December 22, 2014

Jason Funderburker

This Cartoon Network miniseries came out in late September of 2014. I missed watching it as it aired on TV. I had seen a few little mentions of it on Tumblr, but never had time to track it down. It came back on my radar and I persuaded my husband to watch the first two episodes with me one Friday night after dinner.

You can currently watch it for free on in their video section IF you have a cable subscription that they are partners with and you give it your login and service info. OR, you can do like we did after two episodes and go buy it on iTunes for 9.99. It is 10, 11 minute, episodes long. So, for about the price of a movie ticket you have 120 minutes of entertainment.
We finished the series that night.

The most simple explanation for the plot is that it follows two brothers as they travel through a strange wood and try to find their way home. However, as graduates of a liberal arts college and fairly well read people, we almost had to pause every episode to discuss the references to classic literature, the fairy tale elements, the visual symbolism, the poetry and the music of the episodes. As a PBS youtube video said it brings elements of Brothers Grimm, Dante, Miyazaki and Adventure Time and seamlessly rolls them all together into something truly fantastic.

Once done I started browsing Tumblr to see the fanart and stumbled upon the official Tumblr page for OtGW. There I found a crochet pattern by Stacy Renfroe, one of the production assistants on the show, to make my very own lucky frog, Jason Funderburker! I knew I had to make it. I ran out and got some light green since I had everything else on hand.

As it was the weekend of our annual friend White Elephant Party, I also made up a little case and included an iTunes gift card with enough funds to get the show. I had to share the awesome with friends!

I used With Love yarn in Lettuce for the light green, and I Love this Yarn in Dark Olive for the dark green. I also used 12mm safety eyes, as that is what I had on hand. A little bit of white, a 4.00 mm hook, and my kit of tools rounded out the project needs.

Creating the top of the head is a very interesting technique, you make two little cup shapes and a round center and then link them all up on their outside edges. Then you sew up where the three pieces meet in the center and since I had left tails and joined at the first stitch I could use the tails from the cup shapes to sew up the center openings nicely. The one in the picture is wrong since you are supposed to work the entire pattern in back loops, but I moved on too quickly and forgot to take another picture.
Eye bumps and center of head. Incorrectly done, but you get the idea.
I made two changes to the pattern: the hands and the feet. For the hand part it was a little non-specific on how many fingers to make, so I looked up some pictures and determined that I wanted a thumb and three fingers. After making the arm pieces I left a tail and sewed up the end. That sewn end and tail was attached to the body. I then made a hand piece and sewed it to the closed end of the arm.

Frog Hand
Magic Circle 6 single crochet
Slip stitch into first sc, chain three, turn and sc two down to the start of the chain, secure with a slip stitch in the sc you started from. This makes the thumb.
Single crochet in the next sc to make a space between the thumb and fingers.
Slip stitch into next sc, chain four, turn and sc three back down to the start of the chain, securing it with a slip stitch in the sc you started with to make the first finger. Slip stitch into the next two and repeat to get three total longer fingers.
I then did one sc in the next open sc.
I did two sc in the next open sc.
I did one final sc in the last open sc.
To end, I did a slip stitch into the base of the thumb and bound off my yarn, leaving a tail.

This flat hand piece has two tails, one at the center and one at the end. I used these to sew the fingers/palm onto the end of the arm piece so the fingers stuck out nicely. For the other hand I did the fingers first, then the space, then the thumb, so that the thumbs would both be in and the piece would curl in the right way. You could just follow the pattern twice and sew the second hand on after turning it over, but my crochet tends to have obvious tops and bottoms.

The face bits are kinda weird, but I like the technique to make the lips a lot. It is just a double thick chain folded over, and I sewed the backside up to make it easier to place onto the head and sew down. The eyes I thought about making flat circles, but the popping effect is a bit silly. I did not stuff mine like suggested to minimize the crazy look though.
Face Close Up. No legs yet.
For the feet: I followed the pattern to Round 7, then decided I wanted wider feet like flat triangles. So I did not decrease down again and did a few more rows. If you want mine the pattern is as follows:
Frog feet and toes.
Frog Feet
R1: 6 sc in a magic circle
R2: 6 sc around
R3: *increase, sc in next 2* repeat around (8)
R4-6: 8 sc around
R7: *increase, sc in next 3* repeat around (10)
R8-9: 10 sc around
Bind off leaving a tail. Sew foot closed. I left a tail that was maybe a yard long and used that super long tail to make three distinct bumps on the end of my foot for toes. I then finished the toes by hiding the tail inside the foot, coming back out near the center so that I could use it to sew the foot onto the lower leg. You could skip the toes if you want, but I like them.

Once the arms and legs were done and attached he really looked good. The last piece to make is his back. This frog as a dark back coloring so we make that piece next and then sew it down.

As usual I find sewing all the pieces together to be the most challenging part of any creation. I took extra time trying to get the mouth piece to be as centered as possible and to make sure the back panel was lined up right. Of course it ended up crooked and I think a bit too small for some reason. I stretched it as best I could. Thought about adding dots, but my hubby liked him the way he was.
Back progress.
Done! This frog is about 6 inches wide by 16 inches tall and is a perfect crook-of-your-arm size. It would be a great prop for a Greg cosplay... now to find a teapot and weird pants... and candy.

I am not sure if this frog will remain Jason Funderburker as I feel like I need to come up with my own name for him. Even if you haven't seen the show, I feel like this is great toy for any young kid who likes frogs! And the show is only a PG rating, so if you feel comfortable, let them watch! Then when they get to reading Dante in college they will have all kinds of innate understanding.

Time to complete: 8 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate