Monthly Archives: May 2013

Squirrels encountered by me

The crochet red squirrel pattern is beginning to take shape. I’m very glad it is, because I was a bit worried.

And here are some high quality, beautiful pictures of red squirrels I took. Well, maybe two, or one….Enjoy.

LOL!

These pictures could have been so beautiful! But, it’s not about the pictures, I loved watching these squirrels and the pictures are just blurry reminders of those moments.

Now back to the crochet version!

*EDIT* I just tweeted a first prototype image of the crochet red squirrel head.

 

The sloppy sketch

Sloppy-sketchF0r a while now I’m working on the crochet red squirrel pattern, in my head and on paper that is, and I decided to post this sloppy sketch. I can’t get a clear representation in my head of how I want the squirrel to look. I have ideas, but am not sure it will work out in crochet. I tried to make the perfect example drawing but I’m just not able to because of these little doubts.

My boyfriend commented on the drawings, about them being too serious and said: ‘draw the kind of squirrel you see, without the hips and realistic features’. So, I drew this sloppy sketch in a few seconds and it’s the best image of the idea in my head, funny how it works….

I’m just going to start crocheting the squirrel now, based on my ideas. My squirrel has to become a lively fellow, not the sitting kind you see all around. That is the typical squirrel position, but to me squirrels are lively, speedy, wild little beasties. I know my popkes don’t look particularly wild and speedy, but they are lively. The squirrel will have that doll-ish feature, but has to be an original addition. I’m always careful to not make my popkes to similar, they have to represent the animal they are and be original at the same time. The doll shape however has my preference for that, because it makes the animals flexible.

Let’s see what happens!

 

Expressions for amigurumi

This post is a renewed version of an older post of mine. Because I developed new skills and discovered more techniques, I found the old expression post to be a bit outdated. In this post I’ll explain how I design a crochet animal face.

One of the most challenging elements in making crochet dolls is giving them the right expression. That’s what finishes the doll and can make it either beautiful and striking or kind of ridiculous looking. Making the face is complicated and comes very closely, even though it seems quite simple, just a few stitches right? It usually takes me a while and I have to ‘take it out’ a few times before my doll has the right expression. Here are a few samples of faces I’ve made so far. Below the images I’ll explain how I get the right expression.

1. A patch behind the eyes makes him look more like a wild bunny. The starting chain forms his mouth.

2. A playful cat needs wide eyes, so a felt patch behind the eyes. He also has a perplexed little mouth, like real cats.

3. Wolfs have a brighter spot above their eyes. For this crochet wolf I decided to add a small thread to create that wolf expression.

4. Starfox really has a sturdy expression, he also has green eyes. So I made a felt patch, black lashes and big white eyebrows.

5. This is a very happy brown eyed bunny. Just the eyes looked a bit dull I decided. So he has felt patches behind his eyes and a cheerful embroidered mouth.

6. I wanted to give this crochet bear a funny looking face. To get that expression I made his mouth unsymmetrical.

To give my Popke the right expression, I play a little with the embroidery thread. A symmetric mouth for example gives a neat look, but maybe not the right one. The distance between the eyes is also very important. A description of how to set them, I don’t think will help much, you just have to experiment on each and every doll you make. There are some rules, like far apart is cute and close together not very smart looking, but I tend to ignore those rules and just see what looks best for a particular doll. The tip in this topic is therefore, don’t underestimate the importance of the expression. Take your time and experiment. If you’re not satisfied after trying many times, just stop and try again the next day or so, when you’re fresh again. That usually does the trick for me.

And another small tip, it’s very important to see for yourself and experiment on your version of a Popke. Maybe you don’t like the felt patch for your lop rabbit or the white eyebrow on your wolf. Just rock out and do what you like.

 

Léttlopi yarn

In this post I will tell all about the yarn that gives my animals their characteristic looks and that is a big part of my recognizable style. Léttlopi wool.

This yarn is my all time favorite. It is very rough and rustic and fuzzy by itself. When I started making crochet animals I first used other kinds of yarn, mostly mixed kinds of wool, alpaca, merino and polyamide. Some gave a good result, others looked awful.

Texture is very important to me. I’m also an illustrator and my specialty is painting with acrylic paint (it used to be oil based paint but I found acrylic to be more modern and suitable for the work I make). In my paintings you can clearly see the brush strokes and the colours don’t always blend perfectly. The paint is very visible.

For my crochet animals, I like to have that same rustic and living style. That is why Lopi yarn is so suitable for my designs. It has a wild look to it and you can see the sheep hair. It comes in many beautiful powerful colours. It is 100% wool, so it is 100% living!

The yarn is very suitable to crochet with and I love working with it. I always use a hook E/3,5 mm. The Léttlopi is for 50 grams ca 100 m/109 yd. The yarn has a good grip on my hook and is very flexible. In my opinion it’s more pleasant to work with than cotton or acrylic. What is very handy about working with this yarn, is that it has a fuzzy look, but still is suitable for making a magic ring. Also, when you have an unchancy part, you can take it apart without too much effort. Especially when designing that is very convenient and saves a lot of yarn. Because of the fuzzy texture, gabs are less visible if you by accident crocheted too loose at some parts and the decrease and increase stitches become pretty much invisible. Another big advantage of this yarn is, the colour changes look very neat because of the texture of the wool.

There are some things that are good to know when you’re working with this wool. Because this yarn is 100% wool, I’ve noticed the thickness of the thread can vary a bit. I don’t mind it at all, because it doesn’t have a major effect on the outcome of your animal. Keep in mind that when assembling a doll and the thread has gone through some stress already, don’t pull it to hard, it’ll loose it’s strength.

I added a few images above to show the beautiful texture of the yarn and the result. Below you can see the texure of the colours. You can see the sheep hair very clearly in some colours, which gives my dolls their rustic look.

lopi yarn examples

To sum it all together, this yarn is perfect to crochet with if you like a rustic and fuzzy look. It gives a doll a beautiful rough texture but is neat at the same time. There are a few little things you have to keep in mind when working with this yarn but they haven’t got any effect on the outcome of your animal. The result will be beautiful. Here’s a link to Lopi’s website.

 

And then there was green

Mysterious-back

The mysterious back of the designer. Wink…

I’m sorry for the lack of interesting posts for the last two weeks. We are having a spring holiday in the Netherlands and we decided to go and enjoy the rising green in our environment. The autumn is my favorite season, but the spring makes a good second. This year we were really longing for green after a cold, grey and longer winter.

Next week I’m back to business. I’ve got two ideas for tips & tricks posts and I’m going to start on a crochet squirrel pattern. (We saw a cute’sy squirrel climbing a tree carrying nesting material!)

See you next week!