Sunday, May 22, 2011

Giant Turtle for Marcela

          On the same day I met up with Sharon and Josh for brunch (where I gave them the ballerina cat and apple), I also went to a baby shower later that afternoon. This one was for my good friend, Minerva, who’s also having baby girl named Marcela Athena. This seems to be the season of little girls. Minerva is my friend Fabiola’s older sister. Remember Fabiola, mother of baby Sophia? For Fabiola’s baby shower, I made an assortment of animals and added a happy sun.

          A couple of weeks earlier, when I was getting ready to make Minerva’s baby shower gift, I asked Minerva what she had planned for her daughter’s nursery. She said the colors will be yellow and green (very popular this year) and that she wants lots of animals. I found out her favorite animals are monkeys and turtles. When I heard turtles, I had a sudden flash of inspiration. I remembered that Fabiola also got a turtle in her little collection. So I wanted to make Minerva a turtle too, but instead of making several small turtles, I was going to make her one giant turtle!

          Using the same technique I learned while making the giant owl for Lilly and giant Totoro for Will, I set out to make a giant turtle. Basically, I would start by using the same pattern from the little turtle, except I would use “super bulky” size yarn and a larger crochet hook. The best brand I found so far for super bulky yarn is Lion Brand Yarn’s Hometown USA series of yarn. The crochet hook I used was a 10mm thick hook. As I started making the turtle, I had to modify the pattern a bit in order to make the turtle even larger.

          As you can see from the pictures below, this turtle is significantly bigger than the first one I made. Just to give you perspective, the first turtle is about the size of one of the legs on this giant turtle! The best part about this giant turtle is that it’s plushy and soft to squeeze! I couldn’t stop hugging it when I was done!

          Minerva was shocked by the size of the turtle! She loved it! She had the biggest smile on her face and she immediately started hugging the turtle next to her large, pregnant belly. It’s moments like that this that makes my effort so worthwhile! I love it!

                Thanks for joining me again this week. See you next week!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cat for Kitty

          A lot of my friends are having babies lately, which means I’ve been making a lot of Amigurumis for baby shower presents. For Sharon (Mother of Josh, the boy who loves orange) and her unborn daughter, I wanted to make her something special. Sharon’s been very supportive of my hobby/business venture in Amigurumis. She and Josh are some of my biggest fans (and also featured a lot in my blog).

          To explain the rest of the story, I need to talk about my foray into the wonder world of Etsy. I want to sell my Amigurumis on one day so I logged on to to see what other people are selling. There are so many great sellers and Amigurumis that I was a little overwhelmed. I feel like I have a lot more work to do before posting some of my toys to sell online.

          A great store I found on Etsy was Sarsel. Sarsel’s Amigurumi designs are so unique from anything I’ve ever seen before. The patterns in her shop are intermediate level crochet, which was great for me because I was ready to learn more crochet techniques, but the biggest reason I love Sarsel’s shop is because her patterns are of Amigurumi animals dressed in wonderfully chic clothes. Each animal is different and has its own personality. I couldn’t help myself, I bought all the patterns that Sarsel offered in her shop.

Anyways, when Sharon told me that she’s naming her daughter Kathryn and nicknaming her “Kitty”, I knew I had to make her an Amigurumi cat. This was the perfect opportunity to try Sarsel's patterns. As with all my other crochet projects, I rarely follow the original pattern strictly, instead choosing to modify a pattern to suite my needs. This time, I used two of Sarsel’s patterns to make the Cat for Kitty. For the cat, I used “Tara the Cat” crochet pattern and for the cat’s tutu, I used “Penny the Rabbit” pattern. The result is one-of-a-kind ballerina cat for Kitty.

I added the flower in honor of Josh's love for orange.

I also made matching ballet slippers to match the tutu.

          Sharon loved the cat. She told me her husband wanted to keep the Amigurumi on the shelf so the baby wouldn't ruin it. I told her to let the baby play with the toy, I can always make another one. A few weeks after we met for lunch, baby Kathryn “Kitty” Lee was born on April 24, 2011 on Easter Sunday! Mother and daughter are doing great and Josh is a proud big brother. Sharon tells me that he’s already shared his pineapple with her.

                Thanks for joining me again this week. See you next week!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Amigurumis, Martha Stewart Style

          Imagine my delight when one Sunday afternoon, I take the dogs to Petsmart and find that Martha Stewart came out with a line of crochet dog toys! My first thought was, “Ohhh, I want one of each!” Luckily, my dogs don’t really like playing with stuffed toys, so the squeak toys were all for me. Actually, I ended up only buying 2 toys, the watermelon and apple. I rationalized that it was market research.

          Martha’s squeak toys don’t actually qualify as being Amigurumis because they don’t have anthropomorphic features, but they are still cute. The reason I bought the apple and watermelon was because they had some crochet stitches that I hadn’t seen before in any patterns online. I wanted to reverse engineer the toys to learn something from them. Don’t worry, I didn’t dismantle my new found treasures because that would be sacrilegious, but I did learn a lot from them.

          I decided to make an updated version of my apple. This apple was going to be for Josh (Remember the boy who loves orange?). I promised to add to Josh’s fruit collection. I used my old apple pattern, added the Martha Stewart touch, and made it my own.

          The main difference between my previous apples to this updated apple is the stem and leaf. Similar to Martha’s toy apple, the stem and leaf are puffy and squeezable. I think it made a cute apple, ridiculously adorable. Thank you Martha Stewart!

          I met up with Josh and his mom, Sharon, for brunch one Saturday where I gave Josh his apple. He loved it! He said it matches the orange I gave him. He also promises to share it with his new sister, who was 3 weeks away from being born.

          I think I’ve moved beyond the beginner’s category of Amigurumi maker, but I’m still constantly learning new things about crocheting, sometimes from unexpected places. I’m happy every time I’m able to add to my knowledge base because that allows me to be more creative in the future. I can’t wait to see what I else I can do!

          Thanks for joining me again this week. See you next week!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another Jungle Friend

          My friends Jessica and Ruben invited me to a very special occasion: the baptism of their son, Ruben Agustin (the little boy with the jungle friends). I wanted to give baby Ruben a unique gift by adding to his animal collection. This time I made him a monkey.

          I wanted to make the monkey so that it would match the lion I had previously made so I took the pattern for the lion and adapted it. The body, arms, and legs for both Amigurumis are the same pattern so that they would be approximately the same size. I used light brown yarn at the limbs so that the monkey would have paws. The tail is also substantially longer than the lion, with a pip cleaner inside so that it can bend. Of course, the head of the monkey is very different. I didn’t want the new Amigurumi to look like a brown lion without a mane, so the monkey has big round ears and a light brown face. I think it looks like a monkey, don’t you? 

I added the bow because it’s a cheeky monkey!

Ruben Agustin still needs a zebra, elephant, and giraffe to complete his collection. Hopefully I can finish those before he gets too big for his nursery.

Thanks again for joining me this week! See you next week!