With much joy I present to you my first seamless amigurumi pattern, Nims and Ermine the stoats.
Ermine is the term used for animals that turn white in winter, hence the name for the white version. And with this pattern you can make a weasel too, they look quite similar except for their shorter tail without the black brush-tip. So if you skip that part you can make a weasel. Keep in mind, though, that in most parts of the world weasels don’t turn white in winter.
This animal took me the longest time ever to design, and I’ve learned so much much during the process. I stumbled upon many difficulties, and several times I almost gave up. But every time I decided to stop, I either got an idea of how to fix the difficulties, or I just realised it would be a waste to give up after all the time I had spent designing this already cute crochet animal. Now that Nims and Ermine are finished, I absolutely love the result, and I am glad that I didn’t give up.
Designing this pattern actually turned everything upside down, literally and figuratively speaking. Normally I design the head and then a body from the bottom up. But this time I designed the head and worked my way down, creating holes for the arms, designing hips, and continuing with the legs. Where I normally did increases, I now had to do decreases. I also used a different technique to create the bend for the neck. Early on I worked with short rows, but that results in a different texture of stitches. I discovered that there is another method where you crochet a chain to the first part of the head and continue working on the head and the chain, decreasing stitches to close the back of the head. When the head is finished, you attach a new strand of yarn to the other side of the chain and work downwards for the body, with not a seam to be seen.
This all works out perfectly well for a single-coloured doll, but a big challenge introduced itself when I started on the duo-coloured stoat. Now that technique with the chain became a difficulty, because the chain itself had to become duo-coloured. I had trouble with the tension, and the unused yarn was in the way; it just seemed undoable. It was only after I decided that this was an impossible pattern that I had the rather brilliant idea to carry the unused colour upwards on the chain. I don’t always carry the yarn with me in every stitch, but leave most of it resting against the inside of the work. The reason for that is partly because I find that easier, and also, when you work with sharply contrasting colours, you can see the yarn showing through the stitches. But for a chain it worked like a charm. The tension was good and you have both colours with you when you need them. I was delighted I had this fixed, and I finished the stoat in its Summer coat.
A seamless animal works up quickly and pleasantly when you have a pattern, but when you are designing the pattern, it takes much more time. Only when the stoat was finished was I able to see how it looked and what needed to be changed. Many times it wasn’t possible to just unravel a short bit, and I had to start all over again.
For the last version, I only had to change the colouring for the neck using the pattern I had made. But somehow for this version, the middle was off, and I couldn’t figure out why. I did it again, exactly the same as before, took it apart, tried again but still it looked crooked! It was so frustrating!
Sometimes what seems a big problem has a solution so simple, you never think of it. At some point I started fumbling around with the body, and I realised that it wasn’t crooked at all but just rotated too much. I just had to twist it to get it straight! The reason that this can occur must lie in the length of the body: when you work in a spiral in one direction and pull the piece in that direction all the time, it starts to look crooked. After I twisted the body, it now looks the same as the other versions, and that’s the stoat you see in the pictures.
To sum things up, this was the most challenging pattern I have made so far, and I almost lost my mind at one point, but it was totally worth it! I have mastered many new skills, and you will too! The stoats look realistic and cute at the same time!
Here are some more pictures of the seamless stoat amigurumi, and below them you can find all the info you need about the pattern.
Info about & links to buy the pattern
The pattern for the seamless, realistic crochet stoat is a bit more challenging to crochet than my other patterns. Working seamlessly requires different techniques that can be difficult for beginners; making the white version first could help you learn and master these skills. This animal is made with Istex Lett Lopi, a 100% wool with a lot of fuzziness. It’s 6.3 inch / 16 cm standing. The pattern contains a clear and colour-coded description of how to crochet and assemble the doll, with instruction images next to the text and example pictures at the bottom to help you get everything right. In the pattern you can also find out what materials you need, the yarn colour numbers — in short, everything you need to know to make your own lovable stoat. All the additional information you need to know about this pattern you can find in the shop listings. You can purchase it in my shop at Ravelry, Etsy or order it here.
And heads up! This pattern has a one dollar release discount until February the 21st.