August 22, 2016


*UPDATE* 4/2018: Due to a request I now have a written pattern. Feel free to email angela dot skees at gmail dot com for a pdf copy.

Look, I love lousy movies. Like a lot. Ask me which Batman is the best? I'm gonna say the "neon" Batmans (aka Batman and Robin or Batman Forever) with all the bad puns. I love the Godzilla from 1998, and Twister, and Men in Black 2, and Legend. The list goes on. Gotta say though, Tremors might be the number one on the lousy movie top 10.

So when I was laying in bed, trying to sleep, and my brain is chattering away, for some reason I started thinking about bad movies. It's like I can watch them in my head. I was also wondering what next I could make. And it hit me. Why, oh why, have I never made a plushie crochet graboid?!?
A Graboid.
It's like perfect for crochet. Other people have done plushies, which is a help to look at how they constructed theirs. As I was planning to go to a desert-y locale during the summer I jumped on this project to get it done in time so I could take pictures.

First issue was finding yarn. These are subterranean creatures and are covered in dirt and sand throughout the movies so finding a good picture for coloring was a bit hard to do. In the end I decided for a more monochromatic tan color scheme than that graphic above.

I had some Lion Brand Homespun on hand in Pearl. Even though I despise that yarn I really liked the subtle browns and tans going on. I tried to find something similar in a regular worsted as opposed to the fuzzy irregular Homespun, but failed. I found a nice taupe color in Vanna's Choice that really complimented it to create that darker head. The head is actually like bone kind of or a big beak as compared to the soft worm body, so I thought they would make a cool look together. The tongue worms I still haven't found a color I like, but I do have a bit of this dusty sort of pink in my stash that might work. And I will need a tiny bit of a red color for the inside of the mouth where the tongue worms come out.

I started working on the body from the tail up to the neck where it joins. Using the pearl homespun I worked up several rows and then started increasing rows. Every few rows I did one that had some of the spikes come out. I would just sort of eyeball where the spikes should go. The body spikes help it move through the loose soil and I wanted them to stand out a bit from the body, so I started carrying a second darker solid tan (pretty sure it is Bernat Satin in Sable) and switching to it to make popcorn stitches. Sort of like the Daleks I made way back in the day.

I got a good way in and wasn't sure I liked the shape it was making, but kept going. At this point I was writing each round down as I made it. So that I could tweak as needed and still be able to turn this into a pattern eventually. The tough part is that homespun felts together really really fast, so if I needed to rip this out and redo it, it was pretty much hopeless.

As I kept increasing the body, I started thinking about how large the overall plush would turn out to be and how to make it proportional in my mind. I kept feeling like I was increasing too slowly overall. This is gonna be a baby sized graboid for sure, but I still wanted it to be a good huggable size. Also, just to note, I was stuffing as I went along, as the spike yarn was crossing across the inside space.

The body spikes I sort of just placed as I felt they were needed while trying to be roughly symmetrical. I also tried to keep at least three or four rows between them so they had their own space. I also gradually started adding more and more until they met at the top of the back. The belly side is free of spikes so it's easy for me to tell where the top and bottom are. It took me about two months to get the body alone done, but mainly because I was only able to work on it about two hours every two to three days during that time.

Once it was big enough around I felt it was ok to just keep that width for several rows to elongate the wormy body, continuing the pattern of spikes. After that I worked a few rows of decreasing, with no more spikes, for the neck area before the beaked head.
throat piece widening to mouth with tongue worms anchored to base
Next I made a throat and mouth for the Graboid. The throat is just a tube that I inserted into the body cavity and stuffed around so that I could have a place to retract the tongue creatures in. Figured it might also make it eating other toys easier if it could swallow them a bit, ya know for pictures. I widened the tube at one end to the same number of stitches as the last row of the neck and sewed it in place.
iCord body and tube head for tongue worms
I was originally at a loss for how to do the tongue creatures since working a tube of only four sc around is a giant pain in the butt, but after learning the i-cord technique for the Norse Cords, I decided that would be perfect for making the thin and long mouth tongue worm things. I made them all about the same length and then at one end widened up into a round 6 sc open tube for the head and mouth of the tongue guys. I embroidered a little black on the tops for the little horn hooks they have, but it kind of ended up looking like eyes.
throat in with a few tongue worms stuck in
I had some ideas for the beak head shape and set about trying to make and assemble them. I sketched out the shapes on paper first and held them up to the body to see how they would work together. Then used tape to hold the shapes in place and see if they would really work right. Then I set about making those shapes in the taupe vanna's choice yarn. I only did one piece of each shape as it took 5 shapes to get the full beak done. Only after assembling it all and attaching it to the body did I realize that it didnt really have enough structure to hold itself up, so I might have to go back and see if I can't stiffen it with glue and water or something.
bottom jaw pieces

I really like that the soft squishy body yarn has a different texture from the more bony beak like head, and that the body spines have a little sheen to them. All those different colors and textures really made it look like the different parts in the movie.

I super love how it came out. Pretty cute and super squishy.

Time to complete: about 40 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate
Size: About 18 inches from beak to tail, 10 inches around at widest part of body