Just a quick note to say that I have made an “Amygurumi” page that will contain continually evolving lists of amigurumi resources I have found useful and the amigurumi items I have made. You will find a link to the Amygurumi page at the top of my website, or just click here.
Archive for October, 2009
This cute little owl is the second amigurumi I have ever made, and she is quite delightful! I made her by using this free pattern from roman sock’s Instant Crochetification page.
It really is a nice easy pattern for beginners to amigurumi and crochet (like me!), mostly because you don’t have to follow a specific set of counting instructions to make it. You just keep crocheting increasing rounds until the base circle looks big enough for you, then just single crochet (which gives you the sides of the owl) until the height is the same measurement as the diameter of the base (use a ruler to check).
You then stuff it, pop on eyes, sew it up and make the ears pointy, then do the different coloured nose. Don’t worry, she explains all that – go on, go to her website and get the free pattern! I am not going to write out her pattern in full, that would be stealing
Some things aren’t too clear, such as how to make the ears pointy. Which is actually good for a beginner (like me) because you can just put stitches in however you like until the ears look ear-like (for an owl of course)! The same with doing the nose, and a few other bits. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the techniques properly or your skills aren’t too great. This is the type of owl that will look cute regardless of how good you are.
So go on then: experiment and get yourself an owl amigurumi for your effort!
For those of you who aren’t sure of the basic ratio for “increasing” when doing a round in crochet, I’ll save you the time I spent looking and will give it to you:
[remember the "single crochet" here is the US version, the equivalent stitch in Aus/UK terms is "double crochet"]
-Start: chain 2
-RND 1: 6 single crochet in the second chain [6 stitches total]
-RND 2: 2 single crochet in each single crochet 
-RND 3: 1 single crochet in next stitch, then 2 single crochets in the following stitch. Repeat 
-RND 4: 1 single crochet in next stitch, 1 single crochet in following stitch, then 2 single crochets in next stitch. Repeat 
-RND 5: 1 single crochet in stitch, 1 single crochet in stitch, 1 single crochet in stitch, 2 single crochets in stitch. Repeat [ 30]
You can see that to continue your ratio to make a wider circle, you just follow the same pattern you can see emerging above (i.e. an additional single crochet in a single stitch is added before each increase for each new round).
Posted in Photography, tagged canon 1000d, canon 18-55mm lens, canon 55-250mm lens, canon kiss, canon rebel xs, photography bag, photography equipment, photos, review, tamrac express 7 on October 7, 2009 | 10 Comments »
I can now tick item #1 off my wishlist: I have a new camera bag! Hooray! As a woman, of course I am very excited about getting another bag :) The bag I chose in the end was the Tamrac Express 7.
You can see from my photos that it is a slim-profile khaki-coloured shoulder bag with a suede desert-coloured feature panel on the flap. It sits well on my shoulder, is padded on the inside and sturdy (but still light), and not too bulky. The shoulder strap is padded and curved so it is comfy on my shoulder, and the strap can be made long enough to sling the bag across my body.
What I love most (and why I chose this bag), is that I can walk around with it on my shoulder and it doesn’t advertise that it is a camera bag. In fact the only noticeable brand advertising is the stitched logo on the front of the bag (and the tamrac logo is a subtle design). The design and colours of it just make it seem like any old shoulder bag, and the added bonus is that the neutral natural colours also match well with my everyday clothes ;). The black version would of course “match” with more clothes, but I just thought the black looked a bit too blah and like a camera bag to me.
The design of the bag is basically just a flap (the “speed-flap”) that covers the main compartment and front zippered pocket and seals in front with velcro and buckle. The advantage of not having a zippered main compartment is that when it is over your shoulder you can just quickly unclip, flip up the flap, and easily grab your camera out. The disadvantage is that I suppose thieves could easily get in too – but if a thief is going to nick your stuff while you are carrying it an extra zipper won’t stop them getting in or grabbing it off you!
The velcro is really good, so you don’t have to clip the buckle back in if you are going in and out of your bag a lot. The buckle is an unusual design and you have to make sure it is lined up well for it to click in, so it can be a bit of a pain to clip back up if you are in a hurry. I have seen someone else add an extra square of velcro either side of the main one for added strength (so they don’t have to use the clip when going in and out of their bag) which I think that is a great idea so I am going to do the same.
The interior of the main body of the bag is foam padded and separated into 3 compartments with vertical padded dividers that can be adjusted using the velcro (this can be fiddly – the velcro sticks well!). Three additional horizontal dividers can be placed within these compartments to allow for a total of six separate compartments within the bag.
There is plenty of room in this bag to fit my Canon 1000D with the 18-55mm lens attached and my 55-250mm lens. My camera is stored lens-side down in the centre partition of the bag (which I widened to allow the body to sit deeper), and the other lens is stored in another partition to the side. The third partition is empty so far – I need to buy more gear to fill it up!
There is plenty of room to add new gear in this bag. My camera can be raised back up and a divider made below it for a small lens (like a nifty fifty). A narrow lens can be placed in each partition either side of the main camera, or a lens and a speedlite flash. If the lenses aren’t long, you could fit two on one side and separate the levels with padded dividers. My camera body is not very big, but if your camera does have a larger body you might only manage with just a small flash – camera body with attached lens – narrow lens arrangement, or camera body with attached lens – lens arrangement.
There is also a roomy zippered pocket on the front of the bag which will hold most of your “bitsy” photography gear. Inside are two pouches, a zippered pocket, two pen holders, and the the main pocket itself. It’s quite roomy – you can really shove a fair bit of stuff in here and still buckle up your bag!
Another nifty feature is the “piggy-back” airline pocket on the back that allows you to slip your bag over the handles of those wheeled carryon bags (demonstrated in the photo with my clipboard!). There is also another zippered pocket on the back, but again I would just put thin items in there to stop it looking bulky.
Finally, there is a cellphone pocket on one side which my Blackberry Bold actually fits into really well. My phone is just snug enough so it doesn’t feel like it will fall out, but not so snug it is a drama to get it in and out.
Overall I am very pleased with this bag! I purchased it online without ever looking at it in person, and had to rely on the very few reviews I could find. I am very relieved that it is just right for me! It is perfect for someone who doesn’t have a lot of photography gear (like me) and/or doesn’t want to carry around a bunch of gear when out and about with their camera. As the strap attachments and buckle are plastic, you wouldn’t want to test them by loading up this bag with a pile of heavy gear – but then that would defeat the purpose of having a slim-profile walk-around bag! The bag would stand up to some light spotty rain, but it is not waterproof so don’t go out in a heavy downpour (I am not going to go out in weather that would damage my camera when taking photos, so no problems for me there). This is a fantastic bag, but if you don’t quite like the exterior design, check out the Tamrac Adventure Messenger 4 which seems to have a similar build but different colours. The bag feels strong, well made, and nicely padded, and is an ease to carry around.
If there is anything else you want to know about this bag, feel free to ask questions in the comments below.
Posted in Amigurumi, Craft, tagged Amigurumi, Craft, Crochet, flickr, free amigurumi pattern, hobby, learning amiguruimi, little bird, my first, pattern, toy bird, worm on October 7, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Well it seems quitting a PhD opens your brain up to more interests! In addition to getting into my photography hobby, I have discovered, fell in love with, and started to learn how to make Amigurumi. Amigurumi is the Japanese art of crocheting/knitting (ami) small stuffed dolls (nuigurumi). These small dolls/toys of course should be very kawaii (cute!) and can be animals, objects with faces, cartoon characters, retro game characters, anime characters, and more.
I first discovered them on Saturday while looking through Explore on Flickr and fell in love. My grandma taught me how to crochet as a kid (she made so many blankets and toys and donated a lot to charities) and I really enjoyed it. Sadly, I hadn’t crocheted since I was a kid, and I only made a few small things back then, such as a small “scarf” for Barbie (several rows of stitches) and a rainbow scarf for a doll that I got bored with halfway through. So my skills needed to be refreshed and improved just a tad.
Luckily I discovered these fantastic video tutorials at Hooks and Needles personal blog, that teach you the basic crochet skills you need for Amigurumi. Watch them and practice if you want to learn – they are SO helpful! Don’t worry if her way of holding her hook and thread is unusual, just do a search and find a way that works for you (her hand holding the thread faces up, mine faces down).
Once I did a few practice rows of crocheting, I decided that making something would be the fun way to practice. I had already found lots and lots of free amigurumi patterns, but one of the simplest was the Little Birdy from Bittersweet.
The pattern was very easy, but the first few rows had to be restarted three times: the first time because I read the pattern wrong about how to increase, and the second time because I lost track of my counting But they were good learning experiences each time!
Here are some more shots of Mr Birdy:
The “worm” is just my first crochet practice – chains with one row of single crochet (the Australian/UK version of single crochet. I am not sure what the US equivalent of this stitch is, but the US version of single crochet is thicker). It came out looking like a worm so I gave it to my boyfriend and told him it was my first “amigurumi”. I failed to impress him. He was impressed with my bird though!
Fortunately, making Amigurumi is a nice cheap hobby – which will counterbalance my expensive DSLR photography hobby! I have so many free patterns printed up and ready for me to make, so keep an eye out for more.
AmyGurumi (my new name hehe) xxxx