July 6, 2015

Steven's Lion

If you follow me on Tumblr, you know that I am a huge fan of Steven Universe. Or you might remember that I have already made a post about this topic when I made a Cookie Cat. Either way, the show continues to be one of the best cartoons on TV right now.

With so much to love about the show from the amazing music, stunning background art and wonderful characters, it's no surprise that I wanted to make something else. The design of all the characters in the show does lend it self to making toys, but I have trouble making people shapes, so I decided to make Lion.
Lion Reference sheet from the StevenCrewniverse Tumblr account

Thanks to a gift card to one of my local yarn shops, I was able to get some really nice yarn to make him with. I got two skeins of Cascade Sierra in Pink (016) for his body. For some reason it doesn't seem to be listed online, but it is 80% Pima Cotton and 20% Wool and calls for size 7 needles, which are 4.5mm so I plan to use my go-to 5mm H hook to make him. For the mane I'm using Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky in Petal Bloom. Not only is the color name totally perfect, since Lion is related to Rose Quartz somehow, but the color is just a little lighter than the Sierra and super soft and fluffy. I plan to pull sections through the body and then fuzz it out a lot, kind of like what I did for Reveille the collie.

I had originally planned to use a free pattern for him and just adapt it, but since I want him to look really on model, I decided to try to make the pattern myself. Of course this is the more difficult option, but hey, nothing awesome comes easy. The head, snout and ears are all very close to that free pattern, if a little smaller, but that's all I referenced. I found that marking off the hairline and then sewing the ears back from that helped me visualize how this would look and where the mane should go.

The body from the head pattern is too bean shaped and Lion's tapers in the opposite direction with a large chest and smaller rump so I figured out the body as I went along. I tried to stuff him fuller in the chest.

Once that was done, I made the front legs. I wanted them to have the wide footpad and little toe bump shape. Comparing the width of the legs to the snout helped me realize these are wide, stout legs. I also added a tab at the top of the legs to get the shoulder area. When sewing them on I added a little stuffing under them to make it look nicer and really make it shoulder.

The back legs are the same pattern as the front, but without the tab on the top. I positioned the front ones to have him sitting up, so the back ones were added out to the sides to make him look cute.

Finally the tail. I started at the end of the tail and did a round bulb shape in the light pink of his mane and then gradually widened up from there to the base. I stuffed it as best I could. It is 7 inches long from base to end.

I sewed him together as I went along to make sure his proportions were to my liking.
A naked Lion! Or a Lioness, I guess.
Lastly I did the mane. I had a good idea of where the hairline should start and just went from there. To add the hair, normally you would make a wig cap and then pull the hair through it, but after making most of the cap, I realized that I would not have nearly enough yarn to then make the mane.
scrapped mane hair cap to the left.
Rooting the hair is a pain and making it look nice takes a long time. I watched a good video on how to root hair by Sharon Ojala online and I have it start at the place where it talks about rooting in specific. Once I had the concept down I started on the tail to make sure that I could use all the rest of the skein for the hair and not worry about needing to leave any. It was also a good place to test out how it would look.

Once I had looped about 30 strands onto the tail bulb, I unwound the two ply of the yarn to help it look and feel fuller as Lion has a really fluffy look to him. It took about two hours to do the tail alone. The mane itself took about 8 hours to loop it all on and then another hour or so to fuzz it out, cut and style it.
Mane looped on and tail finished and fuzzed out. Kind of looks like dreads.
Mane fuzzed out and trimmed. Adds a lot of volume. Tried to trim it into the points that give it a star shape.

From behind.

Finished Size: About 10" wide, 10" tall and 12" long (from nose to butt) .
Time to Complete: 20 hours over about a week for the main body and parts, a lot of trial and error mostly, so actually making him would be faster I have to think. Tail took 2 hours. Mane took 8 hours more, and another one to add and fluff and style. Total is 31 hours give or take.
Difficulty: Intermediate

Bonus: My Gemsona: Star Sapphire
Gemsonas are a thing artists on the internet have started doing, drawing their own fan characters for the show. Always loved star sapphires and own a few, made sense to give her one. You can see I played with location and weapon idea.

Final note: Yes, I have written up the pattern for Lion. But, as with Blathers, I am hesitant to share for fear of copyright infringement and pattern stealing. Ask nicely and drop me a line at angela dot skees at gmail dot com and I can share the pattern. 

I have now shared the pattern with about 8 people! And three or so have actually shared images of their finished Lions, but I really wanted to share this one made by Stefanie Varga. She used DROPS Eskimo yarn, that is also a felting yarn, for the mane and it came out amazing! Wish I had thought of that. She also added little pads to the bottom of his feet which are really cute.

Update 2:
The total of shared patterns is up to 46! I've got quite a few pictures back from their creators as well so I thought I would add them to this post so you can see. I love love love them all, but am especially fond of ones with super fluffy manes.

by Elaine

by Hannah

by Jessica

by Kathryn

by Maria

by Nadine