Hooked: Rabbit Lovey

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Today I wanted to share with you something I made last year for my friends’ toddler – a rabbit lovey! This lovey was made up of a few different patterns I found online.

The head and arms of the rabbit were taken from the All About Ami Spring Bunny Pattern which you can find HERE. The blanket part of the lovey was a regular granny square pattern. The scallop edge I used was from a blanket edging I saw on the Maybe Matilda blog which you can find HERE.

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I was really happy how a mix and match of patterns could create something new!

Have you ever created something by mixing parts of different patterns?

 

Hooked: Chinese New Year Monkey

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Happy Chinese New Year again! As an amigurumi enthusiast its become an annual tradition to pick up my crochet hook every time the Lunar New Year comes around and create Stephanie of All About Ami’s latest animal pattern.

This year was the Year of the Monkey! You can find this adorable pattern HERE.

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I made some small changes to my monkey. Apart from changing his more life like colours to red and yellow/gold (traditional festive Chinese colours) I also sewed my monkey a smiley mouth and glued (instead of painted) on his rosy cheeks. This monkey pattern also had an option for adding wires to his body (so he can clip onto objects). However, I opted to just keep mine stuffed. So that his tail would not droop, I only made it shorter – at 34 rows.

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As you can see, at 34 rows – even without a wire the tail is springy enough to stand on its own. The monkey is also still able to sit on its own too.

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One of my favourite features of this Monkey is his banana. I almost want to make a bunch of them!

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Overall, this Monkey is a great amigurumi pattern and was enjoyable to make.

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He now joins the other Chinese New Year animals I have also made from Stephanie’s blog!

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Have you made the Chinese New Year monkey this year as well?

Happy Chinese New Year!

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Happy (Almost Belated) Chinese New Year! I think I can *just* get away with saying that seeing Chinese New Year celebrations last 15 days after the first day of the new Lunar month.. 

Apologies for not blogging much in the last month or so. I was busily preparing for my community college class (which sadly ended up getting cancelled) and finishing off my assignments for a class I’ve been taking online (more on that another time). 

When all the busyness started winding down, I managed to fit in this project – All About Ami’s annual Chinese New Year amigurumi. Stephanie has written a pattern for Chinese New Year for the last 4 years. This year, as it is the Chinese Year of the Horse.. the pattern was for a horse – which you can find HERE

Last year was the first I tried making one Steph’s CNY patterns. I made last year’s amigurumi snake using the traditional festive Chinese colours of red and gold (which I substituted with yellow.. because it’s pretty hard to find gold yarn!). When it came to making this year’s horse, I decided to stick with the same colour scheme.

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I’ve always been a big fan of Steph’s work (as anyone reading this blog can see… haha) but was even more so impressed with this horse pattern as it involved slightly more complex shaping methods. It was a welcome departure from the regular ball and sausage shapes of many amigurumi patterns and created a little horse that was delightfully original. 

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Given how well this horse pattern turned out I’m keen to try and apply My Little Pony colours to it sometime. I have friends who are big fans of Rainbow Dash (but how to make that rainbow mane and tail?!), Rarity and Princess Celestia (though she is an alicorn… and a rainbow maned/tailed one at that too!) so it may well be worth a shot. 

Did you make a little horse/pony for Chinese New Year too? Do you think you’d apply My Little Pony Colours to this pattern? 

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Koala Christmas Ornament

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Christmas is almost here again! But unlike the Northern Hemisphere where places are being blanketed in snow, here in the Southern we’re in the midst of summer. It hasn’t been an especially hot summer yet, but this week we’ve had highs of 34C. The funny thing with Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere though is that a lot of our decorations are inspired and influenced by the Northern Hemisphere. “White Christmas” plays as often as any other Christmas carol in the shops, Santa still wears his full wintry suit, we still decorate our trees and windows with snowflake cut outs all the while sweltering in the heat! It’s a strange tradition – but delightful in its own way.

To bring a handmade touch to my Christmas tree this year I decided to crochet one of Stephanie’s (from All About Ami) Teddy Ornaments! Stephanie wrote the pattern so that it could be made into a bear, panda and/or koala. Being an Australian, I felt it was only right I make the Koala Ornament! 😉

Though a scarf is somewhat out of place with the current weather, it only looked right that the Koala wear one, so a red and white scarf he got!

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I took the photos of my Koala on a gum tree (I hooked the ribbon onto a piece of protruding bark) and think he looks pretty at home there!

I definitely recommend this pattern to anyone looking for a last minute Christmas crochet project as it is easy to follow and comes together quickly with great results. A bonus for Australian crocheters is that the pattern uses a yarn that is the equivalent of our 8ply standard! So with the correct tension, your ornament will turn out the correct size!

Have you been working on any Christmas crochet projects? What would you recommend as a last minute project?

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Making Cotton (from Oblivion Island)

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About a month ago, Stephanie from All About Ami released her pattern for Cotton – a toy sheep from the Japanese Animation Oblivion Island : Haruka and the Magic Mirror. Though I hadn’t (and still haven’t!) seen the movie, I was excited to work on this project, simply because it was adorable and I love the challenge of putting together amigurumi.

BUYING MATERIALS

My biggest initial challenge in starting this project was picking appropriate yarn as the ones suggested by Stephanie are not available in Australia. The beige/tan of Cotton’s arms were easily substituted with a regular acrylic 8 ply yarn – but the white for his head and body were more difficult to determine. After comparing numerous balls in the shop to the picture of the yarn Stephanie used for her Cotton, I settled on “Babinda” by Panda in China White (purchased from my local Spotlight store).

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I ended up using about 2 and a half 50g balls. While it wasn’t as fluffy as the yarn that Stephanie used, it was a reasonable substitute. My only qualm with it was that the third ball I used (perhaps it was faulty?) was inconsistent in thickness. It would vary between being almost thread thin to chunky yarn thick. Thankfully I only had to use this faulty yarn for a small part of Cotton, so the holes it caused weren’t too obvious or frequent.

I realised after purchasing my yarn and buttons that I had picked shades darker than the original Cotton (as I had used a terrible phone photo of my computer screen as a reference for buying my supplies!) so I have just convinced myself that this Cotton has a Australian tan. 😉

FOLLOWING THE PATTERN

Stephanie’s patterns are always well written and easy to follow. However, I was so preoccupied with picking up the stitches on Cotton’s face to join the rest of his head I forgot to check that I had actually crocheted proper “front post single crochet stitches” as required in R2 of the Head. This resulted in Cotton’s head looking like this:

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Though there wasn’t anything technically “wrong” with how I had connected Cotton’s face and head, it didn’t have the lovely finish “front post single crochet stitch” would have given it. I contemplated unravelling Cotton’s head, but then my mum a less painful (frogging crochet is never fun – especially when you’ve put hours into it!) solution of just picking up stitches and single crocheting around Cotton’s face.

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The faux “front post single crochet stitches” did the trick and covered up my mistake! The rest of the pattern came together without trouble – and then came assembling. Having now made many Amigurumi I’ve learned that it’s almost just as important to take time assembling pieces together as it is crocheting them. The way in which you attach limbs can change the overall look of your amigurumi. After all the work of crafting each piece – it pays to take your time in assembling each piece together!

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THE FINISHED PROJECT

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And this was/is my finished Cotton!

I loved the different details on Cotton. For his eyes I used wooden Beutron buttons measuring about 3.5cm in diameter. It already had 4 holes, so I didn’t add any holes as Stephanie did with her Cotton (though this meant that the thread didn’t stretch as far over each button).

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For his scar (I wondered whether to omit this and make Cotton just a regular sheep, but figured I’d eventually watch the movie and would want him to look close to his movie counterpart) I used scraps of embroidery thread that had been left over from other projects. It was great to find a use for those scraps!

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For Cotton’s tag I cheekily added my own tag. I’ve been dreaming/talking about starting my own online shop for as long as I can remember. I’ve  been pretty slack with putting this into motion (though I mean to finally commit to this when I come back from my upcoming trip!) but in one of my past spurs of inspiration/motivation I did get some fabric tags made. I by no means mean to sell Cotton (he is too lovely – and besides, he is bound by copyright!) – I just thought it’d be cute to tag him with my own name. 🙂

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And finally, a shot of Cotton’s little tail as it keeps getting missed in almost all the pictures I’ve taken of him!

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And a few more shots of Cotton..!

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So, in short, another great amigurumi pattern from Stephanie at All About Ami! As always, if you’re after quality (and free!) amigurumi patterns, I highly recommend you check out her blog! 🙂

5 Things I’ve Learned About Amigurumi

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It’s been almost six months since I started making amigurumi (for the unacquainted, Amigurumi is the Japanese art of crocheting or knitting small stuffed toys – mostly animals, but also objects) so I thought it’d be a great time to share with you 5 things I’ve learned since then. Being self taught (well, mum taught me how to crochet a chain and the rest I’ve learned from books and blogs) I’ve made an array of “mistakes” – some of which have only been corrected as recently as a week or so ago. While some of my mistakes might be unique I’m guessing that some might not be – so hopefully this post is of use to someone! 🙂

Above is a picture of two bears. The mocha coloured bear is my first real amigurumi and you may recognise him from here.  The yellow bear is an amigurumi I made during the past week. They are actually the same pattern (which you can find here on All About Ami)! I’ll be using these two to demonstrate what I have learned. 🙂

1. AMIGURUMI HAVE A “WRONG” AND “RIGHT” SIDE

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See how the two bears have different textures/patterns? While Mocha Bear (let’s call him MB) is not an exact example of the “wrong” side (I’ll explain more later), Yellow Bear (let’s call him YB) is an example of what is generally considered by amigurumi enthusiasts to be the “right” side of an amigurumi. When Amigurumi are crocheted, most people (including myself) find that one side naturally curves in and the other curves out. The side that seems to most naturally curves out is considered the “wrong” side.

This is probably because the “right” side is better looking. But also, as I discovered whilst crocheting YB (my first “right” side amigurumi!), having the “right” side facing out makes the amigurumi have a nicer shape.

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Whilst I guess it’s all subjective as to which bear looks “better” – YB has a more balanced, round shape to him – especially in his head.

But at the end of the day, which side you choose to use in your amigurumi is a matter of personal taste – though I’m making the switch to the “right” side from now on. 🙂

Stephanie from All About Ami was kind enough to point this out to me – you can read more about the “right” and “wrong” of Amigurumi in her post here.

2. THE INVISIBLE DECREASE

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Another advantage about using the “right” side of amigurumi is that you can use the “invisible” decrease  . It took me a few tries to get it right, but when I finally did – wow. It’s a tidier method of decreasing and reduces those gaping holes that can appear with your average “miss a stitch” decrease.

To learn how to do an invisible decrease – check out (once again! 🙂 ) the All About Ami post here.

3. WORK IN ROUNDS

Before creating MB I dabbled in some simple amigurumi. The patterns were (in hindsight) not very well written, hence why I didn’t catch the amigurumi bug at that time. The patterns also left me with an odd habit – finishing off each row/round with a slip stitch before starting the next. While this may work for some patterns (I don’t dare say it’s just plain wrong – as I am still learning so much about amigurumi and may find later on slip stitching a round has a purpose), I find with amigurumi all it does is leave a strange looking “seam”.

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While it’s not as obvious in the photo above, MB has a diagonal “seam” along the back of his head from when I slip stitched the end of every row. There’s nothing wrong with a “seam” but the alternative to slip stitching each round – by working in a continuous round – leaves your amigurumi seamless – giving your amigurumi a more polished look.

It also helps to give the amigurumi its smoother, rounder shape, as seen in the picture below.

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4. CROCHET INTO BOTH LOOPS, NOT JUST ONE

I think this amigurumi mistake is more unique to myself than the majority. For no particular reason, I crocheted my initial amigurumis in only what is considered the “back loop”. This resulted in a finer looking textured amigurumi. The amigurumi was also softer and not as firm as the amigurumi crocheted with both loops. This is why I don’t consider MB to be an exact example of the “wrong side” of amigurumi.

I’ve discovered now that crocheting into the back loop of an amigurumi is useful for creating edges. On this bear pattern, crocheting in back loops gave definition to the pad of its foot. So really, crocheting in just the back loops is not necessarily “wrong”, but rather the technique has its time and place.

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5. HOOK SIZES ARE NOT CRUCIAL

At least not in amigurumi. And at least if you’re not pedantic about matching a pattern in size and shape exactly.

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These two bears were crocheted with the same size hook. Perhaps it was the odd back loop, inside out way I was crocheting or my tension has changed, but the bears differ a little in size.

Each crocheter will have their own tension. Patterns will indicate a hook size but depending on the crocheter – you may need a smaller or larger hook to match the size of the example in the pattern.

However, getting the correct hook is only crucial when you are working on a project like a garment that must be a particular size and fit. That is perhaps why I like coming back to amigurumi time and time again between (or when I need a break from) tension crucial projects. It doesn’t matter what size your amigurumi is!

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So, that was my run down of 5 things I have learned about Amigurumi since September! I hope it made sense and perhaps helped someone out there.

One other random thing I learned while putting together this post was how to create animated gifs. All these years I have owned a version of Photoshop that had the capabilities of creating gif images – and only have I learned to make them now! So, I leave you now, with a 360 degree view of dear Yellow Bear. 🙂

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(Sorry, the gif might take a while to load depending on your internet connection!)

I think this whole creating animated gif thing might become a new “hobby” of mine!

A Mention on the All About Ami blog!

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My little Chinese New Year Snake was part of Stephanie’s All About Ami’s Crochet Corner post today! It was exciting to get a mention on my favourite amigurumi blog (my little snake is at the end of the post, hence the pink stripe across the screen shot – my attempt to make a pretty join of two images!)! Thank you Stephanie! You’ve made my day. 😀

If you’ve never checked out the All About Ami blog – you really should! If you’ve come to my blog because of the link on the All About Ami blog, welcome! I hope you enjoy reading and looking at my tiny patch of the internet.

Have a great day! 🙂

Happy Chinese New Year!

1So, this is a little belated but – “Happy Chinese New Year!”

Can you believe it was about a year ago I pledged to revive this blog? Though I didn’t keep my promise for a good part of the year, eventually I came good in September when I started posted my first real amigurumi creation. Thank you to those of you who have been reading my blog. You are a significant part of why I’ve been motivated to push myself to be more consistently creative in the last six months. It might sound a bit of a dramatic claim, but it has honestly changed my life.

This year I hope to push myself further creatively, namely, picking up my illustration and painting again – consistently. Maybe even try my hand at animation again as I did back in Uni. Start an online store to create prints and objects for. Maybe even find a way to leave my current retail occupation for something creative!

Anyway, I just wanted to quickly post about another little amigurumi I made for Chinese New Year – the Year of the Snake. The pattern is from (once again!) the All About Ami blog. It’s terribly cute and made a sweet addition to the few CNY decorations we had at home.

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Yesterday I took my little friend along to check out the Chinese New Year parade in the city (it was postponed to yesterday as last weekend Sydney had a thunderstorm). I managed to get a blurry snap or two of him against the lit up buildings and colourful dragons and performers!

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But this shot, taken inside the Queen Victoria Building is my favourite. Something to do with all that symmetry, methinks!

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Some tourists saw me taking pictures of him and found him so adorable that they asked if they could take some photos of him too. I love how crochet randomly started a conversation!

How did your hometown celebrate Chinese New Year? Has crochet ever started a random conversation for you? 🙂

Bear with Bling!

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Eek! So I didn’t quite manage a post last week. Sorry. I’ve been busy horse riding, eating snails and seeing a giant inflatable duck. Still, excuses are lame. So as a peace offering – I hereby present pictures of a little amigurumi I did manage to make during the week (for my auntie – “just because”!).

If you are a regular stalker follower of the All About Ami blog (as I am), you will probably recognize this little one as Steph’s Baby PJ Teddy Pattern.

I pretty much followed the pattern but changed the colours to suit my aunt’s tastes. I also added bling as requested – resulting in a sparkly little critter.

I’m not a huge fan of bling personally, but I have to agree, sparkles do add a nice touch at times. 😉

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