Tag Archive | love

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!

What’s Love got to do with it?

P1040320My husband is the best husband in the whole world! And I’m pretty sure he really does love me for some reason! And he did something the other day just out of the blue, for no apparent reason at all other than out of love.

The other day, the husband had some shopping to do at Walmart. As he passed by the fabric and craft department, he saw a bin of yarn. A skein of variegated yarn in the bin caught his eye. He liked the color and did not remember this particular P1040322variegated  color being in my yarn stash, so he purchased the skein of yarn for me. He thought I would like the color and that I would want to use it for one of my amigurumi’s, like a turtle or a jellyfish. He was spot on.

When he gave me the yarn, I was so surprised. I know that he only tolerates my fabric and yarn stashes because I love fabric and yarn so much. But I was surprised that he would even give the bin of yarn a second look, no less find and buy a skien from that bin for me that he thought I would like and need. How sweet of him to P1040324be thinking of me, and to know me so well. This was a fabulous gift to receive from him and a wonderful thought on his part. He could not have bought anything else that I would have liked or will enjoy more.

I already have plans to use this special yarn in an up coming project. It will be fun and I think you will like it.

Until next time, crochet forth and crochet on!

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.

Four Wings and Two Prayers

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 11.55.09 AMA long time ago, I purchased the book Adorable Amigurumi by Erin Clark. I loved every design in the book and thought I could not wait to get started crocheting patterns from it, but I guess I could wait. After admiring the cute designs in the book, I placed this book on my book shelf with my other amigurumi books and I promptly forgot about its adorable designs until just a few days ago. While perusing the yarn section at Walmart recently, I found this turquoise blue skien of Red Heart Love yarn and I immediately thought of the adorable dragonfly pattern in this book. I bought the yarn and went right home to start crocheting this dragonfly.

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P1030525As I got started, I noticed that the patten did not state the number of stitches per round. This is not a big deal but it is nice to have this number to help keep count of the stitches and rounds as you go. So, I decided to add the stitch count to the pattern before I got started crocheting. As I started counting the stitches for each round in the pattern, I found that there was not a round 17 in the head. I figured that maybe this was just a typo in the book, so I kept on counting but I then noticed that the head went from 48 stitches in round 16 to 36 stitches in round 18. Now, I have made enough amigurumi’s to know that is quite a sudden drop in stitches, especially if you want a round head instead of the back of the head being flat. I decided at this point to stop counting and get start crocheting to see what I got. Sure enough, the head started out nice and round and then went flat after round 18. It looked funny and not at all like the pictures in the pattern had looked. So I undid my crocheting back to round 16 and started my own decrease in stitches and rounds to get a nice smooth decrease and a round head.

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P1030498After that, I continued on to the thorax portion of the body. The rounds and the stitch count seemed to crochet the shape that I had expected, but when I reached the abdomen portion of the body, something was wrong. I could not get the stitch count per round to match the number of rounds in the pattern. I was very flustered at this point with the whole thing. I felt like I had put too much work into this project to stop and call it a loss though so I continued on. I worked my way down the abdomen, counting and shaping it to something that looked like the picture as well as a shape I thought the dragonfly’s abdomen should look like.

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P1030497Upon completing the dragonfly’s body, I was so flustered with this pattern, I really did not want to finish it. Now, I’m not really a great amigurumi designer even though I have created a few of my own. That’s why I bought the book, so I could just make something someone else had already spent the time to create and test out. So, I was not happy that a published pattern in a book that I had paid for was not tested and edited better. Now, it might just have been me. Maybe I had missed something somewhere in the pattern, but if I did it was not obvious to me what I had missed and I did study this pattern very carefully to try and find what step I might have missed.

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P1030528The legs, eyes and antennas crocheted up much more smoothly and I was able to follow the pattern ok when making them. In fact, I like how the eyes turned out very much. They are nice and big and round and full of life. There were minimal instructions for stitching the dragonfly parts together, so I turned to the photos in the pattern to get an idea. I noticed right away that the designer had stitched the legs on both the thorax and abdomen of the dragonfly. In nature this would be incorrect. A dragonfly’s legs are only attached to the thorax. Now, I know this is a crocheted cartoon like dragonfly and it does not have to be scientifically correct, but I just didn’t want to stitch the legs down the dragonfly’s abdomen. What I did find out was that there was not enough room to put all three legs on each side of the thorax. And so to get evenly spaced legs, I ended up stitching the third leg where the thorax and the abdomen connect together. This is still incorrect but it looks better than the legs crowded and unevenly spaced on the thorax. I did learn a lot when attaching the chain legs to the body. It would have been a lot easier to have attached the legs as I crocheted the thorax, before it was stuffed. But, that is a lesson that could only be learned by experience. Now I know that if I make another dragonfly from this pattern, to make the legs first and then attach them to the thorax as I crochet before stuffing the thorax.

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P1030530Even with all the issues with the round and stitch count, this dragonfly did turn out super cute. I have not named this dragonfly or found him a home yet. I have, though, decided to keep this book. Because the end results of this dragonfly are so cute, I have decided to try another pattern from this book. When I do, I hope that the bad dragonfly pattern in this book is an exception for the patterns in this book and not the norm. I will have to try out making another pattern from this book to find that out. Once I do, I will let everyone know what I have found.

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?

 

One Large Combo Puppy To Go

Since I was still in a puppy making mood, I decided to mix up my patterns and take parts from several different patterns to make my next puppy.

I started with a pattern I have made several times before. Remember the bunny, Cali, the bear and Ming Long, the panda? Yep, I started with Ana Paula Rimoli’s pattern Toys In Pajamas from her book Amigurumi World Two. I have really enjoyed making this pattern before, so I was looking forward to crocheting it again.

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I crocheted the arms and legs as written in the pattern, but I took the idea from the daddy puppy pattern to make one of the paws a different color. This puppy’s muzzle and ears though came from the patchwork puppy pattern from Crochet World, with his eye spot coming from the daddy puppy pattern. The last piece, his tail, also comes from the patchwork puppy pattern, but I did change it a little, making the tail shorter and fatter.

While crocheting the body, I decided to insert the arms and legs into the body as I did on the puppy love puppy. This took some counting and decision making to figure out on which row and which stitches I wanted the arms and legs inserted at. I like the arms and legs when attached into the body, and this puppy will sit very well because of this and  he looks fine when standing too.

It took all the stuffing skills I have to finish up the last of the Simply Stuffing I had left in the bag to stuff this puppy without too many lumps and bumps. I am glad that the bag is now empty and I can open a new bag of the better quality Polyfil stuffing for my next project. But I still have one bag of the Simply Stuffing left. At first I thought I would just use it up but after stuffing this puppy, it’s going away instead. I am going to take it to Goodwill and hopefully someone else can use it. I am not really happy with the stuffing job I did on this puppy, but it is what it is.

The final piece of this puppy is his collar that I designed based on the collar on the last amigurumi Snoopy I made. I used a some scraps of Red Heart cherry cola variegated yarn left from three eyes and fries. I wanted a little color in his collar without getting away from the brown tones.

At first this was not my favorite of the puppies that I have made recently, but he has grown on me and now I think he is just adorable as the others. He is now in need of a good home though, just like the bunny, Cail and Ming Long have moved to.

I Can’t Seem To Take My Own Advice

p1020347With all the new sleepers I have made recently, I decided to get a few blankets made to go with them for the day that I may need a baby gift for someone. Since I now want to use my pieces of polar fleece to make jackets, I turned to the flannel stash to find fabric to make the blankets with.

I picked out 4 pieces of flannel to make 2 blankets. I then laundered the flannel,  got it squared up, stitched and turned, all with no problems.  .

Then I had a brain fart!  .p1020349

Instead of going back to the my previous posts on skip-stitching flannel blankets, I just started using the skip-stitch blade to cut the holes for the edges. I did remember to pick the yarn I wanted to use first, so I knew which size blade to use, but I forgot to double check how far from the edge to skip-stitch. I had picked Red Heart 4 ply yarn so I used skip-stitch blade #1 for the proper stitch length I wanted, but I made the cuts at 1/2 inch from the edge.

After I cut all four edges of the polar bear blanket, it dawned on me that when using flannel instead of polar fleece, I like to only have a 1/4 inch edge because I don’t want to fold the flannel edge over like I do with the fleece blankets.

Well, this blanket was already cut so I had to make a decision on what to do to fix my mistake. My choices were to either to fold the edge over or to have a 1/2 inch drop with the yarn on the edge. .p10203511

After trying both, I decided to have the 1/2 inch drop of yarn. It looked better that way to me. But, as I crocheted the edge of this blanket, I  had nothing but problems. The flannel would not lay flat. It insisted on wrinkling under the yarn since it was much thinner than polar fleece. I tried and tried to straighten the fabric, but I finally decided I was just going to have to minimize the wrinkles and leave it at that. After completing the foundation row, I did a chain three, skip two stitches and chain in the third stitch in blue and then a row of white in chain three and then a chain in each of the previous rows with chain three. I have done this edge before and really like the results it produces.

With the blanket completed, I am very disappointed with the wrinkles in the fabric under the yarn. It will not deter the use of the blanket, but I am not happy with the finished results. I doubt anyone but me will notice the imperfections though.
p1010971On the next blanket which I made from the Snoopy flannel, I was smart enough to remember the problems I had on the previous blanket and learn from my mistakes. I skip-stitched the blankets edges at 1/4 inch this time. And the blanket stitched up very nicely once it was skip-stitched with the proper edge width. I used the same edge design on it with green and yellow yarn this time.

The only thing I would change about this blanket was the use of so much yellow yarn with the yellow back. The husband says it looks ok, but once again I am not totally happy with it. Yet, it is still a very cute blanket and the colors certainly will not keep it from being used as a blanket.p1010968

It’s just the perfectionist in me that has to nit pick about something, so that was what I chose. .

As I look back now at the flannel blankets I just finished, my mind wanders to what else I could do with the pieces in the flannel stash besides making blankets.

My brain is still working on some ideas, so I don’t know if you will see more blankets soon or perhaps something else entirely!