April 25, 2016

Iorek's Armor

So last week I made a polar bear named Iorek as in the armored polar bear from the Golden Compass. As it would be fun and challenging to make actual armor for him out of crochet, I went for it.

I debated using felt and sewing together the armor, but that is a bit cheating I feel. The plan was to make armor plating using the crocodile stitch and free form shapes and squares all sewn together. I picked out a mottled brown that I think is Vanna's Choice in Barley that I had on hand.
The first thing I did was make two sets of two scales, vertically for the shoulder pads, as this was a pretty easy thing to make. I used this good reference by Crochet Chiq for the vertical chains of scales.

collar piece, shoulder scales, triangle scale chest and half circle chest piece
For the front I worked a triangle shape of scales, starting at the point then making a row of 2 and a row of three on top. I used just the first few rows of Bonita Patterns's Triangle shawl pattern that I purchased and used a while back to get how to make this. I then made a super large half circle shape that spanned the area across his chest to affix the triangle scales to.

For the back I did a longer set of 5 vertical for the spine sort of armor.  For the back I also made two half circle shapes for the shoulder plates and one more half circle which I then lengthened to go under the spine plates.
front side assembly with shoulders
After all these bits were made I needed something to affix them all to, to hang off his shoulders right. So I did a simple circle of three rounds of single crochet like a large collar and started assembling the armor by sewing it onto the collar.
backside assembly with shoulder plates, back plate and spine
After that I thought he needed a helmet. This was a bit tricky since I wanted his ears to stick out. Sure I could have just made a helmet and sewn the ears on, but no. So I started with a small circle and then just sort of eyeballed out a widening wedge for the back of the helmet. Then I left a few stitches free on each side and worked front side panels of about the same length as the back. Then I added a small ridge on the front with a picot to give that little triangle point in the center of the eyes. After that I made a single crocodile scale to add to the helmet.
Flat helmet piece and its single scale
I used the tails from the sides to sew up the helmet leaving openings for the ears to poke out of and sewed the scale on to the front.

Once the armor was all assembled I realized that I made it sort of samurai-ish... I wanted it to be a but cooler though so I used a bit of leftover super thin Madtosh gold to add swirl filigree to the flat front armor, the back shoulder plates and on the back of the helmet. To keep his armor nice and snug, I threaded a piece of yarn between the shoulder pads and the chest piece like a shoelace and tied it under his arms.
front

backside

feet and bear butt
Overall the armor probably took another 3-4 hours to make, and one more for the filagree.
He's just so dang cute, fierce and cuddly.

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