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Getting Closer…

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Could be better, but I'm still proud!

Could be better, but I’m still proud!

Toothless was very nearly a quadruple amputee. The first leg I tried to do ended in disaster in the first six attempts. The next four were better, but not right. By the time I started on the 11th attempt, I was either going to get it right, or he was going to be permanently legless. This time I got it right, and had considerably less trouble with the other three legs.

The wings, I can now see, are waaaaaaayyyyyyy off! I didn’t think they were until I perched him to take a picture with his legs, and now it’s obvious! And I can’t even fix it, because I can’t distinguish between the crochet stitches and the sewing stitches! Oh, well, there are still three more to make; I’ll get them better next time. What’s left on this one are the eyes, ears, horns, and back ridges. Really, not much. For a first try, I’m still proud of him! I actually expected to do much worse. Honestly, I didn’t expect to get this close to completion at all. I thought I would get bored and quit. Guess my love of dragons won out!

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Wings of Wonder, Part 2

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Coming along!

Coming along!

Toothless has gotten his second wing! Mistakes are still visible, of course, but I’m still proud of myself. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m really happy to have gotten this far. Although, I’ve gotta say, right now he looks more like a Klingon Bird of Prey than a dragon lol!!! For you non-Star Trek people, I’m trying to find a picture of a Bird of Prey to add to this post. I’m sure, once you see it, you’ll agree!

I can see some tweaking I’d like to do of the pattern…I hope that doesn’t offend the designer! I’d like to either extend the wing arms, or maybe try pipe cleaners along the leading edge of the wings. I don’t really like how the wings just flop down. Pipe cleaners might be the better choice, aesthetically speaking, but I’m leery of that too. The lummox we refer to as “the puppy” is still in the habit of chewing things up, especially the kids’ things, since the children cannot

Bird of Prey pic belonging to moddb.com.

Bird of Prey pic belonging to moddb.com.

seem to get it through their heads that leaving things on the floor is an invitation to the dogs to chew. Fortunately for the children, the other three dogs are geriatric, or they’d have lost a good deal more than a few Barbie doll feet!

As you can see, I found a picture of a Bird of Prey. Disclaimer: picture is not mine, it belongs to moddb.com. If you add the rest of Toothless’ body and tail to the back of the Klingon ship, you can really see the resemblance! Maybe once I add the legs, ears, horns, and spikes, he’ll look less like a spaceship and more like the dragon we all know and love!

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To My Followers

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I just wanted to give a huge “Thank you!!” to all of you who follow my blog! Wow, I have fans!!!!!

When I started this, like all bloggers, I really wanted followers, but I can’t say I’ve expected the warm response I’ve gotten! I didn’t know if anyone would actually be interested in reading the things I wrote. I’m not an expert in anything, and I’m not creating tutorials, I’m just a mom with some creative interests that I’d like to learn more about, and a crazy family filled with pets and children who, more often than not, drive me insane, much like other moms, so my blog is more about the journey than anything else. I hoped people would find it interesting, and figured I’d have maybe one or two followers. And while I don’t have the thousands that some other bloggers have, I’m very gratified for the ones I do have, and I hope my blog continues to interest you! Thanks so very much for letting me be a small part of your lives!

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Wings of Wonder

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Ignore the messy desk, but Toothless is progressing!

Ignore the messy desk, but Toothless is progressing!

Okay, I know I’m working the Toothless pattern a bit out of order. I know that. But I had to get away from the Magic Ring for awhile – I really had a battle with a 4 stitch Magic Ring for the wing arm, especially in black…you would not believe the number of times I had to redo it, and I was heartily sick of it. Once the wing arm was done, the rest of the wing was a simple back and forth of double and single crochet, such as you would do for blankets, and it was nice to do that for awhile instead of crocheting in the round. So Toothless has sprouted one wing, so far. There are definitely mistakes – the wing arm has lots of spaces where the stitches should be closer together and are not, and I have no idea why. I would like to blame them on the fact that he’s black and I can’t always see the stitches I’m working with, but I won’t know that until I make him in another, lighter color. I kind of feel like that’s a cop out on my part too, but on the other hand, I’m more than happy to blame it on this being my first try, too!

Honestly, though, I really did struggle with the wing arm, and after I stuffed it and realized the holes were there, it was one of those throw-your-hands-up and say  “I don’t care!” moments. I really didn’t. I was so annoyed with both myself and it by then, I just was not inclined to tear it back and try to correct the mistakes, especially knowing I still had another wing arm to face.

I know part of the problem is the size of the round I was crocheting at that point. The same thing happened on the tail. It was a combination of an inability to see the stitches well enough and the four stitch rounds. Apparently, six stitches is my limit on visibility in black. I just wound up ending the tail two rounds early, and it really doesn’t make an overall difference, but I had no choice but to fight with the wing arm. The battle was epic and long. I won, but I have promised myself that there are no more black Night Fury dragons in my future!

On another note, school continues to go poorly. I’m so much better at doing things than I am at the memorization. There’s just so much to remember: the chemical and trade names of the drugs, what they do, what their side effects are, how they interact with other drugs, the mathematical formulas…actually, I’m doing better at the math than I am at the rest of it, which is unusual for me. I haven’t given up, but some days I come closer than others.

Actually doing the work helps me more than reading the books, not that they don’t have their place, but doing the lab work cements it in my brain. Drawing the blood makes far more sense than a description of how and why to do it. If passing the class was entirely based upon the work I was doing, I’d be a 4.0 GPA in no time! Unfortunately, things are never that simple, so I’ll just keep plugging at it. Eventually, something will click!

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The Body Rocks!

The body rocks, despite the mistakes!

The body rocks, despite the mistakes!

As my children continue to drive me crazy, asking when Toothless I will be finished, I can proudly say that I’m making progress, and as you can see in the picture, I have proof! I am nearly done with his head and body, working now on the last few inches of his tail. That is truly no picnic! The tail gradually decreases down to four-stitch rounds; I am presently at eight stitch rounds, and I can just barely fit the tip of my index finger in there to hold the work in place to get the crochet hook into the stitches, on top of barely being able to see them in the first place! But am I still enjoying it? You bet! It may only be a part of the whole, but I’m nearing completion of the largest part of the toy, and for a first try, I don’t think it’s half bad! What do you think?

Now that I’ve seen the photo of it, though, I can see the mistakes I’ve made around the neck area, where the holes are too large and the stuffing is a bit visible. I tried to keep them small, but alas, it was not to be. The next one will be better. Hubby has laid claim to this one, because neither of the girls wants their Toothless to be black. Aneira, of course, wants hers to be pink – no surprises there, although for some reason she was surprised that I wasn’t  – and Bryony has gone back and forth between wanting orange or black. Mine will be made last and naturally, it will be purple. I doubt anyone is surprised at that revelation either.

I could have finished the body yesterday, in all honesty, but hubby got us a copy of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and it was absolutely necessary to my continued sanity that I watch that instead. Tears, drama, and oh, my, Thranduil and Kili were quite gorgeous. I remember Lee Pace from Pushing Daisies a few years ago, but he did a great Thranduil, and I personally think he should keep long blond hair, but that’s just my opinion. Aidan Turner was great as well, as Kili, and I remember him from the BBC’s Being Human. I didn’t get very far into that series; I’m thinking I might try it again.

But that’s why I didn’t finish yesterday. There was no way I could crochet with that movie on. I couldn’t have kept track of my stitches if it meant my life! Besides, my kids were happily ensconced in front of the television watching Lalaloopsy or something, and were actually leaving me alone, and hubby was out, so I was able to watch an entire movie without anyone chit-chatting through whole sections of it! Do you have any idea what bliss that is? Well, if you’re a parent, I’m pretty sure you do. I was in seventh heaven. And I feel no guilt: this is part of my plan to celebrate my birthday for the entire month. The actual day isn’t until the end of the month, but past a certain age you don’t get the fun presents anymore, and you’d rather stop counting up the years – especially when you don’t feel as old as the mirror says you are – so you’ve got to make your own fun. So this is my month to do whatever I want, without guilt.

Well, my self-imposed break is over: I want to get these last rounds done tonight and go watch Big Hero 6 with my kids! Enjoy your night!

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Easy, Yet Difficult

Head and neck so far.

Head and neck so far.

So far, Toothless is going surprisingly well. No, really, I am surprised. I’ve never followed a pattern in my life. I’ve had to learn what all these abbreviations stand for in the course of making the piece, train myself to keep count and use stitch markers to help me with that…I’ve always crocheted by the seat of my pants. The woman who taught me really only knew basics herself. She taught me double crochet only. That’s not a bad thing; first time out, I made a king-sized bedspread, crocheting two strands together and working it in four sections, which I then crocheted together. It lasted for years. The baby blankets I made for my oldest are now in the care of my youngest, ten years later. Thanks to her, crochet was the first fiber art I actually enjoyed doing.

Now, thanks to the Internet, I’m able to learn things that I never could before. YouTube is a fantastic site for tutorials in pretty much anything! I spent some time today watching the tutorial on making Toothless’ body and wing arm, which were a help in interpreting the written instructions I printed out so I could work on him while waiting for Aneira to get out of school.

The easy part is the actual crochet, meaning the act of insert hook, pull up loop, yarn over, pull through. Easy peasy. The difficulty is in the black yarn, making it hard to see where you need to go next, and in keeping track of where you are. It’s not hard when every round changes by either increasing or decreasing, but when you have to do nine rounds that are exactly the same and you can’t find your row counter, that’s a difficulty. So I’m not sure exactly where I am, really. I’m either dead on target, one row over, or one row under. Given that it’s me we’re talking about, I think that’s actually pretty good. So, yes, it’s easy and difficult at the same time. Still, it’s fun, watching it come together. That was one of the things that I liked about crochet from the beginning. With knitting, as a kid, it was so slow. In comparison to crochet, if I spent the same amount of time doing each, crochet showed a lot more progress than knitting in terms of size. It might not actually have been that way, but it looked that way, and that was my reward for sticking with it. I could knock out a baby blanket in a day if I wanted, something that I couldn’t do with knitting. If I’m honest, I’m still better at crochet than I am at knitting, but now that I know more about knitting, I can at least say I’m still interested in it, even if I’m not the best knitter.

I’ve had two more requests for Toothless stuffies, putting me up to six. I haven’t gotten through one yet, so I’m not committing to more! For all I know, to make the four for my family may take me forever!

I did browse through Pinterest last night for other amigurumi, more out of curiosity than anything, and logged over 150 pins that caught my eye. There were some really cute ones that I’m dying to try, and I’d like to find some nice, complete-in-a-few-hours projects to do for the girls while I’m also working on a flock? herd? of dragons. I found Hello Kitty, Snoopy, Nintendo characters, Looney Tunes characters, Eeyore, Tigger, Pooh Bear, Lalaloopsy, and My Little Pony, all of which will thrill my kids to no end. I really need to lay in a huge supply of stuffing, because once they’ve each got one, they are never going to leave me alone! It’s already begun: Bryony asks me no less than five times a day whether Toothless is done yet. On one hand, answering the same question repeatedly gets very old, but on the other, it’s nice to know that they’re as enthusiastic about toys Mama makes as they are about the commercial versions. So really, not complaining. The day may come when they’re not interested in having me make things for them anymore, although I might get lucky and have them become truly interested in learning how to make things themselves, and then I’ll have company while I play with string!

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Toothless in Colorado

Here, again, may be a case of me trying to run before I walk. I found a Toothless pattern on Ravelry, belonging to Nichole’s Nerdy Knots. I know this may be too ambitious for my skill level with amigurumi – or lack thereof – but he was so stinkin’ cute, I had to try it.

I’ve just gotten the two pieces that form his head done, and so far, following the pattern hasn’t been very difficult. The hardest part is finding where to insert my hook, because the yarn is black and the lighting in my little studio is not as perfect as I’d like it to be, so several times I’ve had to tear back a round and restart to get the stitching right. Thankfully, I’ve got lots of stitch markers, which is turning out to be a huge help.

The pattern breaks Toothless up into a fair number of pieces that will have to be put together when they’re all made, so hopefully that won’t be a lot of trouble for me! I have to make four of them, because the kids and hubby all want one each. We’re all huge fans of Toothless! And he should be a good-sized stuffie when he’s done – about 18″ long. By the time I’ve made four, if this doesn’t prove to be way too ambitious on my part, I should be an expert! If nothing else, I will certainly have the pattern memorized!

I actually wanted to get more done than the two head pieces today, but it was not to be. We were up until 4 am because Bryony was sick to her little tummy, and when I woke up for school this morning, I had whatever she did, so I called in sick and spent most of the day in bed. Then my truck wouldn’t start when I had to pick up Aneira from school, and I had to get a neighbor to jump start the truck and managed to somehow wrench my bad knee after that, and it’s now swollen and ridiculously painful. I’m hoping I didn’t damage it too badly; this knee has already been the recipient of two surgeries, and I never want to have to use crutches again! All in all, it hasn’t been a good day for getting anything done.

I still need to get some felt for his eyes, and more stuffing, but so far, so good on what’s already been done, if nothing else. Now I need to crack the books, since that isn’t going as well as I’d like either. At this point, I’ll be grateful for a C, as long as I graduate!

What have your amigurumi experiences been like? What were your first pieces?

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