Thursday, May 24, 2012

Little Green Monster (Crochet)

I have a new nephew on the way, due to arrive sometime in the next couple of weeks, or (his mother dearly hopes) even sooner!
His father, my brother Michael, is an artist and musician who is currently making a lot of what I'll call - to coin a phrase - "benign monster art."  (Check that link for samples.)  Cute, fuzzy little guys in bright colors, many with an interesting story to coordinate.
So when I saw these booties from Stella & Henry, I knew I needed to make something similar for the baby-to-be. (I used this pattern from Crochet Dreamz, and improvised teeth, eye, and horns.)
But then I started thinking that a little monster rattle really needed to be part of the set.  Not feeling like following another pattern, I improvised my own.

  • 1 ball (more like 1/2 a ball) of light / sportweight yarn.  I used moss-green "Sheepish" brand.
  • Optional: small amount of contrasting color in *exactly the same weight* as monster's body for his mouth.  I just used the body color.  
  • Scraps of yarn in white, black, and your choice of accent colors. I used bright orange, just because. 
  • Crochet hook, size F or your choice.  (Smaller hooks are better for Amigurumi style crochet because you want a nice, tight fabric so the stuffing doesn't show through.) 
  • Yarn needle
  • A handful of fiber-fill stuffing. 
  • Optional: Small, sturdy plastic container (such as a tiny pill bottle) and some beans or popcorn for a rattle insert. 
  • Optional: 1 plastic safety eye. (I just used a french knot!) 
Here are the stitches we will use (American definitions.)
Chain (CH)
Slip Stitch (ST)
Single Crochet (SC)
Single Crochet 2 together (SC2TOG)
Half-Double Crochet (HDC)
Double Crochet (DC)

This first bit is going to be written in "semi-formal" crochet language. Rather than writing out  every stitch, I'll just describe how to make a flat circle, which is the basis for the monster's body and mouth.
Note: Subsequent rows are crocheted in continuous rounds: do not join with slip stitch, but DO mark initial stitch with a stitch marker (I use a paper clip!)
Base: SC 6 in magic circle.
Row 1: 2 SC in each SC around (12 total)
Rows 2 - 5: Increase every "n" stitches where "n" is the row number.
If you find that a bit confusing...
On row 2, SC in first stitch, then 2 SC in the next stitch.  Repeat around for a total of 18 stitches.  In row 3, SC in first 2 stitches, than 2 SC in the 3rd stitch.  Repeat around for a total of 24.  And so forth and so on, until on row 5 you are increasing every fifth stitch, and finish the round with 36 stitches total.

Rows 6-11: (No increases these rows) 1 SC in each SC around, for a total of 36 stitches)
Row 12: (Mouth row) 1 SC in each of first 18 SCs. (1/2 of the circumference).  Then chain (loosely) 18, and slip stitch end of chain into first stitch in the row.  You have just created an 18-stitch "gap" in your monster's body, where the mouth will go.
Row 13: 1 SC in each SC, then 1 SC in each CH.  Total 36 stitches.
Row 14-15: 1 SC in each SC.
Row 16 (Decrease row): 1 SC in first 4 SC, then SCTOG in stitches 5 and 6.  Repeat around.
Row 17-20: Decrease with SCTOG in every 4th stitch, then every 3rd, etc.
Finally, slip-stitch a couple of times across to close the gap in the crown of the head.  Fasten off and weave in ends.
(Optional) Turn body inside out.  I found I prefer the "wrong" side of the stitching.  But this is completely up to you!
Monster's body is complete!

Using body color or contrasting color in same weight as body, repeat rows 1-5 from body to make a flat circle or disc with circumference of 36 stitches.  Tie off, leaving long tail for stitching into mouth.
Fold Disc in half.
Using yarn needle, sew bottom half of circle to bottom half of gap created in row 12, and then continue around sewing top half of circle to top half of the gap.  *Leave at least 8 or 10 stitches un-sewn* so you can reach inside for attaching embellishments and stuffing.

Base: In White, HDC 6 in magic circle.  Join with slip stitch, leaving long tails on each end for sewing in place.

TEETH (made 2)
In White, Chain 3.
Turn, 1 SC in same stitch.  SC across.  (Total of 3 stitches.)
Tie off leaving long tail for sewing to mouth.

In Contrast Color
In Magic Circle, SC 2, DC 3, SC 2.  Join with slip stitch.  Tie off, leaving long tail for sewing to center of mouth "disc."

HORNS (make 2)
In Contrast Color
Base: SC 4 in magic circle
Rows 1-2: SC in each SC.
Tie off, leaving long tail for sewing to monster's head.

Leaving long tail for sewing, In body color, CH 3
Row 1-4: CH 1, turn, and SC in each SC across.
Row 5: Join Contrast Color and SC in each across. Tie off.

Sew horns, teeth, and tail to body using photo as guide.

If using plastic safety eye, attach through center of right side of eye and through monster's "face."
Otherwise, using a heavy black yarn, tie a french knot on the right side of the eye to form the eyeball.  Thread ends through monster's face and tie off.  Stitch eye in place using yarn needle.

Weave in ends, tie off on inside of toy, and clip or just leave hanging  out of sight.
If desired, join body yarn to crown of head and chain 10-15, joining again with a slip-stitch to form a loop (for hanging toy on plastic link.)
If desired, insert "rattle" in monster's body.
Stuff with a good hand-full of fiber-fill, being certain not to over-stuff: the mouth should remain indented.
Finally, sew last 8-10 stitches of mouth disc to monster and tie off.

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