Sunday, November 24, 2013

My first attempt at something other than blankets

Most everyone who knows me, knows I crochet. I've made blankets for countless friends and family members. My mother's was my first one. Since then I've improved in technique and experience. Last fall, I made my first blanket with tassels.

The mom-to-be loved it! While I still work on blankets, in fact I've got two I'm currently working on and several others in the works, I saw something on the Lion Brand Yarn website, and I thought I have to try it!

My best friend is pregnant with her third baby, and while yes, I've already picked out the blanket pattern and will probably be purchasing the yarn over Thanksgiving when it's super cheap, I really want to make her this adorable stacking toy.
Only problem, I've never done circles before and had no idea how to begin. So I decided to start with something that looked relatively simple - a cornucopia  and fruits and vegetables to fill it.

I found a pattern for a cornucopia on the Lion Brand website.  I followed the pattern exactly, down to the same brand of yarn required to make it. I did change the color from dark brown to a golden color, but that was the only difference I made. This first attempt took me about 5 hours one Saturday. Which in terms of what I watch while I crochet was all of Stargate the movie, and the first 2 episodes of Stargate SG1 season 1. True there were times when either the movie or the show was more interesting and captured my attention, hence the fact it took 5 hours. Here's the finished product.
So circles, or rounds as they are called, weren't too terribly complicated. I just had to remember to move the stitch marker up each time. So I thought to myself, "I can do this. It doesn't seem too hard."

The real test was coming with the fruits and vegetables.

I printed out the pattern for the pumpkin  from the Lion Brand Website. Then I went ahead and printed out the apple, the corn, the squash, the eggplant, and the turkey to go with it . I had to make a list of all that I needed and go shopping for the yarn. Of course I didn't have a clue what safety eyes were, so those didn't make my list. I decided one bag of stuffing should be plenty to make all of the veggies and the turkey. In fact, I probably could have gotten away with a half bag. Those stuffing bags are HUGE!!!!

The pumpkin was the first on the list. I was surprised at how quickly I made it (took about 3 Stargate episodes). And it turned out rather cute.
Things for next time. Follow the instructions for the Apple to make a more distinct stem.

I then did the apple. It looked easier than the corn, squash, or eggplant. Much to my surprise, my apple didn't look much like an apple. It looks more like a giant strawberry and it's kinda lopsided. That's with me following the pattern EXACTLY!.
After only completing the pumpkin and the apple, I was starting to wonder if the cornucopia would be large enough to fit all of the vegetables. So I decided to make all of them FIRST and then go back and see if they'd fit.

By this time, I'm somewhere at the end of Stargate season 1 or into season 2. Plus I'd take the fruits to show to a couple of my coworkers and they loved them. I brought them over to Lynnette's house to show her and her almost 3 year old was so excited about them that I promptly figured out what I'd be doing for her upcoming birthday. But I have about two months to get a second set finished.

Next one I did was the squash. It's my least favorite of all of them. I just don't really care for how it looks.
The eggplant and the corn were going to be a little more complicated, so I took my time on them. I'm mostly crocheting on weekends and particularly on Saturdays, after my nap. As far as what season of Stargate I'm up to by this point, I think it was Season 3. I know I'm currently finishing up Season 4 (I've got 2 episodes left!)

The eggplant is by far my favorite of all of the veggies. It turned out so good. It's bright, the stem is very good, and it's plumper than I'd planned.
The corn also turned out very good. I know for next time, to add more stitches in the leaves to get it to come all the way across.

I knew that the turkey was going to take longer. Each piece had to be made separately. I did the body first, and it looks like a brown bowling pin. Then I did the wings. Then the feet. Then the beak. Then the red waddle. Last I did the tail. I'm not happy with how the tail looks, so for next time, I'll modify the number of stitches. After each piece was made, I had to sew it together. I've never sewn something that was stuffed together, so that was an interesting experience.

Anyway, here is my turkey in all of his eyeless glory!
I discovered that the safety eyes needed to have been added during the making of the body. Oops. So I bought shiny black buttons and some cross stitch thread and sewed buttons on for the eyes. It works.

Here is the turkey with eyes.


Now that all of the vegetables were finished, I tried to stuff the veggies into the cornucopia. Yup. They didn't fit. One of the reviewers on the website had found that out as well and offered a suggestion of adding rows or using a chunky yarn.

I sat back down with the pattern and a pencil, and figured out that I needed to add an additional 10 rows to the pattern. And that really helped. Here's the new, larger cornucopia.


The complete set ended up having turned out really well. I think my next project, before attempting to make that stacking toy, is going to be a set of doughnuts. That way I get experience making something similar to the rings on the stacking toy!





*The patterns can be found by clicking on the name of the vegetables in the paragraph where I talk about all of the different fruits. Cornucopia pattern is found by clicking on the word website in the paragraph about the cornucopia.*

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