One of my reasons for learning to crochet is because I found this:
It’s the cutest amigurumi ever, and I coveted it, so link hopped til I found where he was from. I was amazed to find that he was made from a free pattern, on a blog of other awesome free patterns. The creator was Stephanie from All About Ami, which is my favourite amigurumi blog – check it out, it’s filled with squee!
Anyway, enough butt kissing. After seven months learning to crochet well (including reading Stephanie’s tutorial about crocheting the right way round and having that eureka moment I hadn’t had with any other tutorial) I finally felt ready to give him a go. Here’s how he turned out:
Obviously there’re a few differences (colour, size of head wings, two fangs because one just looked like drool…) but I’m pleased with him. More photos and my thoughts on following the pattern after the jump, or you can head straight over to the Dragon pattern on All About Ami.
First off, the pattern was simple enough to follow (very clearly written, and mostly quite basic except for the legs, which I’ll get to) with really handy photos and diagrams throughout. what I found complicated at first was using a 2mm crochet hook.
‘2mm!’ thought I, ‘that’s gonna take forever! And be tiny!’
Oh more fool me! Yes, it took longer that the same size would with say a 3.5mm hook like I’ve normally used, but I’m glad I gave it a shot because he’d have turned out huge going up a few hook sizes! He’s a good five inches tall now (although actually a bigger one would be really cuddly…). The smaller hook gives very tight, neat stitches too so he looks a lot smoother than some of my other amigurumi do. I think I’ve been converted to the joys of tiny hooks. Well, if my wrists can take it. Smaller hurts!
Dragon enjoys a rare moment of English sun.
Right, lets get more in depth, piece by pieceish.
The head was where I really noticed the difference small stitches play. It took me a while to make, I won’t lie, and at one point you do five rows of 54 stitches, which (if you work like me and just add rows together and go til you’re done) is 270 stitches. I’ve made amigurumi which don’t even have 270 stitches in the entire pattern, never mind in five rows! I quailed, I hesitated, and then I thought ‘feck it – there’s nothing else good on the internet and damn it I want this Dragon!’. It did actually go quite quickly those five rows, but wow, daunting! Think I’ll stick to counting row by row in future, less scary!
The face was cute to make. Stephanie used safety eyes which I just don’t have (I keep meaning to get some, or at least some small beads to sew on, but so far I’ve been too cash strapped and, lets be honest, lazy). So I grabbed the embroidery thread and sewed my own. It’s nice to actually be able to put my own little stamp on someone else’s pattern. All my amigurumi tend to have these style eyes too, so it links Dragon with my other creations. for the mouth I did try to copy the orignal though, cos it just looks sweet.
Ready for my close up…
I must admit had some problems with the body. Not, as might be expected, crocheting the legs together and creating the actual torso (if you look at the pattern, the legs are made separately, then joined using a few stitches). The patterns explained how to do this really clearly and I was actually surprised how easy it was. In fact my only issue here is with how one leg turned out shorter than the other, as you can see below:
I’m pretty certain that I didn’t miss a row or anything silly like that, although that would certainly explain it. I wonder if I did something wrong in the joining? Ah well, it makes him unique at least!
My big problem came when crocheting the arms. The amount of times I unravelled the whole thing! This isn’t a pattern fault – it’s 6sc in a magic ring (well, I use a CH2) then a few rows of 6sc, so it should be simple. But could I heck as get it turned right side out so that I could do it properly! I was sat in a room filled with boys shouting at a games console, so I probably wasn’t concentrating as well as I could’ve, but I must admit I was pleased as anything when I got two passable arms!
I’ve separated the tail because it also gave me problems. If I’d found it hard to do 6sc for the arms, then doing 4sc for the tail almost made me cry. I chopped a couple of mangled tangles of wool off the ball to start again until I got it right.
So many restarts for such a small thing…
It’s challenges like that which give me something to work towards though. I’m still an amateur crocheter so bits of technique evidently need some work and I need patterns like this to tip me off. If I were using a bigger hook then I probably wouldn’t have had this issue, but then again the final Dragon wouldn’t look as smooth and well crafted, so it’s swings and roundabouts really – quality vs ease. I suppose that’s where the major and minor amigurumi makers are divided, and I want to be at the top of my game, so here’s to perseverance!
Now, before attempting this amigurumi, I had never used felt for definition (NB – I made my Tooth Fairy after the Dragon). I thought it looked a bit tacky to be honest, like you couldn’t crochet well enough so had fallen back on an easier route. How wrong I was! I can’t believe how much better a bit of felt can make an amigurumi look in real life. Gives a shaper finish, although I think I need to get a better glue gun because mine leaves strings all over and oozes thick blobs rather than nice neat lines like others I’ve used. Or I need to stop being lazy and grab a sewing needle, but where’s the fun in that? Hot glue is fun! Not boring old thread. I was a little worried about how well it would hold the head wings (I over sized mine for comic affect so thought they might be heavy) but they’re actually pretty solid for now. I think I’ll be using felt more often now, rather than tearing my hair out over trying to crochet things which don’t really need to be crocheted.
So that’s all my waffle about this pattern (thanks if you’ve read to the end – you win 10x internetz). Give it a try yourself, it’s by far one of my favourite amigurumi ever. Thanks to Stephanie for giving him to the world, and not charging us to make our own. A quick google or ravelry search shows that there’s an army of Dragons out there, ready to take over the internet with cuteness, and I’m proud to say that my little guy had joined them 🙂