Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Selfish Crafting ;o)

After spending quite a bit of craft-time working on (secret) gift items, I'm taking some craft-time to be completely selfish.  ;o)

I started by making myself an Amineko Crocheted Cat.

Best Buds  ;o)


When I saw the first one that Pammy Sue made (she's made another one since then), I thought it was an adorable pattern with a lot of room for personality in the way you choose to embroider the facial expression.  (And you can dress them-- either by crocheting clothes or accessories for them or by simply altering the colors you use to make a permanent sweater, pants, etc. for the cat to "wear".  As you can see, I made a rainbowy scarf for my cat using a scrap of South Maid size 10 in the "Mexicana" colorway.)

Howdy!


The Amineko Cat pattern didn't look too hard to do, so of course I decided to make it more fiddly by trying the pattern with size 10 thread.  ;o)  There's one person on Ravelry who's made at least a couple in size 10-- but also one in size 80.  It boggles the mind.

Catnap


(If you aren't familiar with thread sizes, the larger the number, the thinner the thread.  Here's a blog entry good ol' Google found for me with a very illustrative comparative photo of two versions of the same tatting pattern.  One snowflake is your typical size 10 thread-- also called "bedspread weight" by some-- and the teensy one next to it is in size 80 thread.  And here's another blog entry with a clearly labeled photo showing a few different thread brands and sizes.)

Anyway, size 10 is small enough for me.  (g)  It was fun to make-- with a few quibbles:
  1. The way I hold my crochet, I was constantly jabbing one of my fingers with the tiny steel hook, every time I made a stitch.  Normally that's not a problem, but the tiny hook made my finger sore after a while.  
  2. I don't particularly enjoy seaming things or stitching bits of amigurumi together.  
  3. I need practice embroidering faces on amigurumi... or I need to stop being such a perfectionist and just be happy with the faces I end up with.  
Fortunately, I found a very helpful video tutorial for securing the thread or yarn you use for embroidering faces on amigurumi (or really, for embroidering anything on crochet in instances where you don't have access to the wrong side of your work) while simultaneously hiding the knots.



If I ever make another Amineko Cat, I think I might make the tail a little longer, stuff the muzzle a little less, make the mouth more of an inverted V, and possibly attach the arms and legs differently.  Maybe hold them “flat” and stitch them to the torso in a straight line rather than in a more circular or oval shape.  They tend to stick out at right angles more than I want, the way I attached them this time...  I'd rather the arms just flopped down to the sides of the torso.

Amineko Crocheted Cat


Still, I think it turned out cute-- and this pattern would be even faster and easier to work in yarn, I imagine.  (Something I'll keep in mind for the future.)

(If you still haven't seen enough of the cat, there are a couple more photos on Flickr.)

- - - - - - -

My next purely selfish yarn/thread-based project is Multnomah-- my first time knitting a shawl(ette).  It was all the beautiful (and often free) patterns for knitted shawls-- particularly fine, lacy shawls-- that finally convinced me that I wanted to learn to knit, so even though this isn't quite on that level of difficulty, I'm still getting a thrill out of this project!

Obsidian Multnomah


I had a hard time deciding between Multnomah and the Holden Shawlette, because I like both and they're so very similar.  In the end, I went with this one-- partly because I thought it might be somewhat easier, and I'm in favor of easy for this first foray into shawl-knitting. 

I'm using two skeins of Serenity Sock Yarn in the Obsidian colorway (grey, ivory, denim, and sage)-- and I believe this is my first time knitting with sock-weight yarn, so I'm excited about this project for a variety of reasons.

The weather this spring has been unseasonably warm (as it has in many places), but today we're enjoying beautiful, breezy "open-window weather"-- and the fresh, slightly cool air flowing through the house has fooled a (very gullible) part of me into thinking that we're headed into autumn instead of balancing on the brink of summertime.  (Ugh, summer.  My least favorite time of the year.)  So, oddly, even though it's not really a very practical, reasonable time to begin knitting even a light shawl-- particularly this year-- it doesn't feel like an odd thing to do.

I don't expect this cool weather to last much longer, but I plan to enjoy it while it's here!  Maybe this calls for a little knitting out on the swing...