next post in the continuing Saga of the Fur Wars…

Well, I Don’t Consider Myself An Idiot

But, I bought and read the book anyway, and I’m glad I did. While perusing the new amigurumi books on Amazon, I came across the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi by June Gilbank. I really did not read the book’s description at first, but instead skimmed the reader’s reviews and found that almost everyone loved the book. Without reading the reviews too closely, I went ahead and ordered the book.

Expecting a book of fun and exciting amigurumi patterns, I was disappointed when the book first arrived. There were only about six patterns in the book and a lot of text. And who wants a book with text these days? I want pictures!

No, not really, I’m just kidding.

At the time though, I pushed the book to the side and decided to read it later when I had more time to look at it more thouroughly.

And that time just never seemed to come.

So the other day I saw the book still sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust and  I decided it was time for it find a new home, and collect dust on someone else’s bookshelf. But before just tossing it into the goodwill box, I decided to see what some of the text had to say. To my surprise the book was actually what it said it was, a guide to making amigurumi toys. So I decided to go ahead and read the whole book right then and there.

The first part of the book was a review for me since I know how to crochet, but other parts of the book were things that I have not tried yet like making hair and using fancy specialty yarns. As I continued to read this book, fabulous ideas began to form in my brain. Creative ideas sometimes overwhelm my poor little brain, forcing me to stop and write my ideas down before I loose them. As I started writing, this list became quite long as I planned my next several projects for the future.

Now, I can’t wait to get crocheting on an amigurumi with joints or one with brushed yarn to make it look fuzzy or to make an amigurumi a wig with ringlets. My list is quite long and I am so excited to get started.

After finishing reading the book cover to cover, it returned to my bookshelf and the next time I need inspiration, I will reach for it. Not for it’s patterns, but for the spark it gave my creativity.

Hey, Little Birdie, You Cool Cat!

I will say it up front. This is my least favorite amigurumi. Of all the amigurumi’s I have ever made, or at least that I have made recently, this one just does not appeal to me very much. I have placed this amigurumi on my desk by my computer to see if it will grow on me. It makes me sad to say this because as you can see this amigurumi is Woodstock and, as you know, I love all things regarding Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the Peanuts gang.

 .

I purchased Woodstock’s pattern online. The minute I saw this pattern I knew that I had to have it, as well as the other patterns for the other Peanuts characters that were for sale with it. Included in these patterns were patterns for Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Pig Pen, and Franklin. I was so excited at the time of purchase that I could not wait to get crocheting.

.

I picked Woodstock to start with, but as I started to crochet his wings and feet, I was not happy with how he was turning out. After correcting a couple of errors in the pattern’s count, which really did not make me happy since I had paid money for this pattern, I continued to crochet hoping that my feelings would change as Woodstock came together. After crocheting all the pieces and starting the sewing part of the construction, I was still displeased with the results. After tying on the hair and embroidering the face, I was very disappointed with how he turned out. I tried adding more hair, removing hair, and adding it differently but it did not help.  I tried changing his smile, making it smaller, then bigger, then smaller and so on, but nothing seemed to improve my dissatisfaction with this amigurumi. I believe that the whole pattern needs a do over. Woodstock’s head needs to be bigger, his beak longer and skinnier, his neck opening decreased by a few rows and then sewn to the head. His wings need to be a little longer, and possibly his feet made a little smaller. Since I have so many patterns that I want to crochet, I don’t know that I have the desire to start playing with changes to this pattern right now. Right at this moment, I do not to want to try this pattern again or try to make any changes to it. I am just too disappointed. Maybe some day but not today.

.

We were traveling when I finished the crocheting of the pieces for this Woodstock. Since I did not want to start the assembly process in the car, I started to crochet the pieces for the Snoopy pattern instead. After completing one arm and one leg and having to make 3 corrections to the pattern count, I am not sure I will finish Snoopy either at this point. I am very disappointed with Snoopy’s pattern as well. Now, I wish I had only purchased one pattern at a time from this seller. Even though I have had great success with patterns purchased online up till now, I have learned a lesson here and will be more cautious with my online purchase of patterns in the future.