Good news and bad news today (not very bad though, don’t worry 🙂 ). Good news is Phil fixed our laptop! He’s handy that boy (he has also been known to fix our washing machine, other people’s washing machines and even the odd dodgy bit of car in the past). Bad news, Phil and I are back into revision again (I know, it doesn’t feel like long since the last bout, yuck!!!). So, I’m take a study break to stop by this evening and share with you a super fun project I’ve worked on during evenings over the past few weeks.
So, without further ado, let me introduce Mr. Moose.
As with most of the projects we make, Mr. Moose has a bit of a back story to him. A few weeks ago was my birthday (I was 26. All I’m going to say is that my boy knows me too too well because between birthday festivities Phil made me an enormous Reese’s Pieces icecream cake … he’s a keeper that one! :D)
Anywho, it turns out my brother and his lovely girl Vicky also know me and my crafty ways too well because in addition to two sets of bamboo knitting needles (which I’ve been itching to try for a while) they also got me some of the nicest, most beautifully soft undyed wool I have ever owned. It smells like a sheep. I think that says it all 😀
It is made by Ardalanish on the Isle of Mull (which funnily enough is where I worked on one of my last knitting projects, you can read about here) and comes in three beautiful breed’s natural (i.e. undyed) shades: Bluefaced Leicester, Manx Brown and Hebridean Brown. I got two balls of Bluefaced Leicester and two balls of the Manx Brown, and more or less from the minute I opened them, I knew they were perfect for the project I’d been storing up on Ravelry for a while, a cute as anything amigurumi moose.
A very brief word on amigurumi. Amigurumi is the japanese craft of crocheting small stuffed animals or toys. The animals are usually made using single crochet stitches and worked in the round to make each of the individual body parts, which you can then stuff and sew together. The lovely thing about it is that the single crochet gives you a pretty tough stitch which ends up being almost sculptural so you can make just about anything you can think of! (I’ve even seen a whole set of star wars characters before. Amigurumi yoda = heart meltingly cute! :D)
Unfortunately as I bought the pattern for the moose, I can’t share it with you here, but the pattern is by Brenna Eaves, and is available here on Ravelry or if your not signed up to Ravelry you can find it here on her Etsy shop. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It costs $7, which I think is a really fair price and it was easy to follow, very detailed and rarely for a pattern I follow, I actually didn’t make any tweaks at all as I went along (not bad going huh?). 😀
Now, I should preface this post by saying that I am not a pro crocheter. I would always call myself a knitter first and foremost (actually, thats not true, I’d call myself a quilter, but in terms of working with yarn I knit far more often than I crochet.) In fact, my crochet experience only really stretched to the odd granny square for a blanket. So I knew the moose was going to be a challenge.
Also, the pattern does say that it’s is not suitable for beginner’s. But never one to shy away from a challenge (or perhaps just a glutten for punishment!) I gave it a go anyway, and slowly slowly made progress. When I encountered a stitch I didn’t know I searched for it on youtube, watched a few tutorials and practiced it until I’d got it down and then used it in the pattern. The nice thing about crochet too, is that if you get your stitch wrong (as happened many many times!) you can just pull a stitch back and try again (which is always trickier in knitting).
So, now that the project is finished what so I think about the ‘not suitable for beginners warning?’ Well, I would say I half agree (nothing like sitting on the fence lol). If today is your first day picking up a crochet hook then probably the moose is a bit of a big first step, so not for total beginners. But, if you are just new to amigurumi but have a little bit of time to persevere and like learning as you go I think its actually a great pattern to start on.
Luckily, Mr. Moose was finished just in time for taking on a very important job. My little brother, who is now sadly not so little at all, moved out last weekend to start his first proper grown up job and live in his first proper grown up flat all by himself. So, I tasked Mr. Moose with the respectable job of being a guard moose for my brothers new flat. After all, living alone for the first time can be a bit freaky for the first few weeks, so who wouldn’t want the company of a friendly moose to keep them safe on their endeavours in the big wide world?
So, before I embarrass him anymore (he he he), lets get down to the nitty gritty of making a moose.
a size 4.5 crochet hook,
1 and 1/2, 50g ball of brown wool in the Manx brown colour of the Ardalanish wool,
1/2 a ball (also 50g) of cream wool in the Bluefaced Leicester colour of the Ardalanish wool,
a couple of strands of black wool for the eyes
4 circles of card to sit in the hooves and add a bit of support to him standing up
a tapestry / wool needle to sew everything together
The first order of service was to crochet all of the constituent parts. This included a round oval body, a slightly bigger round oval head, a neck, 4 legs, a tail, 2 ears, and 2 antlers (which were made of one long sausage shaped tube and 2 little nubbies).
Everything was crocheted in the brown, apart from the hoof end of the legs and the antlers which were crochet in cream. I checked out a few mooses on the internet and I think a brown body and cream antlers is more ‘moosey’ and less ‘deery’.
Before finishing each shape, I stuffed it with a polyester filling (I don’t really like adding polyester to things, but the polyester filling is fire retardant which is actually kinda important for stuffed animals) then crocheted it closed ….. the pattern was very good about telling you when to stuff each body part, so you didn’t accidentally leave yourself with too little room.
Before I stuffed the legs I popped a little circle of card in the bottom of each hoof to help him stand up nice and straight on a flat surface (it’s no good having a guardmoose if he keeps falling over!) 😀
Then all that was left to do was to sew each of the stuffed components together. I found an excellent video online, which you can find here, on how to sew together amigurumi crochet pieces invisibly. I can’t recommend it highly enough! It was great and as I was sewing my pieces together I was super thankful I had watched it first!
All that was left to do in the end was to sew on his eyes!
Here he is finished from behind …..
And right after he fell over mid photoshoot, oopsy lol.
The good news is that Mr. Moose arrived with Adam this morning, so I’m pretty sure they’ll be making friends as we speak.
We hope you all had a lovely weekend. I am enjoying another birthday treat tomorrow, as my parents have sent me on a bookbinding course for the day. I am super excited! I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures so share what I learn. 😀