Sometimes I get an order and I immediately groan. Usually it's for something trendy and crocheted. Such was this order. I had tried this "crocodile stitch" twice before. The first time was when these bootees were all the rage. I just could not get the instructions. Not much defeats me, but that did. So I've had this crankiness towards this stitch ever since. Then, last winter, these gloves were all the rage. So I gave it another go, and this time figured it out. I didn't actually end up making anything though. It really is a neat stitch, but not really all that fast for crochet, and it EATS yarn.
So then I got an inquiry from a previous client, about an owl cocoon. It wasn't urgent (she sent me the message in early January and the baby was due late May, and she wanted more like a 3 month size). I had seen requests for these in the Handmade groups I'm in, but the thought of all that crocodile stitch...and the eyes, and the embroidery....my first thought was "no way". But I knew that the spring/summer is a slow period and I really shouldn't turn down any orders I'm capable of doing.
The first key to making this economical (ie--have some profit), is using yarn I already have. I had NO idea how much yarn I would need. I really didn't seem to have much for boyish colours, unless I wanted to do actual stripes. No thanks. I was looking around my "yarn store", and caught a glimpse of this large, messy ball of James Brett Marble Chunky. I had picked it up because a) I love this yarn, and b) I had previously made a blanket and it really wasn't big enough so I wanted to re-work it. I figured an actual order comes before a "some day" project.
I got swatching. The first thing I knew was that I wanted the scales/feathers to be only on the front. Why make a baby lay on those? The stitch is created by making a row of V stitch double crochets, then creating the feathers on the posts of the V stitch. So on the back of the row, I did plain double crochets, not the V stitches. Then, when I came around with the feather row, I worked the back in single crochet. The feathers plumped up the row below so I couldn't just slip stitch across. And I find it hard to work the next row into slip stitches. I might have even done hdc.
I gradually increased the width as I went up.
I might have adjusted the pattern to be 3DC, 1 HDC, 2 SC, 1 HDC, 3 DC. I remember swatching different combos to see if I could get a better point on the feathers. I might be able to zoom in on the photos to take another look.
The end result is adorable. There were a couple places in the yarn where I cut out the pale beige sections. I ended up needed to rip back some of that blanket I had planned to enlarge. Looking at the photos, I could have made it a row or two smaller, and a newborn size would fit with one ball. Since I had cracked open the blanket, I decided to add a hat. Some of the inspiration photos she sent included a hat, but she didn't mention it in her messages. So I created my own.
Yarn In: 1642gr
Yarn Out: 293gr + 1902gr= 2195gr
Balance: 553gr more USED than bought
Costs: $40.73/171 days = $0.24per day