Friday, March 28, 2008

Cookie Monster! Cute Thing of the Week

I'll be honest, when I was a kid I was terrified of Cookie Monster. I was sure that some day he'd get tired of eathing cookies and his ravenous appetite would lead him to eating small children such as myself. I'm over it now, but even if I wasn't there's no way I could be afraid of an adorable amigurumi Cookie Monster. Look at those eyes!

The pattern was designed by Nelly and you can buy it in her Etsy shop, La Fee Crochette, as a pdf file for $3.50 US. Sorry, the Oreo cookies aren't included in the pattern, but that's still a great deal. You can use the money you have left over to buy yourself some real Oreo cookies. Yummy!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Free South Park Goes Online!

Trey Parker and Matt Stone announced earlier this week that South Park will soon be available to fans everywhere for free. The newly revamped South Park Studios will allow people to watch full episodes from the show's twelve seasons online. Revenue from the site will be generated through advertising. As Stone told Boing Boing in a recent e-mail, "Basically, we just got really sick of having to download our own show illegally all the time. So we gave ourselves a legal alternative."

Parker and Stone want the episodes to be available worldwide, but there's still some red tape to cut and hoops to jump with international cable channels before that can happen. Indeed, when I tried to access the episodes, I was stopped by a message from Terrance and Philip telling me, sorry Canada free episodes coming soon. Nevertheless, I thought this would be a good time to show off some of my favourite South Park releated crochet.

In the top picture are Amigurumi Kyle, Cartman, Kenny and Stan dolls. The pattern for these guys was designed by Nelly who sells it as a pdf file in her Esty shop, La Fee Crochet. Next up is serendipitycrafter's South Park Afghan which she made for one of her sons, (lucky guy!). Finally, it's everyone's favourite/least favourite? tertiary character ever, Towelie. This one was designed by gnathalie2. There's no pattern available, but he's essentially a series of single crochet stitches with features made from felt.

Correction to Fone Bone Pattern

I've been adapting the Fone Bone pattern this week to make Phoney Bone and noticed an error in RND 26. Instead of reading: RND 26: *sc into first 3 st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around (40 sts).

It should read: RND 26: *sc in first 2 st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around (40 sts).

I've made the correction in the original pattern as well and hopefully this hasn't caused anybody any major problems. Contact me if you see any other mistakes in this or any of the other patterns. Phoney Bone coming soon!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Self-Knitting Lampshade Gives New Meaning to Sleeping Beauty

Nadine Sterk is the creative mind behind Sleeping Beauty this incredible lamp that actually knits its own shade. The lamp garnered attention back in 2006 when it was part of the Dutch Design Week’s Graduation Galleries 2006 and was recently part of the Family of Form exhibit at the Design Huis in Eindhoven, Netherlands. It's described as "a lamp that develops like a living organism; switch it on and it slowly starts growing by knitting its own lampshade at a speed of three rotations per hour." How cool is that?

I spent a good half hour flexing my Google muscles to try and find out more about this amazing creation and the artist behind it, but all I managed to turn up was this second photo that shows the lamp at an earlier stage in its knitting.

Being craft-minded I wanted to find out a bit more about that knitting process. For example, is this actually knitting? Is the lamp using knit or purl stitches to join the fabric together? It's a shame there are no close-ups of the fabric its creating. Second, is this done with a material that a human would use to knit or does the process require a stronger fiber, a rope rather than a yarn perhaps? Finally, how loud is the machine? Is this something you could set in the corner of your living room or would the noise it makes prevent you from hearing your television set?

I'm curious, so if anyone happens to be checking out Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins from the Netherlands and you've actually had the opportunity to see this exhibit in person leave me a comment and tell me more about it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Amigurumi Fellowship of The Ring! Cute Thing of the Week

The hardest part of featuring Artoo1121's Amigurumi Lord of the Rings characters as the Cute Thing of the Week is deciding which characters to show off. They're all so amazing! Artoo1121, aka Sammi, did the amigurumi bodies and costumes for each character while her boyfriend painted details on some of the clothes to make them look embroidered. He also created the props such as Gandalf's staff and Boramir's horn. Seriously, check out Gandalf's staff, that's incredible attention to detail! And Frodo, he even has the one ring around his neck! Okay, I'll stop geeking-out now. Let's just look at the pretty pictures for a while...

You can see close-ups of all nine fellowship members and a few other Lord of the Rings characters that they've created on Artoo1121's flickr page. Also check out her blog Geek Central Station where she shares her thoughts about making each character.

Want a few of these guys to decorate your own home or keep you company during your next Lord of the Rings marathon? Some of them are currently being sold in the Geek Central Station Esty Shop.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Super Mario Coasters

I've been wanting to play with Perler Beads since back in the autumn when I first saw Artoo1121's post on Craftster about the Nintendo Perler Bead Coaster Set that her boyfriend had made. Then a few weeks ago when I stumbled onto Sprite Stitch's weblog and specifically his Mario across the NES ages (revised edition) I knew it was really time to stock up on Perler Beads. Super Mario 3 has to be one of my all time favorite video games, probably because of all the costumes Mario gets to wear. I used a couple of the charts from Mario Across the Ages and a couple of the other free charts that Sprite Stitch had available on the site. (Check them out, it's a great trip back to the 80's!)

I had the fun job of actually positioning all the Perler Beads on the plastic peg board (kind of soothing actually, it's hunting for the colour you need in the giant jar of mixed beads that's the frustrating part.) My boyfriend, who is both wise and witty, gets the credit for ironing the beads to fuse them together and for glueing cork to the backs of each picture to make them more stable. Now, 2,784 Perler Beads later, we have our own set of Nintendo coasters. They're a little larger than your standard coasters, but the Mario charts were just too cute to resist.

Now I just have to decide what to do with the 8,216 beads that were left over.

This last picture is taken with the digital macro setting on the camera so that you can see what the coasters look like up close. It's not actually a solid mass of colour, the beads still hold their shape even once they're melted together.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Turtle Along Anyone?

I've noticed that a few people are stopping at Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins to look at the Tiny Striped Turtle that I posted back in February. A few days after I made that post I noticed that Daniethanas had started a crochet-along for the very same turtle on Craftster.

I've joined the group and thought I'd mention it here in case anyone else was interested. You need to register with Craftster to participate, but registration is free. After that it's pretty simple. Use the pattern I referenced in the link above to make yourself some turtles then post pictures of them, or links where we can see pictures of them, in the Turtle-Along thread. The thread is also the perfect place to ask questions about the pattern, discuss problems you're having with it or creative innovations you've made to it.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Want to Roll the Katamari Ball?

If you don't know what a Katamari ball is you're probably just going to think I'm crazy after you hear the explanation, but here goes. The ball comes from the Japanese video game Katamari Damacy that is available for various gaming platforms. It's a very sticky ball that you roll around the screen picking up things in your path. In the beginning your ball starts out small and you can only pick up things like paper clips and tacks. As the game goes on your ball gradually gets bigger and bigger and you can pick up larger objects like dogs, cats, umbrellas, people, and in the final levels even buildings, pieces of land, dinosaurs, and Godzilla-like monsters (remember, it's Japanese.) There's also a whole storyline in the game about how you're the Katamari Prince and you're rolling these katamari balls around to try and impress your father the King of the Cosmos, who is almost never pleased with your efforts no matter how spectacular you think they are.

I know, the more I say the weirder it gets but trust me, it's addictive. The game has a great physics engine and your ball actually rolls differently depending on what you've picked up. For example, stick a pair of chopsticks on one side and it rolls in a lopsided manner. As well, the tiny starter Katamaris actually feel lighter and easier to move than the larger more cumbersome ones you build later. They are harder to push giving them the illusion of being physically heavier. Levels throughout the game come in a wide range of time increments with shorter ones lasting only a minute and larger ones taking up to 25 minutes or more to complete, so you can squeeze in a little Katamari rolling even if you only have a few minutes to spare.

Want the Pattern?

I saw Amy's Magnetic Katamari Ball a year ago (?) on Esty or Craftster or somewhere, but at the time there wasn't a patttern available. I was very excited the other day when I accidently stumbled across the free instructions she's created for the magnetic Katamari. Also pictured here is the Dodecahedron pattern from Berroco. It's worked all as one piece which intrigues me. I think if I smoothed out the ends points a bit it could be quite Katamari-ish. Finally, if you love Katamari and aren't afraid to show it, you can make this Knit Katamari hat using the tutorial advice available on Strangepath (It's there. You may have to scroll down a bit to see it.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mrs. Lovett Amigurumi! Cute Thing of the Week

"Ladies and gentlemen you can't imagine the rapture in store
Just inside of this door!
There you'll sample Mrs. Lovett's meat pies
savory and sweet pies as you'll see
You, who eat pies Mrs. Lovett's meat pies
conjure up the treat pies used to be."

You may remember Mrs. Lovett if you went and saw a little movie called Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street this past winter. In fact, you may not only remember Mrs. Lovett, she may be the very reason why you decided to stop eating pie for a while.

Ramsie made this adorable yet eerie Mrs. Lovett for a Tim Burton swap. There's no pattern available but you can see more pictures, join the original discussion and pass on your compliments to Ramsie here.

And in case you're wondering, the movie starring Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, and Alan Rickman is coming out on DVD April 1st.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Captain Jack Squirrel!

He's a combinations of Glee's Squirrels Dressed For Halloween and Gabi Neumann's Captain Cute The Pirate Teddy. I made him for a friend who's a big fan of Glee's squirrels.

Want the Pattern?

I'm not going to give away the squirrel pattern because Glee sells it through her Esty shop Gleeful Things. I'll just supply the instructions for the eye patch and Tiny Octopus that the squirrel is carrying.

If anyone has any questions about these instructions feel free to contact me.

Eye patch
I only used one safety eye on my squirrel, there’s no eye under the patch. You should have the top half of the body done before you make this, but it shouldn’t be stuffed yet because you need to attach the patch inside the body piece.

With black worsted weight yarn, and same size hook as used for body.
3 sc into magic ring
Rnd 1: 2 sc into each stitch around. (6 sts)
Rnd 2: *sc in first 2 sts, 2 sc in next st* repeat around. (8 sts)
Rnd 3: 1 sc, then chain until you have a chain long enough to fit around squirrel’s head, skip next 2 sts, sl st into next st.
Finish off and use this tail and the one coming out of the center of the magic circle to attach eye patch to the squirrel's head, tying them in a knot inside the body.

using worsted weight yarn.

4 sc into magic ring
Rnd 1: 2 sc into each st, around. (8 sts)
Rnd 2: *sc in first st, 2 sc in next st.* repeat around. (12 sts)
Rnd 3: *sc in first 5 sts, 2 sc in next st* repeat around. (14 sts)
For next 2 Rnds, sc in each st around (14 sts)
Rnd6: 2 sc, chain 6, sc in second ch from hook, sc across chain, sc into next st on round, *chain 6, sc in second ch from hook, sc across chain, sc into next st on round, * repeat 2 more times, sc in next 4 sts on round, *chain 6, sc in second ch from hook, sc across chain, sc into next st on round, * repeat 3 more times.
For next 2 Rnds, sc in each st around (14 sts)
Rnd 9: dec in each st around (7 sts)
sl st into next st, finish off, weave end through last 7 sts, stuff firmly, pull thread tight to close, weave in/hide ends.

Glue on wiggle eyes, approx. 5 mm in size.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fone Bone of Boneville (with Free Pattern)

My boyfriend, who is both wise and witty, recently gave me three of the new colourized Bone graphic novels for my birthday. After staring at the pictures for a while I was inspired to make my own Fone Bone character. I think I could probably spend the rest of the year crocheting all the other non-human characters from the comics, but I think I'll try to restrain myself and only make Fone's cousins Phoney and Smiley. Okay, and maybe the baby rat creature Bartleby because he's just too cute to resist.

If anyone sees any problems in the pattern or has any questions please feel free to contact me.

**Update** I've also made some accessories and a backpack (with tutorial) for Fone Bone, which you can view here.

Fone Bone Pattern


white worsted weight yarn (one skein or less)
black felt
black embroidery thread
fiber fill or stuffing material of your choice
size G (4.25mm) Hook

Note: The head and nose pieces start separately and then are joined together later. I recommend starting with the nose, then stitching the head and body. The body and head are all one piece. I find this helps prevent the head from flopping around too much.

5 sc into magic ring
RND 1: 2 sc into each st around. (10 sts)
RND 2: *sc in first st, 2 sc into next st* repeat around (15 sts)
RND 3: *sc in first 2 st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around (20 sts)
RND 4-6: sc in each st around. (20)
Finish off, leave long tail for sewing.

5 sc into magic ring
RND 1: 2 sc into each st around (10 sts)
RND 2: *sc in first st, 2 sc into next st* repeat around (15 sts)
RND 3: *sc in first 2 st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around (20 sts)
RND 4: *sc in first 3 st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around (25 sts)
RND 5: *sc in first 4 st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around (30 sts)
RND 6-10: sc in each st around (30 sts)
Now we attach the nose and head pieces together.
RND 11: instead of crocheting into head piece, sc into the first 15 stitches of the nose piece, then skip 5 stitches on the head, sc into 6th st on the head and continue sc around the head. (40 sts) Use the long tail from the nose piece to whipstitch the 5 sts you didn’t stitch on the nose to the five stitches you skipped on the head piece. Also use this thread to tighten up any holes near the joined pieces that are too large.
RND 12-14: sc into each stitch around (40 sts)
RND 15: *sc into first 6 sts, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (35 sts)
RND 16: *sc into first 5 sts, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (30 sts)
RND 17: *sc into first 4 sts, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (25 sts)
RND 18: *sc into first 3 sts, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (20 sts)
Place eyes and embroider mouth and eyebrows now.
RND 19: *sc into first 2 sts, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (15 sts)
Now we start the body shape
RND 20: *sc in first 2 st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around (20 sts)
RND 21: *sc in first 3 st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around (25 sts)
RND 22-24: sc into each st around (25 sts)
RND 25: *sc in first 4 st, 2 sc in next st* repeat around (30 sts)
RND 26: *sc into first 2 st , 2 sc in next st* repeat around (40 sts)
RND 27-30: sc into each st around (40)
stuff head and nose section to your desired firmness level.
RND 31: *sc into first 6 sts, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (35 sts)
RND 32: *sc into first 5 sts, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (30 sts)
RND 33: *sc into first 4 sts, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (25 sts)
RND 34: *sc into first 3 sts, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (20 sts)
RND 35: *sc into first 2 sts, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (15 sts)
stuff body
RND 36: *sc into first st, dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (10 sts)
RND 37: *dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (5 sts)
Finish off and sew shut.

Arms(make 2)
5 sc into magic ring
RND 1: 2 sc into each st around (10 sts)
RND 2: sc into each st around (10 sts)
RND 3: *sc in first 4 st, 2 sc into next st* repeat around (12 sts)
RND 3: sc into each st around (12 sts)
RND 4: *dec over next 2 sts* repeat around (6 sts)
RND 5-7: sc into each st around (6sts)
Finish off, leave long tail for sewing. Stuff only the widest part of arms.

Legs (make 2)
6 sc into magic ring
RND 1-7: sc into each st around (6)
Finish off, leave tail for sewing. Legs are not stuffed.

Feet (make 2)

4 sc into magic ring
RND 1: 3 sc into first st, 2 sc into each st around (9 sts)
RND 2: 2 sc into each st around (18 sts)
RND 3-5: sc into each st around (18 sts)
RND 6: *sc into first 7 sts, dec over next two sts* repeat around (16 sts)
RND 7: *sc into first 2 sts, dec over next two sts* repeat around (12 sts)
RND 8: *sc into first st, dec over next two sts* repeat around (8 sts)
stuff foot
RND 9: *dec over next two sts* repeat around (4 sts)
Finish off. sew shut.

Sew arms to body. Sew feet to legs and attach legs to body. Secure and hide all thread tails.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cake Sachets! Cute Thing Of The Week

I guarantee that just looking at Norma Lynn Hood's Cake Sachets is going to make you hungry. Hood began crocheting in 2002 and uses her crafty talents for good, crocheting delicious looking cake sachets and mini cakes to help raise money for various charities. All her cakes are made using 100% cotton yarn and the sachets are filled with organic lavender. Want a more realistic smell? According to Hood the sachets can easily be removed to change the scent. She suggests using fermented cocoa beans, cinnamon sticks or coffee beans to give these sweet treats a scent to match their mouth-watering appearance.

Want the Pattern?

Hood has two pages worth of free patterns available including the above pictured Inseparable (top left), Coconut & Honey Pistachio Waffle Bowl (middle) and Cat (bottom), but don't stop at the free patterns. Take a few moments to look through the rest of the amazing desserts she's created and learn more about the various charities she supports.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Best of Bunnies!

With Easter just around the corner I thought it would be a good time to take a look at some cute crochet bunnies. I'm hoping to create my own bunny with some Fun Fur-style wool that I found at a Dollarama recently. Until then, here's a look at some of my favorite free bunny patterns. All of these are fairly small and wouldn't take too much time to crochet. If you start now I'm sure you'll be done by Easter!

Working with fuzzy yarns is always a bit more frustrating and time consuming than your typical worsted weight. If you do decide to attempt a fluffy bunny of some sort take a moment to read through the Fuzzy Yarn Tips posted by PlanetJune. They just may save you a few headaches.

And now on with the patterns. First up, in the top left corner, is Ami Bunny by BertaBerta and it can be found on this craftster post. You can see more pictures of the bunny in the original post, but you have to jump to page 4 in the replies to find the tutorial.

Above is Best Bunny and it's available as a free download from Lion Brand. Keep in mind that you have to register for a free membership on Lion Brand's website in order to access their patterns. I'm not crazy about the colours they've chosen for the model, but that's easy enough to change. I like the overall shape of this bunny and I think it would look good in a softer, fluffier yarn.

Finally, last and certainly not least, are the Evil (Bunni) Minions which were created by gnathalie2. They are also posted on Craftster and are available here. I figure anyone who's visiting Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins is probably looking for something a bit unusual and these are certainly my favorite unconventional Easter bunnies. Although it looks like they'll be too busy storming the castle to bring us any chocolate eggs!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Crochet Cactus and More!

Wow is all I can really say about the Hyperbolic Crochet Cactus Garden. It’s such an amazing mix of textures and designs, and the realism is just incredible. The Institute for Figuring has been using crochet to demonstrate the mathematic concept of hyperbolics and the Cactus Garden is an offshoot of that project, combining mathematic principals with environmental concerns.

I have to admit the math is going right over my head, even though I tried to look it up, but I’m still blown away by the time and creativity that it would have taken to develop this exhibit. The garden was created by ten different artists who used California’s dessert landscape as their inspiration. You can learn more about the Crochet Cactus Garden through The Institute for Figuring and while you’re there check out their equally amazing Crochet Coral Reef. IFF Director Margaret Wertheim also has plenty of pictures of both projects posted on her Flickr pages.

above: A sample of the Crochet Coral Reef

I became curious about the kinds of plants people are crocheting after I saw this Sweet Amigurumi Cactus posted on Craftster by djonesgirl. I’m not that excited by crochet flowers, (although there’s plenty of them out there). They just scream 1960’s crochet to me, but I really like some of the leafy green stuff and the prickly cactuses.

My 4 Heads has this house plant pattern available in PDF format for a very reasonable price as well as several flower arrangements.

I know that houseplants probably don’t get much more low maintenance than the cactus, but imagine how easy this one would be to take care of. Ana Paula Rimoli, author of Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet has this Little Cactus pattern available for free on her blog. If you want it to be a bit more prickly you could try sticking toothpicks in it, or put it to work as a pincushion.