Early in 2011, I got a request from a fan of Sackboy, the main character in the Playstation Little Big Planet Games. She wondered if I could make her a crochet toy in the same likeness. Since he's a knit character I figured the translation to crochet wouldn't be too hard. In fact it really wasn't. What took so long were the details I wanted to try to capture without gluing too much felt pieces to him to simulate his zipper closure and his open smiling mouth or using strategic stitching to create his fingers on a rounded hand. I wanted to be able to capture that open mouth and those little fingers and that all important zipper.
Normally I just assess an image and picture the stitches I need to get that shape and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't...for example an attempt to make Stewie, which is still in the works. His head shape, a football like shape, was going good but when it came time to stuff it, he looked more like B*tch Stewie. (If you watch Family Guy, you know the episode. lol) And I still have that misshapen head, because a perfect Stewie next to an imperfect one, it just reinforces the character and episode homage.
^B* Stewie Head
But back to Sackboy! A similar dilemma popped up as I patterned and stitched the Sackboy. I started with his head shape and left open an area of stitches to work on creating the depth and space for his mouth. I worked out his body and once again, decided I didn't want to glue the zipper to his body, I wanted it to be part of the body and worked it so that I had an opening to insert the zipper (but finding one that was perfect turned out to be harder than I thought it would be).
When it came time for me to stuff him, I ended up with my mouth area poking out, so that his face looked like he had a duck bill. I was frustrated that I couldn't tack the middle part of the mouth to the back of the head, because again it created a dent in the back of the head and didn't allow the stuffing to shape the head properly. Thinking it over and pulling out the tack stitch, I decided that cardboard cutouts in the shape of the lips, glued inside would give me my stiff shape and allow me to stuff around them. (I've since perfected what to use inside to hold my shaping, because even the cardboard would bend when I started to stuff the body and give the face shape.)
The result made me happier and I went on to tackle his legs, which weren't a difficult shape to achieve. His arms proved to be a different story, as I wanted to create his fingers but not through stitching. I worked with the tiniest hook and achieved a flat fingered hand and arm that thrilled me with its likeness to Sackboy's.
I mangled one of my old purses and snagged a brown zipper that I wanted to use to close up the hole I had created. After stitching on his arms and legs, I looked him over critically. I was happy but not overly happy.
His head was giving me a cone head shape (above photo) that was not appealing and ruining the effect for me. Plus I still hadn't found my zipper tab and his mouth wasn't giving me the depth effect.
I ended up painting over the zipper with silver, which helped but has made me vigilant whenever I see something with zippers to see if it's got silver teeth and will work on a future creation. I purchased a lunch bag at the dollar store that turned out to have several nearest match zipper tabs to attach to the top. (The dollar store is my new best friend! I find so many things to repurpose for projects. I'll discuss in a future blog post).
I had to undo the stitching on his head and insert a cardboard cutout to flatten out the cone head shape (again, much better now) and finished up the minute detailing on his mouth and what came out made me so much happier then I had been. I had a ' Meh!' feeling about it before (picture above). Now I was happy to be offering the final product for my requester's approval. (Picture below)
For my first foray in patterning and creating Sackboy, I'm was pretty darn happy! And if I'm not happy with it, how is my client going to be.
Since creating that first Sackboy, I created another for my brother as a graduation gift. He really liked it and complimented me on the details and likeness. *Whew!* (Family can be your worst critics!) His Sackboy included a little scroll diploma. But recently I received an order (my first headed overseas to England!) and the requested asked if I could include a personal message.
Well I didn't want to just roll up a piece of paper. so I decided to create a small portfolio for Sackboy to hold. I lengthened his robe a little and once again scrounged the dollar store for that perfect zipper tab. :) He's a great graduation present and has plans for more dress up options later this year. Maybe Batman...Santa Clause or hey, since Sackboy doesn't HAVE to be a boy, maybe we'll see a Sackgirl! Stay tuned!
I was out with a group of friends and one asked me whether I could make a Ben 10 doll for her nephew. She told me how Ben 10 was his favorite character and he had a birthday coming up soon. So of course with any character creation, I try to get a working picture of what they're looking for me to create. There were 2 options for Ben 10 and then his various alien incarnations, but she was going for him in his teen years with the green moto jacket.
Looking at the picture, I knew I'd have to make his eyes since the normal eyes I use for my dolls are pre-fabricated and come in brown and blue. I instantly wanted the pants a darker blue, but the rest of the colors I already had or could easily get. Another worry in the process was his hair. I actually created almost everything else before I tackled that hair.
For the facial features I used felt and modeled the shape off of the eyes I already use and his slash of a mouth from an eyebrow from that pre-fab set that gives me an instant smirk.
I crocheted the waistband of his pants around an elastic so they were removable but would also stay up while being played with. The jacket wasn't too hard, just a matter of paying attention to the stripe details and the 10 decal, which I did in felt, but let me tell you gluing on that small 1 and 0 was no picnic. I purchased the black shirt he wears under the jacket, though I could have made one or even created an attached version to the jacket, but a yarn shirt under a yarn jacket creates a very bulked up looking doll. Plus having the pre-made shirt underneath, allows my recipient to remove the jacket if he so chooses.
Another Ben 10 detail is a watch he wears that allows for the transformations into aliens. Mine does not transform :) But I wanted him to have that watch detail and as much as I could have bulked up my watch creation, it wouldn't have fit with the doll proportions and so I used felt and velcro and layering effects to at least give it a similar look.
Then it came time to do the hair. I usually do girl dolls and so I started the process pretty much the same way. I individually stranded over 200 pieces of yarn into the head. Part of that is angling the insertion of the yarn so that it falls a particular way. At this point I was pretty proud of how the facial features I created turned out and the clothing to that point and despite my dolls hippy look I could see Ben 10 in there. But my snarky nephew (who I still love to death) kept commenting how he looked like Jesus or a hippy. And yeah, I could see that and wished that teen Ben 10 was a bit more emo or skater, I knew that I could get this hair looking slightly disheveled preppy. So he went from these....
I had to move layer by layer in the back of his head and then angles in the front and hope that I didn't mess up horribly or I'd be redoing a lot of work, but I was happy with the result and even my critic agreed it was better, though he still commented that he looked like Justin Bieber. To which my grown up reply was: 'You look like Justin Bieber!'
To say I was pleased with the overall look (pics below) I really am and hope that my 4 year old recipient likes it just as much!
UPDATE: I'm told he still loves his Ben 10 very much and has lost the little watch around the house several times, as he's tried to wear it himself. I love it!
This is a re-post and update of my obsession with yarn. I can't tell you how happy i get on yarn delivery days or when I get a large haul of yarn from a craft store.
Most weekends I'm harassing one or the other of my siblings to take me to a craft store. If you want to get me a gift of late, a gift card to any Michaels/Joann Fabrics (which is soon to open at a mall near me, I will be broke)/AC Moore will be greatly appreciated! My sister made the mistake (or thoughtful gesture) of taking me to Hobby Lobby...it opened new doors and options for my crochet creations. I was in crafting heaven!
As always I left with a giant bag of yarn and other sundries from the other departments like beading, doll stands, dowels, etc. While I liked the selection of yarns there, I think I'll stick to Michael's or my internet stores (Knitting Warehouse and Nordic Mart) for the brands that I've really become accustomed to using, but Hobby Lobby did offer some brands I hadn't seen before and gave me all sorts of ideas for new projects for myself and that might interest others. The photo below is of the haul I brought home that day:
Two of the skeins in that grouping, the lime green and white were to finish up a baby hat and sock set that I was making for someone for a baby shower. I had run out of the yarn and had to pick up some more. But then of course got sidetracked by all the other great yarns around them. This is the Limelight Simply Soft baby hat and sock set I made and there was an additional set I had already finished in a baby coordinate yarn.
The sparkly yarn was soooo tempting and I had to restrain myself to just the 3 skeins, because they had so many different colors. That's definitely one I'll be going back to get. I had thoughts of princess dresses for my dolls or a shrug. I did make a doll dress for my ballerina doll Sasha and I STILL have that blue and I'm thinking it will make a great baby mermaid tail sleep sack/photo prop.
Any crafting person knows that when you go into a store with a wide selection of yarns and no particular project in mind-it can be dangerous to your wallet!
I did have a couple ideas when I went in though. I have been noticing lots of friends and friends of friends are having babies this year. Even people I don't know are looking for handmade gifts to give, but most of the time they don't know the sex of the baby. So I've been trying to stock neutral colors or work on items that can be for either a boy or girl. Sometimes a color really just strikes me and I hope that the person requesting the item really likes it as much as I do. That's what happened with the yarns below. I just loved the vibrancy of the multicolored yarn and saw it working really well in a mitered square (two straight edges joined at a 45° angle) blanket. Then I found myself picking out some of the individual colors within to pair possible hats and socks and toys to the blanket in complimentary colors. That project will be coming in the near future, so check back.
I hope it looks as great as it does in my head! :-}
The last two skeins in the grouping were for another project I had been thinking of making. My rattle rabbits have been a pretty popular baby shower gift. But this trip, after eyeing some of the more expensive and lush yarn that was offered. I decided that a lamb would be a great baby toy. The yarn I chose ...I wish you could feel that white yarn. before I had even finished the project i had a request for the finished product and it was well received and loved.
I'm likely to post more pics of the hauls that I bring home from the craft store or the dollar store. Oh, there is always some idea lurking when I step in to get just 1 skein or 20 and I'm not likely to stop just yet. And online shopping has just made it worse.
My next entry will be about how I got a handle on all those unopened bags over there!
I'm a self taught "hooker".
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