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Friday, July 30, 2010

Finished Project - Kodama Tree Spirits

Well...I finally finished my July mission of the month...just in time too I might add!! whew...Thanks again to Ami Amour for the pattern and The Ravelry Group Amigurumi Army for the suggestion of a Miyazaki themed July mission! Looks like the August mission might be food related. Time to make a little milk and cheese I do think.

Kodama Tree Spirits
Check out my progress on Ravelry and here in my blog!

Now that I finished these adorable Kodamas I am motivated to make more Miyazaki themed creations. Maybe a tiny Totoro or maybe I can tackle that cat bus finally!

Etsy Dark Team: New plushes

Etsy Dark Team: New plushes: "New plushes and dolls are up in my shop: Silent Orchid Studio Including... Jack the Ripper, the Jersey Devil, and a tattooed couple"

The Etsy Dark Team has some awesome items that are definately worth checking out if you like things a little on the dark side. The Jack the Ripper plush from Silent Orchid Studio is to die pun intended! muahahahahahahaha

Here is a pic of him posted here:

Jack The Ripper from Silent Orchid Studios

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Traveling Creature Laboratory

I just joined a group over on Ravelry called the Traveling Creature Laboratory. The group is a sort of elaborate crochet/knit creature creation swap. Their premise is totally awesome! Here is a quick bio of the group:

"We're a traveling amigurumi group in hopes of going viral. Join us, it's fun!"

Hello there, welcome to the lab and see what’s on the slab! We’re creating creatures of all sorts, most aren’t even of this earth. We’re a traveling amigurumi group in hopes of going viral. Join us, it’s fun!

So what is a Traveling Creature Laboratory you might ask? Well here is a quick rundown of how it works.

From the group forum : How it Works:
  1. We’re planning on having 8 - 10 people in our first circle. Person A mails to Person B, B mails to C and so on until the critter comes all the way back home to Person A. Here’s the sequence of events…(for Person C)
  2. Prologue: Everyone makes their own basic body with the yarn of their choosing. I will be supplying a body pattern so that everyone will know what to expect as far as size and shape. I am recommending worsted weight yarn so that your critters will all be somewhere near the same size. Fiber content is entirely up to you, however if you are allergic to something, be sure and note that on the passport that we’ll be making available for you to download. The passport will travel with your critter wherever it goes.
  3. Once your body is complete, you mail it along with the passport (ziplock bag highly recommended) to the next person on the list. If you are person C, you will mail your stuffed body to person D. Mailing specifics are important. We do not want to have anyone’s critter get lost, so use delivery confirmation if at all possible. Please keep in mind that this will require you to commit to mailing a package every 2 weeks or so. Person C will always mail to Person D, D will always mail to E and so on.
  4. Now that you’ve mailed your body, you should receive a body from the person above you. If you’re C, you will receive a body from B. Now it is time to get creative. Read the passport, and then start making a head of your own design hopefully using yarn from your stash. Add safety eyes if you wish, but no other facial details at this point. Facial details will be added by someone else. Stuff the head and sew the head to the body and mail to Person D.
  5. Next you should receive from Person B a head and body sewn together. On this one, you will add arms - or upper body appendages of your own design and choosing. Stuff the arms if desired, and then sew them to the body. Now mail to Person D.
  6. The next critter you receive should have head, body and arms. You will add legs or other appendages to the lower part of the body (nothing naughty though - lots of us may want to show these to our kids). Once that is completed to your satisfaction, mail to Person D.
  7. Step 5 is to add ears, horns, hair or whatever to the head. Do not add facial features yet. You may want to deviate from crochet for these or not. The point is to be creative, so if you want to add horns or ears made of felt or fabric or Sculpey, go for it. Just be sure to read the passport that came with the critter to check for allergies. Once you have created what you want to, mail to Person D.
  8. Now take a good look at this next critter that arrives in your mailbox. Does it have tentacles instead of arms/legs? Does it look like it needs a tail or maybe wings? Or some spikes in a row down it’s back? Maybe a turtle shell? Add something of your own design to the backside of this critter. Then mail to Person D.
  9. This is the step to add facial details. The head may already have safety eyes attached, but you can add eyebrows, eyelashes, noses, mouths, teeth, whiskers, freckles, warts, whatever. Embroider them or add felt or whatever your creative mind comes up with. When done, mail to Person D.
  10. (and maybe 9 and 10) Depending on the number of people in the circle, there will be 1 - 3 more critters coming your way. Add some personality. Spots, clothes, hats, accessories, shoes, tutus, more tentacles and warts, tiaras, necklaces, earrings. Use whatever materials come to mind. Just check to make sure that you won’t be upsetting the owner’s allergies. And if there’s other people who will still be adding to it, leave some room for improvements and mail to Person D.
  11. Grand Finale: Congratulations! You are the proud new master of a new Creature. Your critter arrives back home all dolled up and probably sporting some unusual features. Read your new friends passport and see where he/she/its been. Now take a photo and add it to the gallery thread for everyone to see.
So stop on by and the group's page Traveling Creature Laboratory to see the progress of the next creature creation or join in yourself. I know I am going to.

Here are a few pics of the finished creatures!



Kodama Tree Spirits -- WIP

I was crocheting last night on the couch and decided it would be nice if I held an account of my WIP (works in progress) for various projects. I want to do this for 2 reasons:

1: I would like to have a step by step account and tutorial saved for each projects so that I can reference them later for tips, or if I am going to explain the project to someone in the future.

2: I often alter the patterns that I follow extensively to make each project unique and to have their own personalities and my own personal stamp on them. I often do not document these spur of the moment changes, but often think back....hmmm how did I do that again? is my 1st progress account of a WIP for the adorable Kodama Tree Spirits.

A little bit about the project:

I recently joined the Ravelry group Amigurumi Army and they have a monthly project mission (really neat idea.) The July mission is Miyazaki Themed. If you are not familiar with Miyazaki here is a bit about him:

Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese filmmaker who makes popular animated features for Studio Ghibli. Some of his works include:

- Princess Mononoke
- Spirited Away
- My Neighbor Totoro

and many, many, more...

Miyazaki's films often deal with Japanese folklore and rising political themes in Japan for example the current theme of technology vs nature.

The kodama tree spirits are featured in the film Princess Mononoke. Here is a bit about them in Japanese folklore:

Cutting down a tree which houses a kodama is thought to bring misfortune, and such trees are often marked with a sacred rope called shimenawa. Kodama are generally wise and peaceful but dislike those who have no respect for the environment and who take it for granted. Sometimes they mimic human voices, creating echos in the forest. “Echo” has also come to be another meaning of the word kodama.

(Thanks to Ami Amour for the pattern!)



The yarn called for in the pattern is Nightlights Glow in the Dark Yarn. I am using Lily Sugar 'n Cream Solid in White. This is a cotton worsted weight yarn. The white is really crisp, so I chose this for the pattern (**NOTE** I would love to try this pattern with the glow in the dark yarn in the future, when I can get my hands on some)


The pattern calls for using a G/H hook, however I prefer to use my E (3.5mm) hook for most of my amigurumi.


Black/White Felt
Yarn Needle
Felt Glue
Polyester Fiberfill

Step 1: The head -- Kodama #1 Sitting Kodama

The head instructions are for a basic amigurumi head. Nothing was altered from the pattern. It measures about 5cm in circumference.

Step 2: The body -- Kodama #1 Sitting Kodama

The body is angled for the sitting position. Notice how it looks like a torso looks sitting in a chair minus the legs and feet. The top of the torso measures slightly under 1" and angles out to approximately 1 1/4"

Nothing was altered from the original pattern.

Step 3: The arms -- Kodama #1 Sitting Kodama

Pattern calls for 2:
They measure a close to 1 1/2" a piece

Nothing was altered from the original pattern.

Step 3: The legs -- Kodama #1 Sitting Kodama

Pattern calls for 2:
They measure a close to 1 1/2" a piece


Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Making of a Scrapster WIP

Do you sometimes find it difficult to make your amigurumi look like a real-life pet?
Do you have a hard time finding the perfect yarn?

I find that the most difficult part is finding a yarn that matches the pets true coat. Whereas you might find the perfect match for color, it may be the wrong textile or weight for the amigurumi project. I find that I have had the most luck using ombres in the case of mixed coat animals. For example. A friend of mine has an orange tabby and I made an adorable amigurumi kitten for her. I used this orange/yellow/white ombre (Sunrise #137 - Peaches & Creme) for the effect of the tabby colorization and it came out great!

I am currently working on making an amigurumi version of my nephews daschund scrappy. Here is a real-life pic of him:

Cute huh?

Since he is a long haired miniature daschund I looked and looked for a yarn that would reflect the texture of his fur. I did find one, but the color was not representative of the many colors in his coat. I decided to sacrifice texture in favor of a nice color match for mr scrappy. I found a great yarn that matched the many colors in his coat. Here it is:

Below is the step by step WIP:


As you can tell from the picture of scrappy up above he has 2 different colored eyes. One is brown and the other is blue. I used plastic safety eyes one in brown and one in blue. The head is a basic amigurumi head in the round.


The body is a basic amigurmi head with additional sc around to elongate the body before decreasing. This gives the cylindrical/tube ("hot dog") shape that is typical of the daschund.


When the tail was completed I added a pipe cleaner inside before finishing off. I like to do this to extremeties for added shaping, mobility, and character


The ears of the daschund are a super important feature. I made them super-long and floppy. Here is a pic of them attached to the head:



And here is the finished project! Scrappy!!:

I included 4 different angles so that you can see the finished project from all sides.

And now for the final side by side comparison:

The REAL Scrappy:

The AMIGURUMI Scrappy:

Both of them together at last:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Plush Team July Giveaway

I am relatively new to the crochet community, so I started surfing around some sites today for awesome AMIGURUMI! Lo and behold I discovered...

PLUSH TEAM: The Etsy Plush Street Team

This site is really awesome.

This is the "about us" from their site:

"Etsy Plush Street Team is a group of artists supporting and furthering ideas behind plush dolls, toys and all the soft areas in between.

They are having a July Giveaway for this cute little fella here:

Isnt she adorable??

The July giveaway is hosted by Moon's Creations.

Make sure you take a look at both of these great sites if you love totally adorable AMIGURUMI!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Confessions of a Yarn Junkie

Are you a yarn junkie?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you find it impossible to pass a craft store without stopping in? Do you tell yourself...I will just stop in and see what they have on sale. Then you grab a basket and end up filling it to the brim with yarn before you know it?

  2. Do you go online and yearn for that yarn you don't have? Gazing and dreaming at all those bamboo silks, and alpacas? Then....grab that credit card before you can think twice about it?

  3. Have you run out of space in your yarn bins and organizers and now fill your closets and garages with big bags of the stuff?

  4. Do you now have more yarn than you can possibly use? Could you open up a small yarn store yourself?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then you are just like me....a yarn junkie.

So what are things that I have done to curb this appetite?

  1. I now only go into craft stores if I have to get a particular yarn for a project and absolutely cannot use any of the yarn that I currently possess.

  2. If I am compelled to go on a spree, I also now make sure I am bargain shopping, so that my wallet does not suffer the consequences of my addiction.

Bargain shopping 101:

  1. Most craft stores have online coupons that they post on their websites, or email to you weekly or bi-weekly if you sign up for their newsletters. This definately helps to soothe the wallet so to speak. I now wait for these coupons to be posted online and then I can indulge in my little addiction for 30, 40 or 50% off.
  2. I also like to frequent the local thrift stores. Most of the time you can find amazing deals. I just bought (2) 1 lb cones of Peaches & Creme 100% cotton 4 ply at my local thrift store last week. (1) was unopened and the other...barely used. I got them for .99 a piece! I believe they retail somewhere in the $10 range. Now I have enough baby pink to last me a lifetime....well almost a lifetime.
  3. I will also surf local online classified sites like . On these community sites people will often want to practically give away their scrap yarn. Sometimes people will want to barter as well. Some people will have too much of a color/type of yarn and would like to trade you for what you have an excess of. You can also post a wanted ad on these sites for yarn/supplies that you desire. Some people will give things away for free on occassion!
  4. These community classified sites are also great for locating yard sales in your local area. Yard sales are great for finding yarn on a budget as well. Most people will sell items in large bulk as well, so it is possible to get 2-5 skeins for a bargain price.

To end this post I will share a few pics of my stash. It is a great comfort to me as a crocheter to have a plethora of colors, materials, and weights of yarn in my possession.

...So here is to all the alpacas, acryllics, angoras, bamboo silks, cashmeres, cottons, hemps, mohairs, nylons, polyesters, rayons, wools, and all other yarns of the world.

I am proud to be a Yarn Junkie!