Friday, April 29, 2011

Berry Bear and Friends.

I am pleased to introduce you all to Wednesday's mystery project, Berry Bear!  When I saw some skeins of fluffy variegated yarn in the clearance bin of a craft store, I immediately thought oh! brushed bears!  I've been making amigurumi for a few years now and hadn't tried a bear yet, and I've always admired the ones people make (mainly from wool, which would probably work much better) from fluffy yarn and then brush to fluff up said yarn like fur.

I found the perfect free pattern, which I modified a little---surprisingly, not by making it smaller, hah!  I decided to try a different look for the ears, and the arms are a bit wonky because uh, I tried to frog one and the yarn broke, so I thought okay, nevermind, I'll just try to make the second one look like the first one.  Which worked out okay, somehow.  I knew the yarn's fluffitude would make it annoying to work with, so I was at least a little prepared for that. Not having a wire pet brush (which is what I gather is usually used to fluff your bear), I used a little plastic My Little Pony hairbrush, which was fun and ridiculous.  I also added tiny ruffle trim to the dress, which helped me improve my tension working with smaller yarn/hooks.  (Read as: it was really annoying.)

Yarn difficulties aside, I loved working this pattern, especially the little dress, which I did in cotton because I wanted it to have a completely different texture and look from the bear itself.  I'm already dreaming of more bears---although perhaps not more brushed ones---mainly because I want to play with colour/fiber combinations between bear and dress.  I think the next bear is going to be a sort of periwinkle blue...

I also couldn't resist giving her a tiny button-center flower for her ear, and to add a little pop of contrast to her head.  This is one of the more traditional amis I've made, and I'm quite fond of her.  I may list her in my sadly-neglected online shops eventually.

Since you all made this octopus blush with your nice comments about him, I figured I'd try and snap a (slightly---ugh, grey days.) better photo of him and share some details about his creation.

Back in June or July, I was googling for images of octopuses and ended up stumbling upon this Squidoo tutorial, and got addicted.  The basic construction, in which you crochet the tentacles (which get their great natural curl from a combination of single and half-double crochet stitches) and then join them into a ring and make the body in the round, is simple and endlessly adaptable. (E.g. tentacow & tentacat.)The first-ever one I made was the only one I followed the pattern exactly for, after that I started experimenting with tentacle length and the increases and decreases for the  head/body.  Each yarn or combination of yarns will work up differently, and it's so much fun to play around with. I definitely recommend giving the pattern a try and making a tentacle-friend of your own!
And one more tiny finished thing, Bitsy the Ridiculous Easter Chick, who I made up on Saturday night just in time to tuck into an Easter basket.  I used a pattern from Ana Paula Rimoli's fabulous Amigurumi World (the book from which I learned to make amis!) and made it in half-size, so Bitsy and her egg are a little under two inches tall.

Go see what everyone else is up to at FO Friday and Fibers on Friday! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dragons, Tentacles, Tesseracts, and a Mystery.

I have a thousand almost-finished things floating around in my room, just waiting for final sewing-together or embellishments, but I couldn't resist starting this dragon pattern anyway.  So far I'm kind of in love with it, and I foresee more dragons in my future.  (I can't wait to make weirdly coloured ones! I thought I'd start with a traditional dark green, though.)  You can't see it too well in this shot, but the shaping on the neck/head is working up really beautifully.  I took this photo this morning, having grand plans of crocheting al fresco while sipping some free I Love Lemon tea that I snagged from the bank (I think the dragon wanted a sip!), but it was too windy and chilly-damp to do more than a couple rows.

I also have no less than three tentacled-things on the hooks---a regular octopus, who's just got to have his ends woven in, a tentacle-cat who needs eyes and whiskers and a nose, and an octopus crocheted out of plarn ("yarn" made from plastic bags, blue ones, in this case), which is going to take a while because plarn is hard on the hands!  All of these have homes to go to when they're woven-in and appliqued and finished, which is nice.

In non-yarn crafting,  I'm starting a little bitty sewing project that I'm excited about---a Wrinkle in Time themed bookmark, to send to someone on Swap-Bot.  I'm going to recreate the memorable diagram in the book in which an ant walks on a folded piece of cloth  to illustrate travelling by tesseract.  I backed some scrap fabric with fusible interfacing so it won't fray and painted a little ant on, and while I wait for that to dry I'm going to peruse some embroidery tutorials online to see about what kind of stars, etc., I might be able to embroider on the black felt I'm using for the body of the bookmark.  (My prediction is that I'll just end up with asterisk-stars created by making a few intersecting straight lines.  I'm trying to be realistic about the limits of my embroidery skills!)

And here's a slightly mysterious preview of something I'm really excited to share with you all come Finished Object Friday.
Go see what other people are up to at WIP Wednesday!

Friday, April 22, 2011

FO Friday: Pastel Edition.

First, some delicious-looking Marshmallow Peep style bunnies from this awesome free pattern.  If you're looking for something fast, fun, and yarn-flavoured to put in someone's Easter basket, there's still plenty of time to make a few of these!  A little yarn, a little stuffing, some black beads, and you're set. 

In a less-conventional "cute" vein, I made this cuttlefish as a request for someone.  (The pastel tones were part of the request.)

This is one of those projects that got started, got to a certain point, and...stopped.  A few times.  First I did the body (with some help from this post over at FreshStitches to remind me how to get a good conical shape), and then stalled before creating the little ruffle-piece.  (Which I did while watching the Disney Sleeping Beauty, and what an odd movie it is!  I hadn't seen it since I was a kid.  It has characterization!  The conventions for making children's movies has changed a lot over the decades, it's interesting.)

Then I stalled before making and sewing on the tentacles.  Then I stalled before making the polymer clay eyes.  Then I stalled before actually sewing on said eyes and surrounding them with an additional crocheted eyelid-type-thing.  But now he's finally finished!

...Finished and difficult to photograph.  I sort of like this shot, though, because the light is odd and makes him look wise and deep sea and semi-mysterious. Which is just what a cuttlefish should look like, I think.

Check out other people's projects at Fibers on Friday and Finished Object Friday!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Batch of Travellin' Critters.

I haven't had the time and reliable computer access to blog forever, so this is probably cheating, but I wanted to pop in and say hi to all of you awesome WIP Wednesday/FO Friday people and share some of the stuff I've finished over the past few weeks.

Like Zombie Panda 2.0, above, this time with his very own Tasty Brain.  I auctioned him off for earthquake relief in Japan, and he's already been shipped, safely received, and dubbed "Midori" by his owner. :D

 Likewise made to be auctioned (although not shipped off yet, which is kind of nice because I've gotten used to seeing him around...) is this Angry Bird, made from a modified version of a great free pattern by Karla of Itsy Bitsy Spider Crochet.  (Check out her super-cute patterns---there's a whole set of different Angry Birds, and her Log Cabin Carrier is one of my WIPs right now.)

And every Angry Bird needs an adversary, so I whipped up a quick Evil Green Pig, too, and then gleefully skipped outside to photograph them in an Epic Battle Tableau.  (I did not, however, actually slingshot Angry Bird at the Evil Pig Fort.)

I also whipped up this little crocheted onigiri for someone on Swap-Bot who loves kawaii food-with-faces.  This was my first try at making an ami with a kawaii-style face, and I'll admit that I picked the eye shape because it was easy to embroider!  I used the construction idea from this pattern, but---as usual---made it teeny-tinier.  I think it was probably inch and a half tall?

Also for Swap-Bot, a mini monster finger puppet.  I had fun giving him his single languid eye.  It's like he's saying eh, I could bite you, but why bother? I sort of want to make more monsters now.  This is probably the first time I've experimented with the weird-cute monster aesthetic, and I definitely see its appeal.

Check out other people's amazing projects at FO Friday and Fibers on Friday. :)