Miss Dolkapots Krafties

Phase two of my “improving my skills” with my latest challenge: a doll and her bear. Last year I went through a creativity crisis that put me into a funk for a while. It is during this phase that I started sulking in front of the TV and became addicted to a reality show from Japan called Terrace House. If you are not happy about your own life, lose yourself by watching over people live! Ironically, this reality show was my inspiration to get back to what I love to do and break the wall that kept me from improving. Terrace house is a dating show but it also involves people who use that bridge to find out what they want out of life or achieve their goals. They were my inspiration to turn off my TV and work harder. Lauren Tsai in particular, a talented artist who spent most of her time drawing and focusing on her passion, is the one that motivated me the most. This doll is the product of that inspiration, I am in love with making toys again.

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Now let’s talk about the doll. I used mercerized yarn to make this doll. Mercerized yarn is mostly used to make dollies but it is also great to crochet small amigurumi toys. I really liked working with that type of yarn and I think I will use it a lot more in future projects.

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I embroidered the eyes but this time I used a different technique that made the task much easier than my previous attempts. Still, I found it very hard to embroider eyes on a small head, there isn’t a lot of room to do your stitches and you are not careful you can end up with eyes too big for the face.

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The bear and the hat was a last minute decision. I had intended to just make the doll with her bag but since I am in challenge mode I thought I might as well try to add more. I am glad I did because it turned out really cute.

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So if you ever get into a creative hole and need to find a way out, I recommend Terrace House. It’s a great distraction to stop thinking about yourself while vegetating in front of the TV. You might find the inspiration to get back to what you love to do like I did!

Happy crocheting!

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I have been crocheting for years and even though I get a lot of compliments on my work, the feeling that I haven’t reached my full potential yet has been frustrating lately.  At this time of the year, I usually get ready for the Christmas fairs and events that take place during the winter season. Not this year, this time I decided to solely focus on learning new techniques to improve my skills and just practice.

My first challenge was embroidery. My Rurouni Kenshin was my first attempt in embroidering eyes and I was very happy with the result. For my next step, I was going to make a shapeable doll with clothes, and shoes made separately. I also wanted that doll to have a body shape to look a little bit more realistic. For this task, I used this Catwoman tutorial to help me with the steps (this pattern was probably translated from another language because there are a lot of terms that do not make sense, I had to guess a lot).

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First steps: arms and legs

I normally use Caron Simply Soft yarn to crochet dolls but since this was an experiment I tried a yarn with a different texture, the more sturdy Sugar’n’ Cream. I am not sure I will use it again to crochet the body because I like the softer texture of Caron better. I do like the sturdiness of the clothes, I think I will use that brand for that exclusively.

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It took me three weeks to make this doll, I had no problem with it until I reached the torso. It was the most difficult part, I had to redo it three times. I am still not happy with the shoulders but with practice, I will figure it out.

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I had never made clothes separately so it was quite a challenge, especially the shoes. I wanted her to wear sneakers but I couldn’t find a pattern small enough to fit her size. I used this baby sneakers tutorial as a base for the shoes and improvised to make them smaller. The skirt was the easiest part of the entire doll, surprisingly. I loved how it turned out, very casual and sporty.

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Like I mentioned earlier, this is my second time embroidering the eyes. This doll was more challenging because the head is quite smaller than my Himura doll. I also embroidered the lips for the first time, it was quite easy.

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Now that I am a little more familiar with this type of pattern I am ready to crochet another one. I think I will crochet a smaller version of this doll in different clothes. The more you practice the more you learn!

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I hope you enjoyed this post and that it will give you the inspiration to try new challenges in your crochet adventures. I will post about the next doll I am going to make and talk about what I did differently and what I learned from my mistakes. Also, stay tuned because I am going to post a really cute tutorial to make a really cute owl ornament. So many projects, so little time!

Happy crocheting!

 

I gave myself two challenges last month, one was to learn how to embroider eyes and the other was to make one of my favorite manga characters, Himura Kenshin. I started working on this doll at the beginning of September and finally put on the last touches yesterday. It took a lot of patience but I am very happy with the result.

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Himura Kenshin is a former assassin turned wanderer in search of redemption during the Japanese Meiji era. He is distinguishable by his orange hair, his purple eyes and the scar he wears on his cheek. He is a manga character that was also featured in an anime and live action series.

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I started the doll by crocheting the head, then practiced embroidering the eyes until the face was so worn out I had to start all over again. I tried different tutorials from Pinterest and YouTube before figuring what worked best for me. It took a lot of patience and I think I spent an entire day just trying to get it right.

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I had the most fun with his Kimono. I love crocheting costumes, it’s always my favorite part. The skirt was not worked in rounds, I crocheted the front and the back separately and sewed both sides together with yarn. It was rather easy even though I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.

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The hair was quite a challenge. First of all, I had to make a decision on the color.  It’s between a reddish and orange color, except for Takeru Satoh version of the character (live action) which has much darker tones. I opted for a deep and vibrant orange because red would blend too much with the kimono and more fun to work with than a darker shade. I made the hair in layers to achieve some volume, and for that reason, it took me a long time to cut, glue and spray the entire head. It is nerve wrecking because any mistake might ruin the entire doll. I have a love-hate relationship with my glue gun for that very reason. The key to success is time and patience, crafting will definitely teach you patience!

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The last challenge was his Katana. I really wanted to add it to the doll because I cannot imagine Himura without his sword. I didn’t know what kind of material to use to make one, I had to improvise and think “outside the box”. I ended up using felt and after trying different versions I opted for the one I liked best. (Here is a fun fact about Himura sword, it has a reversed blade which was made that way because he had sworn to never kill again after ending his career as an assassin).

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I love my little Himura Kenshin, maybe I should consider making a crocheted version of Kaoru to keep him company. I definitely want to make more manga characters, they are so much fun!

Here are links to different tutorials to embroider eyes:
Step by Step pictures by Feri_Dolls

Youtube Tutorial by Petus Ochoa” target=”_blank”>Youtube Tutorial by Petus Ochoa

Another step by step pictures by Fery-Y

Happy crocheting.. and embroidering!

I had several messages from people who would like to crochet amigurumi items based on patterns but still have difficulty understanding the technical terms and abbreviations. I have been there, my first project was a little bear which ended looking like a voodoo doll because I had no clue what I was doing. The instructions looked like special codes and cipher from some James Bond flick and I wasn’t about to save the world with my crochet hook. I was very discouraged and for a while, I stopped trying. I learned, eventually, but it took me a lot of efforts to get started.

I am going to base these instructions on the way I write my own patterns, starting with the abbreviations. Patterns start with the list of materials you will need, and in most cases the type of crochet stitches you are going to use. Here a the basic ones:

rnd: round
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet
hdc = half double crochet
st = stitch
sl st = slip stitch
ch = chain
inc = increase
dec = decrease
beg = beginning
blo = back loop only
flo = front loop only

Most amigurumi start with a magic ring, so in most cases, you will be asked to make one. Here is a very good video by June Gilbank that shows you how to make one and its purpose:

Now that you know what a magic ring is made, here is a sample from one of my pattern to make a ball:

Make a magic ring,
Rnd 1: 6 sc in center of the ring (6)
You make 6 single crochet in the ring you just made (this step is explained in the video). The (6) is the number of stitches you end up with when you finish the round.

Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
You make 2 single crochet in every 6 stitches of the last round. At the end of this row, you should have 12 stitches.

Rnd 3: [1 sc, inc] 6 times (18)
This is what the instructions would be without abbreviations:
“1 single crochet, increase – 1 single crochet, increase –  1 single crochet, increase – 1 single crochet, increase – 1 single crochet, increase – 1 single crochet, increase.”
You repeated the process of one single crochet and one increase 6 times. Once you finish this round you end up with 18 stitches

Rnd 4: [2 sc, inc] 6 times (24) 
“1 single crochet, 1 single crochet, increase – 1 single crochet, 1 single crochet, increase – 1 single crochet,  1 single crochet, increase – 1 single crochet, 1 single crochet, increase – 1 single crochet, 1 single crochet, increase – 1 single crochet, 1 single crochet, increase “
Similar to the previous round but you make 2 single crochet and one increase 6 times. Once you finish this round you end up with 24 stitches.

Rnd 5 to 9: sc in each st around (24)
For the next 5 rounds, you will just single crochet in each stitch. You will end up with the same number of stitches at the end.

Rnd 10: [2 sc, dec] 6 times (18) 
This is what the instructions would be without abbreviations:
“1 single crochet, 1 single crochet, decrease – 1 single crochet, 1 single crochet, decrease – 1 single crochet,  1 single crochet, decrease – 1 single crochet, 1 single crochet, decrease – 1 single crochet, 1 single crochet, decrease – 1 single crochet, 1 single crochet, decrease.”
On this round, you made 2 single crochet and one decrease 6 times. You end up with 18 stitches at the end of your row.

Rnd 11: [1 sc, dec] 6 times (12)
“1 single crochet, decrease – 1 single crochet, decrease – 1 single crochet, decrease – 1 single crochet, decrease – 1 single crochet, decrease – 1 single crochet, decrease.”
On this round, you made 1 single crochet and one decrease 6 times. You end up with 18 stitches at the end of your row.

Rnd 12: dec 6 times (6)
Fasten off.
You decrease 6 times and end up with 6 stitches at the end of this round.
Cut your yarn and pull it with your hook.

Now that your ball is finished and stuffed with fiberfill, how do you close it? You still have 6 stitches left. In order to do that you will use your remaining thread and a needle. Insert your needle and thread in the front loop of each stitch of the last row and pull your string, this process with close the hole. You can hide the rest of the thread by weaving it between stitches of the ball.

Starting your round with a chain instead of a magic ring
There are cases where a pattern will ask you to start with a chain to start your first round, here is an example:
5 in ch,
Rnd 1: sc in second ch from hook, 2 sc, inc, turn, 2 sc, inc (9)
This is what the instructions would be without abbreviations:
Make 5 stitches to make a chain,
“single crochet in the second chain from the hook, single crochet, single crochet, increase, turn to the other side of the chain, single crochet, single crochet, increase.”
This one sounds a little bit more complex so I added a visual to understand the process:

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I hope this helps a little, not everybody writes patterns the same way so I don’t expect to have solved all the difficulties one might run into while reading a pattern. But if you have any questions, or things you would like me to add to this post let me know in the comments.

Happy crocheting!

I just finished working on my latest crochet pattern which is now available on Etsy: a cute bunny rabbit and his favorite snack, a fresh and yummy carrot from the garden. He was inspired by another pattern I made a few months ago to crochet a squirrel holding an acorn. I am very happy with the result, It turned out exactly how I pictured it! Maybe I should turn it into a series of animals holding their favorite snacks!

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He’s about 11 inches tall and crocheted with a 2.75mm hook. I used Red Heart Super Saver for the bunny and Caron Simply Soft for the carrot but using these specific brands is not mandatory. I picked an off-white color to crochet the bunny because pure white gets dirty too quickly.

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This little bunny is easy to make. I like to keep my patterns simple by using basic stitches and techniques such as single crochet, increase and decrease. I also use a lot of descriptive photos to give help with visuals.

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I Think I am going to take this bunny for a stroll in the garden and see if he will start hopping around or make friends with the real rabbits.

You can visit my Etsy shop If you are interested in this pattern or would like to see more pictures.

Happy crocheting!

You might or might have not heard of a Korean TV series called “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” (Goblin). If you have, you are probably a K-drama fan just like me. I have been watching this series on and off for the past two weeks and it really inspired me to drop everything and start another fanart project: Kim-shin, and his bride.

Kim Shin is an immortal goblin who is in search for his bride, the only one who can remove the sword piercing through his chest. Once the sword is removed, he may finally move to the afterlife and rest in peace. That’s the first character I decided to take on, an exciting challenge for my crochet cravings.

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I was so inspired, it took me three days to make this Goblin… I just couldn’t stop. The first day I worked on the head, body, and feet. The second day was spent crocheting the arms, then the hair. The third day was the most excruciating because I had no idea how to make a sword.

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The head, body, and feet was the easiest part, I just wanted the doll to be very cute and small. the fun part began with the hair, Kim Shin has a very stylish haircut that is not easy to replicate with yarn. I had to play hairdresser with scissors, glue, and hairspray for a good couple of hours. I tried to work slowly because one mistake would ruin the entire doll (I think I held my breath for the entire time.)

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I saved the best for life, the sword. My first attempt was to crochet the entire piece, but after several attempts, I realized that I didn’t have a hook small enough for that. The sword ended up being too big for his small body and for a while, I wondered if I would find a solution to my problem. I really tried to think outside the box and ended up using a wood stick and some cardboard that I wrapped with yarn. It took me an entire afternoon to do it but in the end, I was happy I had found a way.

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Now that I am done with the Goblin, I can work on his bride. She is going to take longer to make because she wears more layers of clothing and carries a backpack on her back. Her trademark is a red scarf she wears most of the time so I will have to make that as well. I can’t wait to have the bride join my Goblin on the shelf. They are going to look so cute together!

 

It has been too long since I posted a free pattern on this blog so I decided that today would be the day! I am going to share a very cute and easy tutorial to crochet a caterpillar. This little bug is very easier to make and perfect for beginners.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

CATERPILLAR PATTERN

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MATERIALS:
– Medium/4 worsted yarn in the following colors: white, green, red, yellow, blue and black. (You can pick any colors you like, I just liked that combination.)
– 2.75mm hook
– Fiberfill for stuffing
– 12mm safety eyes (you can also use googly eyes)
– Yarn needle
– Ribbon

ABBREVIATIONS:
– ch = chain
– rnd = round
– sc = single crochet
– inc = increase
– dec = decrease
– beg = beginning

HEAD:
With green yarn, make a magic ring
Rnd 1: 6 sc in center of the ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
Rnd 3: [1 sc, inc] 6 times (18)
Rnd 4: [2 sc, inc] 6 times (24)
Rnd 5: [3 sc, inc] 6 times (30)
Rnd 6: sc in each st around (30)
Rnd 7: [6 sc, inc] 4 times, 2 sc (34)
Rnd 8 to 10: sc in each st around (34)
Change yarn to white
Rnd 11: sc in each st around using back stitches only (34)
Rnd 12: [6 sc, dec] 4 times, 2 sc (30)
Rnd 13: sc in each st around (30)
Rnd 14: [3 sc, dec] 6 times (24)
Rnd 15: [2 sc, dec] 6 times (18)
Rnd 16: [1 sc, dec] 6 times (12)
Rnd 17: dec 6 times (6)
Fasten off and sew the remaining stitches together to close the hole: Insert your yarn needle in each front stitch and pull.

Note: Do not forget to stuff the head with fiberfill and insert the safety along the way.

BODY:
With red yarn, make a magic ring
Rnd 1: 6 sc in center of the ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
Rnd 3: [1 sc, inc] 6 times (18)
Rnd 4: [2 sc, inc] 6 times (24)
Rnd 5: [3 sc, inc] 6 times (30)
Rnd 6: [4 sc, inc] 6 times (36)
Rnd 7 to 11: sc in each st around (36)
Rnd 12: [4 sc, dec] 6 times (30)
Rnd 13: [3 sc, dec] 6 times (24)
Start stuffing and continue along the way
Rnd 14: [2 sc, dec] 6 times (18)
Rnd 15: [1 sc, dec] 6 times (12)
Change color to yellow
Repeat from rnd 3 to 15 three more times with different colors (if you want your caterpillar to be longer you can add more).
Decrease 6 times on the last row of the last ball just like the head.

ANTENNAS
With black yarn , make a magic ring
Rnd 1: 6 sc in center of the ring (6)
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each st around (12)
Rnd 3: [1 sc, inc] 6 times (18)
Rnd 4: sc in each st around (18)
Start stuffing with fiberfill and continue along the way
Rnd 5: [1 sc, dec] 6 times (12)
Rnd 6: dec 6 times (6)
Change color to green
Rnd 7 to 11: sc in each st around (6)
Fasten off and sew on top of the head with the remaining threads.

LEGS (make 2 for each ball in the respective colors):
Leave a long tail at beg and end.
10 in ch.
Row 1: 9 sc.
Fasten off. Use the remaining threads of each leg to attach the legs on the
sides. Hide the extra threads into the body.

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Voila! I hope you will enjoy this crochet pattern but if you run into difficulty or have any questions don’t hesitate to comment below. I usually answer really fast. Happy crocheting!

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This is the second dollI I made to challenge myself and attempt to improve my skills. I think this one is an improvement of the first one. I am very happy with it 😊 #amigurumi #dollsofinstagram #doll #crochet #artsandcrafts #missdolkapots #crochetdoll #ilovecrochet #teddybear #crochetbear #crochetersofinstagram
Still experimenting with dolls. This version is very small and crocheted with mercerized yarn. I really like the result, now I need to doll her up! #crocher #dolls #dollsofinstagram #amigurumi #diy #crafts #crochetfun #ilovecrochet
This is a doll I worked on to learn new techniques and improve my skills. I am very happy with the result but I will make another one to continue my practice. #artsandcrafts #amigurumi #dollsofinstagram #dolls #crochetersofinstagram #crochetfun #ilovecrochet #crocheting
Trying to improve my skills with this doll. I am really happy so far! I still need to work on her facial features and hair. It is a lot of work but it is so rewarding. I hope to achieve my goals and upgrade my techniques by the end of the year. #crochet #amigurumi #doll #learning #teachyourself #artsandcrafts #hobbies #crochetersofinstagram
Angel or Demon? They are twins but one is for Christmas and the other one for Halloween. Kokeshi inspired amigurumi dolls. #amigurumi #crochet #angel #littledevil #dollsofinstagram #halloween #christmas #kokeshi #小芥子
Time to improve my skills for the last quarter of 2018. My goal is to make a shaped form doll with bendable wires. I also intend to make clothes separately, another challenge. It is time to grow... #amigurumi #doll #crochet #diy #craft #skills #improvement

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