Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I've created a monster!

It all started Sunday morning, when I was ready for church, but my daughter wasn't. I pulled out the bag of yarn I have set aside for my August Penguin Pail Challenge, figuring while I waited, I could pull out that tangle of yarn in the bag and get at least one little ball wound.
Surprise, surprise... that whole mess of yarn was nothing but short strings, mostly between 4" and 18" long. At first, I thought I'd have to toss the whole mess, but then I thought a monster with multi-color, multi-length hair just might look cute. The wheels were churning, and later that evening I started on one.

Since then, I've made three... all different, but the same concepts, so I'll try to explain what I did.
For reference purposes, let's call them (L-R) Baby, Mom, & Dad

The first one I made was the one on the left, Baby. I grabbed a small ball of green yarn (maybe about 1 ounce worsted weight) and a G hook. I started with one leg. I did 6 sc in a magic ring, then increased in each stitch for the next round. Then I worked even for a couple of rounds. Finish off that leg, make another to match. Then I did a chain two, crocheted around the top of the first leg, back along the chain two, and around the second leg, then back across the chain, to make one big circle for the body. I did a few rows even, then did a decrease at the outside center of each leg to start tapering the body. When I was almost out of yarn, I ended off, leaving a long tail to sew up the top.

For Mom's body, I made her legs longer and did a longer chain between the legs.  I had a bigger ball of yarn to play with. With Dad, I was working with sport weight yarn and a size E hook, and wasn't sure how far it would go... so I made his arms and legs stubby... but then the yarn kept on going and going, so he ended up pretty tall. Hey, they're monsters... anything goes... monsters come in all shapes and sizes!

For Baby's arms, I did 6 or 7 sc in a magic ring and worked even for about 3". I didn't stuff the arms.
For Mom's arms, I did 6 sc in a magic ring, increased to 12 in the next round, worked a round or two even, and then decreased back to 7 or 8 and made about an inch more of arm (although I put them too high and they look more like horns than arms!)
For Dad's arms, I did 6 sc in magic ring, then increased to 12, and only did 1 or two rows. He has short, stubby arms.

One thing I learned after Baby - making the arms first works best... then I can just keep going with the body until I run out of yarn, rather than guessing how much I should leave for making the arms.

For the eye,
Black yarn: 6 sc in magic ring
Round 2: 2 sc in each stitch. Finish off.
Round 3: Attach green yarn. 2 sc in first stitch, sc in next stitch. Repeat around.
With white yarn, embroider a highlight on the border between black & green. Baby & Dad have a simple V. Mom has a square.

Once eye and arms are attached, stuff and sew up the top seam on the head. Then have fun with the hair! 

For the hair, just grab a couple of strands of yarn, pull through a stitch to make a loop. pull your yarn ends through the loop and pull to tighten. Repeat across top of the head. If you want a fuller head of hair, repeat with another row on the back of the head, one row down from the top.
The Messy Monster family continues to grow, with Cardinal O'Harry
 Updated 8/5
I made a taller guy, Cardinal O'Harry. You can see he has different legs. I started out with 6 SC in a magic ring, then went to 12 stitches in the next round. I worked one or two rounds even, and then decreased back to six (stuffing the foot a little before I did all the decreased) for the rest of the leg. Arms are similar... but I increased to 9 and decreased on the next round, to make the arm ends a little smaller than the feet.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The August Penguin Pail

Oh, I came soooo close to finishing in July! Just one more day, and I might have aced my Penguin Pail! But, I didn't finish the Amish Puzzle Ball Turtle, so he carries over to August.

1. Finish Amish Puzzle Ball Turtle - DONE

I'm starting out the month with about 18 of 25 pieces done, so it's only a few more hours work... I hope...
Finished Sunday night, 8/2

2. Make another dinosaur blanket, with some pink! (Started Monday night, 8/3) DONE - finished 8/15

3. Design a fish blanket - DONE - Finished 8/22

4. Finish my yarn inventory (I've inventoried 6 bins with 135 yarns...some multiple skeins, and have 9 bins to go. I am estimating 18 hours work to finish it.)
8/4 - 7 down, 8 to go.
8/11 - DONE! (I figure that 138 pounds of yarn would last me, oh, about two years...)

5. Another Scrap Bag challenge DONE
It started with this $2 bargain bag from Goodwill, but as I inventoried yarn bins, when I found little balls of yarn that I didn't want to weigh, photograph and enter into inventory, I crammed them into the bag also, so I have about three pounds of scrap yarn to turn into cute little items!

Sunday 8/2 update: I went through the scrap bag this morning and discovered that what I thought was a tangle of yarn that could be untangled into some usable balls of yarn was actually a wad of short strands of yarn, 4" - 18" in length. I was about to toss it all when I pictured a shaggy-haired monster!
Nothing longer than 18" in this mess...

Scrap Yarn = Messy Monsters!

And off we go!!!
August 7
One week into the Use It Up challenge, and I've made 5 Messy Monsters, a dragon scarf, a headband, and a happy face scrubbing mitt. The bag that was stuffed so full I could barely zip it now has about 3" of empty space at the top.

Almost two weeks into the Use It Up challenge and the bag is only about half full...
Another week's worth of projects...
 This week, I made two stuffed animals (puppy and giraffe), three Messy Monsters and two dishcloths from my scrap bag (well, I had to add some off-white for the puppy, and some more variegated yarn for the giraffe). Bag is about half empty now, but I'm setting it aside for a few weeks to focus on the other projects. I figure the smaller projects from that bag will be easier to work on in the car during a long trip at the end of the month.

Another week, another batch of critters:
The bag only has about 6 ounces of yarn left in it.

Riding "shotgun" for a 7-hour trip to Michigan helped me to churn out a bunch of projects that polished off a lot of scrap yarn. I still need to finish some details on a number of the projects, but I got a lot done!