Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Elf Bombing

Today seemed like a good day to do some elf bombing. I didn’t make as many elves as I had hoped - only four little guys - but hopefully this small gang will be able to spread some cheer this Christmas Eve.

The first two were left at bus stops. They seem kind of desperate to get a ride. I hope they make it back home in time.




The third elf was looking to earn a few bucks before the season was out. I dropped him off near some amazing street art.




The fourth and final elf just needed a place to chill. We found him a nice spot in the park.




Have an absolutely magical day tomorrow, everyone! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Berg the Christmas Elf



This is Berg the Christmas Elf. He communicates solely by waggling his ears, loves his morning cup of coffee and collects chocolate covered marshmallows that look like Santa. He’s not as good at acrobatics as his fellow Christmas elves but he makes up for this by having an astounding ability to bounce no matter which way he falls. His heroes, besides Santa Claus, are Dr Seuss, Rosemary Clooney and Jimmy Durante.

After decorating my house this weekend, I had a sudden urge to make a Christmas themed pattern and so Berg was born. His high hat and ears were originally inspired by the elves from Rise of the Guardians but I wanted him to look more like a dumpling. I kinda think he looks a little like the Mayor from Nightmare Before Christmas but that might just be me.

I know there are quite a few free elf patterns out there so I thought I would share the love. Here are some patterns you might also like to check out:
Santa’s Elf  by Sue Pendleton
Shelf Elf by Jill Watt
Lily the Christmas Elf from yarninspirations.com
Elf by Amanda Critchley

Good luck with the holiday season, everyone! Take it easy, don’t stress, and enjoy the season!

I've made a change to the pattern. Instead of lightly stuffing the feet, leave them unstuffed. Your elf will stand better this way and won't tumble around like someone tipsy on eggnog.

Berg the Christmas Elf



Size
11cm/4.3in tall when made with DK yarn and 2.75mm hook

Skill Level
Moderate. This pattern requires that you crochet in a spiral and in rows. There are several colour changes in the pattern. I recommend these two tutorials on changing yarn colour: Colour Changes in Amigurumi by June Gilbank and Crocheted Jogless Stripe by NeedleNoodles. The colours in the patterns are suggestions only so feel free to experiment. If you don’t feel like crocheting the ears or the eyes, felt would work great for both.

Note on yarn and hook size
I used DK weight yarn and a 2.75mm hook (US size C, UK size 11) for this pattern. You can use a different weight yarn than DK but it will change the size of your toy. Remember to use the same weight yarn for all parts so that your toy is in proportion. Choose a hook size that will give you a nice tight stitch.

Materials
Yarn
Peach
Red
Black
Green
Gold
White

Crochet Hook – 2.75mm or preferred size
Filling
Tapestry needle
Black felt for the eyes
Craft glue and/or thread and sharp needle for attaching felt
Pins
Scissors

Terminology
***This pattern was written using US crochet terminology***
ch – Chain
Rnd – Round
sc – Single crochet
sc2tog – Single crochet two stitches together.
sl st – Slip stitch
st – Stitch. This term covers ch, sc, hdc, sl st and other stitches used in crochet.

Make a ring – The starting point for crocheting in a spiral. Use which ever method you prefer.
* * - Repeat the instructions between the asterisks as directed.
( ) – The number of stitches that should be in a completed round are placed in brackets at the end of that round’s instructions.

Instructions

Body (in Peach, Red, Black and Green)
Start with Peach.
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
Rnd 3: *sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (16)
Rnd 4: *2 sc in next st, sc in next 3 st*  around (20)
Rnd 5: *sc in next 4 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (24)
Rnd 6: *2 sc in next st, sc in next 5 st*  around (28)
Rnd 7: *sc in next 6 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (32)
Rnd 8-9: sc in each st around
Change to Red.
Rnd 10: sc in each st around
Change to Black.
Rnd 11: sc in each st around
Rnd 12: *sc in next 7 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (36)
Change to Green.
Rnd 13-14: sc in each st around
Rnd 15: *sc in next 4 st, sc2tog*  around (30)
Rnd 16: *sc in next 3 st, sc2tog*  around (24)
Start stuffing.
Rnd 17: *sc in next 2 st, sc2tog*  around (18)
Rnd 18: *sc in next st, sc2tog*  around (12)
Finish stuffing firmly.
Rnd 19: sc2tog around (6)
Cut yarn and weave end through remaining stitches. Pull tight to close up hole. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Hat (in Gold, Green and Red)
Start with Gold.
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
Rnd 3: sc2tog around (6)
Change to Green.
Rnd 4: sc in each st around
Rnd 5: *sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next st*  twice (8)
Rnd 6-7: sc in each st around
Rnd 8: *sc in next 3 st, 2 sc in next st*  twice (10)
Rnd 9-10: sc in each st around
Rnd 11: *sc in next 4 st, 2 sc in next st*  twice (12)
Rnd 12: sc in each st around
Rnd 13: *sc in next st, 2 sc in next st*  around (18)
Rnd 14: *sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (24)
Rnd 15-16: sc in each st around
Change to Red.
Rnd 17-20: sc in each st around
Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a long tail of yarn. This yarn tail will be used to stitch down the red cuff of the hat and to attach the hat to Berg’s head. Weave in all other yarn ends. Leave unstuffed.

Feet (in Red)
I've made a change in the pattern. Instead of stuffing the feet, leave them unstuffed. Your elf will be able to stand more easily this way. Attach them the same way as show in the photos. The only difference is they will be flatter.

Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2-3: sc in each st around
Rnd 4: sl st in next 3 st, 2 sc in next 3 st (9)
Rnd 5: sl st in next 3 st, *sc in next st, 2 sc in next st*  three times (12)
Rnd 6-11: sc in each st around
Rnd 12: sc2tog around (6)
Cut yarn and weave end through remaining stitches. Pull tight to close up hole. Leave a tail of yarn to use later when attaching the feet to the body. Make two.

Arms (in Red)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2-4: sc in each st around
Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a tail of yarn to use when attaching the arms to the body. Leave unstuffed. Make two.

Ears (in Peach)
Chain 4.
Row 1: sl st in 2nd chain from the hook, sc in next st, 2 sc in last st
Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a tail of yarn to use when attaching the ears to the head. Make two.

Big Eye (in White)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
Sl st in next st and pull through yarn. Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a tail of yarn.

Small Eye (in White)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Sl st in next st and pull through yarn. Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a tail of yarn.

You can now attach a small circle of black felt to each eye to make the pupils, using needle and thread or glue. They should sit off-centre, close to the edge of the eye.



Assembly
***These are guidelines only. Be guided by your own eyes at all times.***

Join the eyes to the body. The eyes sit close together immediately above the red line on the body. Attach using the tail ends on the eyes.


Join the hat to the body. Fold up the red part of the hat to form a cuff. Stitch down the cuff with the tail of yarn then thread the yarn out through the bottom edge of the cuff. Pin to the head and stitch on.


Join the arms to the body. The arms sit on the red line on the body. Pin on and attach using the yarn ends on the arms.


Join the feet to the body. Pin the feet to the body and stitch on using the yarn ends on the feet.


Join the ears to the head. The ears sit just below the hat. Stitch on using the yarn ends left on the ears.


Add the buckle. To make the buckle, take a length of gold or yellow yarn and stitch in a square over the black line on the body.



Your Christmas Elf is complete! Deck the halls with elves and more elves, fa la la la la, la la la la!

Copyright © Kim Lapsley 2013

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Video Tutorial for Egmont's Umbrella

A request was made for a video tutorial for Egmont's Umbrella. Here it is! This is the first video tutorial I've done and I was pretty nervous so I might sound a little serious. If anything is unclear, please let me know. I recommend reading over the written tutorial first.

Part 1
0:14 Crochet the canopy
0:41 Stitching in the ridges
3:48 Weaving in the yarn ends
5:27 Making the wire stem

Part 2
0:05 Attaching the handle and wrapping the stem
5:40 Attaching the stem to the canopy








Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Oddball Mummy

First pattern for the new blog! Wahoo!

Let me introduce you to Karl the Oddball Mummy. Karl hates sand, small spaces and museums. That's an unfortunate list of pet peeves for a mummy. It's no wonder he's groaning all the time. He tries to ease his woes by perusing magazines, cutting out examples of haute couture and saving them in his scrapbook. He yearns for a new outfit but has yet to figure out how to remove his bandages without his body falling apart.


The Oddball Mummy




Size
8cm/3in tall, 7cm/2 ¾in wide

Skill Level
Intermediate. This pattern requires that you crochet in a spiral and in rows. It is quite a straightforward pattern but some rounds are worked in the back loops and there are colour changes.

Note on yarn and hook size
I used DK weight yarn and a 3.0mm hook for this pattern. For those using US hooks, I recommend a size C or D, for those using UK hooks, I recommend a size 11. You can use a different weight yarn than DK but it will change the size of your toy. Remember to use the same weight yarn for all parts so that your toy is in proportion. Choose a hook size that will give you a nice tight stitch.

Materials
Yarn
White
Light Green

Crochet Hook – 3.00mm or preferred size
Filling
Plastic pellets or dried beans and stocking (optional)
Tapestry needle
Black felt for the eyes
Craft glue and/or thread and sharp needle for attaching felt
Pins
Scissors
Used teabag and some cool water

Terminology
***This pattern was written using US crochet terminology***
ch – Chain
Rnd – Round
sc – Single crochet
sc2tog – Single crochet two stitches together.
sl st – Slip stitch
st – Stitch. This term covers ch, sc, hdc, sl st and other stitches used in crochet.

Make a ring – The starting point for crocheting in a spiral. Use which ever method you prefer.
* * - Repeat the instructions between the asterisks as directed.
( ) – The number of stitches that should be in a completed round are placed in brackets at the end of that round’s instructions.

Instructions

Body (White and Light Green)
Some of the rounds are worked in the back loops to create lines around the body and make it look like Karl is wrapped in bandages. If you're not familiar with back loops, I recommend looking at this tutorial on Stitch Diva Studios.

Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around (12)
Rnd 3: *sc in next st, 2 sc in next st*  around (18)
Rnd 4: Working in the back loops only, *sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (24)
Rnd 5: *sc in next 3 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (30)
Rnd 6: Working in the back loops only, *sc in next 4 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (36)
Rnd 7: *sc in next 5 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (42)
Rnd 8: Working in the back loops only, *sc in next 6 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (48)
Rnd 9: sc in each st  around
Rnd 10: Working in the back loops only, sc in each st  around
Rnd 11: *sc in next 6 st, sc2tog*  around (42)
Rnd 12: Working in the back loops only, *sc in next 5 st, sc2tog*  around (36)
Rnd 13: sc in each st  around
Rnd 14: Working in the back loops only, sc in each st  around
Rnd 15: *sc in next 4 st, sc2tog*  around (30)
Rnd 16: Working in the back loops only, *sc in next 3 st, sc2tog*  around (24)
Rnd 17: *sc in next 5 st, 2 sc in next st* around (28)
Can start lightly stuffing now. Plastic pellets or dried beans tied in a stocking can be placed at the bottom of the body to give it a bit of weight. This will also give your toy a bit more stability when you stand it up.
Rnd 18: Working in the back loops only, *sc in next 6 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (32)
Rnd 19: *sc in next 7 st, 2 sc in next st*  around (36)
Change to Light Green yarn.
Rnd 20: sc in each st around
Rnd 21: *sc in next 7 st, sc2tog*  around (32)
Rnd 22: *sc in next 6 st, sc2tog*  around (28)
Change to White yarn.
Rnd 23: *sc in next 2 st, sc2tog*  around (21)
Rnd 24: *sc in next st, sc2tog*  around (14)
Finish stuffing firmly.
Rnd 25: sc2tog  around (7)
Cut yarn and weave end through remaining stitches. Pull tight to close up hole. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Arms (in White)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 7 sc in ring (7)
Rnd 2: sc in each st around
Rnd 3: Working in the back loops only, sc in each st around
Rnd 4: sc in each st around
Rnd 5: Working in the back loops only, sc in each st around
Rnd 6: sc in each st around
Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a tail of yarn. Leave unstuffed. Make two.

Bandage (in White)
Chain 3.
Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from the hook, sc in next chain (2)
Row 2-13: chain 1, turn, sc in next two sc (2)
Row 14: chain 1, turn, sc2tog (1)
Row 15-16: chain 1, turn, sc in next sc (1)
Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a tail of yarn. Weave in other yarn ends.

Mouth (in White)
Chain 6.
Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from the hook, sc in next 4 chains (5)
Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a tail of yarn. Weave in other yarn ends.

Big Eye (in White)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
Sl st in next st and pull through yarn. Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a tail of yarn.

Small Eye (in White)
Make a ring.
Rnd 1: 6 sc in ring (6)
Sl st in next st and pull through yarn. Cut yarn and fasten off, leaving a tail of yarn.

You can now attach a small circle of black felt to each eye to make the pupils, using needle and thread or glue. They should sit off-centre, close to the edge of the eye.



Assembly
***These are guidelines only. Be guided by your own eyes at all times.***

Join arms to the body. Attach the arms just below the neck, the narrowest part of the body, using the tails of yarn left on the arms.



Join the eyes to the body. The eyes sit close together on the green section of the body (the green section being his mouldy face). Position the eyes so that the pupils are close together. Use the tails of yarn left on the eyes to stitch them on to the body.



 Join the bandage to the head. The narrow section of the bandage sits above the eyes and the bandage should sweep to the side, as if blowing in a desert breeze. Stitch on using the tail of yarn left on the bandage.


Join the mouth to the face. Don't stitch down the upper edge of the mouth. Let it gape open a little in a grimace. Stitch on using the tail of yarn on the mouth.



Stain the bandages. Make a cup of tea and place the teabag aside. Use a black tea. I used English Breakfast. Make sure to set aside the teabag before adding any milk.


Run a little cool water over the teabag so that it's not too hot to handle. Give the teabag a squeeze so that it's not too wet - it should be damp but not dripping. Have a little water sitting by in a bowl. Now dab your Mummy with the bag to stain his bandages. This will leave quite dark stains. To soften them, wet your finger in the bowl of water and then run it over the stains. Try to keep his eyes stain free.



Your Oddball Mummy is now complete. If his groaning starts to bother you, give him a magazine and that should keep him quiet for a while.

Copyright © Kim Lapsley 2012

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Some Basics on Micro-crochet

My Micro Octopus ... Fine copper wire was used in the tentacles.

Micro Stag ... He is 2.5cm long.

I've spent a lot of time this year micro-crocheting and I've started selling some pieces in my Etsy store. I've been sharing my micro projects on Facebook and recently Deviantart but, for no good reason, I've not yet talked about it on the blog. So here we go … I'm going to show off some of my pieces and talk about some of the basics on micro-crochet.

Micro-crocheting is basically what it sounds like - it's crocheting on a very small scale, using thread and steel hooks. There are some amazing micro-crochet artists and if you're interested in trying it out yourself, I recommend taking a look at some of the work out there to get a feel for it. Crochet Concupiscence recently did a round-up titled Teeny Tiny Crochet. This would be the perfect place to start browsing.

Don't be intimated by what you see when browsing. Making and seeing such tiny stitches may seem impossible but it's not. It just takes time and practice. Trust me, when you balance that first tiny object you've made on your fingertip, you're gonna feel like a champion and it will be worth all that initial frustration.

Patterns
If you're looking for patterns, don't think that you have to use patterns specifically written for micro-crochet projects. It's the size thread and hook that will have the biggest influence on the size of your project. To start, choose a pattern that requires very little joining and with no complicated shaping.

I have a couple of micro-crochet patterns (Micro Pig and My Tiny Heart) and here are a few free ones from some talented designers that you can find on the internet:

Amigurumi Mitsu from Sue Pendleton
Miniature Purple Panda from Amigurumi To Go
Miniature Thread Totoro also from Amigurumi To Go
Teeny Tiny Mushroom from Crafty Queens
Sauerkraut the Miniature Sock Monkey from Ronda Chapman

Materials
I started with a 0.6mm hook. In hindsight I should have probably started with a 1.0mm in order to ease myself into it. I've now moved on to the 0.4mm hook which I purchased from the Etsy store, Threads and Links. I crochet with common polyester sewing thread because it's cheap and strong. I have used embroidery thread and cotton thread and have found that they sometimes rip. This may be because I'm a little heavy handed.

A good pair of embroidery scissors is a must. When you start to get really tiny, you'll also want to find some fine needles to use for joining. I like using beading needles*. They are a bit bendy but I find their length can be handy sometimes. For stuffing, you can use polyester stuffing. You won't need much. Also, some fine point tweezers are handy when it comes to stuffing.

* Pony size 10 Betweens/Quilting needles have been recommended to me by an experienced sewer. They are as fine as beading needles but not as long and are less likely to bend.

Hummingbird and flower ... He is about 2cm wide. 



How do you see?!!!!
Okay, so the truth is if you don't have the best eyesight this is probably not the activity for you, particularly if you are longsighted. Your eyes will get tired. Good lighting is essential. Craft lamps are brilliant (pun alert!) but they can be expensive. It is probably wise to make do with the Sun and regular lamps with a bright fluorescent bulb to start with. The same goes with a magnifying glass. It's not essential and probably only necessary if you find yourself micro-crocheting all the time.


Micro whale named Blue.

A tiny polar bear.


There you have it. I hope you find that helpful. If anybody has any other tips, please leave a comment below. My next micro project will probably be a tiny boat and a calf to go with my micro whale. I hope to share it with you soon.

Cheers, guys!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Santa Claus Pattern







I have a new pattern available for sale. It's Santa Claus! All his clothes are removable and he comes with his toy sack. You can purchase the pattern from my Etsy store.

A huge thank you to my three excellent testers, Claudia, Simone and Meaella. They all did a wonderful job, as you can see from the pictures below, and helped me make a better pattern. Cheers, guys!

Claudia's Santa - A dapper gentlemen, Claudia cleverly used a button on the belt instead of a hook and eye. She has tested all three of my patterns for purchase and has done an excellent job on all of them.




Simone's Santa - The little bell on the hat was her son's idea. Love it! You can check out more photos over on her Ravelry project page.




Dreamcatcher Meaella's Santa - This sweetie of a Santa will soon be joined by Mrs Claus! Meaella is currently working on her and will be posting pictures over on her Facebook page. I can't wait. Pop on over and check out some of her other amazing projects as well.


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