Thursday, February 28, 2008

Poppet, the accidental kitten

Say, "Hello, Poppet!"

Well, when you run out of yarn for one project and are waiting with bated breath for the next lot to arrive, there's only one thing you can do: start another project! I know, I know, I said before that I don't like doing that, and, well, I don't. But this is the exception.

See, I've been stuck at home on my butt for three (going on four) days now; I was written off work for a week because of tonsillitis. I had it two weeks ago, did my whole course of antibiotics, then the day after I went off the penicillin, it flared up again. I didn't think it could possibly be tonsillitis again, so I didn't go to the doctor's until Friday, when I just couldn't take the pain anymore. He immediately told me to take a week off work, and sent me to the pharmacy with a prescription for THREE TIMES AS MUCH PENICILLIN. You can imagine the poorly tummy that has ensued as well, which isn't very nice, but hey! I've lost half a stone! Cool.

ANYWAY, back to the topic. Since I haven't had any yarn to work on the baby project, I decided to make a phone charm, loosely based on this kitten finger puppet:

However, when I had made most of the head and attached the little phone charm strap, I realised two things:

1) If you put this on a mobile phone, it's so big that if it hits you in the head, you will probably pass out.

2) Point number 1 is completely moot since the head is actually too big to fit back through the phone charm strap, making it impossible to attach it to anything in the first place.

So I gave up that idea.

Since I'd already made a head, I decided to go ahead an attach a body, which was fairly straightforward. The most difficult bits of this project were getting the bobble toes in the right places and embroidering the little toenails. (Well, the last bit was pretty easy, just fiddly.) There was a lot of thought in this process, too, which might not be obvious: Poppet has five toes on her front paws and only four on her back paws, just like real puddy-tats.

Probably the greatest annoyance/disappointment of the project was that, due to her size, I had to use 9mm eyes to hold on the arms and legs, but the brand of eyes that I've bought seems to have very short posts, and very painful washers to attach! They're fine for just using as eyes, but not great as joints. It ended up with me this morning leaning over my son's play table with an inside-out cat, a folded up bit of cloth, and putting all my weight on the washer to get it to go on. To be honest, I'm not entirely convinced that her arms and legs won't pop off in the future, if she were to be played with. However, she's really only meant for decoration, and I've said that in her listing on Etsy. And, probably a good thing, it's prompted me to create a product guarantee for my shop, which hopefully will put customers' minds at ease.

So finally, the plug:

Poppet is available in my Etsy shop!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Well, I've Done It.

I wasn't sure if I would be able to go through with it, but I've submitted Harriet to the Hobbycraft competition. There are absolutely no indications of what types of things will be submitted, so who knows if I stand a chance...? We should find out the shortlist shortly.

Updated 27 Feb: The shortlist will be announced on Monday, 3rd March on the Hobbycraft website.

Wish me luck.


Ah, yes. The bane of every crocheter...(Is that what you call one who crochets? Anyway...) I've run out of yarn!

My "baby" project stands thusly:

In other words, bodyless. Which is doubly annoying because I've just been written off from work because of tonsillitis, and doing anything but sitting around makes me incredibly tired. Which is PERFECT for crocheting, but in order to progress with this project, I have to get my butt dressed and out to the shops. I guess I could start another project, but I don't like doing that because then I have pieces strewn everywhere and blah, blah, blah.

If anyone knows a good online shop to get Pure Gold DK quickly (and, uh, cheaply), please do let me know.

I'm off to enter Harriet in a comp...Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Amigurumi Stripes With No Joins

One of the "experimental techniques" I tried recently was to get a lovely two-tone stripe, amigurumi-style, that didn't have joins or that icky jagged bit where you switch colours at the end of a round.

In response to a question on Flickr, I recently posted the following:
Ooooh, I just did this (can you tell I'm quite proud of myself?)...I have some pictures here:

The way I did it was:
1. Complete one round in one colour, put a stitch marker in the loop left on your hook.
2. Remove the crochet hook, join second colour in the first stitch of the last round, then begin a round in the next stitch, counting the join as the first stitch of the round (e.g. if you're doing all sc, join colour 2 into first stitch with a sl st, then sc in the next stitch).
3. When you get to the last stitch of colour 1, put a stitch marker in the loop of colour 2 that's left on your hook.
4. Remove the crochet hook and insert it back into the loop of colour 1 and carry on with the round.

Repeat steps 3 and 4 for as long as you need. When you get to where you want to finish one of the stripe colours (in my pictures, I "finished" the white and carried on with the blue), in step 3, you just make the last stitch a sl st instead of a normal sc. Then when you come to that stitch on the next round, it's a smooth transition back to the beginning of the round.

I think all that is very confusing (it's kinda hard to describe). Best is just to try it.

(In response to: When I crochet alternating strips for an amigurumi, the stripes never look right. There is always a hiccup stitch when I start the next color in the new round. Is this typical for everyone or just typical of my bad crocheting technique? -- posted by smoochas)
I'm thinking about cabling and braiding next, and the holy grail (of course) is how to make colour joins with a round of slip stitches and not have that "step" where the sl st joins back up with the main part of the round (you know what I'm talking about, right?)...Hmmm...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Harriet is finished

Okay, so actually, I finished Harriet a couple days ago. But I was really too scared to admit that she was done and that I wouldn't do any more work on her. Part of it was that I completed her when I was ill with tonsillitis, so I partly didn't trust that she didn't suck. Here she is:

And here's my favourite pic of her so far, so you can see the details in her face, necklace, ear and hair:

I haven't yet decided whether I'll enter her in the craft contest or not. And more to the point, whether I'll sell her or not.

Journal Sneak Peek

I believe everyone should keep a journal, if only as a way to keep thoughts so you don't lose them. I have struggled all my life with HOW to keep a journal...Try as I might, I was never able to keep a diary as a kid because I would set myself this rigid format of how a diary should be kept, and then I'd make myself stick to it, eventually getting bored and throwing it to the wayside. I also, for some unknown reason, believed that if you didn't write in a diary EVERY DAY, there was no point, or else you'd have to update the diary with everything that happened in between all the times you wrote, which was a labour-intensive process...I'm even getting tired thinking about it.

Nowadays, I have a PDA that keeps all my appointments, and a little black book that holds all my little sketches and notes for crochet projects (sadly, not all the phone numbers of my hot boyfriends...I'm happily married, thankyouverymuch). Here's a look inside, at my current project, a baby doll:

I've only made an arm, so far, and I'm starting to think it might not be chubby enough. But I'll have to do the rest of him and see...I'm thinking that if he's chubby enough in the head/belly, he won't need to be chubby in the arms because he'll just end up looking like a marshmallow man...Not reeeaaallllllyyy the look I'm going for!

Oh, yeah, and before I forget: I've added a bunch of new links to the right-hand side of the blog...One box is for "Inspiration", basically things that I find stylistically interesting and inspiring to my designs, and one box is for "Resources", basically where I buy all my stuff! Please have a look.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Oh, hello there!

Yes, folks, this is the ever-present "welcome to my blog" post...You know the one...Where you've just set up a shiny new blog and just HAVE to put something on it...

...Wait for it...


Okay, now that that's out of the way...Right to it. Here's the latest girlie I'm working on:

I'd originally just started her to work on an idea I had for some articulated legs, but then I found out about this arts & crafts contest and I'm thinking about entering her in that (she isn't finished yet). However, I'm concerned that she's too much of a copy of Elisabeth Doherty's designs, since I used a lot of her methods from her book in creating this girlie. I've been (in a roundabout way) looking for some advice on this issue by posting a topic for discussion in the Amigurumi group on Flickr, but I haven't really had much response.

If I'm honest, I'm leaning toward not entering her, because I feel guilty, but actually, not that much of the design is a copy; the shape and proportions are after Elisabeth D's, and I've used her techniques, like bobble toes/fingers, articulated arms, eye patches...But I've also used a lot of my own techniques: articulated legs, belly button, hair, shoes (which aren't in the picture) and shorts that cover the articulated legs. And obviously, the outfit and hair are my own designs...I don't know if that counts as original or not. I guess my dilemma stems from the fact that up until Elisabeth D published her books, she was pretty much the only one out there doing these dolls, and now everyone can do them just by buying her book. But does that make the style prevalent enough for an design to be called original just because it's a variation on a theme? I can illustrate the conundrum this way: no one would ever consider someone a copycat for making a square cushion. That's because the generic square cushion design is so prevalent that just making that square look different, by adding different embellishments, say, is enough.

The flip side of the argument is that I did, in fact, design this girlie. I drew her, measured her up, sorted out all her accessories, and, finally, I MADE her. With my own hands. Should it matter that my doll's feet are exactly the same as Elisabeth D's? Even though I don't use the pattern anymore because that's just how I make feet now? Or should I arbitrarily change the shape of feet I use simply so that they're different from hers? And here's the kicker: Say you believe I'm a copycat because I make feet the same as in the pattern. Then I change the foot pattern I use so that I'm no longer exactly the same. Isn't that just as bad, really, because I've only arbitrarily changed a bit of someone else's design in order for you to say that it is no longer exactly the same? And more to the point, how much to I have to change it in order for it to be considered different?

This is giving me a headache.

I think it's one of those topics that gives everyone a headache. It annoys me because I don't think there's really a right answer, only sort of a mushy consensus. Blech.