Tag Archive | tiger

Franklin

img_4823I laid the four “in progress” amigurumi’s that I’ve been working on for what seemed like forever, the sheep, the ferret, the momma dragon and the black panther, in front of me and tried to pick which one I should complete first.

img_4826As I studied the four projects, my first thought was “I think I’ll start the unicorn pattern I just found on line.” I then had to scold myself and say “NO!” I could not start another amigurumi until I finish these four that I had already started. Of the four, the black panther interested me the most. The panther was a bit of a challenge and was for a friend so he already had a good home to go to, so I got started working again on the panther.

img_4829When my friend had picked a black panther as her favorite animal, I panicked for three reasons. One, I had never seen a pattern for a black panther before. After calming myself down and thinking it through, my first step was to find a pattern. After a few web searches and no luck finding a pattern for a black panther, I altered my search, and started to look for tiger patterns that I could crochet in black. I found several tiger patterns that I liked, but when I found this adorable tiger pattern, I quickly picked it as my black panther pattern.

img_4828The second reason I panicked was the color of a black panther. Obviously, the main color of the panther would be black but how was I going to accent black safety eyes on a black animal so they could be seen? What color should I make the nose and smile so that they didn’t just blend into the face? How about the ears? Was a solid black animal going to look good or would it look like a big black blob? After much thought and looking at many pictures of black panthers, I decided to give the panther yellow eyes, a gray muzzle and accent his ears with some gray yarn. I debated about giving the panther gray paws but I decided to keep them black.

img_4835The last reason for my panic was the fact that this whole amigurumi would be crocheted in black yarn except for the small gray pieces. I have a difficult time crocheting with black yarn. The older I get, the harder it is for me to see the black stitches. This meant that I would have to take my time crocheting this panther and watch my stitches closely, plus I would need to always work in the best light.

Except for working with black yarn, the pieces of the panther crocheted smoothly. Then it was time to stuff the pieces. It is always a bit of a challenge to stuffing dark color pieces with white poly-fil. It takes some time and patience to stuff the pieces firmly but to take care and not stretch the stitches too much revealing the white stuffing underneath.

img_4837Stitching the black pieces together also presented a challenge in both working the black color yarn and having the white stuffing pull through with the stitches. I had to use tweezers to pull single strands of stuffing from the stitches. This was time consuming but necessary. These single strands of stuffing made the panther look messy where he was stitched together.

img_4838This pattern called for the arms and legs to be crocheted so a thread or button joint could be done to attach them, but then the pattern called for the arms and legs to just be stitched on. I debated about doing a thread joint instead of just stitching them on but then decided to follow the pattern. Once the arms and legs were stitched on, they seemed secure and allowed the panther to sit, so I was happy with the results of just stitching them on instead of using a thread joint to attach them.

img_4830Once the panther was stitched together, it was easy to give him a big black smile on his gray muzzle. His name, Franklin, was the first and only name that came to me as he sat in the chair next to me, waiting to go to his new home. During the construction process, I became very fond of Franklin and almost did not give him to my friend, but I had made the black panther just for her and he needed a good home. When I presented Franklin to my friend, she was so surprised and also fell in love with him right away. I know she will give Franklin a good home.

img_4844With Franklin, the black panther, done, which “in progress” amigurumi would be next on the to do list? Stay tuned to find out.

Until then, crochet forth and black panther on!

A “Real” Amigurumi

IMG_0006Although I have made many amigurumi’s over the years, I am calling this one a “real” Amigurumi due to the size of its head. Let me explain. Amigurumi means “tiny toy” in Japanese. It seems to me that all the first amigurumi patterns that I saw all had heads disproportionate in size to their bodies including very large eyes. Very Anime like. This was a popular look at the time and a look that really appealed to me. This look is one of the reasons that I wanted to begin to make my own amigurumi’s.

IMG_0010It was love at first site with this tiger and it quickly moved up to the top of my to do list. Like most amigurumi patterns, the head was to be crocheted first. I don’t like to start an amigurumi with the head first. I like to make the arms and legs first, then the body and then the head next, followed last by any details. For me, the head and face is the cute part, it’s what gives the amigurumi’s its character, what makes it come to life. It is the most creative part of making an amigurumi and the most difficult part to complete. It is also the most detailed part putting on the eyes, ears, nose, horns, and so on. The body, arms and legs are just the base of the amigurumi. If the arms, legs and body do not turn out well, I can stop and rethink the project before spending the time making the head and face and details. So, in following my process, I started this tiger by crocheting the arms and the legs first.

P1030764As I crocheted the arms and legs, I had to stuff them as I crocheted them up. The arms and legs came out much tinier than I had expected and they tapered quickly at the ends, especially the legs. I was surprised at how small the legs were even turning out even when compared to the very small arms. As I crocheted the body, I kept waiting for the increases in size that never came. I followed the pattern, but after completing the body, it was even smaller than the arms were. I really started to doubt the finished look of this tiger at this point. The head was stitched next. While crocheting the head, I found the P1030762increases that I was looking for while I was crocheting the body. The rounds of the head just kept increasing and increasing. Stop already! Just how big was this head going to be? Too big I was afraid. As I kept on crocheting, I followed the pattern until the head was complete. The next part should have been the crocheting of the ears and muzzle, but I was having serious doubts about how this tiger was going to turn out so I decided to wait on crocheting the details and start the stuffing and stitching for this amigurumi first.

P1040150With the arms and legs already stuffed as I had crocheted them, I stuffed the tiny body and the giant head and then I stitched them all together. As I was still doubting the proportions of this tiger, I attached the arms and legs and the tiger finally came to life. It worked! The tiny body and the giant head were a perfect match with the little legs and the larger arms. I could see the finished tiger in my mind’s eye at this point, so I wasted no time in crocheting the ears and the muzzle. His tail was the last piece to crochet and he was finally finished.

And he turned out just too cute! Now, I just love his tiny body and giant head! And I am very happy that I followed the pattern, and that I did not try to make the head smaller or the body bigger. So, the lesson learned here is to sometimes go with the flow and see what you get. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, but this time it worked out just fine.

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!