Sunday, July 24, 2011

Boy Robot

Here is     Boy Robot      from Ana Paula Rimoli's book Amigurumi Two! It is full of adorable patterns for babies and this, in fact, is going to be given to a baby, so that's handy :)

He worked up really easily and after a few go's at the face, I settled on a button eye with felt sewed on behind for a cute robot-ish look.

Another great thing about     Boy Robot      is that I was able to use several yarn remnants from other projects:

The Blue I used on Yoshi and Sonic
The Lime I used on the Ben-10 Omnitrix
The Orange I used on Elmo's nose and Yoshi's spikes
The Grey I used on the Ben-10 Omintrix and a
Sherlock Holmes hat (which I haven't posted about yet...)

I guess those 4 colors are great colors to have on hand!

Get it...crochet...on hand...yarn is on your hand when you crochet...ahem....

Bad joke, I know, but it is high time I started with the bad puns on here ;)

Boy Robot      is about 14 inches "standing" up. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

W.I.P: Marcel the Shell

I was just recently introduced to Marcel the Shell with Shoes On - I know, I know...have I been hiding in a hole? How could I just now be meeting the little dog loving, dorito hang gliding shell? Nevertheless, the kids and I are smitten with the viral video that stars a little guy with one googly eye and a shell for a head. And, apparently, Marcel will also be appearing in his very own picture book (check out the article here). No doubt this will be a must read in our household when it is published.

My sister-in-law asked if I could make a crochet plushie of Marcel. This challenge has been fun and I am now in the middle of attempting to perfect little Marcel. Here's what I've got so far:
Work In Progress!!

I feel pretty good about my initial go on Marcel and how the shell shape turned out,  but I am trying to figure out some of the details: Is a large googly eye preferred over a crochet one? Should I redo the shoes? Do I use felt for the mouth or try to embroider one (since it's so tiny) - these are things I must soon decide!

Stay tuned to see the final product and for my very own unique crochet pattern to Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.

As you wait, drop me a line and let me know what would you do to finish Marcel the Shell :)

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

ilomilo crocheted minis

ilomilo is an absolutely adorable puzzle game the kids have found a demo for on the xbox. The world is winsome. The music is delightful. The main characters are altogether sweet. Even the purpose of the game - two best friends trying to find each other because they are happiest together - is endearing!

Awwwwwwwwww!  Just look at them...ADORABLE!!!!!

My children kindly requested a plushy version of ilo and milo and, well, they were too just too darn cute not to try. Here is my mini version, about 3 inches high (not including antenna)

Hook sizes G & E
ww yarn in blue or red, and cream
brown or black pipe cleaner
cream felt
cream embroidery thread
embroidery needle
yarn needle
fiber fill

ilomilo BODY - Hook G, red or blue yarn

Magic Circle 6
R1: 2 sc in ea st (12)
R2: *sc, 2 sc in next st* around (18)
R3 - R12: sc around (18 ea)
F.O. and leave a long tail

Make face out of felt, use markers to make eyes. Sew onto ilomilo body.
make one eye slightly bigger than the other
Insert pipe cleaner up through body and through magic circle middle. After pulling through as much length out the top as you'd need to give him a cute curly, trim the pipe cleaner so you will have an inch more length out the bottom.

Using the yarn needle, pull the yarn from the side you F.O. to the opposite side and through a stitch. Use this as a podium for the pipe cleaner to wrap around.

Stuff with fiber fill. Try to put 1/2 the stuffing behind and in front of the pipe cleaner so it stays near the middle. Whip stitch closed.

ilo milo ARMS & LEGS - Hook E with cream yarn
make 4

Magic Circle 5
R1: sc around (5)
R2: sc around (5)
F.O. with tail

Using a yarn needle, sew onto body and weave in.

Of course, you cannot make one without the other so here they are...together again:
ilo is red, milo is blue

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Elmo (tickle at your own risk)

A couple Wednesdays ago I flashed a pair of red legs at my blogger readers wondering if they could guess who I was going to attach them to. I got one reader (thanks, Mom) to respond to me in person with a correct guess: ELMO!

Our adorable neighbor girl is turning 2 and needed an Elmo, so she shall have an Elmo!

Elmo is ready to be tickled and squeezed and loved (and hopefully dragged all around the house).

My favorite part of Elmo is his big orange nose and his slightly cross-eyed gaze. It just makes me smile. And isn't that precisely Elmo's sole purpose: to make you smile
Either that or completely annoy you with his laugh, I suppose. Heheh.

Elmo did a quick bit of online research and did find this very scientific correlation chart he'd like to share with you:

........☑    ☐     ☐      ☐      ☐     ☐      ☐     ☐
........☑    ☑     ☐      ☐      ☐     ☐      ☐     ☐
........☑    ☑     ☐      ☑      ☐     ☐      ☐     ☐
........☑    ☑     ☐      ☑      ☑     ☐      ☐     ☐
........☑    ☑     ☐      ☑      ☑     ☑      ☐     ☐
........☑    ☑     ☐      ☑      ☑     ☑      ☑     ☐          
Age: 1     5      10     15     20     25     30     35+

Each ☑ is equal to one "I love Elmo" unit.

Note that at the tender ages of 1 - 5 the love for Elmo is high. As age increases, there seems to be a direct correlation to the decline of Elmo love. This makes sense because as you get older, you have heard Elmo laugh so many times you think that you'll go bonkers if you hear it one more time. The only reason you have any "I love Elmo" units at all for Sesame Street's most famous character is that you have little ones, or know little ones, who are crazy about him. During this time you endure that manical laugh on their behalf. But by the time your kids are outside of the 1-5 range, adults over 35 find that they have no love lost for the furry red monster.

The only exception is the 6-14 range who think they are altogether too cool for "baby shows."

The resurgance of Elmo love units at 15 matches up with the inexplicible desire to wear pig tails,  string a binkie around the neck, and carry a bottle full of kool-aid.  Again, this is a mystery. But what about the ages 14 and 15 isn't a mystery? Look that one up, Mr. Elmo.

Elmo, doing some online research

This Elmo pattern was created by A Crochet Ninja and can be found here. I thought it was a really great pattern, clear and well written. I only reduced the rows for the black mouth to match the number of stitches I had at my mouth gap. You can find Cookie Monster there, too (which I may have to make for my husband one day...)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Goomba: A Lesson in wrong side/right side amigurumi

Early in my amigurumi pursuit, I was unclear as to what side of the worked up yarn was correct for the outside of my projects. I would start my circle and notice that the yarn would naturally curl into a bowl. Figuring this was the correct way, I continued around, working on top of my stitches in a counterclockwise manner. It was awkward since you are taught to work rows right to left. Things got a lot easier when I realized I had not only been working my projects the hard way, but also finishing them off inside out!

It was only after already crocheting several projects that I finally decided to see what would happen if I pushed my little "bowl" inside out so that I could crochet in a clockwise manner. This project was Goomba from wolfdreamer. I had already made his head the way I had made all my previous amigurumi. The result is a stitch that I perceive as looking "flat":
The wrong side has a  blocky look and there is less of a sheen to it.
The proper way to work your amigurumi is to push the bowl "inside out" after a few rounds so that you are working around the circumference in a clockwise manner. The result definitely has a different look:
Working the right side up gives a more supple and uniform material.
This is the body and feet section of my Goomba and I realize it is harder to compare the two sides this way. I encourage you to do what I did and check out nerdigurumi's tutorial on youtube here. Not only does she thoroughly explain wrong vs right side but her side-by-side visuals will clearly illustrate the differences between them.

I finished up Mr. Goomba and gave him more secure felt features by sewing them on rather than using sticky backed felt. Now his teeth and eyebrows won't go missing again :)
Here's my 1/2 wrong side 1/2 right side Goomba :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Baby Beanies and Working in the Round

I have recently found reason to crochet a couple of beanies for baby-sized heads. There are over a hundred free beanie patterns out there and I spent a great deal of time sorting through them. I found two patterns that I thought I'd share here for those who are looking for cute, classic styles.

 These two patterns are easy to follow and, as you can judge from the picture, simple, classic styles that can be easily adapted for your own style/color/ideas. The basic baby-sized beanie to the left is found on the video tutorial here and the green one with ear flaps on the right is written out here.

Working in the round is the method for both of these beanies, as well as amigurumi. Although in beanies you find more variety in stitch type, whereas in amigurumi proper it is the single crochet across the board. For both beanies and amigurumi you can achieve working in the round two different ways:
1) Continuous Rounds       or
2) Joining Rounds

To determine whether you'd rather work in continuous rounds or joining rounds it is helpful to know the pros and cons:

CONTINUOUS ROUNDS: Continuous rounds simply means you circle up on top of each round without breaking (imagine a soft serve ice cream swirl).When working continuous rounds, you need to pay closer attention to stitch count since the start of each row will look no different from the middle of the row. This "burden" can be eased by using a row marker. Whether you purchase plastic ones from the store, or simply use a piece of contrasting color yarn at the start of the row it's purpose is the same: to serve as a visible marker for each row's beginning so you don't have to count.
Plastic markers or a contrasting yarn color help "mark" each row
If you are using different colors in a single pattern a continuous round will produce a "jump" as seen in the blue and tan hat.

I consider this to be the back of the hat and it doesn't bother me

In general, continuous rows have a very fluid look to them with no ridges or gaps, which I find to be a "pro" that outweighs the "con" of the color change issue.

JOINING ROUNDS: When working with joining rounds, each round is its own concentric circle (think of stacking rings on top of each other, like the children's toy). The round ends with a slip st into the first st of the round and then 1 or more chains are made to add height to start the next round, depending on which stitch you are using. I find the biggest "con" for joining rounds is a slight gap between rounds that goes out in a diagonal from top to bottom.

The "pro" to this is that counting rows isn't necessary as the gap created makes it easy to see when to end the round.

As I shared earlier, I personally prefer working in continuous rounds in spite of what some may think is a pattern flaw. And certainly when working with one color it's not an issue at all.

I hope that helps clarify your options for working in the round. If you encounter a pattern that does continuous rows and you prefer joining, you can easily adapt it by joining the last st with a sl st into the first st and starting the next concentric circle with as many chains as matches the height of the stitch you are using (1 ch for a sc, 2 ch for a hdc, 3 ch for a dc, etc).  If you prefer continuous rounds and the pattern suggests joining, simply skip the sl st and any additional chains and continue working on top each round.
I love the braids off the ear flaps!