Tag Archive | mane

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!

The Sunflower’s Belly Button

DSCN2361Meet Sunflower the lion, my latest amigurumi project. Even though I have not had this lion pattern for very long, I felt that it met my current crocheting criteria of being a pattern that I wanted to make but that I had not gotten around to making yet. So, I picked this lion as my next project.

DSCN2363It was easy to pick the colors for this lion and soon enough I was crocheting away. The pattern called for paws to be made at the ends of the arms and legs during the crocheting process. I thought it would work better to save the paw making step for the end when stitching the arms and legs on after stuffing them, but I was incorrect. After stuffing and stitching the arms and legs to the body, I tried to pull the yarns to form the paws but I did not like the results so I took the yarns out and left this lion paw-less.

DSCN2333When I crocheted the mane, I forgot that this pattern does not count the magic ring as row 1. I had crocheted all the orange mane and had started on the brown mane when I realized that each of my pieces was missing a row. This explained why my mane was coming out so rounded instead of spiked like the pictures in the pattern showed. I did not like the rounded mane so I started again. I counted correctly the second time and soon had both an orange and brown spiked mane which I liked much better.

DSCN1222I thought that stitching the mane on would be difficult. But the pattern had nice instructions of where to stitch the mane, and it fit nicely where it was suppose to go, not too big or too small to fit around the head. This lion was named as I stitched his mane to his head. His orange and brown spiky mane on his yellowish brown head reminded me of a sunflower, so he was promptly named Sunflower. Now, I know Sunflower is not a proper name for the king of the jungle, and I tried to rename this lion to something more appropriate several times but nothing fit him quite like the name Sunflower.

DSCN1240Upon completing Sunflower, I handed him to the husband. After turning Sunflower around a couple of times, the husband handed the lion back to me and said, “He needs something.” Ok, what? The husband thought for a moment and then said, “Give him a belly button.” A belly button? Lions don’t have a belly button! That was crazy. Give the lion a belly button? What was the husband thinking? Ok fine, I’ll give him a belly button and it will look stupid. To prove my point, I stitched a brown belly button to the lion and see… It’s really cute.

DSCN2364Sunflower was a lot of fun to make. He turned out really cute, especially his belly button, but don’t tell the husband I said that. He did not take as long to make as I expected, but he was not a simple project either. Now, I just need to find him a good home.

Until then, crochet forth and belly button 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!