Blue Dog Do

Blogged under Charity Crafting, My College Craft Club, amigurumi by Tammy on Saturday 15 March 2014 at 2:37 pm

The past two semesters have been busy yarn-wise for my college craft club. You never know who is going to join us, and of course, students graduate, so pretty much every fall we have to recruit new members. While we teach members how to crochet, some jump in and do great, and others are slower to grasp enough to make something more than a snuggle blanket or wash cloth. I lucked out the past few semesters and have had a small group stick with the club who not only learned how to crochet pretty quickly but have consistently worked at it that we have been able to make amigurumis.

Some we will sell with proceeds going to one of our charities, and some we will be donating to a local women and children’s shelter. Since we now have a few members who have the skills and also have been pretty good about making items for our charities, I splurged a little and got the club some Knit Picks Brava yarn. Yes, it is acrylic, but it is a nice change from the Red Heart Super Saver (most of which has been donated to us and we are very grateful for and use).

Here is one of the first items I made with our new stash yarn, a dog from the Fresh Stitches Valentine Dog pattern. The darker blue yarn is Brava in the denim colorway, and the lighter blue is some left over Lion Brand Baby Wool yarn. I try to make sure to make a range of toys so that both boys and girls have something to pick from. He turned out really nice, and it has been a welcomed break from RHHS!

Why I Amigurumi

Blogged under Charity Crafting, amigurumi by Tammy on Friday 10 January 2014 at 3:27 pm

Crocheting amigurumi (aka stuffed toys) is one of my favorite techniques. I usually have at least one amigurumi project in progress all the time. I like the challenge of trying a new pattern, but at the same time, I feel pretty sure I will be successful when I attempt a new one because, at this point in my crocheting career, I have made dozens of these. And, for the most part, the technique is pretty much the same as far as counting stitches and increasing and decreasing. I’m not saying they are perfect in any way, but generally, the outcome is okay. For example, here is one of my most recent “new to me” patterns that I finished, Phil, the Groundhog, designed by Stacey from

I made him right after finishing another bunny, like the pink one I made not that long ago. This time, I made the same bunny but used Knit Picks’ Wool of the Andes in blue berry held double. (I really needed a break from acrylic yarn!)

A second reason why I like to make amigurumi toys is because….they are just so cute. I have to admit that the cuteness factor is a big draw, which is why I don’t making duplicate toys. Who can resist making a cute bunny or giraffe?

My third reason is the best: I donate finished amigurumi to a local women and children’s shelter, so I can be reasonably sure that a little boy or girl will enjoy playing and snuggling with each toy I make. Last year, I was able to crank out 18 of them.

I am not sure how I managed this exactly because this year I feel behind. I have made 6 so far, and a club member has made 2 to add to them. I have one bird that is almost done, but that just brings me up to 9. I delivered the last batch in early May last year, so if I want to reach the same number, I need to get cranking again! I know I’m putting this pressure on myself. While the shelter did enjoy the toys and I received a nice thank you note, it’s not like they are calling me up demanding more toys. But, again, it is part of the challenge. I should finish the bird either tonight or tomorrow, so that means 9 down and 9 to go!

Amigurumi Doll Done!

Blogged under Charity Crafting, amigurumi by Tammy on Tuesday 11 June 2013 at 10:10 am

Ta da! She’s done, and she’s a monster size at 20 inches tall. Compared to many amigurumi projects I do, it seems like she took forever to make, but luckily, I recorded her progress under my project section, and it says there that I started her on May 26, 2013. I finished her today, June 11, 2013. So 17 days is not that bad when I consider how large she is and the fact that I didn’t necessary work on her a ton each day. The last few days I have been focused on finishing her, but before that, I took it pretty leisurely as I worked on this project.

Once I made the dress, I realized that this gal needed some undies, and I like the idea of how the pattern (A Doll Like Me from Fresh Stitches) has the clothes of the doll either attached or stitched as part of the constructions (like the shoes for example). This way, the clothes are not lost as some point later. After finishing the dress, which I also embellished with a little flower, I went back and used a similar technique to the dress and gave her some “boy shorts” style undies.

Though she’s pretty large, I have plenty of yarn to make another doll, so I’m plotting and planning now. I am not sure if I will make one very similar to her or change it up a little, maybe different hair or different outfit.

Freakin’ & Free Adorable Penguin Pattern

Blogged under Charity Crafting, amigurumi by Tammy on Monday 13 May 2013 at 6:36 am

This was the last little dude to make into my box of toy donations. He is a free pattern called “Howie the Holiday Penguin” and is available on the Fresh Stitches site. And he is so, so, so cute! Seriously! How freakin’ cute is this guy? I will definitely have to make him again. This pattern is also a good one for newbies to amigurumi. The hardest part is crocheting with black yarn. You need to have lots of light, so that was kind of a pains for me since I usually crochet in the evenings while watching TV. Other than that issue, this is probably one of the easiest softies I’ve ever made, and I whipped him up in just a few days.

Best Bunny Business

Blogged under Charity Crafting, amigurumi by Tammy on Sunday 12 May 2013 at 6:27 am

Some of the last few softies I made for the shelter included a few bunny rabbits. Of course, my menagerie would not have been complete without a funny bunnies, right? Since I had already done this pattern before (and honestly have not found a different bunny pattern that has interested me), I went ahead and made the Lion Brand Best Bunny pattern again.

For the blue bunny, I used Lion Brand yarn as well that was donated to the club, Baby Wool. Actually, it’s not real wool, but that’s what the name of the yarn is for some reason. I held it double in order to get a larger bunny from it, and used a size I hook. This was the first time I doubled my yarn to make an amigurumi, and it was not as difficult as I had anticipated. He ended up being 10 inches tall.

For the second bunny, I used some Lion Brand purple Fun Yarn. It claims to be an Aran 10ply yarn, but I am a little skeptical. I just thought it would be noticeably thicker than regular worsted. He ended up to be 9 1/2 inches high, and I used orange and yellow felt for his features because this yarn was so dark.

Even after making this multiple times, I still struggled with those ears and had to frog a few times before getting them right, but the ears are what make this guy so dang cute, so I had to get them right.

Packing Up the Amigurumi Gang

Blogged under Charity Crafting, amigurumi by Tammy on Monday 6 May 2013 at 1:58 pm

I surpassed my goal of 12 and have a total of 18 amigurumi toys to donate to the shelter. Along with loads of wash cloths, soaps, coloring books, blank journals, and crayons, my car is just about full, and I will be delivering the goods tomorrow.

It feels weird saying good-bye to my little gang of amigurumi, but hopefully, they will comfort a little one or at least put a smile on a few faces when they arrive at their new home.

Crochet Wash Cloth Overload, Yeah!

Blogged under Charity Crafting, My College Craft Club by Tammy on Friday 26 April 2013 at 2:23 pm

Above is a photo of some of the bags my craft club is putting together. They include travel soaps we have been collecting as well as hand made cotton wash cloths made by both club members and the Yahoo Crochlist, who have sent a whooping 33 wash cloths already! We are even able to double up and add two cloths per bag, which is great. It looks like I will have about three boxes full of these bags by the end of the semester.

Along with the toiletry bags, we have made blank journals and coloring books. I picked up some boxes of crayons at the dollar store. Plus, of course, there are the amigurumi toys I’ve been make. I’m up to 15 so far. I may be able to squeeze out one or two more before I deliver everything. We may also be teaming up with another club who wants to donate children’s books to the shelter. So I will have one full car when I make the final delivery!

First Amigurumi Hippo Attempt

Blogged under Charity Crafting, amigurumi by Tammy on Monday 15 April 2013 at 5:10 am

I had a request from someone to make a hippo. I have not made one before, and while I found a few patterns (free and otherwise) none of them really were what I was looking for. However, I decided to go ahead and make a few using various patterns with the idea that I could make a few extra to add to my charity toy stash. This is the first attempt, and it is from a free pattern called Hungry, Hungry Hippo.

The pattern was very strangely written when I compare it to other amigurumi patterns I’ve followed in the past. I could go into a lot of detail about this, but I am not a pattern expert by any means. In fact, I can’t even imagine coming up with my own amigurumi patterns, so I’m not even going to go there. Let’s just say that I would not recommend this pattern to anyone who is not familiar with the technique of amigurumi. If you are, then you probably have enough skill to make it work generally speaking.

As far as the finished product, he is cute, even though his snout is too large and this makes him topple over easily if you don’t set him down correctly. I had a heck of a time getting a decent picture of him. As a result, I took a number of them, which you can find on my Ravelry project page. I think one other reason besides the odd pattern that I did not enjoy making him is because I’m so, so, so sick of using Red Heart Super Saver yarn! I want to touch something soft for a change.

I do not plan to making this pattern again and have moved onto hippo attempt #2, a free pattern I received in an e-book published by Crochet Me. It is one of 8 patterns, and this one is called Hugo the Not So Hungry Hippo. The designer is my fav, Stacey Trock. I have already started hippo #2, and while I know the pattern will be easy to follow, I’m not sure what I think about this guy’s snout. It is open and shows a few teeth. I may change that once I get to that point because I’d prefer the snout to be closed.

Along with knowing I have a pattern that make sense to me, I found two skeins of bright pink Vanna’s Choice yarn in my stash, yippy! As this finished hippo will probably go to my requester, which means it’s not a charity toy, I wanted to use some of my own yarn anyway and not yarn that was donated for the cause (all of which is RHSS…eeehhh gads!).

April: The Month of the Wash Cloth

Blogged under Charity Crafting, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Saturday 13 April 2013 at 9:36 am

Though I continue to make amigurumi toys for donating (currently working on a hippo), April brings with it a another charity crochet focus - wash cloths, lots and lots of wash cloths. Along with the toys I’m making on my own, I will also be delivering hand-made cotton wash cloths and soap donations. My craft club has been working on learning crochet and also making wash cloths, and I am coordinating the April 2013 donation drive for the Crochetlist Yahoo group as well, who is also going to donate wash cloths.

My craft club collects toiletry items on an on-going basis. For example, when you go on a trip and take those little soaps home but may or may not use them later, we ask staff and faculty to give them to us. Then we organize them in zip lock bags and put the wash cloths we make into the bags as well.

Since I am the one coordinating the wash cloth drive, I am also making them like crazy. Any time I’m in a meeting or sitting with a friend chatting for a few minutes, I pull out the wash cloth and crochet. I’ve actually made at least a half dozen wash cloths just by doing this alone. None of them are fancy. I usually just make about 30 chain stitches and do a mix of single crochet and/or double crochet until I get a square. Then I finish off the edges with single crochet. One wash cloth usually takes about an hour for me to make, and since I’m not following a pattern, I can multitask.

Amigurumi Frank-en-Pig

Blogged under Charity Crafting, amigurumi by Tammy on Monday 8 April 2013 at 5:08 pm

Stacey Trock has become my favorite amigurumi designer. For me at least, I find her patterns very easy to follow, and she has a style that connects each of them so that once you have done one or two, you feel like you can make any of her designs. After making her Cliveton the Tiny Pig pattern, I wanted to do it again but larger. Cliveton is about 5 inches tall.

Of course, if I wanted to do the math, I could have just altered her Cliveton pattern, but who wants to do math when you don’t have to? Not me! I could also have used chunky yarn or even held two strands of yarn together. However since I have made so many other animals using her patterns, I realized that I could just take parts and pieces from different patterns to make a larger pig. I was not 100% sure it would work out, but luckily it did.

The final pig toy is about 9 inches tall, and I used the following parts and pieces from her patterns to make it: Stretch the Giraffe (ears and snout); Woodland Reindeer (arms and legs); Teddy the Bear (head and body); and Cliveton the Tiny Pig (tail).

Generally speaking, I am pleased with how it turned out. I’m still having problems with getting my heads stitched on straight. My animals always seem to be looking off to one side, but I think I might have a way to fix that in the future.

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