7.18.2013

Bonnie, the Cutie Bunny

Bonnie is the newest member of the Cutie Collection. She loves to pick strawberries on warm, summer days (who doesn't!), and you will almost always see with Chickie, her friendly baby bird.
Chickie - "Peeep! Peep, peep!",  Bonnie - "Oh? What's that?"

Chickie - "Look out behind you! An evil cat hides in that bowl!"

Bonnie - "In here? I don't see any cat. Are you sure? I think I'll climb in just to make sure.",  Chickie - "Nooo!" 
Bonnie - "Ha! See? No cat in here!", Chickie - whispering, "It might still be in there, it can turn invisible!" 

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Bonnie is a bit smaller than the other Cuties, as she's made from Martha Stewart's Extra Soft Wool Blend yarn which is a lighter weight than the regular acrylic yarn I use. The animal designs I have done so far are: the bear, puppykitty, and bunny. My plan is to have each pattern for sale so you can make the Cutie of your choice! The Cutie Kitty Pattern is done and I'm currently working on the bear pattern. In the meantime, I'd like to remake the bunny but give her lop ears, she'd be so adorable with long, droopy ears! 

I had lop-eared bunnies once...I grew up on a small vegetable farm in southern Michigan. We never had any farm animals, only pet barn cats and a dog. During our mid-to-late teens, my sister and I finally wore my dad down to the point where he allowed us to get a few animals if we promised to care for them ourselves. He didn't want to be stuck doing all the work. My sister raised 7 well-loved chickens from eggs we hatched ourselves, and I bought a pair of Mini Lop rabbits. 

The female was a sweet tempered, gray rabbit named Lady, and the male was a white and cream, grumpy fellow named Buck. Wanting to expand my brood to keep up with my sister, I bred them and Lady had 5 tiny little bunnies! As you probably know, bunnies grow up very quickly and it wasn't long before I had the whole group out in the grass hopping around! A few times, one or two of the bunnies would hop too far away (I didn't want to loose them!), so I'd reach out and snatch them up. They would be so startled by this that they'd squeal/squeak and scream! The first time it happened, it startled me! I had no idea they made that noise, sounds like a loud rat! Ha ha! They were so cute! 

Even though they were lops, their ears stood up straight like a normal rabbit but once they were older, their ears gradually fell downwards, like their parent's. When they were old enough, I sold them to families, I didn't have room to keep them all. I miss my bunnies, they were a fun and easy pet to have. I kept all of mine outside so I don't know how they are in the house but they are pretty stinky, just to warn you! :]  So many good memories~

Growing up, did you have a favorite pet or animal? Any other farm-girls out there? What's your favorite animal memory?







7.08.2013

Amigurumi Heart Tutorial


This quick and fun heart tutorial is a good starting point for anyone wishing to move beyond designing amigurumi plush that are mix of ball and tube shapes. The slip stitch join is a very useful technique that has many possibilities besides hearts :] Here are some ideas for it's use: straight legs for dolls and animals, fingers for hands, bunny or monster ears, plant branches . . . 

Difficulty:  Advanced beginner 
This is a wonderful beginner's project but it does use a few advanced techniques: The magic ring, invisible decrease and a slip stitch join of the two halves. Planet June has a wonderful tutorial of how to do the invisible decrease and the magic ring

Materials You'll Need:
• Yarn in your choice of color(s)
Crochet hook - D to F depends on yarn weight
Stuffing - Polyfil
 Yarn or Darning Needle
Scissors
Optional - keychain, phone lanyard, pin back, necklace chain, ornament hook

Crochet Terms:
This pattern is written in American terms. But for my UK friends, the British terms are in blue.

American                             (UK/British)
MR - Magic Ring                     (magic ring)
sl st- Slip Stitch                     (Slip Stitch)
ch - Chain                             (chain) 
     sc - Single Crochet            (dc- double crochet)
  invdec - Inv. Decrease            (inv. decrease)

WRITTEN PATTERN - The abbreviated pattern is at the end of this post if you'd like to work on it alone. It's a very simple pattern, feel free to jump to the end! 

Notes: Finished Size: 1.75" x 1.75" (4.5 cm x 4.5 cm) ❤ I use the joined-rounds method of amigurumi, most people do not.  This pattern is written for both spiral and joined rounds, use the method you are most comfortable with. 

Ready? Here we go!
LEFT: Rnd 1) In a magic ring, single crochet 6 times. Pull your ring tightly closed. This is important so it doesn't work it's way loose, leaving a hole at the top of your work. 

RIGHT: Rnd 2) Single crochet in first stitch, increase in the next. Repeat this pattern around the circle 2 more times. You should have 9 stitches at the end.  Rnd 3) Single crochet in each stitch. You should have nine (9) stitches again. Tie off, and weave in the end to get it out of your way. Repeat Rnd 1, 2, & 3 to produce the other half heart "lobe". Do not tie off or cut the yarn.
LEFT: With the second "lobe" still on your hook, take your first "lobe" and insert your hook through one stitch. Yarn over. 

RIGHT: Pull the yarn through the stitch and the loop on your hook. You just made a slip stitch to join the two halves. That was easy!
LEFT: Here's the tricky part: Rnd 4) Single crochet in each stitch around both halves - 9 stitches each, with a total of 18 single crochet stitches around. Be sure to count, it's easy to miss the tight stitches in-between where the two halves are joined. 

RIGHT: Rnd 5) Single crochet into each stitch around, another 18 stitches. 
LEFT: Rnd 6) Single crochet in first 2 stitches then invisible decrease the next two stitches together. Repeat this pattern around 3 more times. Single crochet in the last 2 stitches. There should be a total of 14 stitches when done.  As you can see, the heart's shape is very visible now, though up-side down.

RIGHT: Rnd 7) Start this round with an invisible decrease, then single crochet in next stitch. Repeat pattern around 3 more times, invisible decrease the last two stitches together. The total stitch count is 9. 
LEFT: Take out your hook and start stuffing your heart. Start with small pieces of stuffing, I use Polyfil, on one side. After that side is done, move to the second lobe.

RIGHT: Lastly, stuff the center of the heart. Make sure to stuff it firmly as this improves the heart's shape and creates a more pleasing look at the end. A little might be sticking out but that's ok. 
Center: Rnd 8) Work invisible decreases around, 4 in total. Single crochet in the last remaining stitch, for a total of 5 stitches. 
LEFT: Finishing off - The tying off of this heart is important because it gives the appearance of a sharp point at it's bottom. Cut a medium length tail and thread your needle. Pass your needle through the front loops of the 5 stitches -toward the center- like you are doing a whip stitch. 

RIGHT: Pull tight and your opening should close tightly shut. Hide your yarn tail inside the body of the heart.  This is also a useful method of tying off any closed amigurumi project as it makes the final piece much neater. PlanetJune has a step by step tutorial if this isn't clear here. 
Annndd... You're done! 

WRITTEN PATTERN 


American                              (UK/British)
MR - Magic Ring                     (magic ring)
sl st- Slip Stitch                     (Slip Stitch)
ch - Chain                             (chain) 
sc - Single Crochet                 (dc- double crochet)

invdec - Inv. Decrease            (inv. decrease)

Amigurumi Heart Pattern
Rnd 1) In a MR, sc 6 [6]
Rnd 2) (Sc then inc) x3 [9]
Rnd 3) Sc in each st [9]
❤ Make 2 lobes, tie off first one. Do not tie off second lobe! Sl st both halves together.
Rnd 4&5) Sc in each st [18]
Rnd 6) (Sc 2 then invdec) x4, sc in last 2 sts [14]
Rnd 7) (invdec then sc) x4, invdec last 2 sts together [9]
❤ Stuff both lobs and center off heart firmly
Rnd 8) (invdec around) x4, sc in last st (5)
❤ Tie off and you're done!
The finished heart is quite tiny, making it the perfect size for gifts and decor! Add a keychain, phone charm lanyard, brooch or pin-back, or turn them into ornaments. String them on a piece of yarn or ribbon as an adorable garland! Have fun! Most importantly, make one for someone you love 

I'd love to see your finished work! Send me your picture or post it to Ami Amore's Fan Page on Facebook! If you enjoyed this tutorial and found it useful, please subscribe to my blog or subscribe on BlogLovin'

Enjoy!





As this is an original Ami Amore pattern, kindly do not claim it as your own. You may place a link to this pattern from your site, but please do not repost it onto your page. Remember to share a picture of your own amigurumi heart!