We spent the last week of August on Cape Cod, staying at a beautiful home owned by a friend of ours. Situated right on the water with a big porch that invites you to just lounge and watch the boats go by, it's a perfect spot for reading and doing some stitching.
I decided to bring along a crochet project and I knew I wanted to make a stuffed animal. Stacey Trock's new Kepler the Lion was the perfect thing.
I love Stacey's FreshStitches patterns because I know that as a novice crocheter I'll get all the support I need to finish the project correctly. I love her 30 second stitch videos (I just learned how to slip stitch!). Kepler is a big, huggable lion, but he's actually really easy to make. Do you like him?
I'm so proud! I have to limit myself to only crocheting on vacation because otherwise I'll do nothing but crochet. It's addictive!
As I was working on this guy I noticed a few things about the way crocheted stuffed animals are designed that differs from sewn stuffed animals:
1. Building the fabric: It's seems obvious, but when you use yarn to make something you are literally creating the fabric as you go. Sewn stuffed animals are made from pre-made pieces of fabrics. Sewing a stuffed animal is quicker once you've got the pattern in front of you.
2. Shaping: With crochet you are controlling the shape of the pieces through a series of increases and decreases. The paws are wider than the rest of the limb, the tail has a bulbous tip, the muzzle is like a cup - all of this is achieved by how many stitches are made in each row. To design a sewn stuffed animal you have to draw pattern pieces on paper that will come together like a puzzle to create a three-dimensional shape. Both processes involve imagining how something will look in 3-D.
3. The fudge factor: Because crochet is new to me I wasn't sure how much I could fudge the instructions. I would be working on a row and then get distracted and forget how many stitches I'd made. Could I keep going and kinda guess or should I rip it out? I was reminded that if you're new to sewing or crocheting, or anything really, it's hard to know when you can wing it and when winging it will mean disaster later.
4. The finish: I have to say that I prefer the finished look of a sewn stuffed animal over a crocheted one. I love my Kepler dearly, but the bumpiness of the crocheted fabric isn't my favorite. I think I will happily remain a sewn stuffed animal designer professionally and keep crochet as a hobby. It sure is fun, though!
Do you sew and crochet? If you do, Stacey and I designed an animal together. His name is Pepper and the pattern gives you full instructions to make a sewn AND crocheted Pepper, plus a hat and scarf. Pretty neat!
Have you noticed differences between sewing and crocheting or knitting? Do they serve different roles in your creative life?
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