Tag Archive | heart

Halloween Time

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IMG_0012P1040200Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. I enjoy the decorations, the costumes and the candy. Each year, I like to make some new Halloween amigurumi’s. This year I made two, a devil and a ghost.

I found the devil’s pattern on Ravelry. I like the pattern, but I loved the devil one crocheter had made from a red and black variegated yarn. I knew this had to be one of my Halloween amigurumi projects for this year. My sources for purchasing yarn are limited, but I kept an eye out for some red and black variegated yarn.

While in Joann’s one time, I came across the Red Heart Team Spirit yarns and there was a red and black variegated skein. It did not really look like the yarn from the other devil that I had seen but it was the best that I had found so far. So I purchased a skein of it and I got started stitching it up.

IMG_0018IMG_0020The pattern for this devil is well written and crocheting the parts was fun to make. Unfortunately, the Red Heart Team Spirit yarn is not really a true variegated yarn. It is a long section of red then a long section of black and so on. So this did not give me the look I wanted, but the pieces of the devil were turning out cute anyway, so I kept crocheting.

I could have saved the money spent on this speciality yarn though and just used separate red and black yarns for a similar look. The devil stitched together nicely and his tail turned out very cute. I like the heart shaped point at the end. I also really like his folded arms, one of the features that attracted me to the pattern.

All in all, this devil turned out quite cute and is a fun addition for Halloween.

DSCN0514DSCN0516The next Halloween amigurumi I made was a ghost. What enticed me about this pattern was the bottom of the ghost.

As you crochet the bottom of the ghost, you decrease on one side of the round and increase on the other side of the same round. When it is time to stuff the ghost, part of the bottom is already crocheted together, so there is less to be stitched closed.

With the increasing and decreasing on this ghost, I was having difficulty keeping track of which round I was on while crocheting. I had to keep counting the rounds from the head down. This was a pain and it was taking a lot of time away from the crocheting. I finally wrote the rounds I had left to crochet on a post it note, and marked them off as I stitched each round. This worked great. I will remember this trick if I have a counting problem again on other amigurumi’s.

DSCN0521DSCN0520I did not add safety eyes to this ghost as I crocheted it. My intention was to use wiggle eyes when it was done, but when it came time to attach them, they just did not look good. This lead me to use some felt eyes.

After trying several variations, I decided on the three layer black and white eyes that I made. I tried a yarn smile on the ghost but that did not look good either so I tried a frown, then a jagged line. Nothing looked good. As I debated over the design of the mouth, I dropped one of the felt pieces I had been cutting for the eyes onto the ghost and the black “boo” shaped mouth came to life.

This round felt mouth was perfect fit for this ghost.

While making this pattern I had my doubts along the way, especially with the eyes and mouth, that this guy would turn out ok. Not only did he turn out ok but he turned out great. I think he is fun and ready to do some scaring on Halloween.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Until next time, Crochet forth and get your scare on…

ItsHalloween

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Thread Joints

P1030815Since I have enjoyed making button jointed amigurumi’s so much, I decided that I would tackle the next type of joints on my to do list, thread joints. Thread joints are actually simpler to make than button joints. Like button joints, the thread joint is made by inserting the yarn through the body to the appendage, but unlike the button joints, the yarn is only inserted into the inside of the appendage then back into the body. The yarn is not pulled to the to the outside of appendage. The advantage of the thread joint is that you can pull the thread through the body and appendage several times in a loop without the limitation of the size of the holes in the button and this makes for a stronger joint. The disadvantage is that you don’t have cute decorative buttons shown on the outside of an amigurumi. But maybe that’s an advantage, since you don’t have to find matching buttons, or have the expense of the buttons added to your project.

P1030816There are many patterns out there for thread jointed amigurumi’s. After reading a couple of these patterns, I decided that just about any amigurumi could be stitched together with these thread joints. All that needs to be done is to close off the appendages when you’re crocheting them and then stitch them on with a thread joint. So, my choice of patterns to try a thread joint was almost limitless, but in the end I picked a teddy bear pattern that was designed to be stitched together with thread joints.

P1030819As usual, I started the crocheting of the pieces for this teddy bear with the appendages. As I completed the first arm, I noticed that the pattern ended the arm with a large stitch count on the last row. The yarn left for sewing was to be weaved through the stitches and then pulled tight to close up the arm. This made the top of the arm flat. I did not really like this look. So I thought about adding more rows and tapering the arm closed or at least stuffing the arm less, but in the end I followed the pattern and made the four appendages with flat tops and stuffed them full and firm.

P1030459The thread joints were easy to make and it made stitching the appendages to this teddy bear quick and simple. When I was done though, I did not like the look of the bear because it looked too bulky to me. Two things were at fault for this bulky look. The first was the flat top of the appendages. If I had tapered the ends of the appendages or stuffed them less, they would not have stuck out from the body so much and looked so bulky. The second thing was the thread joints. Because the yarn is not pulled to the outside of the appendage and then pulled back into the body, the appendage was not pulled tightly to the body. And although the appendages are securely fastened to the body with the thread joints, they are not tight against the body like the button joints of the last teddy bear were.

P1030465Next I had quite a bit of trouble with the face of this teddy bear. The nose and mouth were to be embroidered to the muzzle and then the muzzle was to be puffed up as it was stitched on to the head. After embroidering the nose and mouth, I puffed the muzzle and stitched it on, but I did not like the look. So I decided to use a plastic nose rather than an embroidered one. I attached the plastic nose to the muzzle and then puffed as I stitched it on again. I really did not like the results when it was finished. So, I attached the plastic nose through the muzzle and the head and stitched the muzzle flat to the face. This was still not the look that I wanted, but it was better than the other looks. Because I was disappointed with the bulky look already, I just left the flat muzzle and plastic nose on this bears face.

P1030455The picture of the bear on the pattern is just precious, but my bear just did not turned out to be that cute. He looks sad, and not cute sad, just sad. So I sat this teddy bear on my cutting table and started my next project hoping I could figure out what to do to make him look better. As he stared at me for several days, he seemed to just want some love and he melted my heart and I grew to love his little sad face. I named him Thready Bear, and now he just needs a loving home to go to and for someone to love him.

I Just Want To Sew

P1040122Make sleepers, I said to myself!

So I did! And it was fun!

Of course because I have some new patterns that I want to try out, and I have some very complex and involved projects that I want to make, and I have some new techniques that I still need to learn, I felt guilty for not doing them instead of just sewing for the fun of it. But for now, I just wanted to sew something easy and fun that would not require a lot of thought on my part, but that would still end with wonderful results.

P1040125 I was not ready to get into a large, thought provoking, time consuming project just yet, so I opted to make a sleeper or two instead. I like to always keep a couple of baby sleepers cut out so that when I am in one of these moods, I can just pull one out my sleeper box and sew away.

When I opened my sleeper box, the sleeper on top was one that I had already started. It needed to have something embroidered on it before it could be completed. Luckily, I had not put away my embroidery tools from my last project of embroidering on the husband’s shirts, and soon enough a teddy bear with a big purple bow was embroidered on this sleeper. The sleeper was then easy to finish and a lot of fun to make.

P1040121The next sleeper in the box was cut out from a scrap that I had picked up at a thrift store. The fabric is thin and has a patterned design cut in it so there would be no embroidering needed on this sleeper. Even without a design embroidered on it, it is an adorable sleeper and was a very straight forward, fun sew to complete.

P1040117The last of the sleepers in the box was two terry fabric sleepers. I had pulled out these two pieces of terry from the stash when I cleaned out my stash last year to get rid of them. They were barely 1/2 of a yard pieces and in odd colors, left over scraps from some projects of long ago, but as I looked at them again in the departing pile, I decided it would be more fun to donate these pieces of fabric as sleepers rather than just pieces of terry cloth.

Until I started sewing these sleepers, I had forgotten just how much “fun” terry cloth is to work with. I forgot about the fuzzy mess that terry makes when working with it, and how wonderfully terry cloth stretches in every direction all at once. My fun and easy P1040120project just got a little more complicated all of a sudden. Over the years I have accepted this as a sewing reality. No project is as simple as it at first seems to be, and there is always a lesson to be learned and patience to be tried no matter the project you are working on.

So I got the vacuum out and parked it right next to the sewing machine to help control the fuzz problem as I stitched, and I got out lots of extra pins to help with the stretch problem. I had the walking foot at the ready, but I did not have to use it. Actually, about half way through these two sleepers, I was ready to move on to my next project. But I did not want to just give up, and stop working on these and put them back in the box for another day. And since the fuzzy mess was already started, I soldiered on!

P1040114As these two sleepers came together, I could see many possible designs in my head to be stitched on them. I finally picked a Tiger and Pooh design for the purple sleeper. Although I love the Tiger and Pooh on the purple terry, this was not the design for this stretchy fabric. This was a large design and with all the jumping around to stitch, it caused this already stretchy fabric to stretch even more. I held my breath until the design was done stitching and it came out ok, a bit off, but ok. While looking closely at the design while I was trimming jump stitches, I realized that the Tiger had no eyes. ARGH! I wasn’t willing to hoop it back up to fix it, so I just used a black sharpie marker to give him some! P1040116With all the problems with this design, I will not be using it again, not even on a non stretchy fabric with the eyes added in to the Tiger design.

The Snow White design that I used on the second sleeper, was much easier to stitch on the stretchy terry. It turn out great and I think it is very cute on the yellow fabric, it will be just right for some little princess.

Wow, four sleepers made! And I had a great time making them, despite the stretchy mess. They were just what I needed, fun and easy, and ending with great results. I am now ready to dive into my next project. Stay tuned!

Bugs and Bunnies and Hearts, oh my!

P1030086Happy Valentines Day!

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I wonder what I should get for my valentine this year? A card? Perhaps some candy? How about a love bug or a love bunny?

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While I was surfing on Ravelry.com recently, I found several fun patterns for Valentine’s Day and so I decided to try a couple of them out. The first was a bunny pattern. It looked just like a giant gummy bear bunny! In PINK no less! The picture on the pattern was so cute, I knew that this might be a possible gift for my valentine. And so I promptly ignored the instructions on the pattern as to the size of hook and yarn that I should use, and instead I picked up my size G hook and Red Heart yarn and started to crochet it. I have done this before and the project has turned out just fine if not great, I thought to myself as I P1030084was remembering my previous project of escargot the snail. Well, this time I was not to be so lucky. As I crocheted, the bunny just kept getting bigger and bigger. All of the cuteness was draining from the bunny with each stitch I took, but still I continued to crochet it anyway. When the 4 pieces of the bunny were all crocheted up, I did not like the size it had turned out at all. I debated about not spending the time or stuffing to stitch him together, but I decided to continue on hoping that after being stuffed and stitched some of the cuteness would return. But it didn’t. I then stitched in the bunnies face in black yarn, but it looked so harsh on the pink that I took it out and stitched it again in brown. Compared to the picture, this bunny was just not the cute little love bunny I wanted to give to my valentine. I debated about making another bunny with the correct size of hook and yarn that the pattern called for, but I was tired of the pattern already and I just wanted to move on.

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P1030087With that decision past me, I decided to give the love bug pattern I had found along with the bunny a try next. It called for a size G hook and red and pink yarn and that is what I already had handy, so I was all set. It’s four parts crocheted up quickly. I thought I would have a problem with the heart wings but they were quite easy to make. I could tell as soon as the parts were crocheted that this little love bug was going to be just as cute as the picture had shown it, and it would be a fine gift for my valentine. The details of the bugs details with the pipe cleaner antennas and the placement of the heart wings, took some time to decide on, but were well worth the time and it turned out very cute. Once my first love bug was done, I thought it was just adorable and so fun to make that I decided to make another. For the second one I used a size F hook and different colors, just to see what I got. The results were just as cute as the first. The size of the hook used did not seem to make much of a difference. And it was fun to make the pattern again. Because the detail decisions had already been made on the first bug, the second love bug in white, worked up very quickly. I did not crochet the stripes in the white love bugs body as I had the first one, and when he was done, he was so white that I went ahead and added the dashed lines of red to his body. I like the look of it and it breaks up the solid white body nicely.

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P1020879I wanted both the bunny and the bugs to stand up by themselves so I added some pony beads to the bottom of their bodies to give them some bottom weight before I stuffed them. The bunny was going to need a lot of beads for weight to stand up, so I made a little pouch first to hold the beads together in the bottom and to hide the color of the beads. I did not really worry about matching the size of the bottom too closely or how round or neat the pouch looked since no one would ever see it but me, so the pouch was simple and quick to make. And it worked out great! Because the pouch of beads worked so well in the bunny, I made another pouch for the beads in the pink bug too. It worked just as well as the bunny’s pouch had. On the white bug though I just added the beads to the bottom of the bug without a pouch. There is only about 10 beads in the bottom of the bugs so I wanted to see if it made a difference, pouch or no pouch. I also had white colored beads so I did not have to worry about the color of them showing through the yarn on the white bug. I don’t really see much difference between the two bugs as far as the weight goes. This has led me to concluded that if the amigurumi is small, it doesn’t matter if the weights are in a pouch or not, but I believe that the bunny due to its larger size is better off with its beads in a pouch so they stay in place in it’s bottom.

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And now that  my gifts are all ready for my valentines this year, will you, will you be mine?

 

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.

A Tale of a Tail

The three eye monster crocheted up very nicely, slowly, but nicely. As I already stated, he is HUGE! It took a full skein and a half of yarn plus a half a bag of stuffing.

I purchased the pattern called three eye guy for him on line from craftydeb. It is the same place that I got Frank and his bride’s patterns from that I really enjoyed making.

The pattern was easy enough to follow with a few techniques I had never done before. The body was done as a whole piece, attaching two of the eyes and one leg as you crocheted. Except for attaching the eye balls and tail, there was no sewing the body parts together. This was great, since sewing the parts together is my least favorite part of making amigurumi’s.

The only part of the pattern that I did not like was the tail.

The author of the pattern made a long bent tail that was supposed to help the monster stand on his own. I crocheted the tail exactly like the pattern called for, but I did not like it at all. The tail was actually a third leg. It stood out from the body about 4 inches. .

He is already big and this tail just added to his size, making him both extra wide side to side and front to back. This monster was made as a decoration, but I can see a kid wanting to play with it, but not with this huge tail extending from its butt.

So, I decided to redesign the tail a bit. . . .

I started by crocheting a whole new tail making it smaller around and shorter with no bends. After stuffing it that tail looked worse than the original tail. So I unstuffed the tail and tried one long and flat without stuffing. This was better, but still not the look I wanted.

I then tried to lengthen and shorten this tail, as well as place it higher and lower on the monster’s body. It just was not right. . At this point, I returned to the original tail and started unraveling rounds. Every few rounds I would hold it to the monster’s body to see if I had the look I was after.

After unraveling more than 3/4 of the original tail, I unstuffed the tail and held it flat to the body. The flat tail was just not it either. It was too wide when flattened out. I unraveled a few more rows and then re-stuffed the tail. This time the look was close, not quite right, but closer than I had been yet. I unraveled a few more rounds and there it was, the tail I had been looking for, a fat bobbed tail. . .

Since I had lost his third leg to help him stand, I placed plastic pads in the bottom of his feet before I closed him up. The pads help him stand on his own without the need for the huge tail. .

I gave him three brown eyes to match the cherry cola colored yarn. I am pleased with the final results. Although he is big, I like his fat bobbed tail and the fact that he can stand by himself.

He has taken on a personality all his own and I named him simply Three Eyes.

As he stands there on the sewing table, he has a wild imagination and is ready for some mischief.

A Yarn Story

The title of this post should really be “A Yarn Horror Story”, but since everything worked out fine, I will let the title be. Now for the story. I am going to give you the long version.

About 9 months ago when my Mom was visiting, I finally broke down and bought a skein of Red Heart cherry cola variegated yarn. I have looked at this yarn many times and really liked the colors, but just never purchased a skien because I had no projects in mind to make with it. While shopping at Walmart with Mom, she saw the yarn and liked the color so well that she decided to purchase a skein, so I decided it was time to purchase one as well.

The skein has sat in the yarn stash since then waiting for just the right project to make with it. After finishing Blue, I sorted through my patterns and decided to make a three eyed monster, and I knew just the yarn I wanted to use, the cherry cola. I read the pattern before I started and knew that this monster was going to be big, but I had no idea how big. As I crocheted, I watched the skein become smaller and smaller. It became obvious quite quickly that I was going to need more than one skein of yarn to finish this amigurumi project. I have never used a whole skein of yarn on a single amigurumi before. I was not worried though since I had purchased the yarn at Walmart. I figured all I needed to do was stop by and pick up another skein after work some day.

When I finally ran out of yarn, I made the trek to Walmart only to discover, you guessed it, no Red Heart cherry cola yarn on the shelf. Not only was there none in stock, but the shelf tag had been removed too, meaning no more ever. I panicked a little, but I knew we were headed for California that weekend and so I would just stop by a Joann’s there and pick up a skein.

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So, while in California I stopped by the first Joann’s I found. Guess what? No Red Heart cherry cola yarn anywhere in the store. Panicking a little more, I checked on the internet and found a yarn shop 10 miles away. So, off to the yarn store we went. The yarn store was awesome, they had miles and miles of fabulous yarn, all colors and types except Red Heart brand. RATS!

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Now, sweating a little, I started to search for other options. I could call Mom and ask for her skein, or even part of it, if she had not used it yet. Or I could have her check the little five and dime store in her town that carries yarn to see if they had any. And I could always order it on line as long as it was still available. Luckily, as we left the yarn store parking lot, there was a Michael’s just down the road. The husband sat in the car while I ran in and there on the shelf was 4 skeins of Red Heart cherry cola yarn. YAY! I grabbed all 4 skeins, but then put 3 back. I really only needed one to finish my project.

Wiping the sweat from my brow, I returned to the car with a big smile on my face. Michael’s had saved the day and my amigurumi project.