Posts Tagged ‘ Short Stories ’

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.

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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!**

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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!

the Sad Cephalopod

Weighed down, worn out. Too much stress, too much mundane, and far too many unanswered questions. Sometimes it just happens. Somehow you take a wrong turn and end up somewhere awful, dark and dreary. It wasn’t on purpose, you didn’t mean to. But you suddenly find yourself walking through endless caverns, an impossible labyrinth, terrible, and so lonely. And nothing ever changes. Each door you pass through leads you into a room identical to the one you were just in. They’re all the same, and soon you loose track of how many empty rooms have come and gone.

Shadows skitter about, crawling up the walls, hiding in the corner of your eye. All around you hear whispers telling you there’s a way out, there’s hope and light and goodness waiting for you, you just have to find it. But each turn you take leads you further into the darkness, the air becomes thicker with despair, and you become completely convinced that hope is just an illusion. It’s the poison apple. Its beauty is false, taunting, and ultimately destroys you.

In short, it’s really quite unpleasant, one of the worst things there is, suffering from depression and anxiety. But, anyone could’ve told you that. You don’t need to hear it from me. Besides, I’m not here to write about sadness and gloom. That wouldn’t really do anyone too much good. So, instead, I’m here to tell you about the day things started to change. I’m here to tell you about the day something different finally happened.

Left, right, left, right, left, left, left again, right, left, right, left, right. These are the turns I usually take when I head out for a walk, when I need to clear my head, when I feel so lost, and when it seems like I can’t get out of the endless tunnels and caverns that run through my mind. Left out the door down the driveway, right onto the street, left at the corner, right onto the quiet road with the rolling hills. I’ve taken all these lefts and rights so often, my feet just seem to know the route now, and I don’t even have to think about when to turn or where to walk.

I’d been feeling particularly troubled, and it was starting to take its toll. So one morning I laced up my sneakers, slipped on my sunglasses and bounced down the front steps headed out for a much needed, head-clearing walk. The sun and the soft breeze seemed to instantly energize me, and I moved along the street confidently and easily, as if the world around was made just for this kind of walk. The anxiety didn’t exactly disappear while I was outside, but it always seemed so much easier to think. Maybe I couldn’t find my way out of my labyrinth, but I could at least take a break from running around madly in it to try and sort things out. A little fresh air and some pleasant sunshine provided a nice escape from myself.

As I went down my road, I looked up through the canopy of bright green leaves toward the sky. I’ve noticed that if you ask some people to describe the sky a lot of them will tell you it’s blue (or perhaps grey on those rainy, gloomy days). And it’s true, more often than not, that if you look at the sky briefly, you will indeed see blue. But, if you look at the sky the right way, you’ll see so much more. Sometimes you’ll see a soft baby blue sky, with long wisps of clouds slowly meandering across the horizon. Such a calmness in this kind of sky makes the whole world slow down a bit. Other times, you might see a rich, dodger blue sky, dotted with big, white, fluffy clouds that almost seem to be inviting you to come play. Still other times you might look up and see the deepest of azures, with no clouds in sight; a sky that looks so swimmable, you can’t take your eyes off it. Each day the sky is different and it’s one of the many things I tend to think about when I’m out walking.

As I strolled along, deep in thought, I stopped paying much attention to the direction I was going. Vaguely I glanced across the typically empty street before I took my first turn, then gazed absentmindedly down the road as I reached the corner. It wasn’t until I had walked several feet before I realized I hadn’t taken a left, as I usually would have. I stopped in my tracks and thought about where I was going. Turning left would’ve taken me downhill, along the path I knew so well. But turning right, which my feet had apparently decided to do while I wasn’t looking, took me up a steep hill, a path I’d traveled very infrequently. I stood there for a moment trying to decided if I should turn back and take the route I knew better. After a bit of internal dialogue, I decided to just keep going this new direction, uphill. In the end I figured “Why not?”

Moving slowly but steadily up the formidable hill, I soon reached the top, and was pleased to see the road begin to level out. Not having been up this way recently, I took in the layout of this quiet neighborhood. Houses dotted the landscape here and there, each one boasting enormous front lawns that seemed to stretch on for miles, all covered in the brightest, perfectly trimmed, green grass that was gently rustled by the breeze. All was quiet, and the further along I went, the further apart the houses seemed to get. I walked on for several minutes, enjoying the peace and tranquility. Eventually I encountered a narrow street jutting out to my right. I dimly remembered that there was a long curving street that met up somewhere along this road that, if taken, would end up leading back toward my starting point. Assuming this was that very street, I turned down it, continuing my meandering.

Lush trees decorated the sides of this road, blanketing the ground with the dancing shadows of the leaves. I was beginning to notice there seemed to be very few, if any houses along this street, when I suddenly spotted a large white sign up ahead. As I  neared it I was able to clearly make out the words. It read simply:

Welcome to Inkfish Park

The sign sat firmly in the ground, and looked as if it had for many years. The letters were slightly faded, but they still managed to look bright and happy, welcoming. Underneath the sign laid a perfect circle of bright red mulch, and around the base of each of the sign’s two legs small yellow and blue flowers nested.

Even though it had been a long time since I had been down this way, I couldn’t remember ever coming across any kind of park, especially one with such an unusual name. But since I wasn’t too far from home I saw no harm in perusing the grounds. I was out walking to get away from the stress of life, and what better way than to stroll through a quiet park?

The narrow road I had started on continued to wind and curve, surrounded now by trees and flowers and grass, and even a few small ponds teeming with fish and frogs and all sorts of life. I had just been wishing I had my camera with me, when I spied up ahead a few park benches set up along the edge of the road. All of the benches were empty, save one. On this one bench sat a large, orange blob of some kind. As I walked closer, curious to determine what this was, I was stunned to find that the orange blob was in fact a squid. Even more stunned was I, though, to find that it was a living breathing and really quite depressed looking squid. It sat there, completely deflated, drooped so low over itself. Its enormous, shiny, dark brown eyes glinted in the light. There was such a sadness in them though, I felt a sudden and strong pang of empathy. I knew what it felt like to be that sad, for whatever reason. And no one, nothing, should ever have to be that way.

Ignoring all common sense completely, I walked carefully toward the miserable little creature. He sat near the edge of the bench, which left room for me on the other side. He sighed heavily as I gently sat down. I uttered a tentative “Hi,” not sure if I’d get any kind of response. To my delight, though, he replied with a “hello” of his own. Although, it was laced with such dejection, I nearly started crying. Still, for my first ever conversation with a squid, this was going remarkably well so far.

Making my naturally soft voice seem even softer somehow, I questioned him, asking what was wrong. Without hesitation, he told me: “I’m lonely,” he said. I nodded understandingly, as I told him I knew what that felt like. He gave me a sideways glance. “You do?” I nodded again. “Mmhm. It’s terrible to be lonely,” the full weight of my own sadness filled my words. “It is,” he sighed again. “Terrible. I mean, no one ever looks at a squid and thinks ‘hey, he looks cuddly, I bet he’d love a hug’ or ‘he looks like he could use a friend, I’ll go talk to him.” He paused for a moment, and glanced at me again. “Well… usually,” he added carefully. He looked at me now as if seeing me for the first time, a bit of curiosity lightening up his glossy eyes. “Sometimes it’s sad being a squid,” he said, looking directly at me this time. “You’re not a squid,” he said, straightening up ever so slightly, scrutinizing me a bit. I had no idea what expression might be written on my face. “But I think you know what it’s like.” he said, in a strangely discerning way.

Of all the things I had ever pictured myself doing on any given day, bonding with a large orange squid on a park bench was most certainly not anywhere among the scenarios I’d conjured. But that is exactly what was happening.

I thought about what he said, and, although I didn’t know what it was like to be a squid (a fact I’m thankful for, now that I think of it) I realized I did know what he meant.

Not wanting to forget my manners, I decided I’d better introduce myself, and give him my name. “Hugo,” he replied, his demeanor having made a marked improvement since we began conversing. And so there we sat, Hugo and I, just chatting away as if we’d been friends for ages. He told me all about his life, and I found myself telling him all about mine. I learned he was terrified of Japanese restaurants and loved to read; he learned that I liked to solve problems and that I worried about being alone. He loved to count things and watch the sky; I loved to listen to music and daydream. We talked for quite a long time on that bench. By the time the sun began to set we each had a new friend, and I knew we’d both be leaving that quiet park in slightly higher spirits than when we had entered. We each still had things we would be sad about; such things can’t always be fixed in a single day. But it didn’t matter all that much, because I realized that when you focus on trying to make someone else feel better, sometimes it gives you a little bit of hope yourself.

As the first signs of nightfall started to appear, I stood up and stretched. Hugo yawned, stretched a bit, too, and then thanked me for coming to sit next to him. I smiled at him in return. I had a feeling that I might never see Hugo again, but I also had a feeling that meeting him was one of the most important things I could’ve done. “It’s nice to know that even when you think you’re completely alone, someone might just come walking up to let you know you’re not,” he said thoughtfully. At that I crouched down to his level and gave him a quick hug, remembering one of the first things he’d said had been making him sad – ‘no one ever looks at a squid and thinks ‘he looks cuddly, I bet he’d love a hug’. His incredibly shiny dark eyes widened in surprise before a tremendous smile stretched across his face. He then flung his two gangly arms around me, giving me another hug. Hugging a squid, I found, was just like hugging a warm jar of grape jelly, only, with no jar. I chuckled and hugged him back. He smiled at me, genuinely happy to have made a new friend that day. I could tell it was not something that had happened to him often before, and I realized, it wasn’t exactly a common occurrence for me, either. We then said our goodbyes and each moved off on our separate ways just as a few distant street lamps flickered to life, signaling all that the sun had set and the evening had arrived.

I knew there was a good chance sooner or later all the stress I’d been under would come back around and make things difficult again. As much as I wished it, I knew things didn’t always have quick fixes. But right then, at that moment, things were okay. I had done something nice for a sweet little squid who just needed a friend. I had made someone happy, someone who had been sad before I arrived. I would let that thought comfort me for as long as I needed. And with that, I walked back home.

______________________________________

My mind tends to wander, and it often travels to very unusual places. Half the time I can’t even try to explain my train of thought. This is one of those times. Actually, I don’t even know what it was that lead me to it, but several months ago I thought of a sad orange squid sitting on a park bench saying: “No one ever looks at a squid and says ‘hey, he looks cuddly, I think I’ll give him a hug.” And from that, this story was built. These days whenever I come up with a story, I like to create amigurumi to go with it. So, I present to you my cephalopods:

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (2)

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (8)

I was walking though the yarn aisle at the store a while back and I saw this pinkish-purple color that is such a gem of a hue, no photograph could do it justice. I plucked the skein off the shelf and dug my fingers into the incredibly soft and squishy yarn. I’d already had the sad cephalopd story in mind and instantly I thought “this will be perfect for a squid army.” I haven’t quite completed an entire battalion with this yarn yet, but I have made this one. I call her Juice. Crocheted her up while I watched Doctor Who one weekend.

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (7) the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (9)

The second squid I finished (although, he was the first one I started) is the character from my little story. Hugo, the sad orange squid who just wants a hug. Don’t worry: he’s not sad anymore! He gets plenty of hugs regularly, and is just as happy as can  be.

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (6)

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (4)

the Sad Cephalopod by Karissa Cole 2013 (5)

My third and final (for now) squid is Hubie. One squid isn’t enough, and two doesn’t quite cover it, so naturally I had to make a third. This little guy is crocheted from Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn – my absolute favorite yarn to make amigurumi with.

So, to date I have these three delightful little squids floating about my domicile, always there for a hug if one is needed.

I haven’t decided what to do about this pattern yet – whether I’ll release it for free, or perhaps include it among the patterns I will offer for sale. I’ll have to see what kind of interest there is in these little guys first. I’m really not sure how many people are in the market for squids :)

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9/13/2013: Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you know if you haven’t found out already, this pattern is now available here

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Please remember that this amigurumi squid design, the accompanying story, and all photographs are copyright Karissa Cole/ea1701 2013, all rights reserved. No reproduction in any form is currently permitted. For more information please feel free to contact me. Thank you!

My Morning at the Library

the Story

______________________

Some days just don’t go as planned. But I’m sure you probably already know this. ‘The best laid plans’ and all. Not too long ago I had one of those days that didn’t play out exactly the way I’d anticipated. That seems to happen to me a lot. . . But I suppose this time it really could have been worse, all things considered. After all, I did learn quite a few interesting things, plus I even ended up meeting. . .  well, I think I’m getting ahead of myself. I suppose I should start near the beginning. That does seem a good place to start, right?

So, it was a few weeks ago, and here’s what happened:

Sitting in the incredibly uncomfortable wooden chair in the library’s study room, I flipped my old phone shut. I’d just gotten a text message from the tutee I was supposed to be meeting.

“Slept thru alarm. Will be late. So sry!”

I folded my arms on the table and dropped my head down, letting it rest on my forearms. Listening to the rain crashing down mercilessly on the huge floor-to-ceiling windows, I thought about how much I would have preferred to stay in bed this gloomy morning instead of driving all the way down here to meet a student for some extra study time. I would probably have been really upset at the fact that they had the audacity to be late if I hadn’t been so tired. But there was something about sitting alone, in an empty library, on a cold, rainy day, early in the morning, that just took all the fight right out of me. In fact, it pretty much took all the energy out of me period.

“This really kind of bites.” I muttered into my arm.

“It can’t be that bad.”

I whipped my head up off the desk, searching out the source of the voice. I was sure the room had been empty and I was alone.

“I mean, you’re in a library for crying out loud. This is like, the coolest place to be. Besides a beach in Maui anyway.”

I scanned the big room but saw no other person. I rubbed my eyes and looked around again.

“Yoohoo, over here. Yep, this way, right here.”

Following the sound, finally I spotted who was talking. Sitting across from me at the edge of the table was a small brown turtle.

“Yo.” he said casually, briefly waving to me. I blinked at him, mainly because I really wasn’t sure what else to do. “Um. Hi.” I said tentatively.”

“Hi.” he replied. “I’m Shy.”

“Really? Never would’ve guess.” I mumbled, a bit surprised I was managing to speak. “I am too, actually.”

“What?”

“Shy.”

“Yes?”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, I never get tired of that joke.” he chuckled. “Seriously, though, my name is ‘Shy’.” he said smiling.

“Ah. I see. Well, nice to meet you.” I wasn’t sure if I meant it or not, but it was really all I could think to say at the moment.

“I’m sure you’re wondering more about me.” he said. I opened my mouth, all ready to tell him that yes, I was wondering something, but it was really more along the lines of my mental health and it’s somewhat frightening current state. But before I had the chance to say anything, some kind of heroic and histrionic music began streaming out from somewhere. “I am the Tortoise of All Knowing.” he said dramatically, standing tall (at least as tall as a six-inch tortoise can stand) puffing up with pride. He posed like that for a minute, as if he were waiting for a crazed group of paparazzi to snap photos left and right of such an honorable and glorious figure.

“Turtle of All Knowing, huh?” I asked skeptically once the music and posing stopped.

“Tortoise. Tortoise of All Knowing. Yes. Go ahead, ask me anything.” he replied, gamely.

“Okay.” I said, figuring what the heck, I’ll play along. “What’s the meaning of life?”

“What, you’ve never heard of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?”

“Fair enough.”

“Go on, ask something else.” he said eagerly.

“All right.” I said, trying to think of a question. After a minute I figured I had something worth asking: “Okay, so I know turtles live near the ocean and stuff, but what’s the deal with tortoises? I mean, what’s the real difference between you two?”

“Well there’s a deep question.” he said sarcastically.

“Deep. Hah. I get it. Turtles, the ocean, deep.” I replied drily.

“Hm, thouché” he replied. “All right, well, there are four major difference between turtles and tortoises,” he began. “(1) Turtles primarily live in water while tortoises live almost exclusively on land.”

“Yep, knew that.” I interrupted.

“Hey, who’s the Tortoise of All Knowing here?” he said eying me.

“Sorry. Please continue.” I said, putting on my best “I’m highly interested in what you’re talking about” face and hiding a small, amused smile.

“Okay then. (2) turtles can be omnivorous whereas tortoises are herbivorous. And (3) Turtles can migrate from one place to another, but tortoises tend to stay in one area.”

“You said there were four differences.”

“Yes, and (4) tortoises are much snappier dressers than turtles.” he did a neat little 360 on the table, showing off his bronze colored shell. “See what I mean?” he said suavely, raising a nonexistent eyebrow in a mock come-hither kind of way.

I couldn’t help but laugh at that, and immediately he joined in with me, our brief laughter undoubtedly being the loudest – and oddest – noise the room had ever suffered. At this point I decided to completely set aside the bundle of thoughts crowding my head – such as Okay, where did this tortoise come from, How is it possible that he’s talking to me, and Have I completely lost my mind. I’d already questioned my sanity enough throughout my life. I figured I’d just enjoy this, whether it be a mental breakdown or not.

“All right go for it. Ask me something else. The Tortoise of All Knowing is here to serve and amaze. Mostly amaze.” On the surface he seemed just a bit hubristic and slightly sardonic, but I could tell he also had some kind of charm and a good, albeit slightly unusual, sense of humor. I considered it for a moment and realized those were all probably rare traits to find in a tortoise.

“I dunno. Surprise me.” I said, genuinely unable to think of anything to ask.

“Ah phooey. That’s no fun.” he said, clearly feigning a pout. I began to realize that Shy seemed like the kind of little guy who would heckle you and playfully argue with you all day, a bit of a drama queen even, but really only in the best of ways.

I stifled a giggle, enjoying this little conversation more and more. “Oh but come on. This gives you a chance to show me how all-knowing you really are and truly amaze me by answering questions I never knew I had.” I quipped, guessing that he’d respond well to a friendly tease.

“True.” he replied thoughtfully, his big brown eyes gleaming, a smirk dancing around the corner of his small reptilian mouth. I had guessed right. He placed his little head on his hand, putting on a great thinker expression. “I bet you didn’t know. . . ”

He began telling me all sorts of things about shooting stars and amoeba and elephants and music and and trees and authors and pens and coffee and countries. Before I knew it twenty minutes had gone by.

“No way. How on earth do they do that? Wait, are you telling me you’ve actually seen a clam climb a tree?” I asked Shy, completely hanging off every word of his at this point.

“I swear!” he said, raising his hand and chuckling a bit at my astonishment. “There really are certain types of clams in the Caribbean that can actually climb trees. Of course a few of them don’t, though. Fear of heights, you know.”

I laughed at that and leaned back in my chair. As I sat there thinking about all the things I’d never thought about before, just about to ask Shy what else he could tell me, I was suddenly startled by a new voice that pierced the calm of the quiet library: “Sorry I’m late!” I looked over to see the student I was supposed to be meeting standing in the community room’s open doorway. She looked completely frazzled, wild hair, wet from the rain, spewing out from a clip atop her head, jacket hanging sloppily from one shoulder, leaking books and papers everywhere. I jumped up out of my chair just in time to snatch her notebook from the air as it slid out of her arms. “Thanks!” she breathed, clearly out of breath, as if she’d run all the way here. “I’m really sorry to have kept you waiting.” she apologized. Earlier I had been somewhat irked at her tardiness, but now I found I really didn’t mind so much. “No worries,” I replied. “I actually had someone to talk to.” I gestured back to the table where Shy had been sitting. But when I looked, he was gone. In his place was a small, rectangular sheet of paper. I reached for it and found something had been quickly written down:

“Had to run. But now you know where to go next time you want to know something! – S”

I turned the note over and found that it was actually a bookmark with the library’s hours of operation printed in bright bold letters. I smiled. “Cheeky little thing.” I murmured. Putting the bookmark safely in my pocket, I took one last good look around the room to see if I could spot Shy anywhere. But the only life in the big room now was just me and my tutee. I decided it best that I not tell all about what had happened in the past half hour, and she didn’t ask, so we sat down and got to work, finishing out the rest of the morning as had been planned.

I think deep down I know I’ll never see the tortoise again. But every week since then I go back to the library and look, just in case. And while I’m there, I pick a random book off the shelf and read. That way, if I ever do come across the Tortoise of All Knowing again, I’ll have something to tell him, too.

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the P A T T E R N :

Shy the Tortoise by Karissa Cole 2013 promo2

Shy the Tortoise by Karissa Cole 2013 Sides1

M A T E R I A L S :

• Small amounts of worsted wight yarn in three colors:
(1) Main color used for body, head, tail, and legs – “Chocolate” (brown)
(2) Secondary colors used for upper shell – “Earth” (ombre)
(3) Tertiary color used for lower shell – “Warm Brown”

[I used both Loops & Threads Impeccable and Red Heart Super Saver]

• 8mm safety eyes [1 pair]
• Fiberfill stuffing
• Sewing supplies (scissors, pins, needles, thread)
• Craft pipe cleaners (any color – optional)
• G/7 4.5MM crochet hook

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

MC – magic circle (magic loop/magic ring)
sc – single crochet(s)
IBL – in back loops
inc – increase
dec – decrease
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; worked in a spiral
RW – Row; worked back and forth
** a note about this pattern: This pattern is a little unlike some of my others. I freeformed this entire thing and wrote down what I did. I tried out a few ‘techniques’ I haven’t used in a pattern yet, so I do not recommend this project for a beginner. I’ve done my best to explain what I did and how, but I’m not too sure if it is all clear. I don’t want to scare you off though! I just want it to be noted that this pattern has not been fully tested so your results may vary. Any questions regarding the pattern or assembly just let me know and I will be happy to help :] **

Shy the Tortoise by Karissa Cole 2013 promo 3

I suggest reading through all the instructions before you begin.

H E A D

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *3inc, 3sc* (18)
RND 3) *3inc, 6sc* (24)
RNDs 4-6) *sc*
RND 7) *3sc, dec* (18) [attach eyes]
RND 8) *2sc, dec* (12)

Little mistake in the original rounds 7 and 8. (Sorry about that!) They should read as follows:

RND 7) *2sc, dec* (18) [attach eyes]
RND 8) *sc, dec* (12)
RNDs 9-10) *sc*
FO. I suggest leaving a long enough tail for sewing head to body.

Stuff lightly and shape.

Here I flattened out the front of the face and the bottom of the head a little. I also pinched the open end to make a little neck.

Here I flattened out the front of the face and the bottom of the head a little. I also pinched the open end to make a little neck.

L E G S (x4)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *sc*
RND 4) 6dec, 6sc (12)
RNDs 5-8) *sc*
RND 9) 6sc, 3dec (6)
RNDs 10-11) *sc*
FO

Shy the Tortoise by Karissa Cole 2013 legs

Legs (head, body and lower shell also included in shot)

T A I L

Ch 6
RW 1) starting in second ch from hook: 5sc
FO

B O D Y [the body is what we will attach the head, legs, and tail to; it will end up being encased in our upper and lower shell later]

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5) *4sc, inc* (36)
RND 6) *5sc, inc* (42)
RND 7) *6sc, inc* (48)
RNDs 8-14) [7 rounds] *sc*
RND 15) *IBL: 6sc, dec* (42)

Because the point of this inner body is to more accurately portray the way a tortoise looks, all squidgy and happy encased in a hard protective shell, one could very well stop here and fasten off. Since almost all of this body will end up being hidden away inside our upper and lower shell pieces (instructions for which follow), not finishing the rest of the body will in no way affect the final, outer appearance of the tortoise. You can at this point sew on the legs, head, and tail, then stuff the body. (Stuffing will probably pop out the bottom, but attaching the lower shell later will take care of this.) However, hard-core tortoise makers (and those amigurumi makers who are well aquainted with OCD and could not live with the fact that somewhere inside their adorable finished reptile there was something someone could classify as unfinished) can continue as follows:

RND 16) *5sc, dec*
RND 17) *4sc, dec*
RND 18) *3sc, dec* [Stuff firmly now if you haven’t already]
RND 19) *2sc, dec*
RND 20) *sc, dec*
RND 21) *dec*
FO

Attach the head, tail, and legs. Below are photos of the finished tortoise showing the basic placements of each piece. Use these as a guide now for placing the head, tail, and legs. (We haven’t made the upper of lower shells yet, so keep in mind the limbs will be sewn onto the body you just made. The shells will come in later! I just didn’t have the camera with me when I sewed on the legs and stuff ;])

I sewed the head and front legs near each other on the body, then attached the tail and back legs

I sewed the head and front legs near each other on the body, then attached the tail and back legs

L O W E R  S H E L L

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5) *4sc, inc* (36)
RND 6) *5sc, inc* (42)
RND 7) *6sc, inc* (48)
RND 8) *7sc, inc* (54)
RND 9) *sc*
FO

U P P E R  S H E L L [this covers the tortoise body from the top; we will crochet the upper shell and the lower shell together right around the tortoise body]

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5) *4sc, inc* (36)
RND 6) *5sc, inc* (42)
RND 7) *6sc, inc* (48)
RND 8) *7sc, inc* (54)
RNDs 9-13) [5 rounds] *sc*

Don’t fasten off yet. Instead, take the body (complete with nicely fastened head, tail, and limbs) and place it inside the upper shell. Then, take the lower shell, place it under the body/upper shell and pin into place. Be sure to position the upper shell so that the yarn is as shown in the following photo:

Pin the upper shell and lower shell into place around the body

Pin the upper shell and lower shell into place around the body

Since we didn’t fasten off the upper shell, we’re going to crochet the two shells together right around the body. **This can be a little difficult, but as I really don’t like sewing, I opted for this method. Theoretically, sewing the pieces could work, although I haven’t tested how this would work with the rim we add later.**

Picking up where I left off on the upper shell, I crocheted the two shells together, encasing the body. (For those who haven’t crocheted two things together: Instead of inserting my hook through one stitch, I inserted it through the upper shell’s stitch AND the lower shell’s stitch, and then completed a sc like normal.)

When I came to the stitches around the back legs I simply crocheted only in the upper shell’s stitches. When I got past the leg (I ended up doing about 7 stitches just in the top shell around the leg) I continued crocheting the shells together. I repeated the process for the tail, the other back leg and the front legs and head.

Crochet the shells together around the body. I held the turtle upper shell up and started at the left front leg. (I paused and turned the tortoise upside-down for some photos to show how the pieces looked crocheted together)

Crochet the shells together around the body. I held the turtle upper shell up and started at the left front leg. (I paused and turned the tortoise upside-down for some photos to show how the pieces looked crocheted together)

When crocheting the shell pieces together, I worked counterclockwise starting with the upper shell up, starting at the left front leg

When crocheting the shell pieces together, I worked counterclockwise with the upper shell up, starting at the left front leg

Once you’ve crocheted all the way around, your tortoise body should be sitting snugly inside its new shell. But don’t fasten off yet: Next, I added a rim around the shell by crocheting 3 stitches in each stitch around. (For less of a frilly rim, only do 2 stitches in each stitch around.)

I did a second round of sc around the shells, this time doing 3sc in each stitch

I did a second round of sc around the shells, this time doing 3sc in each stitch

When you finish this round you’re done! Fasted off and weave in ends.

Done!

Done!

You’ve now got your very own all-knowing tortoise. Enjoy!

** Please be sure to note that this is an original design and pattern. I believe in the free sharing of techniques and ideas. Please do not abuse my desire to share with others. You are not permitted to sell any products made as the result of this pattern and/or design, nor are you permitted to sell the pattern or design. Please, if you do use my work in part or in whole, give credit where credit is due: direct others to this original posting so that they too can benefit.**

Pattern, design, photos, and story copyright Karissa Cole 2013. All rights reserved.

Look at that face. He totally wants a hug from you.

Look at that face. He totally wants a hug from you.

the Confused Owl

the Confused Owl: A short story and Amigurumi pattern by Karissa Cole

the Confused Owl promo by Karissa Cole

the Story

______________________

Taking in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery, letting your mind wander – sometimes there’s just nothing better than going for a quiet walk, you know? I’ve gone on many a simple walk in the past. And I’ve learned that if you walk far enough, you can find yourself in a completely different world.

No, really.

In fact, that’s exactly what happened.

It’s not often that I head out for a walk during January. Today, though, it was particularly sunny, and the air had just the right feel, and I was just the right kind of melancholy. So I bundled up and off I went.  I had no destination, no planned route. As was my habit on these little voyages I simply walked around, letting my feet decide where to take me. Soon enough my mind started to drift, and I was hardly even aware of my surroundings. In fact, I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts, I didn’t realize where I was until I was already there. . .

At some point I turned down a street completely canopied by trees. Living in a town nestled at the base of a mountain meant seeing several trees – especially ones lining quiet, back roads perfect for my long, simple walks – was quite commonplace. But somewhere in the back of my mind I felt there was something very different about these trees. In fact, soon everything began to feel different. But I couldn’t quite nail down what it was that made everything seem so odd to me, so I paid little attention and simply kept going, my mind wandering completely freely. I only barely noticed that the road I was on started to narrow and seemed to be a lot less traveled than most of the roads in my neighborhood. Still, I continued walking, more lost in my thoughts than anyone has ever been, I dare say. Suddenly the brightest purple I’d ever seen crept into my vision and started to take me away from my silly random ideas about clouds and pi and whatnot. Up ahead and to my right I spotted a beautiful bed of the brightest colored tulips I’d ever seen resting along the road. Striking yellow, purple, red, and orange flowers sprang up from lush green grass, gently swaying in the soft breeze. I let my thoughts turn to them, now, and began to think about how much I loved tulips and how odd it was to see them this time of year.

That’s when I stopped. I finally looked around.

It was January and where I lived that meant seeing cold, ice, snow, and lots of it. But as I peered around now, no trace of winter could be found. It looked like I stepped out of my frost-bitten world and right into a story-book illustration. The neighborhood street I thought I had been walking on was now nowhere in sight. Instead, I stood in the middle of a small dirt path that seemed to stretch on forever ahead and forever behind. It was surrounded by the amazingly tall trees I noticed earlier, but now I could see that they were capped with big, bright, green leaves.

I then realized why everything had seemed so different to me just a few minutes ago: it had been so long since I had seen warmth and colors, I suppose my brain just couldn’t quite process it. Instead, it seemed as though I had felt the world around me change before I could really see it, and so I thought for a moment about how odd that fact was. But the moment for that thought swiftly ended and I turned my attention back to the increasingly lovely scenery.

Instead of being icy and snow-covered, the ground here boasted nothing but bright green grass, save the little dirt foot-path. Grand hedges and rows of the most beautiful flowers sprang up here and there. The sunlight shown through the canopy of leaves and seemed to make everything glow. Every color was brighter than I’d even seen. Even the dirt beneath my feet was a soft, warm brown-gold that almost shimmered in the light. The air was warm, too, and felt just like it did on the perfect summer day.

Now, normally, I suppose, when a person goes for a walk and expects to be in one place but ends up someplace completely different and totally foreign, panic and confusion would immediately set in. To my great surprise, though, this is not what happened. I do admit to being a touch confused, though. But I decided I would question how a person could start off on the streets of a cold, wintery city, walk for twenty minutes and somehow end up waltzing right into a warm, bright forest later. In that moment, the warm air, the lovely scenery, and the gorgeous colors covering all of it were much too inviting for me to worry about things making sense.

Figuring there was no sense in going backward, as new and interesting things can usually only be found by going forward, I continued walking again, this time letting my mind wander a little less. After all, if I ended up here, my mind must have wandered just the right amount. Any farther and who knows where I might find myself.

All around dozens more flowers dotted the path, their colors singing wonderfully. I breathed in their hues, and listened to their songs. I had never been anywhere so perfect.

Suddenly I heard something just ahead and to the left. As I walked closer I could almost make out a tiny, little voice. Not one to pass up an opportunity to meet someone new, and being very curious by nature, I approached the source of the sound and pushed aside some shrubbery to see who was talking, and to whom.

Behind the leaves and flora there was a small clearing, where the sun shown down like a warm, glittering spotlight. Standing primly on a flat, smooth rock was what appeared to be some kind of owl, although admittedly not any kind of owl I’d seen before. He was very little but plump. His big eyes took up most of his head, and his feathers shone in the brightest blue. Below him on the ground stood several more little owls, each a different bright color.

Marveling at what I saw, I stood there watching, unnoticed.

“All right, ready?” the blue owl asked. He began waving his wings like a conductor leading an orchestra “One, two three. . . ”

As soon as he had finished saying “three” a little red owl sang out “Hooo!”  After him, another, an orange owl, also sang out with his own “Hooo, hooo!” A few more owls called out, “hooing” just as the others. They each seemed to know their part, and sang out just at the right time, all in turn. When finally it came down to the last owl, a chubby bright green one, every other owl turned expectantly toward him, awaiting his “hoo.”

But instead of saying “hoo” just as the others had, he called out:

“Why?”

Grumbles instantly erupted from the other owls.

“Oh for crying out loud,” the blue owl leading the group mumbled. Clearly frustrated he dropped his wings dramatically. “We’ve PRACTICED this Gerry! It’s ‘HOO.’We’re supposed to say ‘HOO’ not ‘WHY’!”

“Well maybe I don’t really care ‘who,'” little green Gerry replied. “Maybe I want to know ‘why’ instead.” he innocently said as he spread out his wings in a “that’s just the way I feel” kind of way.

“Oh good grief,” Blue said, squeezing his eyes shut and rubbing his forehead the way you do when you suddenly get a very intense headache. “Okay, everybody take five.” he called out. He then fluttered off his stage in a huff, quietly muttering “I just can’t work like this,” in a very prima donna fashion.

The other owls started to move about talking amongst themselves. But no one was talking to the little green owl. In fact, they all seemed to shift away from him, leaving him sitting alone. He sighed and started absentmindedly stroking the soft blades of grass with his wing.

Thinking that nothing so cute and sweet should look so unhappy, I cleared my throat to draw attention to myself, determined to cheer the little fellow up. I crouched down closer and told him I couldn’t help but overhear all that had just happened. He made a shrugging motion. “I just want to know “why,” that’s all,” he said. “There’s just so much out there to know about!” he exclaimed. I nodded in agreement as he continued: “I mean, why does the wind whistle? Why do the stars sparkle? Why do the trees stand so tall?” he asked, gaining more and more enthusiasm as he spoke. “Why do the flowers dance? Why do brooks babble? ” he began gesturing excitedly. “I even like to ask ‘what’ sometimes too,” he said, his excitement now completely bubbling over. “What’s behind the sky? What’s beneath the ground? What makes the colors so bright?” Practically dancing with joy, he rattled off a few more “whys” and “whats” and even a few “whens and “hows”.

Finally, when finished, he flopped back on the ground, a big smile on his face. “People think I’m just confused, and that I get what I’m supposed to say mixed up. But I can’t just ask ‘who’ all my life. It’s an important question sometimes, but there’s so much more to know. And I just want to know things is all. It makes me happy. I guess some people think that’s pretty crazy.”

“I don’t think that’s crazy at all!” I blurted. If I had felt any shock as the result of talking with a tiny neon owl with a curious mind, it had apparently worn off.

He looked up at me with a smile. “Really?” he asked, hopefully.

“Of course.” I replied. “I like to know things, too.”

He bounced up off the ground, clearly feeling much more cheerful than he had a minute ago. “My name’s Gerry.” he said pleasantly, offering up a wing. I took it and introduced myself.

“Wondering and asking and learning is great fun,” he started. “But wondering and asking and learning with a new friend? I think that’s going to be even better.” Gerry said happily. I smiled at my new little avian companion. I knew I’d have to find my way back home soon, but for now, I had other things to wonder about.

 

______________________

the P A T T E R N :

Little Green Owl by Karissa Cole

M A T E R I A L S :

• Small amounts of worsted wight yarn [I used Loops & Threads Impeccable]
• White felt cut into circles for eyes
• 8mm safety eyes [1 pair]
• Fiberfill stuffing
• Sewing supplies (scissors, pins, needles, thread)
• Craft glue
• Orange embroidery floss
• G/7 4.5MM crochet hook

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

MC – magic circle (magic loop/magic ring)
sc – single crochet(s)
dc – double crochet
tc – triple crochet
hdc – half-double crochet
sl st – slip stitch
inc – increase
dec – decrease
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

[I suggest reading through the pattern before you begin.]

W I N G S (x2)

ch 6
starting in the second ch from hook work as follows: sl st, sc, hdc, dc, tc, ch 2, sc in final stitch (you’ve already done a tc in this stich, but go ahead and sc in it again). FO.

Making the wings (the Confused Owl by Karissa Cole 2013)

Making the wings

M A I N  B O D Y (x1)

[Worked in a spiral. I recommend staggering increases and decreases.]

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5) *4sc, inc* (36)
RNDs 6-12) *sc*
RND 13) *4sc, dec* (30)
RND 14) *3sc, dec* (24)
RND 15) *2sc, dec* (18)

PAUSE

Don’t fasten off just yet. We’re now going to attach the eyes, embroider the beak, and sew on the wings.

Take your first circular piece of felt, cut a very small slit, then the insert a safety eye through slit. Repeat for second eye. (I suggest marking off the position of the eyes on each piece of felt before you cut, in order to make sure they’re even.) Position the felt/safety eye combo on the head. Be careful here: make sure you properly center the eyes by keeping your yarn tail on the right as shown in the photos below. Embroider the beak. Secure eyes with plastic washers and a bit of craft glue. Attach wings. See photos for suggested positioning. Stuff the body now, too.

Position eyes, embroider face, (secure eyes), attach wings, and stuff

Position eyes, embroider face, (secure eyes), attach wings, and stuff

We are now ready to finish up our owl! All that’s left to do is pinch the top of the fabric together and then crochet closed. I used a pin to make sure my owl was all nice and even before I began. I then removed it when I got far enough along.

Crochet the top closed

Crochet the top closed

Here’s another angle showing this step. Basically, instead of making a regular single crochet in just one stitch, slide your hook through two stitches: one in front and one directly behind it. Then complete the sc stitch like normal.

Crocheting the top closed - detail

Crocheting the top closed – detail

Once you get the the end break the yarn and finish off. Done!

I have already started making a small army of these little fellas. They are great to randomly spread around the house and see who notices.

all the Little Owls by Karissa Cole 2013

I can’t take full credit for this design. These little guys are basically just squished ovals. Although my pattern is unique, some other designers have patterns similar to mine that’ve already been published. I just want to give them a shoutout to recognize the fact that they came up with this idea first:

“Owl Amigurumi” by Kawaii Crochet

“Baby Owl Ornaments” by Josephine Wu

“Owlets” by Brigitte Read

“little owls” by Amy Chou

There are actually dozens more out there just like these, each slightly different, so I don’t think design credit goes to any one person.

I want to stress, though, that I did not use any of these patterns, nor did I use any one in particular as a base for my owls. So if you do use my pattern you are required to give me credit. My pattern is free for you to use as you wish (excluding mass production and distribution, of course) on the one condition that wherever you post pictures or present your finished confused owl you give me direct credit for the pattern, directing people to my blog. That’s all I ask. Otherwise, please enjoy!

Story and photos are copyright Karissa Cole 2013 and may not be reproduced without written permission. ©

Counting Sheep

Counting Sheep: a short story & Amigurumi Pattern by Karissa Cole

Pip (red 1) by Karissa Cole 2012 all rights reserved

The story:

Nothing.

Well.

No.

Not “nothing”. Half a gallon of orange juice, a jar of pickles, leftover chicken from last night – the fridge wasn’t empty. There was just nothing in there that would cure my insomnia.  But for some reason I stood there staring into the cold, bright void anyway. Perhaps I was hoping I could will something useful into existence if I stood there long enough.

When after three minutes nothing with high amounts of tryptophan magically appeared, I swung the refrigerator door closed and glanced at the clock on the microwave. 3:07 AM.

I leaned back and shut my eyes. Letting loose an exasperated sigh, I tried to figure out why decent shuteye had been so elusive lately. My neighbors hardly ever made a sound, so they were not to blame. And I’d always been mostly healthy with no medical history of sleep-impairing dysfunctions. Things were the same as always. So maybe I just had a lot on my mind and with my head so preoccupied with keeping things sorted and straight, it had no time to shut down and sleep. I thought about that for a moment and decided it was highly unlikely. Lately my brain seemed to have about as much going on as a TV with no cable connection; every channel portrayed nothing but static.

On the third night of no sleep I’d said to myself I was tired of it, and chuckled at the silly little pun. I had figured it would pass soon enough and my REM state would again return to me.  But now on night number eight with sleep still not anywhere in sight, I was really starting to fall apart. I rubbed my forehead trying to get rid of the fuzzy little headache between my eyes. It was then that I heard a soft creak come from the far end of the kitchen. I felt a sudden spike in adrenaline but quickly tried to stamp it down. It was probably just the house settling and I just needed to chill. I had been on edge lately anyway. But still. . . I wearily opened my exhausted eyes and looked around the dimly lit room.

I saw nothing. . .  at least at first.

As I looked I suddenly saw something moving near the front door. Fiercely I rubbed my eyes, hoping that I could rub away this rather frightening delusion I must be having. Opening my eyes I looked around the room once more, and it again looked normal; the deep shadows cast by the kitchen table, the chairs, and the counter did nothing to create a calming atmosphere, but I could no longer see anything moving within them.

Sighing again I pushed myself off the fridge I had been leaning against and started back toward my bedroom. Hearing things, seeing things – clearly my sanity could not take many more nights without sleep. I’d crawl back into bed and try for the thousandth time to drift off to sleep.

But trudging down the hallway I thought I heard more noises, little tiny shuffling sounds or whispers. I started to walk faster, trying to outrun them, but the faster I went the louder the noises got. It was as if they were following me.

Completely unconcerned about how crazy I was most certainly becoming I whipped around as I got to my bedroom door and flicked on a light to confront these noises. But when I turned around I saw nothing. And now the only sound I heard was my own heart beating at much too fast a pace. Shaking my head and telling myself it was all just my imagination, the result of an overly tired little brain, I was about to turn the light back off and collapse into my bed when I heard:

“Ahem.”

Stunned, I slowly looked down to see standing just a few feet in front of me were three small, slightly anthropomorphic sheep. No more than a foot tall, they were all sorts of cute, with their big brown eyes and great fluffy bodies, standing up on their two back legs as easily as any biped.

“Pardon me,” the one sheep who had spoken before said. His little helium voice was just about the cutest thing I had ever heard, which I might have in other circumstances commented on. But right now as I stared at the three little home invaders, mouth agape, I had other things on my mind. How did three sheep get in my house being one of them.

I tried to talk but I couldn’t seem to get my mouth to form any words. It must not have gotten over the shock yet. Thankfully Sheep Number 1 had something to say anyway:

“You’ll have to forgive us. We didn’t mean to frighten you.” he said. “It’s just that we’ve been out of work for a long time now, and we were a bit nervous is all.”

It was then I noticed that the other two sheep were standing close together behind Sheep Number 1 with, for lack of a better word, sheepish little grins on their black faces.

“Out of work?” I asked, as my mouth had apparently gotten over itself and managed to say something.

“Oh yes. It’s been a terrible shame, really. Years ago people would always come to us when they needed to sleep. But since the advent of those darn sleep aids,” all three of them shuddered briefly at that before he continued, “or even worse, people just not wanting sleep at all, well, there’s been no need for us. Some in the family have had to seek other means of employment. Cameron, Al, and I were so glad to hear that someone needed us though! I do hope we’re not too late.”

“Too late. . . for what?” I couldn’t help but think that had my brain been firing on all synapses I wouldn’t be having such a hard time processing this. Then again, I thought, since this is clearly an hallucination, if my brain were firing on all synapses I wouldn’t be having a conversation with miniature sheep.

“Too late to count us!” he said cheerfully in his adorably squeaky little voice. The two other sheep behind him -Cameron and Al he had called them- seemed to be warming up and stepped out, beaming brightly.

“Counting sheep. . .” I muttered, finally wrapping my brain around things. Sort of. “But there are only three of you.” I said pointedly.

“Ah, yes.” Sheep Number 1 said. “It’s true in the past there would be more of us. We’ve figured out a way around this, though.” He held up a waiting hoof as he and the other two got down on all fours and formed a neat line. When they were all in formation the first sheep leapt quite gracefully across the hall, shouting out “One!” as he went. As soon as he landed he scurried back to the end of the line while at the same time the second sheep leapt and shouted out “Two!” and then also scurried back to the line. They did this a few more times: sheep three yelled out “Three!” moving sheep one back to the front of the line where he then leapt and shouted out “Four!” followed, of course, by sheep two who yelled out “Five!” and so on.

When done their demonstration they gathered back together in front of me, slightly out of breath. Still on all fours they all looked up at me expectantly.

I fumbled around a bit for something to say. This was ridiculous. Wasn’t it? There was no way counting three little sheep jumping on repeat would help me sleep. Then again. . . I thought back to early yesterday morning when, due to my lack of sleep, I had left the stove on after breakfast and nearly burned down the house. I also thought about the day before when, drowsy from being unfortunately wide awake all night, I had left my tea atop my car as I headed to work and had to face a chorus of angry commuters wailing on their car horns as they had white tea and lemon spritzed all over their windshields.

Eight days. No sleep. Maybe it was time to give ridiculous a shot.

“So you’re here. . . to help me fall asleep?” I said.

“Yep.” Sheep 1 replied matter-of-factly.

I shrugged. “All right. I’ll give it a shot.”

The sheep bounced with excitement and smiled widely to each other.

“I’m Ned.” Sheep 1 said lifting a hoof. I leaned down and shook it. “Pleased to meet you, Ned,” I replied, almost positive I meant it.

“Just so you know,” he started quietly, “we won’t be booked up for quite a long time. We’d be more than happy to stick around here so that whenever you need some shuteye you’ll always have three sheep ready to help you out.”

I looked at each of their sweet, hopeful faces in turn.

“Ned, Cameron, Al,” I said. “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.” I smiled at the gleaming little sheep, suddenly overcome with a great warm fuzzy feeling – that is, the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with three little sheep bestowing happy hugs.

They could finally do the job they wanted to do. And I would finally get some sleep. All in all, a win-win.
_____________________________________________________________

I have to admit I’ve been going crazy trying to get out a new amigurumi pattern this month. Originally I had planned to release a new pattern about three weeks ago, shortly after my Rescue Saturday post. Unfortunately I ran into several obstacles. At first my planned pattern was turning out too complicated so I moved onto another of my ami ideas but it came out. . .  wrong, so I moved onto another which irritated me so much (it was a bad week) I just wanted to frog it and all the icky irksome thoughts that had been entwined in the yarn. Thankfully I have an endless array of possible amigurumi ideas sitting patiently in my head, so I tried to start yet another project that I could post as a free pattern. It came out great! Being a freeformer though (I make things up as I go and write the pattern down afterward), I wanted to test the pattern to make sure it’d work okay. It did not. I haven’t given up on that pattern yet because it passed the “ooh-and-aww!” test, so it’s too cute to abandon. I’m sure I just need to tweak a few rounds here or there. But come to find out, I’m out of the 10mm eyes I like to use and they’re not in stock at my supplier. So I moved on to yet another amigurumi pattern. And that’s where we are today.

So finally, without further ranting, I present to you Counting Sheep: The Amigurumi Pattern:

PATTERN # 1 (this pattern has been designed with advanced amigurumi makers in mind)

Pip (5) by Karissa Cole 2012 all rights reserved

M A T E R I A L S  U S E D:

• Bernat Pipsqueak (5/bulky weight) in Whitey White for body, tail and head [less than 1 skein used]
• Red Heart Super Saver (4/worsted-medium weight) in Black for arms and legs [less than 1 skein used]
• Black felt for ears & face
• 9mm safety eyes [1 pair]
• Fiberfill stuffing
• Sewing supplies (scissors, pins, needles, thread)
• White embroidery thread (or pink or black)
• H/8 5.50MM hook for body, tail and head
• F/5 3.75MM hook for arms and legs

S U G G E S T E D  C O L O R  C O M B I N A T I O N S:

Black face & arms/feet with White head, body & tail (what I used)
Grey face & arms/feet with Black head, body & tail
Tan face & arms/feet with White head, body & tail

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

MC – magic circle (magic loop/magic ring)
sc – single crochet(s)
dc – double crochet
hdc – half-double crochet
sl st – slip stitch
inc – increase
dec – decrease
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

H E A D (x1)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5-9) *sc*
RND 10) *3sc, dec* (24)

At this point I recommend cutting out an oval from your felt for the face. Cut small slits in the felt for the eyes and insert. Stitch on mouth/nose. Also, cut out two triangles for the ears. Attach completed face (including eyes) & ears to head (sew or glue). You may wish to use hot/craft glue here, but I found by inserting the eyes into the felt and then into the head and securing with the washers the felt face stayed on fine. Also, if you haven’t already, begin stuffing now and continue to stuff during the last three rounds.

RND 11) *2sc, dec* (18)
RND 12) *sc, dec* (12)
RND 13) *dec* (6)
FO

B O D Y (x1) Stuff as you go.

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RNDs 4-8) *sc*
RND 9) *2sc, dec* (18)
RNDs 10-11) *sc*
RND 12) *sc, dec* (12)
RND 13) *sc*
FO

A R M S (x2)

MC 9
RNDs 1-3) *sc*
RND 4) [decrease by 3 stitches] *sc, dec* (6)
RNDs 5-7) *sc*
FO

L E G S (x2)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4-5) *sc*
RND 6) *2sc, dec* (18)
RNDs 7-8) *sc*
RND 9) *sc, dec* (12)
RNDs 10-11) *sc*

T A I L (x1)

CH 6
dc in 3rd ch from hook
hdc, sc, sl st
FO

See photos for suggested positioning of all pieces and attach accordingly.

ThreePip by Karissa Cole all rights reserved 2012

These pint-sized sheep work up fast and make great little companions. Whether you need a whole bunch to count on those nights when sleep seems out of reach or just one little sheep to keep you company, they’ll always be there for you!

Pipsqueak Sheep by Karissa Cole 2012 all rights reserved pattern pre 1

This is Pip, my little sheepy friend. He sits atop my desk reminding me that a good night’s sleep is never too far out of reach.
_______________________________

PATTERN # 2
This was actually my first attempt at a sheep pattern. It is radically different than pattern 1 posted above. This sheep is made to stand on all fours. To be honest I wasn’t entirely thrilled with the turnout and on top of that, unfortunately I could get no good photos so I don’t know how much good this pattern will be to anyone. But I thought I’d post it anyway. I did, after all, take the time to write it down and everything. Personally I recommend sticking with patter 1 above, but this is for the daredevil crocheters out there.

M A T E R I A L S  U S E D:

• Red Heart Super Saver (4/worsted-medium weight) in Black for head and feet & White for body and tail [less than 1 skein used each]
• [1 pair] large google eyes
• Fiberfill stuffing
• Sewing supplies (scissors, pins, needles)
• Hot glue
• G/7 4.50 MM hook
• Pet brush

S U G G E S T E D  C O L O R  C O M B I N A T I O N S:

Black head & feet/White body
Grey head & feet/Black body
Tan head & feet/White body

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

MC – magic circle (magic loop/magic ring)
sc – single crochet(s)
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,, worked in a spiral
ROW – Row, worked back and forth

E A R S (x2)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) 4sc, turn
ROW 1) 3sc, turn
ROW 2) 2sc, ch1, turn
ROW 3) 2sc
FO

H E A D (x1) Worked from the bottom up

CH 6
starting in 2nd CH from hook, 5sc, CH 1, 5sc, CH 1 (12)
Work in the round from now on.
RND 1) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 2) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 3) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 4) *4sc, inc* (36)
RNDs 5-10) *sc*
RND 11) *4sc, dec* (30)
RND 12-13) *sc*
RND 14) *3sc, dec* (24)
RND 15-16) *sc*
RND 17) *dec* (12)

Attach eyes and ears.

B O D Y (x1) Stuff as you go.

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4) *3sc, inc* (30)
RND 5) *4sc, inc* (36)
RND 6) *5sc, inc* (42)
RND 7) *6sc, inc* (48)
RND 8) *7sc, inc* (54)
RNDs 9-24) *sc*
RND 24) *7sc, dec* (48)
RND 25) *6sc, dec* (42)
RND 26) *5sc, dec* (36)
RND 27) *4sc, dec* (30)
RND 28) *3sc, dec* (24)
RND 29) *dec* (12)
RND 30) *dec* (6)
FO

Use the pet brush to “fuzz” the yarn. Simply brush (a lot) and watch your yarn turn into fuzzy, sheepy, goodness.

F E E T (x4)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RNDs 3-6) *sc*
FO

T A I L (x1)

MC 6
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RNDs 3-8) *sc*
FO. Flatten, fuzz, and attach to sheep.

** Please be sure to note that these are original designs and patterns. I believe in the free sharing of techniques and ideas. Please do not abuse my desire to share with others. You are not permitted to sell any products made as the result of these patterns and/or designs, nor are you permitted to sell the patterns or designs. Please, if you do use either of these patterns or designs in part or in whole, give credit where credit is due: direct others to this original posting so that they too can benefit.**

Pattern, design, photos, and story copyright Karissa Cole 2012. All rights reserved.

Shark Attack! – 5 Free Sea Life Amigurumi Patterns

Some stories are just too crazy to try to tell. Like that one with the underwater cave inhabited by the yellow-eyed octopus and the super heroes. Other stories, though, just have to be told, no matter how crazy.

This is one of those stories.

I was standing at my desk getting some papers ready for the FWF session next week when I heard a soft click come from behind me. Suddenly grand, dramatic music began playing, but at a rather subdued volume. I turned to see that a tiny white speaker hooked up to an even smaller media player had been propped up on the bookshelf at the other end of the room. And although this in itself was unusual, the thing next to the speaker on the bookshelf was what really threw me for a loop. There’s really no way to prepare yourself for this kind of thing either, I’ve found.

Sitting on the shelf was:

Sharkie! Free Pattern by Karissa Cole

He began singing and dancing to the music, with me as his sole audience. Surprisingly enough he could carry a tune, although his lyrics were a bit on the wonky side (but I was honestly too stunned to complain about such a triviality). When his short performance came to an end – with the lyric: Oh yes I am a shark, now you see/Please won’t you bring me some broccoli? – the dramatic music coming to a theatrical finish, he stared up at me expectantly, obviously waiting for some sort of response.

Well I’m sorry but I just don’t know the proper etiquette for this sort of thing. Which is something I suppose was blatantly obvious what with my just staring at him.

Finally he prompted, “What did you think?”

I groped around for the right thing to say, assuming “the right thing to say” even existed in a situation like this one. Eventually I settled on, “It was certainly interesting.” I attempted to smile politely, but I think it came off more as a grimace. The little shark didn’t seem to notice though; he just beamed brightly, pleased with the whole situation.

I knew I probably shouldn’t ask any questions. I mean, when a tiny shark comes into your house, sets up on your bookshelf and begins singing about broccoli, it’s probably just best to accept things the way they are and not probe too much. Leave well enough alone.

But I couldn’t help myself.

“Why are you signing?”

He smiled at me in that “duh” kind of way. “You know!” he guffawed. “Everyone knows sharks sing. Silly.” He shook his head, but in an amused, not perturbed way.

“Um,” I said tentatively. “I thought it was whales that sang.”

At that his little face twisted into the most peculiar combination of recognition and shock.

He slapped his fin to his head, muttering “Whales. Whales! Of COURSE, it’s WHALES that sing! Oh I knew that. Stupid, stupid. . .”

I smiled and tried to contain my giggling.

He looked up at me around his fin, a sheepish smile (if you can picture a shark smiling sheepishly) creeping onto his face. “So,” he started, brushing off his embarrassment. “Wanna play Monopoly? I’ll let you be the race car.” He lowered his fin and smiled up at me hopefully.

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the notion of playing a board game with a slightly confused but altogether pleasant mini shark, but I nodded readily.

I went off to get the game, stopping by the fridge for some broccoli on the way.

______________________________________________________________________

My Sharkie pattern came about soon after my whale pattern. Check it out here if you haven’t already. With these two patterns you can make your own aquarium! As a plus, see below for ideas for making your own seal, dolphin, goldfish, or orca. But to start, here’s how to make your own shark:

S U G G E S T E D  M A T E R I A L S:

• Worsted weight yarn in two (2) colors such as:
* Red Heart Super Saver (1) Grey  [Main color] (2) White [Secondary color]
• 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
• Needle & black embroidery thread
• 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)
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
tc – triple crochet
dc –  double crochet
hdc – half double crochet
sl st – slip stitch

T H E  P A T T E R N:

B O D Y (x1)

MC 6 with main color
RND 1) *inc* (12)
RND 2) *sc, inc* (18)
RND 3) *2sc, inc* (24)
RND 4-7) *sc* (24)
RND 8) switch to secondary color *sc* (24)
RND 9) *2sc, dec* (18) – Attach eyes. Stuff.
RND 10) *sc, dec* (12)
RND 11) *dec* (6)
FO

T A I L  F I N (x1)

ch 8
dc in third ch from hook, hdc, 2 sl st, hdc, dc in final ch, sc in same final chain. cut yarn and pull through. Shape and attach to back of shark (if you did not use a joggless color change method I suggest putting the tail were the colors change). As you can see I chose to put the tail on horizontally; this is not meant to be realistic, just cute in my opinion. Turn the tail and attach in so it’s more vertical if you prefer.

D O R S A L  F I N (x1)

Ch 8
tc in 4th ch from hook. dc in next ch. hdc in next ch. sc in next ch. sl st in last ch. FO. Attach.

F I N S (x2)

decide on placement and pick up a stitch on side of body. ch 4, sc in original pickup. FO. Repeat for other side of head/body.
ALTERNATIVE: If you’re not comfortable picking up and crocheting (or chaining in this case) simply ch 4 and sl st in last chain from hook. Attach to body.

Using the black thread, stitch on gills.

Shark Angles by Karissa Cole

 

You can use the base shark or whale pattern to make other sea critters. Just make the changes listed for each below:

 

To make an Orca: (1) Follow the same body, fin, dorsal fin, and tail pattern as shark using black instead of grey. (2) Instead of using black thread for gills, use white thread (or yarn) to stitch on eye patches.

Orca Free Amigurumi Pattern by Karissa Cole

To make a Dolphin: (1) Follow the same fin, dorsal fin, and tail pattern as shark using blue-grey instead of grey. MAKE THE FOLLOWING ADJUSTMENT TO THE BODY: Instead of changing to the secondary color in RND 8, wait and switch in RND 9 (a decrease row.) (2) To make the nose/snout:

With main dolphin color, MC 3
RND 1) *inc* (6)
RND 2) *sc* (6)
FO. Attach to head and adjust eyes accordingly.

Dolphin by Karissa Cole (2)

To make a Seal: (1) Follow the same body, fin, and tail pattern as shark using white instead of grey (skip the dorsal fin, just as in the original whale pattern). (2) Using black thread or yarn stitch on a nose.

Baby Seal by Karissa Cole

To make a Goldfish: (1) Follow the same body and tail pattern as shark using orange instead of grey. (2) Stitch the top fin as follows:

Ch 3
sl st in 2nd ch from hook.
dc, tr cr, & then dc all in next ch.
sl st in last ch. FO.

(3) Stitch the side fin the same way noted in the shark/whale base pattern but make the following changes: Pick up stitch on side of head/body, double up yarn, ch 3, sc in original pick up, FO.

Goldfish by Karissa Cole

** Please be sure to note, though, that these are original designs and patterns. I believe in the free sharing of techniques and ideas. Please do not abuse my desire to share with others. You are not permitted to sell any products made as the result of these patterns and/or designs, nor are you permitted to sell the patterns or designs. Please, if you do use the patterns or designs for either the shark, whale, orca, dolphin, or fish in any part, give credit where credit is due: direct others to this original posting so that they too can benefit.**

Pattern, design, photos, and story copyright Karissa Cole 2012. All rights reserved.

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