Archive for the ‘ Crochet/Knit ’ Category

100 Sales Sale!

Hi everyone! Today marks my 100th sale on Etsy. To celebrate and to thank all of you for supporting me I’m having a sale over in my shop. All of my patterns are half off for the next 100 hours, starting at 3:00PM (EST) today!

Temp etsy banner 32015

And don’t forget I still have a ton of free patterns right here on my blog!

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Magnificent!

Fun Fact: Christopher Columbus once claimed to have seen 3 mermaids. They were, in fact, manatees.

Guess six months at sea really took its toll on him.

Manatee Cover photo

In case you haven’t seen it yet, the Magnificent Manatee crochet pattern is available :)

NOW, GO FORTH, AND CREATE YOUR LEGION OF VEGGIE-EATING SEA COWS!

For the Love of the Intelligent Sea Potatoes

Huzzah!

When I wrote my last post at the beginning of the month, I sort of recapped my activities of late and also hinted at a new amigurumi design I was working on. At the time of that post the design was very nearly finished, but since then I’ve been running around so crazy busy I haven’t had the chance to sit down and tie up all the loose ends (quite literally). This past weekend, mostly today really, I’ve been flat-out fried with a nightmarish cold (hoo-ray). We just had our 3rd or, I don’t know, 17th huge snowstorm (I’m losing track-also, I can’t see my mailbox anymore), so it’s no real surprise that I got slammed with what I’m pretty sure at this point must be a new plague. Seriously. I think I’m dying. It hurts to breathe. It should not hurt to breathe. Today’s been especially rough which has lead me to the discovery that I make a pretty lousy sick person. I cannot sit still. Thankfully I was off work today but this morning despite feeling like death I was hustling around the house trying to get stuff done. Eventually my head hurt so much and I got so dizzy every time I turned around I nearly fell over. I took that as a hint to put my things away and curl up in my chair, under my blanket and just watch TV (which, incidentally, I really haven’t done in a while). So far that’s really the only big upside to being sick: permission to sit around and watch television. That, and the really pretty orange tissue box I’ve got. Only, that’s really not that much of an upside since I have to use the damn thing every thirty seconds or so. One more sneeze and I think I’m going to cause brain damage. Anyway, long and completely TMI story short, thanks to being sick I finally had the chance to finish my latest crochet cutie.

Ta-da:

Manatee 2 by Karissa Cole 2014 Manatee by Karissa Cole 2014

In case it’s not already obvious this is my mini manatee amigurumi. I visited Seaworld last month and for some reason instantly fell in love with the manatees. How can something that looks just like a giant floating rock be SO DARN CUTE? I quite literally ran into the first shop I could to get my own mini sea cow to tote around (I’m such a kid at heart.) Honestly though, from the first moment I saw a manatee I was head over heals in like with these massive but marvelous creatures. Naturally I had to design an amigurumi after this one of my favorite marine animals. This cutie is my prototype, Phillip. He’s been sitting on my shelf just waiting for me to sew him up for the past two weeks. Pretty sad it took being home sick to get me to finally do it. I’m glad I did of course. This evening I put on some Stargate (LOVE that show) and sewed this little guy up. I think he actually came out pretty well. The photos don’t do him justice.

I’ve already had a request to make one or two more of these little fellas. My mother works as a secretary for a local school. She has a few of my amigurumi designs keeping her company at work around her desk. Apparently a student and his teacher caught sight of one of the penguins I’d made for her and the student just fell in love with it. The teacher asked if I would make some for her class, as rewards that could be given out for good behavior. (I said yes of course.) When she heard I was currently working on a manatee she said the students would probably love that too. So, (once I get a few more penguins done up) I’ll have the perfect chance to test out my pattern for clarity before I release it. Yay :D

 

 

{manatee photograph header courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com}

 

 

A Distinctly Batty Post

• I have good news my friends:
I’ve finally tied up the last of the loose ends.
My bat pattern is finally here!
(Even if it did take me over a year…)
But now I’m happy to say it’s officially done,
and I’m sharing it so you, too, can make one.
But then, I guess, why stop at just one?
An army of bats would be much more fun!
You could make one black, orange, or blue;
A yellow one, pink, and even green, too!
And in the end, whatever color you choose,
these guys are so cute, you just can’t lose!

• Now normally when I release a pattern, you see,
it comes with some kind of whimsical short story.
But I’m sorry to say, that try as I might,
I could think of no batty tale on this lonely night.
I sat and thought about it quite a lot.
But all my sitting and thinking was apparently for naught.
Lately I’ve just had no good ideas, no inspiration.
I think my mind just up and left, and took my motivation.
But even without the usual cute tale to boast,
I figured I could still at least try to make this post.
It just looked like without a story this time,
I’d have to settle instead for a silly little rhyme.
Of course, I can’t deny, I’m certainly no poet,
and now, thanks to this line, we definitely all know it.
But that’s okay, we’ll just never-mind that now;
‘Cause I’ve made a little bat and I’ll show you how.

• So go ahead and gather your supplies, get some yarn, take your pick.
And get ready to crochet some bitty bats, that work up super quick!

Batty! 3 by Karissa Cole 2013

Sebastian is this little guy’s name, and batty cuteness is quite clearly his game!

S U G G E S T E D M A T E R I A L S:
• Small amounts of worsted weight yarn
• G/7 4.50MM crochet hook
• One (1) pair of 8MM safety eyes
• Black felt
• Scissors
• Needle & thread (Substitution: Hot glue)
• Pins
• Fiberfill stuffing

A B B R E V I A T I O N S
MC – magic circle (magic loop/magic ring)
RND – Round
sc – single crochet(s)
inc – increase
ibl – in back loops only
dec – decrease
ch – chain
hdc – half double crochet
sl slt – slip stitch
*actions in asterisks should be repeated until round completion or to the indicated stopping point in the round*
(number in parentheses indicates total number of stitches after round/row completion)
FO – fasten off

This little bat really is quite little! Finished size is just a few inches tall. Given that, it is not suggested that this toy be given to any very little ones. Also, please note that the basic ear and wing shapes shown in this pattern are merely references, and are not actual size. Everyone’s crochet style is different, so the wings/ears may not be a one size fits all situation. You will need to experiment to get a size that fits your bat.

More Batty Action Shots ea1701

If you find any errors with this pattern, or have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know! You can leave a comment below, or send a private message by using the form on the Contact page.

E A R S (make 2):
With your black felt cut out two tear-drop shapes, like the ones in the image below. You may wish wait and cut out the ears when you’re around round 9 or so of the head (directions for which follow). I had to experiment with the size of the ears until they looked like you see in the finished photos.

Batty ear shape

NOT TO SCALE – unless you want your bat to have REALLY abnormally sized ears :)

H E A D (make 1):
MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RNDs 4-7) *sc* (24)
RND 8) *ibl sc* (24)
RND 9) *2sc, dec* (18)
You can go ahead and place the eyes now. You may also want to pin on and sew the ears. (I really hate sewing and so waited to sew the ears on until the end, but it’s up to you). For my bat, before pinning the ears on, I rolled the felt a bit, almost making a funnel shape. Flattening that, I then pinned the ears on, making them look more rounded, as you see in the photos. Also start stuffing the head, firmly, and continue stuffing until you finish off.
RND 10) *sc, dec* (12)
RND 11) *dec* (6)
FO

B O D Y (make 1):
MC 6)
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *ibl sc* (18)
RNDs 4-6) *sc* (18)
RND 7) *sc, dec* (12)
FO

F E E T (make 2)
leaving a long tail, ch 4
work 3hdc in the 3rd ch from hook. sl st in the last chain. FO leaving a long tail.
Pull both the beginning and ending tails through the bottom part of the body where you want the first foot to go. Pull through enough so that that last sl st gets pulled right inside, leaving just the round little foot sticking out. Tie a few knots with the end tails (that have now been pulled inside the body) to secure the foot. Repeat for the second foot. (Placement is totally up to you. I think I might’ve liked to see what this little bat looked like with its feet wider apart…)

Sebastian1 by Karissa Cole

W I N G S (make 2):
With your black felt cut out two wings in whatever shape you find most batty. Below, number 1, is the basic shape I used. In hindsight, though, I think I should’ve gone with number 2. On my next bat that’s the one I’ll use :) 

I went ahead and redid the wings so they’re a bit more bat-ish, using design number two below. I added the finised photos to this post. Be forewarned: sewing the wings can be a bit fiddly, especially since this bat is so tiny. Patience will be needed, trust me xD

Batty wing shape ideas

(You may cut out two different wings, or cut them out as one piece to save some sewing if you’d like). Once your wings have been cut out, place, pin, and then sew them to the body. Stuff the body now, too. (If you’d like to sew the wings on after stuffing, that’s totally cool, too.)

You should now have your head, ears, body, feet, and wings all done. All that’s left is to sew the bat head to the body. (And do it quickly! A headless bat is just plain wrong…) Pin the two pieces together, and, once you’re satisfied with the placement, go ahead and sew. Weave in any loose ends.

Pinning things in place (Batty!)

pinning things in place – I saved all the sewing for last

Bitty Bats by Karissa Cole 2013

finished!

• There you go, you’re all done!
I hope you enjoyed this pattern, found it fun.

• Now this batty little post of mine is almost complete.
If you made it through all my cheesy rhymes, consider it quite a feat!

• Please have fun making your little bat,
just be sure to tell others where you got it at.
Share the amigurumi goodness, and send others this way
Give a bit of credit to this blog to help keep things free, okay?
And speaking of which, I’ve been meaning to tell:
whatever you make from this pattern, please don’t sell.
This design is a gift, free for all,
so anyone can have a their own baby bat this fall!

Okay, I’m done trying to rhyme.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in April of 2012 I made a bunch of little black amigurumi bats. At the time I just free-formed them, using the simple basics of amigurumi making (crochet an oval, crochet a tube, sew them together and poof! -a cutie appears). I used basically the same design as my little Skittles, which were, in fact, inspired by Skittles. I don’t know why it took me so darn long to finally sit down and figure out the exact pattern, but I hope it was worth the wait :)

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Like this post? Check out these other cute amigurumi patterns available from ea1701:

Sharkie! Free Pattern by Karissa Cole Squid! the Confused Owl promo by Karissa Cole

For a full list of amigurumi-related posts visit the amigurumi page. Have fun!

the Day of the Octopuses

the Day of the Octopuses by Karissa Cole 2013

Have you ever had one of those moments where you just had to sit down? Like, you hear some particularly stunning news, and your brain just can’t process this information and run the muscles needed to keep you standing at the same time. All of your surroundings go a bit blurry, time becomes nothing more than a four letter word, and everything else just goes completely unnoticed, as your mind works feverishly to sort out whatever it was that stunned it so. These kinds of moments seem to happen with an alarming frequency in my life. Most often on a Tuesday.

I should’ve known something was up. Things had been quiet for at least 3 weeks. Think that’s some kind of record for me. All things considered, I’ve had stranger stuff happen, though. But, then again, I might just be getting used to it.

So, this all started earlier this morning. Like most days this summer, the first thing I did to start the day was open up the window in my bedroom. I was instantly greeted by the most perfect breeze: not too warm, not too cool. The weather has been strangely mild for this time of year, but I’m not complaining. Finally, after suffering through endless days of rain and gloom last month, for the past two weeks the sun has been shining down, warm and supremely pleasant. I am in no hurry for it to end. I stood in front of the window for just a moment, inhaling deeply, enjoying the fresh air. There had been a schedule shift at work and so I ended up having today off. I decided to get caught up on some housework. Sounds boring, I’m sure. But I’ve always had an affinity for housework. This is probably because I have an awesome home music system, and I am not above dancing to whatever song I happen to have blaring while I sweep the floors. And there’s something about a sunny, warm, breezy day that just makes me feel a little bit more motivated to get some actual work done.

Pushing through my bedroom door, I headed down the short, narrow hallway toward the kitchen and living room. I hadn’t gotten two steps when I suddenly heard…music coming from the other room. This struck me as odd, you see, because I was the only one home and, although I had planned to, I had yet to turn my stereo on. I paused in the hallway for a second as my brain wrapped itself around the sound. Finally the song registered: “We Built This City” by Starship. And it was playing none too quietly, I noticed. Okay, maybe I left my music player on last night and it was still shuffling through the hundreds of songs, I thought to myself, even though I was positive that couldn’t be it.

I continued making my way down the hall, the music growing louder and clearer the closer I got. It took me all of two seconds to walk the length of the hallway and arrive in the kitchen. Everything was basically normal: the sun was streaming in through the window above the sink, the breeze wafted through the slightly opened window in the living room. But nothing is ever completely normal in my life. I really should know that by now. The first abnormal thing I noticed was, of course, the music still playing (the Starship song had ended and a Hall & Oates song had just started up – a seemingly strange mix of music, but, believe it or not, this was not unusual for me, especially when my media player shuffles through all of the eclectic music I’ve got). The old music playing, though, was nothing, compared to the other thing… or… things, I should say, that I saw in my kitchen. They were everywhere, on the counter, on the floor, under the table, on top of the fridge. I don’t know what kept me from going into full panic mode. I mean, anyone who walks into her kitchen one morning to be suddenly faced with a dozen or so multicolored octopuses has every reason to panic, right?

So. There. I said it. Octopuses. In my kitchen, I found a dozen, tiny, brightly colored octopuses. Living, breathing….cleaning octopuses! You know, I’m almost going into panic mode now, just thinking about it all. Talk about a delayed reaction. There they were though. There was a little blue on washing dishes easily 3 times his size in the sink. Under the table, two orange-colored ones were eradicating some dust bunnies. Another one, this one light green, sat atop my counter, polishing it to a shine. Each of them worked diligently,  cleaning, dusting, and tidying. And as they worked, some of them, even sang along to the song playing. Have you ever heard a tiny yellow octopus sing along to “You Make My Dreams” while it organizes your spice rack first thing in the morning? This is the kind of life I apparently lead, you know, where if someone ever asked me that question, I’d have to answer with a yes.

I stood there, at the edge of the bright, bustling room, just… staring, and for how long I don’t know. Eventually I realized I had sat down, right there on my floor. I just couldn’t stand, I suppose. I continued to watch them work, each of them bouncing around to the music, truly seeming to be enjoying their activities. Slowly, this was becoming less of a “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?” kind of thing, and more of a “Dude this is really fascinating” kind of thing. In fact, I watched them with great interest. I also couldn’t help but notice that they were doing extremely exceptional work. My kitchen had never looked this spotless, and I’m known for being a very tidy person.

To be honest, I don’t know how long I sat there. I completely lost track of the time, and even the music flowing out of the two wall-mounted speakers faded into the background, as I sat there, completely mesmerized. Gradually they each seemed to finish up their specific jobs and before I new it, they had somehow worked together to open my front door, just a crack. Two or three of them scurried (if you can picture a land-dwelling cephalopod scurrying) from the living room across the kitchen to meet up with the rest. Before leaving through the opened door, each one would wave goodbye to me, a smile on its face, and I could almost swear I heard a few of them call out “goodbye!” and “have a nice day!” and “see you next time!” in the tiniest, squeakiest little voices I have ever encountered. Before I new it I was all alone in the room. One of them had turned off the music, I guess, and they made sure to close the front door after the last one went through.

I probably sat there on my kitchen floor for a good twenty minutes before I had enough brain-power to get up again. When I finally did, I took a look around the room. Absolutely spotless. Everything had been cleaned, dusted, and organized. I found the living room in a similar state. Nothing was out of its place, and in fact, they had put a few things back on the shelf that I had lazily left out over the weekend. They had even managed to clean my bathroom from top to bottom. My apartment has never been this…perfect.

I’ve had all day to try to figure out this strange occurrence. So far all I’ve come up with is the theory that, just like some people have unusually luckier lives than others, maybe some people have unusually odder lives than others. You know, like maybe everyone is supposed to have the same amount of weirdness in their lives, but some people accidentally end up with a surplus, just like some people somehow end up with an abundance of good luck. Growing evidence in my life has lead me to believe this must be the case.

Of all the bizarre things I’ve had happen to me in life, though, I have to say, this one, the Day of the Octopuses, has definitely got to be the cleanest of them all.

________________________________________________________

the Day of the Octopuses PROMO by Karissa Cole 2013

So I finally finished my octopus pattern and story. I don’t really know if it ended up being worth the wait, though. This is the fourth octopus design I’ve come up with while working on this project. The first prototype was very simplistic. The second was much more realistic, while still sort of having that cute, cartoon-y kind of style. The third prototype was just…no. And then we have this, the fourth and (for now) final. To be honest, it doesn’t look at all like I had planned. I feel a bit bad about that. I had been planning to design a larger, more realistic looking cephalopod. But I have not been feeling 100% lately, to say the least. And, besides, when I lined up the options to my Cuteness Committee (the few people I rely on to let me know if a pattern is cute enough for distribution) this design was the winner. And I had been taking so long to get it done I figured it would have to be good enough.

So, here it is, the Day of the Octopuses amigurumi pattern. I hope someone out there gets some use out of it! :)

S U G G E S T E D  M A T E R I A L S:

• Worsted weight yarn such as Loops & Threads® Impeccable™ Brights
• G/7 4.50MM crochet hook
• One (1) pair of 6MM safety eyes (available in many craft stores or online at http://www.crscrafts.com)
• Scissors
• Yarn needle
• Fiberfill stuffing

A B B R E V I A T I O N S:

MC – magic circle (magic loop/magic ring)
sc – single crochet(s)
hdc – half double crochet stitch
inc – increase
dec – decrease
st(s) – stitch(es)
ch – chain
*actions in asterisks should be repeated until round completion or to the indicated stopping point in the round*
(number in parentheses indicates total number of stitches after round/row completion)
FO – fasten off
RND – Round
dc –  double crochet
hdc – half double crochet
sl st – slip stitch

T H E  P A T T E R N:
Work in spirals. Do not join rounds. Use a stitch marker (paper clip, yarn tail, etc) to mark rounds.

This pattern is not intended for beginners. Not that I would’ve ever let that stop me :)

This is a super simplistic pattern, made up of two parts. The main body and the tentacles are worked as one. The second piece is simply a crocheted circle made to attach on the underside of the octopus. If you’d like to leave the octopus unstuffed (the tight nature of amigurumi stitches should be firm enough for the octopus to maintain its shape) then just leave off making the second piece. At the end of the main pattern I’ve included a few variations you can try. If you have particularly “tall” or “short” stitches, you may wish to try out one of these alternatives.

We’ll be working with multiples of 3 for most of this pattern, starting with 6 in a magic circle. Therefore, in the first round, work 1 sc, then increase in the next stitch. Repeat the pattern until you get to the end of round 1. In the next round work 2 separate scs, then increase, repeating around. For the third row work 3 separate scs, then increase, repeating around, etc. Unlike my other patterns, this involves a bit more math, but it’s nothing fancy, especially since the pattern is so simple :)

Although the pattern is not expressly written so, I recommend staggering increases and decreases to avoid ending up with a triangular shape. It’s up to you of course.

Okay! Let’s get started.

M A I N  B O D Y / H E A D:
MC 6
RND 1) evenly increase to 9 sts
RND 2) evenly increase to 12 sts
RND 3) evenly increase to 15 sts
RND 4) evenly increase to 18 sts
RND 5) evenly increase to 21 sts
RNDs 6-10) sc around, maintaining the 21 sts
RND 11) decrease evenly to 18 sts
RNDs 12-13) sc around, maintaining the 18 sts
RND 14) *7sc, dec* (16)
RND 15) sc around, maintaining the 16 sts

DO NOT BREAK YARN.

[ALTERNATIVES: Add in or take out some of the rounds on the 21 sts. Want a “shorter” octopus? Instead of working 5 rounds straight, try doing only three. Conversely, for a taller octopus, do a few more rounds. You may also wish to add on a few rounds after round 15.]

We’re now ready to work the tentacles. Each tentacles is worked right from the body, one after another. To start:

Ch 17
Starting in the second ch from hook, work 9 sc, then 7 hdc. Doing so should’ve brought you back to the octopus body. Skip over the next stitch you see on the body, and slip stitch in the one after it. One tentacle is now complete. Repeat this process around and you will end up with 8 tentacles. (I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures of this process; I worked on this part of the pattern while watching DS9 and didn’t exactly have my camera equipment handy. Heh heh…)

[ALTERNATIVES: Try chaining more or less than the 17 for longer or shorter tentacles. You can also change up the number of scs and hdcs for some more customization.]

Once the last tentacle is finished break the yarn. You may with to leave a long tail for sewing. Attach the eyes and stuff the head/body firmly.

To make the bottom closure:

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
FO.

Turn the octopus upside down an position the closing piece. It is a couple stitches bigger than the bottom of the octopus, so it should curve inward. (See photo). (Problem? If your closing piece isn’t big enough to cover the opening, work a third round as follows: RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24))

Sewing it

Sew the closing piece to the bottom of the octopus. I sewed the closing piece to both the tentacles and the actual body of the octopus. This kept the tentacles from looking like they had “holes” in them. Once you’re done sewing, break the yarn and weave in any loose ends. Done! Be sure to “shape” your octopus. I did this simply by sort of squishing it to look as you see it in the photos.

tDotO by Karissa Cole 2013 2

Disclaimer: Reading this story and making your own small battalion of octopi may or may not result in a day of music-listening and apartment cleaning. Your mileage may vary :)

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**P L E A S E  N O T E** This is an original short story and pattern. The selling of any products made as the result of this pattern and/or design is not permitted. Please be sure to credit this blog if ever you share your finished octopus by directing others to this original posting so that they too can benefit. If you have any questions about this policy, or this pattern, please contact me. Thank you!**

Amigurumi Inventory Day

Today is Amigurumi Inventory Day! I totally just made that up. I have no shame.

1) Amigurumi Day - ea1701

So, somehow I got it into my head the other day that I should do a check on all the amigurumi and supplies I’ve got stuffed away in my craft closet. Every now and then it’s inevitable that if I want to find anything I have to go through and reorganize ever skein, hook, and all the other artisan materials I’ve got. But for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of what I’ve got and how much.

I now realize this was merely one of the first signs of complete brain atrophy from too much summer heat and not enough sun. (It’s been incredibly hot and humid here, but rainy, dark, and stormy. This I view as insult to injury.)

Still, earlier this evening I set about this impossible task anyway. This morning I had to put aside some time to work on completely updating and overhalling my resume. Now that that’s finished (and fully awesome, if I do say so), I’ve gotten myself knee deep in yarn and plushies. Now that I think of it, I suppose there are much worse things one could find themselves knee deep in…

2) Amigurumi Day - ea1701 3) Amigurumi Day - ea1701

I have to admit, this is a much bigger undertaking than I had thought. I am such a hoarder. I’ve got stuff in my closet spanning probably 10 years of craftiness. Although I tend to focus mainly on amigurumi, I’ve always been a bit of the artsy type, so I dabble in knitting, sewing, and jewelry making. There are drawers full of felt and fleece and fuzzy fabrics, buckets of wire and beads and cording, and bins full of measuring tapes, pins and needles. Not to mention of course the mounds upon mounds of yarn I own! It’s all pretty neat and tidy though. Thankfully I’m not a hoarder and a slob. There are special shelves for the yarn, hooks for the knitting needles, and all that. I’m typically a highly organized person. I just have a lot of stuff. But what can I say, the creative spirit just overpowers me sometimes :)

So, so far my totals are:
• 50+ crocheted Amigurumi (not including the ones that’ve been sold or gifted)
• 25+ skeins of worsted weight yarn, assorted colors,
• 11+ balls of worsted weight yarn, assorted colors
• 13+ skeins/balls of novelty yarn or wool
• 28+ pieces of craft felt
• 15+ crochet hooks
• 12+ pairs of knitting needles (including several sets of double pointed needles)
• 2 cases of pony beads (a gift that I’ve been trying to find uses for for the past 8 years xD)
• About 150 pairs of safety eyes, assorted sizes
• 3 pairs of scissors
• 2 yarn needles
• 50 jump rings
• 10 spools of wire
• various pendants, charms, and beads
• 4 sheets of fleece
• 2 sheets of fuzzy novelty fabric
• 7+ pattern books

4) Amigurumi Day - ea1701 5) Amigurumi Day - ea1701

Believe it or not, this is just the beginning. I’ve got mini stashes of crafty supplies hidden throughout the house. And every drawer I open I seem to find more and more stuff I didn’t realize was there. Plus, since drawing was my first love, I’ve got drawing supplies: pens, pencils, markers, drawing books, sketch pads. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a crafters’ anonymous I should go to :)

Crayons will never go out of style...

Crayons will never go out of style…

I’ve been at this for about two hours or so now. I can only tell it’s been that long because the sun has set and it’s getting quite dark out. Pretty soon I’ll have to turn the music down, to avoid bothering the neighbors. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love my music, and I have a stereo system so awesome you can feel the music vibrate the walls and hear it from down the street. Tonight I’ve been listening to my Completely Random Oldies Playlist: Chesney Hawkes, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Adams, Soft Cell, Information Society, the Lovin’ Spoonful, The Monkees, .38 Special, The Tubes, Bruce Springsteen, the Traveling Wilburys… I know it’s a totally subjective thing, but I very much think good music makes everything better.

Anyway. In addition to the supplies inventory, I’ve finally gone ahead and done up an ideas inventory, a to-do list that’s been long overdo.

• Dinosaur amigurumi (current WIP)
• the Chocolate Milk Cow (story and amigurumi pattern)
• “Not a morning person” digital illustration
• Nebula space paintings
• the Sad Cephalopod pattern (etsy store!)
• the Day of the Octopuses (free pattern and story)
• Previous pattern updates
• “Talking to myself” digital illustration

These are some of the long-term and short-term projects, crafty or otherwise, I’ve been thinking about doing. Now that I’ve got them written down, I think the lure of being able to cross them off will be a new source of motivation and inspiration.

Overall life has not been altogether pleasant lately, but I’m doing my best to fill this summer with all the good things I can think of. With all the scifi, amigurumi, painting, anime, music, crafting, and drawing I’ve managed to work in already, I think I’m doing pretty well so far :)

Blue Eyes, Bubble Gum (Short Story + Amigurumi Pattern)

I stood there with my eyes locked on my opponent. He simply sat there, with no readable expression. Even after our epic battle. there seemed to be a cool vibe emanating from every inch of him. I looked down at the weapons I had chosen at the beginning of this assignment: an HB pencil and a standard white eraser. Before this epic battle, each item had been in perfect condition. Before my pencil had touched that formidable warrior, that bleached 18″ x 24″ sketch pad, my simple yet effective writing implement had been perfectly sharpened, ready and able to draw for me whatever I asked of it.

But as soon as I laid led to paper, I realized I had met my match. We struggled as I tried to draw a couch in two-point perspective. I tried every maneuver in my grand arsenal. I brought in reinforcements, the flexible cork-backed ruler, but even that was no match for the sketch pad. He was too strong for me, he refused to concede, to show for me the couch I had in mind. My HB worked magnificently, and for a time I thought I would actually win. But the paper, this unbeatable foe, broke the pencil led as if it were thinner than a blade of grass and laughed in the face of my eraser.

I threw my ammunition down on the table. Forfeiting, and failing at my couch drawing mission.

“I think you’re just thinking too much. Just, clear your head, don’t think”, my instructor calmly told me at the end of class. I couldn’t help but notice he possessed the same coolness the sketch pad had displayed. A cohort perhaps? I realized it wouldn’t surprise me.

“We’ll cover it again in the next class. But feel free to practice until then.” he said. To me or to the other students in the class I couldn’t tell. He struck me as an unusual teacher, but not in any identifiable way. An admirable trait to some extent.

Even though I found it a possibility that he was part of the conniving pad’s plan, and I found his teaching method offbeat, his advice seemed to warrant more exploration. I decided it would be wise to clear my head, and prepare myself for the next battle that I knew wouldn’t be far off. I had heard of accomplished artists seeking the outdoors as a way to clear their mind or find inspiration. Being a city dweller by nature, the thought of traversing through actual nature looked to me like it would have the opposite effect I was seeking. But there was a discreet bench, on a simple corner near my well lived in 4th floor apartment, that I thought might offer the desired serenity and inspiration. So, with the November weather being astoundingly agreeable on the day it all happened, that is where I went.

It wasn’t a particularly incredible street: nothing out of the ordinary, and nothing of much exciting interest.

Setting my sketch pad down, I took up residence on a small wooden bench that served as the bus stop on the corner. The bench had been green at one point but a good deal of the paint had worn off, leaving the natural light tan color of the wood. Sitting in the right corner of the bench I twisted myself slightly to my left, effectively nestling myself into the curves of the seat. I then pulled my left knee up, hugging it to my chest. Considering the hard nature of the wooden bench, this was as comfortable as I could get, but it suited me just fine.

I’d been on this bench dozens of times before, and I’d passed it by hundreds more. Still I took in my surroundings, the sights and sounds of the buildings around me. Behind my seat was an empty office building for sale. It lacked any great luster and seemed to me as though it would be for sale for quite some time. It also seemed to me that it oddly resembled the settings of several horror movies. I made a note to mention it to the AV students at the college.

Across from me was the edge of another large office building that wrapped around to the front of the street. This building was very similar to the one behind me except this one was generally occupied on a regular basis. I’m not sure if anyone knew exactly what went on in this building. All that was certain was that well dressed men and woman came and went from the structure, with bland looking briefcases and terribly bored expressions on their faces. Next to that building was a smaller one story shop. The large window boasted attractive cardboard cutouts of various singers and musicians, some decorative objects hanging from the ceiling and a bright neon sign that read “Spin Cycle”. It was a trendy music store, carrying mainly records and retro memorabilia. But it pretty much cost money just to look in the window.

To the right of Spin Cycle was a small coffee shop. Not being much of a coffee drinker myself, all I can tell you about the place is that the lettering on the logo in the window matched the faded color and quality of the bench I sat on. Beyond the coffee shop and the building behind me were several more utterly nondescript offices and apartment buildings, interspersed with the occasional old fashioned lamp post and “Keep Our City Clean” trash bins. To the credit of the city council those small red and white signs urging pedestrians to clean up their trash seemed to have done their job well. The entire street was simple but clean and tasteful; a rare sight in a city.

Although on that day the street I sat on felt nothing like a typical city. There was one car parked a few hundred feet to my right. It was an older car, maybe from the 1950’s. It was red with gray and gold paint randomly splattered and strewn about on the body of the car. From this observation alone I surmised that the owner of the vehicle suffered from complete color blindness.

Aside from this car there were no other vehicles in sight; not even the occasional motorist passing by on his way to whatever his destination might’ve been. There was, in fact, no evidence of life anywhere on the street, beyond myself that is. I began to think that this was not the most excellent location for inspiration to strike. Unless by some miracle the crumpled newspaper that flew by when the wind picked up struck gold within me.

To no great surprise, I suppose, no miraculous epiphany occurred.

I pulled my knee closer to my body and looked up at the sky. It was late in the afternoon by then; still light out but the sun had hidden itself behind some grey clouds, apparently finding this once lively street as dull as I did.

I returned my gaze to the Spin Cycle store front when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. Something new, something I hadn’t seen before. It was small, black and somewhat round. It looked to be no more than two feet tall. This new object could have been easily mistaken for some inanimate item; a small trash bag, a miniature black bean bag chair, a tire, anything of the like. Had it not moved I’m sure I would have written it off as nothing of importance. But the little creature shifted from one tiny foot to another. By doing so he turned himself just enough for me to get a better look at him. He was shaped like a teardrop, with two very little yellow feet supporting him. His feet appeared to come straight from his round belly, as his legs, if he had any, were too small to be visible from my vantage point. His head was round, jet black, and shone a little in the small rays of light that began showing through the clouds. Set perfectly in the center of that head were two very round, blue-green eyes, spaced a couple of inches apart. Just below his shining eyes sat a small yellow beak. Below his beak a small white patch on his chest was visible, but the majority of it was apparently blocked by the small black hooded sweatshirt he wore. Just below his neck, if he even had a neck, on ether side of his body were two chubby arms that were comparable in size to his entire torso.

If I had to put forth a guess, I would have said it was a small penguin wearing a hooded black sweatshirt. In fact that was the only logical conclusion I could come to, which I imagine might sound ridiculous, what with that statement lacking any apparent logic whatsoever. But I am known for being logical and barring any recent brain injury I had no knowledge of, I knew my guess must have been correct.

So the newcomer to the street across from me was a two foot tall penguin. He didn’t quite look like a Gentoo, he had no white on his face. Of all the penguins I’ve ever seen, I’d have said he looked remarkably similar to an Adélie. Not that I’ve ever encountered a penguin on the city street before, especially not one that wore a tiny sweatshirt. But I gathered almost instantly that this was a situation that not many people had come across before.

The penguin stood on the street a few dozen feet from the record store and the coffee shop. He shifted his weight back and forth a few times, padded down the pockets at the front of his sweatshirt, then shifted again. It looked as though he was waiting for someone. He lifted his left arm and looked at a nonexistent watch.

Impatient little fellow.

But as if cued by the little bird’s anxious manner the door to the record store suddenly flew open, revealing a tall, thin, and overall rather lanky figure. As the newest arrival to this previously empty street made his way out of the store I could see him more clearly. He was a young, in his early twenties most likely. He wore a grey shirt under an olive green jacket. His jeans and sneakers were both quite dark, so much so that I could hardly see where one ended and the other began. His hair was light brown, parted on his left with some of it falling over the right side of his face. His large blue eyes were almost completely hidden behind even larger black rimmed glasses.

In his left arm he held several large books with paper sticking out at odd angles. He had over his left shoulder a messenger bag, tan and well worn. I couldn’t help but wonder why it was that the heavy books were held in his arms rather than in the bag. The boy wrestled with the tomes he carried as he looked down at a watch her wore on his left wrist. He had an air of haste about him, as if he were running late and couldn’t quite compose himself. But even with his hurried expression he stayed where he was, standing just outside Spin Cycle.

The penguin immediately noticed the boy’s arrival and began marching steadily towards him. For such a small fellow with incredibly tiny legs he walked with an amazingly speedy determination. In just a matter of seconds he had crossed the few dozen feet that had been between him and his human target. The young man though, still appearing hurried for some reason, didn’t seem to be waiting for anyone, especially not a penguin I dare say, so I believe it came as somewhat of a shock to him when he looked down and saw a short, unusually anthropomorphized penguin tugging gently on his right pant leg.

The boy looked down at the penguin and, with more composure than anyone ought to display in such a situation, he slowly knelt down, bridging the 4-some-odd foot distance between him and the little creature begging his attention.

The penguin’s demeanor was that of someone who had just discovered some wonderfully exhilarating news and if he didn’t share it, it would most certainly cause a fantastic explosion. Not wanting to experience this explosion, the penguin excitedly hopped up and down, his eyes shining with urgency, as he began speaking to the boy. The boy stared at him with an incredulous expression on his face, his eyes wide in amazement. I imagine his wide eyes were also due, at least in some small manner, to the weight of the books he still held. But he didn’t put his books down, nor did he move even an inch from the penguin.

By this point my interest had been piqued considerably. I put both my feet on the ground and moved forward to the edge of the bench; to the point where if I had gone any further I would fall off. I hunched my shoulders so I could lean in as close as possible to this very interesting conversation. But even in this perfect information gathering (or as some misguided people call it, “eavesdropping”) position I was just too far away to hear any of the penguin’s words. So I simply watched as the penguin gestured wildly while carrying on his one-sided conversation.

Whatever sentiments this penguin had intended to convey he did so in a relatively brief period of time. Not long after he walked up to the young man on the sidewalk and began his dialogue he slowed his gestures to a stop. I realized then that he had stopped talking and he was looking to the boy, waiting for some kind of response.

The boy blinked and shook his head a little, bringing himself back from the penguin induced stupor. His expression clearly showed confusion, amazement, and still a hint of haste. Still kneeling by the penguin, he placed his heavy books on the ground beside him in order to free up his left hand. With this newly liberated limb he reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a small, thin, pink box.

Not the item I had expected to see.

But whatever it was thrilled the penguin, as he squinted with joy, clapped his hands and jumped up and down.

With confusion still residing on his face, the young man looked at the box and then at the joyous penguin. He freely handed the box over to his most recent acquaintance, who gratefully accepted it. The penguin flipped open the box and pulled out a smaller pink rectangle. He tore off the pink paper wrapping and handed the trash to the boy, who took it surprisingly readily and placed it in his pocket. With the paper off, the penguin popped the little pink object in his mouth and began to chew. Apparently his new acquisition was bubble gum. The gum seemed to make this penguin extremely happy; His face lit up with complete joy as he chewed the sweet treat.

He chomped happily for a few moments, staring off into space before he turned his attention back to the young man. Still enjoying his gum, the penguin patted the boy on the knee and then extended his long black arm.Beyond any adequate definition of bewildered the boy gently took hold of the penguin’s offered up flipper. The penguin shook the boy’s hand enthusiastically but without saying a word. He then took off walking down the street, past Spin Cycle, the coffee shop, and the buildings beyond.The young and confused man stayed kneeling on the sidewalk, alone after the penguin had left. He looked as though he were trying his hardest to comprehend what had just happened.

Although, so did I, I’m sure.

He turned to look behind him and see the penguin walking off in the distance. Slowly he turned back and picked up the books he had laid down earlier. As he mumbled to himself, obviously distracted, he stood up and began walking towards the unique car parked to my right. After fumbling again with the large books he pulled out his car keys. He hesitated a moment before getting in, looking again in the direction the penguin had gone, although the little creature was too far now to be seen. He shook his head a final time, got into his car and drove off.

I watched as this unnamed man pulled away. The street was again devoid of any life. No cars had come or gone in the few minutes in which this spectacle took place, and no more pedestrians had made any appearances.

My sketch pad still sat beside me on the bench. After sufficiently recovering from my own bout of confusion this scene had caused I grabbed the pad; surely, if a two foot penguin walking and talking, chewing bubble gum and speaking with a confounded boy didn’t strike within me some sort of creative spark, I as an artist would be a failure.

I began scribbling wildly on the pad, not bothering to erase or attempt to fix any mistakes. Even as the sun began to set I stayed there on the bench, my eyes and pencil never leaving my paper.

After near an hour, maybe even two, I let loose a sigh of perfect contentment. Finished. My trip to this corner had not been in vain. I had finally produced a work of art without fighting with my medium.

So the result? The contents of the sketchpad that I had spent hours working in?

Well. This.

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This is actually a very old story. I wrote it a few years ago, when I was still in school going for my design degree. A few days ago I decided to crochet a penguin, though, and this story just seemed to be perfect for it, so I thought I’d repost it with the pattern :)

Penguin Pattern by Karissa Cole 2013

I admit, I wrote this pattern up somewhat hastily and while very tired, so it’s not as neat and polished as I would’ve liked. But I’m writing it off as a casualty of my busy summer thus far. The important thing is that I’ve finally got a new freebie to give away. Right now, I’ve got a PDF file available for download that has the instructions for making your own micro penguin. I hope someone will be able to make sense of it and crochet up a black penguin for themselves; it’s the one color I haven’t done yet!

Penguin by Karissa Cole 2013 Penguin by Karissa Cole 2013

So here you go, and I hope someone out there can get some use of this pattern: Micro Penguin Pattern by Karissa Cole 2013

As soon as I get the chance I’ll neaten it up a bit, add some more pictures, better details, and all that jazz. But it’s good enough for now :)

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Please remember that this amigurumi design, and the accompanying story are copyright Karissa Cole/ea1701 2013, all rights reserved. They are made available for personal, non-profit use only. For more information please feel free to contact me. Thank you!

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