Thursday, 29 March 2018

Firefly Amigurumi - Kaylee Frye

Well, I've finally finished my third Firefly pattern, and this one is for Serenity's kind and good natured mechanic, Kaylee Frye. She tends to wear practical jumpsuits most of the time, though she brightens them up with colourful tops and jackets.

With this pattern I've come up with two slightly different versions of Kaylee. You can make her with her hair up in two buns, wearing sandals and with her jumpsuit legs rolled up, with a separate jacket. Or you can make her with long hair, wearing boots. She will come out about 16 cm/6.5” tall.

The pattern is available on Etsy and Ravelry, and you can also buy the pattern together with the patterns for Mal Reynolds and Jayne Cobb at a reduced price, also on Etsy and Ravelry. If you would like to buy the Kaylee pattern together with just one of the other Firefly patterns, let me know, and I'll set that up.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Making Amigurumi - starting the first round

I get all sorts of questions from people making my patterns, and it seems like a good idea to share some of my answers, and any tips and tricks that I've picked up the time I've been crocheting and making amigurumi. A quick definition in case you don't know - amigurumi are toys that are made by crocheting in the round. This means you can create spherical and tube shapes that are perfect for making toy people and animals, and working in the round creates a strong crochet fabric that doesn't have large holes in it.

There are two ways I know of starting to work in the round and the one that seems to be recommened most often these days is to use an adjustable ring (sometimes called a magic ring). You'll find lots of tutorials online showing how to do this, but personally, I've never liked using it. When I learned to make amigurumi I used the simpler technique of making two chain stitches, then working into the first chain, which I'll describe in more detail below. When I first heard about the adjustable ring I tried it out, but I didn't find it as easy, or as secure, as my normal method.

Obviously, you should use whichever technique works best for you, but if you're new to making amigurumi, or if you've tried my normal method and not been entirely happy with it, I thought I'd set out exactly how to do it to make it work perfectly. All the instructions are set out for right-handed crocheters (sorry about that left-handers - despite being left-handed myself, I learned to crochet right-handed and that's the only way I know how to do it).

So, most of my patterns start like this (written in US terms, see below for the UK version):

Round 1: Ch 2, work 6 sc into 1st ch - 6 st.

And here is exactly how to do that:

1. Make a slip knot (you’ll need this to start any crochet). Note that the end of the yarn is on the right-hand side in the next three photos.

2. Put the slip knot on your hook, making sure the short end of yarn is to the right, you'll be working with the rest of the yarn with your left hand.

3. Chain 2 (to chain: yarn over hook, pull through loop on hook).

4. Start working into the first chain. Each chain stitch is made up of two 'lines' with a 'bump' on the other side. You need to push your hook between the two lines and underneath the bump. Work a single crochet stitch (sc in US terms; double crochet, or dc, in UK terms): insert hook into chain stitch as described, yarn over hook, pull through stitch, yarn over hook and pull through both loops on hook.

Since the first chain was made from the slip knot, it will expand as you work into it.

5. In this case the first round is made of 6 sc (most amigurumi start with 6 stitches, but be sure to check the pattern). As you continue to work the stitches you should work over the tail of yarn you started with. You won't be able to do this on the first sc/dc, but after that it should be no problem. Hold the tail of yarn over the hook after you've inserted it through the chain, pull the yarn through and continue with the stitch as normal.

The tail of yarn held over the hook (the working end of yarn is loose above the hook).

Yarn over hook before pulling under the tail of yarn and the chain stitch.

6. Once you have completed the six stitches, it should look like this:

7. Pull the tail of yarn to close the hole in the centre.

8. Don't worry if the hole doesn't look completely closed. Work the next round (in the photo below I have worked two stitches in each stitch of round 1 to increase from 6 to 12 stitches), then pull the tail of yarn again. The hole should close completely and be secure.

Before pulling the tail of yarn tight.

After pulling the tail of yarn tight.

I hope that helps, let me know if that makes it clear or if you have any questions.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Porgs - new Star Wars pattern

After I went to see the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi (which I enjoyed very much), I knew I had to crochet one of the cute little porgs, birds that live on the rocky island where Rey finds Luke Skywalker. They were actually created by the film makers because the real island had so many puffins on it that they would be a pain to remove digitally, so they came up with similarly shaped, but distinctly alien birds to replace them.

As I started looking at pictures of porgs I realised that the male and female porgs look different - they are both brown and white, but the males have gold coloured feathers around their eyes. That meant I needed to design a pattern for each of them, and a slight variation for the male ones, as the pattern of the gold on their faces varies.

Two male porgs

Female porg

Back of porg, showing its little tail

I thought about making a larger pattern, but in the end I decided to make them roughly to the scale of all my other Star Wars patterns, so they're smaller than any other character, only 5cm/2" tall. Being so small they're pretty quick to make, so before you know it you've got an entire colony of them - I made thirteen trying to get the patterns just right!

The pattern is available on Etsy and Ravelry, I hope you enjoy it.