Sunday, 24 June 2012

Do Over


I have this problem of not listening to that little voice of reason in my head, you know the one that tells you to go to bed early or to eat an apple instead of an entire packet of chocolate biscuits or the one that tells you to take a break from crocheting for the sake of your wrist, back and neck. I hardly ever listen to this voice. I always stay up too late, I usually choose a packet of chocolate biscuits over a good ol’ apple and I tend to crochet until my thumbs lock up on me and my head can no longer turn to the left. You see I’m a big fan of listening to the ‘It’ll be fine’ voice. This was the voice I listened to as I worked on the Shrunken Head this week.

Every time I added a new feature to my Shrunken Head it didn’t look quite right but I thought, no, no, it’ll be fine and kept crafting along. It wasn’t until I had sewn on a quarter of the hair that I finally gave into my voice of reason and decided to try again. Even then I thought I could take a shortcut (my voice of reason was just shaking its head at me at this point) and I tried to unpick some of the facial features. This is what happened – 


















So I started from scratch. This time I used pins to map out the features. 


























(I'm using my new curved upholstery  needle. A bit funny to hold but much nicer on the fingertips than my old tapestry needle.)



























I’ve really enjoyed working on the facial features of the head. I might try to do some detailed dolls in the future. I've been inspired by this amazing artist called Neta Amir who makes really interesting crochet dolls. Her technique … I would describe it as sculpting with crocheted fabric. Her blog is called Doll Stories, the address is bobilina.blogspot.com. Her process and her finished works are fascinating.

Okay. I’m off to finish the hair. Moral of the post: Listen to that little voice of reason! (I say as I bite into my  fifth biscuit of the day - *sigh* one day I’ll learn my lesson.)

Friday, 15 June 2012

Birthday Bones and a Shrunken Head


What have I been up to this week? Well, I made a couple of birthday bones for the boys (my dogs) and I started work on a shrunken head.

But before I get into that I just wanted to apologise to those who receive this blog’s updates via email. By the time the post update about testing Biff the Angry Bear was sent to email subscribers all the testers had been chosen. I’ll now be making sure that these updates are sent the same day I make a new post.

Moving on … 
These are the boys. Pippin –



And Oscar – 



Pippin, a Pomeranian, turned 10 years old today! Oscar, a who-in-the-world-knows, is turning 3 years old tomorrow! I crocheted the bones they are chewing for their birthday gifts. The free bone pattern I used was from sunflowersathome.blogspot.com and can be found here. I’m not sure how long Oscar’s will last. He usually destroys his toys in a couple of days. I did crochet his with two strands of yarn so hopefully it will last a little longer than that.

Moving on …
Have you seen Tim Burton’s classic 80s movie, Beetlejuice? It is one of my favourite movies and when I had an urge to make something a little creepy, this guy popped into my head –



For now, I’m only going to make the head. The body will have to be quite large and I’m not really up to tackling it just yet. Here is how far I’ve progressed –




Do you think I should have used a different coloured yarn for the mouth stitches? I’m not sure about the nose either. I’m hoping it will look a little better when I put in the brow and cheek bones. We shall see …

The complete Shrunken Head Guy and pattern can be found here.

 Filmography link and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Testing Completed


--- Testing is completed---


This pattern is now for sale in my Etsy Store and on Ravelry.






Biff is ready for testing! I’m so happy to have reached this point (a little nervous, too).

Shall I introduce you?
It’s a hard life for a Teddy Bear. You get chewed on. You get cried on. You get sat on. You get left behind the couch for weeks on end. Sometimes you even get left at the park for weeks on end. And let’s not get started on family pets. It’s a hard life and, boy, does Biff know it. He’s got the scars to prove it. Believe it or not he used to be a happy, huggable bear. Now he’s just angry. You give him a hug and you’ll find your stomach being pummelled by his soft crochet fists – funny thing is, it just makes you want to hug him even more.



Calling all testers!
I am hoping some of you will want to test Biff for me. I need 3 or 4 testers. To be a tester all I would need from you would be a link to Ravelry, Flickr or some site where I could see some of your crocheted work. This is just to check that you do crochet not to assess your skill or anything like that. All skill levels are welcome! I’ll list the details of what will be required of you and of the pattern below and if you’re interested, send me an email at woollytoons@gmail.com.

What you get in the email
The body of the email will contain a simple nine question survey that you will need to complete after you finish the pattern. The pattern will come as a 2.4 MB, PDF attachment to the email.

Time Limit
The deadline is July 15 but this is flexible.

Pattern Details
Biff the Angry Bear (written in US crochet terminology)

Length
The pattern is 14 pages long with 28 photos.

Size
20cm/8in tall when sitting

Difficulty
High. Biff has many parts and requires quite a lot of joining. The muzzle section of the pattern requires you to crochet around a chain.

Time
14-16 hours

Materials
Yarn
Dark Brown (Approx. 200metres, 220yards)
Tan (Approx. 17meteres, 19yards)
White (Small amount)
Black (Small amount)

Crochet Hook – 3.00mm or preferred size
Filling
Tapestry needle
Scissors
Black felt
White felt
Craft glue and/or thread and sharp needle for attaching felt



Thanks for taking a look! I hope some of you will have the time to give this a go.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Oddball Blackbird


[scroll down for pattern]

You know how in my last post I said that life hadn’t been co-operating lately? Well, life must have read that and got a little angry with me. A lot angry, actually.

I caught the stomach flu. My whole family caught the stomach flu. Twenty-four hours ago I basically felt like I was being turned inside out from both ends. Why do you need to know this? It’s because that bout of grossness combined with a lost SD card means that Biff the Angry Bear will not be introduced to the world for a while longer.

Instead I thought you might like this little Blackbird. She has the same pear-shaped body and crazy eyes as the Easter Bunny and the Mice. I think she would look lovely in blue, and if you wanted to make a little white tummy either from yarn or felt, you could easily have yourself a little penguin.

This was done in a bit of a hurry so if there is anything that is unclear or if I've made a mistake, please let me know.

Edit: Added note under Terminology section that the pattern is written using US terminology.

The Oddball Blackbird

Size
8cm/3in tall, 7cm/2 ¾in wide

Skill Level
Easy.

Note on yarn and hook size
I crochet with a light worsted (DK) weight yarn. You can use a slightly heavier or lighter yarn as long as you use the same type of yarn for the different colours. This will ensure your toy is in proportion. Use a hook size that will give you a nice firm stitch. The 3.00mm is my favourite hook.

Materials
Yarn
Black
Orange
White

Crochet Hook – 3.00mm or preferred size
Filling
Plastic pellets or dried beans and stocking (optional)
Tapestry needle
Black felt
Craft glue and/or thread and sharp needle for attaching felt

Terminology
***This pattern was written using US crochet terminology***
ch – Chain
Rnd - Round
sc – Single crochet
sc2tog – Single crochet two stitches together.
sl st – Slip stitch
st – Stitch. This term covers ch, sc, hdc, sl st and other stitches used in crochet.

Make a ring – The starting point for crocheting in a spiral. Use which ever method you prefer.
* * - Repeat the instructions between the asterisks as directed.
( ) – The number of stitches that should be in a completed round are placed in brackets at the end of that round’s instructions.

Instructions

Body (in Black)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around (12)
Rnd 3: *sc in next st, 2 sc in next st*  around (18)
Rnd 4: *sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (24)
Rnd 5: *sc in next 3 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (30)
Rnd 6: *sc in next 4 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (36)
Rnd 7: *sc in next 5 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (42)
Rnd 8: *sc in next 6 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (48)
Rnd 9-10: sc in each st  around
Rnd 11: *sc in next 6 st, sc2tog*  around (42)
Rnd 12: *sc in next 5 st, sc2tog*  around (36)
Rnd 13-14: sc in each st  around
Rnd 15: *sc in next 4 st, sc2tog*  around (30)
Rnd 16: *sc in next 3 st, sc2tog*  around (24)
Rnd 17: *sc in next 5 st, 2 sc in next st* around (28)
Can start lightly stuffing now. Plastic pellets or dried beans tied in a stocking can be placed at the bottom of the body to give it a bit of weight.
Rnd 18: *sc in next 6 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (32)
Rnd 19: *sc in next 7 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (36)
Rnd 20: sc in each st around
Rnd 21: *sc in next 7 st, sc2tog*  around (32)
Rnd 22: *sc in next 6 st, sc2tog*  around (28)
Rnd 23: *sc in next 2 st, sc2tog*  around (21)
Rnd 24: *sc in next st, sc2tog*  around (14)
Finish stuffing firmly.
Rnd 25: sc2tog  around (7)
Close up hole, fasten off and weave in ends.

Wings (in Black)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
Rnd 3: *sc in next st, 2 sc in next st*  around (18)
Rnd 4: sc in each st around
Rnd 5: *sc in next 4 st, sc2tog*  around (15)
Rnd 6: *sc in next 3 st, sc2tog*  around (12)
Rnd 7: sc2tog around (6)
Rnd 8: sc2tog around (3)
Close up hole and fasten off, leaving a long tail of yarn. Thread the yarn through the wing and pull out at Rnd 1. This is the end that will be joined to the body. Make two.

Tail (in Black)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2: *sc in next st, 2 sc in next st*  around (9)
Rnd 3: *sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (12)
Rnd 4: *sc in next 3 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (15)
Fasten off leaving a long tail. Whipstitch the opening flat so that you are left with what looks like a small triangle. Thread the remaining tail of yarn up through the tail and out through the narrow end. This end will be joined to the body.

Beak (in Orange)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 4 sc in ring (4)
Rnd 2: *sc in next st, 2 sc in next st*  around (6)
Rnd 3: Repeat Rnd 2 (9)
Rnd 4: *sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (12)
Fasten off, leaving a tail to use when joining.

Big Eye ( in White)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
Sl st in next st and pull through yarn. Leave a tail for joining to the body.

Small Eye (in White)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Sl st in next st and pull through yarn. Leave a tail for joining to the body.
You can now attach a small circle of black felt to each eye to make the pupils, using needle and thread or glue. They should sit off-centre, close to the edge of the eye.

Assembly
***These are guidelines only. Be guided by your own eye at all times.***

Join the wings to the body. The wings look like flattened teardrops. The rounded ends are stitched to the body just below the narrowest part of the body.
Join the beak to the body. Stich the opening flat to the body just above the narrowest part.
Join the eyes to the body.  The eyes sit close together just above the beak. Position the eyes so that the pupils are close together.
Join the tail to the body. The tail sits on the lower back, centred between the wings. Stitch down only the narrowest part of the tail. The tail is like a triangle – have the triangle pointing down when you stitch it on. This will make the tail sit up.



 Surprise! It's a Googy-egg!





Kim Lapsley © 2012

Saturday, 2 June 2012

An Elephant in a Tube


I was hoping to have Biff the Angry Bear ready for testing this weekend but life isn’t co-operating at the moment. Hopefully the pattern will be ready by Wednesday.

In the meantime, I wanted to bring to your attention the work of artist Anastassia Elias – particularly her toilet rolls. Here are just two of them:

blog.anastassia-elias.com
blog.anastassia-elias.com

 You can find in some of her other tubes scenes from the circus, the zoo, the market … I think my favourite is the one with the grandmother and her cat. Her collages and illustrations are also remarkable. Here is her blog:  blog.anastassia-elias.com (it is written in French – click on Rouleaux under Catégories to see her complete series of toilet rolls).

ETA: In her most recent post (June 3) she provides a link to Gilbert Legrand's site. Click on it! You won't be disappointed.
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