Monday, July 07, 2014

Toothless!

In early May, I was reading my Facebook newsfeed, and someone posted in one of the many groups I'm in (maybe the Handmade group for the area), that they wanted a handmade Toothless, the Night Fury dragon from "How To Train Your Dragon".  The picture they included was a crocheted Toothless, and I quickly searched and found the pattern and offered to do it.  We set a price, she had a deadline for Father's Day, and I got to work.  First thing I did was find a knit pattern.  I was going to crochet it, but there were a few negative comments about that pattern (and the knit one) and I wanted to use one ball of Bernat Waverly, and crocheting takes more yarn. I knew I could make the wings/spikes, etc with a different black though.

Most of it was pretty easy knitting.  The lengthy part is the assembly and stuffing.  The knit pattern involved a lot of little pieces, which many people had done in crochet instead.  The real charm of the pattern was the use of pipe cleaners to add structure to the wings.  They were optional, but I knew they should be done.

 As usual, I was in emotional turmoil as I got towards the end.  One moment, I was calm and sure I was on schedule.  The next minute, I felt hopeless and overwhelmed at all that still needed to be done.
 I was particularly concerned about the eyes.  In the pictures on the pattern, they looked like where I put them.  The pattern said to either take the yarn through the stitches, or to graft the stitches.  I did the gathering up, though in pictures, I think the grafted one looks better and may have changed how the eyes were placed.  I did my eyes with satin stitch, first in the yellow, then over that with the black.
 I liked the eye placement, but it seemed that the wings didn't line up like the pattern's pictures showed.  I finally just gave up and sewed them on.
 The pattern is good, though I found it hard scrolling between different parts of the pattern, since some things were different in the "pipe cleaner method" and the "no pipe cleaners method".
 See, he doesn't have a mouth.  The ones with grafted stitches make him look like he has a mouth.
The head spikes were an issue.  It was hard to find pictures that showed exactly how all eight spikes were supposed to be sewn on.  I ended up crocheting the smallest ones and I think I did the medium ones as i-cords.  While knitting the body (be sure to stuff as you go!), it would have been easy to put a few markers in to help with sewing on the wings, legs, and head spikes.  I got my stuffed animal start with Jean Greenhowe patterns, and she uses markers.
 I thought about doing the brown fin with some suede I had.  It was a bit too light, and well, my studio is in too much of a disarray to bother searching for it.
It was hard lining up all the wings.  I was particularly disappointed in the pattern with the small wings and tail fins.  It didn't tell you how to align them...if the cast on was the lower edge, or what.
There were good pictures of the individual pieces, but there were yarn tails, and I couldn't seem to make mine orientate the same way.  Could be because the yarn tail was from the cast on and was actually under the fin and then the end showed at the top.  Could be because the designer did a long tail cast on and I did a cable cast on (yarn tail would be at opposite ends).

A little text on the picture would have helped.  The fins did seem to be symmetrical triangles, so I did the best I could.  Also, as I was done the sewing in the pipe cleaners, and "wrapping a row with yarn", I used the ends to wrap around the edge stitches for a bit more "oomph".
 The wing tubes.  Well.  I thought, I'm going to knit them in the round.  Then I read, halfway through that the lower end is stuffed and the pipe cleaners are to be inserted.  I tried various ways to stuff it, basically ended up wrapping the pipe cleaners with some soft black fabric and trying to get that in.  Dont' try this shortcut, just follow the pattern, LOL.  Again, some markers on the wings would have helped.  My two wing tubes seemed to be different lengths.  I didn't know just how far along the wing they should go.  And does the wing wrap over the tube?  I just sort of tried a few things till it looked good and secure.

The pipe cleaners...the pattern didn't say how many, or how long!  This should have been included in the pattern!!  The store had only one length, but I bought an assorted pack of colours so I could get both black and brown.  I nearly ran out of the black ones.  And, there are two sewn into the wing tubes, and one is supposed to reach from halfway down the wing tube to the very tip of the wing.  Well, mine didn't.  I had to overlap a second one.



The toes.  I read several of the projects on Ravelry where the knitters had crocheted the toes.  I chained four, then slip stitch in second from the hook and next two.  Ch 4, then again, slip stitch in three.  Repeat twice more.  This created four little toes that sort of looked like black fringe, with a ch1 in between each toe.  Then I sewed it on along the top.

 The leg placement...very hard to see in the pictures, and I went through a lot of Ravelry projects trying to figure  it out.  Again, markers while you knit would be helpful.  In the end, I think they were okay, but like I said, when I was happy with the eye placement, it meant the wings weren't quite the same as in the pattern.
There's those toes again.
One other little detail.  The pattern said to sew around a row of stitches.  That was it for the instruction.  Well, very quickly you realize you don't just follow a row of stitches, you have to angle away.  No biggie, but you know...some people care about good instructions.

I used an entire 100gr ball of Bernat "Waverly".  The sewing on the pipe cleaners and over sewing the rows took a lot of yarn.  In fact, on the fins and tail I used other yarn, and also for the claws.  I wish I had done all the over sewing and sewing the pipe cleaners with a different yarn.  That would have given a bit of nice detail.  I also think that it needs the back "lumps".  Since it was stuffed as it was knit, it was hard to get an idea of how much yarn it really used.  I'm going to say 150grams.  I had a lot of little ends snipped off since it was annoying to use long lengths of yarn for the detail sewing.

Yarn In:  5493gr
Yarn Out: 150gr + 2040gr = 2190gr
Balance:  3303 gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $307.72/188days = $1.64/day





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