August 18, 2014

Otachi Kaiju

I have had Lemmy Loop in my RSS feed for a long time... and more recently on tumblr. So when I saw her make a crochet Otachi I metaphorically died of "cute-overload". She was kind enough to release her pattern to a few who asked nicely, and so my new-found dream of making one could come true!
Notes: Please do not spam her for the pattern unless you really intend to make one. She has asked that we do not share the pattern, sell the pattern or sell items made from the pattern... so, No, I cannot make you one.

I wanted to use just the "right" yarn, so when I got to go to that great yarn store in Austin and I took the opportunity to find my perfect yarn for my girl. As blue is my favorite color, I wanted to give mine the blue-gray coloring like in the film and in this particular image. It's probably just because all the fight scenes are so dark that she looks blue though.
With hues of dark blue, black, purple, gray and a tiny bit of green, I knew Madeline Tosh, Tosh DK in "Stargazing" was perfect. It is 100% superwash merino wool. A dk weight is similar to a worsted weight. It can be machine washed, but has to air dry. At $22 a skein, and I needed two, Otachi is the second most expensive thing I have ever made. (Blathers is #1.)

I also wanted to use the Berroco yarn in "Coast", that I got at the same time as the Stargazing, for Otachi's spots and mouth embroidery, but since I bought it for a shrug pattern which I have not started, I decided not to risk using any. So I found a Bernat Handicrafter cotton on clearance in a nautical "sky blue". The color is close and it seemed a safer route, lest I not have enough for my shrug.

I printed out this 12 page pattern for two reasons, 1. I didn't want my phone to die, checking Evernote every two seconds, and 2. with so many intricate pieces I needed to be able to physically mark off where I was in the patterns for each piece.
Parts Head, Nose horns, head fins, forearms, body, back scales.
I was working through the parts just fine until I hit the part to make her back scales out of the crocodile stitch. I have never made anything ever using that stitch. And in this case Youtube videos only show how to make a horizontal row of scales. I watched quite a few videos, but this one was most helpful to me, since it showed how to use the pair of dc's turned horizontally to make a single scale. Took me about an hour to sort just this part out, and my chain of scales tends to curl to the left... but once it was sewed down to the body it was fine.

Each arm is made up of 5 pieces: upper and lower arm, two wing membranes and a wingtip. It was kind of hard to stuff the wingtip pieces... I was unable to get any stuffing in, until I used the eraser end of my pencil to help. For the wing membranes I used a dc instead of the tc as written. When made with a tc it came out too large for the wingtips and forearms... not sure if my tc is too loose, not done right or what.

After looking at all her pictures I saw she also put spikes and scales down the tail. I modified and rewrote her tail pattern to use popcorn stitches (like the toes) to add the side spikes in the rows so I would not have to sew all those on later. I had to tweak the order of the stitches in the rows after I connected all the three tail spikes together so that the bumps would be on the bottom and centered to the large spike of the tail which I had on top. It kind of looked like a weird lobster tail while making it... see picture and pattern below.
Tail and Back Legs.
My Tail Pattern
I realize this is unhelpful if you don't have the rest of the pattern, but you could make a weird lobster from it I guess...
Round 1. Connect the three tail claws and sc around. I used decreases to string them together and ended up with 10 sc around, which I then increased to 12 in the next row.
Round 2. SC in each stitch (12)
Round 3. SC6, popcorn stitch 4dc, sc3, popcorn stitch 4dc, sc (12)
Round 4. SC in each stitch (12)
Round 5. (Inc, SC x 3) Repeat around (15)
Round 6. SC in each stitch (15)
Round 7. SC8, popcorn stitch 4dc, sc4, popcorn stitch 4dc, sc (15)
Round 8. SC in each stitch (15)
Round 9. (Inc, SC x 4) Repeat around (18)
Round 10. SC in each stitch (18)
Round 11. SC in each stitch (18)
Round 12. SC10, popcorn stitch 4dc, sc5, popcorn stitch 4dc, sc (18)
Round 13. SC in each stitch (18)
Round 14. (Inc, SC x 5) Repeat around (21)
Round 15. SC in each stitch (21)
Round 16. SC in each stitch (21)
Round 17. SC in each stitch (21)
Round 18. SC 12, popcorn stitch 5dc, sc6, popcorn stitch 5dc, sc (21)
Round 19. SC in each stitch (21)
Round 20. (Inc, SC x 6) Repeat around (24)
Round 21. SC in each stitch (24)
Round 22. SC in each stitch (24)
Round 23. SC in each stitch (24)
Round 24. SC in each stitch (24)
Round 25. SC14, popcorn stitch 5dc, sc7, popcorn stitch 5dc, sc (24)
Round 26. SC in each stitch (24)
Round 27. (Inc, SC x 7) Repeat around (27)
Finish off and leave long tail for sewing. Stuff tail.
** Popcorn stitch is where you do 4 or 5 double crochet stitches in one sc space. Upon completing the last dc you draw up a loop, remove your hook, go back into the first dc you made, insert your hook and draw through that loop from the last dc. Then I secure it with a chain which I use for the next round.  

I wanted smaller scales for the tail so I made a second chained set of 5. They are like the 11 on the back, but instead of dc I used hdc to make the scales smaller. I also made one larger single scale for at the back of the head before the back scales and one tiny scale for the bottom of the tail.
Full set of all the scales for the back.
The glow spots are magic circles, that are closed with a slip stitch. I made mine a bit larger than in the pictures, mainly because the thickness of the yarn made larger circles, and I wanted to sew less on. On each side of the body there are two MC6's, two MC5's, and one MC4. On each side of the tail there are three MC4's and one MC3. That makes 9 on each side for a total of 18 in total. Making and sewing them on was 2 hours all by itself.

I ordered 9mm and 12mm amber slit eyes off Amazon. I had some blue and purple on hand from something else, but since the yarn is so dark, they did not really show up or stand out, hence going with amber. I also added a disk of white behind them which really helped them stand out.
Finished Otachi! Annoyed I can't seem to photograph her colors right.
Time Breakdown:
Head 30 min
Big Horns (2) 20 min
Little Horns (4) 20 min
Body 1.5 hr
Back Scales 1 hr
Forearms (2) 1 hr
Upper arms (2) 40 min
Wingtips (2) 1 hr
Wing Membranes (4) 1hr
Legs (2) 1 hr
Short tail claws (2) and Long tail claw 20 min
Tail 2 hours
Body details: above back leg spikes (2), wing tip spikes (2), knee spikes (2), chin spikes (2), tail scales (5) 1 hr
Light Blue stuff: glow spots (18), face embroidery: 3 hours
Assembly of all parts: another 8 hours (over three nights of 2-3 hours working on it)
Total time: about 25 hours

I like the way she looks with my blue shutters.
Finished size for Otachi is 17 inches from nose to tip of the tail. About 10 inch wingspan.
Difficulty: Intermediate. Parts are not too hard to make, with the exception of the crocodile stitch, but this does take a lot of time.