Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long

My current projects are gifts, which means this is a great time to catch up on some backlog projects!

Rose City Yarn Crawl 2017 MKAL

This was the Mystery Crochet-a-long from the Rose City Yarn Crawl 2017. They do their mystery-a-longs as 4 clues, spread out over the time before the crawl starts, and I loved the 2016 Crochet mystery-a-long so I thought I’d do the crochet version again this year. Not as many people do the crochet version, but I enjoy the fun of wearing mine out and it’s a bit of a secret handshake for meeting fellow adventuresome crocheters on the crawl.

Unfortunately, while I actually like the finished piece just fine, I found the 2017 crochet-a-long to be largely a disappointment. Part of the mystery-a-long fun, for me, is learning new stitches and watching the design unfold. But in this case, clues 1-3 were pretty much the same, and even clue 4 was pretty much “now do the same thing only along the edges” instead of something interesting. It was boring and the mesh crochet required just enough attention that it wasn’t even a pleasant no-brain knit to do while watching tv. As each clue revealed, I found myself resenting the piece more and more.

I used my favourite crochet yarn for this, Teresa Ruch Tencel, which is really the only thing that redeemed the pattern for me. Also, I started a little late (on account of being in India before the crawl and wanting to make something actually fun on the plane instead of being irritated) so I got to see a friend’s piece at knit group (before she gave up and disgust and frogged it) and I used some of last year’s leftovers to put some stripes into the pattern to highlight the two rows that actually were slightly interesting. As a result, I got something with pretty waves of colour highlighting the scarf’s only design feature.

Rose City Yarn Crawl 2017 MKAL

I wasn’t too happy with it on the crawl, but was trying to not say anything too harsh on social media right then, because the poor designer put a lot of work into this, and I know from previous years that people tell the RCYC team that they want easier crochet patterns. I assume that’s because there aren’t that many experienced crocheters out there, so a lot of people who attempt the MCAL are relatively new to crochet. Still, now that some time has passed, I’m willing to say that as a more experienced crocheter, this was a very disappointing MCAL experience. I was expecting a pattern below my skill level, but a mystery-a-long without any mystery was a huge disappointment to me. This is an acceptable beginner-compatible pattern, but a lousy MCAL.

Still, disappointment or no, the yarn is lovely, my colour mod made it pop, and the lightweight tencel has made it a great summer piece for the office that didn’t leave me dying when I walked home during our heat waves. I’m never going to make another one of these, nor would I recommend this pattern to anyone else, but at least I can enjoy it as a 2017 yarn crawl souvenir that I’ll be wearing for years to come!

Rose City Yarn Crawl 2017 MKAL

Jury’s still out on whether I’ll bother doing the mystery crochet-a-long or not next year, though. I guess I’ll see how I’m feeling when it gets released!

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

I made this one for a co-worker and very awesome lady who’s expecting to give birth Real Soon Now. With the whole internet waiting for April the Giraffe to give birth, a giraffe seemed like an extra-appropriate baby gift. Since the gift has been gifted and the giraffe has given birth, now’s the time for a blog post!

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

Pattern: Gigi Giraf. You might recognize this one, as I’ve made it before, and used it as a base for a moose I made for another colleague some time ago. It’s a great pattern!

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

Yarn: Be Sweet Bamboo for the base colour. I love using this yarn. It’s so very soft, shiny, and it’s got a neat and very subtle tonal going that really works for giving some depth to the amigurumi. I immediately bought most of the colours for my next few amigurumi projects. If you’re local to me, Black Sheep at Orenco has it, and it’s worth trying!

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

The brown is Nova Plus Four Seasons Cotton. This is a nice soft cotton made of many tiny strands. I love how it feels when crocheted up, but it was a bit easy to split while I was working with it unless I wound it up a bit as it went.

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

I love the little tail. ūüôā

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

I should have taken some more in-progress photos, but here’s one more before it got its spots!

April the Amigurumi Giraffe

Cadfael Shawlette

I did a lot of crochet in August, mostly amigrumi for ABQ Maker Faire, but there was also this pretty little thing for myself:

Cadfael Shawl

Pattern: Cadfael Shawlette by Kat Strieby

I really loved the Rimsky-Korsakoffee-Cake Shawl that was the crochet mystery-a-long for the Rose City Yarn Crawl 2016. I’d only chosen to do that one because I met Kat at my local yarn shop, but I particularly like Kat’s crochet charts, which are exceptionally pleasant to use, and will rave about them to anyone who asks.

I don’t know if I ever posted pictures of me in that shawl here, so here’s one:

Rose City Yarn Crawl - Day 3 - Mystery Crochet-a-Long

That shawl remains one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever made, as well as a great experience to make. So when my friend M suggested that we do another of her patterns and a knit-a-long together, I took her up on it. It became an excuse to send her ridiculous photos of the shawl in progress for a while:

img_20160905_192934

The new shawl isn’t quite as striking as the coloured layers of my old one, but it’s certainly going to become a favourite piece for me to wear:

Cadfael Shawl

Yarn: Teresa Ruch Designs Tencel 5/2. I don’t know the name of the colourway (It had just come in the day I bought it and I’m not sure any name had stuck yet at the time that I bought it), but it’s a special shop colour exclusive to Black Sheep at Orenco, so you should order from them if you love it.

Cadfael Shawl

This tencel is quickly becoming my favourite thing to crochet with, especially for shawls, because it’s light and drapey and the colours come through as saturated and shiny. Since it’s a very smooth synthetic, it doesn’t stick to itself which means you can slide things around easily during blocking. It’s also quite nice for beads. I’d guess you could even string them on in advance since this yarn doesn’t felt, but I used a Bead Aid because it’s so much easier.

This shawl is a somewhat unusual shape, which becomes more striking during blocking.

Before blocking:
Cadfael Shawl (pre blocking)

During blocking:

Cadfael Shawl (during blocking)

Although to be honest, you don’t see it much the way I’ve been wearing it as a scarf lately:

Cadfael Shawl

It’s a really lovely piece and I’m glad M convinced me it was time to try this pattern!

My project on Ravelry in case you want to see more pictures or queue it up yourself.

Crochet Pokéball Postcard Pattern

My favourite local yarn store, Black Sheep at Orenco, got turned into a pok√©mon gym with the advent of Pok√©mon Go, and I was so pleased by this that I thought I’d make a pattern! Now, pok√©ball patterns are a dime a dozen, but what I wanted was something that would be easy to print up nicely and give away, so that’s what I made. I’ll have a batch to give away at Albuquerque Mini Maker Faire on Aug 27-28, and hopefully the lovely folk at Black Sheep at Orenco will let me give away some there too.

Here’s the pages as images, but if you’d like to print it yourself or save it in your collection, I recommend the Pokeball postcard pattern pdf. It’s intended for a 4×6 postcard, or both sides will print onto a single 8.5×11″ sheet of paper. (Also, you can queue it as Pok√©ball Postcard on ravelry.)

Pokeball-pattern-1

Pokeball-pattern-2

(The text version of the pattern is at the bottom of this post)

Need help? There are lots of great tutorials out there, including video tutorials on youtube. If the first one you find doesn’t work for you, there’s many more options!

Here’s a few tutorials you might need for this pattern:

Still confused? You can probably also find an expert or a class at your local yarn store.

Love the pattern and want to thank me? Here’s a few things you can do:

  1. I don’t take tips, but I love seeing photos of what people have done with my patterns, so feel free to drop me an email at terri (at) toybox.ca.
  2. Make a pokeball and leave it for someone to find at your local pokestop or gym!
  3. Buy something at Black Sheep at Orenco so my favourite yarn store stays in business. (If you’re a crocheter and haven’t tried Teresa Ruch’s tencel, I recommend splurging on a ball and making a shawl or scarf. Such saturated colours with beautiful shine; the pictures hardly do it justice!)
  4. Buy something from my pattern editor’s most excellent store Flying Corgi Studios. I’m a big fan of her teacup pincushions, as you may have noticed in my photos!

Feel free to print this pattern out for friends or strangers and do whatever you’d like with your pokeballs! (Although please don’t hurt anyone with them!)

Crochet PoKéBall

A free amigurumi pattern by Terri Oda

Materials: Yarn in red, white, black. Crochet hook appropriate for yarn or smaller to avoid holes.
Yarn needle. Stuffing (polyfill and/or beans work well)
Picture uses worsted weight and size I or 5.5mm hook.
sc single crochet
inc increase by doing two single crochet in a single crochet stitch
dec ‚Äúinvisible‚ÄĚ decrease: pull up loop in outside-of-ball half of next stitch, then full following stitch. Finish by pulling though all 3 loops on hook.
When starting your next stitch, be careful not to re-use the 2nd stitch in the decrease by accident.

Button:
0 (white): 6 sc in a magic circle loop
There are great tutorials for magic circles online!
1 (black): Switch colours to black, 2sc in each stitch (for total of 12 stitches)
Cut yarn, leaving a long black tail for sewing
Ball:
0 (red): 6 sc in a magic circle loop (6 stitches)
1 (red): increase (inc) 6 times (12 stitches)
2 (red): { inc in next stitch, sc in following one } repeat 6 times (18 stitches total)
3 (red): { inc, sc, sc } 6 times (24 stitches)
4 (red): { inc, sc 3 times } 6 times (30 stitches)
5-7 (red): sc around (30 stitches)
8 (black): change to black, sc around (30 stitches)
Don’t worry if your colour change looks obvious, it will be covered by the button.
9-11 (white): change to white, sc around (30 stitches)
12 (white): { dec, sc 3 times } 6 times (24 stitches)
13 (white): { dec, sc, sc } 6 times (18 stitches)
Start filling ball. You may need to stuff more as you go
14 (white): { dec, sc } 6 times (12 stitches)
15 (white): dec 6 times (6 stitches). Last chance to stuff!
Cut thread and pull through to close circle.

Sew button onto ball, covering the area with colour change. Toss at a pokémon to catch it!

Mandala bunnies

I’ve been working diligently on my cardi and more diligently on security for a software release at work, but I did find time in March and April to make a few presents. This pair went to two awesome little girls:

Mandala Bunnies

Their mom tells me there has been much singing of “Little rabbit foo foo” as a result!

The pattern is Easy crochet bunny (Ravelry link) and as promised, it’s pretty easy. Make a couple of round granny square centres and go from there! I did change up the second tail, though, when I realized my first pom pom wasn’t sturdy enough to be age appropriate for the younger giftee:

Mandala Bunnies

Other than the variant tail, I followed the pattern as written, but I kind of think it would be amazing to scale these up a little bit and use a fancier mandala in the front to replace the simple granny square.

Have you seen how amazing crochet mandalas can look? Here’s a roundup of a few free crochet mandala patterns, but that barely scratches the surface. Check out this tutorial and this artist’s crochet overlay mandala patterns and I imagine you might find yourself deep in a “crochet mandala” google image search eventually.

Here’s a few example photos to get your mind imagining the same thing as mine:

Round 33
Overlay crochet potholder
Here's a second #mandalasformarinke

Aren’t they lovely? Overlay crochet is on my list of things to learn; I’m debating doing that with some of my beanie bags now that I’ve collected a few without using them again. But no new projects until I get my cardigan done!

Jimmy Beans Wool Beanie Bags, January 2016

Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016

January 2016’s Beanie Bag was all about yarn construction. I got the purple version, which was really quite nice! This month’s notion was a shawl pin from Knitter’s Pride (I was so glad mine arrived intact — apparently a few got broken in transit!), there was the usual little package of wool wash from soak, a pattern coupon (I forget if I used this one or not), and of course the 4 balls of yarn.

Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016

I just want to give a quick shout-out to January 2016’s bag: The snowflakes are so cute, and I was initially disappointed that the new zipper didn’t look as pretty until I realized that it also doesn’t seem to catch the yarn as much as the chunkier old ones. So score one for improved functional design!

Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016

There are 4 samples. You can read about them on the Beanie Bags website for Jan 2016, but in short they were:
20 yds of Alpaca Lana D’Oro
20 yds of Highland Duo
20 yds of Cloud
20 yds of El Cielo

The last one is exactly the same, including the colour, as a sample I’d tried from YOTM, so that was amusing. I used it very differently in this project, though.

Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016

The pattern was a simple kerchief, like a big chunk of granny square since I did the crochet version because I like crochet colour changes better. I’m not sure what I’ll use it for, but that super-soft edge is really nice. I’d never really worked on a project with 4 completely different types of yarn before. Kind of fun, and something I would totally do again.

20160115-IMG_9662.jpg

Just to do a quick compare/contrast, here’s the Beanie Bag yarns beside my Yarn of The Month yarns. The YOTM sample (on the left) has a broader variety of unusual yarns to try (a single ply with bright colours, raffia, and a gradient linen-cotton mix), while the Beanie Bag yarns although different are intended to go together. It’s kind of interesting how the strategy is different. Also, in case anyone’s curious, I weighed the yarns and the Beanie Bags samples came in a bit heavier than YOTM in January, but it’s pretty close.

Also, I had forgotten that Jimmy Beans does a 5% cashback on yarn, and that this applies to the Beanie Bags and was auto-applied to this bag because I’d gotten to the threshold of $1, so I got this bag for $9 instead of $10. It might have been fun to build up a larger discount over time and then treat myself, but this is so much more convenient and practical and I never forget to use it. Handy! Between this and the fact that YOTM has had to raise their prices a bit to $9.50 (from $9.25), the prices are even more close than ever for people who keep a continuous Beanie Bags subscription.

Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags, January 2016

Overall, I don’t think I learned as much from this Beanie Bag as I have from others, but it’s still a very nice bag! I got a usable project (although I don’t know how much I *will* use the kerchief as it’s started to become itchy as I wear it to write this… and I’m not sure which yarn I’m reacting to!), a nice shawl stick, a great bag, and a convenient travel size of wool wash.

Yarn Subscription preview, February 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

One more preview photo for today!

Yarn Subscription preview, February 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

These yarns have been sadly neglected in favour of Rose City Yarn Crawl stuff, but they’ll be coming up soon! I’m very much looking forwards to more teensy tiny sample knits.

Yarn of the Month is on the left, with that tempting stained glass pattern that might have me ditch the usual swatch patterns in favour of trying a two-colour affair. Jimmy Beans is on the right with the Eddie the Eagle-themed package. Apparently they yarnbombed the Sundance film festival in celebration!

Yarn Subscription preview, January 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

I took this picture back in January but apparently never actually shared it, so here’s a belated preview, if that makes any sense:

Yarn Subscription preview, January 2016 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

Yarn of the Month is on the left, Beanie Bags on the right. Since I’m planning to block the YOTM samples tonight and nearly done with the project for the Beanie Bags, I’ll leave further discussion of the contents until the full reviews.

I had not taken a picture for February because the Beanie Bags package was delayed to the point where I was completely entrenched in Rose City Yarn Crawl knitting when it arrived, but I’ve taken a quick snap today that I’ll put up shortly!

Rose City Yarn Crawl – Mystery Crochet-a-long (Clue 3 and 4)

Crawl starts soon, and of course I’m last-minute blocking!

Here’s clue 3:

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 3

And the final clue, clue 4, unblocked. I actually missed the final colour change, those last points are supposed to be cake-coloured. But honestly, I’m so in love with the yellow/orange yarn that I’m kind of glad I made the mistake. Plus it looks better with the beads I wanted to use.

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 4

Soaking so you can see that I did actually add beads:
Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 4

Or maybe I should call them sprinkles, given the cake theme?

Blocking:
Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long Clue 4

Great pattern, but now I’m going to bed to get some sleep for tomorrow’s crawl!

Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Crochet-a-long (Clue 1 and 2)

I’d planned to just do the knit-a-long for the Rose City Yarn Crawl, but then I went out to a knitting group and saw what the pattern for the crochet-a-long looked like… Not only does it look lovely all crocheted up, but the pattern itself has the most gorgeous crochet charts I’ve ever seen. Colours to distinguish rows! Highlighting to show you where pieces should line up with rows below! Careful layouts to make everything easy to read! One of the reasons I learned to knit (besides needing something to do on the 3hr long car ride to the Very Large Array) is that there are so few good crochet patterns and learning a similar craft was the easiest way to expand the range of patterns I could do. So it would be a shame to know of such a nice pattern and not try it out!

The Yarn

Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-Long

I’d been so good about using stash yarn for the MKAL that I decided to treat myself to something at Black Sheep for this one. These are both from Teresa Ruch, a local dyer who works with synthetic fibers and uses amazingly saturated beautiful dyes. The yellow-orange ball is Tencel, the grey is bamboo rayon. It’s a neat combo because the tencel is much shinier than the rayon, so there’s a serious contrast between my two colours. And it’s a nice excuse to try some different synthetics, since I’m always on the lookouts for allergy-friendly options.

The pattern

Here’s a teensy peek at those charts I’ve been raving about:

mcal-chart

Not only are the charts clear, well-written, and easy to follow, but the “flavour” of this pattern is cake, so it’s described in layers of cake and icing. People in the thread have been naming off cakes to go with their colours, and it’s awesome. I’m calling mine creamsicle mousse.

This pattern is named after Rimsky-Korsacoffee house, one of the local places that takes “keep Portland weird” as a personal mission. Also, it has great cake.

Clue 1

Clue one included a layer of cake and the first layer of icing:
Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-Long Clue 1

It’s approximately kerchief-sized at this point, and a bit to fit into my photo lightbox unfolded, so I kind of need natural light to take pictures of it (my flash is somewhere in a box from the move).
Rose City Yarn Crawl - Mystery Crochet-a-Long Clue 1

Clue 2

Clue two, also included a layer of cake and layer of icing. The icing is pretty similar, but the cake is quite a different stitch pattern! At this point, it’s starting to really look like a shawl:

Rose City Yarn Crawl MCAL - Rimsky-Korsacoffee-Cake Shawl Clue 2

And a close up:
Rose City Yarn Crawl MCAL - Rimsky-Korsacoffee-Cake Shawl Clue 2 detail

This is the first larger, non-amigurumi crochet project I’ve done since I got some “ergonomic” crochet hooks, and I’ve got to say that it makes a difference. My right hand doesn’t get tired nearly as quickly. In fact, it’s usually my left that gets tired first now! If you crochet at all, I highly recommend investing in a set. It doesn’t even have a very expensive investment: They are cropping up at absurdly cheap prices on amazon and elsewhere, maybe $10-15 for a set of hooks with a case and sometimes with some stitch markers or other notions thrown in. I have a set from clover that has a significantly more expensive list price (I got it on sale) but I honestly can’t tell the difference between it and the cheaper sets. I do admit I haven’t tried crochet with the cheaper ones for any length of time, though.

The only weird thing about these hooks that they don’t match up with the sizing of the other hooks I own, so my new G hook is a bit smaller than my old one (4mm vs 4.25mm). Thankfully, it seems to be working out fine on this shawl.

Doing both the MKAL and the MCAL was probably a bit too much, since it’s meant that I haven’t even touched my January Beanie Bags or YOTM samples, let alone the February ones, but I’m really excited about the final piece taking shape, and it’s kind of neat to be doing the less-common one. The last clues came out this past Wednesday and my deadline for the shawl is when the Crawl starts in two weeks, so it’s looking like I’ll be able to finish both without much trouble!

Yarn Subscription preview, December 2015 (Yarn of the Month and Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags)

Quick peek at my yarn subscriptions for December 2015:

Yarn subscriptions December 2015

On the left is Yarn of the Month Club, on the right is Jimmy Beans’ Beanie Bags.

As with last month, Jimmy Beans Beanie Bags really wins on presentation. The bag is cute and just packed with pretty cards and offers and patterns. I think they win on sheer amount of yarn this time, too! Those circular things are pom-pom makers. This wasn’t obvious to me until I read their info page, but I’m kind of excited ’cause I was just thinking that my current system of cardboard tends to make kind of messy pompoms and that I could probably do better.

This month, Yarn of the Month Club wins on having the more luxe yarn with their theme of silk/wool blends (one’s silk/wool, one’s silk/wool/mohair). As you know if you’ve read my reviews, YOTM isn’t always so fancy, so it’s a particularly nice treat this month that it’s so different from my other samples! It’s hard to tell from the photo, but these are super soft.

Excited to try both of my subscription bags, but with the holidays and my holiday knitting, it might be a little while before I get to them! Although they are small enough to fit in my suitcase…

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

I made this Twilight Sparkle for a friend and then, uh, took a year or something to get it to her. I am the worst at mailing things (in the end, J gave it to her in person and I never mailed it!)

The pattern

This is a pattern I made myself, and this Twilight Sparkle is actually one of the first ponies I made after I had actually published the pattern. (I also have a set of teensy tiny felted ones that I haven’t finished up and photographed yet… someday I’ll get through my backlog of projects to document!)

[Crochet Pony Pattern inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on my website (toybox.ca)]
[Crochet Pony Pattern inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Ravelry]

(You can tell it’s been a while because she’s still just a unicorn!)

Photos

Since I wrote the pattern, I don’t have much more to say about it, so here’s a bunch of pictures of the pony!

Body only:

Violet Pony for Katie

I do love that she’s a bit posable….

Violet Pony for Katie

Those legs are surprisingly bendable!

Violet Pony for Katie

If I wanted to her to have a bigger range of positions I could have wired her legs, but this is just the qualities of the yarn and stuffing.

Violet Pony for Katie

Her head also moves, although maybe not as much as the legs

Violet Pony for Katie

And here she is with a mane and tail and cutie mark: I don’t love her eyes (I haven’t found a great way to do them; these were drawn on fabric and sewn on), but she does look more expressive with them!

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

Closer look at her rump so you can see the cutie mark. Or make jokes about butt-shots, whatever.

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

Did you notice what book it is?

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

I chose it for photos because of the colour, but it does seem like something she might enjoy, eh?

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

Maybe one day I’ll do a version with the wings…

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

Or at least one for myself!

Twilight Sparkle for Katie

Overall, my biggest regret on this one was not sending her out sooner. Sorry about the delay, Katie!

Rippy and Chompy the Gators

Rippy and Chompy

These two gators got named Rippy and Chompy after the Arrogant Worms’ classic children’s song Rippy the Gator. The girls who recieved them might give them other names, but I suspect these might stick given how many times their dad and I went to Arrogant Worms shows over the years! For those not familiar with this particular musical gem…

Billy and his family went on a holiday
They went down to Florida to laugh and dance and play
Bill went in for a swim, he didn’t see the harm
But when he came back out again, he was short an arm
‘Cause Rippy the Gator went chomp, chomp, chomp!
Rippy the Gator went chomp, chomp, chomp!
Passing the time by ending children’s lives
Down in the bottom of the swamp, swamp, swamp!

and so on.

The Pattern

Rippy and Chompy

[Baby Gators on Ravelry]
[Baby Gators pattern on Mochimochi land]

One of my complaints about amigurumi patterns is that it’s hard to find ones that really take advantage of the range of textures and shapes that are possible. Now, don’t get me wrong: there’s a lot of cute things you can make with balls and cylinders, like good old Hello Kitty, but when I was working on the My Little Pony-inspired amigurumi pattern I made, I had a lot of trouble finding good techniques for some of the shaping I wanted to do.

So when I saw this creative pattern with the textured stitches and the nostril and eyebrow shaping, I knew I had to try it.

My Notes

Link to my Rippy and Chompy the Gators as a project on Raverly

I used Caron Simply Soft for this, because I like that it’s soft, washable and reasonably hypoallergenic. Since these were going to two kids under the age of two, those are all important things!

One thing that’s interesting about this is that it’s knitting, not crochet. In my experience, knitting tends to be a bit stretchier so knit animals tend to have less interesting shapes because they squish out when they’re stuffed. As a result, I rarely love them the way I like the crochet ones! But this one was cool enough that I wanted to try it anyhow.

You do have to be a bit careful with stuffing this one because of the properties of knitting, though. When I first stuffed the nose, it lost shape and you could barely see the nice nostril shaping, and you can tell if you look at the photos that the tails are different widths. Under-stuff rather than over-stuff on this one.

Rippy and Chompy

The pattern is very clear and easy to read. It’s increases, decreases, knits and purls, with something a bit fancier for the bobbles (the nose and eyebrows), so it’s doable for a relatively new knitter, but probably not an absolute beginner unless they have help on hand (or patience and youtube videos!).

The only thing I might have changed is that I found the legs a bit long once I had them sewn on. I decided I didn’t care enough to re-knit, but if I do this again I might think about taking out a row.

Also, as usual with amigurumi, don’t be afraid to experiment a bit with how you sew things on. A little movement can make things look way more cute or a bit uncanny, and I found this was especially true with the legs on this one: in some places, they made it look like spider gator!

Rippy and Chompy

Conclusion

In conclusion, great and interesting pattern that knits up quickly because it’s so small. I may make this one again!

Hello Kitty Amigurumi (“Bring me the head of Hello Kitty!”)

Hello Kitty Crochet is a book I have coveted since I knew it existed, in part due to nostalgia as I remember getting little cute Japanese things on occasion as a kid, but also because it just looked like a fantastic set of amigurumi crochet patterns with lots of details and cute photos.

Hello Kitty Crochet: Supercute Amigurumi…
Hello Kitty Crochet: Supercute Amigurumi Patterns for Sanrio Friends
by Mei Li Lee

J’s parents were sweet enough to get me a copy for my birthday. So of course, the thing to do is to make the titular character and send her back with a thank you note! I have no idea what they’re ever going to do with a little Hello Kitty, but what has one ever done with Hello Kitty other than admire her, really?

I finished her head pretty quickly, then got side-tracked by something else so there was just this severed head lying around the house for a week:
Hello Kitty Amigurumi

Eventually, though, she got some more body parts:

Hello Kitty Amigurumi

The strange one there is the bow. I am quite sure that there’s an error in the book, because they have you doing 4 sc and then 3 sc in one, which would give you a total of 7 sc across… but then the next line says you should turn and do 9 sc plus another 3-in-one. Does not compute, Hello Kitty. Through looking at the pictures and some online research my best guess is that you’re not supposed to turn your work front to back but rather make an oval by crocheting around the other side of the original chain, so that’s what I wound up doing.

Here’s a picture where you can see it better:
Hello Kitty Amigurumi

And here’s one so you can see that she does indeed have a tail:
Hello Kitty Amigurumi

What you can’t see is that she has washers in her butt to make her a bit weighted and not top heavy. I debated putting a rare earth magnet in there too, but I couldn’t really think when that would be useful, so I went with just the washers.

To fill out the post, here’s some photos with a Hello Kitty Makeup box I got when it was on sale at Sephora:
Hello Kitty Amigurumi

Very kawaii, indeed. I’d originally intended to felt her, but once I got her features on I didn’t want to mess them up. Maybe next time!

Hello Kitty Amigurumi

Hello Kitty Amigurumi

If you don’t know how big that box is, it might be hard to tell how big she is. Here’s a shot with a ruler, although the one I have with the ruler up and down didn’t turn out so well, so you’ll have to guesstimate from the one where it’s beside her. She’s a little under 3in high.
Hello Kitty Amigurumi

Aside from the issue with the bow, I found the directions pretty clear. They’d be suitable for a crochet/amigurumi beginner if you’re eager to try her out. I can’t wait to try some of the other patterns in the collection!

Baby bunny! (Amigurumi)

It’s after Christmas, so you’d think by now I’d be digging out the photos of all the projects that became christmas presents. But no, I’m going to dig back a little further to one I forgot from this summer…

This little amigurumi bunny was just so charming that I decided to make her for baby V:

Baby bunny for V

My favourite part is the little mohair fluffy grey tail:

20130722-IMG_0277.jpg

This is a pattern where the details really matter, so while finishing the bunny body didn’t take very long (I think I finished most of her in an afternoon at Quelab), getting her nose and ears sewn just so took me a while. Despite the little bit of fussiness, I think this is my favourite bunny pattern yet, and maybe sometime I’ll make another with more patterned fabric as the original pattern suggests.

The pattern is free on Ravelry: Crochet Spring Bunny by Stephanie Jessica Lau

A passel of penguins

Last year at Pycon, I made a bunch of teensy amigurumi penguins to give to the friends who were sprinting on GNU Mailman with me. (Small round penguin ball pattern here) Florian commented some time later that he nearly didn’t get to keep his, as his wife is a huge fan of penguins, so since he had a new baby at home by the time of the next PyCon, I figured I knew what I should be doing: making a small pile of penguins for his family.

Amigurumi Penguins

The emphasis was indeed on small since Florian would have to fit them in his suitcase for an international flight but not too small, since they were sort of intended as baby toys. Below you can see a size comparison of the largest one (in proto-penguin form) with a spatula (made unintentionally hilarious later on when the spatula was discovered lying on a pillow in the spare bedroom and questions were asked).

Penguin + Spatula

And here’s the smallest one, with my hand for size. It may help you to know that my hands are fairly small — I can just barely play a full-sized violin and would probably be more comfortable on a 3/4. (Well, okay, I haven’t actually played the violin in years, but the point is that I have almost child-sized hands.)

Amigurumi Penguin

The patterns

The big round penguin

Amigurumi Penguin by Lion Brand Yarn. I’d made this pattern before, and it’s actually what inspired my small penguin balls from last year. It’s a very easy pattern for beginner crocheters, and you can get a fair bit of expression out of adjusting the penguin’s beak and wings.

The tall penguin

Penguin Amigurumi by Tamie Oldridge. This one’s especially fun because he has a little separate hood that you place over the top ball (hence the bowling-pin shaped proto-penguin in the photo with the spatula).

The pink penguin

Amigurumi Penguin Cell Phone Strap by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd). As you can tell from the title, this one was meant to be made with smaller yarn or cotton thread, but I scaled up so it wouldn’t be a choking hazard. People were so entertained by this one that I made a few more at the conference and gave them away too.

Here’s two pictures of one of those little wool penguins, before and after felting, with my apple power connector, watch and ring for size comparison. You can see that it didn’t get that much smaller but it definitely gets fluffier with the hand felting.

2013-03-21 00.28.082013-03-21 08.36.35

The yarns used for that one were Knit Picks palette yarns, which is one of my staples for travel since I can take small balls and a handful of stuffing and still make cute things. (If you ever feel a need to buy me hundreds of dollars of wool, you can buy a sampler pack with all the colours. I’d use them, promise!)

The felting was done by hand in the hotel using hot water from the coffee pot, a mug and shampoo from those teensy little hotel bottles. Who knew hotels contained everything you needed for hand felting? Heat water without any coffee in the machine, pour a few drops of shampoo on the penguin, dip it in the hot water, roll it around in your hands or scrub at it, rinse, repeat, replacing the water if it gets cold or too soapy.

Finally, here’s one more picture of the big pink penguin hanging out on my windowsill in Albuquerque:

Amigurumi Penguin

A Moose for George

My colleague George is from the lovely tree-filled part of the west coast and went to UBC for his undergrad. For some reason, this meant that when he and his wife announced they were expecting, I thought “Hey, I should make a moose for George!” And so I did, but I wound up making a new pattern to do it, so here it is!

Moose for George

I’m a big fan of Ravelry, an excellent site for knitters and crocheters that provides a huge repository of patterns, so that was the first place I looked for moose patterns. But for some reason when I searched for moose none of the patterns really looked like what I had in mind.

Eventually, I realized why. What I wanted was a Moose version of the giraffe I’d made for another colleague at UNM:

Crochet Giraffe

Look familiar? Having established the what I wanted to see, it wasn’t too hard to go and adjust the pattern to make a moose!

And now, on to the instructions!

The original pattern

Gigi Giraffe — It’s free and nicely written. If you’re not set on a moose, I highly recommend just doing this pattern as it is! It’s so cute!

Two more pictures of the giraffe I made for another colleague: here and here

My moose-y modifications

Obviously the largest one is in swapping out the yellow for light brown (the dark brown for the hooves is actually the same as the one I used for the giraffe).

The neck

The next is the neck: I shortened it considerably. I forget exactly how many rows I did, but it was probably somewhere around 5 compared to the 17 repeats in the original pattern. You can maybe even count the repeats in this picture if you’re desperate to duplicate my moose exactly:

Moose for George

You’ll note also that I sewed the neck on a little funny. This was intentional! Moose are funny, humpbacked kind of creatures and this was my way of making a nod to the “yeah, I know what a moose looks like” while still going for something chibi-cutesy in true amigurumi form.

The antlers

The antlers obviously didn’t come from any modification of the pattern. Let’s look at them again:

Moose for George

They’re made in 3 pieces that all start like this:

Row 0: Magic circle (6 stitches)
Row 2: {increase (2sc in one stitch), 1sc} repeated 3 times (9 stitches)
Row 3-?: sc around (9 stitches)

Basically, make one short antler tube for the end piece (probably around 5 rows long), a longer one for the part that comes out of his head (around 9 rows), and one to attach the two together (again, around 9 rows). If you want him to be an older moose with a more impressive rack, make the joiner piece longer and add extra antler bumps on top. Stuff each tube relatively firmly and sew together.

Tail

The tail is also brand new and not part of the original pattern. I crocheted a little circular-ish piece and sewed one end to a bit of a point, then sewed the other onto the moose’s bum. The pattern was probably something like this:

Row 0: Magic circle (6 stitches)
Row 2: increase (2sc in one stitch) repeated 6 times (12 stitches)

It’s possible that I only went to 9 like I did with the antlers, though.

So in conclusion…

If you, like me, are making this for a baby, remember to sew things on really well, and tie extra knots as you go. Smaller pieces like the tail could be dangerous if removed and swallowed, and kids are tenacious. That said, crochet tends to tighten up into horrible knots when drooled on and pulled on, so it’s pretty safe to give to kids. And I should know: my grandmother made me a lot of crocheted things, and I seem to have flourished and “inherited” some of her talent for making new patterns on the fly. Clearly this means crocheted gifts are a way to foster creative adults, right?

Happy moose-making!

Moose for George

PS – For my records, this moose was finished ~ March 7, 2013. My next set of works in progress is also a gift, but the recipient gets the pile o’ projects at PyCon, so you can expect a post about that when it’s been received!