Yesterday I went to Yarndale and met up with a friend who pointed out I have been neglecting my blog recently (thanks for the kick up the butt Gwen!). There are good reasons for this (more about that in a later post) but I thought I would show off a little project of mine.
I love making teeny tiny toys. Quick to make and always cute, they sit around my craft room watching me as I work. I became a fan of Anna Hrachovec of Mochi Mochi Land for her wonderfully playful designs and first knitted her MochiMochi Snowmen that now hang on my christmas tree each year.
The sparkly white yarn was a Regia christmas special yarn that I purchased and use frequently for christmas projects such as snowflakes. These snowmen were so easy to make and fun to knit. They make great presents too.
I have also knitted a teeny armadillo who sits on the top of my computer and tuts occasionally at some of my maths when I am trying to figure out stitch numbers or spreadsheet formulas. He is also partial to a few stray biscuit crumbs.
He was knitted from King Cole Baby Alpaca and I love how the garter stitch forms his ridged shell and his little eyes peep out and nose. For a while my sister nicknamed me Armadillo because I love Dime (Daim as they are now known) bars and used to eat one daily. At the time there was a silly advert on tv for dime bars that featured an armadillo.
Recently I was at the Knitting and Crochet Guild annual meeting when I ran out of things to knit (!). So, I purchased some crochet thread (DMC Cebelia Cotton size 30) and some tiny (1mm and 0.6mm) hooks, downloaded a toy pattern and began trying to make a toy that was meant to be worked in DK weight yarn with a 3.5mm hook with a much thinner yarn and a tiny hook. The pattern is a free one on Ravelry by Lucy Ravenscar - White and blue small Totoro amigurumi.
I made the white Totoro first with the 0.6mm hook. He came out at 4cm high and very cute. Working on such a small scale was quite tricky, particularly for the ears and joining them together. Good light is definitely needed!
I then tried the blue Totoro using the 1mm hook. He came out slightly bigger at 4.5cm and I love the extra details in his pattern. In the My Neighbour Totoro film the white Totoro is much smaller than the blue one so I really wanted a REALLY tiny white Totoro to match him. Using a smaller hook was not an option as I had no smaller thread to use so I made up my own pattern to create a very tiny 1cm white Totoro to be his friend.
I started at the bottom (rather than with the ears in the pattern) and he is only 10 double crochet stitches round in his widest point! His ears I made by using a few stitches each and quickly decreasing. The sewing of his eyes was tricky because they were just so tiny. Blue Totoro now has his little friend :)
I think I might keep these two forest friends in my car for good luck. The white one might be a present for my sister, also a Totoro fan.
Working on these tiny projects taught me a few things about teeny crochet.
- Choose a pattern carefully. Small things are harder to crochet than larger ones so think about the detail needed and pieces involved. Toys are perfect because the size does not matter as they do not need to 'fit'.
- Toys with multiple small parts are harder than those with just a few pieces. Be careful to not choose something that has too many small parts already - they will be even smaller on a tiny project!
- Good light is essential. These were made in summer when the light tends to be better but daylight bulbs will help in winter.
- Crochet cotton is much easier than wool to work with as the threads are wound tight and do not 'split' as much when working with them and it does not shed as much making stitches easier to see.
- Good quality crochet hooks are a must too. It is hard work on your hands when doing something this tiny. I used Clover Amour hooks that have a soft grip which helped.
- Small things can take longer to make than larger ones. Whilst there was the same number of stitches in my projects as the pattern they were inspired by, the small size was harder to work and they took me longer to do than they would have done in DK weight yarn.
- It is hard to mark beginnings of rounds. Totoro was crocheted in the round but I could not find a stitch marker small enough to mark the beginning of a round so some guesswork was needed.
- Despite all of the above, teeny crochet is even cuter than its big brother and worth the effort!
I'm now planning other teeny knitting and crochet projects. I want to make one of my Cthulhu amigurumi's in a teeny size next as this pattern is very simple and should come out even smaller!
One last photo to show that they really are tiny - they are all smaller than an AA sized battery: