Another doll, another challenge

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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New doll

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!

 

Fuzzy Panda

Two months ago I made a post about a panda bear pattern I had created for my ETSY shop, a cute little amigurumi crocheted with regular acrylic yarn. I enjoyed that project so much,  I thought it would be fun to try a different version of the panda using the same pattern but with a type of yarn that would give it some fur. Both versions are cute, but the result is so different that it doesn’t look like it was made from the same pattern.

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the second version of the Panda, so fuzzy!

The first version was made with Caron Simply Soft, which is labeled as a medium weight #4, and 100% acrylic. It is quite small for a yarn of that category, I usually end up with smaller plushes when I use Caron.

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the first version of the panda

You can really tell the difference in size. The first version of the panda is about 5.5 inch tall, the other one is 7 inch. I used the same 2.75mm crochet hook for both plushes without any alterations in the rounds, but the yarns I used for my second panda are thicker, hence the result.

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Big fuzzy panda and its little acrylic version.

I used two different brands of yarn to crochet the fuzzy panda. I usually prefer to work with the same brand on one project when I need different colors but in this case I couldn’t find both in the same collection so I settled for Butter Cream Angel Air in black, and Yarn Bee Tender Touch in white. The black yarn is 50% Acrylic, 28% Nylon and 22% Wool. The white yarn is 100% acrylic but still has a fuzzy feel to it, which is what I needed to create fur.

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In order to create the fur, I gently brushed each parts of the panda with a pet brush before sewing the parts together. I think it is better to brush after the parts are stuffed with fiberfill, otherwise you might end up with stretched parts (it happened to me the first time I tried this method).

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On top, the fuzzy yarn and at the bottom, regular acrylic yarn
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the magic pet brush (which I never used on my cat)

Trying two versions from the same pattern was a fun experiment, and I cannot tell you which one I like best because I love both pandas. I hope you enjoyed this post and that it will inspire you to also try different type of yarns for your projects.

As always, happy crocheting!

A doll named Olivia

My obsession with dolls is far from over, in fact I am just getting started. Recently, the daughter of a friend of mine showed me an app called Chibi Maker on the DeviantArt site that allows you to create your own custom doll. We played with it a lot, picking hairstyles, face expressions, dress and shoes, and accessories. I had so much fun with it that it gave me the idea to use it as an inspiration for my amigurumis.

So here is Olivia, based on the chibi I had created on that app. I didn’t make it exactly the same, but the outfit and shoes are very similar to the graphic version.

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I named her Olivia because she remind me of a little girl I know with similar big black almond shape eyes. I used felt, yarn, and safety eyes to make them. The chibi from the app has a different set of eyes, but I liked this better for this particular doll.

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She is quite small compared to the other dolls I have made in the past, half the size of the other ones, about 7 inch tall. I think I will keep my dolls as small in the future, they are easier to handle.

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I didn’t put any wires in her body, it wasn’t necessary since I had no intention to give her any poses. I am very happy with my little Olivia doll, I think she turned out really cute with her little flowers in her hair. This is what I really like about crocheting dolls, the little props and accessories you can add to them, it’s so much fun!

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I think my next doll will be similar but goth style. I have always wanted to make a creepy cute doll, now is the time.

If you are interested in playing with the Chibi app for your own projects, or just to have fun with it, here is the link on DeviantArt: Chibi-Maker.

A big thank you to Lilly for giving me the idea of using that app to create my own dolls. You rock!

 

 

Butterfly little lady – Spring inspiration

Spring is my favorite season of the year, everything feels new, fresh, and inspiring. It makes me want to buy flowers, plants to decorate my empty yard. I don’t have a green hand, and I am the worst gardener in the world, but I always manage to convince myself that I can do it every time Spring comes around. This year I have turned my inspiration away from greeneries to focus on what I do best, crochet. Lately I have been obsessed with dolls, fairies, and angels. I got this urge to do crochet one of my own, so I dropped everything I was doing to start on a Spring inspired doll.

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So this is what I have been working on for the last two weeks. Some crafters like to draw before they take on a project, but I don’t have that skill. I usually get an idea into my head and let it grow from there. I improvise, and if I am not happy with the result, I undo the last rows. Needless to say that I had quite a few adjustments along the way.

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I inserted wires in the body because I really wanted to give her this pose with a butterfly. I found them at the flowers section of the craft store, they are about one inch. I was going to glue them on the doll, but I changed my mind at the last minute because I would like to be able to replace them if they break.

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The hair was made with threads of yarn that I brushed, then straighten with my flat iron to thin them out. Afterward, I sew them on top of the head, and played hairdresser with a pair of scissors.

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I love my little Spring doll, I think she turned out really cute. I haven’t given her a name yet, but I am going to ask one of my friends daughter to pick one for me.

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Now it’s time for a little break, but I am not quite done with my doll obsession yet. I am dying to make a little Chibi, and I think once I have a little time on my hand I will start that project.

Looking at other people’s craft is what inspire me everyday, and I hope these photos of my little Spring doll will inspire you as well!

Happy crocheting!

Halloween Mummy

Halloween is not here yet, but I am already working on projects to decorate on Halloween. I finished my first one today. A cute mummy that isn’t that scary!

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I think it turned out really cute!

I am going to make a black cat, and a witch next, as well as a ghost if time allows it. I have so many different projects going on, my living room looks like a tornado of yarn and crochet needles. I am learning to make crocheted bags, which will probably be the subject of my next post. I am also working on a Daryl Dixon doll, my favorite character from The Walking Dead. Did I mention that I love crochet?

Happy crocheting!