Friday, September 18, 2009

Snowman Family and Fat Flakes! Cute Thing of the Week!

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas? I figure it's never too early if you're a crafter since you need to get all the gifts and decorations made before the Christmas season arrives. I'm a huge fan of snowman-based projects when it comes to Christmas gifts and decor. I like that they evoke a sense of celebrating winter without making reference to any specific religious focus.

This adorable little Snowman Family is a free pattern available from the Bernat website. They look quick and easy to make. Ideal if you're new to crochet or if you want to make some snowy friends to give your home that festive winter feel. My only quibble is that these folks are made with Handicrafter Cotton. With its shimmery look, I personally think that Bernat's Satin line would be a nicer choice for creating a snowy look.

These cross stitch patterns aren't free like the crochet pattern, but I was pleased to see that my favourite collection of snowman cross stitch patterns is still in print. In the spirit of all things cute and snowman-based I thought I'd feature it here too. This is Fat Flakes by Ursula Michael and it's a beautiful resource for snowman gifts. If you like what you see here you may also want to check out its companion book, City Flakes, also by Ursula Michael. Apparently there is a third volume called Country Flakes, but I haven't had any luck tracking it down. Anyone else seen it online or in stores?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wing Tutorial for Tiny Cthulhu

I've received a few comments from people who have trouble figuring out the wing instructions in the Tiny Cthulhu pattern. Since I'm making another one of these myself right now I figured I could photograph the process as I went.

Here again are the full instructions for the Tiny Cthulhu wing piece. Along with each photo, I've reprinted the instruction describing what is done in that picture. For those that are curious, I'm making my wing with a size F (3.75mm) crochet hook and the yarn is Loops & Threads Impeccable Worsted Weight in Luxury Ombre.

Wings (make two)

Ch 4. Turn and do 1 sc in each of next 3 ch sps. Ch 1, turn. 3 sc, ch 4. turn. 3 sc on chain, 3 hdc on the three sc. Ch1, turn. 3 sc, ch 5, 4 sc in chain, 3 hdc. Ch1, turn. 4 sc, ch 6, 5 sc in chain, 4 hdc. Ch 3 *Work appox. 8 dc along the top edge of the wing (opposite the pointy bits). Sl St into first Ch, or near first Ch. Fasten off.

Pic 1: Ch 4. Turn and do 1 sc in each of next 3 ch sps (skip chain closest to hook).

Pic 2: Ch 1, turn. 3 sc, ch 4. turn

Pic 3: 3 sc on chain (skip chain closest to hook), 3 hdc on the three sc. Ch1, turn.

Pic 4: 3 sc, ch 5, (skip chain closest to the hook) 4 sc in chain, 3 hdc. Ch1, turn.

Pic 5: 4 sc, ch 6, 5 sc in chain (skip chain closest to hook), 4 hdc. Ch 3

Pic 6: *Work appox. 8 dc along the top edge of the wing (opposite the pointy bits). At this point, I've only crocheted the first four double crochet stitches so you can see where they should go.

Pic 7: Sl St into first Ch, or near first Ch. Fasten off.

Now just make a second wing following these instructions and attach them both to the back of your cthulhu.

Hope this helps clear things up a bit. Post a comment if you have any more questions.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Softies for Mirabel is Seeking Handmade Toys

Are the amigurumis you've made starting to take over your house? If so, it might be time for them to take a trip abroad and find a new home. Meet Me at Mikes, an Australian craft store, has put out the call for donations in its third annual Softies for Mirabel campaign. You can click the store link to get the full details from Pip's post, so I'll just share a short version of the story with you here.

The owners of Meet Me at Mikes are collecting softies; any crocheted, knit or sewn toy that is child safe. The softies will be displayed in the Mike's shop window from December 1-10th. After that the toys will be matched up and given out to children between the ages of 3 to 17 years old as part of the Mirabel Foundation's annual toy drive. The Mirabel Foundation helps children in families that have been affected by substance abuse.

As anyone who makes amigurumis knows, it doesn't take that long to crochet a stuffed toy. Most small amigurumis can be finished within a couple of hours or days. And most take up only one skein of wool or less, so this is a perfect way to reduce that stash of leftovers a bit. Since the Softies For Mirabel aren't being sold, it's perfectly fine to used published patterns for your creation. However, you can also see this as an opportunity to experiment with making your own pattern, or take advantage of the numerous free patterns available online.

Last year I sent these two amigurumis to the Softies for Mirabel campaign. It was great to know that the kids Mirabel helps would be getting a unique handmade item in their Christmas stocking. I was also struck by how inexpensive it was to send my donation from Canada to Australia. With a shipping price of only $7 Cdn, it cost me less than I've payed in the past to send packages within Canada.

Ready to start stitching? Donations are being accepted from now until December 10, 2009. Visit Meet Me at Mikes to find out where to send your creations and how you can share photos of your softie.

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Cousins in the Family

Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins has a few new cousins to display. These were sent in by stitchers who have been trying out my Tiny Cthulhu Pattern.

At least two recent commenters mentioned that this was their first attempt at amigurumi, and you certainly wouldn't know it from their end products. First up is this cthulhu on the left created by Ilumiari. I love the extra details here like the ribbon and the expressive eyes. They make the tiny cthulhu even cuter. I'm not that good at stitching on facial features so I am definitely in awe of Ilumiari's skills. I certainly wouldn't know she was new to amigurumi if she hadn't told me.

Next up is this Baby Cthulhu that was crocheted by Buttonater. In her comment she writes, "My first ever crochet project, and I'm proud as hell." Definitely worth being proud of. I think the little x-stitch eyes making baby look a just little bit creepy, but in a good way!

Now what is it about Cthulhus, that we so often find them posing with cats? I should note that the cats never seem to look that happy about the situation either. I don't know if that's their general disdain of having their picture taken or contempt for the little crochet critter they're sharing the photo with. To the left here, along with his feline friend (?), is a cthulhu created by Ilana. She's also the creator of this second great cthulhu shown below.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their photos with me, it's great to see the pattern is appreciated and being used. As always, if any other readers out there have made something with one of my patterns feel free to post a comment and share a link to a photo of your creation.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fuzzy Panda! Cute Thing of the Week!

CRAFT magazine is starting its first ever crocher-along, and I can't imagine a cuter amigurumi to start with than this Fuzzy Panda. It was designed by Tamie Snow, author of Tiny Yarn Animals, who you can find blogging over at Roxycraft. Beginning on Tuesday Sept. 7 at noon PST, Snow will be hosting the first lesson in this month-long project. CRAFT is also offering up random prize giveaways to members of the crochet-along who upload pictures of their progress to the group's flickr site. Kudos to CRAFT for choosing a pattern that looks like it won't be too intimidating for a beginner to tackle, but is also cute enough to catch the eye of more experienced amigurumi makers.

I have yet to try this effect of brushing yarn to make it fuzzy, but I'm definitely feeling the temptation to check out the local pet store's supply of slicker brushes so I can make my own little panda.

Want the Pattern?

Even if you don't have time to participate in the crochet-along, you can still take advantage of the free pattern available via CRAFT. Get your copy of the pattern and check out the full details about the project in this Fuzzy Panda post.