So, here is Post #2 in my sweater design adventure, and let me tell you, people who design quality patterns are AMAZING. Hopefully one day I will be among them. For now, I am a humble novice continuing her journey of self-improvement.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning; the sun was shining brightly in my crafting space and I had a good chunk of time where I could just work. I had all my idea sketches in front of me, my yarn ready to go, needles choosen...and no idea what to do next. Like I mentioned before, I have made small project patterns, but I have never tackled anything so large as an adult sweater from conception to completed garment. And if I'm going to take the time to knit something, I do not want an ugly, boxy sweater that looks like a blind llama might have knit it. I want shaping, I want flattering necklines, I want interest...I want what is currently beyond my skill to design from scratch.
Okay, that realization was important. So I had to take a giant step back in my ambitions. I had a vision of what I wanted, what I needed was the framework to get me there. After copious hours of flipping through my books, magazines and browsing Ravelry (talk about pattern overload) I found it- the perfect base for what I am hoping to achieve. It was actually in one of my first knitting books I ever purchased- New England Knits: Timeless Knitwear with a Modern Twist. It is the Auburn Top by Cecily Gowik MacDonald, which I am including a picture of here that is from the Ravelry page for the pattern. (You can purchase the pattern for $5.50 on Ravelry or buy the book for about $25.00.)
This top has the key elements I envisioned for my steampunk inspired sweater. It has the cute, puffed sleeves, the fitted pricess shaping and a high neck. I even love the square neckline. This is it! This is my base!
This is a learning process for me, that's the whole point after all, so I am hoping to gain some more experience with shaping, including short rows for arm holes and the pricess darts, with this sweater. I am going to make some serious modifications to this pattern, including a lace panel down the center of the sweater, so I can incorporate some of the steampunk elements that originally inspired me. Some other minor adjustments might include some tinkering with the length. My modifications, however, will not warrant calling the work a new pattern.
With that said, I will make sure to detail all of my modifications here, but I will tactfully refrain from including too much information about the pattern by Ms. MacDonald- you will need to purchase her pattern if you want those details. It really is a beautiful sweater as is. I've cast on and am ready to go. I am making sure to take notes as I work, too, so I can apply knowledge to a future designs of my own making. The bottom line is, though, that I need to walk before I can run. Making significant modifications to a pattern seems like a good first step to understanding and designing my own sweater in the future. It's hard, but practice, practice, practice which translates to patience, patience, patience.
Yoda - Star Wars Mini Amigurumi
The pattern is not available for individual purchase. You can, however, get this pattern, along with 11 more of your favorite Star Wars characters, in a crochet amigurumi kit. It is available on Amazon for $18.48.
This project was a departure from my usual. I do not often crochet, and while I have made a few stuffed animals, I have never made an amigurumi. With that said, I have to say this project was a lot of fun! Amigurumi, for those of you who might have read that word with some confusion, is a style of knitting and crocheting small stuffed yarn creatures. It is a Japanese style of art, and my limited experience has revealed that the creatures often follow trends of pop culture. There are not, however, rules governing the size and look of a creature. While it has been a popular style in Japan for decades, it has only recently found its home here and is still growing in popularity.
This little yoda stands a proud 2.5 inches tall. The details the designer added are quite delightful. The robe is removeable, there are toes (even though you can't really see them here), the little belt holds the robe closed, there is an under garment color that adds authenticity...really, Ms. Collin must have had a blast when she was designing this master of the Force. I received the box kit as a surprise from my husband. He was at Costco, and is often the case when he shops there, he impulse buys. He saw it and thought it was cute, especially since we are both huge Star Wars fans. (I say "huge," with the understanding that there are people out there that are much bigger fans than us. Perhaps I should just say we enjoy Star Wars quite a bit. We are not yet at the level of cosplay, though that looks like fun.)
The kit comes with instructions for 12 Star Wars characters and the supplies to make Yoda and a Storm Trooper. I used the supplies given, but I will say they are not of superior quality. That is to be expected, I do not fault the kit for it. I just know that Yoda might have looked better if the yarn was a little nicer. (I had trouble with it fraying and the yarn thickness seemed to vary quite a bit, especially for an acrylic yarn.) You can see a definite difference in the yarn from the pictures (and stitch definition) in the instructions from the yarn you are given to use. I never knew it would matter so much, but I felt it made an appreciable difference. Also, the shade of green seemed a little off. However, like I said, I am not a crocheter, so a lot of the faults in my yoda rest squarely with me. The instructions were clear, but sometimes I got lost in the counting. Do you count the stich on your hook? Does the slip knot count? These are all things that will become easier with practice.
One thing I did not like, however, was that the pictures did not always line up with the instructions next to them. For example, on one step, the picture illustrating the instruction was on a previous page! This sometimes could be a little confusing, but nothing major. The whole stuffed creation took me three casual nights of television watching. The time consuming part for me was in creating all of the little parts and sewing them together. The head and body are stitched as one piece, but then there are two ears, two arms, the robe, two sleeves, and a belt. It is this attention to detail that really brings the charm, though. This little yoda is on Ravelry, so for fun, you can see all the cute projects made from this pattern. It appears as though people have a lot of success with this one.
Summary: If you are new to amigurumi, or even to crocheting, this pattern was great with very satisfying results. If you are not new to amigurumi, I feel like this pattern could also be an awesome launching point to even more amazing Yodas. I think I will try this pattern again with nicer yarn and better eyes. The instructions were great, though, even if the kit supplies were not. So no matter what, you will get a cute Yoda.