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"Attack on Titan" Toddler Cosplay

When we first heard about a new anime called “Attack on Titan" last year, we were intrigued because everyone was raving about how great it was.  Ryan and I enjoy watching anime together, so we decided to give this series a try!  We were immediately hooked by the premise of the show, the fast-paced action and the suspense and mystery of it.  Some parts were a little gruesome for me, so I admit that I covered my eyes at times (this is also how I watch "The Walking Dead" haha).  

When we were brainstorming cosplay ideas for our very first time attending Anime Expo 2014 in Los Angeles, we had a good laugh imagining Myla dressing up as a cute chibi Titan (giant humanoids who terrorize the populace), running around and wreaking havoc.  My brother Corey then made the observation that Myla should actually dress up as a soldier and pretend to fight the adults dressed as Titans since the proportion would be correct!  We thought that would be so adorable, so we set off making an “Attack on Titan” costume for our toddler!

If you are unfamiliar with the series, this is how the soldiers dress with a cropped jacket, belt, straps, boots, harness, and 3D maneuver gear attached to their sides and back to help them swing through the air.  We wanted to dress Myla up as “Mikasa” pictured below, a very strong and skilled soldier who also wears a burgundy scarf.

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We began looking for a toddler trench coat and were ecstatic to find this one at a gently used kids’ clothing store for only $8!  This is what the trench looked like from the front and the back before we heavily modified it!

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We also picked up this white t-shirt from H&M and some white leggings from Old Navy.  From a local fabric store, we purchased some brown canvas material, silver buckles, thin brown straps and faux brown leather.

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And now for the modifications!  We severely cropped the trench by cutting along the black line…

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Ta da!  This is quite the cute cropped trench, is it not?

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We also ended up releasing the ruffled/ruched bottom, reattaching it to make it straight, and cutting off and hemming the sleeve cuffs.  In addition, we removed the pockets from the bottom of the jacket so that we could reattach them to the top part, and we replaced all the buttons with gold buttons.  It’s amazing how changing the buttons can give a jacket a completely new look! 

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Here is the cropped jacket with the gold buttons and pockets sewed onto the front.  We also sewed some velcro backing onto the sides of the arm, the front pocket and to the back.  

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These velcro spots were for the Survey Corps emblems!  Ryan found some high resolution pictures of the embroidered emblem, so we simply adjusted the size, printed them off and glued them onto the velcro.  

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Thus, it was extremely simple to attach these emblems to the jacket since we just had to slap them onto the velcro!  Don’t they look great on the jacket?  You may also note that we modified the lapel of the jacket as we found that it overlapped too much when Myla wore it.

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Next we sewed the straps and small pieces of the faux brown leather onto the white shirt.  We wanted to secure as much as we could in place so that this would seem like a normal shirt to Myla, not a fancy costume that had too many intricate and complicated parts that she might end up refusing to wear.

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We also added some of the brown straps to the leggings and also used the faux brown leather to make the 3D maneuver gear harness.  We designed the harness so that it attached onto the leggings with velcro.

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This is what the leggings with the harness looked like from the front and back!  To make the belt, we sewed the brown canvas material around the faux leather harness and threaded it through the silver buckle.  

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We also sewed on velcro pieces to the sides and back of the harness so that we could attach the 3D maneuver gear later on!

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Making Mikasa’s burgundy scarf was simple as we purchased some material, hemmed the edges and cut some fringe along one side!

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To make the sides of the 3D maneuver gear, Ryan looked around for objects that were the perfect shapes and sizes!  We ended up buying some boxes of “Hawaiian Punch” and using some Fragonard perfume atomizers that I had lying around.  He glued them together, spray painted them silver, and then glued some of the faux brown leather around it.

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For the back part of the 3D maneuver gear, Ryan used the top and bottom part of a glow stick container.  I thought it was hilarious how Ryan found these random objects to make the maneuver gear!

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The finished 3D maneuver gear, all spray painted beautifully and ready to be attached onto Myla’s costume!

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During the week leading up to our trip, Ryan and I worked relentlessly on this costume, staying up till the wee hours of the night.  One of our worries was that Myla would refuse to wear it at the Anime Expo and all our hard work would be to no avail!  20-month-olds can be unpredictable, and we weren’t sure how she would handle the crowds or the heat.  Thus, we decided to try and take some pictures at home before we left and to make sure that the costume fit.  We were so incredibly excited when we put all the costume components on her as it looked so good, and she loved wearing it!

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We hoped that she would be just as happy to wear it in Los Angeles!  

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Thankfully, Myla had fun wearing her costume for a little while at Anime Expo!  I held her hand the entire time, and she enjoyed walking around the lobby- just look at that darling smile :)

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It was amazing seeing her wear the costume that we had spent so much time on, from the jacket and the maneuver gear to the shirt and the leggings.   In case you’re wondering, we purchased these cute little brown boots at the same gently used kids’ clothing store for only $4! 

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We happened to see someone dressed as a Titan walking around the lobby, so we asked if she would take a picture with Myla!  Ryan was actually thinking of dressing up as a Titan, but all the costumes we saw on-line were expensive and I feared that Myla would be traumatized seeing her Dad as a Titan.  Thankfully Myla was not scared of this Titan, and she was a very nice lady :)

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Myla was very popular as everyone who saw her would squeal with excitement when they saw our tiny toddler Mikasa!  You can see some adults wearing the same costume as her in the picture below on the left side.

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Myla got a little hungry so she started munching on a croissant as she happily posed for people…

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After about half an hour, Myla was done wearing her costume as she started taking off her jacket.  She couldn’t sit comfortably in her stroller or be carried by us with her maneuver gear and harness, so we changed her back into a comfy dress and continued to explore the rest of Anime Expo that day!

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If cosplay and anime is new to you, check out this music video that “The Cosplay Scene” made showcasing Anime Expo 2014.  You can see some really intense costumes that people spend the whole year working on, and you can also see our little Myla Mikasa appear in it for two seconds (0:14-0:15)! 

Thanks for all your lovely feedback and excitement about this costume!  Ryan and I had a lot of fun working on it together, and I’m so glad that I could put my sewing machine to use after it was in hibernation for almost two years (it took me a while to learn how to thread and use the machine again!).  The entire costume was inexpensive to make, and we were so proud of our finished accomplishment since we tailor-made each component just for Myla!  We hope you enjoyed seeing the making of this costume and that it inspires you to get crafty and try making some costumes for yourself or for your little ones!  I’ll be blogging about more of our experiences at Anime Expo soon, and you can see who Myla cosplayed as on the other days.  Happy crafting and cosplaying!

Cover of Dragon Feature

Hello my crafty friends!  As you all know, I love amigurumi, and it was my pleasure being featured in a wonderful amigurumi article found in Issue 20 of “Simply Crochet" magazine.  "We Love Amigurumi”, written by Judy Darley of Future Publishing, is about the joys of making amigurumi toys, and I am so honoured and happy that I could be a part of it!

I was interviewed alongside fellow amigurumi artists Maike van den Dries of the Netherlands and Mei Li Lee of Malaysia.  I really enjoyed reading this delightful article, seeing all the beautiful pictures, and hearing what Maike and Mei had to say as well.  In this “We Love Amigurumi" article, we talk about why we think amigurumi stands out from other kinds of toys, advice on getting started, amigurumi challenges, and what we all love about amigurumi!  It makes me so happy to see features such as these that promote amigurumi and introduce this beautiful art to people who may have never heard of it before!  Yay for amigurumi  

I am so honoured that Dragon is the cover photo of this article and that they included pics of my “Knotted Headband”, “Spring Bunnies”, “Cotton the Lamb”, and the “Fluff Bears: Coco & Mochi”!  If you’re interested in reading this article for yourself, you can buy digital copies of Simply Crochet magazine HERE and also find hard copies in Barnes & Nobles and Chapters Indigo stores!  Let me know if you end up picking up this issue and what you think!

[Note: When I first blogged about this feature, I had initially posted the entire article, but I have now taken it down since we don’t have legal permission- sorry about that!]

Yarn Ball & Crochet Hook Pin

During our California Blog Meet Up (read all about it HERE), we had a delightful pin exchange in which we prepared crafty pins ahead of time for each other!  As soon as fellow amigurumi artist Jo suggested that we do a pin exchange, I knew exactly what type of pin I wanted to make!

I love perusing Craftgawker, and there was a particular project that had caught my eye from December of last year.  Francesca of “Fall for DIY" had made some beautiful "DIY Monkey Fist Knot Earrings”, and I absolutely loved how they looked like little yarn balls!  For our pins, I thought it would be so cute to make a little yarn ball with a crochet hook similar to the one pictured in my blog logo!  In Francesca’s blog post on how to make her earrings HERE, she includes step-by-step instructions, and she also filmed an extremely helpful video entitled “How to Tie a Monkey Knot” HERE (I’ll embed the video at the end of this blog post too!).  Rather than reiterate her instructions, we recommend that you visit her blog post and watch the video to see how it’s made!  

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We searched for the perfect pink yarn, and we ended up going with Lion Brand Yarn’s “Martha Stewart Extra Soft Wool Blend in Gerbera Daisy”.  Ryan is actually the one who mastered the monkey fist knot, and to keep the yarn balls consistent and similar-sized, he made them all!  It was such a whirlwind leading up to our California trip since we were making our costumes for Anime Expo as well, and I am so thankful that I have such a supportive husband who helped me make these pins!  Here are some step-by-step photos showing how Ryan made our little yarn balls and crochet hooks :)

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We bought some brass jewelry pins from Michaels (came in a set of 10) and hot glued the little crochet balls onto the pins after tying the ends of yarn into a knot.  To make the crochet hooks, we used these ornament hooks that we purchased from Walmart a couple years ago (we have a large stash of these since we use them to hang the baubles from our white Christmas tree every year)!

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Ryan used pliers to shape the ends of the ornament hooks to resemble crochet hooks!  You may recall that we made a similar crochet hook for Mochi our Fluff Bear to hold (read about the making of our amigurumi Fluff Bears HERE)!

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Ryan placed the crochet hook through the yarn ball so that the yarn ball was at the bottom of the hook.  He then added some hot glue to the middle of the crochet hook and then slid the yarn ball upwards into the glue in order to secure the hook in place.  After each pin was complete, we mounted them on cardboard and were so excited to give these out at the meet up!

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To see the making of a monkey knot in action, please see this wonderful video below filmed by Francesca of “Fall For DIY”!  We paused this video many times as we followed along to learn how to make this special knot!

Here are some notes about making your own yarn ball:

- Instead of wrapping the yarn around the hand three times, we did it four times to make a bigger yarn ball (depends on thickness of yarn).

- Towards the end, try and pull each strand of yarn evenly and with consistent tension to make a uniform yarn ball.

- Don’t pull the strands of yarn too tight or else the yarn ball will be squished.

- Ryan made many “failed” monkey knots/yarn balls before getting the hang of it and achieving the right look, so just keep trying and practicing and don’t be discouraged!

These little yarn balls are so cute, and once you’ve mastered how to tie this special knot, they are inexpensive and relatively quick to make!  Wouldn’t yarn ball earrings or a yarn ball necklace pendant be the perfect gift for us yarn lovers?  The addition of the little crochet hook helps us proudly display the love of our craft too!  I hope you enjoyed reading about the making of our “Yarn Ball & Crochet Hook Pin" and I want to extend a big thank you to Francesca for inspiring this idea!  We are giving away one of these pins on my Instagram page (@AllAboutAmi) since we reached 5000 followers recently- if you would like to win one, just follow me on Instagram and leave a comment on the picture of the pin to enter!  Happy monkey knot and yarn ball making :)

Cupcake Bib/Dishcloth

One day while shopping for yarn at Michaels, I came across this free adorable “Cupcake Dishcloth" pattern designed by Twinkie Chan.  Twinkie Chan is the queen of yummy and deliciously cute crochet (check out her site here), and I had seen her mention this project before on her social media.  I excitedly took a copy of the pattern home and began working on it right away with some Bernat cotton yarn that I already had in my stash!

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I was very impressed with this pattern and how this cupcake was designed.  The pink frosting part involves using a magic ring, but rather than working continuously around the circle, you turn your work in order to achieve this semi-circle shape.  The pink edging hanging over the green cake liner adds a pretty and whimsical touch.  My favourite part though was achieving the cabled effect on the green cake liner by working front post half triple crochets (FPhtr) around stitches found in rows below.  I thought this technique was brilliant and I love how it turned out- I’ll have to keep this in mind for future projects!

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The original project includes the pattern for a circular cherry with a loop on the top so that you can easily hang your dishcloth.  I wanted to make this dishcloth convertible into a bib as I wanted to gift it to a newborn baby girl!  Thus, I did not include the loop on the cherry- instead, I crocheted a little stem.

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After following the pattern for the cherry, I did not fasten off.  I did the folllowing:

Ch 6.  Sc 1 in 2nd chain from hook.  Sl st in next 4 chains.  Sl st in next 2 stitches of circle.  Fasten off and leave end to attach cherry to cupcake.

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In order to make this cupcake convertible into a bib, I added these two straps to the back of the pink frosting so that I could run a long neck strap through them:

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To crochet these:

Ch 7.  Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each chain across (6 sc).  Fasten off and leave ends to attach straps to frosting.

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Next I crocheted the long neck strap consisting of double crochets with a button on the end.  By using double crochets, this made the strap adjustable since the button can fit between any of the stitches!

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To crochet the neck strap:

Chain 70.  Dc in 4th ch from hook and in each chain across (68 dc).  Fasten off and weave in ends.  Sew button firmly onto one end.  (My strap measured approximately 17 inches).

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After feeding the neck strap through the pink straps, this is what my cupcake bib looked like!  I thought that the family could use it at first as a bib, and when their baby daughter no longer needed to use a bib, they could remove the neck strap and continue using it as a cute dishcloth in their kitchen!

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Cupcakes are so pretty and whimsical- I’m sure a Cupcake Dischcloth or Bib would be a welcome addition into many homes and kitchens, especially for those with a sweet tooth!

Myla absolutely detests wearing bibs now, but we managed to get her to wear this Cupcake Bib for a split second to capture this photo before she ripped it off, haha!  Isn’t the bib adorable?

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To make your own Cupcake Bib or Dishcloth, check out Twinkie Chan’s free pattern HERE!  Her post also includes a very informative YouTube video in which she shows you how to crochet the entire project as well :)  Have fun, and happy crocheting!

Pattern: Elephant

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Crochet these absolutely adorable, whimsical elephants with a brilliant amigurumi technique that requires minimal attaching.   Make them in a multitude of colours and add some fabric lining to the ears as a pretty touch!  This elephant is an original design by Japanese artist Chisachi Kushima.  For the Spanish translation, see Rani’s post HERE on “Amigurumies”, and for the French translation, see Fannie’s post HERE on “Petite Maille”.  Below is the English pattern that I have translated!  [Don’t forget to click the “Print" button at the bottom of this blog post right above the comments for a printer-friendly version of this pattern!]

Materials:

  • grey or pink yarn (I used Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice in “Pink and Silver Grey”) 
  • 2.5 mm or 2.75 mm crochet hook (I used a 2.75 mm hook)
  • yarn needle
  • fiberfill
  • 6 mm or 9 mm safety eyes (I used 9 mm)
  • fabric for lining of ears
  • white felt for tusks

Note: I worked in continuous rounds (vs. joined rounds).  ***PLEASE follow along with my blog post HERE to see many more step-by-step photos.  It is also VERY IMPORTANT that the "right" side of amigurumi is facing outwards for this project, otherwise the stitches of the body and the legs will look different.  Please read about the “Right Side of Amigurumi" HERE to learn more!

Body:

Ch 9 ( this is the foundation chain),

R1: Starting from second chain from hook, Sc 7 in back loops of foundation chain.  3 sc in last stitch.  Turn the chain, Sc 6 in front loops of foundation chain, then 1 inc in next front loop [we are making an oval by crocheting around the chain].  (18 sts)

R2: 1 inc, 6 sc, 3 inc, 6 sc, 2 inc (24)

R3: 8 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 11 sc (27)

R4: 1 inc, 9 sc, 1 inc, 2 sc, 1 inc, 2 sc, 1 inc, 6 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc (33)

R5: 2 sc, 1 inc, 6 sc, 1 inc, 3 sc, 1 inc, 3 sc, 1 inc, 11 sc, 1 inc, 2 sc, 1 inc (39)

R6: 1 inc, 11 sc, 1 inc, 4 sc, 1 inc, 4 sc, 1 inc, 8 sc, 1 inc, 3 sc, 1 inc, 3 sc (45)

R7: 15 sc, 1 inc, 5 sc, 1 inc, 5 sc, 1 inc, 17 sc (48)

R8: 2 sc, 1 inc, 14 sc, 1 inc, 6 sc, 1 inc, 6 sc, 1 inc, 8 sc, 1 inc, 4 sc, 1 inc, 2 sc (54)

R9: 4 sc, 1 inc, 7 sc, 1 inc, 7 sc, 1 inc, 7 sc, 1 inc, 17 sc, 1 inc, 5 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc (60)

R10: 6 sc, 1 inc, 8 sc, 1 inc, 8 sc, 1 inc, 8 sc, 1 inc, 18 sc, 1 inc, 6 sc, 1 inc (66)

R11: 1 sc in each sc (66)

R12: 1 inc, 17 sc, 1 inc, 9 sc, 1 inc, 9 sc, 1 inc, 11 sc, 1 inc, 7 sc, 1 inc, 7 sc (72)

R13: 1 sc in each sc (72)

R14: 2 sc, 1 inc, 18 sc, 1 inc, 10 sc, 1 inc, 10 sc, 1 inc, 12 sc, 1 inc, 8 sc, 1 inc, 6 sc (78)

R15: 1 sc in each sc (78)

R16: 4 sc, 1 inc, 19 sc, 1 inc, 11 sc, 1 inc, 11 sc, 1 inc, 13 sc, 1 inc, 9 sc, 1 inc, 5 sc (84)

R17: 1 sc in each sc (84)

R18: 6 sc, 1 inc, 20 sc, 1 inc, 12 sc, 1 inc, 12 sc, 1 inc, 14 sc, 1 inc, 10 sc, 1 inc, 4 sc (90)

R19-22: 1 sc in each sc (90)

R23: 39 sc, chain 6 (skip 12 sc to create the hole for the trunk), 39 sc (84)

R24: 37 sc, 1 dec, 6 sc, 1 dec, 37 sc (82)

R25: 1 sc in each sc (82)

Cut the yarn.  Leave a marker in the last sc of Row 25.  Work by rows for the next part.  We will now be crocheting the tab that falls below the trunk.

R26: Skip 37 sc.  Rejoin yarn and make 8 sc (8)

R27: Ch 1, turn, 1 sc in each sc (8)

R28: Ch 1, turn, 1 dec, 4 sc, 1 dec  (6)

R29: Ch 1, turn, 1 dec, 2 sc, 1 dec (4)

R30: Ch 1, turn, 2 dec (2)

We have now created a tab that falls below the trunk. 

Place safety eyes between Rounds 16-17.

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Legs:

In order to create the legs, we will divide the body into leg chains.  Each leg chain consists of 6 chains and we will be making 4 leg chains (A-D) in total.  

Leg Chain A: Join to one end of the last sc of R25 (see pic below), chain 6, count 21 sc, join with sl st to this end.image

Leg Chain B: Continuing on from Leg Chain A, Ch 6.  Sl stitch to last stitch of Row 30 of the tab. 

Leg Chain C: Continuing on from Leg Chain B (the first end is in the last stitch of Row 30), chain 6, then count 15 sc from the beginning of the base of the tab of R25 and join with sl st..

Leg Chain D: Continuing on from Leg Chain C, Chain 6 then join with sl stitch to last stitch of R25 (where your stitch marker is).  Do not cut yarn.

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We will now be working on each individual leg, crocheting around the body and the leg chains that we have just created.

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Leg  A:

Starting from last stitch of Row 25 (so where the marker was, i.e. no need to cut the yarn from before, simply continue working):

R1: 21 sc (of the body), 6 sc (of the leg chain A) (27)

R2: 1 sc in each sc (27)

R3: 5 sc, 1 dec, 12 sc, 1 dec, 6 sc (25)

R4: 17 sc, 1 dec, 6 sc (24)

R5: *2 sc, 1 dec* repeat around (18)

R6: *1 sc, 1 dec*, repeat around (12)

R7: 6 dec

Fasten off and weave in end.

Leg B:

Count 23 stitches from where marker was in Row 25 (or as indicated in diagram above) and rejoin yarn.

R1: 15 sc (of the body), 6 sc (along the edge of the tab), 6 sc (of the leg chain B) (27)

R2: 1 sc in each sc (27)

R3: 1 dec, 12 sc, 1 dec, 11 sc (25)

R4: 1 dec, 23 sc (24)

R5: *2 sc, 1 dec*, rep around (18)

R6: *1 sc, 1 dec*, rep around (12)

R7: 6 dec

Fasten off and weave in end.

Leg C:

Begin in the last stitch of Row 30 (the tab) or as indicated in diagram above and rejoin yarn.

R1: 6 sc (along the edge of the tab), 15 sc (of the body), 6 sc (of the chain C) (27)

R2: 1 sc in each sc (27)

R3: 5 sc, 1 dec, 12 sc, 1 dec, 6 sc (25)

R4: 17 sc, 1 dec, 6 sc (24)

R5: *2 sc, 1 dec*, rep around (18)

R6: *1 sc, 1 dec*, rep around (12)

R7: 6 dec

Fasten off and weave in end.

Leg D:

Rejoin yarn in the body in the stitch next to Leg C (as indicated in diagram above).

R1: 21 sc (of the body), 6 sc (of the leg chain C) (27)

R2: 1 sc in each sc (27)

R3: 1 dec, 12 sc, 1 dec, 11 sc (25)

R4: 1 dec, 23 sc (24)

R5: *2 sc, 1 dec*, rep around (18)

R6: *1 sc, 1 dec*, rep around (12)

R7: 6 dec

Fasten off and weave in end.

Trunk:

Rejoin yarn in the hole left for the trunk.  Rejoin in stitch in the middle of the tab (tab edge consists of 6 sts).

R1: 3 sc (half of the tab), 12 sc (of the body), 3 sc (other half of the tab) (18)

R2: 1 sc in each sc (18)

R3: *1 dec, 4 sc*, rep 3 times (15)

R4-5: 1 sc in each sc (15)

R6: *1 dec, 3 sc*, rep 3 times (12)

R7-8: 1 sc in each sc (12)

R9: *1 dec, 2 sc*, rep 3 times (9)

R10: 1 sc in each sc (9)

R11: *1 dec, 1 sc*, rep 3 times (6)

Fasten off and weave in end.

Belly:

R1: 6 sc in the MR (6)

R2: 6 inc (12)

R3: *1 inc, 1 sc*, rep around (18)

R4: *1 inc, 2 sc*, rep around (24)

Stuff body and trunk firmly.  To close the belly, attach the crocheted belly piece to the edges of the four leg chains.  The belly piece should fit in perfectly since it consists of 24 stitches while the leg chains each consist of 6 chains (i.e. four leg chains x 6 chains = 24 stitches).

Ears (make 2):

Ch 7 ( this is the foundation chain),

R1: Starting from second chain from hook, Sc 5 in back loops of foundation chain.  3 sc in last stitch.  Turn the chain, Sc 4 in front loops of foundation chain, then 1 inc in next front loop [we are making an oval by crocheting around the chain].  (14 sts)

R2: 1 inc, 4 sc, 3 inc, 4 sc, 2 inc (20)

R3: 1 sc, 1 inc, 5 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 5 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc (26)

R4: 1 sc, 1 inc, 8 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc, 8 sc, 1 inc, 1 sc, 1 inc (32)

R5-6: 2 hdc, 9 sc, 7 hdc, 9 sc, 5 hdc (32)

R7: *1 dec, 8 sc, 1 dec, 4 sc*, rep twice (28)

Fasten off and leave long end for sewing.  Fold crocheted piece in half so that it curves inwards.  Sew fabric onto inner part of ears.  Sew open piece shut.  Attach ears to body.

Tail:

R1: 4 sc in the MR (4)

R2: 1 sc in each sc (4)

R3: *1 inc, 1 sc*, rep twice (6)

R4: 1 sc in each sc (6)

R5: *1 inc, 2 sc*, rep twice (8)

R6-7: 1 sc in each sc (8)

Fasten off and leave long end for sewing.  Attach to body.

Tusks (optional):

Cut tusks out of white felt.  Attach with glue gun with tusks pointing upwards or downwards.

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Now you’re done!  Enjoy your sweet elephants and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more crafty and crochet updates!

This pattern is an English translation by Stephanie of All About Ami (April 2014).  Please do not reprint this translation on your site. 

Elephant

Do you remember the “Amigurumi & Crochet Blog Directory" that I compiled last year in August?  I really enjoyed visiting blogs from around the world and seeing what projects different crochet artists were working on.  When I clicked on "Petite Maille”, a French blog by Fannie, I was greeted with some pictures of an absolutely adorable elephant (see here).  I was immediately intrigued by the construction and shaping of this amigurumi as it looked very different from the traditional method of crocheting individual limbs and then attaching them altogether.  I was delighted to see that Fannie provided the free French pattern on her blog.  Fannie had translated a Spanish pattern that she herself had discovered on a blog called “Amigurumies" by Rani.  I mistakenly thought that Rani was the originally designer behind this elephant, but Rani herself and some Facebook followers pointed out that the original pattern was Japanese, and that Rani had translated this pattern found in a Japanese pamphlet into Spanish for her blog.  

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Rani showed me what the original Japanese pattern looked like, and after some sleuthing and help from my Japanese friend (thanks Saho!!!), we believe that the artist who designed this elephant in the above pamphlet is Chisachi Kushima (久嶋千幸).

I was so incredibly excited to try crocheting this elephant and learn some new amigurumi techniques along the way!  Armed with Fannie’s French pattern and Rani’s Spanish pattern, I began translating the pattern into English which turned out to be not too bad at all since I had previously studied both French and Spanish in school.  It also made it easier since I had two patterns in two different languages to cross-reference in case I wasn’t sure about a particular phrase or the wording of something.  I used this chart here to reference what the crochet terms were in different languages (e.g. “punto bajo” is “single crochet” in Spanish) and sought to make the pattern as clear as possible in English.  After I had translated the pattern into English, I began following it to make my very own elephant!

The top part began with crocheting around a foundation chain to create this oval shape.  Then the elephant’s body began to expand!

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A hole was left where the trunk of the elephant would be added later on.  A tab was then crocheted under the hole to help connect the front part to the rest of the body and legs.

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I thought that the next part was incredibly genius: leg chains are created to divide up the underside of the body.  This creates little “compartments” where we can crochet directly onto the body without having to crochet the legs separately and then attach them later on.  Here is a visual showing where each leg chain is created and how many stitches are in between.  Don’t worry, the pattern will explain this more clearly!

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Here is a picture of the elephant-in-progress with the hole, tab and leg chains created!  Isn’t it neat?

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This next visual shows where each leg will be:

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And this visual shows where you rejoin your yarn for each leg and in which direction to crochet.  Remember that if the right side of amigurumi is facing outwards (see post HERE if you don’t know what I’m referring to), you should always be crocheting clockwise!  I tried to add more visuals to make the pattern as clear as possible :)

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And so, referencing the visuals that I created, I crocheted Leg A, Leg B, Leg C, and then Leg D!

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We then added the safety eyes!  Hehe, doesn’t he look funny without his ears and trunk…like some sort of weird lumpy creature?

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I then crocheted the trunk in the hole that was left for it.  To close up the belly, a circle was created and then sewed onto the underside!

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Next up was the ears!  We did a little modification to the ears and added fabric lining, just like we did with the Spring Bunnies :)  I think mixing fabric with crochet adds such a beautiful touch, and you can add so much character and variation by choosing different fabrics.  We thought that this red fabric contrasted nicely against the grey yarn.  As a tip, sew the lining onto the ear with small back stitches before you sew the ears shut.  

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Here is our little round elephant with his ears attached!  The fabric definitely adds a nice pop of colour, don’t you think?

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The last part to crochet was the little tail which I then attached to the back!

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And now may we present to you our sweet little elephant!!!

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We added some tusks made out of white felt which we glued onto either side of his trunk!

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Isn’t the shaping and design of this elephant absolutely brilliant?  I love the smooth contours and how the upper body becomes the legs and the trunk seamlessly.  There is minimal attaching (which is my least favourite part of making amigurumi) as you only need to attach the ears, belly and tail!

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I actually crocheted this little guy for a silent auction that my friend was organizing to raise money for an orphanage in Taiwan.  I was delighted to find out that a couple who was planning on adopting a child from the orphanage ended up with the winning bid as they were purchasing it for their future child- isn’t that so special?

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Of course, that also meant I HAD to crochet another elephant for us to keep since I loved the design so much!  I ended up crocheting a pretty pink elephant for Myla using the same fabric lining that I used for the Spring Bunnies.  For both elephants I used Lion Brand Yarn’s Vanna’s Choice (in Pink & Silver Grey).

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I named these two “Rosie" and "Gris" since "rose" is pink and "gris” is grey in French!  I think these elephants would look adorable using any colour…you could crochet an army of elephants in a rainbow of colours!  

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You may notice that Rosie has tusks pointing upwards while Gris has tusks pointing downwards for some variation!  You can choose which way you’d like them to point.

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A number of you mentioned on Facebook and on Instagram that this elephant looks like “Olli”, a popular Dutch character who is apparently the symbol of the Rotterdam Zoo and a professional football club!  I love our international community and how we can learn interesting tidbits of information that I otherwise wouldn’t have known :)

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Don’t you think these elephants would make an adorable and whimsical addition to any baby nursery or child’s room?  Hehe…they’d also be great desk buddies- judging from the response already, it seems that many of you love elephants!  

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Here is a short video I posted on Instagram showing Gris and Rosie in action!  You can follow me on Instagram (@AllAboutAmi) for more photos of my crocheted creations and day-to-day life…I really love my Instagram community and all the support and lovely feedback I always get on there!

I am just so impressed with this pattern and design and I love learning new techniques and skills to bring my amigurumi to the next level.  I find that Japanese artists are so creative and ingenioius in the way they design their amigurumi (e.g. the ball joint of Link here and the leg chains of this elephant).  I hope that I can incorporate some of these techniques into my future designs and keep expanding my repertoire of crochet skills as I continue making my own and trying other people’s patterns.  Thank you to Rani and Fannie who translated the original Japanese pattern into Spanish and French respectively and greatly helped me in my task to bring this amazing pattern to an English audience!  I hope that you enjoyed reading about and seeing the making of Gris and Rosie :)  ***The free English translation can now be found on my blog HERE***!!!

Fox Basket/Pillow

This past weekend I attended a good friend’s baby shower, and I was so happy to gift her with some crocheted goodies!  A while back, I came across a really cute pattern for a “Foxy Stash Basket” on the “Yarnspirations" website HERE.  I thought it would be a wonderful gift as it would not only make an adorable addition to the baby’s nursery, but also have the functional ability of storing items such as little hats, socks or towels!  I had a lot of fun crocheting baskets in the past (see posts HERE and HERE), so I was very excited to make a cute animal basket!  

I went out and looked for red and beige cotton yarn: I ended up purchasing “Bernat Handicrafter Cotton" yarn in "Off White" and "Country Red”.  You need to hold two strands of yarn together when crocheting this basket.  I did not buy enough skeins of yarn during my first shopping trip- in total, I used 4 skeins of the beige yarn and 2 skeins of the red yarn!  Some black yarn is also needed for the eyes and nose, but I simply used some black acrylic worsted weight yarn that I already had in my stash.  

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I began by working on the base of the basket with the beige yarn.  I loved the look and feel of it already!  I used a 6 mm crochet hook for the basket and a 4 mm crochet hook for the ears and eyes as recommended in the pattern.

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After crocheting the base, the basket started to build upwards…

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Then after all the increase rounds, it was time to build up the height of the basket!

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Next, I added the nose with some black yarn!

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I was excited to begin working with the red yarn!  Rather than cutting the yarn every time you need to switch colours, this basket is worked with the tapestry method of crochet in which you hold both colours at the same time, carrying and crocheting around the strands that are not currently in use.  If you are unfamiliar with this technique, check out this video HERE to see it in action!  Since you are working with two colours in the round, that essentially means that you are working with two strands of one colour while carrying along two strands of the other colour (thus four strands going at once)!

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As I was following the pattern exactly and building up the red in subsequent rounds, I noticed that the red appeared to be going lopsided upwards.  Even in the photo provided in the pattern (appearing below), I thought that the face looked crooked or lopsided.  When I read the pattern through, I thought it made sense in theory if each stitch were placed exactly ontop of one another round after round.  However, as you can see, stitches are not exactly aligned ontop of each other (e.g. third stitch of Round 3 will not be perfectly below third stitch of Round 4), as they tend to build up at an angle.  Thus, I tried to make some modifications and eyeballed it as I went along, trying to make the face as symmetrical as I could!

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This is what I came up with as I crocheted more and more of the face…

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Then it was time to cut off the beige yarn and continue working only with the red yarn!

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I tried my best, but I admit that I did not do a perfect job of making the face exactly symmetrical.  As you can see in the image below, the sides are not identical (left side curves more at an angle while right side falls more steeply).  I did not have the patience to undo my work and start that part over again, but you can always give it a try yourself and see what you come up with!

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After some decrease rounds, the last round was given a nice finishing touch as it was worked with the reverse single crochet.  I absolutely love the beautiful roped and textured feel that the reverse single crochet gives to the basket!

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The basket was not as sturdy as I expected it to be (compared to the other baskets which I had crocheted using two strands of super bulky yarn and using an 8 mm crochet hook).  Thus, we thought it would be neat to give this basket another function: by adding buttons to the top, the basket could be closed up to be a pillow or cushion!

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I enjoyed crocheting the ears as they were worked from the bottom to the top which is opposite to how I usually make my ears.  The shape turned out beautifully, and I love the pointed tips!  To give a bit more shaping and dimension, we pinched the ears in the middle and sewed the back, giving them a creased look.

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The eyes were simple to crochet as they were simply black circles with some white strands of yarn added!

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After attaching the ears and eyes, here was our finished product!

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                                  ******************************************

These are the modifications I made to the original “Foxy Stash Basket" pattern by Yarnspirations (all modifications made to the FACE part, not the base):

  • 3rd rnd: With A, 1 hdc in each of next 6 hdc.  
  • 4th rnd: With A, 1 hdc in each of next 9 hdc.
  • 5th rnd: …………..Do not break MC.  With A, 1 hdc in each of next 12 hdc…………..
  • 6th rnd: With A, ch 2, 1 hdc in each of next 21 hdc……….With MC, 1 hdc in each of next 7 hdc…With A„ 1 hdc in each of next 13 hdc………
  • 7th rnd: WIth A, ch 2.  1 hdc in each of next 22 hdc…..Do not break MC.  WIth A, 1 hdc in each of next 14 hdc…….
  • 8th rnd: With A, ch 2.  1 hdc in each of next 24 hdc…..With A, 1 hdc in each of next 15 hdc………….

                                   ******************************************

I presented this Fox Basket packed with some goodies to my friend during her baby shower, and it was a hit!  I think it look so cute, don’t you?

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It would be such a beautiful and whimsical addition to the nursery of any baby boy or girl!  Here it is pictured with some of the steel bins from Myla’s nursery (purchased from Ikea and Home Sense).  Most of Myla’s stuffies in her nursery were actually my previous stuffies that I brought from home….that goes to show how much stuffies can be loved and cherished and passed down the generations, amigurumi included :)

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Here is the Fox Basket serving its dual purpose as a cushion or pillow!  Doesn’t it look so huggable?  And how adorable would this fox pillow look on any sofa or bed?

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Thus, if you don’t feel like using the basket as storage anymore or if a cute pillow is needed for a big boy or girl bed, it can be converted easily into a cushion or pillow simply by closing up the top with the buttons!

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We used fiberfill to show what it looked like stuffed as a cushion, but we would not recommend using it as the actual stuffing unless you sewed the top shut (hazardous for children as they might remove it, play with it or eat it)!  You could try finding a small pillow or cushion that would fit inside to keep the button closure and to easily switch from using this as a basket or a pillow!

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And here’s a third use for the basket….as a Fox Mask!  Haha all joking aside, I thought it was funny how this basket was pretty much head size!

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If you liked this basket, check out these baskets pictured below that I crocheted HERE.  I still use them to this day in Myla’s nursery and my workspace as they hold so much and look so beautiful.

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If you’re interested in crocheting a matching amigurumi fox, here’s a round-up of some cute FREE fox patterns that I found on-line:

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{1. “Cute Amigurumi Fox" by Anna S. of "Spool of Sunshine”,  2. “Amigurumi Fox" by Timea Venter of "Timic’s Home”, 3. “Fox Amigurumi" by Nimoe Galad of "Nimoe’s Blog”, 4. “Mother Fox and Baby Fox" by Allison Hoffman}

As I mentioned above, I think this Fox Basket would be so cute in a nursery, particularly if it had a “Woodland Forest Theme”.  I enjoy looking through the beautiful handiwork of different artists on Etsy, and I found the following items that would go perfectly in such a themed nursery!

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{"Charlie the Fox Baby Toddler Onesie by Le Trango, “Teacup Fox Original Watercolor Painting" by Alisa Belzil of Sweet Afternoons, "Organic Kawaii Fox Baby Swaddle Blanket" by Simply Boco Baby, "Mini Plush Woodland Animal Set" by A Little Bit of Joy }

Hope you enjoyed reading about the making of this fun project and how we made some modifications to the original pattern and made it convertible from a basket to a pillow!  Keep in mind that the Yarnspirations website gives it a 3 out of 4 “Intermediate” difficulty level as it does involve switching yarn colours using tapestry crochet.  To access the free pattern, click HERE and download it!  I love this idea of making baskets into animals- you could add bunny ears, cat ears, bear ears…the sky’s the limit!  Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to stay updated with my work by following me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

DIY Yarn Storage

As I’m sure my fellow crochet and yarn enthusiasts can relate, it is difficult finding ways to store yarn.  When new projects, ideas, or patterns come along, there always seems to be a need to buy more yarn and different colours, and our stashes continue to grow and grow!  I myself used to store my yarn in a nice box, but it soon became brimming with yarn and I found myself just storing them in bags around my workspace.  This made it difficult finding particular yarns and colours as I would have to rummage through my box and bags, and I would often forget what I already had in my stash!

Two years ago I blogged about my workspace HERE and showed this picture of it below:

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It is not quite as clean and immaculate as it once was (understatement of the year!) since Myla and I play in here and it is now filled with children’s books, puzzles and toys.  I really enjoy being in my workspace as it is filled with natural light during the day and it came with some built-in shelving units that are great for storage!

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Here is a close-up of the shelving.  As you can see, the shelves are quite deep.  I decided to rearrange the contents of these shelves and move my binders upwards in order to clear out the middle shelf for my yarn!  The bottom shelf continues to store my craft books, fiberfill, embroidery floss and other craft supplies.

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A deep and empty shelf all ready to be filled with yarn!

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For a while I just placed all my skeins of yarn on the shelf like so!  However, there was still a lot of yarn getting lost in the back and underneath so I knew this wasn’t a great solution.  It just looked like one big mess of yarn!

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Four years ago we paid a visit to the “Lion Brand Yarn Studio" on our trip to New York City.  I had just rediscovered my love of crochet and began making my first amigurumi during the months prior.  I ended up starting my blog "All About Ami" during the following month in January :) Visiting this beautiful studio was high up on my to-do list, and as soon as Ryan and I walked in, we were in awe of all the Lion Brand yarn displayed so beautifully!  It was a yarn lover’s dream!  I hoped that one day I would be able to have something like this in our house…

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After I cleared my shelf, Ryan and I began brainstorming ways to display my yarn.  We looked up storage units such as wine racks and shoe and tie dividers but we knew that to get the perfect fit for our particular shelf, we would have to build our own dividers.  Ryan measured the height, length and depth of my shelf and did some calculations…

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Ryan knew exactly what material he wanted to use!  Three and a half years ago, we planned our dream wedding and handmade as much as we possibly could….we had so much fun and had no idea that it was just the beginning of our crafting journey together!  Ryan actually made all the pillars you see in the photo above including the aisle pillars (on which the candles, vases and curly willows are sitting atop) and the various pillars on the stage.  He made them all using a special material called corrugated plastic!  Thus, Ryan was very familiar with this material and already had a lot of experience working with it…

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Ryan actually drew out the dimensions of my shelf onto a large box that we had from Myla’s playhouse.  That way, he could map out the cross-sections and visually see how big each compartment would be.  He could then measure each diagonal line and see exactly how long we had to cut each piece of corrugated plastic!

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From this, we could see that we needed six long pieces (the light pink lines) and four short pieces (blue lines).  Remember that we are looking at our dividers straight on with this view.  Our measurements for each piece in this view equates to how long each piece should be.  The width of each piece should remain a constant as it equates to the depth of the dividers (as determined by your personal preference).

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In addition, each piece needed to have notches made in them so that they could be later connected together.  A notch was needed wherever the lines intersected as represented by the green dots in the picture above.  As you can see, the short pieces (blue lines) each needed one notch while the long pieces (light pink lines) each needed three notches.  

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With our measurements in hand, Ryan drew out our lines and began dividing up our sheet of corrugated plastic into six long pieces and four short pieces.  One sheet was enough to make all our dividers and it costed about $22 from Home Depot (see HERE).  

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He used an exacto knife and ruler to cut each piece in order to make them as straight as possible!  

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As mentioned above, each piece needed to have notches so that they could be later connected together.  Ryan told me the measurements and I marked off where each notch needed to be.  We made our notches 5 mm wide and cut them halfway up each piece.  

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SIx long pieces and four short pieces all nicely cut up with notches!  

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The next part was fun as we assembled all our corrugated plastic pieces together!  It looked great and only took us about an 1.5 hours to do (during one of Myla’s Saturday afternoon naps)!

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The moment of truth was next: Ryan carefully and slowly pushed our corrugated plastic dividers into our shelf.  It was a perfect fit as it was not too small and not too big!

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The compartments looked beautiful and I could not wait to begin filling them with all my yarn!

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Ta-da!  Here is our finished product!  My yarn is organized by colour with each compartment able to hold quite a few skeins!  Now I am able to see what yarn I have very clearly which makes working on projects that much easier.  

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I also have quite a few little yarn balls left-over from projects and for now I store them in my crocheted basket (see blog post HERE).  If you’re interested in my beautiful “I Make Pretty Things All Day" print, check out my friend Leonora’s Etsy store called "Yellow Heart Art" HERE- she is an uber talented graphic designer with tons of beautiful items in her shop!  Isn’t this just the perfect print for us crafters?

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I absolutely LOVE my new yarn storage solution and it makes me so happy whenever I look at it!  It’s such a beautiful and efficient way to store yarn, and I adore going to my shelf to choose the perfect yarn for my next project.  It just so happens that my friend Sarah and fellow crochet blogger of “Repeat Crafter Me" also blogged about her yarn storage this week, and the results are similar since we were both inspired by the "Lion Brand Yarn Studio"!  It’s not the first time that we’ve been on the same wavelength for projects, and it’s neat to see how similarly we think!  You can check out her blog post HERE and see how she also stored her buttons and other craft tools :)  In case you missed the post about my workspace, you can also check it out HERE to see where I store my other crafting supplies!

We enjoyed hearing about how you currently store your yarn on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!  We hope this gives you some inspiration on a cheap way to store your yarn and that you enjoyed seeing the step-by-step process!  It’s great because you do not need to be incredibly handy with tools or a professional carpenter to make these shelf dividers as corrugated plastic is easy to work with!  Happy crocheting and yarn storing!

Pattern: Pony

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Celebrate the “Year of the Horse" this Chinese New Year with this sweet little Pony, complete with a whimsical, puffy mane and tail!  Make her in a rainbow of colours for all the horse, unicorn and pony-lovers in your life and those born in the Year of the Horse!  

Materials:

  • white yarn (I used “Patons Canadiana in White”) and coral yarn (I used “Loops & Threads Impeccable in Rouge”)
  • 2.00 mm crochet hook 
  • yarn needle
  • fiberfill
  • 12 mm safety eyes
  • black embroidery floss

Note: I worked in continuous rounds (vs. joined rounds).  ***PLEASE follow along with my blog post HERE to see step-by-step photos.

HEAD

Using white yarn,

R1: 5 sc in Magic Ring (5 sts)

R2: 2 sc in each sc around (10 sts)

R3: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 5 times (15 sts)

R4: Sc 15

R5: *Sc 2, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 5 times (20 sts)

R6: *Sc 3, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 5 times (25 sts)

R7: Sc 25

R8: *Sc 4, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 5 times (30 sts)

R9-10: Sc 30

R11: *Sc 5, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 5 times (35 sts)

R12-17: Sc 35

R18: *Sc 5, dec 1*, rep 5 times (30 sts)

R19: Sc 30

R20: *Sc 4, dec 1*, rep 5 times (25 sts)

Add safety eyes between Rows 9 and 10 below midline for doe-eyed effect (see more photos here).  Embroider eyelashes with black embroidery floss.  Begin stuffing head.  Ensure that the “snout/nose” is at the beginning where the magic circle is and the back of the head will be where you do your decreases, fasten off and weave in end over the next couple of rounds.

R21: *Sc 3, dec 1*, rep 5 times (20 sts)

R22: *Sc 2, dec 1*, rep 5 times (15 sts)

R23: *Sc 1, dec 1*, rep 5 times (10 sts)

Finish stuffing head.

R24: *Dec 1*, rep 5 times (5 sts)

Fasten off and weave in end.  

MANE (divided into 5 parts from front of head to back of head)

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Using coral yarn for all the parts

Mane Part 1 (curled tip):

R1: 4 sc in Magic Ring (4 sts)

R2: Sc 4

R3: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 2 times (6 sts)

R4: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 3 times (9 sts)

R5: *Sc 2, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 3 times (12 sts)

R6: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 6 times (18 sts)

R7-8: Sc 18

Fasten off and leave long end for attaching.

Mane Part 2:

R1: 6 sc in Magic Ring (6 sts)

R2: 2 sc in each sc around (12 sts)

R3: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 6 times (18 sts)

R4: *Sc 2, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 6 times (24 sts)

R5: *Sc 3, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 6 times (30 sts)

R6: *Sc 3, dec 1*, rep 6 times (24 sts)

R7: *Sc 2, dec 1*, rep 6 times (18 sts)

Fasten off and leave long end for attaching.

Mane Part 3:

Chain 8 (this is the foundation chain)

R1: Starting from second chain from hook, Sc 7 in back loops of foundation chain.  Turn and Sc 7 in front loops of the foundation chain [we are making an oval by crocheting around the chain].  (14 sts)

R2: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 7 times. (21 sts)

R3: *Sc 1, dec 1*, rep 7 times. (14 sts)

Fasten off and leave long end for attaching.

Mane Part 4:

Chain 6 (this is the foundation chain)

R1: Starting from second chain from hook, Sc 5 in back loops of foundation chain.  Turn and Sc 5 in front loops of the foundation chain [we are making an oval by crocheting around the chain].  (10 sts)

R2: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 5 times. (15 sts)

R3: *Sc 1, dec 1*, rep 5 times. (10 sts)

Fasten off and leave long end for attaching.

Mane Part 5: 

Chain 4 (this is the foundation chain)

R1: Starting from second chain from hook, Sc 3 in back loops of foundation chain.  Turn and Sc 3 in front loops of the foundation chain [we are making an oval by crocheting around the chain].  (6 sts)

R2: *Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc*, rep 3 times. (9 sts)

R3: *Sc 1, dec 1*, rep 3 times. (6 sts)

Fasten off and leave long end for attaching.

Arrange Mane Parts 1-5 together and attach each part to the next using long ends of yarn left.  Once all the parts have been attached together, drape the whole piece across Pony’s head from front to back.  Sew Mane Part 1 into place.  Secure rest of mane onto head (note that it’s only necessary to sew portions of the mane to the head [the middle parts where each piece is joined to the next] as you don’t need to sew the whole way around each piece (i.e. you don’t have to attach the sides).  No need to stuff the mane.  Hide yarn ends into mane. PLEASE see step-by-step blog post HERE for more detailed pictures.

EARS (make 2)

Using white yarn, 

R1: 5 sc in Magic Ring (5 sts)

R2: 2 sc in each sc around (10 sts)

R3-4: Sc 10

R5: *Sc 3, dec 1*, rep 2 times (8 sts)

R6: Sc 8

Fasten off and leave long end for sewing.  Sew onto head on either side of mane between Mane Parts 2 and 3.  

BODY

Using white yarn,

Chain 4 (this is the foundation chain)

R1: Starting from second chain from hook, Sc 3 in back loops of foundation chain.  Turn and Sc 3 in front loops of the foundation chain [we are making an oval by crocheting around the chain].  (6 sts)

R2: 2 sc in next sc, Sc 1, *2 sc in next sc*, rep 2 times, Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc (10 sts)

R3: Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc, Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc, Sc 2, 2 sc in next sc, Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc, Sc 1 (14 sts)

R4: Sc 14

Next, we will be shaping the belly:

R5: *2 sc in next sc*, rep 3 times, Sc 11 (17 sts)

R6: Sc 1, *2 sc in next sc*, rep 3 times, Sc 13 (20 sts)

R7-8: Sc 20

R9: *Sc 3, dec 1*, rep 4 times (16 sts)

R10-11: Sc 16

Next, we will be shaping the neck so it curves upwards:

R12-14: Sl stitch across next 2 stitches.  Hdc 8.  Sl stitch across next 6 sts (16 sts)

Fasten off and leave long end for sewing. Stuff body and attach onto head.

LEGS

Note: We will be making 2 back legs and 2 front legs.  The only difference between the back legs and the front legs are Rounds 9-11 when we begin to curve the legs.  They are different so that the colour change from coral to white is hidden from view when attaching to the body.

BACK LEGS (make 2)

Each back leg consists of the hoof (coral yarn) and the upper leg (white).

Using coral yarn,

Chain 4 (this is the foundation chain)

R1: Starting from second chain from hook, Sc 3 in back loops of foundation chain.  Turn and Sc 3 in front loops of the foundation chain [we are making an oval by crocheting around the chain].  (6 sts)

R2: 2 sc in each sc around (12 sts)

R3: In back loops only, Sc 12.

R4: *Sc 2, dec 1*, rep 3 times (9 sts)

R5: Sc 9

Begin stuffing hoof.  Switch to white yarn,

R6: Sc 9.

R7-8: Sc 9.

We will begin to curve the leg.  Continue stuffing along the way.

R9: Dec 1, Sc 3, 2 sc in next sc, Sc 3 (9 sts)

R10: Dec 1, Sc 3, 2 sc in next sc, Sc 3 (9 sts)

R11: Dec 2, Sc 1, 2 sc in next sc, Sc 3 (8 sts)

Fasten off and leave long end for sewing. Finish stuffing back leg.  Sew open ends together.  Attach to body.

FRONT LEGS (make 2)

Each front leg consists of the hoof (coral yarn) and the upper leg (white).

Using coral yarn,

Chain 4 (this is the foundation chain)

R1: Starting from second chain from hook, Sc 3 in back loops of foundation chain.  Turn and Sc 3 in front loops of the foundation chain [we are making an oval by crocheting around the chain].  (6 sts)

R2: 2 sc in each sc around (12 sts)

R3: In back loops only, Sc 12.

R4: *Sc 2, dec 1*, rep 3 times (9 sts)

R5: Sc 9

Begin stuffing hoof.  Switch to white yarn,

R6: Sc 9.

R7-8: Sc 9.

We will begin to curve the leg.  Continue stuffing along the way.

R9: 2 sc in next sc, Sc 3, Dec 1, Sc 3 (9 sts) 

R10: 2 sc in next sc, Sc 3, Dec 1, Sc 3 (9 sts) 

R11: 2 sc in next sc, Sc 3, Dec 2, Sc 1 (8 sts) 

Fasten off and leave long end for sewing. Finish stuffing front leg.  Sew open ends together.  Attach to body.

TAIL

Using coral yarn,

R1: 4 sc in Magic Ring (4 sts)

R2: Sc 4

R3: *2 sc in next sc*, rep twice.  Sc 2.  (6 sts)

R4: Sc 1, *2 sc in next sc*, rep 4 times, Sc 1.  (10 sts)

R5: Sc 3, * 2 sc in next sc*, rep 4 times.  Sc 3.  (14 sts)

R6: *Dec 1*, rep 7 times. (7 sts)

R7: Sc 2, Dec 2, Sc 1 (5 sts)

Fasten off and leave long end for sewing.  No need to stuff tail.  Attach to end of body.

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We hope you enjoy working through this pattern and crocheting these unique shapes to create your own little Pony!  We would love to see your finished products- please post them on my Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram (use the hashtag #AllAboutAmi so everyone can see them too!) or e-mail me (all_about_ami@hotmail.com)!  Happy Chinese New Year!

This pattern is an original pattern by Stephanie of All About Ami (January 2014). Please do not claim this pattern as your own. If you wish to share this pattern, you may link to this pattern but please do not reprint it on your site. You may keep a copy for your own personal use but you may not sell or distribute it, or sell items made from this pattern.

Year of the Horse: Pony

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:

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.   

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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.

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After the mane was secured on the head, we then attached these ears that I crocheted!

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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!

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We then attached the body to the head!

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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!

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After attaching the legs, our pony was almost complete!

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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!

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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!

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And the great thing is that she can stand up too!

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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!

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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!  

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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”. 

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Here is a back view of Ruby the pony!  I really love how her puffy mane and cute tail came out!

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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?

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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 :)

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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”)!

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Myla gave some kisses to Ruby the Pony too :)  Don’t you love her Chinese New Year outfit?

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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?

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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!

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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!

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