Saturday, February 16

Chez Chippy: Cat Cave Under Construction

If I didn't have a sweet kitty who wants his own crochet nest, I'd be tempted to turn this into a boho tote, or a big round area rug. I LOVE the touches of mohair and alpaca, and the color blending (which looks richer in person than in photos.)
Bottom and side edge of cat cave.

Chippy Cat loves alpaca and wool, so I'm using up chunky scrap craft store yarns that have some alpaca, mohair, and wool content, and incorporating wool roving occasionally. Most of the time I'm crocheting with two strands of different yarns held together. The solid deep burgundy yarn is thicker, so I used just one strand of that (until I ran out.) 

This started out as a simple wintertime TV crochet project. I was deeply inspired by photos of "Nest" ("Pesä") -- a cat cave crocheted by Hanne Katajamäki. I'm changing two things (besides the yarn): I made the cave opening higher up because I think Chippy will want to nuzzle in and nap below the line of the opening. 

I also plan to add a round crocheted sleeping mat of the same yarns. It will be a removable insert so that I can wash it.

Cave entrance is coming along.
Bulky squishy yarns, random color and texture blending, casual stitch increasing and decreasing: fun and seemingly simple. I've learned a lot from this simple project though! Had to rip out several rounds when I began the sides, because 3 - 4 rounds of the sides (when I stopped increasing) still sat like part of the base, making it much bigger (and yarn gobbling) than I wanted. 

Also, I did some rounds with turning, some without turning, as I pleased. After ripping out to make a smaller base, I switched to turning for ALL rounds, because it came out thicker, stiffer, more structured. See, I rarely do hats or round-bottom totes, or projects in all single crochet, so...learning this stuff now.

Even so it's still a bit on the saggy side. Probably when I cover the top it will cave in a bit. My son assures me that Chippy will love this even more :-) 

I thought using two strands of chunky yarns held together and crocheted tightly would be stiff enough. I see from photos of someone else's project that theirs is saggier, even though the stiff Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn was used throughout. Looks like it was crocheted in spiraling sc (no turning for any rounds)? 

Hanne's structured (and wildly inspiring to me!!) pale pink one at her Eilen Tein blog is made from a yarn that now makes me think that crocheted fabric strips would be crazy-stiff!! But not touchable; however ... crocheted t-shirt strips could be both. 

I also realized late that I could have done a "clothesline crochet" type maneuver. I'm seeing fresh ideas for this old basket weaving-like crochet technique of single crochet stitches {UK: dc} over a rope, such as cotton clothesline, that coils in the round. Really, I'm doing the closest thing to a covered basket, which is more sculptural; not so much a hat or tote type fabric.
For specific yarns used, see its Ravelry project page.

Friday, December 21

Home Stretch: A Minecraft Creeper Christmas

OK yes, it's taking me a looong time to finish this crochet amigurumi project. It's partly because of all the teaching I did this year. Try as I might, I wasn't able to use the Creeper as part of my class prep.
Inventory: 20 out of 28 Pieces DONE. Eight remain before final assembly.
I can do this!
For example, none of my class topics include its "jacquard" or "tapestry" or "intarsia" color change technique (for the primitive bitmapped look). None concerned 3-D crochet toys or sculptures either. Not this year, anyway.

Tunisian swatch on the right, single crochet on the left. 
Curious about a Tunisian crochet version? Me too. Here's a quick swatch using Tss (Tunisian Simple Stitch)

I've finished almost all of the Creeper pieces. Today's inventory:

4.5 out of 8 Leg Panels DONE.
The Four Torso Panels (the largest pieces besides the head):
The Eight Toe Panels (my favorite part):
The Tops & Bottoms of Feet (smallest panels of all):
3 out of 8 DONE.
The remaining small panels are perfect for TV crocheting, depending on the show. I'm watching season five of Lost and my crochet hook stops moving when it's on. Can't help it.

Sunday, April 8

Update: Minecraft Creeper Crochet

I've made significant progress since my last post!

Here is the completed head, which I stuffed with 8x8x2" pieces of foam rubber after seaming together 6 squares. It worked out.

This means several things: 

  1. The size of the crochet pieces (approx. 7.5" square, plus a selvage stitch at each side edge) works out with the 8-inch square foam pieces. I'm glad I added those selvage stitches.
  2. Cutting the foam into the sizes I needed was fast and easy. (I sawed through the foam with a bread knife.)
  3. Chair cushion pads (they yellowed while in storage with my
    sewing stuff). The bread knife worked great for
    cutting the 2-inch foam into 8" x 8" squares. 
  4. The seam turned out easier and better than I expected. It's a simple slip stitch crochet seam. The medium green yarn blends the best. 

Slip stitch seam with wrong sides facing out.
Ready to be turned right side out, and stuffed with the
four squares of foam.
It blends so well that I was even able to crochet the last seam after stuffing, instead of sewing it. This meant the seam was done on the outside of the head -- a.k.a. with right sides facing out, instead of with wrong sides facing out, like I did the other seams. Doesn't seem to matter, which is great!

Three pieces of foam added so far. One to go.
It's been pretty easy so far. Will the fourth foam piece
be difficult? It wasn't, really.
Another happy accident is that the foam doesn't show through the stitches because it's green

Meanwhile I have three out of six body panel completed, and a few of the 24 pieces needed for the feet.

The only thing I still wonder about is the best way to attach the head and feet to the body....