Hippos of the Rainbow

As many of you know, I have made dozens of hippos. They are a huge hit and my best seller in the shop. (Giraffes and penguins are second and third, I think.)

Just last night, I finished an order for a red hippo  — my first boldly colored hippo ordered in a long time. I was really excited for this one, because I think the hippos can look good in any color, but don’t get an opportunity to stray outside of standard colors very often. The red makes me think of that game Hungry Hungry Hippos from the 80s — anyone remember that one?

In the end, he turned out so handsomely! Check out this good-looking fella:

IMG_1860 zvc

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I have my eye on other kinds of dolls to try out but in the meantime, I’ll keep going on the hippo train!

Do you make crochet or knit animals? Do you have any suggestions for others I could try out? Leave a comment below!

Farewell to Summer and a Few Amigurumi

Happy post Labor Day weekend! I hope it was relaxing and a bit cooler than ours was in the middle states. Summer is still going strong but thankfully, cooler weather is on the way, so it won’t feel quite so ridiculous to be focusing on hats and blankets and scarves and other cozy items.

The weekend saw me  whipping out amigurumi orders, one after another–pictures below in a bit. On a whim, I listed this gorgeous blanket on Sunday and it ended up selling right away, which was a terrific feeling. It really is a beautiful blanket and I hope the new owner falls in love with it like I did when it was finished.

Corner to Corner Jewel Toned Blanket - Folded
Just before Labor Day when All the Toy-Making was happening, we had friends in town and the only thing I had out was some Chroma Worsted yarn from Knit Picks and a Tunisian crochet hook. By the end of the weekend, I had whipped up this ribbed hat :

zv hat
For what it’s worth, I do like the pattern, and the variance of knit and purl stitches keeps the hat from curling, which is really nice, since Tunisian loves to curl up on itself. My only gripe with it is that the top is a little bit holey when it’s all said and done. I think that’s why it’s pretty critical to put a pom on top–something I have yet to try. If you’ve made this hat and have comments, I’d love to hear!

Now on to the amigurumi. I’m currently coasting into the final toy of the final order I’ve received since late August, which is a cow. But over the weekend, I ended up producing:

  • One whale
  • One baby bunny (and a practice bunny)
  • One cornflower blue hippo
  • One chocolate brown elephant

It may not seem like a lot but trust me when I say making four (technically five) animals  is quite a bit from Friday to Monday, not including eating, sleeping, going to Zumba, Netflix, etc. Here are a few photos, some of which are not the best, admittedly. I’ll have more when I’ve finished the cow and I can take some ultra cute pictures of the finished trio.

Hoping to be able to work on some more wearables and holiday items now that we’re in the last few months of 2015 (where has it gone?!). More to come!

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Particulars of the Invisible Decrease

For anyone who has visited my Etsy shop or my Facebook page, you’ll know I make a lot of amigurumi. And if you didn’t know that before, it is the bread and butter of my little side business.

It has probably taken me the past thirty or more creations to hone the skill of decreasing rounds so that there are few bumps and holes showing on the finished doll; not an easy task.

There are a handful of ways to decrease in the round, with a couple of them dubbed as an “invisible decrease.”

The regular decrease when working in single crochet, or sc2tog, is simply inserting your hook into the next stitch, yarning over and pulling up a loop, repeating on the next stitch, yarning over and pulling through all loops on the hook. Simple pimple, right?

It does work and it will quickly tighten the round. It’s really good for when you need to shape the doll using decreased stitches, a skill some designers have mastered. (See the Etsy shop “Stuff the Body” for examples–she does a lot of designs that don’t involve sewing because she shapes the animals with increases and decreases. It’s pretty brilliant.)

But when you make a lot of typical amigurumi with your basic round shapes, you want to find the right invisible decrease that is smooth and really effective. It took me a while to figure out what I liked and what worked best for me, but this is my recommendation for the best invisible decrease when doing single crochet in the round:

Insert hook into the front loop only of the next stitch; do NOT yarn over. Insert hook into the back loop only of the following stitch; yarn over and pull through two loops, yarn over and pull through remaining two loops.

The pink highlights the stitches where the yarn has been inserted (one front loop, one back loop).

The pink highlights the stitches where the yarn has been inserted (one front loop, one back loop).

It takes a little while to figure out maneuvering the hook since you don’t yarn over in between the two stitches, but it’s because of that absence of the “yo” that there is almost no visible bump and it’s quite difficult to tell where the decrease is. It’s very effective.

If you really prefer to yarn over between stitches, the next best invisible decrease (in my opinion) is to work the front loops only of both stitches and yarn over after each insertion of the hook. You’ll get a slight bump and it’s not ideal for shaping, but it works fine.

Here are some more photos of the invisible decrease in action. You can see on both the head and the body that the bumps and “squished” stitches are minimalized, and the final doll looks really polished.

Give it a try! I’d love to know what you think.

Hippo Head

Hippo Body

Hippo Square