Another Chinese New Year is upon us and this year is the “Year of the Horse”! As long time followers know, it’s been a tradition of ours to make an amigurumi of the zodiac animal of that particular year! Last year I remember looking up 2014 and thinking that a horse would be a daunting task. As we were brainstorming ideas over the past couple of weeks, I thought that designing and crocheting a pony would be a cute interpretation of a horse as ponies are simply smaller horses that often “exhibit thicker manes, tails and proportionally shorter legs”. With the popularity of “My Little Pony" and unicorns, I thought this would be a great amigurumi project! Ryan did the sketch below as we loosely based our design on some "Tokidoki ponies" that we saw on-line:
This project was an interesting and welcome challenge for me as I had to crochet some unconventional shapes compared to what I was used to. The head was an egg shape vs. the typical round or oval shape!
The tip of the egg (where the magic circle is) served as the snout or nose! After placing the safety eyes, Ryan embroidered these pretty eyelashes and then we stuffed and closed up the piece. Notice that the eyes are placed below midline (when looking straight at the pony) to give her a cuter, doe-eyed look!
The mane was quite the topic of discussion! We talked about attaching strands of yarn or possibly using the loop stitch for the mane. However, Ryan thought that crocheting individual pieces to create a puffy mane was the way to go, and he was definitely right! We ended up crocheting five separate pieces (Mane Parts 1-5), each of varying sizes. Mane Part 1 had a tip which would serve as the cute curl!
Instead of attaching each separate piece to the head, we decided that attaching the individual pieces together first and THEN attaching the whole piece to the head would be easier. Ryan flipped the pieces over and used the long ends of yarn left from each piece to attach them together.
He then draped the mane across the egg-shaped head and used the long strands of yarn to attach them in place. Don’t I have the best hubby in the world? Attaching amigurumi pieces together is my least favourite part of the process, and Ryan did this for me while I was figuring out the shapes for the other pieces! Note that after sewing on Mane Part 1, it’s only necessary to sew portions of the mane to the head (the middle parts as shown below, not the sides) as you don’t need to sew the whole way around each piece.
After the mane was secured on the head, we then attached these ears that I crocheted!
Next up was the body! This was another unconventional shape as we wanted the pony to have a little belly and a neck that curved upwards. To shape the belly, I increased more on one side. To make the neck, I did slip stitches on one side and half double crochets on the other side to build up height. Because of these uneven increases and various stitches, it was VERY important that I not make a mistake and record my work very carefully!
We then attached the body to the head!
Next up were the hooves and the legs! I started off with the coral yarn and then switched to white for the upper legs. I decreased on one side while increasing on the other side to get this curved effect. I did the opposite for the other two legs so that they would curve in the other direction in order to conceal the colour change better. You can push the hooves inwards so that your pony will have more stability when standing too!
After attaching the legs, our pony was almost complete!
The tail was the last challenge! We wanted her tail to curve almost like a flame and it took me a couple tries before we achieved the shape that we liked after some uneven increasing and decreasing!
Now may we present to you our little amigurumi Pony in honour of the Year of the Horse! I think she looks absolutely adorable sitting down!
And the great thing is that she can stand up too!
We decided to name her…..RUBY! This was one of the names I thought of myself after completing her, and many readers suggested it too due to her beautiful red mane. It holds special meaning for me because my birthstone is ruby too! Other names that I was strongly considering were “Pippi the Pony" (named after "Pippi Longstocking”, the fiery red-headed little girl who could easily lift a horse with one hand) or “Poppy the Pony" (fitting since poppies are beautiful red flowers), and I really liked the alliteration. Thank you for all your wonderful name suggestions- I was unaware that this year in particular was the year of the wooden horse, so all the names associated with wood were really meaningful! I can’t wait for you to make your own ponies and name them all the creative and thoughtful names you came up with!
Ruby looks so sweet when you look at her head on and you see her doe-eyes, little snout and cute curl atop her head!
We loved using fun, bright colours for our pony! We knew that coral and white would be a great combo, particularly since red is commonly associated with Chinese New Year. We had this beautiful coral yarn in my stash as it was left over from Myla’s Granny Square Baby Blanket (see here)! For those interested, the exact yarns we used were “Loops & Threads Impeccable Yarn in Rouge" and "Patons Canadiana in White”.
Here is a back view of Ruby the pony! I really love how her puffy mane and cute tail came out!
It boggles my mind that we have been through FOUR Chinese New Years together, dear readers! In 2011 when we first started the blog, we made “Chinese New Year Doll" holding a tiny bunny, and she will always hold a special place in our hearts as she was our first original design. In 2012 we made Dragon and in 2013 we made Snake. This year is all about the Horse/Pony! Don’t you love our ever-expanding collection of zodiac animals?
We are sooo excited to see your ponies and what colours you will use! Does anyone already have some colour combos in mind? You could also easily make her into a unicorn too by adding a horn and some wings :)
Myla LOVED Ruby the Pony as soon as she saw her and she couldn’t stop smiling! It’s really sweet because Myla loves choosing her favourites from my amigurumi shelf and taking them down to play. Whereas before when my amigurumi would simply sit on my shelf, they are now getting new life as our little toddler plays with them (haha kinda reminds me of “Toy Story”)!
Myla gave some kisses to Ruby the Pony too :) Don’t you love her Chinese New Year outfit?
I hope you love this sweet little pony as much as we do! Her puffy mane, curved pony tail, pretty lashes, tiny belly and little legs make her oh so sweet! What do you love about Ruby most?
We strive to do better and learn new techniques with each project and design. I am very proud of how she turned out and the different shapes that we were able to create! I know many of you have asked me advice on “How to Design Your Own Amigurumi”- I will try and put together a post when I have the time and walk you through the process that we go through! Perhaps I can use Ruby the Pony as one of the examples!
The free pattern for Ruby the Pony can now be found HERE! She would make the perfect gift for horse-lovers, “My Little Pony”-lovers, people who are the Year of the Horse and expectant/new moms with babies who will be born in the Year of the Horse! I hope you enjoyed reading about the making of Ruby the Pony and are excited to make your very own :) We thank you for all the wonderful feedback we’ve received about her from the sneak peek and are so delighted to hear that she is already so loved!
Here’s a sneak peek of our latest amigurumi creation for Chinese New Year which is less than a week away! What do you think? We need help naming her!!! Please leave suggestions in your comments below- we LOVE hearing your ideas!
Full step-by-step blog post & free pattern coming this week!
Two years ago Ryan and I came across some white eyelash yarn while shopping at Michaels, and we decided to pick it up along with some other yarn since we thought it would be so cute to make a fluffy bear! I’m embarrassed to admit that this white eyelash yarn remained in a Michaels bag on a shelf in my desk as months and months went by. I continued to work on other projects and once in a while Ryan would say, “Hey, weren’t we going to work on that bear with that special yarn we bought a while ago?” It wasn’t until this past summer that we decided to finally pull out this yarn and use it to make an amigurumi!
This was my very first time working with eyelash yarn which is a type of novelty yarn that “appears as a thread base with several long strands spaced at even intervals that jut out at an angle from the main strand” (according to Wikipedia). The particular brand that we had purchased two years ago was “Patons Allure" in "Diamond" and more recently we purchased "Loops & Threads Luxurious Fur" in "Lynx" to make a second bear! It’s interesting because both eyelash yarns are made of 100% nylon whereas previous yarns I’ve worked with are typically cotton or acrylic.
As you can see, eyelash yarn is very fuzzy! The white yarn had a more scraggly look to it…
The beige yarn was less scraggly and actually had a beautiful shimmer to it! It’s neat how various eyelash yarns have different looks to them which help give the resulting amigurumi different looks too!
I was unaware of this at the time of purchasing the yarns, but they were of different thicknesses. And so, I ended up not being able to use the same pattern when making both bears because of this. As shown in the picture below, the white yarn ontop was bulky (5) while the beige yarn underneath was medium (4).
I started off making the white bear and since the white yarn was bulky, the whole pattern worked up very quickly! I began by working on his head…
When working with fluffy yarn, it is important to leave the “wrong side" of amigurumi on the outside as it is actually fluffier than the "right side" (read about "The RIght Side of Amigurumi" in my blog post HERE).
I must also warn you that working with eyelash yarn is not for the faint of heart or for beginners as it is extremely difficult/nearly impossible to see the individual stitches. Using a stitch marker to mark the beginning of each round is imperative! I used a bobby pin before purchasing actual stitch markers as you can see in this picture below. If the next round was supposed to have 12 stitches, I knew that directly across from the bobby pin I should be at around 6 stitches and so a quarter of the way around the circle I should have about 3 stitches. This is how I estimated where to stick my crochet hook round by round :) Working with this yarn is also very forgiving, so even if you miss a stitch here or there or make a couple of mistakes along the way, it will not be visible!
When I was about to close up the ball we added our safety eyes! He looked so cute, and kind of reminded me of a soot sprite from Totoro!
Ryan then embroidered this sweet little nose on felt and glued it onto his face. I love how different noses can give amigurumi various expressions and character. Ryan always does a great job with the noses, and here he is showing off his handiwork!
I crocheted these tiny ears and then sewed them onto the teddy’s head!
Next came the fluffy body!
For the limbs and the ears I used a lightweight (3) mercerized cotton (“Patons Grace”). This type of yarn contrasts nicely against the fluffy eyelash yarn and really helps the limbs and ears stand out! The arms are actually longer than the legs which gives a really cute look!
We knew we wanted to have this teddy hold something and we brainstormed different ideas…. I thought it would be SO cute if he was a crocheting bear so we quickly made some accessories for him with items we already had around the house! For the crochet hook we used some wire that we use to hang our Christmas ornaments onto our tree- Ryan cut and shaped the tip to make it look like a hook! And for the yarn, we used embroidery floss: Ryan tied many knots to form the base and then wrapped the embroidery floss around the knots while adding glue from a glue gun along the way so the floss would remain in place. To give you some perspective on how tiny his accessories are, this next photo shows a comparison of the yarn and hook with a Canadian penny:
Once we placed the yarn and hook into the teddy’s hands he was all finished, and I absolutely fell in love with him! I love his sweet face and how fluffy he is, and of course I adore how he’s doing my favourite hobby…crocheting! I decided to name him “Mochi" with the help of "artsysketchpaper" on Instagram! Mochi is one of my favourite foods and it is chewy and fluffy….I thought it would be the perfect name for this little cutie!
Here is a side view of Mochi!
As soon as we finished Mochi we knew we wanted to crochet him a little companion. Ryan came up with the idea of having a second female bear wearing a scarf using the same embroidery floss that Mochi was holding! Mochi would express his love by crocheting a scarf for his sweetie! And so, I quickly whipped up a second bear using the beige medium (4) yarn and adapted my pattern along the way. We gave her a pink nose and had her hold a flower for Mochi so that she could give him a gift too (the flower is from one of those scrapbook accessory kits)!
We decided to name the girl bear “Coco" which is short for coconut since it’s fluffy and continues with the food theme :) Thank you to Betty, both Emmas, Kim and "disqus_bqN3KZ6mig" (I don’t know why your name didn’t appear, sorry!) through the blog comments and "iamanhera" on Instagram for helping me name her (as you can see, this was a popular name choice)! Here is a side view of Coco- I love how fluffy she is!
And here is a pic of Coco and Mochi together! I really appreciate your help in naming these two…. I could not think of any creative names for them and I am SO GLAD I could draw upon the collective minds of my blog readers!!! So many of you suggested very cute and meaningful names- I hope you’ll use them for your own bears! I decided to call these two “The Fluff Bears" as a set! Who knows…maybe we’ll be adding more bears to the Fluff Family in the future :)
To give you some more perspective on just how tiny these two are, here’s a picture of me holding them! They fit nicely in the palm of my hand!
Aww, Coco and Mochi are so very much in love :)
Here is one last picture of the two Fluff Bears Coco and Mochi lounging in my crocheted basket (check out the blog post for the basket HERE). Aren’t they just adorable?
Ryan and I wanted to show Coco and Mochi in action so we shot this little stop motion video for you to enjoy!
Prior to making Coco and Mochi, the only fuzzy amigurumi I had made were “Valentine Teddy" and "Fuzzy White Bear”. The fuzzy look for these two was achieved by using a dog slicker brush to fuzz up the yarn. Using eyelash yarn gives a very different look as the individual stitches are not visible at all. This results in a very plush and furry amigurumi that does not even look crocheted! I really enjoyed working with eyelash yarn and I am excited to work with it again :)
I think it would be so cute to personalize these teddies by having them hold or wear different objects (e.g. guitar, book, hat, ballerina tutu) based on your own interests or the interests of the person you are gifting them to! The free pattern for these two teddies can be found HERE!!! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get my updates :) Thanks for reading the story behind Coco and Mochi and I hope you’re excited to make your very own fluff bears!
When I first started making amigurumi, I googled “amigurumi blogs" to see what other people were doing with this exquisite craft, to get tips, and to just connect with others who were interested in the same thing that I was interested in. There weren’t that many back then, but I enjoyed whatever I came across! Now that I’ve been blogging for a few years, I’ve been able to connect with and reach many people around the world!
And so, it is now my pleasure to present to you this directory of amigurumi and crochet blogs! When I first asked people to send me their blogs, I honestly was expecting maybe 30-40 comments….little did I realize that there were sooo many bloggers out there, with over 180 people responding! It’s been fun for me to pop by all your blogs and see what you all have been working on!
Take some time to look around, comment, and connect with fellow crocheters! It’s amazing how the internet can bring us all together and make the world a whole lot smaller :) In an effort to organize this very long list, I have divided up the blogs by geographical region and then alphabetically within each region. Maybe you’ll discover some fellow crocheters who live near you! Please let me know if anything needs to be changed or if I have left anyone out. Feel free to add your own blog information (name, where you’re from and url) in the comments below in case you missed my first call for amigurumi and crochet blogs as I will continue to update this list!
AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
A couple months ago some friends of ours told us that they would be traveling to Guatemala and visiting the children they had been sponsoring through Impact Ministries. They asked us if we could perhaps crochet something for their little girl. I took this as the perfect opportunity to try out a free pattern I had been eyeing on Ravelry. I love bunnies (see my Spring Bunnies, Sweetheart Bunny and this bunny by Ana Paula Rimoli), so when I saw the “Boxy Skirt Bunny" pattern by Minazara, I knew had to make it!
I thought it was neat that this bunny was not your typical shape…it was rectangular and hence “boxy”. I first started crocheting the head. For some reason I had difficulty making the stitch count work and look even in Row 2, so I did this instead: “Turn, and then work 2 sc in the 2nd chain from hook, then 13 sc, 2 sc in next, then 13 sc [here, you’re working along the bottom chain] (30 sc)”. At the beginning it looked like we were making a sock cell phone cozy :) We then added the eyes and Ryan did a beautiful job stitching the pink nose!
My least favourite part about making amigurumi is attaching all the pieces together, so I loved how the legs are simply a continuation of the body! No need to attach them later on :) Here it looks like we’re crocheting a little tooth…
Next I sewed the gap between the legs shut after the fiberfill was stuffed in!
I then crocheted the rest of the parts: the two dainty little ears and arms. Now she’s looking more bunny-esque and less tooth-like :)
After attaching the ears…
You’ll notice that there is a line around the bunny’s body where I crocheted in the back loops only. This is where the skirt will be attached! I love how there’s no guess work of where it should be attached, and this makes it a lot easier picking up stitches for the skirt :) Great design!
I used this coral colour for the skirt (left over yarn from Myla’s granny square baby blanket!) and began crocheting around the body. I did 30 sc for Rows 1-3 and 60 sc (2 sc in each sc around to increase) for Rows 4-6.
I then attached the arms after the skirt was completed! Ryan embroidered this little pink heart on the skirt, and then I crocheted a tiny yellow bow using embroidery floss and attached it to one ear. Doesn’t she looks oh so pretty and cute? Very ladylike!
I liked this bunny so much that I decided to make one for Myla too :) I was curious how this Boxy Skirt Bunny would turn out if I used thinner mercerized cotton (I used worsted weight acrylic yarn for the first bunny). Here is how our second little bunny turned out with a tiny mint green bow!
Here is a side by side comparison so you can see the difference in size! The same pattern can yield very different results when you use different yarn! I also used a 3.5 mm crochet hook for the first bunny and a 2.00 mm crochet hook for the second bunny.
Here’s a pic to show how big they are when I’m holding them! They’re both pretty small and dainty :)
Haha, I wanted to pose them somewhere cute, so we put them in our kleenex box. Looks like they’re saying farewell and about to set sail on a big adventure!
Our first Boxy Skirt bunny did go on a long journey to Guatemala! I asked our friends to take a picture once they delivered the little bunny to their sponsor child, and here it is :) Our friends had a very memorable, touching time meeting the children they sponsor in person, and they said that she loved it! It’s neat to think that something we crocheted is so far around the world and being loved by this special little girl. I am so happy and proud of our friends for the work they do in showing God’s love and grace to these children through Impact Ministries. Can’t wait for them to get back to hear more of their stories!
The Boxy Skirt Bunny pattern is a great, versatile pattern as you can use any colour for the bunny, skirt, and nose…you can add buttons, beads or bows to the ears or skirts, and you could make a wavy skirt, miniskirt or even shorts! Making this into a little ballerina bunny by adding lace-up pointe shoes with a frilly tutu would be so cute too! You could easily change the ears to make this into a Boxy Skirt Bear as well :) The possibilities are endless! Check out Minazaram’s free pattern on Ravelry HERE. Hope you liked seeing how we made ours!
I can’t believe it’s the end of August already! I’ve always loved the summer, from all the wonderful festivals and the long hours of daylight to traveling abroad (in our case, to Tokyo at the beginning of June!). It’s been a great summer, and I’m thankful I’ve been able to enjoy the summer months in my pregnancy with enough energy. I thought I’d share some of our adventures with you through these photos!
It’s been a tradition ever since I was young to visit the exhibition whenever it came into town (known as Klondike Days or Capital Ex for us). Indulging in carnie food is a must, so we ended up trying “The Colossal Onion” (a delicious deep fried onion that looks like a blooming flower!), freshly cut and fried chips, cotton candy, a caramel milk chocolate apple (this has always been one of my favourite treats), and a corn dog. Don’t worry…we shared all this food among five people! This would’ve been wayyy too much for just the two of us!
One of the most beloved festivals here is called the ”Heritage Festival" in which 62 pavillions representing over 85 cultures from all over the world are featured to showcase Canada’s multiculturalism. Each pavillion makes their own specialty dishes and crafts and demonstrates different performances. This festival always happens during the first weekend of August, and it is always very hot since it takes places in an open park with little cover and shade! We braved the heat and tried some delicious food items. One of our favourite items was the "Mango’s Loco" from Guatemala, which is a mango on a stick rolled in lime juice and spices. Everyone was carrying these, and they were so juicy and ripe! You can try making your own with this recipe here!
It’s also been fun trying different recipes this summer too! Last month I blogged about our lychee frozen yogurt recipe. I decided to try making a pineapple sorbet as all you need to do is puree pineapple, add sugar, churn it and then freeze it! Sorbets, gelatos, ice creams and frozen yogurts are perfect for summertime :) We’ve also been eating a lot of fresh fruit, and I had to use up some blueberries before they went bad, so I found this absolutely amazing recipe here for blueberry muffins (they are aptly titled “To Die For Blueberry Muffins”!). The streusel topping is so delicious, and the muffin itself is very moist- I highly recommend checking this recipe out!
One summer day I had a baking date with my foodie friend Lillian who blogs over at “Beyond Umami”. We made madeleines, which are small French sponge cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape. It was my first time making them, but Lillian brought all the necessary supplies and gave me baking tips along the way. Check out my piping skills and the beautiful finished products :)
I love love love Chinese desserts, from sweet tapioca soups and tong yuens to lian gao. Whenever we go to Chinese bakeries, I always search for “boot jai goh's”, which are chewy Chinese pudding cakes with a delicious almond flavour. I've been trying to make some of these desserts at home, and I found a recipe for boot jai goh that I really like! You can find it here. I’ve been experimenting with different recipes, but this one is the best so far. Apparently if you’ve followed the recipe correctly, a “belly-button” in the little cake should form…thankfully they appeared in mine! Don’t they look yummy and nicely-shaped? I substituted yellow rock sugar instead of typical white sugar which gave them a more authentic taste!
I’m so glad I got to finally host another give-away this summer too! It’s always fun with the level of participation and hearing from people all over the world. Two of these prizes went to the US and one went to Australia!
Another exciting thing that happened this summer was the purchase of our sewing machine! Home ec was never offered at my school, so learning how to thread the machine and sew was a daunting task for me! I’m so thankful for sewing blogs, tutorials and youtube videos that made everything a whole lot easier. There were mishaps along the way, but it was fun trying out all these different stitches. Our first major project were the curtains for our nursery! I will show you the results once our nursery is finished, but I’m pretty proud of how the curtains turned out! I’m such a newbie at sewing and I can’t wait to try more projects! Do any of you pro sewers have any tips or ideas for good beginner projects?
We went to some fabric stories to look for patterns for our nursery, and look at this awesome sale on buttons we found- 2 bags for $1! I picked up these green and fuscia pink buttons to use on baby hats and future projects :)
At a friend’s birthday tea party this summer, everyone made their own fascinators! There were shoulder pads (for the base), flowers, lace, ribbon, tulle and plenty of materials available, and I thought it was such a great idea. Everyone’s fascinators looked so unique and beautiful, and group photos were cute with these lovely pieces adorning everyone’s hair! Here is the one I made! It just so happened this lace matched perfectly with my crocheted top :)
I love Broadway musicals, and I was disappointed when we were unable to get tickets to see Mary Poppins the last time we were in New York. I was very excited when I heard they were touring across Canada and making a stop here! The magical effects and tap dancing were wonderful, and I loved the choreography and performance of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”!
Ryan is a big anime fan, and we’ve been watching plenty of anime shows and movies since getting married. One of the events we were greatly looking forward to attending this summer was the “Animethon”, and we went with my brother (another big anime fan)! I love seeing all the cosplaying and although we didn’t cosplay (I’m sure one day we will!), I wore my Hello Kitty glasses from Tokyo and ”Nerdy but Cute” Hello Kitty shirt! We watched some anime, browsed Artist Alley (so many talented anime artists!), watched the cosplay contest and some of a Smash Bros tournament and shopped around the Vendor Hall. While in the Vendor Hall, I got to try out the “Necomimi”, a set of battery-powered cat ears that supposedly react to brainwaves, making the ears wiggle. It was fun trying them out, but I couldn’t control them very well…plus they were a hefty price!
Trying to get into the spirit of all things cute and kawaii, this is the bag I carried around the Animethon: my popsicle/ice cream/dessert bag adorned with some Totoro keychains I got from the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, buttons courtesy of Oborocharms and my cotton candy amigurumi teddy from last year’s giveaway. I also picked up this absolutely adorable pink dumpling from the Vendor Hall of Animethon- wouldn’t this make a cute amigurumi? I’ll have to keep this in mind for a future project…
The other purchase I made were these kawaii buttons! Food looks so much cuter when they have faces :D I thought these all would make great ideas for future amigurumi too! Animethon was lots of fun, and one day we hope to go to Comic-Con in San Diego….it is definitely on our must-do list!!!
Thanks for joining me as I recounted my highlights of the summer! It’s a great way for me to journal and chronicle what we did over these past few months. I’m currently 33 weeks pregnant now, so our due date is fast approaching! We had our prenatal classes during the last weekend of August, and they were very informative as they taught us everything from breathing and relaxation exercises to swaddling and bathing baby. September is absolutely going to fly by (we will be having a baby shower too- so excited for that!) and then October will be right around the corner. I am very thankful for all of you who have been reading my blog and expressing your support and encouragement throughout the months! I hope you had a great summer too, and let’s look forward to the fall with new adventures ahead!
I’ve added a “Tips" section to my blog where I list some of my favourite crochet and amigurumi resources. I’ll also be adding more tutorials that will hopefully be helpful in the amigurumi-making process! Check it out here.
Sneak peek of upcoming blog post: my favourite video game character….Link!!! Link original pattern by Becchin, translated by Tanoshimou. Hylian shield, sword and sheath pattern by me :) Full blog post with plenty of pics to come!