Friday, August 28, 2009

Mario Plushie! Cute Thing Of the Week!

I still have a great fondness for Super Mario Brothers 3, which I played way too much as a teenager. I had a chance to play a few months ago and it was kind of frightening to discover I still remember where all the hidden 1up mushrooms and secret rooms are. Imagine all the more important things I've probably forgotten from my high school years!

Of course I know I'm not alone in my Mario love. There are a lot of Super Mario Brothers crafts out there. I think this Mario Plushie by WolfDreamer is certainly one of the cutest ones I've seen though. And it's made even sweeter by the fact that she's sharing the pattern for free. The instructions and more pics are available at WolfDreamer Off the Hook.

WolfDreamer makes all of her fan art patterns available for free, which is pretty admirable considering the awesome quality of these designs. Check out her other great patterns in the right-hand sidebar of her blog.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Puff Stitch Pumpkin

It's a bit early for Halloween, but I wanted to share this unique little pumpkin that I just discovered. Mousica crocheted this and used puff stitches to make the pumpkin's body. It's an interesting technique that gives it a bit of a different look from your standard single crochet amigurumi. I've occasionally seen amigurumis made with a double crochet, but it's never occurred to me to try something like a puff stitch before. I'm guessing it would take up more yarn than a single crochet creation, but I really like the texture it creates. I can also see this being suitable for a bumpy skinned monster or maybe even the shell of a turtle. Any other suggestions?

Want the Pattern?

Check out the free tutorial for making your own pumpkin head that's available at Mousica's Magical Menagerie.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Tea Ninja

I've been promising the boyfriend, who is both wise and witty, that I'd make him an amigurumi ninja someday. I finally got around to it this week. After finishing this one late at night, I put him on top of our tea box, since that's one of the boyfriend's first stops in the morning. So now he's the Tea Ninja, who guards our tea and protects the food in our pantry from evil doers. I think he's quite happy to have a purpose!

This one is a bit of a mash up of two patterns. I used the body from the Thinker robot in Crobots to make him in the style of the ninja from Creepy Cute Crochet. The little tie on his head was made using the instructions from Creepy Cute Crochet. He's made with a black sport weight yarn from Red Heart and a D size (3.25 mm) hook.

This was actually my first time making an amigurumi with a sport weight yarn. I really wanted to make the ninja small, without resorting to thread crochet. It wasn't a bad experience, but working with the smaller hook and yarn made my hands hurt a bit. I don't think I'd have the patience to make something more time consuming this way. Of course, he turned out so cute, I am growing tempted to try making him a little thread crochet sidekick...

The Tea Ninja posing with some bananas so you can get a better look at him. He stands about 2.75 inches high and is currently the smallest amigurumi in the house.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Who Loves Katamari?

Someday I'm going to use up some of my scrap yarn and make myself a katamari. Thankfully I can skip the difficult part, which is figuring out how to actually make the Katamari, and get right to the stitching. Mostly.Becky made this one with a mix of Sugar 'n' Cream and Red Heart yarns. I really like the size of it, perfect for throwing around with a friend, or bowling down a few household objects.

Want the Pattern?

Mostly.Becky has posted the pattern for free over on Craftster, where you can also see another picture that shows her katamari in action.

And if this katamari isn't to your taste, don't forget about these other free Katamari Damacy patterns I've blogged about here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Leery of Loops & Threads

After months of seeing signs at our local Michael's store boasting about the remodeled yarn section that was coming soon, I have to admit I was disappointed with the end result. It turned out to consist of the rearranging of the current yarn selection and the introduction of Michael's personal brand, Loops & Threads. I'm not crazy about Michael's creating their own brand of wool. I long ago gave up hope of seeing anything in a big box craft store that wasn't made with at least some portion of acrylic and manufactured by one of the major yarn companies (Bernat, Lion Brand, Patons, etc.), but I worry that the amount of shelf space dedicated to these companies may start to shrink as Michael's jumps into the game of selling their own product.

Keeping an open mind, I figured I'd give the new Loops & Threads a try. Selling in 3.5 oz. skeins for just over $3, it's certainly not a bad deal. I was drawn to this colour, which is Loops & Threads Impeccable Worsted Weight yarn in Luxury Ombre. It's bin is always nearly empty so I'm guessing it's also the favourite of many other local crafters.

The verdict? I like it, but conditionally. It's a great wool for amigurumi, easy to work with and doesn't split or fray. It's ideal for someone who is just learning how to knit or crochet or for kids who are learning to craft and would become easily frustrated by a yarn that catches or breaks. I've also made a market bag with it, which I'll show in another post. It was a good choice for that project too, not too stretchy, but easy to work with.

The downside, it's not that soft. Imagine all the colours of Vanna's Choice with the texture of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton. While I'd be perfectly content to use Loops & Threads for an amigurumi, market bag or dish cloth, I don't want to use it to make anything that's going to be touching my skin, like an afghan or clothing. Yet a quick look at the free patterns available for Impeccable on Michael's website, shows that they feel this yarn is perfectly suitable for those kinds of projects. Loops & Threads also has a sport weight baby line that they've named Snuggly Wuggly. I'd hope that it would be softer, but overall I wasn't that impressed with the colours. They looked like duller versions of many of the shades already available from other companies.

Which I guess leads to the main problem I'm having with Loops & Threads, it's just so unnecessary. With colours and a texture that's already available from other companies, why bother? I've made afghans with Vanna's Choice before and considering it's a softer yarn, I'm going to opt for it when it's time to make another afghan rather than picking up the marginally less expensive similar colour in Loops & Threads.

Anyone else care to weigh in? Have you tried Loops & Threads? Are you feeling a bit anxious about Michael's producing it's own line of products? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

(My model is the elephant pattern available in Tammie Snow's Tiny Yarn Animals.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cthulhu Cousins Returns!

I'm back. Apologies to everyone who reads Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins and who has been waiting for updates. This past semester at school turned out to be much busier than I was expecting. Not only was there no time to update the blog, I went for about two months without even having the time to work on anything crafty.

I've got a few new projects completed now, but I thought I'd start off by displaying a few of the wonderful Tiny Cthulhus that other folks have been making. I'm glad to see that this pattern is a hit and that this little guy is being crocheted all over the world.

First up is the innocent little cthulhu posted above that was created by Lesley. Then we have this more sinister looking cthulhu, which was made by Adriana as a birthday gift for her brother. I can't believe how much the change in eye colour makes this guy go from sweet to scary!

Last, but not least, is this wide-eyed cthulhu, crocheted by Producciones Hebra Prima. I like how the googly eyes make this one look excited and cheerful!

Thanks to everyone for sending links to their creations. As always, if you've made something with one of my patterns drop me a comment and I'll try to share your pics on the blog.

More updates coming soon! I promise.