Recently in Amigurumi Category

Conroy the Friendly Ami Dragon

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20090108_ConroyTheMagicDrag.jpgAt long last I can unveil my most significant amigurumi project yet!  This is Conroy, a fierce, but really friendly dragon -- the pattern is on Craftster, and I found him via Ravelry.  You may remember that my sister-in-law loves dragons (the original "Here There Be Dragons" socks were made for her).  So, in addition to the Hemlock Ring Blanket, I wanted to make my beautiful new nephew a toy and guardian symbol.  This Amigurumi project was definitely more complicated than anything I had done previously, but it was still do-able with my modest crochet skills. 

He's been complete for quite some time, but because he was meant to be a special surprise gift (dragons seem to like to make sure their guardian roles will be accepted before they make grand public announcements) he didn't make it up onto the blog after I finished him.  And then, of course, since I wasn't feeling well the night he was packed up to head down to Houston, I forgot to take any pictures of him.  Fortunately, my dad snapped a few photos of him stretching out his wings in the sun after his trip from the north country.

Conroy is made up of quite a few pieces, making him a toy with moving arms and legs.  I encourage you to check out the link to the project to see the pieces and the construction process.  Probably the hardest part for me was embroidering on his eyes.  Since my nephew is a brand new human I didn't want Conroy to have any parts that could be chewed off and ingested by accident.  But my free hand embroidery skills are weak, and I haven't done much embroidery on a crochet surface, which complicates the process a little bit.

He was constructed using Lion Brand Vanna's Choice acrylic yarn and stuffed with acrylic polyfil so that he could be washed if necessary.  Ms. Z picked out the colors (I showed her the yarn and asked her which one she liked best) since I wanted her to have a hand in the project as well. 

This is a fun project and the instructions are very good.  I am always pleasantly surprised when something that probably took a long time to write out as a pattern is available for free.  Of all the dragon patterns I found on the web, for free and for payment, this one was certainly the nicest.

My understanding from my brother is that Conroy was a big hit, so my only disappointment was not being there when he announced his intentions to be my nephews winged buddy.  I hope he has a long and happy future looking out for the sweetest little nephew ever -- and that he is a constant reminder that even though his Ciocia* is far away, she is with him in spirit.

*Ciocha (pronounced like cho-cha) is "Aunt" in Polish.  I'm "Ciocia Theresa" to my nieces and as I've heard it more and more I've come to like it more an more. 

App-pull

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20081113_AmiApple.jpg
A little more sweet Amigurumi to round up the week.  This is the apple from the same book as the owl came from: Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet.  The pattern in the book includes a cute worm poking his head out of the apple, but I omitted that detail because I didn't think it would add anything to the toy for Z.

Like the owl, (or rather, I should say Ow-ul) this ami is made from Lion Brand Vanna's Choice acrylic.

I nearly lost control of App-pull before he even got his stuffing.  "App-pull!  App-pull!" I guess she liked the idea of having one of her favorite fruits turned into a stuffed toy.  Needless to say, Z was happy to take possession of the final product.

20081113_AmiAppleAndZ.jpgI only wish that App-pull could help make some of the teething pain go away.  Lately we've been battling the arrival of at least two molars and what look to be a couple of other teeth, and in the evenings our usually happy baby has been having an over abundance of sad meltdowns that are not temper tantrums.  On the other hand, we have added a new component to her bedtime ritual.  Now before she goes to bed she starts saying "ABC's!  ABCs!"  because she loves it when we go to this website and work through the letters.  Some parts of it are a little advanced for the average 16 month old but she likes the graphics and the occasional bits of music that come around.  She will sit with rapt attention in one of our laps so that she can watch this stuff.  She's also thoroughly discovered computer peripherals.  If you aren't careful now, she'll grab your mouse off your desk "Mouse! Mouse!"  and run off with it.  It's just amazing to see how many things she can put real words to now -- and how well she can pronounce so many words.

Ow-ul

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20081107_AmigurumiOwl.jpg

One thing about knitting for other people's children: it makes you feel guilty if you haven't knitted for your own child in a while.  Ms. Z has a very favorite onesie -- it has an owl on it and it's one of the few items of clothing that she will let you put on her without struggling.  She'll point to it and say "Ow-ul! Ow-ul!" when she sees it.  In fact, almost any owl will elicit that response, so it seems that my daughter has developed a thing for nocturnal birds of prey and that gave me an idea for creating a toy for her.

Sometime back, Mary recommended a great amigurumi book to me at one of our KIP nights.



While I thought the projects were adorable, I hadn't sat myself down with it and tried anything out.  When I was thinking about toys, I pulled it out and saw the owl and knew that I needed to see if I could make one for Z.  Well, one trip to JoAnn's and an afternoon later, the owl was made.  And Z was incredibly excited to see me working on it.  When she finally got it into her hands, she just smiled and smiled and ran around the play area "Ow-ul!  Ow-ul!  Ow-ul!" showing it to her father and me any time she could.  And Ow-ul has quickly become one of those toys that she pays attention to.  She regularly wants to know where Ow-ul is and every time she even sees the Amigurumi World book, she tries to grab it and reminds me who is on the cover.

For the record, Ow-ul is made out of Lion Brand "Vanna's Choice" yarn -- a worsted weight 100% acrylic yarn that has just the slightest halo that makes it a nice choice for animal toys because it gives them that vaguely fuzzy quality.   You might wonder why I would actually go out and buy acrylic when I have a collection of Cascade 220 in my stash.  There are some very good reasons:

  • It's washable, and even 16 month old babies still like to chew on their toys occasionally.  They also like to try to give their toys a bath in the kitty water bowl, they take them outside and sometimes toys get invited to dinner when you didn't expect company.  So washability is a must.
  • It's soft and comfortable to knit with.  I've crocheted with enough cotton to know that over time it hurts my hands a little bit if I am making a stiffer fabric, which is required for stuffed toys.
  • It's cheap.  It was 30% off at JoAnn's and that made it almost as cheap as Red Heart. And it's much nicer than Red Heart from a texture perspective.  It makes no sense to spend a lot of money on yarn for a toy that will probably get a lot of love and abuse.
  • It's durable.  Ms. Z was gifted with an acrylic fuzzy blanket that has become her one and only blankie.  It gets filthy and gets washed and comes out looking like new.  If Z gets as attached to Ow-ul as she is to her blankie, I can't afford to use yarn that can't take a beating.
I thought the yarn also was quite nice to work with -- it was easy on my hands and actually felt pretty nice slipping through my fingers.  So for budget acrylic, I definitely give it a thumb's up.  It seems to come in a fair number of nice colors, too.  So it gives you a wide pallette for  toy making.

With Ow-ul under my belt and getting such a good reception, you can bet there will be more toys like this for Ms. Z in the future.  One of her other favorite words (and snacks!) is "Ap-pull" so you can guess what might be next.

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