April 23, 2018

Oleg the Octopus

In addition to the mushroom folk and the dragon from Lalylala, I bought a third pattern for Oleg the Octopus. In my stash I had two different blue fingering yarns I considered for this project, but in the end went with a set of 4 ombre skeins from Wooly Wonka in St. Tropez, bought at a Fiber Fest. Used a 3.25mm hook and 9mm eyes for this project.

Of course this made it harder on myself, since I wanted the doll to fade from the dark at the bottom to light at the head. I started with the tentacles in the darkest yarn, and after making one, worried I would not have enough yarn total to do the whole project. Instead of going back to my safe single color skein however, I decided to keep making tentacles but instead of breaking the yarn, left a long tail between each piece so that I could unravel the whole thing if I decided to scrap it. In the end I managed to get 7 and a half legs out of the darkest skein. I tried switching to the next one, but it ended up looking like I had dipped that leg in something and was way too obvious for my tastes.

So I frogged three legs. This left 4 of the darkest and I made 4 more of the next color. Side by side they were much harder to tell apart in color so I alternated them in the circle of legs. This meant I had some of the darkest yarn left to close up the bottom of the body between the legs, and have enough to join them on top as well as well as fade it into the body.

Once I got close to the end of the darkest I started switching between the darkest and next skein every other row till I ran out of the darkest. Then the body was solid through the next color, but near the neck I started to alternate with the second lightest color again as I ran out of the third. That left the two lightest yarns left, which was perfect.

The head I started with the fins in the lightest color and the hood is made from the tip to the brim which worked in my favor as well. Even though I had plenty of yarn in the two lighest colors I still alternated a few rows at the brim of the hat to match the neck of the body. For the arms, I used the lightest color right next to the hands and faded into the second color up the arm. The pattern had called for cuffs of a contrasting color but I wanted to stick with my ombre.
 Of course I had to add a little of the blush to the face.

Finally I worked the collar piece. It is mostly made from the lightest yarn but I used the tiny bit of darkest yarn left over to edge the piece. The hanging ties are meant to be plied, but as I couldn't figure that out, I instead used a simple knotting method like you used to make friendship bracelets out of as a kid. Switching between the light and dark every 5 knots gave it a cool look with a spiral detail. I found a few beads I had in an old jewelry box, no idea what they might have been for but they were perfect I thought.

From this image you can better tell the difference between the lightest and darkest. But looking at it overall its very subtle I think.

It kind of has the coolest profile.

The head and hands is made from a bright white sock yarn from Lion Brand. I do feel like the head might be a little small, but over all it came out great. I've marked out this last image so you can see what colors ended up where. This is why it was a bit of a pain, not only did I have to break it down right but make sure I had enough of each color to make it work. Super happy with how it turned out and I think he is way more interesting this way than in a solid blue, even if it was very pretty.

Time to complete: 70 hours, after working and frogging over and over.
Difficulty: Easy
Size: About 12.5 inches tall, diameter from tip of one leg to opposite side is 10 inches

March 26, 2018

At-At Walker

I am so excited to make this pattern. It is the AT Walker pattern by Krawka on Etsy. I bought the pattern with a bit of gift card money because it is so damn cute. I had no idea who I would make it for, but I knew I would make one. With the new movies coming out, it was super fun and timely to make for a good friend's new baby. If only I could have figured out how to make it go "pew-pew." Maybe I'll add a voice box next time.

For the At-At I bought one skein of charcoal and one of dusty gray, both Red Heart Super Saver. I thought I would have enough make two at the same time, but it turned out I actually had to order more of the dusty gray direct from Red Heart! So I ordered two extra skeins so I can make Sophie cough*myself*cough one.

All the parts are pretty straightforward to make, there is just a lot of them. 50 to be exact. The only real thing I thought I might have changed was the way to start each straight piece. Instead of working sc into a chain, I bet it might have been a bit easier to sew later on if I had started with a foundation row of single crochet. Just a slightly different technique really...

Really this pattern was easy to make up. I kind of lost my excitement wading through the many different crochet squares, but once I started assembling, all that joy upon seeing the pattern the first time came back. I actually started giggling as I sewed the legs on, and you know it's a good pattern when that happens.

One other note, she had used sport weight and a 3mm hook, I used worsted weight and a 4mm hook, so I think mine came out a slightly bit bigger. This AT-AT stands 12 inches high from base of feet to top of back and 15 inches long from front of cannons to the butt.
Sophie for scale.
I might have to make the next one in time to take it to see Solo with me...

Difficulty: Easy
Time to complete: 50 hours

March 19, 2018

TCU Horned Frog

A good friend recently had a baby. As big fans of TCU, they used to attend nearly every game and really love their "frogs". I find it kind of serendipitous that this project followed so closely after Reveille the second as they are both school mascot projects.

I tried to find a yarn that was really close to the TCU purple and settled on Lion Brand Heartland in Hot Springs. I really liked the heathered look of the purple with a touch of black and felt it would be perfect for my toy. As this is for a baby I also needed something soft, but easy to clean. I also picked up some 9mm safety eyes and a couple of 38mm jingle bells. I wanted the toy to jingle gently when shook to be like a little rattle, but also something you could use to make noise while watching the game.

I used the Texas Horny Toad pattern by My Fingers Fly on Etsy. Over all the pattern was pretty fun to make up. I really loved the look of the spikes along the back and that when you seamed the back and belly together, you used that join to add more spikes to the toad. It was perfect.

I do think that the head was a bit too small as written and a little flat too, so I made my own up. I didn't write it down of course, but worked in a spiral from the nose point out to the back of the head, and used her back half of the head pattern to finish it. The look of the back post double crochet to make the face ridges is awesome. And I tried to add spikes around the face like the TCU mascot has with the two large horns over the eyes and on the top of the head.
Head from the pattern itself. Kind of flat and small...

my new and improved head
When stuffing the body I put one bell inside it, and the second into the head so it make a gentle ding ding noise when shook, perfect for a baby fan.

For a gross frog that shoots blood out of its eyeballs, I think it came out pretty cute and it would make a totally fun thing to help get the kids into the college football fandom.

Completed Size: 12" nose to tail, 8" wide in the belly
Time to complete: 15 hours since I reworked the head
Difficulty; Easy +

March 12, 2018

Reveille the second

Back in 2012, I made a Collie dog like the mascots of Texas A&M. Its owner, having loved her own, asked if I would make a second for a baby shower she was attending. I was happy to oblige and happened to have all the colors and stuff I would need on hand. As before I used the same pattern, Abbey the Collie by Nattypat and changed up the colors and made the neck fluff a bit larger like a collie dog.

This time I got a bit ambitious with the coat and added three browns in addition to the white and really tried to place the colors along the face and neck like a real dog. I did think about brushing out the yarn but thought it might be a bit too fluffy. Once again I sort of winged the cape and added the Texas A&M logo.
before trimming the fluff
I am pretty happy with how this second one turned out and it's kind of nice to see the differences and change in skill from 2012 to today. Video below to see the full turn around.

Difficulty: Easy
Time to complete: 10 hours

March 5, 2018

Dragon Doll

Following along with the Mushroom Folk, this pattern is another by Lalylala on Etsy, specifically Dirk the Dragon.

This guy was also made with a 3.75mm hook and used some of the leftover white, red and brown sock yarn from the mushrooms, with the addition of the stunning green, which I kind of splurged on. Since it was going to be so much of the toy, I really wanted a nice yarn and settled on Madeline Tosh Twist Light weight in Jade.

The the body parts were a breeze to make up, especially after the mushrooms. The only part I struggled with was the back spikes since a surface slip stitch is hard for me to do. Still not sure I got it as straight as I would have liked but in the end it turned out great. The spikes on the back, mirror so nicely those ear which might be the cutest I have ever made.

Since this one was going to live in the same house as the white portobello mushroom guy, I decided to make the scarf out of the same brown so they would coordinate a bit more. The scarf is simply three rows of double crochet worked along a long chain, about 23 inches long. With a little fringe at the ends. With the cheek blush he's really something special.

The finished doll stands about 14 inches tall.
Time to complete: 20 hours

February 26, 2018

Mushroom Folk

Well I am back with a few small projects. No idea how long this new bout of crochet will hold up especially as Sophie rapidly becomes more mobile...Gosh I started these back in fall of 2017, yikes. I was making two at the same time, one for my sister in law and one for a baby of a friend, but of course these got put aside with all the prep for Sophie's impeding arrival.

The pattern is Paul the Toadstool by Lalylala on Etsy. I picked out five colors: brown, green, off white, red, and gray, all of sock weight yarn from Joann's, think some was Vanna's Choice but it was a mix. Although the pattern calls for smaller, I used a 3.75mm hook. And since I couldn't find 6mm, I went with 9mm safety eyes.

If I remember right the legs and body worked up pretty easily. Love the long lean body look. The little neck ruff was a bit tricky to make but I love the detail as it is very mushroomy and I like that it hides the seam at the top of the arms. I made one with a white body and one with a gray body. The pattern shows a kind of light variegated yarn like a shirt, but I really couldn't find anything quite that pretty and settled for the gray. I made the white body one to see how it would come out.

In addition to the grass embroidery on the body, I also decided to make it harder on myself and add some mushrooms as well. I have very, very limited embroidery skills, but I still really like how it turned out. I did add a bit of pink blush to both faces as well. Since I was making two, I also decided to tweak the hats. I made one "portobello" hat to go with the white body, and added a few white embroidered pips to it. The second followed the pattern with red and white agaric spots.

I love the super small stitches that the small hook made, as it almost looks like fabric not crochet. I also bought her dragon and octopus patterns and really hope to make them as her dolls are just so lovely looking.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time to complete: 40 hours each considering assembly and embroidery.