My 2 year old Miss E * L O V E S * batman. We got a lego batman DVD and she became totally and utterly
enamoured obsessed with batman. She has a little lego batman that is lost pretty much about half the time, and loved and taken everywhere the rest. After searching for Batman once again, in the middle of the night, I decided that I needed to find a bigger version…
Now, being a crochet addict, you might have thought that a crocheted toy would be the first avenue I considered – but in the past, I have found amigurumi (click here for more information on amigurumi) challenging as it is crochet that requires full concentration and preferably minimal interruption and that is not an easy thing to achieve with 5 children at home all day and a baby that likes to keep my husband and I company in the evenings… Not only that, batman has a lot of black. If you’ve ever tried crocheting in black, you’ll know what I mean. (For those who haven’t, just imagine crocheting with your eyes closed and you get the idea.) However, after searching for lego batman again, I decided to give amigurumi another try and after some Ravelry research, proceeded to order a pattern on line from Clare Heesh at 53stitches
The pattern was totally awesome, with loads of pictures and a whole PDF file of all the techniques that I might need. It was labelled intermediate, which would not really be an accurate description of my very basic amigurumi skills, but I dived in and got started straight away. (NB I had a couple of questions about the pattern, being pretty newbie to Amigurumi and Clare got back to me really quickly and was very helpful.)
Yarn – I used small amounts of mainly Stylecraft special DK, 100% acrylic (I think the US equivalent is sport or 8 Ply weight yarn)– in silver, citron, walnut, soft peach for the skin and I used New Fashion DK in black. I also used Anchor embroidery threads for the eyes and mouth, but I have no idea what the colour names are – sorry. They are from a huge pack I bought off Ebay.
Hook – I used a 3 mm hook.
Length of time – I did enjoy working on Batman, and he took less than a week, crocheting around an hour a day. It’s difficult to be exact, as I have this method of grabbing time here and there to crochet, sometimes only 10 minutes or so, but that suits me and my life at the moment and you’d be surprised about how much you can achieve like this.
Overall I’m jolly happy with how Mr Batman turned out, considering he was my first big amigurumi project. The only major error was thankfully under the hood because I counted wrong and the hair misaligned, leaving batman with an odd windswept hairline. As for the black yarn, my husband replaced the bulbs in the living room, with halogen AND I had a desk lamp right by me and I just about managed it! I also used a lot of extra stitch markers to help count.
My Amigurumi top tips (or notes to self…):
- Always use a stitch marker! It can be so tempting, especially on simple patterns to just rely on counting stitches and rows, but it is so easy to lose count and the results can be lumpy, shall we say (see my crochet snake on my amigurumi page here!)I use Pony or Knitpro locking stitch markers, as they are easy to put in and out, don’t fall out, don’t snag the yarn and can also be used as stitch savers at the end of a piece of work to be able to leave it and come back later.
- Count and check your work frequently. By the end of Batman I counted every round, because it worked out quicker than having to go back and redo work several rows at a time.
- If you do have to go back – frog the crochet one round at a time. This is because it is easier to work out where you are in the pattern. It is challenging to count rows in amigurumi because it is actually worked in a spiral, so depending where you count, you may find different numbers of rows!
- Print out the pattern and tick off the rows as you work them, with the same process each time. So either tick when you start the row, or as you end the row, but the same each time. This way it is easy if you have to stop and start to know where you are, without having to try and count the rows. This enabled me to do amigurumi with the children around and deal with interruptions.
- Faces – the pattern called for safety eyes, but I am not entirely comfortable using them for baby and small children’s toys. I prefer to embroider the faces on.
- These video tutorials were really helpful :
Planet June – http://www.planetjune.com/blog/ – several useful tutorials.
This video for the colour changing by the BookPeopleStudio.
This tutorial for joining the legs by Stacy Trock.
So, the big question – would I do amigurumi again and do I recommend it to you? And it is a resounding YES! I’m already looking at what I could make next, with a blatant disregard for the large number of works in progress (WIPs) I have already, although I have turned down the opportunity suggested by my girls to do black widow next!
Have I inspired you to try out Amigurumi for yourself? Please leave a comment to let me know. I’d love to see your finished project. Check out my amigurumi page here for more details and ideas if you need them.