Tag Archive | smile

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!

Advertisements

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?

DSCN3852

 

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.

DSCN3856

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.

DSCN3867

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!

Summer Buggin’, Had Me A Blast

DSCN2049I decided to follow my own advice and to continue with my “Just Do It” New Year’s resolution just with a smaller and less complicated amigurumi crochet pattern this time around.

Digging through my patterns, I picked these three bugs as my next patterns to make. I have had these patterns for a little while now and have always wanted to crochet them, but I had just never gotten around to it. These patterns definitely meet my New Year’s criteria but are definitely smaller and much less time consuming than the making of Arnold the turtle. And with that, these three bug-eyed bugs became my next amigurumi projects to make.

DSCN2056The first bug I made was the caterpillar. Even though I had read the pattern before I started, I had crocheted several of his pieces before I realized that I was only supposed to be crocheting in the back loop. While holding the pieces that I had crocheted together, the caterpillar looked like he was turning out just fine being crocheted in both loops, so I kept crocheting in both loops. After completing the crocheting and stuffing, it was a little odd to stitch one ball to the top and one ball to the side of the first ball, but it worked out fine. Once the stitching was done, I gave this caterpillar a big smile and with that he was done.

DSCN2055The second bug that I made was the mosquito. This time I did remember to crochet the pieces in the back loop only. The pattern called for just 4 legs though. Insects have six legs so I thought about making him two more legs, but since I was only giving this mosquito two body parts instead of the three he should have and technically would be stitching those 4 legs to the wrong body part, I decided to go ahead and just follow the pattern and only give my mosquito 4 legs and not worry about it being anatomically correct. At the end, it was a little odd stitching the mosquito’s eyes on. Unlike the caterpillar who’s eyes sit on the top of the head, the mosquito’s eyes were stitched to the side of the head. This meant that the safety eyes were attached at the top of the crocheted pieces instead of the side. Once the stitching was done, I gave this mosquito a smile and he too was done.

DSCN2050The ladybug was the final bug that I made. Once again, I had all six legs that the pattern called for crocheted before I remembered that I was supposed to be crocheting the pieces just in the back loop. Because the caterpillar had turned out just fine being crocheted in both loops, I kept on crocheting. The pattern called for all the spots and the ladybugs wings to be the same size, 6 single crochets in the magic ring. After looking at a couple of pictures of ladybugs, I decided that I wanted my spots to be different sizes. So, I made two spots as the pattern called for, two spots with 9 single crochets in the magic ring, and then two spots with 12 single crochets in the magic ring. I then stitched 1 of each size of spot to each wing with the largest spot at the bottom of the wing and the smallest spot at the top. Next the ladybug’s eyes were stitched to the top of the head like the caterpillar, making it easier to stitch them on, but it became a tight squeeze when stitching the antenna and wings to the ladybug. If I had crocheted in the back loops only, the ladybug would have been bigger and this would have made the stitching on of the antenna and wings easier, but in the end I completed the stitching and it all worked out just fine. Once again with the stitching done, I gave the ladybug a smile and she was done.

DSCN2053I wanted my bugs to stand on their own but this was not going to happen. The caterpillar is the most likely one that I made to stand on his own, and sometimes will with some squishing down. Because of the weight of the mosquito’s head and eyes though, his 4 legs will not balance him properly. I can squish him down and get him to stand for awhile, then he falls forward since he is so top heavy.

I am lucky I got the ladybug to stand long enough for the pictures for this post. Even though the ladybug’s legs are all the same size, by the time the legs were stitched around the body, the front and back legs are shorter than each other. I could have removed these legs and made them longer to solve this problem, but I decided not too.

DSCN2057So, between the heavy eyes and head and the uneven legs around the body, the ladybug is not great at standing. Maybe if I had crocheted in the back loop as the pattern said to, the body would be bigger and the legs would not be as curved around the body? This might have helped the ladybug to stand better and if I make this pattern again I will see if that is the case.

Even though the bugs will not readily stand on their own, they did all turn out to be very cute and they were fun to make, and I have a great time doing the crocheting and stitching them together.

I don’t know why I hesitated on crocheting these patterns for so long, but I would not hesitate to make all three bugs again.

Until then, crochet forth and bug on!

I Need To Hide This Pattern

IMG_0151There is yarn all over the place!

Recently I have not been putting my yarn away as I complete a project, so it has just been sitting helter skelter on my cutting table in piles, and I decided I should take some time to tidy up a bit. But as I started to put the yarn back into my yarn stash, I remembered the fun little pocket pals I made awhile back when I was learning how to fuzz yarn. These pocket pals were a quick crochet and there wasn’t a lot of stuffing or stitching to them, and they came out super cute. So, rather than packing all this yarn up only to get it right back out again, I thought that I should just use a little more of it up and make some more fun pocket pals with it instead.

P1040460The first yarn I saw on the cutting table was the variegated yarn left over from making the jellyfish. Looking at the pocket pal pattern, I could not decide which animal I would make from this variegated yarn. Then my creative mind spoke to me. How about a monster? Awesome idea! But, what details could I add to make it a monster? Horns and big eyes was the answer that I came up with.

I crocheted up the pieces for the monster from the variegated yarn and then found a pattern to use for the horns from a devil pattern that I want to make this year for Halloween. I then crocheted the horns from the variegated yarn as well, but when it came time to stitch the horns to the monster, the husband stopped me. He said I needed to make the horns a P1040257different color so that they stood out more. He chose white for the color. I was unsure about the white horns on this monster but I crocheted the white horns up anyway and then stitched one on. And I liked it! So I removed the variegated horn and attached the other white horn. Now, I had a perfectly good pair of variegated horns with no pocket pal to stitch them to, so I decided to make a white monster for the variegated horns. Now it was time for the eyes and mouth. I wanted to use these big googly eyes I had purchased a long time ago and just had not found the right project to use them on. The variegated monster was the right project. With his one big eye, he needed a big smile. I tried several smaller eyes on the white monster, but the big eye was the best and once again the white monster got a big smile to go with the big eye too.

P1040449The next yarn that caught my eye was the gray yarn left over from the mouse. There was not much of this yarn left either and rather than return it to the stash, I decided to just use it up and make a pocket pal with it too. I had planned to use the ear pattern from the mouse I just made to make the ears for the pocket pal, but, because the gray yarn was limited and I did not want to try and match colors, I added the gray yarn to the pink center as an additional round rather than making a gray ear and a pink ear and stitching them together as I did the mouse’s ears. This worked just fine for the pocket pal mouse’s ears.

P1040416As I put away the other skeins of yarn on the cutting table, I came across my big skien of pink. You might ask, what have you made recently from pink? Yes, there was a small amount of pink used for the mouse’s ears but why did you get out the big skein for that and not just use some scraps? Well I did use some pink scraps for both the mouse and pocket pal mouse’s ears but the big skein was out for the relay for life teddy bear I had made recently for a charity auction. I try to make something to donate to relay for life each year and this year I picked a pink teddy bear with a purple nose and purple buttons made from the button jointed teddy bear pattern that I have made twice before. He stitched up smoothly and having done the button jointed pattern before, they were no problems to make it again. And he turned out so cute once completed! I just love this pattern. I hope someone will like him well enough to buy him at the event.

P1040443But back to the pocket pals. I decided to make a pink pocket pal bunny from the big skein of pink. The pattern for the bunny’s ear was in the pocket pal pattern already and it crocheted up just fine. In no time at all I had a cute pocket pal bunny made. I decided to fuzz up the yarn on this bunny so I got out my brushes, and with a few strokes of the brushes, I had an adorable cute fuzzy bunny all done.

What pocket pal should I make next I thought to myself? A chick? A cat? More monsters? But, as I planned my next pocket pal, I realized that I had so many patterns that I still want to make that it was time to put away my yarn and the pocket pal pattern and start my next new amigurumi project instead.

Until next time,

Crochet forth and pocket pal on!

Mousey Decisions

DSCN0060Have you ever seen a crochet pattern and said “Oh, I can’t wait to make that”? I know you have and I so have I. Usually I say that and then promptly push the pattern out of site and out of mind and continue on with my current project, and just hope that I will somehow just remember that pattern when its time to start on a new project. Most times though, I don’t remember that awesome, have to do next, pattern and I end up working on something else instead. This time though I did not. I had fallen in love with this little mouse pattern and I wanted to make it next, and so I made a point to remember it and I did it right after my previous project was done.

DSCN0062Although this pattern looked really simple, there were some design decisions that had to be made while crocheting the pieces of this mouse. The first decision was the length of the legs. The pattern called for short stubby legs to be crocheted to the feet which would be best if the mouse would always be in a sitting position like a shelf sitter. But I decided that I wanted the option for my mouse to be either sitting or standing, so I added two extra rounds to his legs to accomplish that. The next decision came with the crocheting of his arms. The pattern called for no stuffing in the arms. As I crocheted the arms I decided I wanted a little stuffing at the ends of the arms to give them some form and shape. I had to add the stuffing as I crocheted to get the stuffing where I wanted it. Decision number three came with the crocheting of the tail. The tail is 21 crocheted rounds of 4 stitches. This was a tight and difficult crochet and took me a long time to make. As I worked on the rounds I debated whither the tail needed stuffed or if a pipe cleaner should be inserted into it to help it keep its form. The pattern did not call for anything though, so I decided to leave the tail as just the crochet stitches. Since the tail seems to hold its curl just fine on it’s own, that was probably the correct decision.

DSCN0072With the pieces of this mouse all crocheted, I had to rethink one of my previous decisions. As I stitched the longer legs on the mouse I decided that I did not like the longer length. The longer length was fine when the mouse was standing, but when sitting, the legs were too long and looked funny. I thought about attaching the legs to the bottom of the body instead of the front of the body to solve this longer look problem while the mouse was sitting but then the mouse would not be able to sit. So, I finally undid my two extra rounds and made the legs the length the pattern called for. And I DSCN0067stitched the legs to the front of the body as the pattern called for. In a sitting position, the mouse looks great. In a standing position, he looks ok with the shorter legs. He looks better in a standing position with shorter legs than he did in a sitting position with longer legs, so the short legs attached to the front of body, as the pattern called for, was the best result. Luckily, I do still like the stuffing in the arms and the tail is fine without it.

The final decision on this mouse was his smile. The pattern did not call for a mouth or smile but I wanted one. This guy was just too cute not to be happy, so I gave him a simple smile. I like his smile. It makes me happy when I see it.

DSCN0066Making design decisions is not always my favorite thing to do, even though you have to make design decisions all the time while crafting and sewing. Even with all this decision that had to be made, this little mouse was a fun project and I think he turned out just as adorable as the pictures were in his pattern. I have not named him anything more than little mouse yet though. I hope that someday he will find a good home and that someone will give him a proper name.

Until next time, crochet forth and crochet on.

Experimental Monsters

P1030333P1030332I remember when I had first started crocheting amigurumi’s, and all my animals had tall pointy heads. And I remember how I learned that the reason my amigurumi’s had tall pointy heads was that I was only crocheting in the front loop of the stitches instead of both loops. And I also remember that once I learned this lesson, and started to crochet in both loops instead of just the front loop that my amigurumi’s heads and body parts turned out flatter but rounder the way they were suppose to. And after remembering all of that, then you will understand my trepidation when I started my next amigurumi project.

.

P1030318I found some patterns online for some fun amigurumi monsters. I love monsters, so here was my next project. I chose the pattern named Lark, one of the smaller monsters to try first. Upon reading the pattern, the author said to crochet the entire monster in the back loop only (BLO). What? This went against the lessons I had learned before. Wouldn’t my monster come out tall and pointy, not cute and round? Contemplating the construction of the monster, I figured that the author of the pattern must have designed the pattern that way and she also clearly said that if you crocheted in both loops that your monster would not be the same as the picture. So, I decided I P1030317would crochet this monster in the BLO even though that was going against what I had previously learned and see what I got.

.

When I picked up my favorite G hook to start crocheting, I completely forgot about only crocheting it in the BLO. It wasn’t until I had crocheted both arms, ears, and eyes and had a good start on the body when it dawned on me that I was not crocheting in the back loop only. I thought about undoing all that I had crocheted but then I had a brilliant idea. I would continue making this monster crocheting in both loops and then make a second monster, of the same size and using the same hook and the same yarn, but crochet it in the back loop only P1030319and see just how much difference there was between the two. I would do a little experiment to see which way I like the monster best.

.

I finished crocheting the parts for the monster in the both loops and then I crocheted the parts for the monster in the BLO. Both were easy and fun to crochet as long I kept reminding myself BLO, BLO, BLO. Next, came the stuffing and stitching together. They both stuffed easily. This was not a complicated pattern. But, when it came to sewing the parts together, it was easier to stitch the arm and the eyes on to the BLO monster. The arms on the both loop monster were short and stumpy which made it P1030321more difficult to sew them on and the eyes of the both loop monster were flatter, so I had to hold them in a cup shape as I sewed them on. But, when both monster were done, they were equally cute. So what I learned was that, yes, the author of the pattern did adjust the pattern for crocheting in the BLO, but that in the case of a monster that does not have a specific look, it did not really matter too much in the end. That might not be true for an actual animal pattern. If the author has adjusted the pattern for BLO crocheting and you choose to crochet in both loops then your animal may come out looking a little funny, like my first pointy headed ones did.

.

P1030314With these monsters done, I named them Mark and Clark. Mark is the older monster brother crocheted in both loops. He has the straighter smile. Clark, the younger brother, is the monster crocheted in the back loop only. He has the crooked smile. Clark also has ridges because of being crocheted in the back loop only. The ridges are formed from the exposed front loop. I asked the husband which one he liked better and he said he liked them both, but he really liked the ridges on Clark better. I can not pick which one I like best. I think they are both fun, silly monsters and I can’t wait to start the next monster pattern.

What Could Be Worst Than a Fire?

You will not believe what happened to me this last week. We had a small fire in our house and my fabric stash caught on fire. I lost about 1/3 of the stash to the fire and about 1/3 of the stash to smoke damage. I am just devastated. I can’t believe that my precious fabric that took me 25 years to collect is gone. I lost all my Peanut prints, my Disney prints, most of my cottons and rayons, my collection of fabric for sleepers and most of the embroidery blanks I have purchased over the years. They are all destroyed. The only thing really left is the fleece and flannel stored outside of the closet and some larger pieces stored in a separate closet. My yarn stash ended up having the most smoke damage out of everything though. I believe I can wash some of the fabric but the yarn is just a goner. The husband tried to cheer me up by saying that this was good thing, that I could now go shopping for more fabric but right now I just don’t have the heart to shop for fabric or to joke around about fabric shopping.

The second thing you will not believe is how the fire started. When the fire inspector came and saw my boxes of fabric, he just shook his head. He said he had only seen a fire that started this way once before in his 17 year career. The cause of the fire was the fact that I boxed flannel with its rough surface next to rayon with its smooth surface and then in a cardboard box. Something had forced the two fabrics to rub together. He said probably just the weight settling from the other boxes on top is what caused the movement. When the fabrics rubbed together, they sparked. This set the cardboard box on fire and the rest it history, including my stash.

As much as I am totally upset, saddened and devastated, please do not send me any fabric. All I can say about all of this is that it is a good thing April 1st only comes once a year!