Tag Archive | wings

Penelope or When A Picture Doesn’t Say A Thousand Words

DSCN3945It was love at first sight AGAIN when I saw the pictures of this pterodactyl pattern. The absolute cuteness in these pictures was causing me to pick this pattern as my next amigurumi project. Once I got started on the crocheting though, I could see that the pictures didn’t tell the whole story, so I will explain the missing parts.

Excited to get crocheting the pieces for this amigurumi, I easily picked out two shades of purple yarn and a cream yarn from the stash to make this pterodactyl. As I quickly read through the pattern, I could tell right away that is was not going to be an easy or fast pattern to crochet or stitch together. I still wanted to make it thought so I got started on it. I crocheted it from the bottom up, starting with the tail, legs and feet and then moving on to the beak and the body. All was going well until it was time to crochet the head and the crown.

DSCN3947Looking at the pictures in the pattern, there was a stripe of cream in the head and crown, but as I read the pattern it said nothing about a color change. Maybe the stripe was a separate piece that was to be stitched on after the head and crown were crocheted and stuffed? There were no instructions for such a stripe in the pattern. I studied the picture and reread the pattern, only to finally notice in the pictures that the cream stripe was the sun shining through the trees and on to the pterodactyl.

Sadly there were no color changes or a separate stripe on the head and crown, the pictures in the pattern had mislead me in believing there was. The only place the cream color yarn was going to be used was around the eyes. I thought about trying to add the stripe, but then I decided to just follow the pattern and make the head and crown one solid color with no stripes. I was not too disappointed that there was not a cream stripe in the head and crown because the pieces were crocheting up nicely.

DSCN3946When I came to the wings, I faced another picture dilemma. I crocheted the arms and wings last by following the instructions of the pattern. After completing the wings, I held them to the pterodactyl’s body and then looked again at the pictures. In the pattern, there were no real instructions or pictures for stitching this amigurumi together. You just had to figure it out on a wing and a prayer.

Per the pictures, it looked like the wings were attached to the body, but I could not figure out how to attach the wings versus how they were crocheted. I studied the pictures and twisted and turned the wings to no avail. Luckily the husband happened along. He had to study the pictures for a minute as well, but then concluded that the wings were attached to the arms, not the body. Only then did it make sense to me as to how the wings were crocheted versus how they were stitched on. It also explained why the arms were so long.

DSCN3950I started from the top to stitch the pterodactyl together, stitching the crown and beak to the head first. The safety eyes were only snapped on to the cream eye circles. The ends of the safety eye were inserted into the head and the eyes were stitched into place by stitching the cream eye circles to the head. The arms with the wings attached were stitched on next and then the tail.

I started stitching at the top because I wanted this pterodactyl to stand up. And I knew that I needed all its parts attached so that I could balance its weight on its legs and feet. I spent some time decided where to attach the legs to the body to get this amigurumi to stand. After attaching the legs and feet, I can with a lot of help and persuading get this pterodactyl to stand up by itself. There is just too much unbalanced weight between the crown, beak, arms, wings and tail for those little legs and feet to hold things very steadily, but it can stand if it wants to.

DSCN3953With all the pieces stitched together, this amigurumi took on a feminine side and became a girl. The husband and I debated back and forth about names, but finally settled on Penelope. I like the name and think Penelope the Pterodactyl turned out just as cute as the pictures in her pattern were, if not a little cuter. Hopefully, she can find a good home to fly around in.

Until then, crochet forth and fly on!

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Pepper And Piper

DSCN3431 (1)Squeals of delight rang from my sewing room when I saw the pattern for these penguins. They were so cute, and the pattern showed pictures of endless possibilities in colors and variations for making a whole colony of penguins. I could not wait to get the crocheting started. I envisioned making several penguins in a variety of colors and belly spots.

DSCN3439 (1)I decided to start with a basic penguin with a gray body with no belly spot and black feet and beak. Crocheting the pieces went smoothly. When it came time to crochet the different colors of the head, I decided to cut and tie each color change. The last time I made a multi-colored head for Charlie the horse, I carried the yarn across the color changes instead of cutting and tying each color change, and I had to work very hard to keep my tensions even. Cutting and tying the color changes was easier than keeping an even tension, but it was time consuming, so it slowed down the crocheting process.

DSCN3438 (1)Before I stitched the first penguin together, I crocheted the next penguin in the colony. This time the penguin would have a gray body with a white belly spot and yellow feet and beak. Once again, I cut and tied the color changes in the head and now the body. If you look closely at the pictures, you will see a small “birth mark” on this penguin’s belly. I miss counted and did not notice my mistake until a couple of rounds later after several cut and ties were completed, and I did not want to undo all my work to fix that one stitch, so I am calling it a birthmark. It adds character to the penguin and in no way decreases his cuteness. Soon enough, I had all the pieces for the second penguin crocheted and ready to stitch together.

DSCN3436 (1)I picked up the yarn to start crocheting the next penguin in the colony, but then I decided to complete the first two penguins, whose pieces were already crocheted up, before starting another. The stitching together of these penguins was much easier than the stitching together of most my amigurumi’s. Because of the multi colored head, there was no question as to where the eyes were inserted, or where the beak DSCN2730was placed. On the second penguin, I had left a long piece of gray yarn from the head to stitch the head and body together. When I came to the white of the head and the belly spot, the gray stitches stood out badly. I had to stop the gray yarn and start a piece of white yarn to sew the white areas together and then return to the gray yarn to finish stitching the head and body together. On the first penguin, I had left I long black tail for sew from the body. This blended in well with both a gray and the white of the head. The color of yarn I leave for stitching is something I will have to keep in mind when I make amigurumi’s with multicolored heads and bodies in the future.

DSCN3432 (1)Because of the black heads, I stuffed the penguins a little lighter than most of the amigurumi’s I make. Usually, I over stuff my amigurumi’s. They say the stuff settles over time, so to over stuff at first. But, when you’re working with a dark color and white stuffing, the stuffing really shows through as the stitches are stretched by the over stuffing. Although, I really like no stuffing showing through the black stitches of the head, it was very hard for me stop stuffing before I thought the pieces were completely stuffed.

DSCN3434 (1)Feeling his head now that he is stitched together, I wish I had added just a little more stuffing to the first penguin’s head, especially in the back, but the second penguin is stuffed just right. The husband likes the less stuffing. I explained to him about the stuffing settling over time, but he still said that he liked the lighter stuff and he felt that the penguin’s still had enough stuffing to withstand the settling and a lot of be played with. It will be interesting to see if that turns out to be true or not.

DSCN3433 (1)With these two penguins completed, I picked up the yarn for the next penguin in the colony and asked the husband what color beak and feet I should crochet for this penguin and should it have a belly spot or not. The husband rolled his eyes and reminded me about all the fun patterns I have yet to crochet. And, he was right, I had already made this pattern, twice, and it was fun and the finished amigurumi’s were just adorable but other just as fun patterns are waiting in the wings.

I quickly named the two penguins Pepper and Piper and they are now waiting for a good home to go and live at.

I have tucked this pattern close to the front of my crochet pattern stash, and if and when the day comes that I want to complete the penguin colony or I just need a fun and simple amigurumi that turns out super cute, I know which pattern to reach for.

Until then, crochet forth and colony on!

Larger than life

DSCN0483Am I still crocheting? Am I still making amigurumi’s? Is my next amigurumi project all lined out and ready to start? Yes, yes, and yes. Yet, the reason you haven’t heard very much from me about crocheting amigurumi’s recently is that I have been tackling some larger amigurumi projects and in the process I have lost my ump to complete them quickly.

DSCN0443Several months ago I blogged about Kevin, the chubby moose. He took a lot of time and lots of stuffing to make. After Kevin, I made a pig that I named Porcine. When I had finished with her, she was much larger than I expected. I did not blog about her before now because she was finished before my big amigurumi art show and she now has a great new home with someone who loves her.

DSCN0454Porcine was a lot of fun to make, especially her tail. To make her curly tail, the pattern called for a long tail of yarn to be left at the start of the magic ring. After completing a very straight crocheted tail, the tail of yarn from the starting point was pulled through the center of the straight tail and then pulled tight to form the curls. It was a much simpler way to make the curly tail than increasing and DSCN0458decreasing stitches while crocheting the rounds. I did have to purchase a special skein of yarn while making her to get the right dark pink color I used for her snout and hooves. I could not believe I did not have that color in the stash. Her belly button was a fun feature that added to Porcine’s personality.

DSCN0891The next large amigurumi I have made is a bee. I did not expect the bee to be large, but he finished up larger than I expected due to the hook size used. To get the colors I wanted for this bee, I choose two skeins of Caron yarn. I find Caron yarn heavier than Red Heart yarn so I decided to use my 4.5mm hook instead of the 4.0mm hook that I usually use to make my amigurumi’s. When I reached in to my hook box to get out the 4.5mm hook, I accidentally grabbed the 5.0mm hook instead. I did not notice that I was using the 5.0mm hook until I was well into the crocheting process. Not wanting to undo all my crocheting and start again, I decided to just complete the bee with the larger hook.

There are two comments I would like to make about this bee’s pattern.

First, after crocheting the wings, I decided to crochet around the wings edges for a nicer finished look. The wings look smoother with the edge on them.

DSCN0894Second, I found the way that the pattern instructed to make the antennas quite odd. The first antenna was crocheted from the bottom to the top then back down to the bottom of the antenna. The yarn tails were at the bottom ready to be stitched to the head. The second antenna is crocheted from the top to the bottom then back the top. The tail is then threaded through the crocheting to the bottom. I know that the antennas were crocheted this way to keep the same sides of the crocheting facing the same direction, but to me the antennas looked different from each other when made this way.

DSCN0895I stitched the antenna to the bee’s head to see if that helped the antenna look more even. It helped the look a little, but not much. I debated about crocheting another antenna the same as the first one and stitching it on what would be backwards, with the crocheting facing different directions, to see if I liked it better. It was late when I was working with the antenna so I decided to sleep on it. The next morning the antennas looked better to me, and so I decided to leave them completed as the pattern called for. I still pause sometimes when I see the bee and wonder if I should redo the antennas. Even though the bee is larger than the pattern said he would be, and has funny looking antennas, he is still very cute.

I have not given him a name yet, so he is just called The Bee.

DSCN0900I have started yet another large amigurumi too. I knew this one was going to be large when I read the pattern and I briefly debated about starting another large amigurumi but I have been wanting to make this pattern for a long time, so I got started on it. I am about 3/4 of the way through the crocheting process but I have lost any compulsion to finish it up.

When I think I will sit down to do a little crocheting, I don’t! Why? For some reason I am just not interested in working on this big amigurumi. So until I do get excited about finishing it up, I am going to set this amigurumi to the side for now and start a smaller amigurumi instead. I am not giving up on the large amigurumi and it will not becoming a UFO (Un-Finished Object). I just need a little break from it.

With that, stay tuned for some fun but smaller amigurumi’s.

Until then, crochet forth and super size on!

Dargo The Dragon

P1040359I have been wanting to crochet a dragon for a long time now. And I have seen many patterns for dragons while surfing the internet, both free and for sale in many different languages. But I just did not seem to be able to pick which pattern that I wanted to make. Did I want to make a realistic dragon with large wings? Or did I want to make a baby dragon that was cute and adorable? Or did I want to make a cartoon dragon with big eyes and a funny grin? How many heads did I want my dragon to have, one, two or three? Did I want him to stand on his hind legs or on all four legs? There was just too many design choices and so many patterns that I could never pick one out until I saw Dargo’s pattern. I don’t know exactly what it was about this pattern that made me pick it as my first amigurumi dragon to make but there was something about it that was irresistible to me and I could not wait to get started on it.

P1040357Dargo’s pattern was well written. His pieces crocheted up easily. The only difficult part was the fact that he has so many pieces to crochet, a head, a body, arms, legs, feet, a tail, wings, eyes, nostrils, ears and then 11 pieces in various sizes to make his comb for his back. Needless to say, this was not a fast crochet. All these pieces took time to make. As I was crocheting these pieces, I decided to not think about how many pieces there were to crochet but to just enjoy the crocheting time involved. And this made the crocheting much more fun.

 

P1040354With all of those pieces crocheted, it was time to stitch them together. This is where I really have to tell myself to not think about all the pieces that have to be stitched together, but instead to tell myself to just take my time and enjoy the stitching. So, I did. I took my time stitching Dargo together and worked on other projects in between stitching his pieces together so that I would not grow bored or wry of this amigurumi. Luckily, I am getting better at stitching amigurumi’s together as I make more and learn better techniques. As I stitched Dargo together, the husband kept asking when I was going to finish the dinosaur. I kept telling him it was not a dinosaur but a dragon. Even after I had stitched the 11 pieces of the comb on Dargo’s back, the husband still kept insisting that Dargo was a dinosaur. It was not until I attached his wings, the very last two pieces, that the husband finally consented that Dargo was indeed a dragon and not just a silly looking bright green dinosaur.

 

P1040258I only made two changes to Dargo’s pattern along the way, both involving his comb. Although I followed the pattern and stitched the first piece of his comb at his neck and then worked my way up and over his head, I ended his comb with a piece in between his eyes. It did not look bad but it was not my favorite look. The last piece of his comb on the top of his head was a medium sized piece. I decided to remove this medium sized piece and crocheted a small sized piece and used it instead. The small sized piece was still between his eyes but it was shorter, and P1040261smaller and just looked better. The other change was the second to the last comb piece on his tail. It too was suppose to be a medium sized piece, followed by a small sized piece. Once again, because Dargo’s comb extended down his tail further than the pictures in the pattern showed the comb extending, I opted to use two small sized pieces at the end of the tail instead of a medium sized piece and then a small sized piece. I think Dargo’s comb worked out great this way and I am pleased with how easily I was able to stitch it on to the body. His wings were a little more complicated and tricky to attach. I believe that Dargo will be played with, so I wanted to make sure they were attached securely. To do this, I stitched up the side of the wing a few stitches and across the bottom of the wing a few stitches to make sure the wings were good and tight and would not be able to be ripped off of the body.

P1040355As you can already see, there was no problem in naming this dragon. I had not crocheted many of his pieces before he was named Dargo. Of course, naming this dragon was helped by the fact that the husband had just purchased the entire series of Farscape on Blu-Ray for us to watch many years after the Sci-Fi channel television series had ended.

I am very pleased with how nicely Dargo turned out. I think he is both fun and adorable. And I am now excited to make more dragons. What I learned from making Dargo though is to enjoy the journey and not worry about the destination. I hope to remember this lesson as I continue to sew and crochet in the future.

Until next time, crochet forth and crochet on!

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.