Tag Archive | knot

A Snake In The Grass

IMG_4459I have been eyeing this snake pattern for a long time. It looked like a quick, but fun project. So, when it was time to pick another amigurumi project, this snake popped to the top of my to do list.

IMG_4463As I dug through the yarn stash looking for just the right colors for the snake’s body and stripes, I found four colors that I really liked together that would work great for the snake’s body, but I only needed three colors to make the pattern. But which three colors should I pick? Undecided, I asked the husband which three colors he thought would look best for the snake’s body and stripes. He said I should use all four colors. After a long pause to see it in my minds eye, I decided that yes I could use all four colors. I would subtract one round for the color that was used the most in the snake’s stripe and replace that round with the fourth color. With the colors planned out, it was time to start crocheting.

IMG_4466The crocheting of the snake’s body started with the tail. I crocheted the tip of the tail and then the first 3 color stripe. It looked great. Since it was not too many rounds until the next stripe, I decided to carry the 3 yarns of the stripe as I crocheted. After the third stripe, though, I noticed that the 4 yarns that I was carrying instead of cutting and tying off with each color change, were getting very twisted and hard to manage.

Maybe I should be cutting and tying each color change to prevent this twisting mess?

IMG_4338But, I knew it would not be easy to cut and tie each color change in a 10 single crochet round, especially with the number of color changes this snake’s body had. So, I had to decide which I wanted to do, take the time to untwist the 4 carried yarns as I crocheted or cut and tie off each color change. I decided to carry and untwist the yarn as I crocheted.

IMG_4336It wasn’t difficult to untwist the yarn as I crocheted, but it was time consuming. I still think it was less time consuming and trouble to carry and untwist the yarns than to cut and tie each of the color changes. Once I had completed the ninth stripe of the snakes body, I really liked the results and I was very pleased that I took the time and effort to use the extra color. I crocheted the snake’s head next, and soon I had the two pieces of the snake crocheted up and ready to stitch together.

IMG_4461The pattern said to stuff only the snake’s upper body and his head which I did. I then stitched the head and body together. The next step was the tricky step. I had to twist the snake’s body tightly enough so that it supported the snake’s head and made the snake stand upright like a cobra. After several twisting attempts and some fiddling and fussing, I got the snakes body twisted and his head positioned just right. I grabbed my pins and pinned everything in place. Then, with some small unseen stitches, I tacked the twists and head in place.

IMG_4465After some thought, this snake was named Snape.

Snape is very cute and definitely would not scary anyone as he slithers through the grass. He was a fun project but not quite as quick of a project as I thought it would be. I do hope to make more snakes some day as they were a lot of fun!

Until then, crochet forth and slither and twist on!

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Have Yourself Some Merry Little Christmas Crafting.

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…

EXCEPT for the crazy crocheter with visions of grandeur still frantically crocheting her Christmas mouse!

2015 Christmas Card Picture

 

I told myself NO CHRISTMAS PROJECTS this year, despite all the wonderful ideas and patterns there are to read about in the blogosphere and on Ravelry for Christmas crafters.

But, right around Thanksgiving the Christmas crafting bug bit me and I decided that just one little, teeny, tiny, project that could be easily completed before Christmas came and went would be ok to make.

This project needed to be something small and simple that could be made with minimal stress and time. As I looked at my patterns and some ideas on line, I found this pattern for some amigurumi Christmas light bulbs and picked it to be my one and only Christmas crafting project for this year.

The pattern for these Christmas light bulbs is very simple and it only took a couple of Christmas movies for me to have 10 bulbs, 2 of each color, crocheted up. It took a few more Christmas movies to stuff the 10 bulbs, and then I had to stop watching movies altogether so that I could concentrate on the details of these Christmas bulbs. The devil is always in the details isn’t it?

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It took just a few minutes to stitch the tops of the Christmas bulbs closed once they were stuffed. I decided to use googly eyes instead of safety eyes, so, with the husbands help, it only took a few more minutes to glue the eyes on to each bulb. But now the long process of giving each bulb a smile and a personality started.

I tried big smiles, small smiles, v-shaped smiles, rounded smiles, and crazy zig-zag smiles but nothing looked good to me. I finally decided on smaller v-shaped smiles. I was using black yarn to make the smiles but the black yarn was not showing up well on the darker color bulbs so I tried white yarn instead. That looked awful, so I switched to some silver color yarn. After much trial and error, I completed the 10 smiles on the Christmas bulbs.

Now, what should I do with 10 Christmas crocheted amigurumi light bulbs? I could chain them together into a string of lights to make one Christmas decoration. Or I could put a bulb on a long piece of string or yarn and make it a necklace for all my friends and coworkers, but who wants a silly Christmas light bulb necklace? At last, I decided to make them up as Christmas tree ornaments.

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I dug through the closet and found some silver and gold metallic cording to make loops to hang these Christmas light bulb ornaments. I carefully cut even lengths of the cording, and threaded the cording through the top of each bulb. I knotted the cording, planning to twist the cording around and then hide the knot in the top of the bulb but this did not work.

The knots in the cording were too big to pull into the stuffing at the top of the bulbs. In hind sight, if I had stuffed the tops of the bulbs less, this would have worked, but I stuffed the tops good and plenty so hiding the knots in the top was not an option. I tried using yarn instead of the cording but that did not look as good. The silver and gold cording added an elegant Christmas touch to the bulbs. So, after much debate, I decided to just leave the knot at the top of the cording so it was still visible.

This was a great idea and a simple solution except that the bare ends of the cording knots frayed like crazy. I wanted the ends of the knots trimmed close but then the cording would fray and the knot would come untied. Flustered, I turned to the husband who said one word.

GLUE!

So thank heavens for clear drying glue. So, after carefully knotting and trimming the cording ends, I doused the knots and ends in glue to seal the cording, stop the fraying and keep the knot tied. After much patience with the knotting, cutting and glueing, the glue dried clear and the Christmas light bulb ornaments were done.

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At first, I did not like what I had made and I thought seriously about tossing the bulbs into the garbage can. But after they sat on the cutting table for a little while, their silliness grew on me and I now think that they are very cute silly little Christmas light bulb ornaments that my friends and family will be more than willing to hang them on their Christmas trees this year.

Until next time, Crochet forth and Christmas craft on!

Sammy the Seal

DSCN2357DSCN2358It didn’t last long, but then it never does.

I broke my current crocheting criteria of only making patterns that I have had for a while, but that I could never seem to get made. The minute I saw this new pattern for this seal, I knew that I wanted to make it and it became my next project.

Even though I have piles of old patterns that I have been trying to get around to making, for some reason I just wanted to make this one instead and so I did.

The pieces for the seal crocheted up without any problems and I enjoyed the process. The pattern was well written and easy to follow. The stuffing and stitching together of the pieces went smoothly as well. It was a little odd for me to not stuff the flippers of the tail but to put stuffing in the tail portion only. I thought about stitching a line between the tail and the flippers just to keep the stuffing in the right spots, but the stuffing seemed to stay where it was suppose to, so I did not stitch the line. The seal’s nose and mouth were easy to design but his whiskers took some work to get just right. The pattern had 3 big long whiskers but in the end I liked my 2 short whiskers better.

DSCN2340DSCN2155When it came time to crochet the hat and scarf, I had a little trepidation. The seal had been turning out so cute without the hat and scarf, so why go to the trouble of making them? But, as I looked at the pictures in the pattern, the hat and scarf added to the seal’s cuteness, so I decided to get crocheting and get them made too.

The hat was easy to crochet. It was crocheted in rounds just a little bit larger than the head with double crochets for the last round to give it an edge. When it came time to make the pompom for the top of the hat, I had to have the husband help again. I could not get the knot tight enough to keep the yarns from just falling out of the pompom. The husband was able to tie the knot tight enough and the pompom came out really cute. My hat is a little squarish. If and when I make another hat, I will vary the increases in the round to keep it a little more rounded.

DSCN2335DSCN2285I liked the scarf that I made for the Hello Kitty so much that I decided to make the seal’s scarf the same way instead of following the pattern for it. I made a chain of yarn to the desired length, then double crocheted back to the other end. Next, I changed to the white yarn and slip stitched around the double crochets and chains. I was concerned about how the back of the scarf would look in the places where it would be seen when the scarf was tied to the seals neck, but the tied on scarf looks great.

I used a dab of clear fingernail polish on the yarn ends of the hat and scarf to finish them off. The nail polish will seal the ends so that if this seal is played with, there will not be any yarn ends coming loose. I thought about stitching the hat and scarf to the seal but then I decided that if the seal is being played with, that being able to remove the hat and scarf might be more fun for someone.

DSCN2184DSCN2158This seal was a fun and quick project that turned out so very cute. It was easy to pick the name Sammy for this seal. What else would you name a seal? With Sammy the Seal completed, I will again return to my crocheting criteria of picking my next project from patterns I have been longing to make. Unless another more fun pattern pops up first that is!

Until then, crochet forth and seal on!

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!

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!

Take Off That Hat And Scarf! It’s Still Summertime out there!

DSCN0243I must have been trying to think of cool thoughts while enduring the heat of the summer when I decided that my next amigurumi project would be a penguin.

Actually, a more accurate reason for choosing it was the purchase of a particular color of variegated yarn. I love the extremes of it. First a bright neon color then the complete opposite, black, then the bright neon color again. What would show off the burst of colors in this P1040325yarn? Of course, an animal with the same contrast, a black and white penguin.

I found the cutest penguin pattern and it included instructions to make a hat and scarf too. The crocheting of the pieces went smoothly, and the pattern was very well written with lots of detailed pictures. The only change that I made to the pattern was the penguin’s white belly spot. The pattern called for just a round white circle for the belly spot, but that looked odd to me. So, I undid the last round and added some double crochets to what would be the top of the spot, making it an oval at the top and round at the bottom. This looked better to me than just the round circle did. The oval top seemed to fill the belly area of the body better.

P1040335Stuffing and stitching the pieces together went smoothly as well. Soon enough, I had an adorable penguin all crocheted up! I actually thought about stopping there, but the whole reason for making this amigurumi was to use the new variegated yarn, so I started crocheting again to make the scarf and hat.

The scarf was no problem to crochet and it was a good length after being tied around the penguin’s neck. The hat was also a simple crochet to make. There is one thing I thought about changing on the hat and that was the color of the last round of the cap. The last round is crocheted in double crochet versus the single crochets of the rest of the cap, to give the cap a finished edge. This edge is lost when made in the variegated yarn. I thought about undoing the double crochet round and chaining the color to black. But I figured that would that just make the double crochets blend with the penguin’s black head and I would lose the edge anyway. In the end, I decided to leave the double crochet round in the variegated yarn, mostly because I love this variegated yarn on the black and white penguin.

DSCN0241The challenge for this amigurumi came with the pompom on the hat. I know how to make a pompom, but I have never had any luck making a successful one. They always fall apart on me. I thought about leaving the pompom off the hat but I really wanted one so I got started on it. After trying a couple of times to make the pompom and having it fall apart on me, I was ready to quit. So after filling the bottom of the garbage can with failed pompoms, I decided that the hat did not need a pompom after all. I showed the husband the completed penguin with the pompomless hat and scarf and his first comment was “Where’s the pompom?” Flustered I showed him the garbage can and explained to him how I had been trying to make the pompoms with no success. He said to let him try. I watched closely as he did the exact same thing that I had done to make a pompom, DSCN0247but when he pulled the yarn to tie the knot, he pulled it so much tighter than I could have had pulled it, I found my problem. The husband’s pompom was a success and I promptly stitched it to the top of the hat for the penguin. It looks great and best of all it did not fall apart. Unfortunately for the husband, he is now the official pompom maker.

This penguin was quickly named Paulie, not a very original name, but a good name. I think Paulie is very cute and was fun to make and I love his hat and scarf from the variegated yarn the most.

Until next time, crochet forth and crochet on.

Triangulating The Joint

P1040340Remember Thready the teddy bear? Sure you do. He was the cute, but bulky teddy bear that I crocheted a while back. He was my first try at making an amigurumi with thread joints. I have been wanting to make another amigurumi with thread joints to see if I could change the things that I did not like about Thready, like the bulky look that he had and to incorporate all the things that I learned recently from making several different types of thread joints. This made picking out my next amigurumi project easy. I found a pattern for a puppy with thread joints, but with a little variation to the joints that I had been making.

P1040350Starting with the crocheting of the pieces, I quickly found out that this was not a particularly easy pattern. I had to watch my rounds and stitch count more closely than usual. This was not difficult, just a pain. Unlike Thready’s pattern, the arms and legs of this puppy tapered in at the ends. I was also careful not over stuff the arms and legs.

The instructions in this pattern for the thread joints were a little different than for the ones on Thready’s joints. This pattern called for a separate piece of yarn to make the joints, not just to use the tail of the yarn left after crocheting. The separate yarn piece was pulled from the bottom of the puppy’s body into the leg but then angled towards the front of the leg, and then pulled out of the leg at the front. The yarn was then reinserted into the leg, not catching the crocheted yarn, pulled through under the crocheting but close to the outside of the leg to the back of the leg. Finally the yarn was pulled out from the leg at the back, then, as before, reinserted into the leg, once again not catching the crocheted yarn, pulled to the inside of the leg where it first entered the leg, then out the bottom of the body at the starting point. This formed a triangle for the joint inside the leg.

P1040227Forming the triangle joint pulled the leg closer to the body, decreasing some of the bulky look. This was a good thing. The problem, though, was that the leg was very loose. I did not feel that it was secure enough to the body to withstand any play or pulling from a child. So, I cut some more yarn and stitched the joints again the same way. While this did tighten up the joint so that it was more secure it caused another problem. I now had a ton of loose ends of yarn to knot and hide in a small space at the bottom of the body.

P1040231The idea of the triangle thread joint was good, but the execution needed to be refined, so when I made the arm I changed it up a little. I had left a long tail at the end of my crocheting of the arms, as I did with the legs but then cut off to use a separate piece yarn for the joint. On the arms, I decided to use the tail from the crocheting for the joint instead of cutting it off and using a separate piece of yarn. I pulled the tail from one arm through the body to where the other arm was to be attached. I did the same with the other arm. Then using the tail from the opposite arm, I made the triangle thread joint in the arm and then pulled it into the body. I did the same thing for the other arm. The arms were so much more secure than P1040343the legs with only one time through. Just to be safe though, I repeated the joints again but with the same thread I was using, and not a separate piece of yarn. I am glad I left a long tail on the arms so I could use it for the joints twice. This worked out great for making the thread joints, plus I could knot and hide the loose end through out the body instead of all in one spot and I only have one piece of yarn for each joint to hide. But more importantly, the arms were very secure whereas I still would have liked the legs to be tighter.

P1040351Even with the tapered and less stuffed arms and legs and the triangle joints that pulled that appendages closer to the body, the puppy still looks bulky to me although much less bulky than Thready. Maybe I just don’t like thread jointed amigurumi’s or maybe I need more taper and even less stuffing and even a tighter pull of the joints. Like Thready though, this puppy has grown on me. He is fun and cute and I hope someone will enjoy playing with him.

Until next time, crochet forth and crochet on.